THE UK Government on Tuesday, rather predictably, ran roughshod over the wishes and needs of the Scottish people. It also, even more predictably, broke promises made during the EU referendum that powers repatriated from the EU after Brexit would come directly under the control of Holyrood.

For me, the fact that Westminster only allowed 15 minutes of parliamentary time and offered no Scottish MP the chance to speak is not so important to the story. What is important here, is that since the Scottish Parliament formed, Westminster has never attempted to pass a law that impacted on (in this case removes) the powers of the Scottish Government without Holyrood’s consent.

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Only about 11% of the Scottish population actually would like to see the Scottish Parliament abolished and all power returned to Westminster, but they are getting their way. The UK Government is beginning the process of dismantling devolution.

When I said this in December, and in particular when I gave evidence on the Brexit Bill to the Westminster Parliament Trade Committee, I pointed out that Brexit was incompatible with devolution. I was surprised at how well that stance went down with pro-Remain and pro-devolution MPs in all parties who congratulated me on my evidence.

I am not sure what has surprised me most – whether it was that the Labour MPs in particular approaching me in the corridor outside the committee room to tell me how important it was that I had demonstrated that devolution and post-Brexit trade deals were incompatible hadn’t figured that out for themselves beforehand, or that those keen Remainers and supposed protectors of devolution all abstained on Tuesday.

Westminster has begun the process of dismantling devolution. They have to, they have no choice. It’s not even really a nasty power grab, it’s just that Brexit requires a full rewrite of the constitutional set-up of the UK and intercepting the returning EU powers is just the first step.

Powers such as fisheries were devolved to Scotland on the understanding that there were certain agreements which allow the EU to legislate in those areas. When we leave the EU those powers return to the legislature that holds the power and in many cases that’s Holyrood. However, in order to do some sort of bespoke trade deal with the EU, Westminster will have to concede those fishing rights – for example to win finance sector concessions which are more important to London – and leaving fishing rights in Holyrood’s hands would mean that consent to do so may be withheld, or be subject to a secondary negotiation with Holyrood and they can’t accept that.

That is just the beginning. The Scottish NHS has always been separate from the English NHS and so health was an obvious power for the Scottish Government to have. However, remember that Brexit is incompatible with devolution and so, were the UK Government to enter into free trade negotiations, with the US for example, the US would demand access to UK NHS contracts for its health and insurance companies. If consent was left with Holyrood and looked unlikely to be given, the US would not even consider beginning negotiations.

So Tuesday’s vote is just the beginning and other powers that have always resided with Holyrood will have to be removed from Scotland (in future) depending on the type of Brexit defined by the leaving arrangements in October.

I know some people will call that scaremongering, but they also said that when I claimed that Scotland would not get more powers but rather have powers taken from us, and that we were more likely to leave the EU if we voted No in 2014. Westminster continues to restrict Scotland’s choices.

Which brings me to the second point I want to make – whilst the Unionists are offering a starvation diet, the independence movement should be offering an all-you-can-eat buffet. I wrote last week that every caveat you add on to independence loses votes. We have a clear statement that “we are a nation and that we need the powers of nationhood to look after their people, economy and ecology”.

For example: “Let’s be independent and get rid of the royal family” loses votes, “get rid of the Tories” etc, more votes lost. However that doesn’t mean that our choices are limited (to the Sustainable Growth Commission) and that independence-supporting groups and parties can’t put forward their own vision of independence, because that’s rather the point of it all.

I understand that that the SNP will most likely lead the first parliament of an independent Scotland (although I favour an SNP-led Government of National Unity) and so their policies will carry a lot of weight during the next independence campaign.

But they won’t win every election in Scotland forever and they may not even stay together as one party beyond a few years. So there will a great deal more policy choices in an independent Scotland of the Greens, socialists (whatever that means nowadays), pluralists like myself and Conservatives, who would all do a lot differently to the SNP and will still have their voices heard in an independent Scotland whilst almost none of them will be happy with Westminster embarking down the recentralisation path.

A policy Smorgasbord approach to independence is what we need – where every party and interest group promotes its perfect plan for running an independent Scotland, and says if this is what you like, this is what we will be fighting for in an independent Scotland. If you don’t like the SNP plan, fine, we will have the ability to change the government and make different choices, but if we remain with Westminster we have no choices other than whatever they force feed us, and that starts with the UK Parliament putting the Scottish Parliament on a starvation diet of powers.