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By Jason Michael
SCOTLAND’S BREXIT MINISTER, Mike Russell, has reported he had a “very constructive” discussion with Hugo Dixon, a founding member of the People’s Vote campaign, on Wednesday. So far the Scottish government has not backed the campaign, but the First Minister has said that her government will not stand in the way of another referendum on Brexit with the proviso that, in the event of another vote, Scotland is not pulled out of the European Union against its will. There is a problem here that seems to be missed every time this is touched upon in the British media; the People’s Vote and another Brexit vote are two entirely different things. One could be forgiven for thinking there is an attempt here to confuse the public by using these terms interchangeably.
Another Brexit vote would be a complete rerun of the referendum of 23 June 2016, where the question of EU membership would be put to the public again. The People’s Vote is something else entirely. This is not a rerun for the referendum. It is an acceptance of the result of the referendum. What the People’s Vote is, in fact, is the demand that a vote on the nature of the final deal – negotiated between the EU and the British government – be put to the public. When the organisers of the Scottish People’s Vote rally promoted their event, they said:
…over 230,000 people have signed the petition calling on government to give the people, not just politicians, a vote on the final Brexit deal.
In effect, this is a call for democratic action, but – at the same time – it makes an absolute mockery of Scotland’s democracy. On 23 June 2016 the people of Scotland went to the polls and voted overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the European Union. This was not the vote of an English region or county, this was the vote of a nation – a devolved nation of the United Kingdom. Asking the people of Scotland to support a vote which presupposes the acceptance of a decision England has made on our behalf; a decision that will have us removed from the EU against our will, is a capitulation to the idea that England can indeed make decisions for us.
Jason Michael (@Jeggit) September 26, 2018
Asking this of Scotland is just more proof that within the union our nation is seen as nothing more than added support for England’s political causes. By having a People’s Vote in Scotland we are accepting England’s instrumentalisation of Scotland and conceding that our voice does not count in the union when it is at odds with that of England. This is why the Scottish government will not stand in the way of another Brexit referendum whilst unable to back a People’s Vote. We know how we will vote in another Brexit referendum. We will vote as before and hope to hell England votes in the same way – because if it doesn’t we will be ignored again. Supporting a People’s Vote is nothing short of an admission that our votes do not count in the union.
It is worrying, however, that Mike Russell would be in talks with the People’s Vote campaign. The position of the Scottish government – if it truly supports Scotland’s voice in the union – on such a vote should be a flat-out rejection. Holding such a vote would essentially rob us of the argument that we have already rejected Brexit. We have rejected Brexit and this assertion and defence of our democracy must be our central negotiating position with the British administration.
If the Scottish government hopes to defend our voice in London then it has no option but to stick to its guns, forcing the British government to ignore us and take us from the EU without our consent. Only then will we be in a position to resist and protect our sovereign democratic will – even if that means seeking independence. The moment we support a People’s Vote we accept the result that was made for us and thereby lose the high ground we currently hold.
Hey! Labour dummies! Brexit can *never* pass test 6, because two of the UK's four nations DON'T WANT TO LEAVE THE E… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
Wings Over Scotland (@WingsScotland) September 25, 2018
Perhaps this is why the British media is confusing these two votes. If enough people in Scotland can be convinced that a People’s Vote is fundamentally the same thing as another Brexit vote then pressure can be put on the Scottish government from within Scotland. This way the British government can use the People’s Vote to undermine the Scottish position on Brexit, removing Scotland’s objection to an English Brexit.
Our democracy has been insulted by London’s autocratic behaviour over Brexit. Until the Article 50 negotiations are completed – negotiations from which we have been completely excluded – we are living in what amounts to a totalitarian regime. Brexit and its terms and conditions will be dictated to us regardless of the fact we have rejected it. The insult would only be compounded by a People’s Vote. We would again be tools for England’s political requirements at the absolute cost of our own political dignity. We can only hope that by “very constructive” Mike Russell means that he spelt out Scotland’s position, hammered home the imperative of protecting the sovereign will of the Scottish people, and told Hugo Dixon to sling his hook.
Brexit gives us two options. We can – as Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and the Conservatives want us to do – bend over and assume the position for Westminster, and accept that we do not really have a democracy in Scotland, or we can put the foot down and stick to the decision that we have made. London can attempt to ignore us, but at this point defending the democratic will of Scotland demands more serious action – another independence referendum. Those who want us to bend over for London and those who want us to accept a People’s Vote are no friends of Scotland. It is time we showed them that we are prepared to stand our ground.
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