August 2021

Home rule

The story of over a century of Home Rule debates in Scotland

I VERY rarely plan months in advance and often start this column on a Monday morning without a clue of what I’m about to write – no doubt many of you will have noticed. So the other day, when a piece of Facebook comedy was brought to my attention by a reader, I felt that there was more than just a kernel of story there.

I first saw “A Warning from Ireland” on Facebook in the run-up to the 2014 referendum, but it was re-posted the other day. He states: “Between 1889 and 1914 Irish Home Rule was debated 15 times in Westminster and there were four Home Rule bills. Nothing has changed.”

How many Scots know that between 1886 and 1900 Scottish Home Rule was debated seven times in Westminster? How many Scots know that in 1894 and 1895 the Commons voted for a Home Rule resolution but ran out of parliamentary time? How many knows that in 1913 the Scottish Federal Government Bill was introduced in the House of Commons and the proposal was supported by 204 votes to 159? Only the outbreak of World War I stopped its implementation or we could have had a decentralized Scottish legislature a century ago.

Almost a mythology developed about how Scotland always adhered to the Incorporated Union that was inflicted on us in 1707. Yes, there was a long time, say after the Jacobite Uprising of 1745 until ‘in the 1850s, when Scotland took the building of the British Empire to heart and is doing quite well, but as I have shown in recent chronicles, the Union has not been a great success in the start.

During the first half of the 19th century, Westminster was very happy to be decentralized in many of its functions, and the councils and boards of directors largely dealt with matters of governance, so the Scots were content to take care of business.

With Sir Walter Scott in the foreground, however, as the turn of the 19th century wore on, many people began to worry about the loss of Scottish citizenship – and this was also not based on the class, because the workers and the middle classes worried about this cultural and political creep. intimidation.

The National Association for the Defense of Scottish Rights was formed in 1853, but was short-lived and had little political impact. But her main complaints – that Scotland was under-represented in Parliament and that Scotland did not receive sufficient income for the huge sums it contributed to the Treasury – sparked heated debate, but it fizzled out in 1856.

The Liberals controlled Scotland for decades, but by the 1880s the party was struggling with its Home Rule policy for Ireland, and as a result of this question a Scottish Home Rule Association was started in 1886, the same year that Keir Hardie and others started their labor movement and the following year the Scottish office was founded in support of the Home Rulers.

It is extraordinary to remember the great debate on Scottish Home Rule in the House of Commons that took place in 1889 – the first time it was fully debated in parliament, and a rather astonishing event, frankly, which almost been forgotten.

MP Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham said on this historic day, April 9, 1889: “In view of the great pressure that will soon be brought to bear on this House by social causes on the part of the Scottish electorate, we have not come. here with a frivolous or stupid proposition as we, for the first time, tried to lobby the Scottish Home Rule cause in the House of Commons. ”

Dr Gavin Clark, Member of Parliament for Caithness, proposed to the House of Commons the resolution ‘that, in the opinion of this House, it is desirable that arrangements be made for the provision of the Scottish people, through their representatives in a parliament national, management and control of Scottish affairs.

He said: “I have no desire to abrogate the Union between England and Scotland, and I think the Union has been mutually beneficial – a good thing for Scotland, but a better thing. for England.

“I frankly admit that while my motion is primarily based on practical considerations, there is a sentimental basis for the growing Home Rule movement in Scotland. We Scots are all proud of our country and its history.

“An attempt is made here to ignore Scottish nationality. We hear about the English government, and the minister is not called to order for expression. Well, just the other day the Secretary of War talked about the British troops he was sending to Egypt, the Scottish Borderers. ”

So far so familiar even nowadays.

Clark continued: ‘We have confusion, lawlessness and chaos in mixed jurisdictions in Scotland, due to the outrageous state of our Public Health Act, but the House never had time. to deal with this subject, and therefore anarchy continues. There are thousands of preventable deaths every year in Scotland due to our shameful Public Health Act.

“Everyone, even the old Tories across the way, has to admit that change is needed. So what is the cure to be? It must, I think, take the form of a devolution.

The word had been spoken… and it wasn’t until 1889.

William Hunter, Liberal MP for Aberdeen North, seconded the motion, correcting the record:; but it is remarkable that since then there has been no sustained agitation in its support by public meetings or in the press.

