This May Be A Tipping Point.

Strip aside the emotion and drama of the moment. Today's events in parliament were neither "a stunt" nor some mindless counting of angels on a constitutional pinhead as the hapless (hopeless?) Scottish Secretary tried to bluster. They represented the culimination of weeks and months of frustration as the Scottish Government's Brexit team tried vainly to detect any hint of a coherent plan from their Westminster counterparts, and, more crucially, sought to prevent the latter driving a coach and horses through the Scotland Act.  

Holyrood, let's remember, has passed a Continuity Bill supported by all parties bar the Tories in an effort to defend the constitutional status quo: that Westminster cannot impose legislation on Holyrood without its consent, and that those matters which have been reserved to the Scottish parliament for the almost 20 years of its existence are returned there post Brexit from Brussels rather than annexed by London and held for at least 7 years. Seven years is a very long time in politics, certainly longer than the likely political lifespan of the current PM.  Nevertheless she is going to the Supreme Court next month to try to have the Continuity Bill declared invalid.

Neither should we forget the farce of the last 24 hours when the UK Government tried to shoehorn a raft of `Lords amendments into just two days of business - they originally tried for just one - despite their arcane voting arrangments ensuring there would be precious little time for debate on any of them.  Devolutionary matters regarding Scotland and Northern Ireland - both vital and contentious matters - were awarded 15 and 4 minutes respectively.  A government minister used them all up with a pre-planned filibuster.  That, Mr Mundell, is what we might reasonably term "a stunt".

What happens tomorrow in that chamber I know not.  And in that ignorance I appear to be in the company of The Speaker. But what I do believe is that we may just have reached an important tipping point.  It's a common cry that the voter at large could not give too much of a toss over matters constitutional.  And I will concede, that, on the eve of a World Cup, it is not yet the dominant topic down the pub. But this is about more than the constitutional niceties.  This is about Westminster saying in effect - stuff your parliament and stuff your aspirations for it.  When we want your opinion we probably won't bother asking for it.

The people who marched in Glasgow and Dumfries and are mobilising for a reprise in Edinburgh are not political anoraks poring over the sub clauses of the Scotland Act.  They are ordinary men and women sick to the back teeth of being treated like recalcitrant children by a London administration full of them.  Does anyone seriously believe there is less intellectual firepower north of the border than that demonstrated by Fox, Davis, and Rees Mogg?  The Brexit shambles is being orchestrated by the hard of thinking egged on  by the serially ambitious.  And the games they are playing put all our livlihoods at risk.

Already the exodus has begun from car manufacturers to financial and health services. Already the labour shortages are evident from the service sector to agriculture. Already the fishermen and many thousands of Brexit supporters recognise they've been played for mugs and shafted by campaigners who are strangers to the truth, but masters of the dark spinners' art.  

Scotland as a whole voted almost two to one against this carnage.  Every single local authority recorded a majority for Remain. Yet  this too has been dismissed by Westminster. I doubt, in fact, if many of its denizens have ever bothered to check the stats. Every so often there is a calculated insult; a moment of transient emotion as Scotland realises that basically what its elected representatives  say and think is neither registered, nor does it much matter in London.

Arguably this is again such a moment, merely written larger. But somehow I suspect not.  The stakes have rarely been higher. The dangers have never been more apparent. The parliament, the economy, and our nation's future has not been put in such peril before. This may be a tipping point; and if it so proves, there should be no more procrastination over the planning of IndyRef2.