Thursday, February 9, 2017

*** AGRICULTURE IS ALREADY DEVOLVED ***

Well, the title pretty much makes my point for me, but I'll expand on it just a little.  Three days ago, there was an Orwellian, black-is-white headline in the Telegraph, which paraphrased Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson as saying it would be "foolhardy to devolve all EU agriculture powers to Scotland after Brexit".  In reality, it would be extremely difficult to devolve any agriculture powers to Scotland at all after Brexit, for the very simple reason that AGRICULTURE IS ALREADY DEVOLVED.

It's true that the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government are currently severely restricted in what they can do on agriculture, because EU law cuts across huge swathes of devolved policy areas, meaning that in practice a lot of the power is held at EU level.  But because agriculture is already devolved from Westminster to Scotland, those powers will automatically revert to Scotland after Brexit.  The only way that any or all of those powers will somehow end up at Westminster is if the UK government rips up the current devolved settlement, and removes agriculture from the jurisdiction of the Scottish Parliament, either in whole or in part.  That's exactly what Ruth Davidson is proposing should happen, presumably because Theresa May has warned her that's what's going to happen anyway, and has told her that the Scottish Tories had better start getting their excuses in early.

Removing powers the Scottish Parliament holds as of right will of course require a breach of the Sewel Convention - unless Holyrood gives its consent via a Legislative Consent Motion, which plainly is not going to happen.  We know from the Supreme Court ruling last month that the Sewel Convention has no legal force whatever (a direct betrayal of "The Vow") and that the UK government can cheerfully ignore it at any time.  So we're powerless to directly prevent any of this from being done, but what we can do is insist that a spade is called a spade.  The UK government is not judiciously deciding which powers should or should not be generously 'given' to Scotland.  It is instead deciding which powers should be taken away against our will, in flagrant contravention of the promises made during the independence referendum about the permanence and entrenched nature of the Scottish Parliament.

One thing is for sure - if there's a second indyref, and the London establishment is once again forced into last-minute concessions to try to head off defeat, nobody (except maybe John Barrowman) is going to accept that "recognition of conventions" and "political assurances" are basically the same thing as binding legal guarantees.  They got away with that confidence trick once, but it's been totally exposed and won't work again. This time they'll have to put their money where their mouth is.

* * *

I was asked on the previous thread about the outrageously misleading headline claiming that John Curtice had said the BMG poll putting Yes at 49% was an "error".  This was my reply -

"No, he hasn't said that. The way his comments have been reported is absolutely ridiculous. He's just making the obvious point that there's such a thing as sampling variation and a standard margin of error in each poll, which means that an individual poll can never be taken as proof that there has been a genuine change in public opinion. He hasn't found any methodological mistakes, or anything like that - he's just urging caution."

* * *

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56 comments:

  1. Agreed

    I really hope support for Indy stays st below 50% in the polls until IndyRef2 is called: that will allow those who rule to carry on believing they'll win, which will make the holding of the IndyRef a much easier process to agree on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glasgow Working Class 2February 9, 2017 at 8:57 PM

      Seems to me you are a defeatist. But let us real Scots Unionists ensure you are defeated. An impoverished Scotland with a Nat si elite ruling and bleeding the people needs to be confronted and will be.
      I have written to the Home Secretary asking for the British Passport to be issued immediately for our protection.

      Delete
    2. Glasgow Working Class 2February 9, 2017 at 9:46 PM

      My master phoned me the other day he said Nigel why dont you come over to my mansion tomorrow night for a game of dressups.
      I would love to Master Boris I said. Are we going to play master and the gimp again.
      No he said I want to play the rocky horror show again.
      Salmond and Nippy Sweetie will be Brad and Janet
      I will be Dr Frank N Furter and you can be Riff Raff because you already have a hump

      Delete
    3. Glasgow Working Class 2February 9, 2017 at 11:02 PM

      I have a genital wart on the end of my tongue and wondered if a jock nat si could rub emollient on it with a broken toenail? Would this be okay? My view of the Union is spasmodically immutable but I'll compromise if only one of you big sassy jock fritzels will lotion my bilious troll tongue.

      Delete
  2. In other news. Children avoided death by collapsing schools due to nothing more than luck and our brave journalists heroically avoid mentioning the word Labour. Well done them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glasgow Working Class 2February 9, 2017 at 9:25 PM

      The building trade are an entity not to be messed with. When they fuck up as they do and have gone bankrupt then it is preferable that some other party was in power and to blame.