“Sir, having decided that Home Rule for Scotland would be good for the country, I then decided to explain my point of view to my constituency in Aberdeen. I had no idea how they would receive it, but I found out very quickly that the constituency was ahead of me, and that the mass of the people had strived for Home Rule to a point that I did not. would not have thought possible. Indeed, I think we won’t have 10 members returning to Scotland in the next general election unless they are committed to Home Rule for Scotland. ”

Sir Hugh Shaw-Stewart, Old Etonian Conservative MP for East Renfrewshire, rose to oppose the motion:. It would be centralization in its worst form.

He added: “I think the spirit which animates my honorable friends is embodied in the advice given by an old Scottish radical to a young man about to enter Parliament: ‘Be asking, and when you get something, be complaining that you can’t have May ‘.

The National:

UP raised the Grand Old Man himself, William Ewart Gladstone (above), former and future prime minister and Liberal leader: question on his merits.

“The principles applicable to the solution of this question are, however, by no means obscure or difficult to understand. I believe that Scotland and Ireland are precisely equal before England as regards their moral and political right to assert before the Imperial Parliament any claims which they may regard as arising out of the interests and demands of these respective countries. They are precisely equal in this right, so that if I am to assume a case in which Scotland, unanimously, or by a clearly casting vote, asks the United Parliament to be treated, not only on the same principle , but like Ireland, I couldn’t deny Scotland’s title to make such a claim. Further, I am obliged to say that I have a perfectly firm belief that if such a claim were made in the manner which I have described as the clear and deliberate statement of Scottish opinion, Parliament would accede to it. ”

What a principled debate, but the vote wasn’t close – 79 yeas, 200 nays, and that seemed like it. But as the Labor movement grew and young Liberal Scots arose, the question of Home Rule for Scotland did not go away, and it preoccupied many minds at the turn of the 20th century.

In 1913, parliament was ready for another Scottish Home Rule debate and William Cowan, Liberal MP for Aberdeenshire Eastern, put it in place with his Scottish Government Bill.

He said: ‘You cannot take a Scottish newspaper today with a good chance of not finding any reference to this burning issue.

“I don’t care who is going to Scotland today, if he talks to someone, if he goes somewhere, if he consults the people, he will find out that it is the most absorbing political subject by Scotland.”

The SNP contingent at Westminster will acknowledge their forthcoming statement: “The English members will be conspicuous by their absence, or be represented by gentlemen who, having shootouts, fisheries or deer forests in Scotland, imagine themselves to be experts in business. and insist on wasting our time and theirs by interfering in the Scottish debates.

He concluded: “Is it any wonder that Scotland is tired and demands its own parliament? That it requires its own legislation for land, for the alcohol trade, for education, for housing, for fishing, for ecclesiastical affairs, for 101 matters of purely local interest?

You can read both debates in Hansard. You will find many sadly familiar points.

In the very unlikely event that Boris Johnson reads this column, I would like to end with a few words from his great hero, Sir Winston Spencer Churchill. Speaking in his then constituency of Dundee on October 9, 1913, Churchill said: “You will recall how last year I spoke at a meeting in Dundee on this subject (rule of the House). I made it clear that I was speaking for myself. I made it clear that I was not talking about the immediate future, but … raising an issue for reflection and discussion rather than quick action. I have spoken of the establishment of a federal system in the United Kingdom, in which Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and, if necessary, parts of England, could have institutions legislative and parliamentary, allowing them to develop, in their own way, their own lives according to their own ideas and needs in the same way as the great and prosperous States of the American Union and the great kingdoms and principalities and states of the Empire German.

“I will take the risk of prophecy and tell you that the day will most certainly come – many of you will live to see it – when a federal system will be established in these islands which will give Wales and Scotland control. within the proper limits of their own Welsh and Scottish affairs.

Of course, the real reason there will never be a Federal United Kingdom of Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland is that Scotland will first go its own way and will regain its full independence.

Let’s face it, the majority of the British want independence from us, Wales and Northern Ireland. The lesson of history is that federalism will never be enough and that we must all go our separate ways.

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Independence activist

A Papuan independence activist will be tried next week for treason – BenarNews

An independence activist from the Indonesian province of Papua will face trial next week for treason, his lawyer announced on Tuesday.

