Thursday, May 31, 2018

This barefaced hypocrisy from Ruth Davidson cannot be allowed to stand. Not this time.

I've always thought that equal marriage and abortion law in Northern Ireland are the ultimate tests of how committed you really are to devolution.  You may think you believe that any Westminster interference in devolved matters is abhorrent, but if you find yourself saying "well, obviously abortion in Northern Ireland is different", then no, actually, you don't.  In Northern Ireland, abortion law and the ban on same-sex marriage are devolved matters, just like any other devolved matter.  That doesn't mean you can't have a view on whether there should be a change in the law, but it does mean that the focus for any agitation should be the Northern Ireland Assembly, not Westminster.  Changing the minds of the DUP may seem a hopeless task, but they have a mandate just as the SNP do in Scotland, and the Tories do in England.  If you believe in devolution, winning the argument in the Assembly is the only game in town, and appealing to Westminster for an overrule isn't an option.

(The current suspension of the Assembly doesn't change that calculation for the time being, because as of yet direct rule hasn't been reimposed and Northern Ireland is being run by its own civil service in the theoretical expectation that the Assembly will soon be sitting again.)

That being the case, it would - in normal circumstances - be impossible to fault Ruth Davidson's logic in these comments to the FT...

"If I was a politician in NI I would absolutely 100 % vote to change the law. But as someone who operates in a devolved administration I know how angry I would be if the House of Commons legislated on a domestic Scottish issue over the head of Holyrood"

The snag, of course, is that Westminster is currently in the process, for the first time in the nineteen-year history of devolution, of legislating on multiple devolved Scottish issues in defiance of a specific decision by the Scottish Parliament to withhold consent (or "going over the head of Holyrood" to put it more snappily).  It is doing so with Ruth Davidson's full-blooded support.  I can only say it is staggering that the FT didn't instantly notice this barefaced hypocrisy and challenge her on it.  The fact that they didn't betrays the mindset of the entire London establishment.  It's somehow instinctively understood that the constitutional conventions that make devolution work are optional (and really rather tiresome) when the SNP insist they must be upheld, but magically become set in stone if the subject in dispute is important to the DUP.

Ruth Davidson can't be forced to abandon her opposition to the current devolution settlement and to the Sewel Convention.  But what she can and must be forced to do is choose.  If she believes that Westminster has the right to disregard the Sewel Convention and overrule the Scottish Parliament on the huge range of devolved matters affected by the EU Withdrawal Bill, she must by definition also believe it has the right to overrule the suspended Northern Ireland Assembly on abortion law and marriage equality.  So which is it to be, Ruth?  And is there any chance of our hopeless media getting its act together and actually asking her that question?

*  *  *

You won't be surprised to hear that I agree with Paul Kavanagh's verdict in The National that Nicola Sturgeon should make clear that "now is not the time" is simply not an acceptable answer, and that the Scottish Government will proceed with seeking a mandate for independence even if a Section 30 order is refused.  However, I do take issue with him on a couple of things.  Firstly, the point of seeking a Section 30 order is not to make a referendum "legally binding".  The 2014 referendum was actually not legally binding - a Yes vote would not have automatically triggered independence.  A better way of putting it is that the Section 30 order made the 2014 vote "politically binding" - it would have been unthinkable for Westminster not to legislate for independence in the event of a Yes vote.

Because of that, Paul believes the likely absence of a Section 30 order means an outright mandate for independence should be sought at the next Holyrood election, and not by means of a consultative referendum.  He thinks that any referendum held without a Section 30 order will be boycotted by the unionist side and would therefore be pointless, because it would be impossible to achieve a high enough turnout to make any Yes victory credible.  I'm not so sure about that.  If, for example, any Referendum Bill survives a legal challenge in the Supreme Court, it will very publicly become recognised as the law of the land, making a boycott that bit harder to justify.  I also feel that a Yes victory in a boycotted vote would be a lot more use to us than is widely understood at the moment.  It would mean that the anti-independence mandate of September 2014 is no longer definitive or unchallenged.  By all means, if the Supreme Court strikes down a Referendum Bill we should then use the next Holyrood election to seek an outright independence mandate, but I struggle to see the harm in pursuing a consultative referendum first.

