The runt of colonialism that lied and cheated us out of the plebiscite is in heat again.
The first UK parliament committee has met to discuss ways of blocking Scotland from ever regaining full sovereignty. Listening to the first fifteen minutes is all you need for vomit to rise to your throat. Who are these self-appointed butchers of democracy?
Here is the video:
If readers keen to see self-determination restored to Scotland are hoping for a second referendum unimpeded they should be very worried. It was inevitable a group of far Right ideologues would get together to compose some sort of ‘friendly’ scheme on the basis they won the Referendum with a precarious margin. And so it comes to pass.
But of course, being an English concoction, it is wrapped up in the most caring, genteel good manners, offered with concern for those it affects. It comes laden with ‘balance’, camouflaged in the crocodile tears of ‘let’s be fair to all the nations and provinces’. You could describe it fairly as, a federal structure for everybody.
The wary will sense immediately anything marked ‘Federal Express’ is an attempt to block Scotland’s independence permanently. When the package gets delivered the contents will be broken into pieces, tossed around Westminster and the Lords.
Hating the democratic process
Salmond is forever castigated by the opponents of democracy for saying a plebiscite on independence is a once in a lifetime opportunity. (No general tells his troops, if they don’t feel like fighting they can do it another day. He tells them now is the hour.) For many patriots who died soon after our first plebiscite in 300 years, it was the only opportunity they were given.
Being serial liars ever ready to tell the natives they are not worthy, colonialists lift from his comment what they want and ignore the rest. He made plain in an interview with Channel Four’s Jon Snow, it was his opinion, not that of the Scottish government.
What complicates the issue, and what neo-colonialists always throw back at you while they deftly alter one significant word, is the statement on page 1 of the White Paper:
“If we vote ‘No’ Scotland stands still. A once in a generation opportunity to follow a different path, and choose a new and better direction for our nation, is lost.”
That is always attributed to Salmond, but it isn’t his words. The statement is not included in his personally penned preface to the book. Salmon made clear later he was referring to a political generation – five years, the usual term of a parliament. He has a point. If you lose an election there’s always another in a few years time. Of course, you wouldn’t dare remind a defeated political party in a Westminster election that having tried and lost, they should give up there and then and go home, tail between their legs.
For my part, I regard a generation to be a decade. (Biologists tell us our metabolism renews itself every seven to ten years, every bone, blood cell, and skin follicle – shame that doesn’t include a Tory’s brains. They remain pickled in formaldehyde.) There’s no rule that says a plebiscite cannot be repeated within that time span. And knowing the callous, devious nature of the colonial mentality, we’d better have a second in double-quick time before the chances are ruled out by UK parliamentary law.
The bitches who tried to derail Scotland’s hegemony are in heat again. They hope to design and get implemented a federal mishmash to stop progress and block civil liberties.
And the proponents are…?
The man leading the charge for a federal system appears to have chosen himself as frontman, Professor Philip Booth. No one will own up to who is paying for his valuable time. Just as no one is open about who is paying for his flaky think tank – and why. They are funded by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, the same that has given the discredited Alistair Carmichael £50,000 towards his court fees.
Who is Philip Booth?
He an economics professor working for a third-rate university, to be exact before anybody supposes an economist must be, ipso facto, a Nobel laureate, he’s Professor of Finance, Public Policy and Ethics at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, a Catholic institution. (To me, ethics and Catholicism are mutually exclusive. But that’s another argument.) His main area of ‘expertise’ is ‘financial regulation’, just the sort of hubristic departure point an Englishman will think perfect to tell Scotland how it should be run as a nation.
He has not always luxuriated in the scholarly image of an academic. For most of his early career he was working in Axa Equity and Law, and then the Bank of England. What connection has he to Scottish life and culture that qualifies him to reorganise its democratic constitution is unknown. Does an Englishman need a connection to Scotland when he thinks the noblest prospect is the high road to London?
The dark side of Booth
His other handle is Editorial and Programme Director at the think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs – IEA. (I should set up my own one day and call it, The Institute of Phony Think Tanks.) The think tank is quite as you suspect, a right-wing talk shop on developing free market principles, and neo-liberal dogma.
Its latest publication calls on the privatisation of the BBC. Murdoch will be pleased. In a sentence, Booth thinks free markets will solve the world’s problems, and individual poverty. He’s arch neo-con Milton Friedman’s best fan.
Being a neo-con doesn’t mean you’re not a nice guy
Booth’s sympathy for the loss of over 11,000 BHS jobs, their livelihood stolen by venal, crooked owners is, “BHS collapse is sad, but market forces should be celebrated.”
He also said tax havens are good. “Let’s make Britain one.” (That’s ‘Britain’ as in ‘England’.) And another thing he said, “The problem isn’t that companies pay too little tax, they pay too much.” Does he include those paying no tax at all, and profit in billions?
What is the latest right-wing Messiah saying?
In a sentence, Booth argues that a fully federal system is needed in the United Kingdom to avoid the “constitutional instability” caused by the new Scotland Act and English votes for English laws. You get a sense he added ‘English laws’ as a false comfort to Scots, a diversion from his real agenda.
