Jo Coburn is caught red-handed lying on behalf of Better Together. And not for the first time. She tells license fee payers that there will be new devolution powers if only Scotland has the courage to vote against independence. She said that after her Better Together guest had just dismissed the idea, citing the notorious West Lothian Question to back up his rejection of additional powers.
Twenty two minutes into the latest edition of Daily Politics, we hear ex-Scottish Secretary, Michael Forsyth, say the following:
“But if we are going to talk about extra powers for Scotland, after Scotland has decided to remain in the United Kingdom, then that is not just a matter for Scotland; that is a matter for the United Kingdom as a whole.”….
And after a brief interruption from Jo Coburn, he elaborates: “If you are going to give more powers to Scotland, then clearly we have to address the West Lothian Question. We have to think about the implications for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. But that is about what are the rules of the club. At the moment we are trying to decide if Scotland remains in the club.”
What Michael Forsyth ‘forgets’ in his refreshingly frank revelation (one that implies not merely the loss of Scottish MPs voting rights, but addressing what English Tories perceive as an existing injustice) is that the Better Together leadership he tells us is winning the arguments hand-down are making these promises that he rejects in order to con Scottish voters. False hopes are being held out to trick us into rejecting the only set of proposals on the table.
And why are these the only proposals on the table? Precisely because the Better Together leaders he admires so much refused to allow Scots the option that two thirds consistently said was their preferred option: devomax.
Devomax, for the benefit of the increasingly irrational Douglas Alexander, and everyone else who pretends they never knew what it means, is all sovereignty devolved to Scotland’s parliament, with the sole exceptions of foreign affairs and defense. While such an arrangement points in the direction of a federal Britain, is implicit within such a demand, reciprocity would be a matter for the English, not for Scotland.
This is the first time I can remember hearing anyone from the No Campaign being this honest, or anything close to it. What a pity Jo Coburn refused to tease out the dynamite implications of the world exclusive that had just fallen into her lap from a Better Together spokesperson – albeit an unofficial spokesperson: there can be zero additional devolved powers to Scotland without the English people having their say. Possibly by means of an all-United Kingdom referendum?
It is likely that no such referendum will ever see the light of day. But why would that be? One of several possibilities is that the next UK parliament would examine opinion polls and after introducing this amendment into a Tory bill. They would then say it would be a monstrous waste of public funds to hold such a referendum given that England was so overwhelmingly opposed to this devolution.
Ruth Davidson could then tell Scotland’s voters who voted for the lies of the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems that we can vote any or all of them out in five years time. However, this would be totally unacceptable. It would create a constitutional crisis that would have a logic of its own, and not a very healthy one.
If Tories think that the Scottish people would tolerate such a corruption of our once-in-a-generation referendum on self-determination, then they don’t have a clue. There would be mass civil disobedience after such an insult to the voters. What would happen next? The very same British state that no doubt has paid Special Branch agent provocateurs to infiltrate the YES Campaign, to smear us as trolls, would then deploy the same Special Branch ‘state rapists’ and perjurers who were used in Ireland to work hand-in-glove with Loyalist Death Squads to murder Catholic civil rights lawyers like Pat Finucane.
I have no doubt that some of those Royal Pardons Queen Elizabeth II handed out last week were handed out to murderers of innocent Catholics who, unlike Pat Finucane, do not live in our hearts and minds because the British State has successfully buried all traces of what they succeeded in doing. It is behavior like this that explains why Douglas Alexander is working hand-in-glove with Hilary Clinton and all the other supporters of the NSA who are trying to kidnap democratically-elected Glasgow University Rector, Edward Snowden.
What Michael Forsyth says about the West Lothian Question is, to be frank, fine as far as I am concerned. At any rate, the existing constitutional arrangement is unsustainable. It is remarkable it has existed this long. All the additional promises offered by Ruth Davidson, Willie Rennie and Johann Lamont would raise this unsustainability exponentially. Every broadcaster in Scotland, and England too, those who are not idiots (of which there are a few) knows this to be the case. They just refuse to discuss it. Why is that?
