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By Jason Michael

By March next year, if we have not secured another referendum, it will be clear that this movement will have to look for an alternative route to independence. We cannot delay forever and we can’t follow a party that fails to give us what we want.

After resetting the decision of the Scottish parliament to seek another independence referendum Nicola Sturgeon told us that we would be hearing more about the Scottish government’s plans later in the spring. That’s not quite true. The “spring conference” has been put back to 8 – 9 June, meaning we might hear more about whether or not we will be having another referendum at the start of the summer. As no one’s going to hold a referendum in winter, this summertime announcement gives us a slim window for a campaign before an autumn referendum. Nothing about this temporal uncertainty is particularly clever for anyone hoping for a 2018 ScotRef.

Strictly speaking we do not need the permission of the British government to hold another referendum, but, given that a precedent was set with the Section 30 Order and the Edinburgh Agreement of 2012, we will have to take this route again. Not doing it this way will only give Westminster grounds to challenge it and possibly even manage to put us in the same constitutional position as Catalonia. If at the June conference in Aberdeen the First Minister fires the starting gun – again – the first step will be a request for another Section 30, a request Britain has the power to deny or delay long enough to render the entire project moot.

Regardless of how the British government play this, a referendum announced in early June will be faced with this initial delay – and that gives us even less time to fight and win a campaign. Supposing, of course, London doesn’t act the maggot, then we are looking down the barrel of a two month campaign ahead of a September date. This is cutting it fine to say the least, but we can work with this provided we are sufficiently resourced and can inject enough enthusiasm and energy into the movement.

Everyone looking at this can see the schedule is tight. We are standing at the non plus ultra of a 2018 referendum, and if June comes and goes without an affirmation from Ms Sturgeon we are faced with the prospect an eleventh hour vote early next year or – worse – an indefinite suspension.

Next year is too late, and it is troubling – quite frankly – to see how many people in the independence movement do not get this. Brexit fundamentally alters the political landscape on which we are campaigning for independence. Outside the European Union and without anything approaching an equitable trade agreement; which is the most likely outcome, the United Kingdom will be forced to rely on Scotland’s mineral resources. Britain cannot survive a southbound Brexit without its northern lifeline. After the end of March next year, even with a negotiated transition period, London will not run the risk of losing Scotland.

As this Brexit train wreck staggers on more EU citizens are leaving Scotland and by the time the Article 50 negotiations are over and the UK finally closes the door on Europe EU citizens will no longer be entitled to vote. Given the numbers and the constant fluctuation in the level of support for independence, we simply cannot afford to delay this referendum to a point in time where we have effectively excluded a sizeable section of the population that would be voting for Scotland to remain in the EU.

We have until September – October at the very latest – to launch, campaign, and win this referendum. This assessment isn’t merely my own impatience. This is simply the maths of the situation we are in. We have a window of opportunity that is closing fast. It is now or never.

Come April next year we will have to accept that Scottish people will want to be getting back to normal; whatever normal is after indyref. We can’t keep a whole country in campaign mode forever, and if the party offering hungry independentistas the bread they seek gives them nothing but stones we can expect to see support for that party deflate faster than the Hindenburg airship. The failure of the SNP to deliver another referendum before Brexit will be a disaster – not for the cause of independence, but for the Scottish National Party.

There is no doubt independence is coming. Any idiot looking at the results of the 2014 vote and the polls since then can see the trend. Unionism in Scotland is quite actually dying. In fifty years, with or without the SNP, pro-independence sentiment will be the norm in Scotland. This is a natural consequence of devolution. The problem, however, is that we are faced with the necessity of expediting this process if we are to defend our decision to remain in the EU.

My own campaign for independence has nothing whatsoever to do with political nice touches or “radical” or “progressive” government. Good governance is a separate issue. Good government can – and should be – delivered by almost any political party in almost any country and in almost any political context. I am not in this for a “better deal for Scotland” – the political cause of making things better in North Britain. My campaign is about independence because Scotland ought to be an independent state and because foreign domination is and has always been destructive.

By the end of March next year, if we have not secured another referendum, it will be clear to me at least that my campaign is over. I will always support the cause of the independence of my country and I will always help the cause when occasion demands, but it will be clear that our No vote in 2014 has been ratified by a Scottish government that has squandered a triple mandate and at least three constitutional crises. At that point I don’t know what more I can be expected to give. If that day comes I will be thinking seriously about my own options and about an alternative road to freedom.

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Scotland to Catalonia – The Path to Independence


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30 thoughts on “Referendum2018 or an Alternative Road to Freedom

  1. The SNP appear to be woefully out of touch but they should be sitting up and paying attention now. People are giving their time effort and money living in a perpetual campaign mode and we cannot be expected to continue in that mode indefinitely.

