The fact that Michael Fry draws parallels with Catalonia suggests, however expert he may be on the glories of capitalism, he is not qualified at all to pontificate on matters constitutional. You don’t have to be a professor of constitutional law to know that the constitutional circumstances in Scotland and Catalonia are entirely different. So different that no meaningful comparisons can be made beyond the fundamental principle of the right of self-determination.
I suspect a professor of constitutional law would be more likely to award Michael Fry a rap on the knuckles than a passing grade were he to encounter the following argument.
“All-party agreement to the referendum rules is vital, and cannot be won in Scotland alone.”
That is just wrong in every way. If by “all-party agreement” he means the political parties, then what he seems to be saying is that the referendum rules would require a unanimous vote in parliament. Where is this stipulation made? Where does this appear in any internationally recognised law or convention regarding the right of self-determination?
But it gets worse! Apparently, we don’t only require a unanimous vote in the Scottish Parliament, we need the approval of Westminster as well! And that statement can only be taken to imply that Westminster’s approval would also have to be unanimous. There’s setting a high bar for Scotland’s right of self-determination, and there’s putting that bar into a deep space trajectory. And all this when there should be no bar at all. International convention prohibits interference in the referendum process by the state from which ‘secession’ is being sought. Michael Fry, on the other hand, maintains that such interference isn’t only lawful, but an actual requirement for legal validity.
The following would have our professor of constitutional law reaching for his rapping stick again.
“There is altogether a great weight of evidence that Scottish independence will come only by following the legal, constitutional route through agreement with the UK and not in defiance of it.”
What evidence? We can discount all the drivel about Catalonia because the constitutional differences make comparisons meaningless. What other evidence is there? I’m not seeing any. And it would take some powerful evidence to persuade me that there can possibly be a route to independence adhering to the laws, regulations, rules and procedures put in place by the British state for the purpose of preserving the Union.
Going even further, as Michael Fry recommends, and giving British Nationalists at least one and possibly more effective vetoes over the referendum would surely be a recipe for closing the democratic route to independence altogether and for all time.
(On the subject of time, you may note that Michael Fry would have us take a route which is “longer and drearier”, but nowhere does he address to consequences of further delay.)
The reality is that there is no route to restoring Scotland’s independence via a process designed and controlled by those who are fanatically opposed to Scotland’s independence being restored. There is no route which doesn’t involve breaking the British state’s rules. There is no route which avoids direct confrontation with the British state. Such is Michael Fry’s concern with making the process impeccably legal (according to British laws) he isn’t even aware that he’s making it impossible.
This entire article has been written for one reason. It is nothing more than a contrived legalistic rationalisation of the Scottish Government’s ‘strategy’ of waiting for the next thing that has to be waited for while never challenging the authority of the British state to deny or constrain or circumscribe Scotland’s right of self-determination. And, for goodness sake, don’t mention the Union!
I could maybe get to grips with this if Michael Fry was just asking me to trust Nicola Sturgeon and her team. But he is insisting that I should put my faith in the goodwill, honour and democratic principles of a British political elite that treats me and my country and the principles of democracy with open contempt. Is he mad? Or does he think I am?
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