No one has argued that the Scotland Act, passed and endorsed by Westminster, is a cause of political instability, it’s hardly had time to be enacted let alone cause upset and fiscal anarchy. Booth is a proselytizer and propagandist. It’s clear he detests a second run at an independence referendum. He looks for a way to block it.
Nobody’s satisfied, least of all Unionists
In a speech in Edinburgh, Booth said: “The Scotland Act and English Votes for English Laws will lead to an unstable constitutional position for both Scotland and the rest of the UK. Ultimately it will satisfy nobody.” (That’s the caring sharing bit over.) “Furthermore, the devolution of tax-raising powers is opaque and accountability of the Scottish government to the Scottish people will be weak.”
Booth has decided a parliament accountable to the people of Scotland – his racist sensibility gets that one the wrong way around from the get go – isn’t really accountable to voters. If he means by the powers reserved in Westminster Scotland can’t be fully accountable he doesn’t say.
Here’s the stinger
Booth adds “We need a fully federal system with power being exercised by the UK government only in areas such as defence and border control. Other issues would then clearly be the responsibility of the individual nations within the UK. Accountability would be very clear and the settlement stable.”
No need to do your own thinking, dear readers, Booth does it for you. You will feel secure and happy in a world he and his fellow federalists create for you.
Actually, it’s decidedly odd a man obsessed with free market domination of everything has nothing to say on how markets will be altered by a group of federal states. Which one, I wonder, will get the biggest share of goods and services to sell? Surely Scotland – the one with the longest coast line. I’m being frivolous.
Who is Scotland’s new enemy?
The enemy within is the Constitutional Reform Group – CRG. Booth’s remarks come as the campaign group gears up for a summer launch to create a new Act of Union to change the UK into a federal structure, where each of the four parts control all power, but then decide to give power back to the centre at Whitehall and Westminster.
Under this artificial, top down imposed arrangement, Booth proposes the House of Commons would become the parliament for England, while the House of Lords would become the federal parliament with members drawn from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
That presupposes most Lords there now will get tossed out on the ermined necks. The expectation would be that the federal parliament would oversee defence and foreign policy as well as general taxation, from the perspective of London. How convenient.
They cannot be serious?!
A draft bill is currently being drawn up with the campaign launch. If the legislation were ever to pass successfully through Westminster, it would, before getting royal assent, be put to people in a referendum.
Each of the four parts of the UK must back the proposal or it falls. At least, that’s what we are told at this stage.
Call the Ulster Loyalists for reinforcement
David Burnside, the former Northern Irish MP, a top blowhard in the CRG, believes creating a new Act of Union is “the only way to stop the drive towards Scottish independence” by creating a federal system. [My emphasis.] Well, he’s speaks honestly.
He says the group, which includes well known ‘friends’ of Scotland, peers like Lord Campbell, the former Liberal Democrat leader, Lord Salisbury, the ex-Tory leader of the Lords, and Peter Hain, the former Labour Northern Ireland Secretary, has a “window of opportunity” of a few years “before the SNP leadership seeks another independence referendum.” Ah, the old plotters are always the best. Better get a move on, chaps, the clock is ticking for you all.
Asked if he regarded the CRG’s bid to create a federal UK as the last chance to save the Union, Mr Burnside said: “Yes, because the SNP have got a professional machine. Anyone who can keep up this level of political support when their economic and fiscal policies are in meltdown – and not just on oil prices – anyone else would be taken apart. So they have a momentum as a professional machine, which people should respect and understand.”
Burnside is saying, the Scottish electorate are a stupid, gullible bunch of idiots. Readers will notice his interpretation of people to people meetings and discussion as a ‘machine’.
Are there more professional coin tossers massing at the gates?
Behind Burnside there’s others. Daniel Greenberg, a ‘leading’ constitutional expert according to the press, one nobody has heard of, has hit out at the speed with which Scotland’s sweeping new tax and welfare powers were passed by MPs.
As parliamentary counsel for two decades, he drafted Acts in all areas of law, including tax, immigration, housing and constitutional law, including Northern Irish devolution.
Greenberg claims the Commons had considered “highly technical” legislation incredibly quickly while a number of large-scale changes were voted through without even being debated. Or put another way, he’d much rather see a federal scheme that hobbles Scotland passed very quickly in an all-night sitting with only the quorate of MPs present. It doesn’t need that number to discuss a bill. Two MPs can be present, plus the Speaker.
Mr Greenberg added: “The accelerated increase of legislation of all kinds means that politicians from all parties need to think more about how to make traditional legislative scrutiny methods fit for purpose in the modern world.”
If the will of a majority of the people eligible to vote in Scotland is for self-determination in the framework of an independent state, the forces of colonialism will ignore it, go as far as thwarting any plebiscite, and implement a structure in their likeness. It is colonialism by any name. A federal state has, after all, nothing to do with creating an equal, democratic, union of nations. It is to stop the SNP responding to its electorate.
There are, of course, a mass of complicated, highly technical, and time consuming laws and rights to junk enshrined in Scotland’s sovereignty before anybody can throw aside its place in the world for something small, inert, and constrained that they can control. But that is no reason to encourage inertia in the face of forces rallying against the people’s will. Booth is a very influential man. People in power believe what he says.