“The illegal migration bill comes just a year after Patel led the passage of the Nationality and Borders Act. Both policies are designed to keep out outsiders, many of whom are black or brown. It is contradictory that the ministers responsible for these policies are descendants of immigrants themselves.”
“Labour took up the anti-centralising rhetoric originally coined by Unionists and turned it against the Thatcher government in the 1980s, portraying its neoliberal policies as an illegitimate affront to Scottish national traditions. At the same time, Labour in Scotland emphasised the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine whether they wanted to be governed by a devolved parliament within the UK. A rhetoric that had initially been coined to glue together an anti-Labour electoral coalition had now become a staple of the Scottish left.” No more?
“For the last few years, the British state has at least been able to pretend that a Labour government might come over the horizon, and solve some of the problems created by the Tories and their austerity. If and when that cavalry does arrive, it will likely come in the flaccid form of Keir Starmer, triangulating towards a far-right Tory opposition. A Sinn Féin-run Ireland may not have to work too hard to convince voters that they are better off under its wings.”
The SNP leadership’s power-hoarding, lack of accountability and secrecy does not augur well for the kind of independent state they wanted to achieve. The SNP has become a very British party.
“Voters still do not appear willing to desert an SNP that is mired in scandal, has lost its figurehead, and looks in no position to bring Scotland any closer to independence than it came in 2014. That is because voting SNP has become the partisan or electoral expression of support for independence.”
“Westminster has decided that all sovereignty rests with itself and it only lends powers to Holyrood – powers that these London-based pipsqueaks will now get to sit in judgement over. So much for the promise that Scotland would have “the most powerful devolved legislature in the world”.”
“A government that operates on the basis of centralisation and control; micro- management and a misplaced lack of faith or worse still, a lack of trust in local government to deliver locally based solutions to both national and local issues will not succeed. It must exploit the full toolbox offered by devolution.”
“Intergovernmental relations across the UK should be redefined on a stronger, formal footing and codified in a new constitutional framework which enhances arrangements for self-government and secures mechanisms for effective isles-wide collaboration.”
James Mitchell’s survey of Scotland and its centres of power ends with reflections on the glaring need for reforming Holyrood after two decades of devolution. “The Scottish Parliament is not a delicate flower that needs protection but a robust institution that required robust critiques, especially from those who support it.”
“No progress can be made so long as the governments – the centres – remained unreformed. No amount of new machinery of Intergovernmental Relations will work – indeed it could make matters worse – if centres are looking for a fight. Providing a gladiatorial arena for constitutional one-upmanship is counter-productive.”