Please don’t tell me you hadn’t realised this? Gentle persuasion and a ten-year plan will not work for us. The time for that was ten years ago. Now, without a referendum to do the persuading, it seems as though we have run aground. It’s true – only a referendum campaign will shift the balance, and we are not getting one of those anytime soon. I know what you’re thinking; here’s another dose of negativity from Jeggit. But you’re wrong. I am never negative. I will tell you what I think, sure. And telling you the SNP has it wrong would only be negativity if I wasn’t able to offer an alternative.
Scots are genuinely and rightly concerned about the future of devolution. There is nothing permanent in the current constitutional arrangement, and nor can there ever be. It matters not a jot what the Scotland Act says or what any one politician says; sovereignty in the United Kingdom rests only in Westminster. No law and no treaty can bind the power of this or any future London government to any particular course of action. We can talk about the Claim of Right and Scots Law all we like, the legal reality, for so long as we remain a part of the United Kingdom...
Time is fast running out. On 29 March, eighty-five days from today, these conditions will be realised when the United Kingdom leaves the EU – and most likely without a deal. If we are to guarantee independence in our lifetimes, then the time to act is now. Nothing, of course, is impossible, but the likelihood of yet another opportunity like this presenting itself within the next fifty years is slim to none. We have a threefold mandate under the present conditions to call another independence referendum, and time on this is even running out.
When we take all the present and voting members from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland together – a total of 110 – we see that they make up but a fraction over 17 per cent of the entire chamber. In the course of any debate it requires only 322 English MPs – that just over 60 per cent of England’s members – to defeat the combined will of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. When the will of Scotland – making up a mere 9 per cent of the Commons – is at odds with 6 out of 10 English voters, as it frequently is, Scotland is subjected to the will of England.
People voted for the SNP in 2017 knowing full well that it promised another crack at the whip. Sure, we lost some seats. But we remained the majority. We lost voters, but we know they never switched sides. Maybe we are losing voters because of the SNP’s apparent reluctance to move. We have asked for the consent of the Scottish parliament to put another referendum to the people and that consent has been given. It has been put on ice, and now we are hearing that we have to wait until the time is right.
On the morning of 30 March 2019, as Britain wakes up to its “independence day,” Scotland’s unionist talking heads will have a new job – taking down Holyrood. In David Davis’ – almost Mad Max – apocalypse the very survival of England will depend on its ability to cling on to the last of its empire, or to the oil at least. The only obstacle to this, of course, is Scotland and the Scottish people and our obstinate and disagreeable little parliament. If Scotland does end up going down the Brexit plughole then we had better get used to the idea that that will be the end of devolution.
Sooner or later we are going to have to accept this as a cold hard reality of dealing with Britain and stop acting so surprised every time the same thing happens. Nothing the London government says can be trusted – not now, not ever. Only when our own government and media accept this fact and begin to act accordingly can we hope to get what we want from these people. Its promises are worthless and the longer we sit on our hands hoping that the next one might just maybe be kept the more damage we are allowing to be inflicted on our country, our people, and our interests.
Brexit is an existential threat to Scotland. The “wait and see” philosophy of those who would rather wait until the terms are clearer or until we have left the EU and the consequences have hit the tarmac has run its course. We may not know the exact terms of the Brexit deal or the true significance of a British walkout, but it’s all academic. We know exactly where this is heading – and we had better not still have our head on the block when that axe comes down.