Podcast: All the legal niceties of the rough-house


Never mind the bollocks, here come the Supreme Court judges. Whatever your views on the Scottish constitution, you at least know now that our shiny devolved parliament may not amount to a large hill of beans when it comes to decision-making.

Andrew Tickell
Andrew Tickell

The Supreme Court’s decision to force the UK Government to put the triggering of Brexit negotiations with the European Union before Parliament was welcomed by many. But it was accompanied by a decision that the devolved legislatures of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales did not have to be consulted in any formal way.

Although the decision was no shock to Scottish legal observers, it undermines the promises made in the Smith Commission report that provided the basis of the most recent Scotland Act which awarded more powers to Holyrood. Then, politicians assumed that the “Sewel Convention”, by which the Scottish Parliament be consulted on issues concerning any changes to devolved matters, had been enshrined in law. The Supreme Court effectively ruled this week that this did not pertain to Brexit, effectively leaving all power in such matters to Westminster.

What does this all mean, and should we be alarmed by it? Podcast host Derek Bateman turned to Andrew Tickell, political blogger and law lecturer, to find out more. They were joined by journalist and film-maker Maurice Smith as they chewed over all this and the week’s other political events in Scotland, London and Washington.

You can tune in by clicking on the audio file above, via your usual podcast channels including iTunes, or using our RSS feed: http://www.buzzsprout.com/57229.rss

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  1. it is not possible for the united kingdom parliament to give Scotland a devolved parliament they do not have the power, only the Scottish members of the united kingdom parliament have this right do this and if it happens.
    it recalls the Scottish parliament and claim of rights back to Scotland therefore it ends the united kingdom parliament.
    there is no reason for Scotland to do or carry out any referenda.it has already left the union of Scotland and England and is now the parliament of the reclaimed rights of the Scottish people’
    Westminster it has clothes of the greatest ritchness? no it doesn’t said spud murthie its nacked thus apake murthyustra


  2. A couple of random thoughts and a question to the legal eagle:
    1. The Scottish Government’s law officer in addition to the Scotland Acts/Sewell etc arguments also presented other arguments which referred back to Acts of the Scottish parliament prior to 1707. Were these dealt with in any way by the Supreme Court?

    2. Re imperviousness of some die-hard unionist NO voters to pointing out some of the obvious failures of ‘Britain’, which they acknowledge, but still reject independence because of some relatively small aspect of independence, which, of course, in a dynamic world cannot be guaranteed. The ‘perfectionist fallacy’, which we were warned about in philosophy classes, becomes elevated to an article of faith. Sometimes in my more cynical musings when I think of all these politicians who studied PPE at university, I think that the reason they took these courses was to learn how to deploy philosophical fallacies in plausible ways!

    3. In your conversation you alluded to Mrs May’s and other’s, including the Quisling Gordon Brown, trumpeting of “BRITISH VALUES” and “BRITISHNESS”: but, rarely are these actually articulated. They are simply empty shells which have a very decorous cover and give out Imperial Music. They do not contain anything, but the simple assertion of them gives their adherents a sense of solidarity and, indeed, superiority, to other races (especially those who are actually British citizens and who might have fought in the armed forces or whose fathers fought in the armed forces, but who consider themselves, Irish, Scottish or Welsh first). This British/English exceptionalism is becoming more openly spoken of beyond the pages of the Express, Mail, Telegraph. The New Statesman invokes it regularly. When pressed about British Values a few are listed, which are values to which just about every decent human on the planet holds. When asked about Britishness, we get a list of ‘great historic events’ (and of course, every country has these, and we Scots have our favourites), foods, traditions, etc. Many of the historic events are actually from English history often viewed through the lens of Shakespeare’s plays, the kings, Elizabeth Tudor, Agincourt, Crecy, the Norman Conquest (they never conquered us, nor even tried!), Magna Carta, etc. roast beef, the Beefeaters, the Tower, ‘this sceptr’d isle, this England….” Of course, there are many histories of the many groups who live on the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, but there is only one TRUE HISTORY! There is a self delusion much more deeply entrenched to our own drunken, “here’s tae us, wha’s like us?” which most of us in sobriety use somewhat self deprecatingly. It is self delusion, The belief in one’s own propaganda. The myth of the (white) Commonwealth coming to the aid of their ‘kith and kin’. The reaction to any thought that Europeans, Indians, Australians, Canadians, etc. actually reject these approaches is one of the equivalent of ‘Well fuck yese aw, then!” With the comforting 1940’s myth of when Britain stood alone.

    Unless we can detach ourselves soon from this we will face several years of really hard times until enough people in England change their minds or perhaps as indicated by the reported conversation with the late Mr John MacKay, MP, rioting breaks out in Scottish cities, violence resumes in Northern Ireland, the Poll Tax riots sweep London.

  3. 56 out of 59 Scottish MP’s is an overwhelming Scottish majority and more than sufficient to dissolve the UK union and parliament (insofar as Scotland is concerned) in the same way it began, an outcome even Mrs Thatcher and many Tory/Labour/Liberal politicians accepted. If he disagrees on the constitutional ‘legality’ of this, perhaps Dr. Tickell might explain why?

  4. Too right Mr Baird. If 56 out of 59 Scottish MPs cannot change anything then this suggests that the bomb and the bullit or other such behavior is the potential direction of travel. An outrageous concept in a civalised society one may scoff but equally the horror that was Northern Ireland was borne out of civil discontent and a failed devolved parliamentary system. Scotland did not vote for Mrs May, did not vote for the Tory policies and with 56 MPs who are about as effective as cardboard cutouts,, Westminster plays fast and loose with its colonial possession. Troops on the streets of Scotland I hope not but the risk is there.

    • Aye would they be Scottish troops or dare I say English troops. Think the later might be like a red rag to the bull, and would Scottish troops actually deploy or refuse. just a thought.

  5. Can anyone get any reasoned or rational response from Labour on the Sewel decisions? And what do people think is going to happen?


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