Surely no-one can possibly look at the absolute chaos, failure and incompetence of the Westminster Parliament in handling Brexit and believe that it remains fit to govern Scotland? The two main Westminster political parties are in a state of internal civil war, suffering defections and resignations and possess no ability to propose a solution that commands a majority of MPs.
All outcomes from this Brexit shambles are bad, all forms of Brexit are harder on Scotland that on the rest of the UK due to our economy’s success in exporting, our need to attract skilled EU labour and the fact that Scotland, with 8.4% of the UK population, wins 17.5% of the EU grants that come to the UK. However, even cancelling Brexit is a bad outcome now as it will lead to political civil war, more breakaway parties in Westminster, potential civil unrest and certainly political paralysis at a time when we need good governance.
All of this is far removed from the regular trope of unionist activists in the run-up to the Scottish independence referendum, that Westminster’s MPs were of a higher quality than those at Holyrood and better suited to running Scotland even from afar. Some believed this even in the face of a massive majority of MPs who’s interests most definitely do not include putting Scotland first.
For example, recently a non-binding vote was held to rule out a No Deal Brexit and was shockingly only passed by a narrow majority of just 43 (Aye 321 to No 278). A No Deal Brexit is universally accepted to be a disastrous outcome for the UK and far, far worse for Scotland. The UK Government’s own analysis suggested that, following a No Deal Brexit, Scotland would run out of food in 10 days yet the UK’s governing party voted to keep No Deal on the table anyway.
Clearly every Scottish MPs is ethically bound to vote against a No Deal Brexit, but the UK’s Conservative Government is backed by 13 Scottish Conservative MPs (unlucky for Scotland) and only one (Paul Masterton from East Renfrewshire) voted against that totally unacceptable situation for Scotland. Even David Mundell, the actual Secretary of State for Scotland, abstained in the vote. This proves that the Conservatives in Scotland just do not have Scotland’s interests at heart.
It is ironic that Scotland only returned so many Conservatives in the 2017 General Election because the Labour Party encouraged tactical voting for Conservative candidates. Scottish Labour wanted to keep Scotland under Westminster rule and accidentally ended-up helping the Conservatives form a Government with the help of the DUP.
The myth of the competent Westminster / UK political class has been blown apart for all to see. It’s clearly time for Scotland to sack Westminster and challenge Holyrood to make better decisions for Scotland.
We don’t need to replicate the old political styles of Westminster though, we need subsidiarity (localised decision making), empowering local councils and residents/community councils throughout Scotland and engaging more people in the political process. Decentralising power from Holyrood, especially to areas with specific geographic needs such as the islands, is key to rural prosperity. We should also look at blockchain type technologies to enable electronic voting and regular opinion polling so that younger people become more politically engaged, and regular polling can be used so that Scotland’s national conversation can influence our own politicians and institutions.
Almost everyone has stopped believing that Westminster is a competent legislative body. All we need now is for people to start believing in Scotland, and things can only get better from there.