      Delete
    2. Glasgow Working Class 2February 9, 2017 at 9:49 PM

      and to further back up the waste of space that is the Jocko Government
      http://wingsoverscotland.com/probably-a-robbery/

      Delete
    3. Glasgow Working Class 2February 9, 2017 at 11:14 PM

      Labour-UKIP Alliance will end jock nat si monopoly of 50% support for SNP - just because they can run the country well doesn't mean free prescriptions = votes. My tongue wart hurts. I get a prescription. It doesn't buy my vote. I believe in the new Alliance. It must prevail if prescriptions are to be stopped from voting booth influence - excess fascism hurts us all. Wake up North of Britain! Wake up!

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  3. Does this make sense.? None of these comments make any sense.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Glasgow Working Class 2February 9, 2017 at 10:42 PM

    this is a fairy tale from stu campbells nat si blog written by Scott Minto it backs up James but what would you expect from these fash nat sis

    http://wingsoverscotland.com/powers-without-pennies/#more-85345

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @GWC2 HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.....ETC.

      Delete
  5. Glasgow Working Class 2February 9, 2017 at 10:45 PM

    Strange to see that it was older folk protesting in Edinburgh about the cuts in services.
    Raise the matter about Palestinian fascists and the Nat si pretend left mob would be out in force.
    Interviews with people in Liverpool that bastion of socialism and some would prefer libraries to close. Progressive Brits and Jocks indeed. The bottom line is people in general are greedy bastards and want someone else to pay while they piss it up in the bozzer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glasgow Working Class 2February 9, 2017 at 11:07 PM

      And I say this as the true GWC2 that I once protested about the rise of protest. UKIP-Labour alliance needed to defeat jock nat si obsession with progress; too many good people hurting from nat si free prescriptions and bus passes.

      Delete
    2. Glasgow Working Class 2February 9, 2017 at 11:11 PM

      I am the true GWC2 I would be protesting too but I cant because my piles are killing me after that big night with boris and gove.

      Delete
    3. I suppose I will have to revert to Uncle Ploppy because a Nat si fascist cannot comment under his own plume.

      Delete
    4. Glasgow Working Class 2February 9, 2017 at 11:22 PM

      Only the true GWC2 would stick by its satanically ennobled domain name. All Ploppy's are frauds. Splitters from the SLAB-Con-UKIP Alliance Front. My tongue wart aches to see such ideologies pervade this place. Jock nat si will laugh at the thought of this split.

      Delete
    5. Fred Dibnah SteeeplejackFebruary 9, 2017 at 11:27 PM

      You are pervading your own brain Nat sis now do comment using your own name.

      Delete
    6. Glasgow Working Class 2February 10, 2017 at 12:08 AM

      All true believers in Glasgow Working Class 2 must stick together the rest of you Fash Nat sis are splittests. All hail Mrs May the sexiest woman in england

      Delete
    7. Glasgow Working Class 2February 10, 2017 at 11:07 AM

      I’m GWC2 and so’s my wife.

      Delete
    8. Glasgow Working Class 2February 10, 2017 at 6:47 PM

      My wife is also GWC2. And so are her three husbands.

      Delete
  6. The vow doesn't say anything about sewel, only that it is permanent which the supreme Court did agree. How does it contravene?

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    Replies
    1. Because permanence is impossible without Sewel, Jonathan! Unless Sewel - or something near-enough identical to it - is legally enshrined, all of the parliament's powers can be stripped away and you're left with an empty shell. You're left essentially with the Scottish Grand Committee circa 1984.

      You can call the Scottish Grand Committee a "parliament" if you really want to, but that wouldn't mean a thing.

      Delete
  7. No question whatsoever that when England's Tories mean taking back control,they mean to Westminster.
    They see the "devolved" administrations as simply in place to manage their policy decisions,a bit like a parish council in fact.
    Anyone who is stupid enough to believe that Westminster being fully back in charge of agriculture and fisheries will be a good thing for their local industries is in for a very nasty shock.
    They have precious little to bargain with in trade dealings and certainly will use fishing rights as a bargaining chip along with the EU nationals employed in the industry.
    Devolution is dead in the brave new one nation UK.
    Rule Britannia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glasgow Working Class the 3rd.February 9, 2017 at 11:50 PM

      Scottish Nat sis do not want independence. They want to be dependent on Germany or any other anti English allay. Fn crawling scumbags wanting to humiliate Scotland.

