Bring it on?

As talk of a General Election mounts, I say ‘bring it on’…but it must be before Oct 31. MPs must not allow Johnson to game the date as a ploy to push through a no deal Brexit.— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) September 2, 2019

A nice soundbite from Nicola Sturgeon. Although the “bring it on” thing is getting a bit tired and threadbare, she carries it off. Perhaps well enough that people will cheer at the words without considering the content. They may applaud here steely determination and her grit and all that, but never think about the implications of a UK general election being brought on.

Our First Minister – and therefore, presumably the SNP group of MPs – seem bent on trying to force a snap election. She, and they, overstate their power to do this, of course; but that’s just politics. SNP MPs have no real power at Westminster. If they did, it’s unlikely they’d be tolerated at all in the parliament of England-as-Britain. The SNP is just part of an effort to block Brexit and/or prevent a no-deal Brexit and/or force a UK general election that is being mounted by a disparate, disjointed and disordered mob of MPs lacking any leadership or coherent plan or even agreed objective.

Nonetheless, this being British politics, such a random rabble may be effective. It may do something. Although whether what comes out of their effort in any way resembles what they intended or hoped for, is almost entirely a matter of luck.

But suppose what transpires is what Nicola Sturgeon appears to want when she urges the Johnson regime to “bring it on”. Suppose there is a UK general election called for mid-October. So what? What does Nicola Sturgeon stand to gain from this? What does the SNP stand to gain? What does the anti-Brexit campaign stand to gain? Most importantly, what does the cause of restoring Scotland’s rightful constitutional status stand to gain?

Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP almost certainly stand to gain more seats in the British House of Commons. So what? The Union is, and always has been, designed to prevent Scottish MPs being effective. The Union’s purpose, from its inception, has been to ensure that Scotland’s voice could never be meaningfully represented in British politics. Having 52 or 56 or even 59 MPs who actually speak for Scotland will make no difference.

The campaign to spoke the wheels of the Brexit juggernaut stands to gain… nothing! All the indications are that a UK general election will result in a British parliament even more committed to Brexit at any cost than the current one, If that is even imaginable. It will result is a British executive further empowered to wrench the UK out of the EU, trampling over democracy as it does so and dragging unwilling Scotland with it. This will be the outcome of a UK general election because this is what voters in England want. And they are the only voters who matter. A general election alters the make-up of the British parliament. But it doesn’t dilute the British Nationalism in that place. It only further concentrates it. The already vile mix would be made even more pungent and more potent by the addition of extremist followers of Nigel Farage.

The calling of a UK general election could warrant a further extension to the Article 50 process. Which might be regarded as a small victory for the ‘rebel rabble’ that the SNP is siding with. But only if all 27 real EU member states agreed to it and, even more crucially, only if the UK Government requested such an extension. Which simply isn’t going to happen.

It will be claimed that increasing the number of SNP MPs will strengthen Scotland’s cause. But will it? As already noted, the Union makes those MPs powerless regardless of their number. And they are now faced with a British executive which sees great virtue in emphasising and exploiting that powerlessness. A British regime which is eager to pander to British Nationalism’s anti-Scottish prejudices. A British political elite which will, therefore, relish every opportunity to demonstrate its contempt for Scotland’s elected representatives and democratic institutions.

Apart from which, a UK general election cannot possibly be both a proxy Brexit referendum and a proxy independence referendum. I trust that is obvious enough not to require further explanation.

Just as a UK general election will surely result in a British parliament and government which is even more determined to pursue Brexit at any cost, and which is empowered so to do, so it will result in a British administration even more committed to the ideology of ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism.

It will be claimed that having a massive majority of Scotland’s MPs will give the SNP some sort of enhanced mandate to pursue a new referendum and independence. But what difference might it actually make? If the British state is prepared to discount the existing “triple-locked” mandate, what reason is there to suppose it will not also discount any mandate no matter how ‘enhanced’. Especially when there is a British government that sees considerable political advantage in slapping Scotland down.

Bear in mind that Nicola Sturgeon has committed herself, and thereby Scotland, to the Section 30 process. A process which affords the British government ample scope for ensuring that no referendum ever takes place. There is no numbers of SNP MPs which will be able to force or persuade the British ruling elite to ‘allow’ a new independence referendum. Or to agree to a referendum on terms that would make a Yes victory anything more than the remotest possibility.

So! Bring it on! Bring on a UK general election. Just realise that after it is over we will be exactly where we are now. Brexit will still happen. At 23:00 on 31 October 2019 Scotland will be wrenched out of the EU despite our democratic will and ignoring all our protests. The people of Scotland will be stripped of their European citizenship with all the disbenefits and hardships that this implies. We will have imposed on us all the economic horrors that have been talked about and all the constitutional abominations that have been largely left unremarked.

The cause of restoring Scotland’s independence will also be no further forward. Doubtless those in the Yes movement are correct who say more people will be encouraged to support independence because of what they see happening in England and to Scotland. But without the means to express their democratic will, it means nothing. It changes nothing. And Nicola Sturgeon has effectively ruled out providing the means by which the people of Scotland might exercise their inalienable right of self-determination by inexplicably granting to the British government the authority to deny our right of self-determination.

