Thursday, June 13, 2019

Welcome to Ruth Davidson's 674th position on the circumstances in which an independence referendum might be "allowed"

In a BBC Scotland interview yesterday, Glenn Campbell asked Ruth Davidson whether she was saying "no, never" to an independence referendum.  Scotland really does appear to be the only country in the 'democratic world' (sic) in which it even occurs to the state broadcaster to invite the defeated Leader of the Opposition to 'make an announcement' about what the elected leader of the government will be 'allowed' to do, or in which the said Leader of the Opposition presumes to make such an announcement.  Whether she does so with the blessing of her London overlords is less clear - if so, they are guilty of undermining devolution by blurring the distinction between the role of Tory opposition leader at devolved level and Tory Secretary of State for Scotland at UK level.  If not, our Ruth is a fantasist.  It could be a bit of both, of course.

What we have learned, though, and it's largely of academic interest only, is that Ruth has changed the 'rules' yet again, because the position she set out in response to Campbell's question flatly contradicted every previous pronouncement she's made on the subject, which themselves flatly contradicted each other.  For example, in the run-up to the 2011 election, she declared that the SNP wouldn't get a referendum "for free" and would have to "earn it", and went on to clearly state that the way they could earn it was by a combination of pro-independence parties winning an outright majority in the Scottish Parliament - exactly what happened in the end, albeit that probably came as something of a shock to her.  (She was absolutely explicit that the majority could be a joint SNP-Green majority, and didn't have to be the SNP alone, although it just so happened the SNP won a solo majority.)  In the period immediately after the EU referendum of 2016, when it wasn't yet clear whether Nicola Sturgeon intended to use her mandate for a second indyref, Ruth said it would be constitutionally wrong for the UK government to attempt to block a referendum if the elected SNP-Green majority in the Scottish Parliament voted in favour of one.  But after the Scottish Parliament duly passed such a vote, she did a 180 degree turn and insisted that Westminster should block a referendum under all circumstances.  Now she's rowed back on that extremist stance somewhat, but she hasn't reverted to her original position, because her new line is that there has to be another single-party SNP majority before the mandate can be respected - the opposite of her statement in 2011 that the required threshold was a combined SNP-Green outright majority.

In the run-up to the 2016 election, a number of us issued warnings about the misguided belief that it was possible to "vote tactically on the list".  We pointed out that if the SNP lost their overall majority because their own supporters switched to another pro-independence party on the list, the Tories and the media would seize on that, and claim there isn't really a mandate for an independence referendum.  But I don't think anyone who went down that road should be beating themselves up too much, because the reality is that election results don't matter a damn to Ruth.  If the SNP had won an overall majority, there would have been some other excuse.  The threshold would magically have become an outright SNP majority on the popular vote.  If there had been such a majority, then we'd have been told that Holyrood elections aren't actually important, and that if the SNP win a majority of the popular vote at Westminster, then maybe we can talk.

Democracy is a rules-based system.  Countries in which the powers-that-be change the 'rules' retrospectively after losing an election are generally held to be sham democracies.  We can only ponder why a mainstream media that claims to pride itself on "fearlessly holding power to account" never seems remotely interested in pinning Ruth down on her endless and frantic shifting of the goalposts on an independence referendum, and the implications of that farcical process for the state of UK "democracy".

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The two little surprises in this morning's Tory leadership ballot were the scale of Boris Johnson's lead, and the fact that Rory Stewart scraped into Round 2.  The most popular slice of wisdom about these contests is that the early frontrunner hardly ever wins (with the only recent exception being Michael Howard), but on this occasion I suspect we're all waiting for a twist in the tale that isn't going to arrive.  I don't see how Boris can be stopped, unless there's a new Gove-style revelation about his past (which admittedly is always a real possibility given the nature of the man).  But I do hope and pray that Tory MPs will at least preserve our sanity on Tuesday by sending Rory Stewart back to the Middleland tae think again.

Conservative Party leadership election (first ballot):

Boris Johnson 114
Jeremy Hunt 43
Michael Gove 37
Dominic Raab 27
Sajid Javid 23
Matt Hancock 20
Rory Stewart 19
Andrea Leadsom 11
Mark Harper 10
Esther McVey 9

Andrea Leadsom, Mark Harper and Esther McVey eliminated after failing to reach the 17-vote minimum threshold.

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2019 Scot Goes Pop Fundraiser: This is Day 14 of the fundraiser, and so far £6731 has been raised. That's 79% of the way towards the target figure of £8500. A million thanks to everyone who has donated so far, and I'm also extremely grateful to all the people who have left a kind comment with their donation. You can visit the fundraising page HERE.

31 comments:

  1. Fantasist and vacuous windbag.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Based on one of his tweets seems that both Trump and Boris have another similarity in that they both don't read/understand briefing papers; if trump did he would know that:
    The Royal family are not the Government &
    There is no Queen of England.

    This miss spelling of 'Wales' doesn't exactly look good either....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Boris, the man who refers to black people as 'piccaninnies with watermelon smiles'.

