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A less permanent permanence

Posted on December 03, 2014 by

“We are agreed that the Scottish Parliament is permanent”:


“Just kidding!”


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    1. 03 12 14 11:02

      A less permanent permanence | FreeScotland

    2. 03 12 14 11:40

      A less permanent permanence - Speymouth

    67 to “A less permanent permanence”

    1. handclapping says:

      Those who the gods would destroy they first make mad.
      They surely have got it in for Westminster!

      “Yeah, yeah referendum, Vow, Devo Max and all that but I can still take it all back.” They must be trying to find out how far they can push us before we get really riled

    2. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      You wonder what took the Irish to really get mad?

      I think we must approaching that trip wire, if they are not careful.

      I am not advocating violence but a burning anger is spreading throughout Scotland and some stupid or inconsiderate act could just be the blue touch paper for a polarisation of opinions which could be fertile ground for what I have suggested above.

      I hope I am wrong but I fear we are at the edge of the slalom and the SNP need to be very adept, and we have to be very focused to prevent the next few steps.

    3. No no no...Yes says:


      But Mr Brown told me, and so did Mr Ed, Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg. This cannot be true, they are all men of their word.

      That nice Mr size 10 Foote also told me, it was in his paper.

      I am going to write to Santa Claus to see what he can do to help.

      Seriously, we need to make sure that those within the 55% of No voters that believed this guff realise that it is not too late. They can vote SNP at GE2015 to hold them to account.

    4. Simon Chadwick says:

      Well of course it could, that’s the whole point of Dependence. Scotland is ruled from Westminster, and Westminster (the ‘crown in parliament’) is totally sovereign. The westminster parliament can do whatever it wants, whenever it wants. There is no law or constitution that can constrain the actions of the Westminster parliament.

    5. farrochie says:

      Smith Commission refused to recognise “the vow”: *NOTE: Devo max, home rule and the vow are all terms used by civic
      organisations and the public and are not terms used by the Commission”.

      Page 10:

    6. Midgehunter says:

      If they thought they could get away with it, they’d dissolve the Scot. Parl. and rule again from WM.

      Permanent means WM not the wee scotty thing.

    7. stonefree says:

      “We are agreed that the Scottish Parliament is permanent”, but the thing is that’s really only the words of a fourth rate trashy rag, fit only for a fish supper the following day.
      I agree With Bugger(the panda) that the SNP need caution, in all dealing with WM

    8. Oneironaut says:

      @Bugger (the Panda)

      You wonder what took the Irish to really get mad?

      I think we must approaching that trip wire, if they are not careful.

      I am not advocating violence but a burning anger is spreading throughout Scotland and some stupid or inconsiderate act could just be the blue touch paper for a polarisation of opinions which could be fertile ground for what I have suggested above.

      I hope I am wrong but I fear we are at the edge of the slalom and the SNP need to be very adept, and we have to be very focused to prevent the next few steps.

      I sometimes suspect they’re trying as hard as they can to push us over that edge, so they can just declare martial law in Scotland and take away what little rights we have in the first place.
      As well as having the media shout to the world that the Scots are really just a bunch of violent Nationalist thugs at heart…

      That would suit Cameron and Co just fine, removing the Scots as a potential threat to them for the foreseeable future. They certainly couldn’t care less if people up here died as a result of it, as long as them and their profits don’t get hurt by it.

    9. scottishnproud says:

      Urgh, if this can happen to the Scottish Parliament then it could happen to the Welsh and N.Irish Parliaments too.

      Nice job as always Rev!

      Now that I think about it, imagine the chaos Stu would rein in if he became an MP, things would get very interesting.

    10. Devorgilla says:

      The House of Commons is about to start discussing Smith at 11am. Then its the Lords at 3pm. If anybody can stomach it on Parliament TV.

    11. Stoker says:

      stonefree says:
      3 December, 2014 at 10:44 am
      “We are agreed that the Scottish Parliament is permanent”, but the thing is that’s really only the words of a fourth rate trashy rag, fit only for a fish supper the following day.”

      How dare you!

      Ah widdny pit ma fish oanywer neer et!

    12. Dan Huil says:

      But if they did try to dissolve the Holyrood parliament?
      Westminster would do it just to see if Scotland descended into civil war. They’d love to see a Scottish “Troubles” if only to confirm their arrogant prejudice that Scots can’t rule themselves.

    13. Stoker says:

      Boycott the Daily Rectum.

      This filthy rag exists only to deceive and lie to Scotland’s people.

      Spread the word and demonise this filthy Unionist mouthpiece.

