No welcome mat at No. 10 for Nicola – hurray!

So here’s yesterday’s SNP farrago.

The Scottish Daily Mail had an article headlined:

No. 10 ‘takes away welcome mat’ for visits from Nicola.

The online version has a slightly different headline but the gist is the same. The paper version was tweeted by Glasgow SNP councillor Mhairi Hunter as follows:

If you can’t read the small print it’s reporting a claim that henceforth the first minister will no longer have the relatively easy access she has had to Theresa May but will be expected to meet with Scotland Office ministers, led by secretary of state David Mundell.

Ms Hunter, no ordinary backbench councillor, is close to first minister Nicola Sturgeon and has been her election agent in the past. In tweeting this I am sure she was knowingly stirring the rich broth of SNP grievance, and sure enough the comments that followed her tweet came in bang on cue:

Another example of devolution failing like it was designed to! Tories not even placating Scots any more! May running scared! Meet Mundell??? [another Glasgow SNP councillor]

[and the same councillor again] Placated is all the country of Scotland has ever been! Each country should be treated equally/respectfully. Needs of each country different

It’s definitely time to get tough to [sic] much of being nice is doing us no favours they’re doing what they always do walking all over us

Time to simply withdraw from WM. “No taxation without representation”

Scotland’s leader being treated as a ‘colonial governor’ should be a wake up call to Scots. Sadly I fear some will welcome this stance.

Small minded and weak. The idea that @DavidMundellDCT is at the same level as the @ScotGovFM is just bizarre.

[Mundell]’s not her equal. Scotland is an EQUAL PARTNER, not a region! Hopefully she’ll tell PM to get lost. #IndyRef2 coming. 🙂

Elected leader of Scotland ‘offered’ weekly meetings with an appointed Governor and an unelected Lord? #Colonialism

They still think we are a colony, and should be treated as second class

And so on and on in the same vein. You can read the whole thread here if you must.

One subsidiary theme, as so often with nationalists, is that ‘equal partner’ claim, exemplified in this tweet

Scotland IS an ‘equal partner’. (What we were told before IndyRef to keep us sweet). You need to read the Treaty of Union.

Along with many other nationalist claims and myths, the notion of an ‘equal partner’ is unsustainable.

You won’t find the word ‘equal’ anywhere in the full Articles of Union and ‘equality/equally’ appear only in relation to a few matters of trade and revenues. Nowhere will you see a formula along the lines of:

A future hypothetical first minister and/or devolved parliament of Scotland shall be treated as an equal partner with the prime minister and/or parliament of the United Kingdom.

Here’s how it actually works:

Top level – UK parliament

          |

Second level – parliaments/assemblies of devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

          |

Third level, councils

          |

[And in Scotland] bottom level, community councils.

It’s quite simple. It’s a hierarchy, each level is below the one above. Scottish nationalists may not like it but it is the plain, simple and constitutional fact. The first minister is no more the equal of the prime minister than the leader of Glasgow city council is the equal of the first minister. The councillor would expect to deal mainly with the cabinet secretary for communities and the first minister should expect to deal mainly with the secretary of state for Scotland.

Theresa May, beset with so many challenges, not least of her own making, has made a rod to beat her own back through her early good will/openness/indulgence (you choose the word you prefer) towards Nicola Sturgeon. The last thing she needs now is the constant distraction of a grandstanding first minister, one keen to be seen with leaders of other nations, saltire and other national flag prominent behind the chairs at Bute House, contrasting with the two saltires she chose to display when May went out of her way to make the first minister her first significant visit after she became PM.

The first minister’s expectations have become too inflated (along with her salary, higher even than the prime minister’s). There’s plenty to do running the devolved government of Scotland, the ‘day job.’ Let’s judge her and the SNP on that, not on the grandstanding. Come to think of it, judging from the last three elections – Holyrood, councils and Westminster – perhaps people are doing that already. Good.

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