Why we should resist the Referendum Criteria Bill

From reader, Contrary:

The current crowdjustice crowdfunder:

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/the-scottish-people-vs-the-uk/

Says:

“It is our intention to lodge an action by ordinary members of Scotlands general population against the UK Government when they refuse or ignore a formal request from the First Minister of Scotland for an order under Section 30 of the Scotland Act to devolve the powers necessary to hold a second independence referendum.”

Well, it turns out that Johnson has every intention of refusing the section 30 order. All the section 30 order does is transfer temporary and limited constitutional powers to the Scottish government for the duration of a referendum. Constitutional powers are very much reserved – or so Westminster tells us. Things aren’t quite that clear cut in the patchwork UK.

It doesn’t actually matter who the group are that have initiated this crowdfunder – all funds, if enough are raised (you only ‘pledge’ an amount), go direct to the legal firm. From their site:

“All funding from this fundraiser will be sent directly to Balfour+Manson LLP, Solicitors, the legal firm retained to initiate this action.”

Who would be representing us? They say:

“Elaine Motion of Balfour+Manson LLP has been chosen to act as instructing solicitor. Alongside Elaine, she will be instructing Mr Aidan O’neill to Act as Advocate.

If these names seem familiar, it is because they should be.

They have an acute recent experience of arguing matters with respect to the current constitutional situation, on top of their years of experience in law in general. Elaine Motion was instructing solicitor in the revoking Article 50 case (Wightman), Prorogation of Parliament Case (Cherry) and the recent Benn act case (Dale Vince) when she instructed Aidan O’Neill QC in all three cases to act as an advocate. As far as legal experience in the constitutional arena goes, they are the best Scotland has to offer.”

Note that those 3 cases were won. I’m sure you were all glued to the live Supreme Court procedings – well, I was – Lord Pannick was, of course, the star of the show, but Aiden O’Neill was quite the dramatic counterpoint. I learned that not only is he a QC in Scots Law, but also in English Law – an irritatingly intelligent and accomplished person.

They will take this case to the Court of Session – keeping it in Scotland unless it goes to appeal.

This is what the latest news on crowdfunder site says regarding a private member’s bill going through the House of Lords, the ‘Referendum Criteria Bill’:

If This gains royal assent before we file our case, the following would apply to any future referendum.
1. It would require a vote in the house of lords and the house of commons.
2. The number of MPs or Lords who vote in favour of a referendum MUST equal 2/3rds or more IN BOTH HOUSES. A virtual impossibility.
3. IF a referendum then happens, at least 55% of the REGISTERED electorate must vote in it for it to be valid.
4. and here’s the kicker. A rule which has not reared its head since Scotland was denied a parliament in 1979. Back then, it was called the “40% rule” which meant that 40% of the entire registered electorate had to vote in favour of a parliament for it to happen (around 65% of those who voted). We got a majority, but because of this rule, we were denied our parliament.
The modern equivalent of the rule is what is in this bill, namely 60% of those who vote in the referendum would have to vote YES for independence. Yes! 60% of those who vote in indyref2 would need to vote yes.
Our case is now imperative. There’s no more time! We have less than 4 days to raise our target, or the case falls. We have to hit our target!”

Just the fact the bill has been put forward, however likely or not that it ever makes it to law, is another demonstration on how Westminster plans to keep delaying and throwing obstacles in our path. They have already made the changes that were needed as a mandate to hold an independence referendum – the withdrawal bill has passed through parliament and brexit is happening on the 31st – so there really is no excuse for refusal.

I personally think that we should take control of this, not leave it up to others, or wait – hopefully to win this case; we SHOULD have the right of self-determination after all. But if the courts fluff it, and decide we don’t have the right, well, we know where we stand then without all the speculation, because human rights laws, international laws, and our own laws, DO give us the right to self-determination, and we should have a referendum – but we know then that there is no point in appealing to a hostile nation to ‘allow’ us the right, and we can choose another method of polling.

We are all getting fed up waiting for this referendum and to really get started into campaigning, so this should tell us once and for all if waiting on the current chosen route is a waste of time or not. This should force the SNP into taking the next step. It is time-critical though, and doesn’t look like the needed amount – £40 000 for initiating procedings – is going to be achieved.

Did I see an Ashcroft poll that had 52% at Yes? That’s enough for me for a majority.

Published by johnrobertson834

Retired Professor of Media Politics Not-for-profit independent political analysis

3 thoughts on “Why we should resist the Referendum Criteria Bill

  1. Haven’t seen anything of that poll , is it recent , if it is why are the SNP not tweeting on it at least , this is the kind of news we need on a day when Johnstone says NO to another referendum, we should be making a big noise about this today!.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a poll from about 6 months ago I think – the resounding response seemed to be ‘oh well, its only one poll, you can’t trust opinion polls, it’s all meaningless anyway’ etc

      Like

  2. ICYMI

    Like

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