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By Jason Michael
MOST SCOTS NOW BELIEVE that independence is the best option for Scotland, and for the greater part of the past twelve months the opinion polls have reflected this new political reality. Regardless, then, of all the negativity in the independence movement about the apparent inaction of the Scottish National Party and the bad taste left in many people’s mouths in the aftermath of the Alex Salmond court case fiasco, Scotland’s future – with the proviso nothing significant changes – is set. We are moving to independence. But before we get too excited and pop open the champagne there are a few inconvenient facts on the ground we have to consider. There still remain a few obstacles in the way of the future we want.
Scotland remains a subject nation of England within the United Kingdom, and – subject to the will of England – with the rest of the United Kingdom we have been taken out of the European Union. Scotland, together with the occupied counties of Ireland and the colony of Gibraltar, voted to stay in the European Union, but, unlike the occupied counties and Gibraltar, Scotland does not have a deal effectively protecting its place in Europe. For the purposes of law and foreign relations therefore, Scotland is indistinguishable from the rest of Britain – we are no longer a member of the EU and we have lost all our rights as European citizens.
As of eleven o’clock in the evening on 31 December 2020 – a day that will live on in infamy – Scotland is entirely subject to the will and pleasure of Westminster, the parliament of England. The future of our democracy; our devolved parliament, depends wholly on the tolerance and patience of England, English MPs, and the English qua British government in London. Irrespective of the promise made in ‘the Vow’ on 16 September 2014, that if Scotland elected to remain in the British union our parliament would become a permanent institution, Scotland and its parliament have for the past six years been a thorn in the side of the Westminster regime and now find themselves high on the British government’s post-Brexit hit-list. It is inconceivable now that the Scottish parliament will be allowed to function as it has done to date.
In the months ahead, we can expect to see one of two things happen; either the continuation of the Westminster power grab, reclaiming powers from Holyrood until our parliament is completely toothless, or the end of Scottish devolution and the permanent closer of our parliament. Britain’s so-called independence from Europe will be a hard road and it will threaten – as it has done already – to undermine the stability and cohesion of the British union state. The British government will thus do what is required to protect the state – and, not to put too fine a point on it, this necessitates a tightening of Scotland’s leash. We are about to experience that shock.
Yet, we find ourselves in the uncomfortable position where we cannot blame England or the British government for this awful predicament in which we find ourselves. At every single step of the Brexit drama the Scottish National Party and the Scottish government rejected opportunities that would have paved the way to a referendum and independence. Immediately after the EU referendum, the ‘Maggie Simpson map’ of the results across Britain demonstrated clearly the different paths Scotland and England were taking. And despite promising that Scotland would not be taken out of the European Union against its will, the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, took up the campaign in London – with newfound unionist allies – to save England from its own decision. Naturally, her supporters defended this foolishness to the rest of the independence movement in Scotland; saying we had to be seen to be doing everything in our power to save Scotland from Brexit. We gave them the benefit of the doubt.
Even when the Scottish government and the other devolved administrations were shut out of the Brexit negotiations, the promises continued. We would not be taken out of the European Union against our will. And as we were being told this, as the British government continued to erode the power of the Scottish parliament, the SNP repeatedly dismissed any notion of a ‘Plan B,’ limiting our route to independence to the Section 30, while it was busy legislating in Edinburgh for a Section 30 to be the gift of the London government. Any rational observer would assume that the Scottish government was working with the British state to close and lock the door on independence. Still Sturgeon’s loyalists kept shouting: ‘She’s playing a blinder,’ ‘She has a plan,’ ‘We’re waiting for her to fire the starting gun.’ An environment developed in which it became heresy to question what the First Minister and her government were doing. They certainly weren’t plumbing for independence.
Before the EU referendum, the idea was to hold off on another independence referendum unless there was a ‘material change in circumstances.’ When England elected to leave the European Union – a significant material change in circumstances for Scotland – the idea changed to a holding pattern, until the final details of the Brexit deal were known. When it was clear there would be no deal or a last-minute deal not worth a jot for Scotland the idea simply moved on to a vague hope of an independence referendum after Brexit. Sure, once again the SNP is talking about an independence referendum in 2021, but there’s an election coming up in May – and the SNP always now talks about a referendum before elections. But what good will this talk do? The Scottish government has handed the gift of a Section 30 order over to the British government, giving Boris Johnson the freedom to do what he just did; say that now is not the time, remind Scots about ‘Once in a generation,’ and kick any consideration of the question all the way down the road to 2055.
It looks to me as though the present leadership of the Scottish National Party has simply created the conditions in which London can refuse a Section 30 order and the Scottish government can get off the hook because at least it asked. The SNP can talk about a referendum in 2021 until the cows come home, but without the permission of the Westminster regime that is never going to happen. It might happen if we had a Plan B – or any alternative, but we don’t. The Scottish National Party has already made it perfectly clear that it will not support an ‘illegal’ referendum – one without the sanction of London. So, what exactly does Ms Sturgeon mean about a referendum in 2021. The British Prime Minister has said No. There will be no Section 30 order in 2021 and no referendum. But the promise of it might secure the SNP another term in government. Right now, that is the only plan.
