More from the House of Lords’ debate on the UK Internal Market Bill. Apologies for going on about this but I am struck by its seriousness, by the candidness of the language used by the opponents, across party, in the Lords but by the deafening silence on the subject in the Scottish media.
For example, this from Baroness Finlay of Llandaff (Cross Bench): “The devolved Governments in Cardiff and Edinburgh are both in favour of retaining this (State Aid) framework in retained EU law. It is a clear system that provides a bulwark against the arbitrary use of public subsidies to support businesses in favour with the Government or to attract investment, something that is a real risk.
“Having the protection that this current situation affords for the Governments of the smaller nations of these islands is important because, at the end of the day, the UK Government in their “Government of England” mode can always trump any financial incentives that the devolved Administrations could offer in some kind of dog-eat-dog contest. This clause simply feeds the suspicion that, rather than maintaining a level playing field across the UK, this element of the Bill is about giving the Government the maximum freedom to do what they like with the system and channel investment to marginal Conservative seats.”
And later in her speech: “Finally, I turn to what this clause, like so much else about this Bill, says about the Government’s approach to devolution. Quite simply, it would seem that they do not like it, would prefer it not to exist and want simply to pay lip-service to it.
“This is a Government that do not seem to tolerate any source of law and public policy that they cannot control and, having removed the rival source of authority of the EU, seem to be gunning for other bodies that have the power to make primary legislation. This is not just distasteful; it is profoundly dangerous for those of us who care deeply about the union. I appeal to the Government to rethink their approach urgently because, otherwise, they will see the country gradually disintegrate in front of their eyes.”
Reading or watching the output from Scotland’s media most people would believe that NONE of this was happening. But it is and has been for weeks now as the catalogue of quotes below from the British establishment in the Lords reveals.
Few of these peers are friends of Scotland’s independence cause but they have woken up to the direction of travel in this their ‘precious Union’. They are now becoming all too aware of the threat of ‘one nation’ Tory unionism. I hope more and more in Scotland are becoming ‘aware’ too.