The dingin doun o devolution
I laith politics. The leeing, the fechting, the pyntless Twitter tulzies. It’s no for me. But pairt o bein a guid cítizen is keepin ae ee, at least some o the time, on what’s gaun on in the seat(s) o pouer. History shaws that politícians canna be trustit and needs tae be hauden tae accoont.
It’s in this spírit that I’d like tae scrieve a bit anent the UK government’s ‘Internal Market Bill’, that’s gaun throu the Hoose o Lords the nou, and what it means for Scotland efter Brexit proper haes taen place.
The ol;dr1 is that this bill should concern us a hale lot.
Section 5, in partícular, staunds oot. Unner the heiding “Power to provide financial assistance for economic development etc.” it maks mention, braid oot, o a nummer o hame-rule maiters: watter, sewerage — Scottish Watter haes owerance o baith o thir — health, education, coort and preson facilities, and hoosing. Hell, that’s juist aboot the hale jingbang. What it’s sayin is that the UK government will can spend siller in ony o thae areas, hithertil in the can o the Scots Pairlament its lane. And money is pouer.
What micht this mean in reality? Weel, for an instance, it wad shuirly mean the UK government could, gin it wantit, gae aboot settin up a ‘mercat’ for private watter firms tae play a pairt in owerseein Scotland’s watter supply, like they hae doun sooth, na? Or thinkin on the coorts and presons: what dis it mean for oor justice system? New jyles ran frae ‘Queen Elizabeth House’?
In short this law gies the UK government carte blanche tae gae ower the heid o oor ain pairlament and write laws for us as it pleases. Fowk will nae dout hae heard aboot it as the ‘Westminster power grab’, but will they decairt it as juist anither SNP girn? I jalouse the’r fowk like mysel that by defaut disna believe a wird politícians says. In this case, houiver, we should tak tent. I wunner hou mony fowk kens aboot the oots and ins o the bill? I dinna watch or listen tae it mysel, but appearently the BBC is daein a gey puir job o makkin fowk awaur o the extent o this bill’s scowth.
And for onyane that thinks the UK government wadna daur breinge in and write laws anent ony hame-rule maiters, I’d hummly say that, weel, I wadna be sae shuir. It’s naething really in the grand scheme o things, but we’v awready seen at least ae recent example o the UK government stickin its neb intae devolved maiters. Ye micht hae seen the TV adverts anent Covid-19 that’s co-brandit as ‘UK Government’ and ‘NHS’ (“Hands; face; space.”) What’s that aw aboot? I think Scots awready ken fine hou tae protect theirsels frae the corona smit wi’oot sic propaganda. It’s been plain as parritch for a while that the Brítish government haes been ettlin at pentin us wi a big braid brush o Brítishness, and I dout this effort will haud gaun efter Brexit.
Here the thing. The’r niver been mair fowk in favours o independence than there is the nou. An unthirlt Scotland wad — in the minds o the Brítish estaiblishment, at least — cause great skaith in terms o prestige and warld pouer, no tae mention siller and natural resoorces. Dingin doun Scotland’s pouers (mebbe even the Pairlament itsel) micht gar Scots beal and push mair and mair o us in the airt o independence, but the UK government likely thinks — oot o arrogance and ignorance — that its best bet is tae dae what it can tae keep ‘the Jocks’, as Boris likes tae cry us, in their place. I canna say they’ll win throu wi it, but for thaim amang us — a healthy majority, I dout — that believes in democracy for Scotland, I think we’r richt tae be wirried.
What can we dae aboot it? Vote in neist year’s Holyruid elections, for a stert. That’s the best wey tae send a stieve message that we care aboot whaur oor democracy is made. At the hinder end, tho — and mebbe some fowk disna like tae hear it — oor only real howp o bein able tae chairt oor ain gate forrit is tae be a normal, self-governing nation. I howp we get tae mak that choice afore lang.