By Canon Kenyon Wright

Ian Davidson MP, who convenes the Westminster Committee on Scotland, tells us the final word on how the referendum is run, remains with them.  They are sovereign.

Can this be the same Ian Davidson whose signature I find on the "Claim of Right for Scotland"?

Did he and all his fellow Labour MPs really line up at the first meeting of the Constitutional Convention in 1989, to affirm "the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine what form of government best suits their needs"?  Did his colleagues in the Scottish Parliament really vote with all parties except the Tories to re-affirm that “Claim of Right” just a few months ago?

The inconsistency illustrates the real dilemma we face, and what amounts to nothing less than the clash of two cultures or at least of two opposing historical views of where sovereignty lies.

In 1989 the Church of Scotland General Assembly said:

"It is not possible to resolve the question of the democratic control of Scottish affairs … apart from a fundamental shift in our constitutional thinking away from the notion of the unlimited or absolute sovereignty of the British Parliament towards the historic Scottish principle of limited or relative sovereignty".

I confess to one way in which I regret the Convention failed, and demonstrated the same inconsistency.  On the one hand our firm foundation was the Claim of Right.  On the other we left constitutional affairs as an area reserved to Westminster.

It is surely time for Scotland to stand firm, as we have done in the past, against any attempt by the British Government or Parliament, to use its theoretical sovereignty, to dictate the terms of reference of the referendum, or the question or questions to be put.   These are for Scotland’s Parliament to decide.

Nor is this some obscure triviality.  If we miss this chance to determine clearly what we want for our nation, and William McIlvanney’s "cowardly lion" slinks back into its cage, we will have squandered the opportunity of a lifetime to determine the shape of Scotland as a nation for generations to come.

One thing is vital.  We must use the next two years, not in sterile point-scoring or in inventing scare stories reminiscent of Michael Forsyth’s chant of “tartan tax”.  The case for and against independence must be made by a clear well-conceived picture of what Scotland would be like, with a nationwide debate.

And if there is a second question about Secure Autonomy within a reformed Union, (please not “devo-max”!) as I earnestly hope there will be, that too must be defined with clarity.  Both the independence and the autonomy lobbies need to work on the outline of a constitution for Scotland, which not only affirms the Scottish understanding of the sovereignty of the people, but also means that when the  people vote, they will be voting not for or against vague emotional concepts, but with a crystal clear understanding of  the implications for Scotland’s future as a nation.

In the last referendum, all knew they were voting not for some theoretical idea of a Parliament, but for a strong "different" kind of democracy, worked out painstakingly in Scotland over 6 years, in the Constitutional Convention.

I have a word of caution for Westminster.  If the Union’s unwritten constitutional claim to have the last word is so inflexible that it proves incapable of recognising Scotland’s constitutional claim, then you are in effect saying that the only way in which Scotland’s people can be sovereign, is by independence.

Is that what you really want to say to the Scottish people?


# Juteman 2012-08-07 16:13
Of course the only way the Scottish people can be sovereign is by independence.
Anything less depends on the goodwill of Westminster.
# peter,aberdeenshire 2012-08-07 16:16
I heard the pompous oaf this morning on wake up Jocks, what a bitter bloated unionist.
Ian Davidson

