Writing in The National, Ruth Wishart offers an excellent analysis of the not-so-subtle change from Scottish Office to UK Government in Scotland. I would only make the point that the start of this process coincided only coincidentally with the coming of “the UK’s coalition government”. What triggered the metamorphosis was the British parties losing control of the Scottish Parliament.
The day Alex Salmond took office as First Minister was the day the British establishment decided that Holyrood had to be reined in, or closed down. It is that imperative to put the Scottish Parliament back in its box which has driven the transformation of the role of the Secretary of State for Scotland from being Scotland’s representative in the UK cabinet to being the British state’s overseer in Scotland.
This is not a controversial observation. Even the British government has dropped any pretence that the Scotland Office exists for the benefit of Scotland and its people. In this instance, it is totally accurate to say that ‘everybody knows’ what Alister “Union” Jack’s remit is.
The metamorphosis of the old Scottish Office is not yet complete. It will soon emerge as an unelected shadow administration accountable, not to Scotland’s voters, but solely to the British executive. A British government department to govern a British territory in the interests of the British ruling elite.
Wielding powers similar to those of a colonial Governor-General, the head of this department is tasked with undermining, side-lining and by-passing the democratically elected Scottish Parliament in whatever ways he considers will be most effective. To this end, he will be given a generous budget funded entirely by Scottish taxpayers. Money will be siphoned from the Scottish budget and diverted from the replacement for EU funding.
Within a very short time, Alister “Union” Jack will plead that he has insufficient powers to do his job properly. He will call for ever more powers to be transferred to his department from the Scottish Parliament in order that he might more effectively create the “UK-wide common frameworks” that are a transparent euphemism for direct rule from London. This will include powers which will allow him to sanction fracking as an economic necessity and bring NHS Scotland into line with NHS England the better to facilitate privatisation and a sell-off to US corporations which will not do any kind of deal while a ‘lefty’ Scottish Government has control of Scotland’s public health service.
As powers are stripped from the Scottish Parliament, responsibilities will be left. Successful projects will be plastered with Union flags and the UK Government in Scotland will take the credit, while the British media will help to ensure the blame for any failure is placed squarely on the shoulders of the SNP administration.
The British establishment regards the Scottish Parliament as a problem. Has done since at least 2007. The UK Government in Scotland is the solution to that problem. The fact that it is an affront to every principle of democracy and an insult to the people of Scotland is of no consequence. Jealous Britannia will have her way.
The British establishment has, in fact, regarded Scotland as a problem for considerably more than 300 years. Devolution was intended to deal with that problem. That has backfired rather badly. The British Nationalist ‘One Nation’ project is seen as the final solution to the ‘Scottish problem’.
As Ruth Wishart says, “time is very much of the essence”. If we are to halt this ‘One Nation’ Project before Scotland’s democracy is dismantled and our very identity obliterated in a storm of Union flags, we must act NOW to #DissolveTheUnion.
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