THERE is a great deal to unpack in light of the fiasco in Westminster over an SNP motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Any message coming from Westminster about the conflict, the tragedy and the deaths in Gaza was almost completely overwritten by the shambolic events in the House of Commons. That is extremely regrettable, given the potential for a strong statement on one of the most important life-and-death issues of our time.

These events also give rise to some very important issues about the ability of Scotland’s representatives to have their say in the Westminster Parliament. The exasperation and indeed anger of my SNP colleagues in the House of Commons has understandably been aimed at the Speaker, who has failed utterly in defending the rights of the SNP and by extension all other parties other than the twin cohorts of the UK establishment – Labour and Tory.

The Speaker should leave office, but I suspect he won’t.

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Parts of the Westminster establishment are rallying around the Speaker – as are significant sections of the London-based media – convinced that merely ignoring the rights of the SNP is simply not sufficiently important to warrant any further action.

However, the more salient point is that Labour are unrepentant about the illegitimate thwarting of the SNP’s Opposition Day debate. This is crucial. People in Scotland must be aware of Labour’s contempt for anyone but Labour who represents Scotland, and who seek to give effect to that representation in Westminster.

Many of us will recall the “heartfelt” pleas of Labour luminaries like Gordon Brown at the 2014 referendum. “Lead us, don’t leave us. Scotland’s voice will be heard, welcomed and respected, protected even.”

Contrast that with the joyous faces, the back-slapping of Labour MPs and the cheers – not because they had “passed” an amendment calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, but simply because, as they saw it, they had scuppered the SNP by usurping – with the help of the Speaker – the SNP’s Opposition Day date.

Lead, don’t leave? Aye right!

We knew the Tory contempt for Scotland would continue and likely increase following a No vote.

The absurd and unworkable “English Votes for English Laws” was announced within hours of the referendum result. From having “the most powerful devolved parliament in the world”, with legally binding protection for its legislative competence, as promised in the Vow in 2014; to the UK Government telling the Supreme Court a few short years later that the Sewel Convention – the process by which Scotland’s Parliament’s competencies were to be protected – was nothing more than “a self-denying ordinance” as far as the UK Government is concerned.

True to their word, they have now overridden the convention whenever they have felt the desire. The top slicing of Scotland’s budget to give a fraction of it back to a favoured few local authorities has, by design, further undermined devolution.

And then there’s Brexit. We were told by the Unionists that the way to protect our membership of the EU – with all the individual and democratic rights that we had because of our membership – was to vote No.

Move forward a couple of years and all those rights and democratic checks have gone too. Ignoring Scotland’s view whereby every single local authority area voted against it. Boasting about excluding Scotland in subsequent negotiations.

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Given the distinct possibility of Labour and Sir Keir Starmer being elected to the UK Government, it is my view Scotland now has to be even more wary of Westminster’s determination to crush Scottish representation.

Labour’s determination to apply different democratic rules for Scotland than they do for themselves lies in the argument that even if the SNP win the most seats in Scotland at the forthcoming General Election, they will have no mandate if they receive a majority but less than the 47/48 seats they won last time. Never a rule applied to Labour or Tory governments elected with smaller majorities than their predecessors, but hey, it’s Scotland, so who cares?

The tradition whereby Westminster sidelines, marginalises or suppresses Scotland is not new. But perhaps the most egregious example of Westminster’s contempt for Scotland is its attempt to block a democratic referendum on Scotland’s future, even while the people of Scotland vote for parties committed to such a democratic exercise in their manifestos.

Notions such as the doctrine of the mandate – the right of parties winning elections to exercise their right to implement their manifestos – are suspended in Scotland. This is not normal. At least not in a “democracy”. The impoverishment of democracy in Scotland originates in Westminster and the establishment of the Labour/Tory anti-democratic elites. This is a poor imitation of a democracy.

The National: House of Commons

A “democratic” legislature where the majority are unelected? The plucking of favoured individuals to rule over us without the need for a mandate, an election or democratic accountability?

Given the “diet democracy” of the UK and the denial of democracy to Scotland, it seems we now need to examine whether it is right to confer any legitimacy on an institution determined to deny democracy in Scotland.

Some have believed for many years that Scotland should withdraw from Westminster, while others believe it is necessary to be there, to make arguments on Scotland’s behalf, to promote and protect Scotland’s interests. I have tended to agree with this.

But when the institution can so easily be manipulated to thwart Scotland’s representatives, the issue needs, in my view, to be re-examined.

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Seeing Labour representatives – albeit with quite a few honourable exceptions outwith their party in parliament – cock-a-hoop with having “dished” the SNP (regardless of the substantive issue on Gaza) must be a warning for how Scotland will be treated under any Starmer-led UK Government. They are either unaware – or more likely unconcerned – as to any consequences of their actions.

I recall from university days a Professor Alistair McIntyre from across the pond, who said, in terms, that when a parliamentary assembly prevents democratic pressure from being addressed within it, that pressure will inevitably be exercised against it.

An incompetent Speaker and a contemptuous Knight of the Realm have ensured that many people in Scotland will no longer regard Westminster as democratic and certainly not as theirs. Why should we collude in that contempt?