Mr Davidson, a member of the Commons public accounts committee, which monitors government spending, paid a family friend £5,500 to renovate his London flat and took him on two shooting trips, the paper said. The MP for Glasgow South West also had reclining furniture worth £1,459 delivered to his constituency home. Under the Additional Cost Allowance MPs must only submit claims incurred on their second homes. Mr Davidson told The Telegraph the furniture was later driven to his London flat. Commons officials questioned Mr Davidson's payments to a property search to help him find a new flat. A note revealed he "had already claimed £1,000 of taxpayers' money with nothing to show for it. Concerned about how long this would go on for". The final bill for finding a new flat came to £6,000, with the fees office agreeing to pay a proportion of this sum. Mr Davidson also charged the £11,000 cost of the move to the taxpayer.
A real man of the people!
# Silverytay 2012-08-07 16:21
I would imagine by now that ian davidson feels as though he has had a right doing today .
Between w.o.s , n.n.s and several of the m.s.m , he must feel as though everyone has it in for him .
The other scenario is that him and his biased committee are so thick that they think they are right and everyone else is wrong .
# gerrydotp 2012-08-10 14:58
I'd set Nicola on him - just to finish him off.
# colin8652 2012-08-07 16:22
A simple yes vote in 2014 sorts all of this out.
# mealer 2012-08-07 16:44
Canon Kenyan Wright,
Westminster,and the London based parties Scottish branches,have made it abundantly clear that they will not discuss Secure Autonomy before the referendum.They have made no firm commitment to discuss it after the referendum.In fact,these parties seem to be more inclined to remove powers from the Scottish parliament than to "grant" any more.If you want to try to change their minds on this,I wish you luck.The very fact so many of these politicians signed the Claim of Right,but now hold it in utter contempt,would suggest to me there is little point in you pursueing this issue with them unless you can whip up some real enthusiasm among the substantial number of people who seem to favour it.
# Wag_the_dug 2012-08-07 19:02
There is every reason for Canon Wright to pursue this line of argument. These people must be held accountable for their actions. By highlighting this it forces a reaction one way or another to which the observer can then decide upon the credibility of those involved. Not a trivial point.
# Clydebuilt 2012-08-07 21:41
Quoting mealer:
The very fact so many of these politicians signed the Claim of Right,but now hold it in utter contempt,would suggest to me there is little point in you pursueing this issue with them unless .

Aye Unionists won't be interested in being reminded of what they signed up for in the past.....However there is much to be gained by bringing this point to public attention.

So email this article to your contacts spread the word

don't just have Yes voters talking to Yes voters
# UpSpake 2012-08-07 16:49
Self Determination, the absolute right of every recognised nation state is what Salmond called for back in May 2011.
From that moment on, Westminster should have backed right away. To do otherwise and to let the likes of Davidson mouth off is contrary to the conditions laid down by the UN Charter. He is playing with fire. Westminster won't burn him. The UN will !.
# Macart 2012-08-07 16:59
To put it in civil terms - Mr Davidson is a consummate party politician. I'm sure he and certain others gained fifteen minutes of popular acclaim from signing the Claim of Right, however following through on the premise of the document would have proven difficult for this Westminster politico. He has as much belief in the democratic and sovereign rights of the people of Scotland as I have that he is a fit and proper representative of Scottish interests in W1.

That's about as long as I can stay civil, I'd better sign off.
# EphemeralDeception 2012-08-07 17:27
The wording used makes things open to debate.
Eg. The Scotland Act and reservation of constitutional matters to London makes it impossible for the SP to come up with new constitutional legislation during normal parliamentary business and have a firm legal basis.

However, in terms of representation of the people of Scotland who have expressed a desire for consitutional change then the Claim of right comes to the fore.

Nevertheless the writing was on the wall as soon as Scotland voted in a Government with this very mandate. Cameron and co. must be so frustrated that the can't say 'no' already.

The problem is that the Convention did not do its job to clearly define when the Claim of Right trumps the Scotland Act. 6 years of study should have been enough to formulate some guidelines!!

This is a lesson for 'Secured Autonomy' advocates (whatever that may mean) which is a minefield due to lack of empowerment of the advocates, lack of cross party support and where everyone who likes the idea in principal has their own idea of where the line in the sand is drawn.

My own take is that secured autonomy is useless in an Energy Economy like Scotland without full Energy and Energy policy control. Not something London is likely to concede, so we have to seize control via independence.

However I do agree that regardless of the future result or the questions finalised for the referendum we have to take the opportunity to put beyond any doubt that Sovereignty over Scotland lies with nobody but the people of Scotland and that no Act or treaty between parliaments can countermand this basic truth.
# GrassyKnollington 2012-08-07 18:41
I'm curious about the idea of "secure autonomy lobbies".

The only people with the power to grant secure autonomy would of course be Westminster and the only people asking for it would be unionists who like the idea of more power but aren't prepared to back independence.

So we'd have softish unionists in Scotland lobbying hardline unionists in Westminster with a variation on Oliver's "please Sir I want some more?"

Their threat would presumably be "give us secure autonomy or we'll accept the status quo".

The fascinating part for me is the implicit belief amongst "soft" unionists that there is goodwill towards Scotland at Westminster and that they will therefore deliver secure autonomy inside the union if enough Scots appear to want it.

