Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Saturday, 19 January 2008

European devolution 'cliques' gather in Edinburgh

Where else? First Minister Alex Salmond's SNP Scottish Executive [*] (aka 'Scottish Government') continues to meet with groups from various countries in Europe as a sort of mutual self-appreciation society to bolster, they all presumably hope, their chances of furthering their aims for devolution/independence from the political entities of which they are currently parts. Those who attended the latest kaffeeklatsch include:

from the UK
- Scotland / Linda Fabiani MSP, Europe Minister;
- Wales / Rhodri Glyn Thomas MLA, Heritage Minister;
from Spain
- Catalonia / Joan Manel Tresserras, Minister of Culture;
- Basque Country / Tontxu Campos, Minister of Education;
- Galicia / Anxela Bugallo, Minister for Culture and Sport;
- Flanders / Bert Anciaux, Minister for Youth.

They are part of some grandiose-sounding grouping called the European Free Alliance (EFA) and their ministerial 'summit' was held at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. For those not familiar with Edinburgh's geography this is located just across from the Scottish Parliament building.

Now I have absolutely no objection to these characters meeting up whenever and wherever they wish IN THEIR FREE TIME and provided I am not expected to pay for it. We all, as citizens of free and democratic countries (more or less - the UK is one which might be considered, since 1997, as part of the 'less' group) with the right of free assembly (except in the case of the UK since 1997, where there are now restrictions on assembly within one mile of the Houses of Parliament in London). However, I wonder who paid for today's meeting. Was it the Scottish National Party? If so I have no objection as so far as I am concerned there seems to be nothing illegal in the meeting and if they wanted to spend their money on such an event, who am I to object? However, I strongly suspect that today's event will have been funded out of the budget of the Scottish Executive [*] (aka 'Scottish Government') and to that I object strongly, if this is the case. The SNP does not currently have a mandate from the Scottish electorate for independence and I think it is outrageous, if they have done so, to have used taxpayer's money in furtherance of an aim for which they have no democratic mandate; their job is to govern Scotland in terms of the Scotland Act 1998, no more and no less. I recall in passing that Alex Salmond had another meeting with one of his European regional cohorts (from Catalonia) earlier this month in Edinburgh.

[*] This blog uses the legal term for the devolved administration in Scotland as specified in Article 44 of the Scotland Act 1998; what others choose to call it is their business, but until there is an amendment to the Scotland Act 1998 sanctioning the term appropriated to itself by Salmond's mob in Edinburgh I shall stick with using the legally sanctioned term - and I don't want to be bothered with moans about this from any SNP member or supporter or hanger-on who is unhappy about this. Clear? What I want to know is why the Scottish Executive (aka 'Scottish Government') has appropriated to itself a term which it has no right to use and why the UK government has acquiesced in this appropriation. Of course I know the political reason why the Labour government in London, recently thrown out of power in Edinburgh, has done this, but I make the point nevertheless.

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