      Delete
    2. Glasgow Working Class 2February 10, 2017 at 2:00 AM

      Its aw richt wee man england will manage on its own its too big too rich and too clever for us, you don't need to worry Im sure they can cope without fash nat si jocko's holding it back

      Delete
  8. Glasgow Working Class 2February 9, 2017 at 11:49 PM

    Im not sure whether I am the 1st GWC2 or granny Ploppy or Fred Dibnah Steeeplejack Ive been having some mental health issues lately if I am one of you could you phone Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87 before the Nat sis come and take me away

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glasgow sons of Lodge Ploppy 1688.February 9, 2017 at 11:55 PM

      Have a good cup of English Tea and all will be well in yer heid fascist.

      Delete
    2. dont let Glasgow Working Class 2 get to you Glasgow sons of Lodge Ploppy 1688
      He tried to join the BNP but he was too hard for them then he joined ukip but he was too soft for them finally he joined the ruth harrison for a jackboot on your neck scotchland and it was just right and they all lived happily ever after Seig Heil

      Delete
    3. James would you stop wimps using my name

      Delete
    4. Glasgow Working Class 2February 10, 2017 at 12:43 AM

      same for me

      Delete
    5. George Fuchs Humanist and anti jock fascist.February 10, 2017 at 1:32 AM

      I tried to join the Jock Fash Nat si Party however they did not consider me braindead and a jobsworth crawler... l will apply for Lib Dem membership and failing that the German former NS lederhosen tartan Jock Nat sis who will protect wee manny the Jew.

      Delete
    6. Glasgow Working Class 2February 10, 2017 at 1:55 AM

      Welcommen George Fuch, you will fit right in with the Ruth Harrison defender of the yooniverse party we welcome all brain dead and jobsworth crawlers. the lib dems are like the waffen ss and are ok if you want nat si light but if you are really want the real deal the Red Tory kezia dugdale for the what ever you want today tomorrow and forever and mibbee change ma mind party could be the go for a real socialist like you.

      Delete
  9. On related matters, us appeals court rules 3 to 0 to uphold ban on trumps Muslim ban and ruled that they had " Beyond question" jurisdiction . trump threw tantrum.

    ReplyDelete
  10. James, your blogs are excellent and most informative - but the 'comments' section has now become somewhat surreal.

    This would give any 'new' reader completely the wrong idea about whether it was intended as a serious piece of work.

    Perhaps it might be better to not have a 'comments' section ( for a while, at least?) and just let the articles themselves speak. A great pity you have been chosen to have your blog belittled in this manner by idiots.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you think the comments here are loony, don't ever visit the Scotsman site.

      Delete
  11. Very amusing to hear the Scottish Tory spokesperson on constitutional affairs referring to the Scottish electorate as a rabble,at least presumably so when he accused the SNP of rabble rousing.
    Typical of the contempt Tories have for the people of Scotland.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Point of clarification, please -- is there legislation that specifically devolves agriculture policy (in so far as isn't pre-empted by the EU) to Scotland? Or is it that agrcultural policy is not specifically reserved to Westminster, and therefore by default is devolved to Scotland?
    Either way, no doubt Westminster will fight like a cat being medicated to take agriculture policy, post-Brexit, to its bosom -- if only for the sake of the 'Brexit dividend' -- return of the £350 m a week, or whatever it was.
    So a second point of clarification -- would this be covered by the so-called 'Great Repeal Bill' process? In other words, could Westminster simply say that everything that was done by EU legislation and policy, will in future be done by Westminster? Hence the obligations to the EU legislation and policy in the various Scotland Acts will simply be turned into obligations to UK legislation and policy? If so, it seems to me that agriculture policy would indeed then 'remain' with Westminster, unless it was specifically devolved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Frank, it's the latter - any power not specifically reserved is automatically devolved. Agriculture is not reserved and is therefore automatically devolved. It cannot 'remain' at Westminster because it is not there now. It would have to be taken back, and to do that would require a breach of the Sewel Convention, which prevents powers being taken back without a Legislative Consent Motion from Holyrood. There's no get-out clause here - yes, the UK govt could use the Great Repeal Bill or any other Bill to breach the convention, but it would undoubtedly be a breach however they do it. Agriculture is devolved. Full stop.

      Delete
    2. This is as I feared: formally and legalistically, you may be quite right -- but, practically and politically, if agriculture is just one of many issues which is redirected by the GRB from the EU to Westminister, it may be impossible to make a great rallying point for independence out of it. Not saying it shouldn't be; just suggesting it won't be.