    14. donald mac says:

      David Cameron has 600 spanking new armoured vehicles lying in a hangar somewhere and he’s dying to get out to play with them. I doubt WM have the balls to dissolve the Scottish parliament TBH but I wouldn’t put anything past them

    15. Derick fae Yell says:

      Well, here’s something for the shopping list for a hopefully enlarged group of Independence supporting MP’s in May

    16. alex mckechnie says:

      Am I the only person that remembers ” Scotch on the Rocks” a book by Dougkas Hurd made into a TV series which was lost/scrubbed by the BBC then found again a few years ago about what could happen if all went pear……………..

    17. galamcennalath says:

      WM needs the power to disolve the Scottish parliament if it were ever to try to go ‘too far’. Part of their planning to maintain the Union at all costs.

      I have serious doubts if WM will ever agree to anything like the Edinburgh Agreement again, it almost cost them their Union! Future Scottish referendums will not be recognised by WM, I fear. And, should any ‘consultative vote’ give a narrow Yes win, WM might simply cancel devolution on the clear evidence (from a Union perspective) that Scots just can’t be trusted with any powers.

    18. Westminster surely, as does the queen, reflect what the declaration of Arbroath is all about. In Scotland it is the people that are sovereign. The course is set, all Westminster appear to be doing at present is validating the need for change. EVEL will take us closer as will an EU referendum and the petty moves to hamper Scotland’s progress.
      Don’t be put off with efforts to defuse our appetite for change that is Westminster’s aim. in time England will find their voice and require a society fit for purpose as long as we stand our ground, if not we will go it alone.

    19. Macart says:

      And they sleep at night how?

    20. Roberto Esquierdo says:

      When are the SNP going to take off the kid gloves and slippers?

    21. desimond says:

      Tags: flat-out lies, The Vow


      Its getting like King Canute. They thought a No vote would stop the tide. They thought a Commission would stop the tide. They thought wrong.

      Now like Gordon Brown theyre starting to look around for life boats.

    22. Ananurhing says:

      Why has Smith refused to tell us which recommendations were removed from his final draft, having been deemed “unworkable”?

      If they were unworkable, why were they included in earlier drafts, and who insisted on their removal?

      Rhetorical questions of course. Smith was always Cameron’s man. Part of the Scottish unionist Comprador Bougeoisie.

    23. Murray McCallum says:

      Lucky for us that UKIP’s policy this week does not include disolving the Scottish Parliament and that they have no influence over power at Westminster.

    24. Macca73 says:

      If that lot aren’t careful we’ll be forced into UDI.

    25. caz-m says:


      VOW that we will do all we can to get as many SNP MPs elected to Westminster in the GE.

      VOW to help bring down the Daily Record. Spread the word, tell people they are being lied to when they read the trash printed on it pages.

      VOW that you will stop paying your BBC License in the very near future. (It’s dead easy, honest and you get a refund)

      Looking for a wee break from xmas shopping, then get along to the Record offices:

      The Peoples Voice – Peaceful Protest of The Daily Rag

      Outside Daily Record Office,1 Central Quay, GLASGOW, G3 8DA

      Sunday, December 21, 2014, 12:00 (4 hours)

    26. think again says:

      Crystal ball says “Holyrood to be permanent” the Labour minority government supported, on this occasion, by the large contingent of SNP MPs has introduced a Bill to enshrine the Scottish Parliament in perpetuity.

      In return SNP will support plans to make rUk a fairer, more socially just place.

      After independence for Scotland, as Alex Salmond said, England is perfectly capable of looking after herself.

      The Vow is a never ending recruiting sergeant.

    27. boris says:

      Scotland must not miss the boat on this one. Election of 57 SNP MP’s next May imperative.

      It just doesn’t make any sense. The debate over whether or not the UK should replace the ever more expensive Trident Ballistic Missile Nuclear deterrent becomes more nonsensical upon each political statement in support. David Cameron pointed to the existing and ever expanding threat of nuclear attack from North Korea, (excuse me while I laugh) and the newly identified probability of Iran becoming a nuclear power, with weapons to boot. Yet, despite being apparently continually confronted by these rogue nations, Chancellor Osborne announced an eight per cent cut in the Foreign Office resource budget from 2015/16. Just at the time the nation’s need for an efficient, first class well-funded Foreign Office, diplomatic service is at its greatest.

