Independence ‘at any cost’ and under any set of conditions is a profoundly dangerous idea, and there is no shortage of historical examples to help us understand this. There are, as I have said umpteen times in the past, different kinds of independence. Sure, it’s an extreme example, but North Korea is an ‘independent’ state, but there are few in Scotland today would prefer the conditions of life for the vast majority of North Koreans to life in a political union with England.
The set-to over Sturgeon and Salmond is not only about Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond, this is a proxy for two very different visions of an independent Scotland. We’re divided down other lines too, wrangling between factions with distinct visions of their own. And this idea of vision is, we can be sure, the key to understanding why we are in this maul. Perhaps without realising it, we have moved to the next stage of the independence campaign; the stage at which we have accepted the defeat of the union and have begun thinking about politics beyond independence.
Given that the constitution is a reserved matter under the Scotland Act (1998), only an act of the Westminster British parliament in London can grant a Section 30 order. It cannot be legislated for under any circumstances in the devolved British parliament in Scotland. And precisely because Westminster – and Westminster alone – is sovereign, no set of conditions or political realities in Scotland can compel the British government in London to grant a Section 30 order. What does this mean?
Any Assembly representing the entire spectrum of pro-independence sentiment – the majority opinion in Scotland today – is sovereign by its very nature. Its establishment furnishes us immediately with a powerful instrument with which we can challenge both the British administration in Scotland qua the Scottish government and the British colonial hegemon in London. Without reference to Westminster and unencumbered by any obligation to negotiate with the British government, a truly independent Scottish National Assembly representing all...
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.
If the Scottish National Party succumbs to this crisis – as it may well do – then we are looking at independence being cast a considerable distance into the future. Either the SNP will have to rebuild and regain trust or – having untangled independence from this one party – we will have to start afresh from the beginning with a new party or parties and work ourselves back up to the level we are now at. During all this time the British state will be constantly at work against us.
Frustratingly, the Scottish independence movement has no shortage of crypto-unionists – many of whom are in positions of power and influence in the Scottish National Party and throughout the wider movement. In my previous article we looked at the attitude of Cameron Archibald, James Kelly, and Ross Greer towards Ireland and the Irish struggle for independence. Their assumption is that Ireland’s armed resistance to British occupation and aggression is deviant in nature
Christopher McEleny’s response – ‘I do not need a lecture on Irish history from you’ – was, one supposes, the best possible reply to this level of stupidity. McEleny had commented that a century ago Ireland departed from the United Kingdom when Sinn Féin, after winning a landslide majority in the 1918 general election, formed An Chéad Dáil Éireann (the First Irish Parliament) in Dublin and declared Irish independence. Yes, this happened. This was how Ireland – like the United States of America in 1776 – asserted its freedom from British colonial domination.