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By Jason Michael

Devolution won’t survive Brexit. The power grab that we are now about to witness is only the start of a journey that is taking us back to direct rule. It is crucial that the Scottish government acts now on its promise of another referendum.

Unionist talking heads on the BBC always return to their frustration that “the nationalists” have the cheek to presume to talk for Scotland. Apparently, regardless of the democratic decision of the nation, the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, “does not speak for everyone.” Considering the position of Scottish unionism vis-à-vis us having made a constitutional decision in 2014, this is a contradiction. Democracy is what it is – or it isn’t. Neither they nor we can have our cake and eat it. Of course the First Minister – the head of the “SNP government,” as they call it – speaks for Scotland. We elected her to represent us as the leader of the Scottish government.

Yet somehow these British nationalists have succeeded in silencing both the National Party and the independence movement with their unrepresentative mantra that “Scotland doesn’t want another divisive referendum.”  Quite clearly Scotland does want another divisive referendum. More than this, we need another divisive referendum. They think that by including this “divisive” qualifier they can game public opinion into edging away from treading any political path that will cause division.

This rhetorical trick, like all their propaganda, relies on the stupidity of the Scottish electorate. It rests on the assumption that Scots don’t understand that all politics is divisive. Imagine a House of Commons without division; no resistance to cuts, to the warmongers, to the arms dealers. Scotland’s last independence referendum was divisive. The last time Holyrood debated reform of the education system it was divisive. Whatever happens in the Edinburgh parliament – especially so long as “the nationalists” have a single MSP – is divisive. The unionists of whatever hue, the representatives of London rule in Scotland, detest even the thought crime of separatism.

We can be sure our second independence referendum will be divisive, and now that we have been given a preview of the new paradigm of power politics in Catalunya we can be sure that this division will be absolute. As a political movement it is high time we independentistas made our peace with this and began to embrace the division as part of the message. People are smart enough to figure this out for themselves, and the longer we pretend this will be a revolution of roses the longer we will be knocking on doors and banging our heads off walls.

As the political expression of the independence movement the SNP has played a good and tactical game. We can’t take from Nicola Sturgeon or Alex Salmond before her the strides they have made, but neither can we ignore the growing impatience and frustration. There is no political vanguard without mass political support, and the more our want for another referendum is drawn out – without the reasons for the delay being fully explained to the movement – the more people will sink back into the pitiful despondency of Scottish politics prior to devolution.

There comes a point in the negotiation of power that the political expression – the party, the SNP – must give the movement; its supporters and grassroots, what it demands. Without this the roots die. Political movements, like all organic things, wither away without nourishment. It is time the National Party delivered another referendum. Nothing else will keep this movement moving.

The National Party was returned to government in Scotland, with a majority support in Edinburgh for independence, on the promise that with a material change in the circumstances pertaining to the settlement of 18 September 2014 it would give Scotland another say. Since the result of the EU referendum the entire political terrain of the UK has been changed. Nothing is as it was in 2014. Nothing of the promises of “the Vow” transpired, and our present predicament of being led by the nose to England’s tune  has made it clear once and for all that in union we are not equals. We are nothing more than a possession.

Independence supporters need no one to explain this state of affairs to them. We’d have to be idiots not to see it for ourselves. We are smart enough to see that the crisis created by England’s shambolic effort to extricate itself and us from Europe has given us a perfect opportunity to return to the ballot box. As the government party in Scotland, with a majority of seats on the Scottish benches in London, and having secured the consent of the Scottish parliament, the Scottish National Party has a triple mandate to deliver on the promise it made.

Yet the problem that it faces, and it is a pressing problem, is that time is passing, and the conditions that now prevail are already changing. Theresa May has spelt out the ambition of the British establishment to become an independent economic powerhouse unshackled from the restraints of European law and obligations. This establishment knows as well as we do that London’s success depends on Scotland’s resources. England, out of the EU, will not suffer the loss of Scotland and our wealth – the window is closing and the Scottish government is running out of time.

