City AM, Wednesday 25th January 2017
With the Supreme Court ruling there is no need to consult Scotland on Article 50, are we at Peak SNP?
Brian Monteith, a director at Global Britain, says Yes.
Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision is the latest of many setbacks since Peak SNP was reached in 2015’s General Election. It has been downhill ever since with only the Labour Party’s worse decline giving the appearance of a buoyant SNP.
Nicola Sturgeon lost her overall majority in last May’s Scottish Parliament elections then saw 36 per cent of SNP supporters rebel by backing Brexit. Sturgeon’s approval ratings are below those of Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson while YouGov polling last week showed a significant majority of Scots backing Theresa May over Sturgeon on the PM’s approach to leaving the Single Market and regaining control over laws, borders and taxes.
European Union leaders have said they will only deal with the UK and now the Supreme Court’s decision that Holyrood has no veto puts Sturgeon back in her box. She can protest as much as she wants but her long-neglected day job of sorting out her failed education and economic policies is now catching up with her.
Kirsty Hughes, senior fellow at Friends of Europe and visitor at the Constitutional Change Centre, University of Edinburgh, says No.
The Supreme Court judgment that there is no legal requirement to consult the Scottish Parliament on the vote to trigger Brexit has significant political implications for Scotland. Theresa May cannot overrule Westminster on triggering Article 50. But politically, she can choose to ignore the Scottish Parliament.
The Scotland Act 2016 states that the UK government will not normally legislate on devolved issues without consulting the Scottish Parliament. But the justices have said this is for the politicians to decide. This is perhaps Peak Devolution, not Peak SNP. The argument that the Scottish Parliament is one of the most powerful devolved parliaments looks rather weak if it is, in fact, a Brexit spectator.
But the political impact, as seen in Nicola Sturgeon’s response, will surely be to give more fuel to those arguing for independence, rather than those arguing Scotland has a good and strong devolution deal already.