The duplicity of the British political elite is something we have come to take for granted. Had there been any doubt that the British establishment takes a very ‘relaxed’ attitude to dishonesty that doubt was banished once and for all by the Alistair Carmichael scandal.
While people will, quite understandably, tend to focus on Gove’s nefarious double-dealing and his casual betrayal of the fishing community, it may be that the more significant aspect of this affair goes relatively unnoticed. I refer to the fact that the Scottish Government was totally cut out of things. On a devolved matter, the devolved administration was completely ignored.
We should not imagine that this was simply an oversight. British nationalists will seek to minimise the incident. They will dismiss it as a trivial one-off mistake. Just as they did the last time. Just as they will do the next time. And the time after that.
Let there be no doubt that this was a deliberate snub. It is inconceivable that Gove was not briefed by civil servants whose job it is to ensure that proper protocol is followed at all times. He was told that the Scottish Government should, at the very least, be informed beforehand that devolved matters were to be discussed. The decision to ignore the Scottish Government was a calculated insult.
The British establishment is seeking to delegitimise Scotland’s democratic institutions. Sidelining our First Minister, bypassing our government and disregarding our parliament are all part of the British state’s reaction to Holyrood becoming the principal locus of Scotland’s politics. This is seen as threatening the sovereignty of Westminster. Which cannot be tolerated.
It’s an ongoing process. Insidious and malign. While it is entirely fitting that we should be outraged by the blatant dishonesty and craven treachery, we should also be mindful of what is behind it all. There is more at stake here than Scotland’s fishing industry. Our democracy is in jeopardy.
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