Apart from anything else, it would give the UK government the dilemma of whether to mount a legal challenge.  It wouldn't have dared to do that in 2012 or 2013.  But it may well do in 2019, because it has come to believe there is never a price to be paid for playing to the British nationalist gallery and trampling on Scotland's democratic rights.  There's going to come a point where there will be a heavy price, and this could well be that moment.

*  *  *

A pub quiz question for you - which part of Denmark is geographically much closer to Scotland than it is to any other part of Denmark?  Here's a video from the brilliant Phantom Power while you're thinking about that one...

129 comments:

  1. Expecting consistency, logic, honesty or integrity from Ruth Davidson is pretty much a waste of time. I think it has now got to the stage where she enjoys winding people up, because she thinks she has the escape hatch to a safe seat in England.

    I wouldn't be too sure of that. If the Tory Party in England hold her in great esteem (I don't know whether they do), I can't see Jacob Rees Mogg welcoming Davidson with open arms to stand as leader which is what he wants. And what Johnston wants. And who knows who else. Last time round it was the local association who wanted nothing to do with a Scottish "oik" as their MP, although things might have changed with her media exposure.

    If she isn't welcomed in England, and if she is as contemptuous of constituents as is often reported, I can see her back as a list MSP with her future wel behind her.

    Inspiring film about Faroe, by the way.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think whist the Parliament isn't sitting, it should be direct rule, applying UK law in the meantime should be the carrot / stick required to get them working again

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That makes a lot of sense. How can devolution be in effect if there is in fact no NI parliament?

      Delete
    2. It is an Assembly do keep up Tomlin.

      Delete
    3. A good idea. If the NI assembly has no executive, impose laws from Westminster. I hope no MLAs are being paid a salary.

      Delete
    4. They're all still being paid.

      Delete
    5. That's a disgrace. Stop their money and they won't be long forming the Assembly again.

      Delete
    6. What would you know about it, you pyschotic spanner? You should be in a mental home.

      Delete
  3. I feel another snap GE coming on.
    For the Tories,getting the DUP away from the leavers of power will allow them to ditch NI and get on with their main business of trade deals with Europe.
    Otherwise,probably no deal.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "If I was a politician in NI I would absolutely 100 % vote to change the law. But as someone who operates in a devolved administration I know how angry I would be if the House of Commons legislated on a domestic Scottish issue over the head of Holyrood"

    This is a wonderful example of lying with the truth. She *does* know how angry she'd be: Not very.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Am I crazy....I'm wondering if some Tories might actually prefer to lose an election and let Labour deal with the delights of brexit ....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Boris the Bold Future PMJune 1, 2018 at 1:03 AM

      Yer aff yer heid, Brexit will be negotiated by the Westminster Government...

      Delete
    2. There will always be 20 shillings to the pound.

      Delete
  6. Devolved matters should be devolved matters but NI should have a proper assembly/Parliament not a mandatory power-sharing one. Majority rules just like Wales and Scotland. England should get a devolved assembly too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. England doesn't need or want an English parliament.
      English MP's through Westminster have full control of the English economy. Scotland, Outnumbered and overruled cannot be expected to match England.
      Transferring full powers to Holyrood will only happen when we back full statehood.
      Bring on that great day.

      Delete
    2. Actually polls suggest the majority of English do want a devolved English Parliament and not to be rules directly by the UK.

      The Conservatives, like in 2010, have a majority in England but not in the UK.

      We need 4 the four countries of the UK to have symmetrical federal devolution - I’d argue this is what the majority in Scotland and the UK want - compromise.

      Delete
    3. While that might have been true 10-20 years ago, I doubt that it's still the case today.