Let’s take Ruth Davidson’s attitude towards Holyrood being offered 100% powers over income tax. Does she seriously expect Tory MPs to tolerate MSPs denying them any say on income tax in Scotland while dozens of Scottish Labour MPs could vote on income tax rates for their constituents? What an absurd idea.
Even in event of the Tory Party being able to form a majority government (which is a lottery given the UK’s first-past-the-post on the one hand and today’s opinion polls on the other), what difference would this make? If Ruth Davidson’s Tories got a sniff of forming a majority government at Westminster, this would transform the YES Campaign into one having an 8% lead in the polls.
In what universe is Ruth Davidson’s proposition fair? In what universe does it make the slightest bit of sense? And that is to ignore the overwhelming likelihood that there will be a hung parliament, with Tories, Lib Dems and Labour all content they have their respective excuses in the bag: each can say they did their best, but MPs from the other parties simply refused to see sense.
Ruth Davidson, David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Theresa May all know that the election pledges of the Tories in Scotland are not worth the paper they are written on. The English voters would not tolerate an intensification of the United Kingdom’s existing lopsidedness.
The existing devolution settlement is an affront to English voters. And I say that as a supporter of Scottish independence, and devomax before it was removed from the referendum ballot paper.
There are two and only two solutions to this problem, a problem that breeds legitimate resentment within England: Scottish independence, which we will get a vote on on the 18th of September this year, or a federal Britain.
A federal solution can come about in many ways. The purest form would be a separate English parliament, elected as the Scottish one is, preferably: proportional representation. However, Tories don’t seem keen on that idea. They are much more likely to prefer to amend legislation on increased sovereignty for Scotland by curtailing the voting rights of Scottish MPs. In all likelihood, Nick Clegg’s pledge-breaking bastards – assuming any of them are not flushed down the toilet of history, which is what they all deserve – would enter the same lobby as David Cameron’s. What about Ed Miliband’s MPs?
Miliband’s entire front bench, and his back benches too, will beyond a shadow of a doubt vote against any curtailing of the rights of Scottish MPs to vote on matters that are exclusively English. This is a fact. The reason Jo Coburn refused to quiz Michael Forsyth about this reference to the West Lothian Question is the same one no broadcaster at the BBC, SKY News, Channel Four News nor anywhere else in the mainstream media have any intention of exploring this contradiction in Better Together’s devolution pledges: they are aware that to raise it publicly would perform the same function as opening the curtains in the last scene in a Dracula movie: Better Together would crumble into ashes instantaneously.
Ruth Davidson, Willie Rennie, Johann Lamont and their partners at Westminster have no intention of offering Scots any consolation prize if their self-designated Project Fear denies Scotland our right to self determination. These devolution pledges are the poisoned carrot to Project Fear’s water cannon. They are a lie whose sole point is to trick Scotland into screwing up on Referendum Day. They are a pack of lies that the YES Campaign has to expose as a matter of extreme urgency.
Oh, by the way, while we are at it, it is high time that broadcasters like Jo Coburn are asked why they refuse to demand that Michael Forsyth, Jackie Bailley, John McTernan, John Reid et al condemn the abuse of supporters of Scottish independence.
Every supporter of Scottish independence should follow this Twitter account to remind us what Jo Coburn refuses to let the license fee payers see: https://twitter.com/BritNatAbuseBot
For the benefit of the hard of thinking, I am not suggesting that two wrongs make a right. This abuse directed at supporters of the YES Campaign does not justify any mirror image from individuals in our campaign. We can debate the tone, and we are likely to disagree about what does and does not constitute fair comment or abuse. But we must try to see it when it is there on our side, and we must expose what is out there that is provoking some of us into counterproductive retaliation. And, as I have said repeatedly, trolling on our side will in part be down to paid agent provocateurs. And to the extent the BBC is biased towards Better Together, which is indisputable, overreaction by individuals is a symptom of a BBC disease. Disinfecting these trolls is meaningless insofar as the BBC refuses to do anything about their abuse of the YES Campaign.