The day before, a protester was shot and wounded when police opened fire to disperse a rally demanding the release of activist Victor Yeimo, activists and a religious group said.

Yeimo’s lawyer, Gustav Kawer, said his client’s arraignment was scheduled for August 24 and expressed concern about what he said was his deteriorating health.

“Despite his medical condition, he is still being forced to stand trial. This is an attempt to pursue a timeline regardless of the quality of the trial,” Kawer told BenarNews.

Yeimo, the international spokesman for the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), a group calling for a referendum on independence in the region, was arrested in May for allegedly leading anti-Jakarta protests that turned into deadly riots in 2019.

Yeimo faces charges of treason, desecration of state symbols and arms smuggling, police said. He could face two years to a maximum of life in prison, if convicted.

In 2019, more than 40 people were killed in Papua during protests and riots sparked by the perceived harsh and racist treatment of Papuan students by government security personnel in Java in August.

The incident has thrown a new spotlight on long-standing allegations that Indonesian government forces have engaged in racist actions against indigenous peoples mainly in Melanesian Papua, where violence linked to a separatist insurgency has been simmering for decades and has intensified in recent months.

Last year, at least 13 Papuan activists and students were convicted for raising Morning Star flags – the symbol of the Papuan independence movement – at pro-referendum rallies in 2019 as part of nationwide protests against anti-Papuan racism. .

They were sentenced to between nine and 11 months in prison for treason.

“The team of doctors is not independent”

Yeimo’s lawyer Kawer says repeated requests from the legal team for his client to undergo a full health check-up have been turned down, despite complaining of chest pains and coughing up blood .

Yeimo is being held in a facility run by the Mobile Squad Police Unit, Kawer said. The activist is housed in a cell with minimal lighting, poor air circulation and located next to a septic tank, he added.

Kawer said he sent a letter to the prosecutor’s office asking for Yeimo to be transferred to Abepura Main Jail in Jayapura, but there was no response.

Kawer acknowledged that his client had already undergone two medical examinations since his detention – the last on June 17 – but that they had not been thorough.

“We suspect that the team of doctors is not independent. We are very concerned that the results will be taken to court, but they are not consistent with Yeimo’s actual condition,” Kawer said.

Police spokesman Ahmad Musthofa Kamal denied that Yeimo was in pain.

“He is fine. He was examined by hospital doctors, not the police, and has a lawyer with him,” Kamal told BenarNews.

The head of the Papuan branch of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), Frits Ramandey, said he would seek bail for Yeimo.

Yeimo’s arrest was not his first encounter with the law.

In 2009, he was arrested and sentenced to a year in prison for leading a rally calling for a referendum on Papua self-determination.

In 1963, Indonesian forces invaded Papua and annexed the region, which constitutes the western half of the island of New Guinea. Papua was officially incorporated into Indonesia after a UN-sponsored ballot called the Free Choice Act in 1969.

Residents and activists said the vote was a sham because only around 1,000 people took part. However, the United Nations accepted the result, which essentially endorsed Jakarta’s rule.

The region is rich in natural resources but remains among the poorest and most underdeveloped in Indonesia.

“They beat us with rifle butts”

On Monday, a 29-year-old protester, Ferianus Asso, was shot in the stomach after police opened fire to disperse the crowd at a rally demanding Yeimo’s release in Yahukimo regency on Monday.

“Ferianus is still being treated at a hospital in Yahukimo,” Jefry Wenda, spokesman for a movement called the Papuan People’s Petition, told BenarNews.

Wenda said police detained at least 48 protesters in Yahukimo but all but four were released.

Papuan police spokesman Kamal said all the detainees had been released.

“We are not detaining any protesters at this time,” Kamal told BenarNews.

In the provincial capital Jayapura, KNPB chairman and former political prisoner Agus Kossay said he suffered a head injury after being hit by a police butt – a bracket to which the barrel of a gun is attached.

“They doused us with water and beat us with gun butts until we bled, but even if they beat us and kill us, we will still fight against racism, colonialism and capitalism,” Kossay said in a video clip sent to BenarNews.

Jayapura Police Chief Gustav R. Urbinas said the mass dispersal took place because the protest did not have an official permit and violated COVID-19 social distancing rules.

Urbinas said the crowd attacked police who were trying to disperse the protest.