That means of exercising our right of self-determination can only be provided by the Scottish Government acting through the Scottish Parliament with the support of the Scottish people. And it must inevitably and inescapably involve breaking the rules imposed by the British state. This is where we are now. And it is where we will still be after a UK general election.

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15 thoughts on “Bring it on?

  1. “That means of exercising our right of self-determination can only be provided by the Scottish Government acting through the Scottish Parliament with the support of the Scottish people. And it must inevitably and inescapably involve breaking the rules imposed by the British state.”

    Indeed. And as stated in the article, Sturgeon is committed to the S30 path; i.e., operating within the rules. I agree it is entirely likely Mr Johnson will be returned with a working majority and thus no opportunity for any SNP confidence and supply deal with Labour.

    It follows that unless this current FM experiences a damascene moment of clarity, that this union with the English state will not be dissolved until she (and her cabal) are removed from leadership of the SNP.

    Arguably, the greatest single impediment to the dissolution of the union with the English state and consequent Scottish independence in the immediate to midterm is not the colonialist parties or their leaders, nor achieving a YES majority. The greatest block to liberating Scotland now is the SNP itself and its leadership.

    Only the Party has the power to change its leadership.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is difficult to dispute what you say while Nicola Sturgeon remains committed to the Section 30 process. But the most frustrating thing about it all is that we have no alternative but to support her even when we see that she is getting it wrong. Because not supporting her would only make the situation worse. It’s a fucking nightmare!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is because no one wanted to grab the nettle earlier and force a change. Instead so many YES went “don’t rock the boat”.

        YES has been getting comfortable and behaving like they were settled in for “normal” times. Too many forgot that once the Brexit vote occurred, normal went out the door. At that moment YES needed to get its fighting pants on. Sadly for Scotland and its EU family members, now YES is stuck with an SNP who are taking a teddybear to a gun fight.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have heard senior SNP politicians say this upcoming General Election, (there is going to be one, just exactly when we are not too sure) this will be a push for another Independence Referendum!
    Why are they not using this one,,as they did previously, as a vote for Independence?
    Just what is it with these ppl?
    If SNP pass up this latest opportunity, and still give us all the “We will be heard” speeches, but allows us to be taken out of EU in a month’s time, then they will have failed Scotland.
    That will not be acceptable from them.
    If SNP leadership refuse to take the actions we require of them, we will have little choice but to look to others.
    Who those others will be, we don’t know as of yet.
    Still, we can only hope SNP does do something more, soon, but time has run out as it is.
    We will have to see in the coming few weeks, how it goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It can’t be a vote for independence and a vote for Remain and a vote against no-deal and all the other things that all sorts of people want it to be. It’s an election. And an election isn’t a referendum. An election cannot be a referendum. I really don’t see the point in pretending otherwise.

      Our independence will not be restored via Westminster. It will only be restored through action taken by the Scottish Government in the Scottish Parliament supported by the Scottish people. Ignore the squirrels.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Were I Johnson after an election victory with a healthy majority…

    I would dump the DUP with a border bisecting the Irish Sea. Honour calls for a referendum on reunification. With luck it passes, England is substantially relieved of the financial burden, and the whole can of worms becomes an Irish and EU problem.

    Offer Sturgeon the S30 she wants with proviso Faslane remains English sovereign territory plus a 99 year lease on Coulport facility. She of course will not agree and compromise would be an extended 20 year £20b (£2/yr) lease on Faslane and warhead facilities in Coulport and wherever.

    The Union is dissolved.

    England can expect a loss of 10% of GDP from Scotland’s departure (on 8.3% of UK population. This GDP number not pulled from my ass but from the consensus projections of 2014). This loss marginally offset by the saving from no longer supporting NI.

    Johnson’s opposition is considerably diluted, and England’s (incorporating Wales) built-in conservative majority is consolidated.

    At a stroke (or two) Johnson has:

    1. Taken England out of the EU.

    2. Solved the Irish Question.

    3. Solved the Scottish Question.

    4. Created an English Parliament.

    They will build monuments to him, placing him aside Churchill in the annals of the greatest English prime Ministers, and bury him in Westminster Abbey. Mourners will queue for miles to see his coffin pass, carried in state on a gun carriage. The Royal Air Force will fly overhead in formation sans one solitary aircraft as the BBC’s Royal commentator eulogises the beloved fallen Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

    Cue Jerusalem… Cue Pomp and Circumstance.

    Sic transit gloria mundi!


  4. What a dyspepsic outlook on the current situation. Peter you are not alone in wanting an early exit from the Union but disparaging Nicola advances the process not one inch. The essential element, almost as essential as Vote Yes, is to make exit stick. This requires acceptance by the international community. No point in precipitating some form of departure only to not have it recognised.

    Having said that the time is now, or at least very soon. We cannot move for a referendum until we know the timing and form of the UKGE plus the Referendum Bill must be enacted. The outcome and asides in the judgment from the Court of Session due tomorrow may also contain some legal support.

