It Is Now Clear Westminster Intends to Abolish the Scottish Parliament

Westminster's Long War on Holyrood Enters the Endgame

Abolishing Holyrood would not, technically, break this promise.


Summary

The anti Holyrood whispering campaign is now a roar. The Tories are removing the Union Jack from their logo. Denial proves they intend to abolish Holyrood.

Evidence Westminster Wants to Abolish The Scottish Parliament

Westminster never wanted a Scottish parliament and wants to get rid of it. Brexit was not perpetrated purely in order to eliminate Holyrood but, from the Westminster bubble, abolition of Holyrood is a big Brexit bonus.

Abolishing Holyrood was discussed, allegedly only in a fringe meeting, at the 2017 Scottish Party Conference. A new Facebook group 'Completely abolish legislative devolution' has appeared claiming to want to abolish devolution but not Holyrood, seemingly unaware that the only paths to this would be abolition of Holyrood, along with the Welsh Assembly and Stormont, or to dissolve the United Kingdom. The British Union & Sovereignty Party are openly trying to gauge the level of support for abolishing Holyrood.

When I recently claimed on Quora that Westminster intend to abolish Holyrood I was told that “nobody is talking about that.” This is just like the statement the East German Prime Minister made in 1962 that “Nobody is thinking of building a wall” on the day construction of the Berlin Wall started. The sheer level of pious denial is undeniable proof Westminster means to abolish Holyrood after Brexit and that plans are well advanced.

The level of Anti-Scottish hostility in England seems to have risen as Holyrood attempts to protect Scotland from the harmful effects of Brexit and most Brexiteers in England would rather break up the United Kingdom, or at least get rid of Scotland, than forego Brexit.

The unofficial UK Tory-Labour coalition passed legislation letting them modify or abolish the Scotland Acts without reference to Parliament and the Scottish Office has “accidentally” missed the deadline for presenting amendments to the UK withdrawal bill. Amendments to the bill may now be introduced in the Lords where there are no SNP peers. Even if such amendments are passed the Commons are likely to reject them with, as usual, Labour abstaining.

A Pending Constitutional Crisis?

As a result, the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly are increasingly likely to withhold legislative consent to the Great Repeal Bill: even Conservative MSPs are likely to vote to withhold consent leaving Westminster the choice of overriding or abolishing Holyrood — resulting in a constitutional crisis, changing the bill or, least likely, breaking up the United Kingdom.

Scottish Tory Leader Ruth Davidson, who promised to fight Westminster if they moved against Holyrood, hinted she may stand for the Westminster Parliament and, not having a Holyrood post to lose, may abandon her commitment to Holyrood.

How the Parties Lie

Labour, increasingly indistinguishable from the Tories and promoting a statist version of Socialism hostile to individual freedom [1], is most hostile to devolution. The Tories have historically been very opposed to devolution, and it took nearly twenty years and pressure from the UN and reluctant pressure from the European Council before a Scottish Parliament reconvened [2,3]. Labour reluctantly accepted Devolution as they felt it would dampen the demand for independence.

Unusually however despite Margaret Thatcher’s resolute opposition to devolution the Tories seem less hostile to Holyrood. This may be for pragmatic reasons as abolishing Holyrood would show Westminster as the origin of everything bad that happened in Scotland.

Likely Futures

At the moment, abolishing Holyrood would seem to be insane. It could lead to an unstoppable and irreversible surge in the demand for independence, would leave Westminster to blame for Scotland’s problems, and probably require direct rule from Westminster with the Scottish Secretary acting as Viceroy in Scotland. Direct rule would only work if most of the population wanted it — perhaps Westminster believes this is the case — and would stoke up anger against English people living in Scotland [5]. Since there is a worldwide swing to renewable fuels, the oil may not be worth the trouble.

Of course, there is no shortage of lunatics and idiots in Westminster, so neither sanity nor the Red Tory formerly known as Labour provide any defence against abolition.

Simply neutering Holyrood would seem a better option, leaving Westminster with a tied up powerless scapegoat. Once Holyrood is seen as impotent, it can be abolished with little fuss. Most MSPs could, as in 1707, be purchased, one way or another: safe Westminster seats, large pensions and payments for loss of office again mostly as in 1707.

How will it affect support for independence?

Brexit has endangered the Scottish Parliament. Neither BLUEKIP or the Red Tories want it. Even if the Great Repeal Bill is altered to satisfy the devolved assemblies, these assemblies can be abolished overnight by the creative use of statutory instruments. Like Stalin’s Gulag and similar horrors in Western Europe, this will all be legal.

The plus side of abolishing Holyrood, if Westminster does it carelessly, is it would, coupled with the problems Brexit will cause, probably generate an upward step change in support for independence. Nothing is certain, though.

What of the other possibility, the thousand to one outsider, that Westminster will arrange the dissolution of the union in such a way that the Tories, with the possible exception of Theresa May, escape blame?

The Tories are rebranding, removing the Union Jack from their logo. And they have been remarkably silent about being the Conservative and UNIONIST party. There seems to have been an increase in English support for Scottish Independence. Perhaps, just perhaps, the thousand to one is becoming the nine hundred to one and shrinking. All we need to do is show we are an unstoppable unremovable threat to Brexit. After independence we can, must, have our own multi-option referendum on leaving the EU, Single Market, Customs Union, and Free Movement.

One can only live in hope. But when anyone says there are no plans to abolish Holyrood, remember, never believe anything till it has officially been denied.

Notes

  1. Something shown by their determination, when last in power, to introduce compulsory ID cards that would also allow tracking the movements of everyone in the UK and the legislation where they attempted to make subcontracting impossible, claiming it was “disguised employment” with the “disguised employer” freed of responsibility for providing even “disguised” employment rights.
  2. Scottish Independence and Scotland's Future
  3. Our un(SU-N)g heroes : the explosive truth about the formation of the Scottish Parliament
  4. references [2] and [3] are almost identical and recount the story of the new Scottish Parliament as told by one of the campaigners who brought it about. I cited both references in in case one “vanishes” from the web.
  5. Having moved from London to Scotland in 1989 this prospect scares me.
  6. Is the Stealth Abolition of Holyrood on the Way? 
  7. Could Brexit Lead to an Unexpected Scottish Independence 
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