“Our staff had to take firm action to prevent them from causing public disorder,” he said in a statement.

Kossay, however, said organizers notified police of the protest three days earlier.

Socratez S. Yoman, president of the Community of Baptist Churches in West Papua, condemned the use of violence by the police against the protesters.

“This kind of cruelty and violence by the security forces has led to an increase in the mistrust of the Papuan people towards Indonesia,” he said in an open letter.

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Home rule

The Lafayette City Council supports the Home Rule Charter Commission. What happens afterwards?

Lafayette City Council voted 4-1 on Tuesday to convene a self-government charter commission to propose changes to consolidated local government, but that doesn’t mean it will happen.

Council volunteer Protect the City Committee worked for months to review the structure of Lafayette’s consolidated government.

After a long series of public meetings, this committee produced a report recommending that Lafayette city and parish councils call a charter commission to offer some level of deconsolidation to voters in an election.

The city council welcomed the suggestion on Tuesday.

“You may or may not agree with questions about this, but we are here to make continuous efforts to improve our city of Lafayette,” Councilwoman Liz Hebert said. “Whether you agree with everything in this (report) or completely disagree with it, you can completely agree with it.”

A Home Rule Charter Commission would have a maximum of 18 months to develop a proposal to change Lafayette’s form of government. It would then be presented to voters in a parish-wide election.

Councilman Andy Naquin voted alone against convening a charter commission on Tuesday, calling the measure “premature.” He attempted to postpone the vote but failed to gain the necessary support from the rest of the council to do so.

Lafayette City Council President Liz Hebert speaks to voters during a town hall meeting on the City Protection Committee's recommendation to split the Lafayette Consolidated Government on Monday, June 14, 2021.

Naquin sought to delay the vote until the Lafayette Parish Council’s city-parish alignment commission, which was recently created in response to the city’s protection committee, completes its six-month study on consolidated government.

Councilor Glenn Lazard said he felt a delay was unjustified and would not change council’s support for the move.

“If we proceed tonight or wait a month, two months, three months, I don’t think the outcome will be any different,” Lazard said.

“That’s why I don’t see the point of delaying the inevitable.”

Lafayette City Council members Pat Lewis of District 1 and Glenn Lazard of District 5 held a series of town hall meetings to discuss a report by the city's protection committee aimed at deconsolidating the Lafayette government.  Wednesday June 16, 2021.

The city council vote calls for an 11-member commission, with one nomination each for five city council members and five parish council members, as well as one for mayor-president Josh Guillory.

But the city council’s supermajority support for calling a commission, which has been spurred by calls for greater autonomy and the city’s desire to elect its own mayor, alone won’t be enough to convene. a charter commission.

Instead, the Lafayette Parish Council must sign off on the city vote to accomplish anything. Members of the city council acknowledged that this was unlikely to happen.

The parish’s nine-member CPA commission, which is advisory only and not a charter commission, has not yet set a date for its first meeting.

The members of the committee are:

  • Parish Councilor Bryan Tabor (Whole Parish Council)
  • Councilor Nanette Cook (Wide Council)
  • Charles “Buddy” Schilling II (Parish Councilor Bryan Tabor)
  • Councilman Kevin Naquin (self-appointed)
  • Pastor and Business Owner Joseph Richard (Parish Councilor Josh Carlson)
  • Director of Publicity Paul Eason (Parish Councilor John Guilbeau)
  • Accountant Will Thiele (A.B. Rubin Parish Councilor)
  • Tim Breaux, Chairman of the Lafayette Republican Party (Mayor-Chairman Josh Guillory)
  • Former mayor of Scott Purvis Morrison (area mayors)

The composition of the CPA Commission includes the most frequent negotiators on the current councils, but lacks a strong political bent, aside from Guillory’s appointment of Breaux. This suggests that anti-deconsolidation members of the parish council may not be trying to block a possible charter commission, but rather delaying current calls to convene one.

Mayor-President Josh Guillory speaking before the removal of the Mouton statue.  After 99 years at the corner of Jefferson Street and Lee Avenue in downtown Lafayette, the statue of Confederate General Alfred Mouton is removed.  Saturday July 17, 2021.

