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By Jason Michael
WE HAVE REACHED something of an impasse in the campaign for independence. Regardless of its utterances to the contrary, the Scottish government cannot deliver an independence referendum next year. It can indeed request a Section 30 order from the British government, but it has also created a Catch-22 legal constitutional reality in which London has the power to refuse such a request. Moreover, the Scottish National Party has ruled out any consideration of alternative, more radical routes to independence other than this so-called legal route. In sum, we find ourselves at a place where independence has been reduced to nothing more than a political carrot to be offered to the Scottish electorate for the sole purpose of keeping the National Party in government in the devolved British parliament in Edinburgh.
Without a change to this present arrangement, independence – regardless of the polls – has arrived at a point at which it can advance no further. Given the effective confusion in many people’s minds of independence with the National Party, the current disarray of the party is set to put independence on hold for decades – possibly indefinitely. It is clear to me that unless the Scottish independence movement adopts another approach, this is where our journey ends for the foreseeable future. It is time, I believe, to set out again the case for the Scottish Republic.
Contrary to popular opinion, the Republic is not merely a form of government Scotland can choose to adopt after independence. As was the case in Ireland in 1916, the proclamation of the Republic is at once the reaffirmation of the sovereignty of the Scottish people, a declaration of our national independence, and the most powerful instrument by which we can come together to realise and secure an independent Scottish Republic. Given that we have reached an impasse whereat Scotland, entangled in the British union state’s constitution, can progress no further towards independence, the proclamation of a Scottish Republic and the formation of a provisional government breaks the roadblock and opens the way for us to become a free and independent nation state.
In asserting that it is the only legitimate government of Scotland, the Republic refuses to recognise the legitimacy of the British state in Scotland – including the British devolved administration in Edinburgh. It claims – in the name of the Scottish Republic – the right of the Scottish nation to be free and independent of all foreign control and political domination, the right of the Scottish people to the ownership of Scotland, and the right of the Scottish people to defend their sovereignty and independence in accordance with international law. The proclamation of the Scottish Republic marks the definitive end of British rule and from that moment absolves the people of Scotland from their imagined loyalties and obligations to Westminster and all the legal and civil apparatuses which hold the Scottish nation in the chains of British rule.
The first act of the Scottish Republic will be the establishment of the first truly independent Scottish parliament since the union of 1707; a parliament which will immediately seek the ratification of the Republic and its independence from London by means of a national referendum. Once ratified, the Republic will assume the government of Scotland and the right to defend Scotland and its people from every effort of the British state to assert its dominance over our country.
As the Republic derives its power from the sovereign will of the Scottish people, it will be a democratic government in which every eligible citizen – all who make Scotland their home – will have the power to decide in periodic elections the people who will represent them in their national parliament. The most important task of the first elected parliament will be to furnish the Scottish people, after consultation with the people, with the first written constitution of the Scottish Republic – amendments to which will require the consent of the people in referenda.
Prior to the establishment of this democratically elected parliament the Republic requires the formation of a provisional government; a body of Scots, elected by the membership of the Republican movement, tasked with the responsibility of persuading Scots to support the Republic before making the formal proclamation of the Republic.
Here, then, I have set out what I see to be the solution to the problem of Scottish independence. Scotland may not yet be ready to take this road, but in time – I am certain – it will come to be seen as the only solution in a constitutional reality in which the British state will always deny us the right to determine our own future. One thing I can say, however, is that the language of the Republic is a language the British state knows and fears. Nothing will put the wind up Westminster and Whitehall more than a strong and confident Scottish Republican movement boldly standing up and declaring the birth of an independent Scottish Republic. You are hereby given notice and invited to join the Scottish Republican cause – a cause that makes no distinction between people and stands only for the independence of Scotland.
Scottish Law in a Scottish Republic