Wednesday, March 7, 2018

London's legal challenge to the Continuity Bill perfectly illustrates how "The Vow" was betrayed

Something suddenly crystallised in my mind the other day when I saw a tweet stating that the UK government were going to court in a bid to grab powers back from the Scottish Parliament.  Of course strictly speaking that isn't what's happening (or what's seemingly just about to happen) - the legal challenge to the Continuity Bill will be based on the technical argument that the Scottish Parliament doesn't currently have the legal right to depart from EU law, and won't have until the day after Britain leaves the European Union.  Theoretically, if the UK government win the challenge, all the Scottish government would have to do is wait until immediately after Brexit, and they would then be perfectly free to introduce exactly the same Continuity Bill without legal impediment.  But the snag, as we all know, is that by then Westminster's EU Withdrawal Bill will have been passed, and the Scottish Parliament will have been stripped of some of its current powers and thus will no longer be able to pass the Continuity Bill in its current form.  To all intents and purposes, then, the legal challenge may as well be a bid to destroy the devolution settlement, because if the Supreme Court doesn't uphold the Continuity Act, the Scottish Parliament will be left utterly defenceless in the face of a power-grab.  (The only remaining hope would be a blocking move in the House of Lords.)

And yet...do you remember something?  A major strand of the Smith process which followed on from "The Vow" in 2014 was about supposedly putting the Sewel Convention on a statutory footing.  The convention, among other things, forbids the UK government from removing powers from Holyrood without consent.  If that principle had been meaningfully written into law as promised, it would have been possible for the Scottish Government to go to the Supreme Court to block the power-grab.  Instead, the British government are somehow able to go to the Supreme Court in an attempt to effectively enable the power-grab.  It's utterly grotesque - and that's what betrayal looks like.

56 comments:

  1. On a technical point, I don’t like when people use the term ‘The Vow’ as if the politicians had used that term, it was just a term made up by the Daily Record’s editor. It was a promise by politicians, just like any other.

    I am optimistic though:

    The Scottish Parliament have more powers now than in 2014, and I believe will have more with Brexit on fisheries & agriculture, after all EU laws are handed back to the UK.

    Also, at least Scotland will have a bigger voice as 8% of the UK than it did as 1.2% of the EU.

    I see benefits & detriments to Brexit but we can make this work for every UK country - we have to.

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    1. Sigh. I've already pointed out to you (more than once, I think) that powers over fisheries and agriculture are not coming back to Scotland - they're being taken from Scotland back to Westminster. The Scottish Parliament will have fewer powers than it currently has.

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    2. Oh God, not again... Every time you see someone arguing that there will be positives of Brexit in Scotland, it's based on misinformation and delusion, it's alarming. Don't they understand anything?

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    3. We are currently without a voice in Westminster as they just try to ignore us. Leaving Europe we will lose our on the protection that brings them Scotland will be put back in its box.

      Its plain "head in sand" mentality thinking we will have a larger voice in Westminster after Brexit.

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    4. As 1.2% of the EU, Scotland can form coalitions with other countries to get what it wants some of the time. In the UK, Scotland and all the other smaller constituent nations are always, automatically, outvoted by England.

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    5. "The Vow" may have been a term made up by the DR but the leaders of the political parties had their names on it. If they did not consent to it they had adequate time before the indyref to denounce it. They did not, therefore they effectively were tacitly approving it. It was NOT delivered. It was a betrayal.

      WM is seeking to remove powers currently develoved. A power grab as it has been described. Why cant WM allow the develoved governments to keep the powers and then negotiate the frameworks? Answer, WM wants to sell out the UK to corporate interests and they know the devolved parliamemts will not agree. If they are not stopped there will be no NHS or SNHS, no food protection, no environmental protection, no citizens rights and no workers rights.

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    6. It's worrying that your arguments appear to be based on fundamental misunderstandings. It isn't difficult for people in the age of the internet to inform themselves. That's if they want to.

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    7. "On a technical point" when translated into English means "OK, you're right but I'll bore you with a few pedantic points like 'It is I who am at the door' is correct in Her Majesty The Queen's English." Thank you for agreeing with me.

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  2. The thing is David Mundell says the powers will go to Scotland, it’s just they have to go via the UK as that is the EU state that is leaving.

    It’s also in the UK’s interest to keep Scotland on board and it doesn’t want to lose Scotland.

    For those 2 reasons I think that’s what will happen after Brexit.

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    1. "The thing is David Mundell says..."

      I think I may have spotted the flaw in your argument.

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    2. Saying "They will go to Scotland" is not synonymous with "They will go to Holyrood". They can give them to the so-called Scotland Office in Edinburgh and claim they have 'kept their promise'. It is only in the UK's interest to keep Scotland on board if they can use Scotland's wealth as a bargaining chip. Westminster cannot do that if Holyrood controls it.

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    3. The way the Scotland Act is written Holyrood inherit those powers the minute the UK is no longer a member.

      Now this is where it gets hairy,

      Aspects of Scots Law are devolved. The only body empowered to change or repeal them is Holyrood. There is a time delay between Westminster passing legislation and it coming in to effect. During that time Holyrood can introduce and pass emergency legislation to cancel Westminster legislation. That includes those parts of the Scotland Act concerning devolution.

      Failing that the First Minister has two effective "vetoes"

      First, she can advise the Queen not to Assent. Which may or may not work. However it's worth doing to cause a constitutional crisis.

      The second is to refuse the use of the Great Seal without which no law can be enacted in Scotland.

      Remember the Sewel Convention mentions legislation. It doesn't mention enacting. Westminster can legislate to its hearts content. Making it stick is a different matter without removing the devolved power it's trying to access. Which includes removing that power.

