04 May 2009


Some are reflecting on the tenth anniversary of devolution.

We are merely at the tenth anniversary of the first Scottish Parliamentary elections.

Power was only transferred properly to Holyrood on 1 July 1999.

I'll celebrate then, thank you.


Jeff said...

Party pooper.

Montague Burton said...

Quite right too. This is also only the 8th year of the new millenium.

Anonymous said...

Power transfer... a curiously nationalistic way of viewing the opening of the Holyrood parliament.

“Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception.” — George Orwell

Montague Burton said...

Gosh, yes don't forget to mention how the Nationalists Seized Control in 2007.

Odd that your views of Nationalism are viewed through the lens of post world war two.

HD Greenspan writing in the Boston Globe this year described the SNP's Nationalism thus:

"The SNP's nationalism is based on citizenship, rather than on ethnicity, religion, or language, and is pro-immigration; quite different from many national movements."

Reflect on that old bean.


Will said...

Jeff, you're still invited to my party in July. ;)

MB, you're the first person to suggest that this is the eighth year: I was of the belief that is is, in fact, the ninth - 2001 being the first!

And SU, the ceremony had nothing to do with it: John Reid still effectively called the shots until 1 July 1999. Hence power transfer.

I don't see why your Nationalist Bogeyman should jump out of this particular lexical closet, but then I try to avoid conflating the message and the messenger.

However, at the risk of failing in my efforts I shall simply ask what word you would use.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...


Orwell's essay was written in 1945, but also discusses Scottish nationalism:

“Welsh, Irish and Scottish nationalism have points of difference but are alike in their anti-English orientation. Members of all three movements have opposed the war while continuing to describe themselves as pro-Russian, and the lunatic fringe has even contrived to be simultaneously pro-Russian and pro-Nazi. Celtic nationalism is not the same thing as anglophobia. Its motive force is a belief in the past and future greatness of the Celtic peoples, and it has a strong tinge of racialism. The Celt is supposed to be spiritually superior to the Saxon -- simpler, more creative, less vulgar, less snobbish, etc. -- but the usual power hunger is there under the surface.”


The Scotland Act talks of devolved and reserved matters. I would tend to think in terms of responsibilities. Or perhaps even powers. But I have often noted that nationalists tend to use the third of those almost exclusively, an observation which brought to mind Orwell's comments.

Will said...

SU, "matter transfer" sounds more like teleportation than anything political, while "responsibility transfer" may be an adequate description but just sounds, well, clunky. And seeing as you concede that "power transfer" is one of the sensible terms, then I don't see why you're kicking up a fuss other than to whinge about nationalists (with the aid of an essay written 64 years ago!).

Anonymous said...

That was a decidedly contrived reply, Will.

On 1 July 1999, responsibility for devolved matters was transferred to the Scottish parliament.

There, perfectly natural.

Grogipher said...

If I were to be properly pedantic, I would argue that it's the tenth anniversary of representative devolution; we had a form of administrative devolution long before that.

To call the transfers of powers from one place to another anything but 'power transfer' is "contrived".

Anonymous said...


Your post merely shows that you reject any way of describing the devolution process except in terms of power politics. That was my point!

Will said...

SU, if that's natural, I'm the Queen of Siam. That's the biggest load of stuffed-shirt bureaucratese I've seen in some time (and I work for a Housing Association) and all to avoid sounding "too nationalistic".

But, then, unnecessarily poncey sentences are but a small price to pay for the cause of griping about Nationalists, aren't they?

Grogipher, I stand corrected!

Anonymous said...

Undoubtedly, Will, you see the world through your own eyes.

Will said...

Quite. And my eyes don't view a spade as a soil relocation implement.

Anonymous said...

Nor would anyone with any sense. It's a false analogy, as well you must surely know.

Will said...

Well, there is nothing that anyone looking simply to pick a fight with people of a differing political viewpoint would claim to see as politically sensitive in the word 'spade'.

Nevertheless, both hypothetical phrases have an air of unnecessary length, pomposity and circumlocution.

Grogipher said...

You're far too spade-ist.

You have to think of us who are shovellist!

The Unionists make me LOL. Is that their actual defence? "Bring it on" I say!

Ted Harvey said...

Scottish Unionist really has it as far as the wrong way around as you can get it. The Union (as other later forms of 'British' Imperialism) is based on power - variously power it has used to enforce itself on others, or remove their right to dissent or partition.

But Scottish Unionist must be pretty under informed or ill-advised to seek justification from George Orwell. He was a peculiar version of Old English Imperialist - and certainly was suspect on his views of the Scots, Welsh or Irish. And of course we now know more about him as a human being since we recently discovered that he was a spy and denouncer for British intelligence.

And the point has already been made here; until 1 July 1999 there was no such thing as a Scottish Parliament having any powers - the powers were all retained by Westminster. To pointlessly dance around semantic niceties about 'matters' is indeed pointless and contrived decorum.

Next stop? What about Westminster stripping the Scottish Parliament of any power to object to nuclear power station building… or is that just another wee ‘matter’?

Bill said...

I'll celebrate then, thank you.- and I won't be celebrating then either ;)