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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.
During #ScotRef we won't have to spend nights protecting polling places, we will have to spend weeks protecting the postal votes from Ruth—
Mark Breingan (@BigMarkyB) October 02, 2017
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.
Sianna MacDonald (@SiannamacDonald) September 25, 2017
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.
No sure if Scotland should wait on Tories, or forge ahead own future. Living in constant uncertainty hampers country and citizens. #Scotref—
James Dewar (@IndigoFast) September 24, 2017
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.
Nicola Sturgeon’s #ScotRef announcement