As the Supreme Court work’s it way through the legal (and political) arguments around who can do what when it comes to triggering the upcoming Brexitastrophe it surely isn’t coming as any surprise to anyone that the Tory government’s position is that the Tory government should get to make the decisions, all the decisions. Shut up parliament, and button it Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Further to that it equally shouldn’t come as a surprise that their Scots law guru, former Chairman of the Scottish Tories, Richard Keen QC, on the question of whether Scotland’s devolved parliament has a right to be consulted, is of the view that parliament for big boys and girls (Westminster) is sovereign, and can do whatever the feck it likes, when it likes, on reserved matters or devolved powers, they have an over-ride button.
Forget all about the assumptions of ‘Sewel’, forget all about the Smith Commission, forget all about the Scotland Act enshrining decision making powers and codifying relationships with big brother. Away and play at being a government Jock. Scotland voted to continue to benefit from the UK’s ‘broad shoulders’ so shut up and get back in line. Westminster rules. Even though 62% of you who voted don’t want to leave the EU, you do not deserve to be represented. You’ll do what you are told.
Our man with a plan, the Lord Advocate, James Wolffe, steps into the ring today, and will argue that before Article 50 is triggered the consent of the Scottish Parliament must be achieved. He is expected to draw on a range of constitutional law, including the Act of Union, as he tries to convince the learned Judges that Scotland deserves to be heard. Good luck with that. I’m sure there’s at least a couple of hundred thousand complimentary gin and tonics with his name on them if he pulls that one off.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the Gulf, the rebirth of empire continues. Somewhat inevitably, aboard a navy helicopter carrier. Minus a Thatcher headscarf and tank goggles, Theresa May has bedazzled the press corps with her current thoughts on Brexit. Apparently it can come in all sorts of pretty colours, but the bestest, and the one she wants, is a “red, white and blue Brexit’ as Britain “steps up to forge a new, positive, confident role for our country on the global stage.” (Can you imagine Nicola Sturgeon standing on the esplanade at Stirling Castle saying “ We’re leaving the UK and the settlement we achieve will be a dazzling blue and white, and entirely in our favour”? She’d get eviscerated by the massed hordes of the unionist media ).
Not an off-the–cuff remark from Ms May, her language polished prior to making these comments, tells us a lot about the future policy direction of the Westminster Government. Nationalism comes in many forms. In the UK we have one which is civic, and striving for social justice, whilst the other is a bit worrying, and cloaking itself as patriotism, questioning of which is to be considered taboo.
Ms May’s colourful Brexit is the version that involves the European Union rolling over, agreeing that after all the UK is in fact superior to them in all things because when all is said and done they, the remaining EU members, are just Johnny Foreigners, and, therefore naturally yes, the UK does deserve to have a better arrangement with the trading bloc than the actual members of that trading bloc itself.
As European ministers line up to snigger and point at them I reckon Ms May, Boris, Fox and Davis’s chances of achieving what they want from any negotiations with the EU, if they ever get there, are the middle of a doughnut. Zero.
Seconds out… Day three… and it’s Wolffe in the tartan shorts and blue and white gloves.