The commission’s six-month schedule will likely slow the convening of any charter commission long enough to avoid local ballot changes in 2023, when Guillory and the two councils are re-elected.

But that doesn’t mean the end of the road for efforts to convene a short-term charter commission.

Two potential leads remain.

The first is outlined in state law, which provides residents of a local government with the ability to convene a self-government charter commission through a petition, which in Lafayette Parish must collect signatures from 10,000 registered voters.

This would require members of a charter commission to be elected by voters before starting work on proposing changes.

The second option would likely be an uphill battle in court that city council members said they hoped to avoid.

Councilor Nanette Cook in a meeting on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.

Councilwoman Nanette Cook, a supporter of the charter commission and the only city council member appointed to the parish council commission, said she hopes to make progress in finding a solution that serves the interests of the city and of the parish.

“I believe we can work with the parish on this. I appreciate that we now have an alignment committee, and the word ‘functional consolidation’, to me, has some merit that I think we need to look at as well,” Cook said.

“I look forward to working with them to see what we can do together to see what works best for both entities because, again, Lafayette is in the parish.”

Follow Andrew Capps on Twitter or email [email protected]

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Self government

President Zurabishvili confirms October 2 for local autonomy elections

Georgian President Salomé Zurabishvili has confirmed October 2 as the date for Georgia’s autonomous local elections.

Several hours before Zurabishvili confirmed the date of the elections, the Georgian parliament elected Giorgi Kalandarishvili as the new chairman of the Central Election Commission for a six-month term on August 3.

On July 28, the ruling Georgian Dream party revoked its status as a signatory to the EU-brokered April 19 deal that resolved a six-month political crisis in the country following the 2020 parliamentary elections and brought proposed large-scale electoral and judicial reforms.

The leader of the ruling party, Irakli Kobakhidze, said the agreement “had served its purpose” and accused opposition parties of failing to honor it.

Kobakhidze also said holding the October 2 municipal elections as part of the EU-negotiated deal when opposition parties refuse to sign it would be “harmful to Georgia’s interests.”

Irakli Kobakhidze noted that the ruling party is ready to “show good will” and accept the holding of repeated legislative elections even if it obtains 53% of the total vote in the municipal elections, instead of 43% as this was proposed in the EU mediation. agreement.

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Self government

Letter to the Editor: The Truth About Local Self-Government | Opinion

The truth about local autonomy

Local self-government began with the recognition of individual rights protecting freedom and taking into account inalienable rights. State autonomy represents the doctrine that created the Confederacy of States, declaring a revolutionary war with England rejecting colonial rule that acted in the name of corporate influence. At the end of this war, the Articles of Confederation were rewritten by a constitution forming “this United States of America”. This was inspired by corporations and their investors to streamline trade with regards to growing as a centralized nation. Until this centralization, local self-government governed the 13 states, including boroughs, cities and townships.

Local self-government was co-opted by the Home Rule Doctrine, and each state could independently choose whether its constitution recognized this doctrine. New Hampshire, the ‘live free or die’ state, turned away from local autonomy and instead specifically stated that any local government authority would be decided by the state and not by the needs and wishes of governing bodies local. This governance structure is known as the doctrine of Dillon’s rule, according to which municipalities are mere tenants of the state and therefore members of the community waive our inalienable rights under a republican form of government. representative.

New Hampshire reflected the arrangement of its state constitution after the Articles of Confederation, having its first part the Bill of Rights, followed by the duties of the branches of the state’s governmental powers. The state retained the town meeting process by which municipalities were authorized to make ordinances (law), but only regarding matters that the state authorized (authorized).

Here, I testify to the blunder of the moral person. We the people must be governed by our consent. Our differences and opinions are always caught up in power struggles for equality, indifference to who rules our collective at all. It is problematic that corporations are recognized as having human rights. Endowed with inalienable and civil rights recognized by the courts, the moral personality upset the whole ideal of freedom and equality. The judges, by their decisions recognizing legal personality, pulled the rug out from under the feet of all the inhabitants of each commune.

Properly understood, local autonomy with all the responsibilities of civility, patience and human decency would follow a brighter path. Without it, we as a nation will never be able to solve the problems of this nation. I am personally of the view that local self-government takes precedence when it is a right and not a privilege bestowed by the state, with due respect to all humanity and central representative governmental authority, from bottom to high.

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