Stay or Walk?
Posted on June 13th, 2018
by Rab Bruce’s Spider
Nobody should really be surprised by what happened in the House of Commons yesterday. The Tories have shown time and again that they have no intentions of listening to Scotland and of forging ahead with Brexit whatever the cost. Labour, meanwhile, adopted their usual stance of abstaining on the Devolution vote, with some of their MPs even voting alongside the Tories on some of the other amendments.
We were told that the reason for Brexit is that Parliament wanted to take back control, but it has instead shrugged when offered the chance and decided to allow Tory Ministers to do whatever they want without the need for Parliamentary approval. There was talk of some Tory rebels voting against the Government but, as usual, they chickened out at the last moment, allegedly because they believed some promises made by Theresa May on concessions she would allow in the next draft of the Bill. Based on her track record, it seems unlikely those promises will be kept, but they have achieved their purpose.
As for the so-called debates, when the farcical voting system was taken into account, MPs had a whole 15 minutes to debate the Devolution amendment. The Tories got up to their usual trick of talking out the time.
The entire thing was a fiasco, a mockery of democracy, and an insult to Scotland. The Tories’ response to a complaint lodged by Ian Blackford, SNP leader at Westminster, was to advise him, and presumably every other Scot who doesn’t like what they are up to, to commit suicide. Given the number of desperate people who have already been driven to take their own lives by Tory Austerity, that comment is, quite frankly, sickening.
There was a great deal of outcry on social media, with many people stating that the SNP MPs should now walk out of Westminster since there is no chance of them ever being listened to. That is an understandable reaction but, tempting as it seems, it is one the SNP will probably resist.
There are sound reasons for them to stay where they are and, frustrating as it must be for them, to continue to try to work within the bizarre framework imposed by Westminster. That’s because the path the Tories are careering down is bound to bring about another IndyRef.
Brexit is not going to be stopped now, so dissolving the Union is the only course left to Scotland unless we want to go down with the sinking ship that the UK is becoming.
But if the SNP walk out of Westminster now, this would give the media an opportunity to paint them as acting on grievance and going into a sulk before the full Parliamentary process has taken place. The fact that this process has already excluded Scotland won’t matter because the media will want to paint the SNP as the ones at fault.
However, once Brexit becomes an absolute inevitability and the Withdrawal Bill process has been completed, the Scottish Government will be able to demonstrate that the SNP have repeatedly tried to work within the Westminster rules and been denied at every stage. They will then be able to say, with complete justification, that they have no alternative but to call for another IndyRef. So, hard as it may be to put up with the constant barrage of insults thrown at them, a walkout is not the best thing to do . Yet.