Vote in the most important European elections in your life

Polls are open in this year’s European elections and if you’ve not been paying attention this is the one where if Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party sweep to victory then expect UK politics to shift so far towards extremism that’ll be difficult for the UK to ever turn back. With Boris Johnson’s ascension to Tory leader a formality we don’t have any other chance to make it clear at the ballot box that enough people stand against this.

In Scotland things are clear. A strong SNP/Green vote sends a message we’re pro EU and that we have no intention of falling behind Farage like England and Wales. England, sadly, looks like it’ll return a massive majority of Brexit Party MEP’s and that will not be good.

So get out today and vote. Try to make your voice heard before it becomes difficult to do so.

How does the Supreme Court Brexit ruling affect the campaign for Scottish Independence?

Today the  UK Supreme Court ruled that the UK parliament has to vote to approve Article 50 (the legislation which triggers the UK’s two year long divorce from the EU) which effectively means the government has to put forward a bill and MP’s vote on it. So will unelected peers in the House of Lords but the UK’s creaking constitution allows this. There’s also the trifling matter that the devolved countries of the UK (Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) saw their court cases that Article 50 can’t be invoked without votes approving it in Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh thrown out.

At this point it’s best to read this splendid Iain McWhirter piece which explains this in detail but contains such information of importance I’m quoting a big chunk of it…

LEGISLATIVE consent may sound like another of those tiresome lawyer’s phrases; it’s anything but. Lack of it could stall Brexit, trigger an independence referendum or even break up the Union.

Legislative consent is what used to be called the Sewel Convention, under which the Scottish Parliament has a right to vote on actions of Westminster that impinge on its powers. Today, the UK Supreme Court will address whether or not Holyrood has a right of consent on Article 50, triggering Brexit.

The UK Government is adamant that it should not, and that the Scottish Parliament has no right to interfere. Anyway, the constitution is reserved to Westminster. Advocates of legislative consent, including the Scottish Government, argue that Holyrood certainly should have a say because Brexit will massively affect Holyrood’s powers. Under the Scotland Act 1998, Scottish legislation has to be in accordance with EU law, and this will end when the European Communities Act is repealed.

Moreover, in the Scotland Act 2016, the Sewel Convention was supposedly put on a “statutory basis”, as part of the post referendum “vow” on entrenching Holyrood’s powers. Most people believed this meant that there was now a legal obligation for Holyrood to give its assent to changes to its powers. But no.

The UK Government had inserted a weasel word into the Act. It says that “Westminster will not NORMALLY legislate with regard to devolved matters without the consent of the Scottish Parliament” Since Brexit is not “normal” then legislative consent doesn’t apply

Effectively this means this: The centre of political power in the UK is Westminster. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are essentially regions with glorified councils calling themselves ‘parliaments’ and ‘assemblies’. These can be swept aside because as McWhirter points out;

Under the Scotland Act 1998, Scottish legislation has to be in accordance with EU law, and this will end when the European Communities Act is repealed.

The Great Repeal Bill the Tories talk about will bring all EU legislation into UK law to be then kept or dumped depending upon whatever Westminster says. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the devolved countries could find their own powers being taken back, or indeed, scrapped for central rule, and yes, the Northern Powerhouse plans to devolve power to big northern English areas is window dressing. Legal political power in the UK is at the discretion of Westminster who are not obliged to do anything the devolved governments (though really, they’re not governments) say which means all those solemn vows of 2014 meant nothing, or as McWhirter puts it;

Moreover, in the Scotland Act 2016, the Sewel Convention was supposedly put on a “statutory basis”, as part of the post referendum “vow” on entrenching Holyrood’s powers. Most people believed this meant that there was now a legal obligation for Holyrood to give its assent to changes to its powers. But no.

The UK Government had inserted a weasel word into the Act. It says that “Westminster will not NORMALLY legislate with regard to devolved matters without the consent of the Scottish Parliament” Since Brexit is not “normal” then legislative consent doesn’t apply. Ha, ha – Scots should have read the act more carefully.

Scotland had the chance to make it’s own successes and failures. It had the chance to make a future of its own. It didn’t, choosing instead to stay in the Union, yet that Union which promised ‘Scotland’s voice will be heard louder than ever before’ lied. It sold you a stinky kipper when you were expecting fresh salmon.

Essentially we’re at this stage…

facepalm

 

So what do we do about it? Well, some MPs are going to vote against invoking Article 50 but there won’t be enough thanks to the sheer lunacy of Jeremy Corbyn telling his MP’s to vote it through which hands the Tories a massive advantage because anyone who thinks they’ll be able to influence the Tories once Article 50 is invoked is a fool, or is someone who wants to leave the EU themselves. Forget that leaving will drive those people Labour say they speak for into virtual serfdom as the Brexiters vision of a tax haven emerges from the wreckage of Brexit. Outdated ideology is Corbyn’s mantra it seems which brings us to this point…

picard-double-facepalm-o

There’s not a lot of options on the table now. The ball is in Westminster’s court as to whether they take into account the Scottish Government’s Brexit proposals (hint: they won’t) but with elections in Northern Ireland looming the United Kingdom is under threat.

See, the thing is in 2014 there was a culmination of years of debate and argument which was won partly based upon Scotland’s EU membership with articles like this ensuring enough scares were given to coax people to vote for the safer, more secure option as after all, Westminster wouldn’t lie or disregard Scotland would they?