      Another senior Tory recently threw his hat in the ring and suggested the case for retaining Trident hinged on events in the Ukraine. Such approaches are mindful of the, “cold war” which whilst it spawned, James Bond, Harry Lime, The Cambridge University Five spy-ring and their like friends in Oxford University it contributed nothing to international relations except the ever present thought in the minds of all humanity that they existed in a trap which could be sprung at the press of a button bringing about the mutual destruction of the human race as we know it. Talk about a life sentence with no parole.

      c. The final decision about replacement of Trident is to be taken soon after the next general election, (although it appears the Tory’s have pre-empted this by placing a £400M contract with the USA for the manufacture of nuclear delivery tubes) Meantime there is a lot of heat yet to be generated, most of it out-with Westminster, in the public domain, if an open, honest and inclusive debate is to be held. The new buzz words being bandied by knowledgeable NATO defence analysts nations are, “Smart Defence” and it is accepted this is the way forward in times of severe financial constraints worldwide. If embraced the measures will allow the UK to focus on delivering a properly financed, long term strategic support to it’s fellow NATO nations through smart power.

      The article is worth a read

    28. donald anderson says:

      Today’s Daily Reptile carries a photie and nasty headline on the front page of three Renfrewshire Councillors burning a copy of Messer Schmidt’s Commission in a rubbish bin. They also have the obligatory quote from the SNP condemning such action.

      Good on the Cooncillors for having the bottle. Well done.

    29. galamcennalath says:

      @alex mckechnie

      Interesting to read the plot in detail again!

      Remember the TV prog well. Like the much more recent Outlander, I think we will have to wait until after independence for such material to be shown again! The Jocks might be influenced, get ideas, heaven forbid.

    30. muttley79 says:

      Why is it unionists in Scotland thought that the burning of an effigy of Alex Salmond was a bit of fun, and yet when three SNP councillors burn a political report it is suddenly sinister, and yet more evidence of Nazism in the SNP? Is it worse than Glenn Campbell ripping up the SNP manifesto in 2007?

    31. Brian Fleming says:

      Talk above of WM dissolving/scrapping the Scottish Parliament. The latter could always refuse to be dissolved. It would then be down to the will of the Scottish people what would happen next. This bridge is going to have to be crossed sooner or later. Alex tried to win Independence in a civilised, friendly way. The UK establishment scuppered that, which tells us we have to be prepared to fight for it one way or another, not necessarily with bombs and guns, perhaps mass demonstrations or whatever. But the time for being nice in the hope they will be too is definitely over.

    32. Wullie says:

      Where stands the Scottish Judiciary in the defence of the sovereignty of the Scottish people.

    33. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      If we have not learned one simple thing, we are doomed to keep on making the most fundamental mistake ad infinitum.

      The British State will only cede powers or independence within these isles, as they did to the colonies, if one or two conditions exist;

      a) they have no alternative and we have the proverbial gun at their head with the trigger cocked.


      b) we are a fiscal or military drain and then a) comes into play too.

      Thin the Irish Republic and recognise the blueprint.

    34. Stoker says:

      @ caz m.

      As soon as i seen you post the IndyScot link yesterday i determined to try and remember to include it in every post i submit between now and the event taking place.

      All those who are angry over the way Scotland has been sh@t on because of this rag, both Yessers and No Hopers, need to get themselves along to this event to vociferously vent their anger.

      If the Rev’s very simple but highly effective piece above does not get folks motivated i don’t know what will. With minimal wording and photographic proof it speaks louder than any scripted explanation ever could.

      Come to think of it, that’s EXACTLY the sort of layout which would make for a very effective leaflet.

    35. Haggis Hunter says:

      Think I will burn my copy of the Smitth commission….no, wait, that would be disrespectful… bit like No voters doing the Adolf Hitler salute in George square and setting fire to Yes shops… oops, that has been covered up by the ‘media’

    36. Craig P says:

      You wonder what took the Irish to really get mad?

      Centuries of anti-Catholic apartheid, a famine in which a million died and a bit of 17th century ethnic cleansing?

      Not really comparable with our own situation, thankfully!

    37. galamcennalath says:

      muttley79 says:
      “Why is it unionists in Scotland thought ….. ”

      The usual. Rules are for the little people, not them. Do as we say, not as we do. One rule for them, another for us. I do wonder what it’s like to feel special?!

    38. Jeremy the lawyer says:

      Technically, Westminster can do whatever it wants and nobody can stop out. Is rule is no parliament can bind the next one. I’d it wanted to it could repeal indian independence by the stroke of a pen. It probably wouldn’t and would mean bugger all if it did but it could theoretically control India and tax them and sure then for unpaid tax etc etc and they could argue they are right. Same for any ex UK colony. Never going to happen though and even if they tried it I imagine the citizens of these countries would ignore it anyway.

      Saying Scottish could be dissolved is like saying Britain has nuclear weapons. Both are factuality true but we’re not going to use the power to do anything about it.