In the meantime, we have the effects of Brexit to face. No one seriously now denies that Scotland is about to face the consequences for rejecting independence in 2014. Our punishment is about to begin. There is no legal route to independence now. That ship has sailed. The law, from now on, is what the British government says it is. There will be no Section 30. By the end of 2021 there may not even be a Scottish parliament. The gradualists – read: closet unionists – have brought us to the end of the road and we have nothing to show for all our efforts. There is nowhere else for us to go on this road. It is dead end, a terminus. But it is not the only road to independence. So, Scotland, let me know when you are ready to listen and we will talk about the other road.
Nicola Sturgeon makes case for Scottish independence
9 thoughts on “Brexit Scotland”
“the bad taste left in many people’s mouths in the aftermath of the Alex Salmond court case fiasco…”
To be honest, this is the biggest problem I see. I was looking for somewhere to work in Scotland, but the levels of misandry and corruption this exposed has really put me off. Not just the fact that it happened, but that the people in charge thought that it was a safe bet to get rid of a political opponent by making false allegations of sexual assault suggests that they thought they didn’t need to provide a solid case to get away with it.
Salmond proved to be too big to get rid of this way because he had the financial clout to fight back, but what of others?
I work in social care and adult learning. What if someone decided they wanted to get rid of me from a college department or workshop? In this legal environment one allegation would be enough to destroy my career.
And the people currently enabling this would be the people setting up the foundations for an independent Scotland unless they are removed in the forthcoming enquiry.
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Something odd going on with missing letters in your post…
When Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP mandarins decided to try to stop Brexit and impose Scotland’s vote on England, I knew that were making a mistake. That was the time to up the ante for independence. I thought then that there was a possibility that the SNP would actually prevent us becoming independent. I have come to believe that the SNP has been infiltrated by agents of the English Government of the UK.
I accepted Craig Murray’s view that the British Government could not prevent Scotland from becoming independent and that the Scottish Parliament has the authority to resile the Treaty of Union. If the Scottish Parliament does not resile the treaty of Union, it seems to me that leaders of the YES movement need to call a national Constitutional Convention of the Sovereign People of Scotland, who could resile the Treaty. If this is not feasible, something else must be done soon. The Tory English Government have made it very clear that they intend to act to make it impossible for Scotland to become independent.
What about the Martin Keatings court case? This could provide the legitimate way ahead.
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Martin means well and I think he’s on to something. Sadly, however, I think it’s a hiding to nowhere. But it might be a good point making exercise. Let’s see.
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Reblogged this on Ramblings of a now 60+ Female.
Spot on Jason and yet there are still a sizable amount of people who actually believe that Nicola Sturgeon ever had a clever plan
There is always the option of making the election a plebiscite, we know that it would be lawful, faster and safer.
I believe this is the only route open to us now and if it’s not to be the SNPs chosen path then in my opinion it means they have no intention of delivering independence.
I will however be happy to proved wrong.
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The underlying, fundamental problem, from 2014 onwards, has been the call for another referendum. It is a second indyref that is the bogey and has been since 2014. An alliance of anti Scottish, colonialist, me-ist groups and parties sabotaged the vote by flouting international law contained in the UN Charter to which the UKG, and, by extension, they, are all signatories. I fully supported the first referendum and the S30 Order/Edinburgh Agreement as being the ‘gold standard’ because, had we voted YES, we would now be independent and, probably still in the EU.
However, after the NO result and the large increase in support for independence shown by the Scots, a second S30 Order/Edinburgh Agreement were never going to happen. Did the SNPG know that? Of course they did. If they didn’t, they were deaf and blind because I have been saying that for six years now, or they were too stupid to understand what they were doing. They are not stupid. The never ending story of the ‘legal route’ allows the SNPG a bye in any and all circumstances, including the forthcoming May election because it will prompt the electorate to vote for them again and they will blame Westminster when the referendum is refused. Shoulders will be shrugged and we will all settle down again to endless waiting ‘for the right time and circumstances – which, translated, means the Twelfth of Never. If we have a referendum this year or next, I will consume my woolly Tammie in a light béarnaise sauce with a side plate of pommes frites. If we actually win, which is a whole new story, I will throw in a pudding of creme brûlée of the matching scarf and gloves.
Steelwires is quite correct to say that the Treaty is the only real way we have to leave the Union. First, though, we need a plebiscitary election – with a majority of seats, not necessarily a majority of votes, though that would be a clincher, then we issue an invitation to negotiate our withdrawal from the Union. If that is refused, we then take our case to the UN (Floor of the General Assembly, with backing from friendly nations), based on three separate legal hooks: a) the undermining of the Treaty Articles by one side to the international agreement; b) self-determination and the blockage thereof by Westminster intransigence and constitutional illegality; and c) the scourge of colonialism and the breach of human rights as laid down in the UN Charter.
If we do, by chance, manage to get a referendum off the ground, but we lose it again, I will personally hold Nicola Sturgeon and her SNPG to account for that. No indyref has been won, PRE independence, by any country seeking its independence in the past 50 years and more – and a pre independence is supremely unnecessary for independence in the first place. Few EU countries have gone down this route and even fewer UN countries. Quebec lost their indyref TWICE, courtesy of their on NO voters and the Anglophones; Catalunya’s was ruled illegitimate by Spain; New Caledonia lost theirs through the ‘good offices’ of colonial French settlers; and Scotland lost hers through an alliance of Unionist Scots, rUK NO voters and EU/other NO voters. In each case, the polls tended to predict a YES victory. Food for thought.
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