National readers react to a 'naked power grab' by Westminster

IT is in the nature of authoritarian regimes to want to dispense with and dispose of other power centres, or at the very least bring them to heel. With no more right of appeal to a court not governed purely by “British” domestic law, the Westminster regime would ride roughshod over all our rights, personal, civic and economic, to an even greater extent than they have done already.

The judicial branch may no longer be able to stand in the way of the out-of-control executive. We are fortunate only in that the legislative branch is not under quite such firm control as Mrs May no doubt expected.

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If the Scottish Parliament (and the Welsh Assembly) have the temerity to oppose the Repeal Bill and thereby oppose the regime, it is possible that they may not be overruled: the regime may simply choose to ignore them. It is already their wont, with the enthusiastic support of the Davidsons and Mundells of this world, to ignore the wishes and proposals of the Scottish Government, the legitimate decisions of the democratically-elected Scottish Parliament, and the clearly expressed will of the Scottish people, except, of course, when it coincides with their own.

Being ignored could be the least-worst outcome, however; the very worst would see Holyrood (and Cardiff) completely stripped of their powers, and possibly even shut down.

We should not forget that every promise we have ever heard that the Scottish Parliament would be made permanent has turned out to be a lie. Stormont has been shut down often enough. There is nothing whatsoever to stop the Westminster regime doing the same to Holyrood. They may not even bother to invent a justification or an excuse for it.

The Repeal Bill is the first and greatest opportunity that has fallen into the regime’s grasping hands to do exactly what they have for so long desired: to rule the roost in England’s green and pleasant land from now to eternity. A devolved Scottish Government does not accord with their plans. The same goes for the Welsh Assembly. The question of Northern Ireland is just too large to broach, I think. This Bill move is no surprise whatsoever to some of us.

We feared the worst, but we had hoped we would be wrong. “British democracy” has been a sham and a bad joke for a very long time now, but now we are seeing its final conversion from quaint oxymoron to flat-out lie.
Ed Freeman

I THINK we all knew this would happen. No commitment to honour even the existing devolution settlement! Theresa May’s first visit to Scotland as PM was a barefaced sham. She promised to consult the devolved governments, but over the past year has not done so.

The Tories as presently organised are an English government, and although they freely use the terms Britain and UK, they really mean England. The days of genuine “one nation” Tories are over, and the “one nation” is now only England. The Scottish Tories are totally subject to London decisions.

We recently had an election, during which the Scottish branches of the Tory and Labour parties pretended to be Scottish parties. Despite this pretence, neither managed a serious deliverable manifesto. They are not separate in any meaningful way from the London hegemony.

It truly astounds me that any of my fellow Scots believe that in the current climate of English nationalism, either the Tory or Labour parties will put Scottish interests on the agenda, let alone voice them at all. There is some slight hope that the Labour Party will put forward amendments to the Bill to force a vote on devolved issues, but will that vote succeed?

We are witnessing one of the most bizarre governments of recent years. They are reducing naval orders, but we have just floated an aircraft carrier to the readily anticipated news that there are missiles with twice the speed of our defensive missiles. Eggs in baskets?

We are told we will get a great trade deal with the EU because the Germans want to sell cars. If we are outside the free trade area, the Germans can still sell us cars, the import tariffs are up to us, but we can’t sell cars to Europe without a 10 per cent tariff. What a bargaining position! There was never a better time to explain the imperative of independence.
A Mitchell

The National:

I HAVEN’T seen any willingness on the part of Theresa May up to now to give Scotland or any other devolved part of the UK a say on what would be in our interest with regard to leaving the EU. Therefore it’s unlikely that she will have a change of heart (oh, did I just say “heart”) regarding returning the devolved aspects of power to Scotland that we have already gained.

She “shed a tear” in disbelief that she lost her majority. That was supposed to show us that the Maybot has feelings. One significant thing which is obvious to all and sundry is that the only time she can shed a tear is when she is not getting her way. I bet her reverend daddy put up with some spoiled foot-stamping in his time.