Guess where we are now?

alonefacepalm

I asked the question what the Supreme Court ruling means for Scottish independence and for me, it’s very simple; it makes it essential. The ruling makes federalism impossible as after all, if federalism is to happen not only would England need broken up to deal with the inequalities in size (won’t happen) then Westminster would need to permanently give powers away so they can never be seized back and that isn’t going to happen. Essentially devolution is a scam. It’s like going on Poundland’s website and realising everything isn’t a pound.

A second referendum is essential not just for the democracy of Scotland, but for all the four countries of the UK. Forget the angry independence supporters talking of UDI or worse, as we win independence peacefully and legally or we forget it. We have to convince both people that voted no and people on the fence that Scotland as a country needs to make it’s own democratic decisions. My hope is if/when Scotland achieves independence it pulls the last block out of the entire broken British state which comes down crumbling like a giant game of Jenga. When it does, then something new and better can be created for the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, assuming of course we’ve not seen Irish unification by then.

Scotland is at a crossroads now. Patience is needed. There are diehard Unionists spitting flecks of rage and anger online as they know today is a turning point. They know that promises are meaningless as after all, the Supreme Court has shown this, so here’s the thing. Take today not as a day to get angry, but channel that anger into something useful. Do you know someone who voted No in 2014? Great, now talk to them rationally and ask them what they think of the ruling? Ask them if they’re happy their kids, or the generations after them, will be growing up with social justice and equality as things they read about in books? Know someone not sure what to do or showing no understanding of the connotations of today? Great, sit them down and go through it with them. Point out the issues. Ask them what they think.

Because if independence supporters don’t sell independence to no voters or those undecided (there will be those 25% or so who’ll never,ever vote for independence and they can be ignored or avoided) this is going to happen to the next generation, and the next and the next and the next. You get the idea.

There will never be a greater weapon in the armoury for independence than today. We can use it wisely. I suggest we do because we’re going to need it when a second referendum does happen, and it will. For now though, be patient and be calm. This is a long game and if it’s lost next time, it’s lost for generations.

How Brexiters are dealing with Brexit

There’s a video circulating today of Theresa May standing alone looking lost during an EU summit, which is wonderful, apt and sums up where the UK is as it stands alone trying to work out what the hell it’s going to do next.

The reaction to Brexiters to the sheer mess we’re in, and the fact the Tory government hasn’t a blind clue what it can do, let alone what it could do, is summed up in one page of comics.

brexitfine

There’s still three months til Article 50 is invoked and negotiations begin proper, but essentially we’re fucked. Still, we can laugh at the deluded insanity of the hardcore Brexiter.

So you voted UKIP…..

Well done, you have (as Stewart Lee said) shat in your bed to complain about someone shitting in your bed. A third of those who voted in a pitifully low turnout voted for UKIP or another extremist far-right party in the local elections. You voted for a party who have no local policies beyond weekly rubbish collections and ‘common sense’.

These are the results so far.

Labour 570 (+94)

Conservatives 468 (-101)

Lib Dems 139 (-84)

UKIP 87 (+86)

Green 4 (+1)

Of course the media needs to take some responsibility here. For months we’ve had nothing from the alleged ‘leftish’ media like the Guardian and the Mirror that UKIP were racist (which they are) and pose a danger (which they do) but offering no alternative apart from the Westminster parties. This is why people are fed up. They’re tired of what the Westminster parties offer which is why UKIP pose a threat, and now they’ve had some limited success this means the Tories and Labour will try to counter UKIP not by providing a seriously different alternative to UKIP, but by becoming more like UKIP which again shows the lack of imagination and paucity of thought in Westminster.

These papers could have pushed The Greens, or for Scottish and Welsh voters, the SNP or Plaid, but no, it’s Westminster which is the only other option because it’s the same sad old arguments. I’m watching the waste of flesh that is Michael Gove squirm on breakfast TV trying to drag the discussion round to slagging off Labour and pull the old line that the government is ‘addressing people’s concerns’, when they’re clearly fucking well not. There’s the problem. All the Tories and Labour offer is the same auld shite but with sprinkles on top, while UKIP offer an illusion of change while wanting to remove hard earned working rights from the EU and also get us out of the Human Rights Act.

There’s now an item on breakfast news about an EU ruling which means that people on commission may get better holiday pay so that holiday pay is based upon people’s basic pay, but thanks to the EU it may be that employers have to calculate pay based upon their total pay with commission. This is part of the Working Time Directive. This is what UKIP want to take away from millions of people. This is what you’ve voted for.

So you voted UKIP. You didn’t just vote for a party which is racist, and is setting other cultures up to be better (‘I want more quality” said Farage on LBC), but one operating for business so they can take away workers rights. It’s not ‘immigrants’ doing this. It won’t be ‘foreigners’ who will make your jobs worse, or take away your holiday pay, or the health and safety legislation that stops you from being injured or worse, but it’s you. You voted UKIP. You’re helping pushing Westminster politics more to the right, and right into UKIP’s hands. You brought this upon yourselves. You had the democratic right to make an informed decision with your vote but you didn’t. You just shat the bed for the 70% of the country who did vote and didn’t vote for an extremist party.

And oh, if you didn’t vote and you complain about things, don’t be a wanker like Russel Brand and wait for a revolution to happen because you’ve played into the extremists hands. Not voting (you could even fucking have spoiled your paper) is handing power to the likes of UKIP. You’re just as culpable as those who voted UKIP.