You’ll Have Had Your Devolution?

The Supreme Court has rendered its judgement on Article 50 and Brexit. In an 8-3 ruling they have decided, as reasonably expected, that Parliament must vote on the triggering of Article 50 and the beginning of the Brexit process.

On the second point of the case, that the devolved Parliaments should also be consulted, the Court ruled 11-0 that:

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In essence saying that whilst Westminster could consult the devolved Parliaments and could even state that their formal recognition was required it doesn’t have to and the Supreme Court will not force it to do so. In practice, we all know that this means it won’t. Scotland’s will can be overruled at Westminster’s. Power devolved is power retained.

Wallonia will now have more power than Scotland to negotiate, influence and – eventually – veto or approve the Brexit deal. So much for that “most powerful devolved government in the world“.

The idea of a Federal UK is now dead. Westminster is sovereign. As a former UK Federalist, this is a painful and depressing idea to admit. I cannot see any possible pathway to reach that destination. Those still in favour of it may have to have some very hard thinking to do now. (Mind you, if Wallonia DOES end up writing up more of the Brexit deal than Scotland does, this may be a good argument in favour of EU Federalism. That’s possibly a discussion for the future)

This also means that the SNP’s “Scotland’s Place in Europe” paper has only one pathway forward now and that’s through amendments to the Article 50 trigger bill when it comes through (something they’ve already pledged to do). If Scotland will not have its say from its own Parliament then it will have a voice at Westminster. And if we’re told that we’re to have no influence there either…?

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