Tweet Follow @RPJblog
By Jason Michael
The Scottish parliament has voted in favour of another independence referendum, putting the British government in a jam. Theresa May will no doubt do her best to put a spanner in the works, but in doing this she will only be hastening the inevitable.
Regardless of the British Prime Minister’s insistence that “now is not the time,” the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s motion to seek a Section 30 order for another independence referendum was passed in the Scottish parliament with 69 MSPs in favour and 59 against. We can at last dismiss the absurd notion, propagated by the opposition parties, that the Scottish people do not want another referendum. The people of Scotland have spoken through their elected representatives in our own representative parliament, and our answer is that we do want another vote.
Annie Wells, a Conservative and Unionist list MSP for Glasgow, may not accept the sovereignty of the Scottish parliament, but – by the inalienable sovereignty of the people of Scotland – sovereign it is. We will be returning to the polls on the question of independence whether Annie and her colleagues in the unionist parties like it or not. After months of denying the desire in the country for another referendum, it is interesting that it is a list MSP who now refuses to accept our democratic right to make this decision in our own parliament.
As we know, the Scottish parliament consists of some 73 constituency – or first past the post – seats and another 59 top-up or list seats which were stitched into Scotland’s democratic system by the Westminster government to discourage the sort of parliamentary majority Westminster frequently enjoys. Rather than granting us a more democratic single transferable voting system in the 1998 Scotland Act, which would have returned an overwhelming SNP majority in 2015, London has lumbered us with a sizeable millstone in the form of list seats; MSPs described by Scottish Labour’s Brian Wilson as having “no constituency, they have no role and they are not elected by anyone.”
A Tory MEMBER OF THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT, there, casually stating they don't accept the sovereignty of THE SCOTTISH… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…—
Ross Colquhoun (@rosscolquhoun) March 28, 2017
Notwithstanding the intended purpose of the list system to offset Scottish democracy, over 80 per cent of the – actually elected – constituency MSPs backed the motion this afternoon, a resounding affirmation of Scotland’s demand for another independence referendum. In spite of the fact that the majority of Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat seats belong to this abhorrent and undemocratic list system, the Green Party and those SNP representatives on list seats brought the tally well over the finish line.
All of this is, of course, rather unfortunate for Theresa May and the British government. May – also unelected as it happens – finds herself yet again up the proverbial creek without a paddle. Her failure to keep her “united Britain” together in Brexit has made the entire fiasco a joke in Brussels, and, even with Jean-Claude Juncker – president of the European Commission – saying that an independent Scotland would have to re-join the EU post-Brexit; we have already been given the assurance of German support.
#WriteTheSection30Letter Dear Theresa, Now is the time. Love Scottish Parliament.—
Paul Kavanagh (@weegingerdug) March 28, 2017
The simple truth is that in Scotland Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish government are holding all the cards. Theresa May, if she will not accept the will of Scotland, has only one avenue left open to her – delaying Scotland’s referendum until the Article 50 negotiations are over. Subverting Scottish democracy is a routine tactic of the London government and so her doing this will come as no surprise to anyone in Edinburgh. In attempting to do this, however, she will quickly find herself up against Sturgeon’s non-negotiable referendum timescale and the supreme irritation of the Scottish electorate – thus guaranteeing a Yes vote.
After countless efforts to reach a compromise with Downing Street having been ignored, the First Minister is now in a position to put her foot down. She was given a clear mandate in the last general election to seek another referendum under these circumstances, and today that mandate was affirmed by the decision of parliament. Unless it is the intention of Britain to come clean before the whole world and confess that Scotland’s consent means nothing to it, the Prime Minister has no option but to concede to everything we have asked. In the end May has only two options: Acquiesce to Scotland’s terms and to its timing and hope for another No vote, or continue to play stupid games and so ensure the breakup of the United Kingdom.
“Scots’ right to choose own future” – Sturgeon