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  2. You are absolutely right about the EU citizens who are leaving. The vast majority will now vote for our independence now, but they must be given the chance.
    The more time we give the unionists – the more time they have to hire even more bots to try and throw more sh*t out there to create uncertainty and division wherever they can.
    Who knows how many people are starting to leave Facebook now with all the recent data revelations?
    We have all worked hard to set up and support encouraging Indy groups and fact-sharing Indy groups on FB. As time goes by our reach is diminishing with the FB algorithms change AND to a diminishing audience.
    It needs to be soon.

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  3. Catalonia is in an unfortunate position. Spain has a written Constitution and like it or not Catalonia is locked into that constitution. I’m not saying Catalonia ca become independent, I hope they do, but it be a hard road.
    The United Kingdom, as they famously boast, has no written Constitution which allows the government of the day to ‘make it up as they go.’
    This is the petard which may hoist the United Kingdom government.
    As I see it and I’m no expert by any means, Scotland is not and cannot be locked constitutionally into the U.K.
    Scotland is in this union by consent and consent can be given or removed.
    Agreeing that a section 30 order, that Scotland needs permission from Westminster every time it wants an Independence referendum was, in my humble opinion, a mistake. A mistake which Westminster will use as a club to bludgeon the Scottish Government every time it requests one.
    But what’s to stop our parliament from calling a consultative referendum?
    What stops our parliament, given the right result of course acting on that consultative referendum?
    After all Westminster set that precedent themselves with the Brexit referendum.
    What stops a Scottish Parliament from removing consent given by a Scottish Parliament for an Act of Union which, frankly, it was forced into?
    I

    Liked by 4 people

    1. They would probably argue that the present body sitting at Holyrood is purely a creation of WM’s devo legislation, rather than being successor body to the pre-union Scots Parliament, notwithstanding the declaration made with it was first opened. In which case it could not cancel an agreement it had not made, it would simply be a third party, or indeed in effect a ‘committee’ of WM, or near enough, like the old Scottish Grand Committee.

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  4. Get on with it, and if Westminster vetoes a referendum or delays unacceptably, then just do it. Otherwise we’ll be under the heels of these incompetent buffoons for ever.

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    1. Independence supporters CAN see that the rest of the Uk needs Scotland’s assets.
      We can also see that the economic good that comes from those assets is abused by Westminster. If we in Scotland were treated as an equal partner in this “Union” there would not be clamour for independence. As long as we are treated as a cash cow by Southern England we will demand independence.

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  5. We did not vote to stay in thE EU. Scots voted to be different from England to get another referendum no ifs, buts or maybes about it. It was a carrot on a stick and now SNP and yourself are beating us with that stick to follow the pro EU line.

    The 14 referendum was not about Indy it was a deal to allow SNP to run North Britain instead of Labour (who are worse)

    But like all traitors and collaborators once their usefulness has passed they are ditched by their masters and can do hee haw about it without revealing the original great deception .

    I did try to tell you all this but I suppose you weren’t ready to hear just like millions still don’t 😦

    By the time enough wake up to the facts I fear it will be too late.

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  6. I fail to see why next year is too late?
    My estimation is that the more I look at the EU I am not sure I would like to be a full member. Our position on the EU can only be clarified by the EU once they have sorted out what their deal is with the UK.
    If the EU have brains they will also have worked out a provincial deal for Scotland, N.Ireland and Wales should they become Independent countries.
    Now the EU will be able to say to Scotland at the time it asks the other 27 countries to ratify the Brexit deal; What the BREXIT deal entails.
    and more importantly whether Scotland, N. Ireland and Wales would be able to stay in as members of the EU if they opted out of the UK.
    That is the main question to be answered.
    In my opinion there is very little to do until we get that answer.

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  7. It is a sad fact but the snp are letting themselves down. Pussy footing with the press the bbc. They should be asserting scotlands position the true value of our assets but don’t seem to want to do this. Sad fact is political parties don’t win independence people do.

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  8. Total agreement.I’ve beensaying thissince the brexit vote. We need to be out UK before the brexit final date or we are up the Creek with no canoe let alone a paddle .
    We shouldn’t need a Referendum as we are a DOMINATED peoples and the UN CHARTER state’s that No Nation’s peoples can be Dominted by the people’s of another Nation. The Acts of Union are I legal and the EU know and are NOT happy with Westminster.They will be able to hand us Independence on a plate.Well that’s what INTERNATIONAL LAW should do.

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  9. I am in complete agreement.
    I fear that the SNP has become a victim of its own successes in particular Nicola’should press.
    They will settle for being a devolved government Independence is too hard.
    They need to understand that fail to give us a referendum and theyou will become a has been party once more on the fringes
    The whenwe party

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  10. Interesting slant, JM.

