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By Jason Michael
THINGS ARE LOOKING UP. At long last, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, has commented on a timeframe for another independence referendum. Responding to a question from the leader of the Scottish Greens, Patrick Harvie MSP, Ms Sturgeon said that it is now her intention to inform the Scottish parliament on the timing of a referendum in the next couple of weeks, and she added that this would not be derailed in the event that Article 50 was extended. This is most welcome news indeed, but – fantastic thought it is – we must be cautioned not to lose the run of ourselves just yet. This is not our first rodeo. We have had announcements on this in the past. Holyrood even gave its support to another referendum – and still, somehow, we are still waiting.
Why are we waiting? The reason is, as the First Minister said before, that we are waiting to see what shape Brexit finally takes. But the issue with this reason is that it’s not entirely clear what waiting to see actually means. There is very good reason to believe that we are right now looking at the final shape of Brexit – a no-deal “crash out” for the United Kingdom from the European Union; an “Apocalypse scenario” that will see us plunged into the abyss of economic failure and food shortages. Unless there is an extension to the Article 50 process, this certainly looks to be the shape of Brexit. But there is another interpretation: That we allow ourselves to be Brexited along with the rest of the UK to get a feel for the reality of Brexit.
Theres a flash demo going on at Hollyrood but I have a full day of Uni... Only one thing for it pack your flag in t… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
Emily ’THE’ Bruce 🏴🎗💛 (@ebrucey_bonus) January 17, 2019
There is no shortage of voices in the independence movement advocating this latter reading of the SNP’s wait-and-see policy; an insane belief that once No-voters of 2014 and unionists feel the pinch of Britain’s biggest mistake in history they will come over to independence. It cannot be stressed enough how bad an idea this is. We all accept that Brexit will be a catastrophe for the UK. No one seriously doubts – not even the majority of Brexiteers – that it will have a serious and deeply negative effect on our economy, one from which, as Jacob Rees-Mogg has conceded, it will take the state half a century to recover. If this is true for the UK – even a UK in control of Scotland’s resources, then how can anyone think this dire prediction will not also be true for us?
Leaving the EU under these conditions is an act of state suicide. Scotland gaining independence after Brexit, if that is even possible, is no less an act of state suicide. But more importantly, and as has previously and repeatedly been said, winning independence after Brexit – in what will be a period of chronic economic peril for the British state – will be near impossible. The UK’s survival will depend on its ability to control Scotland’s oil and gas, and we know what Britain is prepared to do to keep its hands on others’ oil resources. Let’s be serious, on the 29 March – if Scotland is not well on the road to independence or independent already – the prospect of another referendum will become an impossibly distant one.
We are close enough to Brexit to know its final shape. One does not have to leap off the edge of the Grand Canyon to know the result won’t be entirely good. Scotland is right on the cliff edge and we can all see, as clear as the noses on our faces, that continuing on any further will be the death of Scotland’s democracy and the end of the independence cause for decades. Yet, there are still many who think this a good idea – and we have nothing to suggest that this is not the current best idea circulating around the highest offices of the Scottish government. What we have seen to this point is a willingness on the part of the Scottish government to follow the process – an endless Kafkaesque and bureaucratic process laid out by the desk jockeys of Whitehall and Westminster. It is easy to imagine the Scottish government filling out form A-29486-23 (subsection B-373) as it tips over the edge. Bureaucratic states, such as the UK is, can make these processes endless.
"'Very well, Mr Secretary,' said K., 'will Klamm read these records?' 'No,' said Momus, 'why would he? Klamm can't… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
Jason Michael (@Jeggit) January 13, 2019
An announcement that an announcement is coming is, however, a welcome development. It is a relief. For too long the independence cause has been bogged down in a waiting game. The movement on the ground has gone stir-crazy, and things aren’t exactly much better up the political chain. At Westminster our SNP MPs – a good few of them at any rate – have splashed out on all the People’s Vote merchandise in the vain hope that being a team player for the benefit of Remain England – the minority of the English electorate – will improve our chances on bettering Scotland. The People’s Vote campaign is a pro-Brexit campaign. It’s not about cancelling Brexit. It’s about giving English voters – who voted Leave – the choice of the door or the window. These Scottish MPs seem to have completely forgotten that Scotland voted Remain – and not be a small margin either.
Brexit is happening. Be it on 29 March 2019 or 29 March 2020, Brexit is happening. The people of Scotland rejected Brexit, and the only way now for us to get what we voted for is to leave the UK and become an independent state. All that should be concerning us – our SNP MSPs and MPs and the whole movement – is the when of independence; before or after Brexit. If that is after Brexit, then forget it – that’s not going to happen! So, let me rephrase that: All that should be concerning us is securing independence before Brexit. We don’t have long to do that. So this coming announcement should come sooner rather than later and it can only say one thing – independence now!
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