What next?

Scotland Decides: The Independence Referendum In Photos | Time
(c) Time

From Alasdair Galloway:

The previous section I think showed that Angus McNeill is absolutely right to say that if the Supreme Court can strike down these two Bills, they can strike down a Referendum Bill as well.

So what does the Scottish Government say? Their “THE ROAD TO A REFERENDUM THAT IS BEYOND LEGAL CHALLENGE” concludes with this paragraph

“10. In these circumstances, in which there has been an unambiguously expressed democratic decision by the people of Scotland and their Parliament to have a legal referendum the choice of the U.K. government will be clear; to either (1) agree that the Scottish Parliament already has the power to legislate for a referendum or (2) in line with precedent, agree the section 30 order to put that question beyond any doubt; or (3) take legal action to dispute the legal basis of the referendum and seek to block the will of the Scottish people in the courts. Such a legal challenge would be vigorously opposed by an SNP Scottish Government”

While I would hope they “vigorously opposed” Westminster’s case concerning the Children’s Rights Bill and the Local Government Bill. And much good it did them.

Allied to this, it does have to be said that London could hardly be clearer on their attitude toward another referendum, and just in case, their Elections Bill will put the Electoral Commission under direct Westminster control through Westminster publishing a Strategy and Policy Statement for the Electoral Commission, which will set out the Government’s priorities on electoral matters and principles under which the commission will be expected to operate. (so one side in the debate controls the referee!). Minister responsible if this were law now – Michael Gove. Nothing like having the referee on a string!

The SNP statement is rational and, as it claims, within the law. However, the legal route is increasingly clearly blocked off. In some regards this problem originates with 2014 when an agreed referendum was ours for the asking – but I think it seems clear this was achieved only because Westminster thought it would be a walk in the park (kind of like the EU referendum as well!). If support for independence had been where it is today would an agreement have been so easily forthcoming? No I don’t think so either.

At that time there was debate about whether, for instance, a referendum asking a question like “should the Scottish Government open negotiations on independence?” could be held within the terms of the Scotland Act. Even if we suppose that might be possible today, what shade of odds would you give me that Westminster would simply legislate to, for instance, put referenda on the retained list? Would they? Bear in mind powers over elections to the Scottish Parliament were devolved only in 2012 and 2016. Not difficult – legally at least – to go back!

Perhaps, though, the issue is less to be surprised or be not surprised? The conclusion that Craig Murray (now constrained in Sauchton Prison) came to in a blog on 5th October 2018 is informative. There he wrote that “One day, all supporters of Independence are going to be forced to get their heads round the fact that London is going for the Madrid solution (the same strategy the Spanish government is using with the Catalans), and we are not going to achieve Independence without using peaceful, non-violent routes which are nevertheless going to be deemed illegal by the Establishment.”

However, if that is the only route, it will be important to retain support for independence. In general people don’t like illegality (and the BBC would have a field day). It does therefore seem incumbent on the independence movement, to go through the gears – to work through the process set out by the SNP, even if destined to end in failure. It will after all, be difficult for Westminster to justify a blank refusal to allow Scotland to decide its own future. Even the Scotsman, in an opinion piece last May, said it would not be a good idea.

Whitely and Clark claim “When times are bad, they [Scottish electorate] tend to support independence, and when times improve they are more inclined to oppose it.” (https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/indyref-polls-volatility/) – well the coming winter might be just the time – gas prices going through the roof, empty supermarket shelves, agriculture going into meltdown etc etc.

And coming along the road is a yougov poll shows we aren’t feeling optimistic about the current state of the UK’s economy, with three-quarters (73%) of respondents saying it’s in a bad state. Just 9% feel positively about it at the moment”.

So the foundations are being laid. The question is, when we have been told “no”, what then? What next? What does Craig Murray’s enjoinder that “we are not going to achieve Independence without using peaceful, non-violent routes” actually mean?


11 thoughts on “What next?

