Devolution Delenda Est


“The traitor within is to be feared more than the foe without. It was not the legions of Rome which conquered me – it was the traitors within my gates. Not alone in swords and ships does Rome deal, but with the souls of men.”

 – The Tall Stranger, “Delenda Est,” Robert E. Howard

There’s a phrase that kicks about in times of conflict and war – Delenda Est. It’s most often seen in the term Carthago Delenda Est, “Carthage Must Be Destroyed,” by modern scholars of classical antiquity in regards to Marcus Porcious Cato’s closing words during Senatorial debates between the 2nd and 3rd Punic Wars. The Carthaginian Empire were Rome’s great rivals to undisputed rule over the western Mediterranean Sea, and had been reduced to a corner of North Africa following the 2nd Punic War. The punitive peace treaty of 201 BC- which included losing almost all of its overseas territories to Rome, and barring Carthage from making war without Rome’s permission, even when being raided by aggressive neighbouring Numidia – meant that Carthage presented little danger.

But this was never enough for Rome, & it certainly was not enough for Cato, who viewed Carthage’s wealth & prosperity despite losing two wars in the last century as an outrageous threat to Roman security. Carthage must not only be defeated – it must be destroyed. When Carthage finally acted against the invading Numidians, Cato convinced the Senate to go to war – and Carthage was destroyed.

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2015 Highlights

A lot of people are glad to see 2015 go join 2014. I tend to be very ambivalent about years: love the good, hate the bad, you know? So while there were some truly horrendous things, there was also magic, and the winds of history carrying us to the Undiscovered Country.

So, here are the top 15 Wilderness of Peace blog posts for 2015, in order of publication.

17th October 2014: The Devo Files – Very glad it remained well-read up to the General Election period. I’m still kicking myself that I never got around to Messrs. Carmichael, Mundell & Murray – even if they still got elected, I wish I at least got around to them.

24th March: The Devo Files: Russell Brown (Dumfries & Galloway) – It’s funny to think I thought the then-MP’s 7,449 majority in 2010 was going to be tough for Richard Arkless – only for the result not only to be a 6,154 SNP majority, but for Mr Brown to be bumped into a distant 3rd place.

27th April: Why SNP? – The final great push to get Inverclyde’s first SNP MP, Ronnie Cowan, elected. Strange to think how unreal it felt at the count given the struggle we felt.

5th May: Engagement – The 2015 General Election campaign in Scotland encapsulated in a single image, and it’s a wee girl from Inverclyde.

27th May: Respect Is Earned – The hypocrisy of the Commons is well known, but to see it in action is another thing entirely.

5th June: “Uppity Jocks, Can’t You Take A Joke?” – In reference to a throwaway remark about Cromwell and slavery being an “answer to the West Lothian question.”

16th July: The Devo Files Return – A special edition coinciding with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as the Other Party’s new leader. Since there’s an election coming up where the Other Party’s “best” and “brightest” are still fighting over the list, they will likely return in a slightly altered format in the new year. (It’s very kind of Thomas Docherty & Anas Sarwar to seek election as MSPs, as it means my unfinished Devo Files for 2015 can be put to use!)

21st July: Scottish Votes for Scottish Laws – What would have happened if only Scottish MPs were permitted to vote on the Scotland Bill?

23rd July: Congratulations, Private Eye! – The esteemed organ presents a truly uncanny parody of the worst elements of SNP BAD unionism.

2nd September: Tongue Lashing With Friends – In which I extol the virtue and value of Scottish Gaelic in the 21st Century.

10th September: Long To Reign Over Us – A wee bit of Wings Over Scotland-inspired media analysis, where someone who called the SNP “illegitimate,” “dangerous,” “intolerant,”” racist,” and “tartan Tories” is cited as “a Scottish Nationalist.”

23rd September: Matters of Importance – I think a big issue here was that Social Justice means very different things over here, and over in America. In Scotland, we have a Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, who campaigns and legislates on addressing inequalities. In America, it likely means the same – unfortunately, as with “political correctness,” the phrase appears to have been appropriated by intolerant bigots who don’t seem to understand the meaning of the word “justice” (or “social” for that matter), which conversely means that the debate devolves into angry shouting matches between opposing bigots. Bigotry, after all, does not delineate by political spectrum. In any case, I am perfectly happy to never again comment on American politics or social issues.

9th October: Better Things To Talk About – The Other Party is curiously reticent on discussing the party of the UK government’s conference.

2nd November: All The Things They Said – The Other Party made such a big noise about losing jobs at Faslane during the referendum, only for their Scottish members to decide to agree with the SNP over a year later. (Also the first appearance of “The Other Party” in reference to the Reds)

7th December: Old Unions Die Hard – The folly of pinning old party resurgences on 2 million unionists that don’t exist.

The Devo Files Special: Jeremy Corbyn

New Statesman: Do you support Scottish independence?

Jeremy Corbyn: I think they’ve got the right to a referendum if they want one. I would be much happier if they had their autonomy in the way they’ve got it now.

MyKindaGuyThis is a politician.

Jeremy Corbyn being elected as New Labour leader two decades after the Blairite takeover has everyone speculating over what it could mean for the party, and the UK in general. Eric Joyce thinks the SNP don’t have too much to worry about, while James Kelly ponders whether it could end up damaging for the cause of independence. For my part, I think it depends entirely on how the rest of New Labour reacts to his election, and how he reacts to the rest of the party.