      Delete
  7. Remember folks, Brexit is only for the little people: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/may/31/brexiter-nigel-lawson-applies-french-residency-vote-leave

    ReplyDelete
  8. Life and parenthood begin at conception. The time of choice is before the conception takes place, after that motherhood and fatherhood are eternal reaities with logical consequences and responsibilities. Abortion is not a contraceptive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's your belief. Allow the rest of us to have our own.

      Delete
    2. Mr Morris

      What an incredibly insensitive and ignorant comment. Get back to the 16th century with you...

      Delete
    3. Really James?

      Do you consider amoebas to be alive? Or viruses?

      Care to provide a definition of "alive" that supports your assertion? Not just more assertions, an actual, disprovable definition.

      If you don't, then you're just pissing into the wind.

      Delete
    4. That's fine, you do that when you get pregnant. Let the rest of the people decide for themselves.

      Delete
    5. So what. From what I hear yor a raging ladyboy. You won't be making any female's pregnant anytime soon. Jocko pansy boy.

      Delete
  9. I can't see WM agreeing to a section 30 - the polls are still in favour of NO but are now far too close for comfort and a proper campaign has yet to begin. Cameron had the comfort of a 25 point lead for NO when he signed the Edinburgh Agreement. They came within 6 points of losing and breaking up the UK.

    I rather like the idea of the SG throwing down the gauntlet and daring WM to either challenge a consultative referendum, or encourage the BritNats to boycott it. Either way, the momentum towards independence would hardly be dented. It would actually be boosted. Yep, WM would be in quite a pickle again - another no-win situation. Bring it on. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Davidson is a traitor to Scotland. The British nationalist media loves her for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's be kind and say that Davidson apparently manages to believe a number of mutually incompatible things all at the same time, but even if she's not psychologically aware that what she's saying is illogical and unsustainable, past experience does suggest that it's far more likely that she was coming out with yet another flat-out lie by an opportunistic, dishonest politician with no principles other than self-interest.

      Delete
  11. Replies
    1. No. It's f*cking Alison Moyet. Great a grip you tartan haggis muncher

      Delete
    2. What does having sex with an English singer have to do with Denmark's geography?

      Delete
    3. Please don't engage directly with it. Otherwise, we'll never get it housebroken...

      Delete
  12. We'll have it housebroken in no time.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Breaking and entering. As the bishop said to the choirboy. Blame it on the moonlight.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Incidentally, does anyone else find its obsession with child abuse somewhat nauseating?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes actually, now that you mention it...

      Delete
    2. Ladyboy love puppet.

      Delete
  15. It really doesn't like having its frankly worrying obsessions called into question. I must remember that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do that and weep. Now lick your lolly and go.

      Delete
  16. It does appear to struggle with even basic human contact. It seems like a deep-seated issue. Would anyone like to speculate on the probable causes?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Denial of deep-seated gender dysphoria?

      Delete
    2. Ponce. Fancy words. Snooty fairy.

      Delete
  17. Deep-seated psychological issues. Freud would have had a field day with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go and pluck yorself out of yor cave you jockistani tit.

      Delete
  18. Jockistani pillow biter. Munch that mattress after you lift your shirt. Nickerless fannies.

    ReplyDelete
  19. James, Are there no opinion polls out.
    Seems a while since either a Scottish or UK wide poll.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe a number have been commissioned but not released due to their findings. Maybe James would have info on this?

      Delete
    2. Ooooh maybe James would have info on this.

      Delete
    3. It has been a very long time now. I need my monthly fix! I’ll have to start making up my own figures to plug into the UK & Scots parliament precdiction sites!

      Delete
    4. The only plug yor going to get, mate! Heroine fix I suppose - typical jockistani. Been on Jezza Kyle yet?

      Delete
  20. It doesn't take any effort to provoke it. I will need to remember that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you'd of had the brain power, you could of tried. Tossa!

      Delete
  21. Thanks for the link to the Phantom Power / Lesley Riddoch collaboration. May I too ask you for any reason that there seems to be no opinion polls? It seems a tad weird.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Resely Liddoch Scots Grey Heided Jock SupremistJune 4, 2018 at 10:51 PM

      You are a tad daft.