  1. A good thought provoking article. Thank you. Business for Scotland also state that when all legal avenues are blocked then peaceful non violent routes are what we have to do. It will be things like blocking access to and from a tube line in London for long enough to bring our cause to the English media. Non violent but disruptive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, but the very short sentence “we have to go through the gears” is crucial. We have to bring the people – or as many as possible – with us. To do that there is a need to show beyond peradventure that the legal route is blocked and wont easily be unblocked.
      The other side of that is that there is some opinion that holds that Osborne’s somewhat arrogant dismissal of the possibility of sharing the pound (Edinburgh Feb/March 2014) brought some people over to Yes.
      I still remember Bernie Ponsonby standing outside to get a few words from Osborne and being coldly ignored – you could see even he (former Lib Dem candidate) was angered by his behaviour.
      The antics of many in Alba who would go tomorrow worries me. Its not an attitude of “feartie” but of getting it right because there wont be another opportunity any time soon.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. How many gears does the independence vehicle have? How many years do you think it will take to “go through the gears”? We’ve already had seven. Will it take another seven? Fourteen? More? How many of us will still be alive when we get to top gear? Or will we never get to top gear because we’re going too slowly?


  2. We should not lose heart, or give up.
    The right to self-determination is a principle of international law.
    It has been recognised for one constituent part of the UK (N Ireland) which might prove a difficulty for the UK in refusing Scotland a referendum.

    The direction of travel of the Tory government (and perhaps Labour) is to diminish Scotland from an “equal” to a region like “Yorkshire”, and thence “no border”: “no Scottish nation”.
    That is to play into the pretence that “territorial integrity” (sovereignty) of the UK State is the most important thing.
    Or, because of N Ireland’s right to self-determination, will the UK become “Britain”?

    I am not and never have been in favour of violence to achieve our aim. However, the last IRA campaign (prevented) was aimed, not to kill civilians, but to disrupt the provision of electricity/gas/water to London, the Golden Goose, and, as the New York Times has it, the home of the “Worlds Stolen Money”!
    That, I think put the fear-of-poverty into the High Heid Yins, which in turn led to the Downing Street Declaration and the Good Friday Agreement. This was portrayed as the defeat of the IRA, but they can now achieve their aims without bombs and bullets.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I’ve wondered that.

        There certainly should be. Not just for independence/it’s our energy reasons either. It’s surely good security practice. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantasy

    Imagining impossible or improbable instance?
    A UK having moved in the realms of fantasy…
    What’s not known or perceived in existence,
    But certainly about Westminster’s FANTASY!

    © Ewen A. Morrison


  4. The Tories will not be there forever. Appeal to the UN. The right to self determination and self governance when/if people vote for it. Under International Law. Westminster is a signature to these principles. They have to uphold the Law is lose their place at the UN.

    The same principles applied to EU membership. Scotland voted for Devolution. It had to be implemented under the EU principles. Or UK would have lost EU membership. The Tories delayed Devolution but it still had to be implemented under International Law, guideline and procedures. Scotland had less democratic rights compared to the EU affiliated countries in Eastern Europe. Getting democracy, self governance and Independence. Scotland outvoted 10 to 1 at Westminster and not being treated equally.

    If Scotland votes for Independence it has to be acknowledge under International Law. According to the agreed Treaty of Union. It has to be acknowledged and implemented. Not ignored. Each countries representatives had to agree to dissolution. If one countries representative makes a request or Scotland is not treated equally.

    COP26 is a great time to showcase Scotland and make necessary contacts and allies. Networking. A perfect pitch. Scotland is recognised the world over. The Chinese. ‘Scotland the land of invention and discovery’. The Chinese Premier visited Scotland first on an overseas trip to the UK. Britain, ‘ a small island without
    Empire or influence’.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A good synopsis even if “what next” has a few hurdles to go yet.

    The Scottish electorate having opportunity to express their democratic wishes regarding the future of the Union may terrify London, but they know it is inevitable.
    What we often forget is Tory reliance on the English electorate – Decades of “subsidy spongers” etc. negativity over Scotland, together with recent “success” in “taking back sovereignty”, makes dissolution of the Union not simply a Scottish issue but an English one.

    Liked by 1 person

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