      Saying its permanent is just a stupid sound bite. Nothing else and saying it could be dissolved is just sitting things up. It’s basic slight if hand. Look at this while I do this. Concentrate on this thing and don’t notice I’m giving northern Ireland more power than you.

      And finally, does this permanency include up to and including when the sun goes supernova and the earth is destroyed? Our will we all have to evacuate the planet in the engine room of space shuttle GB?

    39. bookie from hell says:

      Please find below a statement from the SNP on matters involving four SNP councillors in Renfrewshire.

      SNP National Secretary, Patrick Grady, commented:

      “I have written to the Convener of the party’s Disciplinary Committee, making a complaint against the four individuals concerned, and the four will be suspended from the party until that complaint is heard.”

      SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said:

      “Levels of engagement in politics have never been higher and the passionate argument and debate which characterised the referendum has been inspiring.

      “Many people are disappointed with the result of the referendum and the level of devolution recommended by the Smith Commission, however Scotland will only make progress if we debate our views openly and with respect.

      “It is essential that in that debate, conduct does not fall short of the high standard that is rightly expected by the public. My clear view is that setting fire to something because you don’t agree with it is not acceptable behaviour.”


    40. FairiefromEarth says:

      Civil war lol ask the Peoples of Lybia how thats working out for them, but if you promise me the Leaders of rUK end up like Gaddafi you might entice me to join your mad scheme. 😉 im joking.

    41. Devereux says:

      The old, dying beast IS still dangerous and we must never forget it. Another Ireland would suit them. What has happened during the referendum does not !

      I don’t buy the idea that the Labour vote will collapse next year. I think for now we are locked in the 45 voting for anyone but a unionist party and the 55 voting for anyone but the SNP.

      Labour voters WILL vote Tory to keep the SNP out next year. Labour might win at Holyrood they might not. But once they are interchangeable with the Tories they lose the centre left forever in Scotland.

      Just because we lost does not mean the tactics are wrong. Every year a new set of voters appears on the scene, internet savvy and getting their news from twitter. This is where our power lies. Engaged, funny, decent, intelligent ideas and discourse, honest policies from the Yes political parties and biting analysis from sites like Wings.

      WE are breeding. They are hanging on to the 2.2 children they have. Yes, Westminster could do a Spain and crush future referendums. But I do believe that would be a tough one – Britnats like to think that they are more democratic than their European neighbours. Not sure there would be the political appetite to do it in an England that is also starting to change.

      Let’s not allow the bastards to drag us down and control the narrative of failure. Let’s steal that good old Anglo Saxon attribute of assuming success and behaving accordingly.

    42. liz says:

      The media in this country is getting more and more hysterical by the day.

      They are even worse now than before the indy ref.
      Surely even the most loyal No voter can’t seriously be outraged at the symbolic burning of the Smith toilet paper.

      Nicola Sturgeon is being asked on a daily basis to condemn, distance, apologise for minor events.

      I didn’t think it was possible to despise Lab or the BBC more than I did before the referendum but I do.

      Never mind families being blown to bits in unnecessary wars, foodbanks, people committing suicide due to benefit sanctions – that means nothing to our great broadcaster.

      The lunatics have definitely taken over the asylum, our only hope is to get out of this totally corrupt system and yet you still have folk voting for Lab in eg Midlothian.

    43. Grouse Beater says:

      When the BBC refuses to make any programmes illustrating the democratic structures and civic rights missing from Scotland, and how instituted, either by independence or by Unionist gift, and constitutionally it’s built on sand, no wonder then many in the nation will assume the Scottish Parliament is a permanent fixure.

      This has gone viral on WordPress: ‘The Bastardisation of the BBC,’ indicating more than Yes voters are interested in BBC’s role as Westminster cheerleader and anti-democratic referee.

    44. AnneDon says:

      I was at a meeting addressed by Patrick Harvie last night, where he was asked about this statement by Lord Smith.

      He explained that, because we have no written constitution, it is not possible to make the Scottish Parliament permanent legally, but it could be make permanent politically.

      All the political parties will sign up to make it permanent. And that is okay, so long as we trust political parties to keep their word.

      Do we?

    45. ben madigan says:

      @craig P and Bugger the panda who commented on ireland gaining independence

      apart from the famine etc in ireland the events leading up to the 1916 rising and the war of Independence are well described here in a speech by by an historian.
      Well worth reading to see how many constitutional avenues were blocked along the road to irish independence and the role played by the Ulster Unionists.

    46. chalks says:


      Sovereign Wealth Fund for Northern England.

      Is Osborne taking the piss?

