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.
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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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