To read Alister Jack’s glorification of Scotland’s departure from the EU under the terms of the Brexit agreement was depressing, but perhaps predictable (“Brexit deal finally moves the UK out of the EU’s orbit,” The, Dec. 30). I wonder, as he wrote his post, whether the Minister for Scotland was aware of the irony of his remarks, which demonstrate the democratic deficiency inherent in the current constitutional structures of Scotland beautifully.
While Scotland voted overwhelmingly to stay, the voters in England forced Brexit on Scotland. Unionists would say that it was a UK-wide vote or that London just voted to stay, but London is not an ancient European nation and Scotland is meant to be a participant in a “union of equals.” However, the interests of Scotland were ignored or rejected by Mr. Jack and his Tory colleagues at Westminster during the tortuous Brexit process.
Indeed, Mr. Jack’s own status as the most senior politician in Scotland in the U.K. The government does not depend on votes from Scotland. The Conservatives won just 25 percent of the vote and six seats in Scotland’s 2019 general election, so once again it is Tory voters in England who essentially validate the tenure of the Scottish Minister.
Mr. Jack, the politician who recently said that for 40 years there will be no second independence referendum, is evidently delighted to force Brexit on Scotland, justifying it by claiming that just over a million Scots voted to leave. He forgets to note the 1.6 million Scottish votes cast in 2016 against Brexit, of course.
I expect that, in the Holyrood elections in May, Mr. Jack and the Scottish Conservatives will reap the Brexit crop. Instead of bowing to politicians and policies endorsed by voters outside Scotland, this would be the impetus for Scotland to finally make its own decisions and rejoin the EU as an independent country.
Iain Gunn, Elgin.
HOLYROOD TIME TO Reel IN.
My understanding is that the Holyrood Parliament is a devolved entity and concerns such as education, health, justice, police, transport, housing and so on are dedicated to its duties. Why did Holyrood then hold a debate and vote on the reserved Brexit agreement (“Blackford and SNP under fire as Brexit bill is passed by massive majority,” The, Dec. 31)?
This is another instance of how the SNP has corrupted Holyrood’s intent and work. It controls the agenda of Holyrood and thus avoids discussions on the problems that have been established where its competence is weak and where it can be held responsible for its shortcomings.
It is a mystery why the Speaker is approving this misuse of the devolved parliament. A debate and a vote on the topic of another referendum has already been approved – another reserved issue. They voted for local control and jurisdiction over the things that concern them most, such as education, health, and so on, when people voted for a devolved parliament. A referendum or separatism is not high on their list of goals, opinion polls confirm. Yet any debate still comes back to the constitution, which is reserved – as it did last Wednesday. If no one else will or will restore the parliament at Holyrood to its legal intent, then the sovereign parliament at Westminster must do it.
Edinburgh EH14, Jill Stephenson.
CRUCIAL IN-VOTES Gap
The disparity between the Westminster and Holyrood votes seems not to have been noticed by ALLAN Sutherland (Letters, December 31), citing Sir Keir Starmer in the Westminster vote.
The vote in Westminster was on whether to implement or reject the agreement. A majority of MPs voted to support the Brexit bill, as a tragedy would have been the alternative to leaving without an agreement. I can only presume that the MPs who voted against the bill and opposed leaving without an agreement did so in the hope that there would be an insufficient number of hardline “no deal” Brexit-supporting MPs to defeat the bill, and that they would register a protest vote by voting against the bill.
At Holyrood, the vote had no effect on whether, with or without an agreement, the UK would leave the EU or not. The Scottish government (together with the Waa)