In all the adulation, praise, faith, relief, disbelief, anger, cynicism and scepticism expressed these last hours, few noticed that Nicola Sturgeon’s solution to achieve self governance is handing over all the profound decisions of Scotland’s future to the British State, our oppressor. She need take no responsibility for their ultimate judgments. She can say she did her best.
Courageous, pro-active, smart tactics? I think not.
Why act now, and with such startling attachment to the ways of the colonial oppressor? As she has shown no capacity for political insight, I think she sensed her time was running out, that events overwhelm her and us. In that she is not saving us but saving her self, her legacy.
On the other hand, many did notice what she proposed this week she could have proposed and implemented just after we were dragged out of the EU – a draconian breach of the Treaty of Union – and the electorate polls showed an immediate, solid 58% and rising of voters demanding independence. Then the time was right. Instead, her MPs told us they needed 70% and anyhow, Pete Wishart has to have his time as Speaker of the House. Sturgeon’s mild, belated ‘activism’ now, embarked upon without a campaign to educate the nation to the powerful benefits of self-governance and keeping all we earn, is as slothful and craven and criminal as her past inactivity.
Supporters of Scotland’s right to regain nationhood can be forgiven for not trusting the SNP. They know well the corrupt practices they witnessed, the betrayals, the schmoozing colonial enemies and even employing a few. Not the least of which will be over 10,000 ALBA members, repelled by SNP anti-women laws and authoritarian actions, missing money and sexual sleaze. Perhaps Nicola Sturgeon sensed her time was running out. I’d like to think that, a back-handed compliment to a politician I have regarded bereft of statecraft. I cannot recall her ever mention the Claim of Right.
The United Nations, where Scotland is registered by the UK as a separate country, acknowledges the paradox that a colonised country is often faced by a colonial power holding all the levers and mechanisms to liberty. They routes to freedom are blocked in all directions. But in understanding the dilemma the UN usually is highly sympathetic to pleas for their help to shame the oppressor. The SNP has made no attempt to put our case to the UN, a case that began by a few earls and lawyers signing a Treaty against the will of the people. Rule by genocide, brutal wars, vicious sanctions, censorship, theft of natural resources, imposition of alien policies, and attacks on language and culture, must be taken into account, your Honour. Scotland’s dire predicament falls easily into the UN’s criteria of a colonised country.
Nicola Sturgeon correctly predicts bear traps and negative decisions, but not that Boris may be gone, an act delivered by his own party, a new right-wing leader taking his place no less distrustful of the democratic system, keen on war with Russia, one who thinks Scotland North England but with odd accents. “The North of England hates the Tories too,” is the current refrain of those who forget the North of England voted for Boris, and anyhow they have Westminster to solve their problems. Westminster is all our problems.
The newspapers and television opinionists will alight on yesterday’s announcement with glee to piss all over Scotland’s rights and the truth. None will explain why Scotland has a case for self-governance. The old voices will trundled out for another go at demeaning the humanity of a nation. Some will defend with the old arguments, some will choke on their All-Bran spouting the anti-freedom arguments, some will bash a clunking fist and talk of ‘their‘ country being one country, meaning Scotland is England, thus confirming they prefer Scotland’s economy, culture, history and future to remain a colonised, the possession of its neighbour to do with as it wishes.
The journalist Iain Macwhirter thinks similarly, and as man who voted Yes in 2014, also feels amply qualified to look at her notion of handing power to our colonial masters as naïve in the extreme. However, his view that Scotland is ‘split down the middle’ is the usual hokum spouted by the press who never look at the post-referendum analysis. That myth will be exploited as a central platform of the colonial’s counter-campaign. It chimes nicely with the last referendum being ‘divisive’ – it was not – and this next is just as divisive, how can it be if so many are sure of Westminster rule being benign and best?
All our enemies are saying is, ‘Scotland gets too much democracy’.
This has been the colonial way for 315 years of London rule, theft and butchery and lies. They are still at it but need no bayonets to make their point. They feel they have a tight control of our money supply and have colonised our nation sufficiently to fool the people into thinking ‘half the population’ don’t want a referendum, and if it surpasses that false figure they have the levers to thwart insurgency. Those people are the seditionists, not Scots who want a fair society.
We are locked inside an imperial ghetto, our possessions being comprehensively stolen. Sturgeon and her party has seen that that is the situation.
Calls for unity are noble but they have to be backed by certainties. I see none.
SNP – SEE YOU IN COURT
by Iain Macwhirter
IT’S been a long and winding road, as Macca would put it, since the glory days of 2014 and the first Scottish independence referendum. The “Festival of Democracy” we called it. Even many unionist commentators were captivated by the campaign, which was on the whole very positive.
