Mark McNaught: Why there really is no UK democratic legitimacy left in Scotland

Dr Mark McNaught, Assistant Professor of Law, Philosophy, and US Civilization at the University of Rennes, says Scotland should do democracy its own way

TO THE extent that it ever existed, the frantic convulsions of the Westminster system in the wake of the Brexit vote have definitively extinguished any legitimacy of the UK in Scotland. 

Only time will tell if any can be restored to what will be left of the UK, after the constitutional writhing has subsided and we begin to see what will emerge in its wake.

The UK, as presently constituted, has been living on borrowed time at least since the Thatcher era, held together largely by corporate fascism. The fact that Theresa May shall become prime minister, without a single popular vote, puts to rest any notion that the UK is a democracy.

The stark reality is, the UK has never been a true democracy. The 'legitimacy' of the UK state is based on parliamentary supremacy of the Crown and Parliament, not popular sovereignty. 

The stark reality is, the UK has never been a true democracy. The 'legitimacy' of the UK state is based on parliamentary supremacy of the Crown and Parliament, not popular sovereignty. 

The monarchy as head of state is, of course, hereditary, whose "legitimacy" is still based on the delusional crock of divine right, feebly maintained by overwrought pageantry and a vapid cult of personality. Those living in the UK are still subjects of the monarch, not full and true citizens able to meaningfully participate in political affairs. 

The House of Lords has zero democratic legitimacy, and should have been abolished centuries ago. It is a decrepit, feudal institution that only serves to hard wire aristocratic privilege and corruption into the UK political system. The UK still has 'Dukes', 'Viscounts' and 'Barons' with power and entrenched privilege. Why?

While arguably the most democratic institution within the triumvirate, the House of Commons with the first-past-the-post system, corrupt campaign finance system and low voter turnout cannot be considered authentically democratic. 

Given that MPs are not legally required to reside in or even have visited the constituencies they are elected to, it is not a representative democracy in any meaningful sense.

After the events of this week, during which a prime minister no one voted for will take office after a rightwing coup engineered, in my view, by multinational corporations and a sickeningly vicious and corrupt UK press, any vestige of legitimacy has been definitively extinguished.

The monarchy as head of state is, of course, hereditary, whose "legitimacy" is still based on the delusional crock of divine right, feebly maintained by overwrought pageantry and a vapid cult of personality.

At the same time, the corporate warmongering Blairite wing of the 'Labour' party is trying to eliminate Jeremy Corbyn and replace him with Angela Eagle, who does not believe that war criminal Tony Blair should suffer any consequences in the wake of the Chilcot Report because he has already "been through the mill". I’ll leave it to you to ponder how much he has suffered relative to the incalculable damage the Iraq war unleashed.

On Brexit, the most disturbing question regarding the motives is: what exactly could the Tory government not do while in the EU that it will be free to do upon withdrawal?

Will it no longer be bound by the European Convention on Human Rights? Will it abolish all workers rights? Revoke gay marriage? Frack the UK? Rig or even abolish the electoral system for permanent Tory/corporate rule? All is possible.

Scotland now has zero interest in remaining in the UK, and doing so becomes increasingly perilous by the day. How much longer will Scots wish to remain within the UK, with a PM who has stated her intention to pull the entirety of the UK from the EU, and desire to withdraw from the ECHR? 

Will anything be safe from privatisation, including the entire police and judicial system? In what form will democracy exist in the UK in 10 years time, if at all, if Westminster is no longer bound by any EU conventions?

The House of Lords has zero democratic legitimacy, and should have been abolished centuries ago. It is a decrepit, feudal institution that only serves to hard wire aristocratic privilege and corruption into the UK political system.

Only time will answer these questions, but Scotland should not stay in the UK long enough to find out. The coronation of Theresa May as prime minister without a singular popular vote, coupled with her stated aim of dragging Scotland out of the EU against her will, thoroughly obliterates any democratic legitimacy Westminster ever had.

However, given Scotland’s status to Westminster as a parking lot for nuclear weapons and a source of billions of pounds in oil revenue, don’t expect it to let Scotland go easily. 

On the other hand, despite Mariano Rajoy’s objections, there is tremendous good will in Europe for Scotland’s position, and they will find a way to keep Scotland in the EU as rUK leaves.

Then, Scots can finally construct a true democratic Scottish republic, whose legitimacy is based uniquely on popular sovereignty: feudal aristocratic privilege extinguished by law, finally worthy of its people.

Picture courtesy of UK Parliament

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