    It is a dynamic and fluid situation and no-one can say with any assurance how this may change in the immediate future. Be ready to move is the best line to take and a good showing in the UKGE can do nothing but good


    1. Nobody has suggested any “form of departure” which would make international recognition problematic. You make the same mistake as so many other colonised minds in supposing that anything which is not sanctioned and approved and permitted by the British state must be illegitimate.


      1. Sorry Peter I do not belong to the ‘colonised mind’ faction and indeed I would very much welcome an action to Dissolve the Union by declaring that as an equal signatory to the Treaty of Union we can and are ending the Union which will no longer exist on our departure. I just do not want to find us in ‘no mans land’ having to fight our way through various International Courts and Tribunals for recognition. Domestic Courts will be fought on English Establishment terms as they have the backing of the Establishment but we can always exert the preeminence of Scots Law in Scotland. Once we establish an unassailable position then we can move on to Independence.

        On an entirely different point, which I have not seen raised so far, it is paramount that in the first election after Indepence the SNP must command a majority in Holyrood. It is unthinkable that Unionist parties should take control of the negotiations with rump of the U.K. As they would ‘sell the jerseys’ to their English master.


        1. Nobody has suggested any “form of departure” which would make international recognition problematic. Why do you assume it will be if we don’t abide by the British state’s rules? Whether you acknowledge it or not; whether you like it or not, that assumption is symptomatic of a colonised mind.

          I don’t think the SNP will have much trouble winning the first election after independence. Probably the second as well. It may take that long for other parties to organise to the extent of persuading anybody they are ready for government. Once post-independence negotiations commence and the books are thrown open and the lies exposed, it will be a long time before voters trust anybody associated with the British parties.


  5. Most countries get independence through an election. It’s more unusual to win an election and then wait years to have a referendum.

    It should be win election, then negotiate independence. Then confirm the final deal with the public. But it would be a confirmatory referendum only. A polite way of confirming what has already been established.


    1. Name the countries which got independence through an election.

      Regardless of what may have happened in a different place at a different time under different circumstances, the problems with using an election as a proxy referendum here, now and in prevailing circumstances have been set out in detail elsewhere. You address none of these problems.

      For example, you totally fail to explain how the SNP might win a UK general election when the party only stands candidates in Scotland and so can never win more than 59 seats. Somewhat short of the number required to win a UK general election.

      As to winning a Scottish general election – pro-independence parties have now won three of those in a row, and there has been no declaration of independence. So one has to assume it’s not a straightforward as you seem to imagine.


  6. Just for anyone taking comfort in the cringe fest that was Westminster today:
    What if…and it is a big if…Borris is not as incompetent as he appeared – then what did he actually accomplish today. He made every moderate tory out themselves and set in train the mechanism to oust them.

    If that is the case, then if you get a General Election you won’t be fighting the tory of old. Those are gone, this would be a pure distilled ERG extreme in Tory clothing. They have set the stage for a all or nothing fight and this is why they have been rilling up their base for 3 years.

    If they unleash this amount of toxic crazy in an election campaign fought on Brexit vs “traitors”….its nightmarish stuff and Scotland (being a land of “saboteur”s) will suffer the full fury of that base.

    Scotland is now walking a tight rope over a pit of lions through a swarm of bees…and Westminster is in the process of cutting the rope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a very good point. And it is a point well made even if Boris Johnson is as dumb as he seems and it the weeding of Tory ‘wimps’ has come about by accident. The end result is the same in either case.


  7. If we have another GE, Farage will enter the fray. At some point, he is going to make the breakthrough, and it could well be during this GE, if it comes about. There may well be a merger of the two parties or an alliance (what is left of the Tory party, the right-wing, and the Brexit party which may well morph into something we have not seen in the British Isles since medieval times under the Plantagenets). One thing is certain: Farage will not want the Tories to collapse just yet, so it is his interests to prop them up for now. I believe we have already waited too long, and that, step-by-step, the right wing has been gaining ground, becoming ever more ‘toxic’. Did the Plantagenets leave Scotland alone? No.

    I would like to think that we will elect many more SNP MPs, that Labour and the Lib Dems will get out of the way, and that the Tories will collapse. All that might happen, but it is equally possible that the infection will have travelled north and that right-wing-ism gains a foothold here, too. Jo Swinson is half-way there already, and we have been so busy pandering to our own right-wing, Unionist elements and proto colonials, that we missed the clue in 2014. It is always a source of wonderment to me that many believe the Scots, new and old to be immune to right-wing infection. Think Austria in the 1930s. I think that Tory coterie at Holyrood hides a few hard right types, masquerading as middle-of-the-road moderates for now. If that is so, the GE would bring them out, and there is always that wee problem of the actual supporters, the grass roots of these parties, being even more hard-line than the politicians, as we should know from Johnson’s rise to power. Johnson and Farage will concentrate most of their fire power in England, but I believe we may be targeted, too. I’m not at all sure the Tories in Scotland will face wipe-out, but, and I stress, I might be very wrong.


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