      Delete
  22. Duke of CumberlandJune 4, 2018 at 10:41 PM

    Scotsmen are so impotent with alcohol intake that they invite the English to shag their wives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thunder thighs McGintyJune 4, 2018 at 11:30 PM

      That's a lovely thought. Thank you for sharing.

      Delete
  23. Its better doggy style, nothing worse than an alky Scotsman breathing on you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nickerless Dungeon loves that. Come on you laaaads!

      Delete
  24. Tartan Jock Tories support the Blue Tories in devastating communities in Heathrow area.
    Love those socialists!

    ReplyDelete
  25. It grows less coherent and more enraged by the day if we don't engage with it directly.
    I must remember that for later use.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jockistani tartan tit and yor nat si fash fannies. Go on and give Pope Adolf Hitler a bum job. Nickerless old hag.

      Delete
  26. Given the state of its obsessions revealed by its howls of impotent rage, it must have an inner life that would have made Pasolini blush.
    I'll bear that in mind.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Seems I am popular with you fascists. Just back from holiday and you nat sis are posting for me. Danke Bitte up yer lederhosen ya crawlers. Remember to use the special Thorpe vaseline and condoms ya bum bhoys.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christine Glurt is innocent. Free Christine Glurt!

      Delete
  28. The subject is an absolute gold mine from a Freudian perspective. This has become effortless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did anyone notice any difference during this supposed absence?

      Delete
    2. The holiday must have lasted around 20 minutes. Normal people call it a snooze.

      Delete
    3. It doesn't rest. This is why it escapes whatever deep-seated trauma gnaws at it during the night by posting on here until all hours, whether anyone responds or not.

      Delete
    4. Seems I am still popular with you right wing Nat sis. Nat si Pete Wishart rises in the Commons and in a traditional Nat si fashion moans. The Leader stands up and welcomes him as the longest serving Nat si in the Commons and says he must like Westminster. 17 years × by around 60k per annum. We Pete disnae want Independence.

      Delete
  29. Such deep-seated rage is likely to stem from serious trauma which remains to be resolved.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Your deep seated hatred of the English and selling out Scotland to Brussels is apparent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SWC - Swift. Witty. Chirpy.

      I'm swift witty and chirpy. My name is Nifty and I dance and dance and dance. I lose myself in my dance.

      Delete
  31. Bare. Face. Stand. Ruth Davidson. Stand. Bare. Stand. Face. Bare. Man.

    Phwoaar! In there! Grunt!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I feel nippy and zippy and thrayd. Cruntick with a jolly padahastick have.

    Take it up the rear, Jocko bishop. State a gut!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  33. It's finally had a full-blown meltdown. That's slightly amusing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sick a yor dots. Dolly Dot.

      Delete
    2. Hoy Dolly Dot. You need to start wearing age and gender appropraite clothes.

      Delete
    3. I think Dolly Dot's trying it on with me. She got the hot's for me.

      Delete
    4. Gagging for me. Dolly's my Jolly Molly with a funny fanny.

      Delete
    5. Dolly's frothing for me. She's going like a soda stream

      Delete
    6. F*CK sake Dolly's so wet she'll start a flood. She want's my diddly pop but I don't do whiffy Jocko's.

      Delete
    7. Dolly Dot's itchee fannee.

      Delete
    8. Dolly wants my jolly lolly.

      Delete
    9. The clapped out old arseflake. Madge likes a bit of twadge. Like yor fash fan's. Twats'.

      Delete
    10. Dolly's fantasizing about me. But I I hear she take's it in ooollaallaa, so no thank's deary.

      Delete
    11. Rancid munter. Stench like a drain off her batcave. Remind's me of a brothle in Calcutter. Gag.

      Delete
    12. Dolly 's dotting at me again. 3 dot's mean's - gimme a go on yor Sheesh kebab.

      Delete
    13. Dolly's got her gob full. To busy to dot.

      Delete
    14. 3 dot's. Open up Dolly. Sheesh kebab heading yor way.

      Delete