Thursday, 25 June 2015

Whistling past the graveyard

Not content with having attempted to smear the reputation of Nicola Sturgeon with the Frenchgate shenanigans, the Daily Telegraph decided to have another go.  This time we have a report about how Scotland will be depriving the Queen of a cool £2 billion  if and when the Scottish Government takes over management of the Crown Estates.  Showing clearly that they have learned no lessons from Frenchgate, the paper did not bother to check the facts, or it would have discovered that, as the Queen's stipend is a reserved matter and is paid from general taxation, the Scottish government don't have the power to do this even if they wanted to.  Inevitably the whole thing was debunked by the Scottish government and (perhaps surprisingly) by the Treasury in short order, and the palace official who started the whole thing was forced to apologise.

Last week we also had the debate on the Scotland Bill, the legislation that is supposed to implement the recommendations of the Smith Commission, and what a shambles that has turned into.  The very first sentence of the Smith Commission report states that the Scottish Parliament should be made permanent, but an amendment by the SNP which would have required the Scottish people to agree to its abolition via a referendum was voted down by the Tories, so loath are they to give up any control.  Anything deemed 'problematic or controversial' in the Smith Commission report has also been omitted from the Scotland Bill.  We have gone from the fevered promises of the Vow to the watered-down Smith Commission to the positively homeopathic Scotland Bill.

What do these things tell us?  They tell me that the Establishment is very afraid of the Scots.  Sure, they won the referendum, but not by nearly as much of a margin as they had anticipated.  Indeed the Vow itself was the result of a panic in the higher echelons when polls started to show the Yes side in the lead.  Since then we have heard nothing but derision of the SNP and by extension of Scotland and its people.  There is a daily diet of 'SNP accused...' and 'Scottish government forced to deny...'.

It has to be assumed that this constant derision has one aim - to try and put Scotland and the Scots back in their box.  They've reckoned without the thrawn streak in the Scottish character though.  The streak that will make us say 'Is that right?' and 'Oh can't we?'  Meantime it's all just whistling past the graveyard on the part of the Establishment.

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