Heroic politicians and honourable opponents

Perhaps the Institute for Government could explain exactly what it is that makes continuing refusal of a Section 30 order “unsustainable”. What prevents the British government responding as it has indefinitely?

From Theresa May’s “now is not the time” to Boris Johnson’s regurgitation of the “once in a generation” nonsense, British Prime Ministers have shown themselves to be extremely adept at batting away formal and informal requests for a Section 30 order. They have sustained the position rather well. So, what is going to make it unsustainable? Neither the Institute for Government nor the SNP seem able to answer that question.

Neither do they address the matter of what happens if Westminster and Holyrood fail to approve the terms of a new referendum after a Section 30 order has been granted. Which seems strange given how obvious it is that it would be in the British state’s interest to have these negotiations fail, and being mindful of the numerous ways in which the British political elite might contrive to make them fail.

Far more of the Scottish Government’s strategy relies on the goodwill, good grace and good faith of the British establishment than I can possibly be comfortable with. But I am all too well aware that I am in a minority. Voice such concerns to a group of SNP members or Yes activists and the responses will generally fall into two forms of wishful thinking. Either the triumph of naive hope over bitter experience of insisting that “they [the British government] wouldn’t do that!”; or the triumph of faith over intellect implicit in the insistence that “Nicola will have a plan”.

Just don’t ask what that plan might look like. Not unless you want to be dragged into the garish wonderland of fantasy politics where the British political elite’s regard for public opinion is a factor and heroic politicians always have an unforeseen and unforeseeable trick up their sleeve which will save the day for the good guys just before the end credits roll.

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11 thoughts on “Heroic politicians and honourable opponents

  1. Peter you are in a minority of very astute thinkers.

    Stu Campbell , Jeggit, Grouse Beater, Angus McNeil.

    It’s better to be with your friends in the light. Than in a tunnel with strangers who have no concept of what is going on outside. They only know what their master tells them they need to know.

    Back to blind faith and crossed fingers.

    It’s our job to make people aware of the dangers of putting your destiny in the hands of a dangerous third party.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You say ‘Perhaps the Institute for Government could explain exactly what it is that makes continuing refusal of a Section 30 order “unsustainable”.’

    They do explain in their report https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/publications/no-deal-brexit-union pages 31 to 35.

    OK, it is from their perspective and not yours. A quote:

    “If the Union is to survive, it must be because a majority of people in all four parts of the UK are persuaded that its survival is for the best, not because Westminster wields the power of parliamentary sovereignty to hold the nations of the UK together against their will.”

    In other words, they think that it would be ultimately futile and counterproductive not to give a Section 30 order.


    1. I read that for myself. If I’d thought it came anywhere close to explaining what makes continued refusal “unsustainable” I would have mentioned it.


      1. The question at the heart of this is whether the UK union is voluntary or involuntary.

        The IfG are indicating that they think it should be voluntary and they do not appear to look on the idea of an involuntary union with much favour.

        This goes to the core of your whole thesis, which, be typically abusive and correct me if I am wrong, is based on the idea that the union is effectively involuntary.

        My position is that we do not know one way or the other, but we start from the assumption that it is voluntary, I suspect Sturgeon and the SG are thinking the same.

        The advantage of this is that if we force the point and get a Section 30, the road to recognition is smoother. And if the Union proves to be involuntary, not only will you be proved right, but the point will be made to everyone in a way which this blog will never achieve on its own.


        1. You are wrong. But if I delivered appropriate abuse to everyone who makes erroneous assumptions about my “thesis” even I would quickly reach the limits of my vocabulary. I have always maintained that the Union is voluntary. It is hard to see how it might be argued otherwise when the then Scottish Parliament voted for it. Soyou are also wrong about not knowing one way or the other.

          You maintain your record for being wrong when you “suspect” that Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government start from the position that the Union is voluntary. Their obsessive commitment to the Section 30 process, if nothing else, demonstrates that they regard Scotland as the inferior partner in an imposed relationship.

          If you have read anything I have written on the subject and still suppose the granting of a Section 30 order to be a boon then I’ll have to get back to you with the abuse as I don’t have time to do it justice right now.


  3. Ok, just supposing we get ourselves to the position that (a) We can demonstrate, beyond doubt, that we have sustainable majority support for indy and, as a consequence we move to (b) We are going to, in the absence of Westminster co operation, resort to a plan b or c which takes us to the point of declaring independence.
    My question, then, is what do we do in the face of other countries’ refusal to recognise us, in particular, the eu who may refuse to consider our application to rejoin.


      1. Will they see it as democratic if Westminster has not given permission?
        I agree that we shouldnt have to ask for permission, but I fear that situation is the status quo until legally proven otherwise.


        1. Why would Westminster’s permission be required? That’s what we’ve been brainwashed into believing. But that’s how colonisation of the mind works.


  4. Your definitely not in the monitory Peter, I like many SNP members are growing very weary of the waiting, just trust us we want Independence. Oh yeah your taking your time about it.

    I fear that they have missed the boat, that the optimum time to push for independence has I think passed.

    There taking far to much time for my liking.

    Liked by 1 person

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