    47. CameronB Brodie says:

      My 81 year old dad struggles with a progressive dementia, so needs a little help in following the indy debate. I took the time recently, to explained the non-permanent nature of the Scottish Parliament and the desire of certain Britnats to abolish it. His response was immediate and cogent.

      There will be blood on the street.

    48. jackie g says:


      The lunatics have definitely taken over the asylum, our only hope is to get out of this totally corrupt system and yet you still have folk voting for Lab in eg Midlothian.

      Yes unfortunatly Midlothian is still steeped in the old Labour mentality!

      They will not change, i posted something similar last week Gordon Brown was at Loanhead miners just before the referendum, it was therefore no surprise that Midlothain had a large turnout who voted NO.

    49. Nana Smith says:

      Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty is in Scotland for two days of briefings on the current state of play in the political process and the ongoing multi-party talks.

      Speaking from Edinburgh, the West Tyrone MP said:
      “I have had a series of useful meetings in Glasgow with individuals in civic society and the Irish community in Scotland, and with political representatives in the Scottish Parliament.

    50. liz says:

      @Nana Smith – that was an interesting read.

      Wonder how all those ‘Irish nationalist Scots’ would feel about that, eg Murphy and Galloway?

    51. Nana Smith says:


      My thoughts exactly.

    52. AuldA says:

      @Anne Don:

      He explained that, because we have no written constitution, it is not possible to make the Scottish Parliament permanent legally, but it could be make permanent politically.

      I agree. The UK having no constitution is, in a way, staggering. It is almost a unique case amongst all western democracies. Absent a constitution, you cannot enshrine anything in a law, since that law can be easily overthrown by the next parliament.

      Constitution, being placed above laws, insures to its provisions are more permanent. But even a constitution can be amended (though maybe not completely altered short of a referendum). And if you can amend a constitution to entrench the existence of a devolved parliament, then you can also amend it to come back to the previous situation…

    53. Grouse Beater says:

      AuldA: The UK having no constitution is, in a way, staggering

      Not really a surprise when you think about it.

      A nation that celebrates the bravery, and marks out the Dorset village, of the Tolpuddle Martyrs while doing its best to wipe out union power is sure to be the last to advocate a written constitution.

      Better leave the maze of constitutional rights buried in Acts and laws and court cases to highly paid lawyers. Too complicated for the small brains of Plebs to assimilate.

    54. Jamie Arriere says:

      “The media in this country is getting more and more hysterical by the day.”

      And by the look of some of the comments on here (civil war, Ireland blueprint, UDI), so are we.

      I’m away for a long walk.

      (I won’t make the revolution cos I’ve got to go hame fur ma tea)

    55. donald anderson says:

      ben madigan says:
      3 December, 2014 at 1:21 pm
      @craig P and Bugger the panda who commented on ireland gaining independence

      “apart from the famine etc in ireland the events leading up to the 1916 rising and the war of Independence are well described here in a speech by by an historian.
      Well worth reading to see how many constitutional avenues were blocked along the road to irish independence and the role played by the Ulster Unionists.”

      Yes that and a lot more. The Highland and Lowland Clearances happened before, during and after the Potato famine so there were fewer left to suffer here. Oats was also a staple diet suitable to the climate here helping out in the Potato famine in the Highlands and Islands already drained of people. Scotland suffered the worst slums of the last, plus the highest casualties of the two world wars. I could go on about ethnic cleansing pogroms and more for a least a thousand years. Then so could Ireland. We should never stoop to playing one against the other. You know who gains from that.

    56. IAB says:

      We keep our anger, we keep out dignity and we refuse to give up

    57. Wull says:

      The UK has no written constitution for a very good reason. From its very beginning, the UK joined together two nations each of which had a different constitutional principle at its basis – and the two principles were incompatible, then as now.

      In England (and Wales, as a consequence of Edward I taking it over), the king had been sovereign. This became ‘the king-in parliament’ and finally, in practice, simply ‘parliament’.

      In Scotland, ultimate sovereignty belonged to the people, even in the Middle Ages. This was clearly articulated in the time of Robert Bruce. There was always opposition to it, even from Bruce himself, but the principle held and carried through.

      In UK elections, the Scottish and the English electorates are actually doing substantially different things. It is only in appearance that the same thing seems to be happening, when in fact this is not the case.

      In Scotland the people retain their sovereignty and the MP is supposed to represent their views and interests. In England the people give the power to the MP, and let him get on with it as he sees fit. He becomes a member of that small body of people, the parliament, that has sovereign power over them.

      In Scotland, the parliament never has such sovereign power over the people. Soevreignty remains with the people, and is not given to the MPs they elect or the parliament as a whole. The parliament has a certain, prescribed and limited authority, but it is NOT sovereign. The individual member, and the rest of the parliament, remains under the people whom they are elected to serve.