      Aye, that's our PM in waiting.

      Delete
    2. Robin of LocksleyJune 14, 2019 at 7:58 AM

      Purse.
      Cordelia and purses.

      Delete
  3. The briefers are not the Government and there is a Queen of England.

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    Replies
    1. I really, really hate to agree with GWC on anything, but she's right on the Royalty (who'd a thought it?)

      There is a Queen of England. She is also Queen of Scots, Queen of Canada, Queen of Australia, and possibly still Empress of India and Empress of some random pacific islands.

      Delete
    2. This is why we have a Duke of Cambridge & and an Earl of Strathearn.

      Delete
    3. There has not been a monarch of England or Scotland since 24rd March 1603, When James VI of Scotland became James of the United Kingdom.

      The Queens official title (in the UK)is "Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith".

      In the 15 other countries were she is monarch, there are various variations on her title. (ie Canada its "Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith)

      Scotish Skier is correct that in 2011 William was given the courtesy title of Early of Strathearn as well as Duke of Cambridge (and Baron Carrickfergus). The granting of such titles when a child of the monarch is not unusual, it is so that there spouse can also get a title - If William had not been given the titles then Kate would of been a plain old 'Mrs'. This is why Jack Brooksbank is has no title, Eugenie was not given any titles on her marriage.

      The only question I cannot find a answer to is why the Queen is 'Elizabeth II' she is the first monarch of the UK with the name Elizabeth so should just be Queen 'Elizabeth'

      Delete
    4. *when a child of the monarch gets married

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    5. Scotland doesn't have any Duke of Cambridge. We only have an Earl of Strathearn. The kingdom of England has a Duke of Cambridge I understand. It's major faux pas to mix up the naming in each kingdom.

      Noted that word 'United' by definition means there must be at least two entities involved, and that these are considered distinct, but united (temporarily). You might stick both flags on heraldry to show this if distinct countries/kingdoms were involved.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_coat_of_arms_of_the_United_Kingdom

      Lizzie is II because the Kingdom of England has had a Lizzie before. So, as Queen of England, she's Lizzie the second.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacCormick_v_Lord_Advocate

      Still a bit of an argument over it because of the two kingdom situations. If both had been wiped out to make truly a single one, there's not be such issues.

      Delete
    6. Serious question: when did they drop claim to France? Is that kinda included in " other territories" now as really no interest anyway? I know in the 30's and 40's it was included in oath.

      Delete
    7. 1801. Although the Queen is the Duke of Normandy in the Channel Islands

      Delete
    8. There is definitely no title of Queen of England. That title was discontinued hundreds of years ago.
      +

      Delete
    9. It's a load of Merrie England and Loyal Jock drivel. The sooner these fantasy titles are dropped into the wheelie bin of history, the better. They are meaningless tripe meant to impress ordinary people and keep them in their place. There are far more deserving subjects to take an interest in that actually concern the countries involved.

      Delete
  4. The idea that the front runner doesn't win is based on everybody who wants to vote for them actually doing so from the start and those who oppose them then uniting behind the last remaining candidate.

    It makes some sort of academic sense, but doesn't really work in the real world. Just like most political theories.

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  5. Will Boris replace Ruth as the Tory 'leader' in Scotland?

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    Replies
    1. He might do so simply out of his deep hatred for gay people. He's viciously denounced teaching children about same sex relationships and compared such marriages to bestiality.

      Delete
    2. Davidson leads nothing except her clutch of oddballs in Parliament. Theresa May was the leader of the Conservatives in Scotland. Davidson was her cheerleader.
      Rinse and repeat.

      Delete
  6. Robin of LocksleyJune 14, 2019 at 7:58 AM

    Purse.
    Cordelia and purses.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. (third time lucky):

    Boris in full flow:

    https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2019/06/boris-johnson-s-racist-insults-dog-whistles-and-slurs

    Misogynistic and viscerally homophobic as well as deeply 'White English are the most superior of all peoples' racist. There's a few in there that would make GWC blush.

    In terms of future history lessons, he's the ideal candidate for the PM that lead the corrupt remnants of the British empire to its final demise. He's basically a living personification of it; a true 'Prood Brit!'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robin of LocksleyJune 14, 2019 at 11:15 PM

      Purse.
      Cordelia and purses.

      Delete
  10. When I saw the number of votes it looked like their ages or mental ages in some cases.

    Some problem with your site as trying to post a comment comes up with a red notice in the browser 'not secure' on Google and doesn't allow you to post. So using an old browser.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I wonder if the Duke of Rothesay has ever bought fish and chips at Zavaroni's ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He gets a home delivery.

      Delete
    2. Robin of LocksleyJune 14, 2019 at 11:16 PM

      Purse.
      Cordelia and purses.

      Delete
  12. Replies
    1. Jings Crivens. BORIS for Prime Meenster.

      Delete
    2. Robin of LocksleyJune 15, 2019 at 9:03 AM

      Purse.
      Cordelia and purses.

      Delete