Britain is no different with regard to its power structure than any other bureaucratic state. Power is not truly in the hands of the people – the demos or the representatives it elects. In the bureaucratic state, which all democracies are, the locus of power is the upper reaches of the state bureaucracy. What makes the United Kingdom different – even from many other constitutional monarchies – is that this bureaucracy of state is thoroughly dominated by the hegemony of a medieval royal estate.
Democracy – and it is difficult to accept that in 2017 we still find ourselves having to explain this – is all about the will of the people over the ambitions of those in and behind government. The Partido Popular, the ruling party in Madrid, is a minority government that now no longer has the support of Congress for the actions it is carrying out against Catalunya. In reality what we have is a western government using military-style measures with a military police force against an apparently “illegal” act of democracy without the consent of its own parliament.
McHarg writes that the requirement for a Section 30 order – that is the permission of the London government to call a referendum – is not actually an expressly reserved matter.
If we wanted to – which of course we don’t – we could have a referendum on independence every six months. There is nothing in law – be that Scots law or the British law that has been imposed upon us – that states we cannot do this.
This notion of “divisive nationalists” is a staple in the repertoire of every Scottish unionist. Somehow the idea that Scotland can and perhaps should be an independent country – a state in its own right – is treated, as if by magic, to be the only politically divisive issue.