Events over the past few days in Barcelona have rightly caused us to question the benefits of the European Union. The inaction of the European Commission has been frightening and disgusting, and this was not the first time we have seen the European economic fraternity of corporatist states turn its back on a small nation. It actively nailed Greece to the wall and ignored the subversion of democracy in Portugal. By no stretch of the imagination is the EU a neutral or benign union. It is an emergent empire like any other. Yet, we must be pragmatic. In the real world we have to make a few deals with the devil. Europe – so long as we have access to it – is our ticket out of Britain, but that particular political reality has a shelf-life – one that is expiring fast.

Nicola Sturgeon does not have all the time in the world, and we all know this. She knows it. The rumblings inside the party inform us that we’re not alone in this thinking. Like it or not, there is a bit of truth – or there soon will be – to Mrs May’s claim that she and Ruth Davidson have “saved the union.” They too know that the doors are closing. If we aren’t on the other side of them by the time Brexit is complete and the UK gets its act together then we are locked in. Let’s not fool ourselves. The destruction of the independence movement will be the first thing on the agenda when those doors are shut. After the lessons London has learned from Spain’s recent experience devolution – which isn’t permanent – will be ended. There is only one way out. We have to take it, and soon.

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Nicola Sturgeon’s #ScotRef announcement


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13 thoughts on “ScotRef: It’s Decision Time Scotland

  1. I predicted we’ll over a year ago that the British state would introduce a Spanish-type solution to the Scottish ‘problem’. Given the British aversion to anything resembling a written constitution this must necessarily take the form of an assault on the responsibilities and powers of the present Parliament. I suspect it will come in the shape of independence being somehow defined as ultra vires in respect to the powers of the current set-up?

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  2. Fire has to be lit in the bellies of the Scots, to give them the energy to stand against the war of lies, deceit and attrition that is being fought. To stand for truth, democracy, decency, peace and compassion. This is the future for Scotland a Sovereign Nation, a Free Country. It is certainly no time to be waiting on others – especially when those others would rather see you dead as a nation. Create your own destiny.
    And I agree now is the time to draw the line, be aware and take decisive action.

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  3. Please explain to me why you need a date NOW.

    Is the date range of Autumn 2018 to Spring 2019, when the 27 are ratifying the Brexit agreement, not good enough for you?

    Do you want an 18 months anti-Scotland media campaign where every dirty trick in the book is used? That’s what you’ll get if Nicola announces a date now.

    It seems to me that the people who are shouting from the rooftops that they DEMAND a date now will not be the ones on the streets and on the airwaves actually doing any of the campaigning. If they were they would know that the wider YES movement are preparing behind the scenes.

    It is also obvious that those shouting about demanding a date are only listening to our MSM. This same MSM who tell us that Nicola has put the referendum to the bottom of the pile. This same MSM who kept telling us the people didn’t want another referendum. The same MSM who are British Nationalists and will do anything to stop the Independence movement.

    The “soft NO” voters that we need to convert to YES are also listening to MSM. At the moment there is little that we can say to them to counteract the media message. But in 6 months time when the Brexit mess is becoming more clear those soft no voters will be more willing to reconsider their position. Meanwhile the wider YES movement is 6 months further on in our preparation for the campaign. We will be able to compare a future in UK/out of EU and compare that with a future as an independent country within EU/EFTA etc.

    WE know the questions that will be asked. We need to ensure we have the answers, and many of those answers lie in the mess that will be UK out of EU. All of that work is being done behind the scenes just now.

    For all those complaining the SNP aren’t listening to you just now, might I suggest that you aren’t listening to those in the wider YES movement who are telling you that progress is being made.

    There is a date range and preparations are being made for that range. But things “could all come to pieces tomorrow” and if we are not ready we will not win.

    If you want to start campaigning now, contact your local SNP branch who will put you in touch with your local YES branch. Ask them what you can do to help.

    But PLEASE stop demanding a date just now. You have a date range which Nicola has not said has changed. We know MSM lie and misrepresent the true events.