Will it really take another two years for people to realise that both of these fabled terms, secure autonomy and Devo max are a pipe dream?
# Rafiki 2012-08-07 18:48
To paraphrase G K Chesterton "But we are the people of Scotland and we have not spoken yet"
# Leswil 2012-08-07 20:10
Ian Davidson is a piece of work, he is cheeky, smug, arrogant, and a self interest seeking man.

He is just one of a long long line of Westminster politicians who want to keep Scotland from fulfilling it's potential.

It makes me feel ashamed that he and many others like him are Scots who are constantly trying to undermine the Scottish people's right to decide.

There are few democratic principles in their process of attrition.
Labour, is not labour anymore, they are more like a band of desperadoes willing to do anything to thwart a real attempt for Scots independence.

They offer the good people who voted for them absolutely nothing, they cannot be trusted.

The sooner a New Scotland arises and takes it's place in the world, the better.

I am disgusted with Unionist politicians but particularly Scottish ones, and can't wait to hear they have moved to stay in England after Independence, Scotland will be all the better for it.
# clootie 2012-08-07 20:23
Anything less than full Independence requires trusting Westminster.

I for one have learned from bitter experience that this is pure folly.

It will have litte impact on my life but I campaign for the generations that follow.

A well written article and an interesting contrast in integrity between the writer and the subject of his dig.
# Edulis 2012-08-07 20:34
No question but that Davidson is only interested in his own status and position. Having watched some of the antics in his Separation Committee, I can add the name of the Labour new boy from Greenock, David MacKenzie as well as the ever so self-important Brian Donohoe. Time for the people of Glasgow, Renfrewshire and Ayrshire to cast off these Neanderthals at the first opportunity. No doubt they will try and bag a place in our new independent Parliament. I wish them well - not.
# curley bill 2012-08-07 21:09
Please go to Wings over Scotland and read this post:
Weekend: Sovereignty for dummies

and find out why all Davidson's gum-flapping means the square root of hee-haw.
# Adrian B 2012-08-07 21:27
[quote name="curley bill"]

'......and find out why all Davidson's gum-flapping means the square root of hee-haw.'

Brilliant !

Direct link below
# John Lyons 2012-08-10 09:49
This page needs a like button!

the square root of hee-haw.

# Mad Jock McMad 2012-08-07 21:27
I have argued that Ian Davidson and his BawSAC's claims potentially put the crown in contempt of the 1689 Claim of Right as by claiming unlimited sovereignty for the crown at Westminster they are in breach of Scots Law which clearly establishes Scottish sovereignty as being limited by the will of the people and having no equivalent to the English constitutional law concept of unlimited sovereignty(Lor d Cooper 1953).

Have a read of This Idiot's Guide: .../this-idiots-guide-to-scottish.html
# Macart 2012-08-08 05:23
Nice Mad Jock and thanks. It does place into context why the FM and Mr KM were quite loud on the subject of Scots law at the time.
# pa_broon74 2012-08-07 22:19

Isabel Fraser taking Davidson to task on Newsnight Scotland...

Davidson accused Fraser of bias in favour of the nationalists which she refutes categorically...

# J Wil 2012-08-07 22:26
Will this utterly confuse BBC Scotland into rejecting Labour?
# Early Ball 2012-08-07 22:28
Isobel will get sacked over this. "Doing" will get ermine sooner than later.
# mountaincadre 2012-08-07 22:22
Just watched newsnight, i am gobsmacked, Ian Davidson has just won the Independance referendum single handedly............... for those supporting Independance.
# Will C 2012-08-07 22:24
Ian Davidson has just accused "Newsnat" Scotland of being biased in favour of the SNP! The man deserves a place in the Hall of Heroes in an independent Scotland. With this guy in the pro-union camp, independence is a shoe in.
# brusque 2012-08-07 22:27
Ian davidson is a sorry excuse for a man, and an even more sorry one for a representative of the voters.

His performance on Newsnight (which he kept calling newsNAT) is nothing short of offensive in the extreme.

Isobel Fraser asked a question which was completely appropriate, and his refusal to engage was tangible.

I hope those who vote for him have seen this travesty, and will be reconsidering their position.