Fluffy Mundell cannot be trusted to fight for his own nation and the 13 “pointless” Tories obviously couldn’t give a cuss either. What incentives did they give their constituents, I can’t help wondering.

We should block, block and block again and fight tooth and nail to get our devolved powers back from this most arrogant and colonial-loving and backward-looking Westminster government and without delay.

Europe watch this space: you will learn why so many Scots have become so disenchanted with our so-called broad-shouldered southern neighbours.
Brenda Braithwaite

A GERRYMANDERED, rigged piece of legislation that has been set out with one aim: total return of power to Westminster and the sidelining of the devolved parliaments. The idea that Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or even ordinary English folk should have a say in the running of the UK is anathema to the Tories.

Anyone who thinks otherwise is either blind stupid or completely duped by the propaganda machine that is the BBC and the right-wing press.

The MPs are acting along the same lines as Mundell: they are Tory representatives in Scotland, not Scottish representatives at Westminster. They care not a whit for Scotland or its people, including those that elected them. They will represent the Tories to their constituents, never the other way round.
Grant Brown

I WAS of the opinion that living in Scotland meant that I was judged and governed under Scots law. I was always led to believe that, even after 1707, Scots law was sacrosanct.

I keep hearing the term “British law”. Does this mean that after Brexit Scots law will no longer exist? I also assumed that under devolution nothing could change here unless by the agreement of the Scottish Government.

This is now very frightening for those of us who believe in devolution and the Scottish legal system.

It also means that further down the road any British Government with a majority can repeal any law that gets in there way.

If Scots people do not get up off their bums to oppose any legislation that undermines devolution or hard-won rights then we really do not deserve to call ourselves Scottish or a nation.
Bryan Auchterlonie

I HAVE only one thing to say: UDI.
Frances Marshall

THIS is just the thin end of the wedge for a much greater assault on the powers devolved to Scotland and Wales.

The PM will, in all probability sell out the fishing fleet in Scotland again and her power-hungry pals will be lining up to buy land in Scotland as one by one farmers go bust.

Human rights, (such as they are in this imperialist land) will be steadily eroded until all that is left for the people of Scotland is service jobs in nuclear installations, front-line cannon fodder for illegal wars or emigration. Clearances by any other name.
Ronnie McDonald

THE devolved governments are absolutely correct to stand firm and fight for all devolved matters repatriated from Brussels to go directly to the devolved governments as a default within the Bill. Time and again the government in Westminster espouse collaboration, then ignore and dictate what should happen.

This is a monumental piece of legislation and seems to be designed to weaken the devolved government powers, sideline our leaders and their efforts to protect their people, our livelihoods and local economy.

Bypassing our elected representatives and creating a constitutional crisis has become the norm for our current Westminster administration. Time will tell the eventual outcome. We live in hope but experience utter dejection.
Brian Kelly

THANK you for allowing me the opportunity to comment on this travesty that is about to fall upon the people of Scotland. Unfortunately, my real thoughts would probably not be allowed in a family paper.

The intention is wrong in every way possible and as for the title, – it belongs to days gone by in an England that is, thankfully, no more.

Therefore such twaddle should not be imposed on Scotland as, at that time we were an independent country with a people who were sovereign then (and still are thanks to the Declaration of Arbroath and other such instruments).

Urgent steps need to be taken to thwart those in Westminster who are intent on us being subservient to them (no offence to our English neighbours, including family and friends).

The dirty dozen plus one and their English branch leader are a disgrace and are only there to serve themselves and their masters.
Ian Foulds

The National:

DAVID Davis and Theresa May won’t be happy till they have a totalitarian state! And it’s not about looking for the best deal for Britain, it’s about looking for the best deal for England; they couldn’t care less if it benefits Scotland or Wales.
Anne Grant

A BIT of a damp squib after all the hype from David Mundell that government lawyers had identified more than 100 separate powers and responsibilities covering agriculture, fishing, consumer rights, the environment and water standards that would be repatriated to Scotland from Brussels.

