The straitjacket of devolution

Surely no sane, sober and sensible person can now deny that devolution is the problem. Always inadequate in every sense, devolution has come to be both an intolerable affront to democracy and an unsustainable straitjacket making good governance increasingly difficult.

Even is we accept, however reluctantly, that the original intentions were worthy, we cannot escape the reality that devolution has now become a political weapon wielded by the British state in its urgent desire to crush democratic dissent and remove impediments to the ‘One Nation’ British nationalist project.

The SNP administration has proved exceptionally adept at maintaining Scotland’s public services and improving the country’s infrastructure within the crippling constraints of a devolved budget. But this process long since ceased to be merely a tricky “balancing act“. It is now a hugely testing exercise in negotiating a path through a proliferation of fiscal traps and political pitfalls.

I do not doubt for one moment that Derek MacKay is up to the task. The SNP administration will continue to meet, as well as any administration might, the challenge of governing with its hands tied behind its back. But how long can it go on? How much longer will any Scottish Government be able to mitigate the economically destructive and socially corrosive policies imposed by the British government while the latter works relentlessly to limit the former’s means of doing so?

And all of this is before the British political elite exploits the opportunity offered by Brexit to unilaterally abolish the existing devolution settlement and impose – without consultation or consent – an arrangement that more effectively serves the aims and objectives of ‘One Nation’f British nationalist ideology.

We urgently need to free ourselves from the stultifying limitations of devolution. We must allow Scotland’s administration the tools it needs to do the job that we demand of it.. We must restore to our Parliament all the powers that are being arbitrarily withheld by the British state.

We must bring our government home!


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About Peter A Bell

Thinker. Listener. Talker. Reader. Writer. None of my attitudes are immutable. None of my conclusions are final. None of my opinions are humble.
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