A shameful display of bullying in my opinion.
# Adrian B 2012-08-07 22:33
Davidson continued to dig himself into a deeper hole. Called the program NewsNAT Scotland and claiming BBC bias in favour of the SNP. He went on to add that he had complained to the BBC about this.

He refused to apologise to Isabel Fraser for the allegation, instead choosing to go on the attack against Fraser and calling it political.

Isabel kept her cool, but was clearly fuming at the allegations directed directly towards her.

Throughout the whole interview Davidson acted completely to character telling lies and stories, clearly also getting his facts mixed up. Apparently the 1997 referendum gives him the right to do this.

This MP displayed an appalling lack of concern to the people of the constituency that he represents. I have NEVER seen an MP or MSP make such a shambles of an interview. He must GO!
# jinglyjangly 2012-08-07 22:39
we have obviously got them very very
worried, I have never seen an mp of any
party conduct themselve in such an appalling manner.
# X_Sticks 2012-08-07 22:39
Ian Davidson is such an intellectual giant...

in his own mind.

We saw on newsnight what the man is like. No wonder Dr Eilidh Whiteford quit his comittee following his bullying tactics. The same bullying tactics he tried to use tonight against Isobel Fraser.

Him and his kind are an embarrassment to Scotland.

I do have to wonder if his "newsnat" comments were not a tactical move. We all know that newsnight (editor Daniel Maxwell - who closed the online blogs) is if anything biased towards the union, but Davidson's allegation of Nat bias on newsnight is liable to be pointed at at some later date whenever newsnight is accused of unionist bias.
# Early Ball 2012-08-07 22:48
I do not believe that. Davidson had a meltdown. However I do believe the BBC will use this as "evidence"
# Will C 2012-08-07 22:50
Total agreement X_Sticks, Davidson was clearly slinging mud in the hope of countering SNP claims of bias.
You are right he is an embarrassment to our nation, but let's leave him exactly where he is in the run up to the Referendum. With him in the unionist camp, a YES vote is a certainty.
# Desperate Dora 2012-08-07 22:41
I just saw the Newsnight interview and wondered if my eyes and ears were deceiving me.

I think if I were a member of the Labour Party, I'd be really embarassed to be represented by this odious character.

He treated Isobel Fraser disgracefully but I have to say I was impressed with how she put him in his place. He was no match for her in the intelligence stakes.
# Adrian B 2012-08-07 22:49
# GrassyKnollington 2012-08-07 22:51
Darn it, missed Ian "doing" Davidson's meltdown on Newsnicht.

How long until it hits youtube I wonder.

Hope Johann, speaking as a mother Lamont found it suitably robust. Is she still doing her end of pier "Eck's a fatty" routine at Morecambe?

Anyway I wouldn't get too excited as the BBC will use it as an example of how they must be getting the balance right because Davidson thinks they're biased towards the SNP.
# xyz 2012-08-07 23:09
Sounds about right. .. I haven't see the interview yet and I may change my opinion, but reading my twitter feed made me think that he was just expounding another 'big lie' .. I expect this ludicrous claim of pro-independence bias at the BBC to be regurgitated over and over in their attempt to deflect the truth about BBC bias.
# J Wil 2012-08-07 23:08
First with Blair Jenkins telling Isobel that the BBC Scotland Newslab wasn't biased and now this. Where do we stand?

Any decent lawyer who looked at the long running evidence could see exactly where the bias lies.
# Early Ball 2012-08-07 23:10
Harris and Murphy have gone to ground on twitter. Must be serious.
# Dubai_scot 2012-08-08 04:28
Murphy who? Is this the man Labour hoped would be working miracles for them?

Hope he doesnt get paid on productivity! Lol!
# Ananurhing 2012-08-07 23:14
Scottish Labour are completely rattled. Iain Davidson's display on newsnicht was an utter disgrace. The man personifies everything wrong with Scottish Labour, and has no right to call himself a democrat. Is he seriously telling us that the people of Scotland cannot express their overwhelmingly popular choice of constitutional change, because of a nominal mandate unknowingly given in 1997? I think the UN Treaty of Human Rights, the Treaty Of Vienna, and the Helsinki Accord hold sway over anything excreted from Iain Davidson's mouth. What a disgrace.