      The distinction is subtle, but real, and it comes through in many different ways and attitudes.

      By leaving the constitution unwritten, both perceptions have been allowed to co-exist. The difference in political culture between England and Scotland is not ironed out, in terms of theory, which might be just as well.

      If there ever is a written UK constitution the ramifications of this difference will come out in the open, causing all kinds of difficulties. There is probably a certain wisdom in allowing the difference to exist underground, without ever putting a spotlight on it. Who (especially in the Unionist parties) wants to highlight the logical inconsistencies on which the UK is founded?

      If we do get a written constitution, it will be dnagerous for Scotland. English assumptions will almost certainly be considered the basis of the UK, to Scotland’s political and cultural detriment. It will be evident what Unionism really is: an Anglicisation project aimed at making the Scottish ‘difference’ disappear from off the face of the map. Not just the map of the British Isles, but the world map.

      A project that has almost succeeded, of course. Moreover, again and again, yet never quite managing it. The ‘almost’ is all important. Scotland still has something distinctive to offer, and the world still needs it. So the flickering flame has not died, and still flickers away, in the hope of coming back to a full life.

      The Scottish constitional assumptions may well have had more influence on our English neighbours than is generally thought, but this should not lull us into thinking that the difference has been eliminated. Nor is it superficial. It is much deeper than we usually imagine. Nor is it of itself destructive: difference and complementarity are the essence of any adult relationship. It is only immaturity – the colonial urge to dominate – which wishes to eliminate variety.

      For my part, I hope there never will be a written UK constitution. I hope there will never be any need for one, which will certainly be the case if the UK soon ceases to exist.

      England (and Wales too, if it still wants to be in union with England) will then be able to give full voice to the English constitution. Which would be an excellent thing. And Scotland will be free to give full expression to its own constitutional principles as well, which will be more excellent still. And both events will be good for the world as a whole.

      That seems to me the best, and most evidently sensible way forward, for both countries.

      No solution can be achieved by creating a new UK based on Federalism, Home Rule or Devo-Max or whatever you like to call it. That new UK would just be yet a further mass of constitutional contradictions, without any consistent principles behind it, just like the old UK.

      And just like the Smith Commission proposals, which are based on no principle whatsoever. They are simply a series of ad hoc compromises brokered by Lord Kelvin between competing political interest groups, each seeking its own best advantage.

      Since no principles were involved, even if the proposals go through, they cannot possibly stick. There is no way to justify making them permanent or pretending they resolve any issues. They are just another link in an ongoing chain of events, as Calman was beforehand : Smith is not the end of the story, something else will follow when political necessity – or even convenience – requires it.

      Being based on no principles, other than the compromise between differing interest groups that could be achieved at the moment, the Smith proposals are a perfect expression of the Union itself. The Act of Union of 1707 was exactly the same thing. The brand new UK as it then was, could have no written constitution, because it was based purely on pragnatism, and not on principle of any kind.

      Unlike the USA seventy years later, the UK of 1707 was not constituted on the basis of any constitutional ideal. And it was quite unable to make one constitution out of the two it seemed to combine. The new state was not founded on Unwritten Principles but on No Principles, and where there are no principles they cannot be written up to form a constitution. It was therefore inevitable that the UK would never have a written constitution.

      The Union was and remains a purely pragmatic arrangement, based not on ideas of any consistent or principled kind – certainly not on ideals related to justice – but on advantage. It was simply a deal, that is all. The different parties signing up to it thought this was the best they could each get out of the other, in the circumstances then pevailing. They made no attempt to reconcile the glaring inconsistencies involved. So too with Smith.

      Within such a system, a logically consistent version of Home Rule or Federalism is impossible to achieve. The old UK would have to be dissolved, and a new one invented.

      That has bever been on offer, of course, and never will be. A written constitution for the UK would attempt to make dissolution of the Union impossible (as the current Spanish constituion seems to attempt to do in regard to Spain’s constitutive parts). We should not be dreaming of it.

      Only two written constitutions will ever work: one for Scotland, and a different one for England. But for that to happen, both countries will have to regain their independence and, let me say it, their ‘soul’. Each in its own way could then rediscover its own internal logic, without imposing itself in colonial-imperial fashion on others. The age of imperialism is over; and the UK’s time is up.

    58. Derick fae Yell says:

      Wull – good post but I would take issue with

      “Within such a system, a logically consistent version of Home Rule or Federalism is impossible to achieve”

      It is possible to achieve, as a stepping stone. Some of this is constitutional principle, but more of it is institutional and bureaucratic. ‘Secure Autonomy’ would effectively create a UK constitution with one article. An end point for some, and a stepping stone for others.