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    4. What does The Scotland Office do & what’s it responsible for?

      How powerful is David Mundell as Scottish Secretary?

      Very interesting comments & views. The more I think of it the more a possible constitutional crisis will lead to complete constitutional reform of the UK.

      Federalism, symmetrical devolution - a bigger Scottish Parliament, an English Parliament with English first minister, home rule to all the UK nations etc?

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    5. Facts are chiels that winna ding.
      Better Scotland in EU where our voice is one among equals.
      UK= Greater England = #Overruled.
      = Scots Fishing expendable.
      End of Empire. Embrace the inevitable. Independence!

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    6. Look paddy we Scots are not lackies for the EU unlike the Irish who were scared into voting a multitude of times until the paddy ruling class got their way. Now go away and sing sad Irish songs.

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    7. GWC2, are you accusing the 62% of the Scottish electorate who voted to remain in the EU of being "lackies"?

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    8. Seems that way

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    9. Is this entry a bot ? It seems very very dim about life in general never mind Tories / Tories based in Scotland

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  3. I doubt that any of this nonsense will have any effect on the working classes or the price of milk. It is just the Nat sis in their utter desperation bumping their gums because we are leaving the EU Superstate... If someone could explain exacty what powers are being taken or given and how it will affect the people in their daily lives would be helpful to put this matter in perspective.

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    1. State of this.

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    2. Do try and string out a few sentences on the points I have made.
      State of this comment is your get out nat si bhoy. Up yer kilt.

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    3. If you really don't know what those powers are that Westminster wants to grab and how they affect 'the price of milk' or the quality of chicken or whether Scotland retains control of its own NHS then I suggest you go do some research because no one here has enough respect for you to take the time to educate you.

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    4. It won't be educated. Like any good bot, its responses are limited. I don't think it's a bot; just ignorant enough to resemble one.

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    5. It is because you do not know... Your Nat si lies and propoganda has no boundaries...In any case you EU crawlers do not want any powers....Up yer skid box.

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    6. State of this.

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    7. There's nothing wrong with the working class of Glasgow that a good cull or a good clearance wouldn't solve.

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    8. There's no need for that sort of bile here. Knock it off.

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  4. It's England's Union,they can do what they like with it,or so they think.

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    1. Its there union and i'll cry if i want too. Because i'm a nat si tow ri lover. You jokes are a jock!

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    2. State of this.

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  5. Well said JR

    Numpty is too kind a word

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  6. If WM is using the legal argument which you quote James then I think it will loose. a) Mike Russell isnae daft, he saw that one coming in his first draft of the Holyrood bill. I'm sure even the Holyrood Tories questioned that very point in committee & he saw them off there. Maybe they didn't understand the answer or just want to be helpful... No, I don't believe that either...!

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    1. Britnatsis always out to destroy peaceful people and steal from them.A British Nationalist is of the National Socialist type a true Nazi.

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    2. FUCK OFF JOCKS!

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    3. Fucking Coward Name yourself or are you a total Dick like that other Coward Glasgow Working Arse!

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    4. Dibble your jibjobs, ya jock wallys. We got you now!! He he

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    5. State of this.

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  7. We wait but we already know the outcome the greed of Westminster will always come to the fore.

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  8. I wonder - do we (the Scottish Government, I suppose that means) have a plan for an immediate declaration of independence if Westminster passes that Great Repeal Bill, or whatever you want to call it, in its current offensive form? With all due forewarning to the Westminster regime, of course. We all know that if we give an inch, they will take a mile - Scotland cannot afford to allow its democracy to be hamstrung by Westminster, whose word cannot be trusted. Ever.

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  9. It wouldn’t be recognised by the UK or the UN, so it’d be a bit like Catalonia, a situation nobody wants.

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    1. Speak for yourself. I'm gagging for it.

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    2. State of this.

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    3. FUCK OFF JOCKS!

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    4. State of this.

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    5. State of this.

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  10. The YOONS are out on force here today mind you they are nothing but little Girl hitters Total COWARDS The lot of them!

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    1. There are some real touches of class, right enough. I don't let their juvenile rants rile me; a quick dismissal is enough. Hence, the use of "state of this".

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    2. It's a shame that a really informative site like this has been hijacked. However, it's perfectly easy to ignore the drivel. Don't read it.

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    3. Yes hijacked by Nat si knobs like you.

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    4. Hence there will be a referendum sometime but not now or immediately just sometime. Poor Nat sis on the run.
      Herr Klaus Buchner German MEP And EU Foreign Spokesman uses the alleged Russian Nerve Gas attack in Salisbury as an excuse to attack Brexit. Says we all need to stand together against the Russians who are guilty until proven innocent.

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    5. Please can everyone calm down & treat each other with more respect. All these insults and offensive language do not do anymore any benefit.

      People presumably are on this site because 1) it has excellent thought-provoking content and 2) it attracts intelligent people with interest in politics.

      Please show Scot Goes Pop more respect.

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    6. Nat sis do not treat anyone who oppose their parochial Jocko mindset as intelligent however the Nat sis are bigoted anti English rascists and you have to feel sorry for them like you would the German people post 1933!

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    7. State of this.

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  11. I am pretty sure the Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction over laws passed in Hollyrood. They can advise on flaws in the legislation but have no power to correct. This legislation could end the Union, indirectly, without the need for another referendum. As Mrs Thatcher said Scotland does not need a referendum only a majority of SNP MPs in Westminster.

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    1. A majority of Nat si MP'S in Westminster is not practically possible unless the Nat sis stand in all British Parliamentary seats.

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    2. State of this.

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