But I would say that wouldn’t I, since I voted Yes along with the 45%? I do understand that others may not have found the 2014 referendum so festive. They kept their own council and quietly turned out to vote No. This morning those “shy Noes” may quietly be dreading the prospect of another referendum to be held, according to Nicola Sturgeon yesterday, on October 19, 2023.
It’s been an even more winding road for the First Minister, who inherited the Yes campaign in 2014 and never seemed quite sure what to do with it. She presided over the tsunami General Election of 2015 in which the unionist parties where almost obliterated. That stunning victory would, in an earlier era, have itself been regarded as a mandate to open negotiations on independence forthwith.
But times change. Ms Sturgeon has insisted that a constitutional change of such magnitude can only be resolved by a referendum – a legal referendum that would be recognised by international bodies like the European Union.
The precedent was established by the 2012 Edinburgh Agreement, struck between David Cameron and Alex Salmond. Westminster agreed to hand Holyrood the power under a so-called Section 30 Order to hold a plebiscite.
Ms Sturgeon made clear again yesterday that her proposed “consultative” referendum in 2023 must also be held under a Section 30 Order. She will not countenance an illegal “wildcat” referendum as attempted by her nationalist soulmates in Catalonia.
This much we already knew. What was novel in Ms Sturgeon’s statement yesterday was her proposal to use the Supreme Court of the UK to promote the case for that all-important Section 30 Order. This is what has sometimes been called called Plan B: an attempt to establish that it is already within Holyrood’s power to hold a consultative referendum.
However, the most obvious problem is one she anticipated in her own statement. Holyrood doesn’t have that power. She pointed out that, technically, both the 2014 Scottish and the 2016 EU referendums were also consultative. The UK Parliament still had to legislate to leave the European Union. To hold a repeat of the 2014 referendum, even a consultative one, is not therefore down to the Supreme Court but to Westminster and ultimately the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
So we already know what the Supreme Court ruling will be. Just as in the Miller case in 2017, judges will say that the UK Parliament is “sovereign” in all instances. A legal referendum can only be held and implemented with Westminster’s agreement.
Ms Sturgeon’s is not a new legal route to independence. It is at best a kind of constitutional theatre, a series of court processes designed to tell us what we already know: that the only legal route to Scottish independence is a political one. The ultimate objective, as Ms Sturgeon went on to make clear yesterday, is to turn the 2024 General Election into a de facto referendum on independence. She hopes that Scottish voters, after witnessing the shenanigans in the courts, will regard this as a single-issue General Election.
However, there is no obvious reason why they should. It is not for the government of the day or for any political party to rule that a General Election is about one single issue. The opposition parties will certainly claim that it cannot be, and that it is arrogant and undemocratic for the First Minister of Scotland to try to decide the issues on which voters vote.
One suspects that, if Boris Johnson is still in Number 10, most voters in Scotland will be voting to get him out of there. That may or may not be a vote for independence. She presumably hopes that the moral and political pressure will be so great by 2024 that no UK government can withstand it. Mr Johnson, or whoever succeeds him, will, Ms Sturgeon believes, simply have to honour the Scottish people’s “sovereign right”, as she put it, to decide on their future. But not only has Mr Johnson said that now is not the time for a repeat referendum, so has the Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer. It seems highly unlikely that, were he to win the 2024 General Election, Labour would be prepared to regard it as a de facto referendum on independence.
Nor is he apparently willing to consider a referendum as part of a coalition deal. Following last week’s by-elections, it is now possible to imagine Labour becoming the largest party in Westminster in 2024. Labour could in theory form some kind of minority government with SNP backing. But Labour is doing everything possible right now to nip that prospect in the bud. Sir Keir doesn’t want to suggest that a vote for Labour might be a vote for breaking up the UK. Labour has painful memories of that Tory election poster showing Ed Miliband in Ms Sturgeon’s top pocket.
So it is back to square one. Unless or until it is clear that an overwhelming majority of Scots wish to leave the UK it is unlikely that Westminster will relent on a referendum. It will simply not be in the interest of any UK Prime Minister to risk it. This is indeed a constitutional impasse and Ms Sturgeon suggested yesterday that it would be unwise for the UK to tell Scots that they are prisoners in the Union and they have no democratic means to leave it. However, even Ms Sturgeon must realise that there is not as yet overwhelming demand in Scotland for a referendum in the next five years.
Scotland remains split down the middle on independence. Holding a referendum under those circumstances would likely lead to a repeat of the chaos and discord that followed the narrow Leave victory in the 2016 EU referendum. Indeed, there is no legal short cut to Scottish independence, post-Brexit. Scottish nationalists are in for the long haul.
NOTE: Iain Macwhirter is a freelance journalist & broadcaster. This article was filed with the Herald.