    59. Barontorc says:

      Of course there would be no need for considering the position that exists betwixt Scotland and England and vice versa if we become an independent country again. That has to be the ultimate and only objective for Scots of all and any political hue.

      Co-habitation within these British isles is a very reasonable outlook.

      Sovereign independence is the most desirable approach for any self-respecting country and thereby perhaps lies the issue for those who would rather be constrained within an unequal union – there is a lack of self-esteem. The vast amount of negativity and propaganda thrown at Scots in the run-up to the referendum shows exactly just how that came about and how it will be continued within an ever worsening economic UK model unless we grab that nettle.

    60. Wull says:

      Derick fae Yell,
      Thanks for reading the post, and for the encouragement. You are quite right, of course: ‘Full Federalism’ and ‘Full Home Rule’ (both meaning everything except Defence and Foreign Affairs) could be achieved at the stroke of a pen. There is no theoretical reason why it cannot happen.

      At that point the old UK would have died, and a new one would have been born. For the first time ever, there would exist a UK based on a principle. The totally pragamtic, utterly unprincipled basis of the old UK will have been blown out of the water. So too will the old attitudes it fostered. It will be as if a new (international) nation-state has emerged from the old one, which no longer exists.

      One of the things I should have mentioned about the old UK, and the ‘system’ under which we presently live, is that the two unwritten and unreconciled constitutions which still run underneath it represent two totally different, incompatible and irreconcilable notions of what the Union achieved. From the ‘English’ perspective, Edward I’s project had at last won out: Scotland had (effectively) been subjected to English rule. The documents might not say that, nor the politicians involved, but, underneath, at a deeper posychological and social level, only semi-buried, this was the real prize for those on the English ‘side’ of the bargain. Forty years later, after Culloden, this subjection / colonisation assumption could only have become stronger, with garrisonned forts spread across the highlands, even if it was not always openly stated. The ambitions of England from Edward I, through Henry VIII forwards had at last been realised.

      On the other hand, Scots were allowed to continue with their perception of the Union that they had not been conquered or colonised, but that they were equal partners in a joint enterprise. That perception was closer to what the Union documents said, but not necessarily to the deeper feelings on both sides. The Union, as so conceived, was originally a Scots-born idea, going back to John Mair in 1520 or thereabouts.

      During the period of the British Empire, Scots might not have been completely mistaken in thinking that this was what the Union was. Underneath, however, it is not so clear that the perception was genuinely shared. Whatever the case, since the end of Empire, the deeper, older English perception of the Union, going back to the earlier, medieval imperialism of the likes of Edward I and his successors, has re-surfaced. It had never really gone away. It has even been quasi-internalised by many Scots, with adverse effects not just politically but on the psycho-social level. It would be interesting to analyse the Smith Commission proposals with this perspective in mind.

      What is sure is that a genuinely Federal Britain – never truly on offer – would undercut these attitudes altogether. It would be a massive cultural as well as constitutional change. It could be done, and it would be a good thing, but within the present system – the present underlying if unstated sets of assumptions – it is never going to be on the cards. Such a move would in fact ‘undo’ the whole system, requiring it to unravel.

      If it did happen, as Derick rightly points out, some would see such an arrangement as the end of the road, and others as a final staging post to independence. I don’t know which it would turn out to be, how long Federalism would last, or whether it would even gain the day and become permanent. But the ‘staging post’ argument is a good one, and makes it worth trying.

      It could even turn out that this proposal – genuine and full Fedralism – will be the main plank of the SNP’s manifesto for the May 2015 General Election. With a detailed exposition of what it would involve. On that basis, the SNP could even sponsor some non-Party member candidates who voted No in September in the expectation that full Home Rule, as seemingly promised by Brown, would follow. Appeal could then be made to those No voters who are now genuinely disappointed by the feeble powers the Smith Commission has come up with.
      The SNP or SNP-sponsored candidates can then argue that

      1) a vote for the SNP in May 2015 will be a vote for Full Home Rule / a Federal UK / genuine Devo-Max, whatever you prefer to call it (personally, I dislike the term ‘Devo-Max’, but that is another story);

      2) it will not be taken as a vote for independence as such, but SNP members and the whole of the Yes movement can understand the achievement of Full Home Rule as a major step in that direction, which would eventually lead to that outcome;

      3) No voters who really want Full Home Rule, and who see that as the solution to the UK’s problems can also vote for the SNP in 2015, and after Home Rule is achieved they can still vote against any further move to independence (which the SNP will guarantee will not occur during the five-year lifetime of the next UK parliament, 2015-20, thereby showing that they have accepted the result of the referedum, for the time being, without tying their hands to it for any time longer than is necessary);

