During recent evidence sessions hosted by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee ( PACAC ) with the devolved powers in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland it has been clear that the devolved administrations do not feel respected by the UK government. ‘We feel like we are treated like children’ was a common refrain. And now, the soon to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liz Truss, has expressed her contempt for the democratically elected First Minister of Scotland. It begs the question does Westminster look down on every other democracy or does it reserve that level of disdain solely for the other nations of this very disjointed union?
I wonder if by taking a domineering role and talking down to and being disrespectful of the devolved administrations, that the uk government feels that is the best way to see off any move towards greater autonomy. By continually putting down the devolved governments, by treating them as less than equal they feel that undermines the confidence that people will have in them. Do they fear treating them as equals? Would doing so, show the devolved governments in a good light. Would acknowledging their abilities be tantamount to supporting greater separation or full independence? Does the UK government feel so insecure about its own abilities that it needs to constantly put others down?
From the perspective of someone that believes in Scotland’s independence, I think it’s a very poorly chosen tactic. By treating devolved parliaments and parliamentarians as equals they could create a more harmonious and productive inter governmental relationship. One that people may be more inclined to stay in. But instead, they choose to lord it over them. Maybe this is the default position for a United Kingdom government bereft of creative ideas, racked with inner turmoil, rudderless and drifting. Maybe they don’t realise Britannia is sinking and it would serve them well to be more respectful to those of us who have already taken to the lifeboats.