Now he hopes that a range of powers and responsibilities can be devolved immediately after Brexit, perhaps some those in the farming and fishing communities who voted Tory for the first time last month will be delighted at the news of his power bonanza for the Scottish Parliament. Probably most Scots remain to be convinced.
John Jamieson

ANY power wrested back from the SNP, and restored to the sanity of central government has to be good news.
Jim McKie

IT comes as no surprise that the UK Tory Government, supported by the 13 surrogate Scottish Tory Unionist MPs have so far contributed zero to the democratic process.

After all, the 13 Scottish Tory MPs were only elected on a campaign that offered no policies and no support for anything Scottish. As part of the campaign to leave the EU Scotland was promised “more powers” as part of leaving the EU campaign.

Now it’s clear in black and white that there is no intention to devolve powers closer to the voters. Instead the UK Westminster establishment plans to strengthen their power and hold over the Union. Things will only get worse.

The National:

Sixty-two per cent in Scotland voted Remain, and 75 per cent of the constituents of Ruth Davidson MSP voted Remain. The daily drip of news and facts makes it clear that leaving the EU will cost the UK and in particular cost Scottish businesses much more than can ever be gained with trading with distant economies.

The UK and the Scottish Tories, with support from Scottish Labour, are hell-bent on impoverishing Scotland. No-one should be surprised that so far the 13 Scottish Tory MPs have failed to say one word of support for Scotland or support any powers for Scotland. They are purely there to support the UK Government and will do whatever the Tory whip tells them to do.

Brexit will see talent leave, jobs lost and economic damage. If someone votes for the Union they should ask themselves how is Scotland better off being part of a London power house controlled by a privileged elite, who avoid taxes by using offshore tax heavens and family trusts, while they vote against paying real hardworking people a living wage? Why, why, why?

The good news is this power grab will help increase support for Scotland running its own affairs and I’d expect the EU to be very supportive of a independent Scotland.
David Henry

THE Great Repeal Bill was always going to be “the great reveal bill” shoring up Tory Brexiteers and consolidating May’s grip on power. The areas of concern that will remain are employment law and human rights law.

Of lesser political concern is the soft law or social policy but nevertheless the law and directives which have governed our welfare system since 1973 are those which will affect us all profoundly.

It is not surprising that the Tories do not want the Charter of Human Rights to remain, as they would have to continue to the accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights, a right which they do not want the people of the UK to have, and a right which, as part of the Human Rights Act, underpins the devolution settlements of the devolved governments. What is going to happen there? Does that mean an automatic repeal of those settlements?

It is these skewed issues of domestic and EU law that the Repeal Bill is failing to address and the reason why the UK Government does not want to have any discussions in the Houses of Parliament or include stakeholders such as the devolved governments, NGOs, employment and business leaders and charities representing vulnerable people.

The Repeal Bill is a transparent move by May to remove the rights we have had in the country for over 40 years and which are fair, just and equitable. In the face of no real opposition, this Bill will be enacted and we will be consigned to the dustbin of Europe with fewer rights than are experienced in some autocratic regimes. And all for £1 billion, today’s 30 pieces of silver.
Carol A Wood

WHEN I heard first about the Repeal Bill, I connected it immediately to the daily rubbishing of Scotland and mocking of Holyrood in the comments of Ruth Davidson.

It’s clear now that after Brexit the Tories intend to shut down Holyrood and use Brexit constitutional chaos to excuse the act.

The militarisation of Unionism by the involvement of the sectarian DUP, combined with the promotion of Ruth Davidson from zero to army hero colonel, all paint a worrying picture of Tory plans.

Tories are bound to say that Holyrood is an expensive additional layer of government, and will use their dreadful economic damage and austerity of Brexitland to justify the end of devolution. I have no doubt that this is their aim.
Partick Driver