As you probably know by now, the Scottish Parliament voted at 5pm today to deny legislative consent for Westminster's EU Withdrawal Bill, and did so by a thumping 93 to 30 margin. It would be an unprecedented breach of the Sewel Convention for the UK government to proceed without consent, but that is apparently what they are minded to do. So we're now into uncharted waters twice over - not only are we heading towards the first clear breach of the Sewel Convention, but we're also awaiting a date in the Supreme Court as the UK government makes its first ever attempt to have legislation of the elected Scottish Parliament struck down by judges.
It's probably fair to say that you wouldn't quite have a full appreciation of the significance of these events if you've been relying on the "analysis" of the BBC's Scotland Editor Sarah Smith, which has been embedded into the main online BBC article on the subject. According to her, this won't actually be the first overruling of the Scottish Parliament by Westminster - it supposedly happened last year when Theresa May said no to an independence referendum, and nobody cared then, and nobody will care now.
Just a few snags with that -
1) It's a fictionalised version of what happened last year. Nobody has a clue whether Theresa May would have got away with saying "no" to an independence referendum, because she didn't say "no" to a request that was actually pressed. She was given respite by Nicola Sturgeon's voluntary decision to put the request on hold for a year or so. The day of reckoning is yet to come, but perhaps isn't too far off.
2) It's an utterly bogus and irrelevant comparison anyway. It is not within the devolved competence of Holyrood to require Westminster to pass a Section 30 order, so the "now is not the time" schtick (as outrageous and undemocratic as it was) did not represent a breach of the Sewel Convention or of the devolution settlement. The current plans to transfer powers from Edinburgh back to London without consent most certainly do.
3) How dare a BBC editor tell her viewers what they care about and what they don't care about? That's pure propaganda, and is exactly the sort of thing a Tory spin doctor would say - "the people of Scotland don't care about this, they want Nicola Sturgeon to get on with the day job, etc, etc". By contrast, and not unreasonably, the SNP line is that of course the people of Scotland care about protecting the devolution settlement they voted for so emphatically in the referendum of 1997. What business is it of a BBC editor to adjudicate for herself, on the basis of no supporting evidence that I'm aware of, that the Tory spin is factual and the SNP perspective is not? (Especially given that any alleged public apathy has been cultivated by the BBC burying its own coverage of the power-grab wherever humanly possible.)
It's particularly ironic to recall that Sarah Smith is the daughter of the late John Smith - the man who popularised the view that devolution is the "settled will" of the Scottish people. I wonder what he would have made of his daughter's notion that people don't actually care about their own settled will.