      4) the SNP thereby accepts the result of the referendum, while at the same time insisiting that what the Unionist parties jointly seemed to promise the Scottish electorate in September 2014 should now be fulfilled, as of 2015;

      5)if this platform does well for them in May 2015, the SNP will also call for Full Home Rule in their manifesto for Holyrood in 2016;

      6) if the SNP win a majority of seats (or have a majority of votes) in both the 2015 General and the 2016 Holyrood elections, there will be a clear mandate for Full Home Rule, which Westminster would be morally obliged to implement;

      7) both manifestos could point that out, saying a referendum on Home Rule should not be necessary, but if Westminster showed its undemocratic teeth by refusing to agree to it, despite the manifest wish of the Scottish people shown in the elections, then the SNP would insist on a referendum being held on the topic (though the risk here is ‘referendum fatigue’);

      8) if the movement for independence continues to grow in the coming years, even after Full Home Rule has been gained, the SNP will still be able to propose a second referendum on independence as soon as the time seems ripe;

      9) depending on what happens next, that proposal of a second independence referendum could even appear in the SNP’s manifesto for the 2020 General and/or the 2021 Holyrood election;

      10) if the Scottish people vote for Full Home Rule in 2015, and again in 2016, by voting for SNP and SNP-sponsored candidates, and Westminster refuses to ‘grant’ that Full Home Rule, the independence movement will only grow and grow;

      11) maybe even in 2020 and 2021 the SNP will therefore be campaigning, as will other Yes-supporting parties, for a new referendum on independence (or even for independence outright) and there will be a landslide in favour of this proposal;

      12) alternatively, it may turn out that Full Home Rule is achieved before 2020; people want to give it a try; it works well and the movement for independence loses steam, for a very long time to come, though it could always come back.

      Nos. 11 and 12 are both real possibilities: the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. The genuinely important question will remain what is best for the Scottish people and – let us not forget it, perhaps above all – the world at large.

      Foreign policy (including Defence) did not figure as greatly in the Yes campaign of 2014 as it might have done; if Home Rule is ever achieved, it will become the focus. For me, it was always the main point.

      It is British foreign policy over the past 20, 30, 40 years or more that has turned the UK into the bankrupt country it now is, not just financially but morally. It does not deeserve to continue. The creation of an independent Scotland – and a reduced but revived England – will be a real service to the world as a whole.

    61. Croompenstein says:

      @Wull – Really enjoyed your posts Wull do you know Robert Peffers at all, Robert gives us good history lessons on here as well. I had been one of those calling for a UK constitution but I now see the danger in that. I don’t know what it will take to open the Scots unionists eyes to the crimes perpetrated on our nation, I haven’t read much on Irish history but wonder if they had a hard core of unionists they had to win over.

    62. Swiss perspective says:

      But what is equally disturbing is the phrase buried at the bottom of the page on the devolution of corporation tax: “We talked about it at great length and eventually decided it is not something that would be in the interests of Scotland to have as a power.”
      Which is like saying, “it would not be in the interests of a three year-old to have candles in her room.” While plenty of other small countries can manage corporation tax, Scotland somehow can’t. For one, Swiss villages as small as several hundred people have more control over corporation tax than Scotland post-Smith Commission. Strangely, the country has not gone to seed.

    63. Mike Hamilton says:

      Rev, if you are still reading this thread – get that man Wull a guest post!

      Fantastic couple of posts there Wull.

    64. Robert Peffers says:

      What I found to be really hilarious over the past wee while is BBC Radio Scotland’s sound-bite, “No other Station like it”.

      It’s the only true thing they have broadcast in many a long year. I suppose that’s got to be an improvement but they are blowing their own trumpet a bit too hard.

    65. donald anderson says:

      My local SPAR in Kelvindale, Glasgow has the National on the bottom shelf, upside down with another paper on top, every day. Every day I put the other paper on top of the Daily Reptile on the top shelf and turn the papers round.

      We have a real media problem in Scotland.

    66. Derick fae Yell says:



      “It has even been quasi-internalised by many Scots, with adverse effects not just politically but on the psycho-social level”

      That is the root of our problem. Not the theft of our resources, nor the grotesquely undemocratic state we are tied to.

      And it is also the greatest prize of Independence. No longer to be a ‘severed and withered branch as a nation. To regain national and personal self-confidence – the sort of thing you can almost breathe in the air in Bergen and Reykjavik.

      The economic and political progress will follow the psychological independence. I am starting to think it has to be that way round

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