Good to see Kenyon Wright still busy on constitutional matters. The man's an unsung hero and champion of the Scottish people. He deserves much more recognition than he's given for being fundamentally instrumental in reconvening the Scottish Parliament.We owe him a huge debt of gratitude. I met him once. You couldn't meet a more altruistic and humble man. I hope he is eventually recognised for his tireless efforts.
# Adrian B 2012-08-07 23:26
NEWSNAT SCOTLAND Tuesday 7th August 2012

You Tube

Watch out for Coffee/Keyboard/Monitor moments
# GrassyKnollington 2012-08-07 23:44
cheers for that. As far as the Yes campaign is concerned Davidson really is the gift that keeps on giving.
# xyz 2012-08-07 23:47
No, he did not lose it, IMO he clumsily ~tried~ to push another big lie, in this case, that the BBC is biased towards independence. Utterly ridiculous.

I can't decide if Isabel Fraser is complicit, but this is BBC Scotland! You'll struggle to find anyone not placed there by the LabourCon.
# Old Smokey 2012-08-08 00:45
Having watched a couple of times, can only conclude the following; first he is without doubt a bully boy, but I think he is being used as such. secondly, its well known that Isabel Fraser is more impartial than the rest of her colleagues, but considering how bias the rest are doesnt put her in the pro independence camp by any stretch of the imagination.Its with this in mind that I beleive Davidson was breifed to subtly (if thats possible)drop in the 'Newsnat' remark, the first time he mentioned it, it was barely noticeable, but then repeated it with the aim of riling Fraser and to get her on the back foot and waste the interview. She held her own and handled Davidson professionally. But the aim was to draw questions over newsnight scotland in the public's perception. Now WE know there is a general bias in the BBC in general and specific in Newsnight Scotland leaning towards unionist's. But any future arguement now is tainted in the public perception, the same vein as 'all politicians are the same' so who should they (the public) beleive. With demonstrations taking place against the BBC for its bias against independence. The public now draw the conclusion that the BBC cant be bias against both the independence or the unionist.
# Adrian B 2012-08-08 01:32
@Old Smokey,

With regard to the bias statement, we will see how this story progresses in the next few days. we cannot do more than that. The Labour partyAll the Unionist parties will want to play this down.

Twitter lit up like a Christmas tree, the YouTube video was tweeted and retweeted. There is a link posted on the Guardian web-site. Many Scottish politics blogs will no doubt report about Ian Davidson on Newsnight Scotland. This story has gone viral.

Will the BBC report it on their news programming? Will they allow the program to be put on iPlayer? Will the public at large see and hear about this. Indeed what will the main body of the population hear about this?

The first signs will not be visible until breakfast time. One thing it will do is highlight how the BBC show all politicians, that in it's self is no bad thing. That is actually what we have wanted from the BBC for a very long time.

It's actually I think quite a blessing in disguise that a Labour MP has done our work for us in regard to BBC bias.

Remember Ian Davidson behaved badly tonight, along with his bias accusations. This might be the best media event for the year in many ways for us.

Davidson made his own bed, now he can lye in it - He is not being used as a bully - he behaved like a bully!
# Proadge 2012-08-08 00:19
A highly thuggish performance, even by his standards. 'Newsnat Scotland' - how pathetic. And how absolutely absurd. Davidson claiming that our pro-Establishment, pro-Unionist, pro-monarchy, right-wing state broadcaster is somehow biased in favour of independence is every bit as surreal as the Daily Mail claiming it's run by lefties.
# PrideoftheClyde 2012-08-08 01:49

noun /ˌparəˈnoiə/ 

1. A mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically elaborated into an organized system. It may be an aspect of chronic personality disorder, of drug abuse, or of a serious condition such as schizophrenia in which the person loses touch with reality

2. Suspicion and mistrust of people or their actions without evidence or justification
- the global paranoia about hackers and viruses
# ButeHouse 2012-08-08 00:09
If anyone had any doubts about Ian Davidson being a bully they need only look at the youtube video - link supplied by Adrian B above at 00.26 Thanks for that Adrian and Peter.

Not only a bully but stupid with it. On the one hand he and his 'group' want the Referendum as quickly as possible but on the other they want their strings firmly attached to the S30 despite knowing that the SG have already said S30 Yes, Strings No!

Davidson says he wants SG and WG to reach agreement quickly.....but unspoken sub text says - but on our terms.