    If you really are considering changing your support for YES because you haven’t got a date to work towards then think again. You are the one with the problem not Nicola Sturgeon.

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  4. Absolutely correct – the clock is ticking and we must have Scotref# before March 1919 – and that loooks increasingly like September 2018. Leaving it until after April 1919, even within a so-called transition period (still in itself little more than a Tory wish-land fantasy) will tilt the the narrative run by the visciously biased UK press and media towards the (daft) notion of ‘first sampling the new arrangements’ etc. This is about Scotland’s last best chance – and our last chance to take our full place within the EU. It will be a better organisation for our presence – another voice for a better and more progressive Europe. We know that there is a very large proEU membership majority in Scotland (24% majority in the referendum) and we should boldly pitch for our independence in Europe – to stand as an equal with the other European nations. This remains the biggest reason why we can be certain of winning this time – but only provided we act in time.

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  5. Good summary and I agree wholeheartedly. I have long been impatient as I can see the window of opportunity closing.
    I get that the poor Brexit terms imposed by the EU will serve to galvanise opinion in indyref2. But I’m not sure we can afford to wait for them to unfold. In any case it is clear that they are nowhere near what the Brexidiots claimed they would be. Just more lies concocted to persuade us to leave the EU.
    We don’t have to wait until our heads are chopped off ro realise the pain that’s coming, and that a mold painliller is not going to reconnect body and brain.
    We already have the mandate. Let’s set the date now in defiance of Theresa May’s denial of our fundamental rights, and have the debate to win the hearts and monds of Scots and build their confidence in a future reaching out to the world.
    Although personally, I would prefer the issue set on a parliamentary election and a yes majority the mandate to repeal the Act of Union.

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  6. If Westminster don’t agree to a 2nd Indyref, all our Indy supporting MSPs should resign forcing a Scottish election. This election manifesto would explicitly state that a majority of Indy supporting MSPs returned would result in immediate UDI.

    So not a vote Westminster can refuse, no bloodshed, no Catalonia style antics.

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  7. So just at the time the EU proves to be bankrupt politically and morally you want to throw your lot in with it?
    Catalan independence will come on the basis of its risen people in the face of EU backing for the Spanish State.
    It is the model of mass mobilisation and general strike we should be looking to.

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  8. As May has now said she wants to ‘ ease’ our way out,so planning on 21/22 to Brexit ,knowing BRIT GE and Scot elections will have came an gone, she is hoping that there will be a branch office of WM party in power in Holyrood,with less Scot MPs in WM,going by the last results this is a very real possibility ,as we are hearing nothing positive on Indy, and EU is in no way near as popular as SNP want,ppl abstained from voting ,they will do again ,if Indy is not on the cards no date set,we will have run out o time for sure,May does not care about easing us out ,she knows ,this scenario ,could be the outcome of waiting ,there would be no need to worry about any Indy ,with tame WM ppl ,running the show,we would not hear of it again.

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  9. I totally agree with this. No matter how long we wait, we are never going to change the majority of unionists mind’s. We need to announce a date for indy 2 later in 2018 to take place in 2019 at the latest. We already have a good idea of how brexit is going to end, but regardless of this, most unionists will gladly stand on the cliff edge ready to jump off. If we have a date for indy 2 the campaign could begin, I believe we can make a far stronger argument for independence than we did in 2014, especially against the caliber of tory politicians we have right now. I believe this is the time and let’s face it, it’s better to fight and lose, than to not show up for the battle. I don’t think I’m being impatient, I’m just scared, because like the article above, I too see the door slowly closing, but gathering speed and I don’t want it to shut in our faces. We need to have faith in our beliefs, or be prepared to just give in, we can’t have both!
    Just my opinion.

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  10. I agree, we must vote but that vote must be a fair and not the farce that the last one was. Vows, media manipulation, voter intimidation, state propaganda, postal voting. It was a farce. We need proper observation of events by the council of Europe and an end to postal voting for all but those who are physically unable to vote themselves and unable to organise a proxy.

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