So while The Devo Files is normally reserved purely for Scottish politicians – in that I think that only Scottish politicians should vote on Scottish matters, including which powers should be devolved – I thought it might be interesting to see what the new leader of the opposition did when the question of Scottish votes was put to him. After all, for as long as we’re part of the UK in its current form, there is nothing stopping English, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs from choosing to reject the wishes of nearly all of Scotland’s MPs, or indeed from choosing to support their Scottish friends. Where does Mr Corbyn stand?

Onto the files.

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Scottish Votes for Scottish Laws

"Wise guy, eh?"

Just keeping the tone respectful and all.

I’ve been trying to think of how best to condense the recent votes on the Scotland Bill in a simple, easy to read format. I think the best way to do it is this: to show how the votes would have gone if only Scottish MPs voted on them.

The reason is twofold: firstly, when one discounts the votes of parties with no MPs, then the Tories, Lib Dems and New Labour combined have 46.7% of the vote – which is, you’ll notice, still a bit short of the SNP’s 50%. So even though a party with 50% of the vote having 95% of the seats is a huge exaggeration, it still represents a greater proportion of the Scottish population than the other three combined. Secondly, if you’re going to harangue about English Votes for English Laws, then it follows that there should be Scottish Votes for Scottish Laws too, right?*

*EVEL is not the equivalent of the Scottish Parliament’s devolved powers – that would be an English Parliament. When you’re talking about excluding Scottish MPs from voting on English matters in the UK Parliament, then it is only right to prevent English MPs from voting on Scottish matters in the UK Parliament, no? After all, Scottish MPs cannot vote on devolved issues either – only MSPs can.

The votes come after the jump.

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The Devo Files Return


I was saving this post for the final passing of the Scotland Bill 2015, but following the “English Votes for English Foxes” maelstrom and Mr Mundell’s promises to “tweak” the bill, I felt I couldn’t wait. Originally this was going to be a return to the Devo Files, showing exactly what we Yes voters regrettably expected – SNP devolution proposals thwarted by a mixture of massive Conservative opposition and New Labour abstention. It cannot be spun as anything other than the contemptuous defenestration of the democratic will of the people of Scotland.

Nonetheless, events happen – and in this case, a lot quicker than I thought.

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The Devo Files: Ian Davidson (Glasgow South West)


As I’ve said before, the mere sight of Mr Davidson causes me to break out in cold sweats of sheer disagreement. As such, I’m making a point of illustrating this article with the most soothing, calming, inoffensive imagery possible just to keep my blood pressure down. Here’s E.H. Shepard’s Piglet.

With most New Labour MPs, it’s easy to argue the case for someone who will represent their constituents better. It’s no problem to point to the many things SNP MPs have voted for which New Labour did not, and argue that the heroic 6 set a precedent which won’t be neglected. Rattling off the great things the SNP is something I’ll be doing in the coming weeks. The Devo Files, though, are naturally focusing on any given MP’s record on devolution and other Scottish matters – and with too many, they’re just not cutting it.

This is what Ian Davidson thinks of you, people of Glasgow North East.

Things are very, very different with Ian Davidson – for out of all the candidates, he is the one who I feel is a disgrace not only to Scottish politicians or people, but to the New Labour party itself. Think about what that means. This politician has done and said things that should have had him kicked out of the party years ago. This politician has acted like a thug, a bully, and an all-round reprobate. Most unforgivable of all, politician has taken deliberate and concerted actions which jeopardised the livelihoods of his own constituents. This is more than arguing the people of Glasgow South West deserve better – this is arguing that their current MP is a clear and present danger to their interests. In short…

Ian Davidson has to be stopped.

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The Devo Files: Russell Brown (Dumfries & Galloway)


Back when I started the Devo Files in October last year, the SNP surge which has wrought such terror in the hearts of the Westminster Establishment was just a fluke: a poll or two here and there, so what, they thought; it doesn’t mean anything, they reasoned; it won’t continue over the next few months, they hoped. Yet here we are, on the 24th of March, and the SNP are still significantly ahead of every other party in Scotland despite the relentless Print-BBC-Westminster offensive.

Nonetheless, there are still some seats which have a substantial New Labour majority: Willie Bain, Jim Murphy, and a handful more are still tipped to keep their seat, on account of their votes being so high even a 20-point gain to the SNP might not be enough. With that in mind, let’s look at the constituency Thomas Widmann  deemed one of the most formidable constituencies for the SNP – Dumfries & Galloway, whose current majordomo is Russell Brown.

What makes Mr Brown special? Let us delve into the Devo Files…

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The Devo Files: Brian Donohoe (Central Ayrshire)

I almost felt bad in posting this video. Then I remembered who Brian Donohoe is.

Brian Donohoe is what you’d expect from Scottish New Labour: former trade union official, went to Technical College, apprentice fitter & turner in the shipyards, engineer at a nuclear power plant. And, much like what you’d expect, he’s been in the party so long even he doesn’t seem to have realised that they’re not socialists any more.

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The Devo Files: SNP Class of 2010

Respect Our REgiments2

These six helped take us to where we are, but they’re not done yet. Let’s make sure they’re with us for the adventures to come.


In all the excitement about the polls and the news that the SNP membership has passed the 100,000 mark with only a few weeks to go, sometimes it’s all too easy to forget that the SNP already has a remarkable team in Westminster. Since 2010, Angus Robertson, Stewart Hosie, Michael Weir, Pete Wishart, Angus MacNeil, and Eilidh Whiteford have braved the den of inequity that is Westminster, where they could expect nothing but scorn, ridicule and outright hatred from the vast majority of their colleagues – not to mention explicit rejection of their motions by New Labour MPs as a matter of principle.

In tribute to the fine work of these MPs, I’m going to offer a quick run-down of their chances, and links to contact and support them.

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