    I happen to believe something’s afoot at SNP headquarters. I watched a live podcast last night (Independence Live) that had Mhairi Black answering audience questions toward the end of broadcast. There is no more straight-talker in the Party than Mhairi, however she very cunningly avoided answering the question on everyone’s lips.
    Why aren’t we being informed? why no commitment? Powder dry.
    The Party of Independence want to deliver that ultimate prize and I’d be very surprised indeed if they were going round telling folk the plan. I also happen to think it’s preposterous and an appalling slight (not on this site, btw) to suggest, for example, that Pete Wishart is somehow quite comfortable picking up his MP’s salary, indefinitely, at the expense of Scotland’s independence. The not-very-cunning lengths some will go to undermine our unity.

    Regarding agreeing to a section 30 order; I honestly can’t see how else Scotland in a 300 year old union, with the full might of the toxic press behind Westminster, could’ve approached the damn process. Had we done the maverick thing – saltire-waving, Braveheart defiance – during the time we had about 28% on our side, we’d have been slaughtered both outside and inside Scotland and probably never got the chance to steadily garner support. Those were very different times to those we’re living in now, infinitely different, and, as we’ve observed time and time again, folk in the street just aren’t as engaged or involved as ‘us’ and I think the minutiae of the Act of Union or the Declaration of Arbroath would probably have bored them terrifically. No, we followed the process, caught peoples’ eye and darn-near swung it.

    When will it be called?* Spring Conf in Jun for me. I think the Tories are imploding and Labour are trying to kill each other, and I think the SNP can take advantage. I think it’ll be a short campaign, and, even assuming the Tories won’t be in complete disarray (!), we’ll win it if we all put in a shift.
    There are a couple of major sporting events taking place in Scotland, 2018:
    The Open. Carnoustie, July 19-22
    European Sports Championships. Glasgow, Aug 1-12.
    We also have the FIFA World Cup, Jun 14-15 Jul.
    These three events will stretch from middle of June to middle Aug. Logistically, I can’t see the Scottish Govt holding a crucial Ref vote during these major Scot sporting events, nor during a time when (mostly) men want to beer-it with mates.

    *As I agree that to delay until after Mar ‘19 will be too late, I think another Sep Ref date will be announced in June, at the Spring conference, and off-we-jolly-well.

    Thanks again, Jason.

    ps;
    At the stoning:
    “Are there any women here?”…
    “No!”
    Life of Brian

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It worries me that some who voted Yes in 2014 might not vote so again, due to their opposition to “swapping one overlord (England) for another (the EU)” to paraphrase.. as much as we tire of explaining the benefits of EU membership to them. It might be that the SNP feel the need for time to unpick WM’s claws further, with Brexit unravelling their hold on reality, but the haemorrhaging of EU voters from Scotland prior to them being declared ineligible also continues.

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  11. It has to be before March 2019 – and no-one is going to campaign over Christmas, so Autumn 2018 seems favourite. There is no perfect time, but we are as near 50% as dammit, and we want the votes of our EU citizens. Nicola promised them we would look after them, support them and that they were welcome here – what better way to prove that than to give them a meaningful vote which could give them the right to stay here after rUK Brexit

    People do need to stop this “I’m waiting for Nicola to tell me tae dae it” thing – if you’re a Yes campaigner, get out there & campaign. Join a Yes organisation, join the SNP, whatever but we can campaign 24/7 for an independent Scotland, it’s only when Nicola fires the starting pistol that we have to turn the will into votes

    We went from 28% to 45% last time – one big push, throw their lies back in their faces, learn the lessons from 2014 and we are there. But if you’re sitting in a field, waiting for the stars to align……..all you’re gonny get is hypothermia

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  12. I don’t beilieve for a moment that Pete Wishart does not live and breathe Independence his every waking moment. That doesn’t mean I don’t claim the right to disagree with his srtategy, or do not fear that he has been encapuslated within the Westminster bubble. Similarly Nicola, with Holyrood.
    I’m convinced that the SNP appeared to lose ground at the last Holyrood and Westminster electons because we simply failed to inspire our voters. Its not that Labour’s vote increased. Ours fell. The Tories’ only policy in Scotland is “No More Referendums”. Although their vote increased in some localities, overall they lost, big time. Its just not enough to offer competent government, we also have to give people a reason to turn out to vote for us and that reason is Independence. Put that on the back burner and all is lost, and that is exactly what we appear to have been doing over the past few years.
    Just look at the number of comments in this type of post where seemingly committed SNP activists claim they will leave the party if a Referendum is not called soon. I would never threaten that because, simply for the foreseeable future, no SNP majority, means no obvious route to Independence, but if the SNP do not start making concrete moves towards achieving Independence soon, be that a Referendum or otherwise, I will feel betrayed.
    The wider “Yes” movement has been sitting on its hands waiting for an SNP lead and if this is not to be forthcoming, other democratic routes towards Independence involving “Yes” activities will have to be explored, but this will involve decades of further struggle, enduring the Hell of Brexit in the interim, just to reach the point where we are now.

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