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    3. No, it won't be redirected from the EU to Westminster. It'll be redirected from Holyrood to Westminster. Seriously : agriculture is devolved. That's not a technicality. It is devolved. The current devolution settlement will have to be ripped up to change that.

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    4. No point, I think, in arguing this backwards and forwards. Anyway, Iain Macwhirter's 3rd paragraph here:
      https://iainmacwhirter.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/as-the-brexit-cliff-edge-looms-scots-face-the-hardest-choice/ does it better than I can.
      So I'll just leave it with 'We shall see!': I'm sure you can agree to that......

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    5. Well, if Iain is arguing that's the current legal position, he would be wrong. I don't think that's what he means, though.

      Delete
  13. Poodle Theresa the TrumpetteFebruary 10, 2017 at 3:17 PM

    PublicPolicyPolling ‏@ppppolls 1 hour ago

    By 51/23 margin, Trump voters say the Bowling Green Massacre shows why his Executive Order on immigration is needed:

    ReplyDelete
  14. The con-trick that the unionists pulled on the referendum 2014 can work again,because so many want to believe even with evidence to prove otherwise.They are afraid to "go on their ain can" so used to "mummy taking the dig money and handing out pocket money" so scared to pack a bag and leave.They want it to be true and will believe it even when they get their noses "rubbed in it" if we manage to get the dam breached we will win our independence its convincing the folk that don't want responsibility for themselves but will put up with being abused and watching others being abused because "its not so bad really could be worse" so many phrases get used and it needs one to sink in and stir the blood and get them going.

    ReplyDelete
  15. It occurs to me that if we win indyref2, devolution of agriculture is irrelevant, and if we lose, most of us would be too far into despair to give a monkey's

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Living in a rural agricultural area, I cannot begin to imagine the despair if we lost.

      Many monkeys will be given, be assured of that!

      Delete
  16. Glasgow Working Class 2February 10, 2017 at 6:34 PM

    Wee Knickerless and the Fash shiting themselves tae go fur ra referendum. The EU Gestapo do not want us and who could blame them. The Nat si whit can we moan aboot today committee is redundant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trump's Golden Shower of KippersFebruary 10, 2017 at 6:53 PM

      RT @UKuncut: The new expenses scandal. Nigel Farage, Paul Nuttall and six other Ukip MEPs are under investigation.

      Delete
    2. Hey Glasgow quiz. Go tickle Theresa Man's big baggy eyes.

      Delete
    3. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha......

      Delete
  17. Poodle Theresa the TrumpetteFebruary 10, 2017 at 6:51 PM

    BuzzFeed UK ‏@BuzzFeedUK 4h

    These hospital staff are considering striking because a porter was fired for "stealing" a fried egg

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/patricksmith/these-hospital-staff-are-considering-striking-because-a-port …

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glasgow Working Class 2February 10, 2017 at 7:34 PM

      Think you'll find he was FRIED for stealing a well FIRED egg. Jock fash probably want these on free prescription paid by Anglo benefactors. Kipper-SLAB Alliance Faction needed in Jock Parly to stop nat si free fired egg prescriptions. NHS Scot kitchens at breaking point. Wake up north of Britainshire! Wake up!

      Delete
  18. "Apply," an odd sort of word on which to stake your political lives.

    You even have to apply to join reader's Digest. So why do the quislings use it to suggest refusal?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Get rid of Politician SpongersFebruary 10, 2017 at 11:17 PM

    Wee Joke Knickerless McFudd now in total disarray. Nae Kraut or Frog pals tae bail the Nat sis oot.
    Immediate cuts required in Jock MSP'S. Public services being cut while this talking shop fleeces the taxpayer.
    Rid Scotland of MSP spongers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Get rid of Politician SpongersFebruary 11, 2017 at 6:25 AM

      Jakie knickerless bailey is fond of sponges

      Delete
  20. Of course the very fact that Davidson would raise the issue of one Dept of Agriculture in Westminster shows the direction of travel with the Tory agenda. Powers are going to be removed, the bitter, and spineless, Westminster Lab contingent would go along with it. That's clear from their behaviour over SNP amendments.
    Slab won't put up more than a token resistance.
    If Scots don't show they are willing to resist by up porting the SNP and Independence in the polls, ToryLab Westminster has no reason not to remove powers as it wants, what would Scots do about it, having thrown away there biggest weapon?
    Groups can get together, wave their arms angrily, have Trade Union marches, but that's not political power where it counts, the Tories would respond, So what, and they would be correct in their assessment, we would have handed them right to ignore.

    ReplyDelete