Goodnight Westminster

So that’s Westminster’s role in Scotland’s referendum at an end, and I’m sure that anyone who watched the 6 hour marathon debate on the Section 30 order will breathe a huge sigh of relief at that.

Westminster isn’t just opposed to independence, it loathes the very suggestion of it. Some of the comments from our unionist friends in the debate weren’t just political knock about, they verged on the contemptuous and bizarre.

The chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee actually went as far as to say that the referendum was timed to celebrate Scots slaughtering “large numbers of English people.” This is the same man that called the SNP “neo-fascist” and reduced this once proud committee to little more than an appendage of the No campaign.

The Deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party in his extraordinary contribution said that the Scottish Parliament “is not a democratic place in the conventional sense” but “is a dictatorship”. Now, I don’t know if this is the official view of the Labour party in Scotland but it seems that they have lost all respect for the democratic wishes of the Scottish people.

Most of these comments seem to be because we will not “confirm” to them that the Scottish Parliament will “accept unconditionally” the view of the Electoral Commission on the referendum. Indeed, they went as far as to suggest that the referendum should not be a matter for directly elected Members of Parliament, accountable to the public, but be exclusively a matter for an unelected body appointed to advise the Westminster Parliament.

No Parliament in the world would agree to such a ridiculous proposition and that includes the Westminster Parliament itself. Last year the UK Government rejected the advice of the Electoral Commission on local authority elections, the Minister responsible is even alleged to have told the Electoral Commission where they might wish to dispose of their question! The Electoral Commission themselves say that their role is to advise Government and it is for elected members to decide. That is what happens in a democracy.

We also don’t know what the Electoral Commission is going to say. Yes, we might agree with them, but to demand that we do so in advance would be a desertion of democratic responsibility.

But did this issue with the Electoral Commission deserve all the hyperbole and nonsense we heard from unionists in the debate? Westminster says it wants a role and wants to be listened to in the debate about the referendum. Well, it’s going to have to do better than this.  On current evidence all I can say is thank goodness it’s a matter for the Scottish Parliament.

To give but one example of the quality of Westminster’s contribution I will end with a quote from the (respected) Tory MP, Rory Stewart. He said “Independence will not cause the war between England and Scotland to start again. Those days of savagery, murder, pillage and rape – what we saw in Cumbria for 400 years – will not return”.

Indeed, and goodnight Westminster.


This is an article Pete wrote for the Scots Independent Newspaper

4 thoughts on “Goodnight Westminster

  1. Tris

    The comment about Bannockburn is all the more bizarre, when you consider that the chairman of the Scottish Affairs Committee signed, in 2003 I think, a Commons’ motion of some sort, celebrating the British victory at Waterloo and thus, presumably, the deaths of many people. it having been a long and hard fought campaign against Napoleon.

    Further he seems to have forgotten that the UK, in 2014, will be commemorating the BEGINNING of a war that killed millions. Presumably commemorating the END of the ‘war to end all wars’ in 2018, would be too late for the purpose to which Mr Cameron wants to put the “union flag waving”.

    It beats me that the No campaign cannot see that their tactic of putting down everything Scottish is failing to impress the Scottish people. The recent “blow” for the Yes campaign appears to have been that whilst the percentage of people who wish to leave the UK has stayed much the same, the number of people who have left the NO side for the middle ground of “don’t know” has increased fairly dramatically.

    Sarwar, Darling, Murphy, Lamont and the Davidson man seem to me to be peeing into the wind.

    Long may they continue to under perform.

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  3. John Mepham

    Britain’s great victory in World War 1 (mainly acheived in the last 3 months by the British Army, not the French or Americans) saved the nation (inlcuding North Britain) from German misrule. Same again in 1939, when GB saved the world from Hitler, and herself. Mr.Wishart sounds like a miserable pacifist who would have enslaved us if he had his way in 1914 and 1939. And clearly he does not know what happened to some Falkland Islanders in 1982 – mock executions by Argentine intelligence officers.

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