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By Jason Michael
The British Prime Minister has ordered her Cabinet to start the fight to save the union and keep the Scottish people chained to the disastrous fate of the United Kingdom. All we are waiting on now is for Nicola Sturgeon to do the right thing.
So what’s holding Nicola Sturgeon back? During a Cabinet meeting on Monday the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, “ordered” her ministers to start making a case for the Union as speculation continues to mount that Scotland will call another independence referendum within weeks. The penny has finally dropped in London that the Westminster government is powerless to stop the Scottish government from calling such a vote in spite of the unionist rhetoric to the contrary. Britain may be about to leave the European Union, but it remains a member of the United Nations and is therefore bound to its international law treaty obligations – one of which is the Enshrined Right of Nations to Self-Determination; described by the sixty-eighth General Assembly as “an integral element of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
Countries like Spain and the United Kingdom understandably have difficulties accepting this reality, but tough pigeon. It is has been signed by them and is binding upon them. Scotland, especially with a devolved parliament and on the basis of the Declaration of Arbroath – the cornerstone of Scots law, has every right – moral and legal – to assert its unique sovereignty and its right to be an independent state whenever the people of Scotland – and only the people of Scotland – deem that to be appropriate. Of course the British government is aware of this, as it is aware of the terms of the 1707 Act of Union that expressly allows for the dissolution of the Union between Scotland and England. This is why May and her government have not simply forbidden another referendum. They have no power to do this. All that she can do is express her opinion that one is not needed, but that is a matter for the Scottish people to decide. So what is the hold up?
Sturgeon is holding back for the moment for reasons known, for the moment, only to her and the Scottish government, but it is well understood that another referendum on the question of independence is a necessity for Scottish political life. Our nation has been held in a deadlock since September 2014 and this awkward paralysis will continue until the people of Scotland feel that they have been properly and fairly heard in another referendum. Events in the United Kingdom have completely undermined the promises that were made to Scotland during the last referendum, and – quite rightly – Scottish people feel that they have been cheated. Independence is now the only avenue by which we can achieve what we voted for in 2014 and in June last year.
In making this demand of her Cabinet Theresa May has both signalled – as far as she is concerned – that another referendum campaign has all but begun and shown that she knows she has no power to stop it from happening. Westminster’s Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, has – while talking out of the other side of his mouth – said that regardless of independence Scotland will be leaving the EU. As Europe’s chief Article 50 negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, has already made it clear that the European Union cannot afford to lose Scotland we can be certain that EU membership will be a matter for Brussels to decide. Yet unless the Scottish government want us to remain with London and so leave the EU, Nicola Sturgeon must now call another referendum – and soon. All eyes will be on the SNP 2017 Conference in Aberdeen. That will make for an interesting St. Patrick’s Day.
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