Ian V Alex. How many members of the public in Scotland would go for Davidson over Salmond? Damn few.

As for the risible claim that BBC Newsnight or NewsNat as he laughingly calls it is biased towards the SNP. that is straight off the pages of Machiavelli and Goebbles.

VOTE YES in 2014

ps Excellent article Canon Wright, great to see you are still in the frame.
# call me dave 2012-08-08 02:50
The BBC Scotland will revel in this!

They have just been exonerated because, in the eyes of the general public, they will be seen to be impartial.

Whether it was part of a skilful well planned labour party strategy (naw!) or, whether Davidson lost the plot and blundered through the interview toughing it out to the end the result is the same.

The BBC will be found not guilty of bias when their independent review is completed later this year as this will seal it.

Isabel Fraser did well and took the right decision to defend the programme.
# Adrian B 2012-08-08 03:03
@call me dave

Not sure that the BBC can actually revel in this. See my reply to Old Smokey above as to why I think it may not be a bad thing for us.
# GrassyKnollington 2012-08-08 08:26
Peter Curran is a big fan of the BBC and defender of it's impartiality against what he derides as the accusations of "nat nuts".

I used to enjoy his posts but at times he did come across as very high handed and intolerant of views which challenged his own.

Davidson's "newsnat" accusation has pleased Peter Curran as he feels it proves his point that nationalist attacks on BBC bias are groundless.

He tweeted this about Davidson 9 hours ago

"He's only saying in public the reverse of what many SNP nuts have been saying about anti-nat bias in abusive tweets/emails"

I wrote above that the BBC would find Davidson's accusation useful in their own defence and in fact he used "newsnat" so often in the interview that it quickly became obvious that he went into the programme intending to say it.
# Roll_On_2011 2012-08-08 09:23
There are blowhards and then there are experts.

The following is from, an expert, Professor Robert Black (QC, FRSA, FRSE, FFCS, ILTM is Professor Emeritus of Scots Law at the University of Edinburgh).

The Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster have concluded today that the Scottish Parliament does not have legislative competence to conduct an independence referendum, and a s30 amendment to the 1998 Scotland Act is required from the UK Parliament. But Professor Robert Black QC believes they are mistaken.

I was also drawn to the letter from Teflon Tony to Donald Dewar:

It was a struggle; it may also be hard, but it was well worth it. Scotland & England together on equal terms!

Together on equal terms…. Aye right.

# Galen10 2012-08-08 10:38
After reading some of the pices referred to here (especially Mad Jock's piece above, and Professor Black's dissmissal of the SAC's opinion in FIRM magazine) is it too much to hope that some well heeled pro-independence (or at least anti- unlimited power for westminster advocate!) might challenge the competence of the SAC, and the legality of their actions, or indeed of ANY attempt to attach conditions to a S30 order?

Surely it should not be outwith the ken of those with deep knowledge of the constitutional ins and outs to put a case together that finally nails the lie that the Scottish Government cannot hold a referendum sans strings from westminster?
# Ananurhing 2012-08-09 10:57
#Galen 10. This is an interesting perspective. ihttp://ukconstitutiona
# oldnat 2012-08-09 19:37
# Galen10 2012-08-10 10:13
This is the kind of thing I meant with respect to the SAC's report, and why it seems even on a cursory glance to be unbalanced; why weren't experts like those from the Constitutional Law group consulted?

It appears there hasn't even been a semblance of trying to produce a fair and balanced report based on hearing evidence from both sides and / or neutral observers.

No doubt there are any number of other constitutional lawyers who could be consulted?
# cokynutjoe 2012-08-08 10:52
To hear this balloon one would actually think he was a member of the governing party at Westminster, an instutution which has no party with an overall majority for anything, never mind cracking the whip at a government with a sound working majority like Holyrood.
# proudscot 2012-08-08 12:47
The real disgrace is that Labour supporters actually voted this odious bullying thug into Westminster to represent them. I hope if any of them were watching this disgraceful performance, they were suitably unimpressed and maybe even had their eyes opened to the real unattractive person behind the false front he no doubt adopts at election times.

Isobel Frazer held her ground well, and actually caused him some embarrassment, evident by his answering rant, when she demanded an apology for his unfounded accusation of political bias against her and the programme.

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