On 18 September this year, the seventh anniversary of the Scottish independence referendum, a staggering thirty-four unionist-loyalist Orange Order parades will take place in just one city — Glasgow; one of two Scottish cities that backed independence in 2014. This of course is no coincidence. The Orange Order, in typical fashion — and with the consent of Glasgow City Council, intends to put on a triumphalist show of force to celebrate the victory of Britishness over Scottish independence and remind independence supporters of their place in the union.
This is how loyalism in Britain works. It does not need you to love it, want it, care for it. The super-rich British establishment has all the power because it has all the money. Democracy has no control over it because it controls democracy; it owns or has massive influence over the media instruments which ‘inform’ democracy, and so can rest assured nothing will change that it doesn’t want to change. And when it wins, as it always will, it will rub its triumph in your face. It doesn’t need you to like it. All that is required of you is that you know your place.
Luckily, we have a chance to make a change but it is one chance and we have to take it. If we miss this chance I fear Scotland and independence are lost. Our opportunity is the Alba Party. The Alba policy is to treat the election of a large majority of pro-independence MSPs as a mandate to open independence negotiations with Westminster. This is a far stronger position than meekly asking for a Section 30 ‘cap in hand.’ To get a mandate for independence, the Alba position is that this supermajority is a mandate for independence.
So long as one of our chief criticisms of Westminster is that it is a corrupt and lying and deceitful institution, then, insofar as is possible, we should work tirelessly to ensure the honesty and integrity of our own politicians and our political system. In a word, it is a profound betrayal of our greatest political aspiration to continue towards independence in Scotland behaving in a manner indistinguishable from the behaviour of the system we hope to escape.
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?
There is every reason to assume Russia ‘undertook influence campaigns in relation to the Scottish independence referendum (paragraph 41),’ but then, thanks to Joe Pike’s tell-all exposé of Project Fear, we know the British government was interfering in Scotland’s democracy. It may not always be comforting to think about it, but Scotland was a pawn in a bigger game in 2014 and the outcome of our referendum was going to have far-reaching consequences for the global balance of power.
What Pete Wishart is making here, especially when he writes about taking away ‘the whole democratic case of withholding a referendum’ by winning another majority, is a moral argument – and a good moral argument, but a moral argument nonetheless. Absolutely, a democratic majority would morally require the British government to do the right thing. Historically speaking and as our own experience of the British government since 2012 tells us, Britain and ‘the right thing’ seldom appear in the same sentence. As Rob Johns, Professor in Politics at the University of Essex...
Regardless of this, however, Scotland is not England’s possession. Scotland and the Scottish nation – its culture, identity, and resources – are the shared heritage and possession of the Scots. The incorporating union of 1707 has always been exactly that to Scotland; the fusion of two distinct kingdoms. But, and from the very beginning, in England the union – which was secured with the bribery of Scots nobles and the threat of invasion – has always been understood as the annexation or absorption of Scotland by England. So, when we hear English people opine about Scottish independence...