When is the status quo not the status quo?

I’m hopeful, if you’re here and reading this, that it won’t have escaped your attention that the Westminster and Holyrood Governments and the different colours of parties here in the UK are having a wee argy bargy about when we Scots should get to vote in a referendum and whether we should get to choose between more than just what we have now and full independence.

Apparently, one of the reasons we should only get to vote Yes or No to staying in the Union is because the other options ‘haven’t been defined’. Frankly, independence hasn’t yet been defined, so even from that starting point I question your argument sir.

Intriguingly then, on Wednesday it was announced that the two Governments have come to an agreement on the substance of the Scotland Bill. This is ‘the greatest devolution of powers since devolution’ or some such, anyway, and it’s just going through it’s final stages at Westminster.

Intriguing why? Well firstly, when the Scottish Parliament first debated the Scotland Bill back in 2010 (before the majority SNP Government) the Committee who examined it (led by Wendy Alexander) suggested some amendments, and the legislative consent motion that was passed (which by convention shows that the Scottish Parliament are happy for Westminster to make laws that are actually about devolved matters) clearly stated that the Scottish Parliament would want to review the Bill once it had gone through amendment stage at Westminster.

Since then of course we have a majority SNP Government and the new Scotland Bill Committee (are you keeping up at the back?) produced another report, which had even more suggested amendments than the first report.

I read that report. Now, I am extremely uncomfortable with the fact that it became the report of record despite the fact that most of the clauses were only voted for by the SNP members of the Committee BUT several aspects were indeed agreed by more than just the SNP as being ill thought out and worthy of revision / amendment. Basically, the Scotland Bill is not a terribly good piece of legislation.

Anyhow, that report then needed to be debated by the Scottish Parliament so as they could pass a second Legislative Consent Motion, especially as that was what the first LCM had asked for. This LCM did not appear, and did not appear, and the Bill trundled through the Commons, and then reached its final stages in the Lords.

Meanwhile of course, both the UK and the Scottish Government are holding consultations on the independence referendum / Scotland’s constitutional future and asking if more powers should be included on the ballot paper.

Now, call me daft, but how can you consult on whether something should be on a ballot paper when that something is happening anyway?

And, perhaps more importantly, how can we even have a referendum between the status quo and independence when not only do we not really know what independence might entail, but actually, the status quo is under revision as we speak…

So basically all this chat about ‘letting the Scottish people decide’ and ‘needing to know what we’re choosing so we can make an informed decision’ is all bollocks. We don’t get to decide anything. Partly it’s getting decided for us just now (and messed around with my¬†mischievous Lords), partly heaven knows what the options on the ballot paper will be, and partly, even once we vote then the negotiations will take place to which we shall not be privy.

In the meantime, we have to put up with posturing politicians telling us they think they know what’s best for us or what we want, while in actual fact they’re deciding for us anyway.

That just doesn’t feel like democracy to me.


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