It is clear from the comments on this article (Corbyn to be quizzed over next indyref as he begins whirlwind Scottish tour) that I am far from being the only one who is utterly baffled by Nicola Sturgeon’s position. She concedes that the UK Government has the authority to disallow an independence referendum, but demands that they refrain from exercising that authority. Instead of maintaining that the requirement for a Section 30 order is illegal and unconstitutional, she insists that it is, in fact, the only ‘legal and constitutional’ process, but claims that it would be undemocratic for the UK Government to utilise the authority that the process affords it.
I just don’t get it! I’ve tried a dozen ways of putting into words what the First Minister’s position is, and there is no way that it makes any sense. It is certainly possible for something to be both lawful and undemocratic. But to say that something is constitutionally legitimate but undemocratic seems like an obvious contradiction in terms.
How can authority be democratic, but exercise of that authority not? Surely if acting on the authority is contrary to the principles of democracy, then the authority itself must be likewise.
Ruth Wishart wrote recently about how she has come to abhor the word “allow” precisely because of its use in the context of a new independence referendum. I suspect she will be as offended as I am at being told that “Jeremy Corbyn will be under pressure to say when exactly he will allow a second independence referendum”. Not, you will note, under pressure to explain what makes him suppose he has the authority to deny Scotland’s right of self-determination. Not under pressure to explain why the exercise of Scotland’s right of self-determination should require his consent. Merely under pressure to say when he might give that gracious consent.
Of course, were he asked to justify his presumption, Corbyn need only refer to the words of Scotland’s First Minister, who has repeatedly conceded that authority. It’s hard to imagine anyone in the Scottish Government or the Scottish media putting him under any kind of pressure to justify, in terms of democratic principles rather than Nicola Sturgeon’s stated position, how anybody might have the power of veto over a nation’s right of self-determination.
Scotland’s political leaders evidently lack the grit and the gmption to challenge the asserted authority of the British state. And, of course, it suits the media to paddle in the shallow waters of trivial questions about when something might happen rather than venture into the deeps of why it is being allowed to happen at all. Why risk the dangerous currents of political controversy when it’s so easy to create a simple but titillating drama out of timing whilst remaining close to the shore of mass entertainment?
It would come as a tremendous shock to all if Corbyn were to specify when he would grant permission for the people of Scotland to exercise our right of self-determination – were he ever in a position to do so. That’s not how the game is played at all. He has to pretend that there is actually a likelihood of him being the British Prime Minister. He has to pretend that he would respect the right of Scotland’s people to decide the constitutional status of our nation. The Media and the politicians have to go along with this pretence. Everybody knows that it’s a sham. Everybody knows that, in the unlikely event of there being a British Labour government after the election, Corbyn will be every bit as bound by the imperative to preserve the Union as Boris Johnson or anyone else who might be a candidate for the role of British Prime Minister.
In terms of Scotland’s cause, it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever what the outcome of this election is. That outcome will be a British government and a British Prime Minister. And no British government or British Prime Minister is ever going to allow the Union to be put in jeopardy.
Which is why it makes no sense to concede that the British state has the rightful authority to disallow a referendum. Or to allow it only under conditions determined by the British political elite. If you accept that the British state has this authority, and that the authority is ‘legal and constitutional’, what possible grounds can there be to complain when that authority is used?
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22 thoughts on “Neither grit nor gumption”
And I am far from being the only one who is utterly baffled by your position, which certainly can’t be confused with a ray of sunshine.
These days you keep banging on and on about a strategy that hasn’t even been tested yet, and which absolutely needs to be tested, to destruction if need be. Even if your current corrosive scepticism is found in the event to be justified, have you even considered that might be exactly the point – to uncontrovertibly demonstrate to the uncertain and undecided that Unionism is completely hollowed-out and void, and incapable of an honest position?
In your self-absorption (and what looks more and more like a fit of childish pique on top) you assume that because you yourself haven’t the wit to see any point to the strategy, that there can’t possibly be one. Well, I for one am prepared to believe that Nicola Sturgeon has a better grasp of this business than you, carping incessantly from the sidelines as you have lately got into without any practical alternative on offer. Your only contribution at the moment is to assist those outright malefactors who are plying their dark trade to sow disengagement and thereby undermine any possibility of progress.
It may possibly be that the rotten tree falls with just one last push, but it certainly won’t fall if no-one bothers to try. Like it or not, this S.30 business has to be seen through to the end, and only then will we know whether or not it was sufficient as well as necessary. In the meantime, you could do us all a favour by suspending judgement until there are solid facts on which to base it.
Oh, and maybe even just a hint of positivity for the immediate electoral test? Go on, Peter, bust yourself with a wee smile…!
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I disagree that Section 30 has to be seen thru “to the end”. Apart from anything else, how long is that gonna take? And also, why is it, that SNP leadership are asking London “permission” for anything?
They have that Mandate for the Scottish electorate now. Why not use it now?
Why wait ’till we are out of EU?
Why not have the Scottish Parliament declare the Union, Dissolved, and revoke the Treaty of Union?
We don’t need London permission for that.
The First Minister has already asked the UK Govt, “permission” and got nowhere, not even an answer! And that almost 3 years ago, now.
If England wanted to end the Union, do you think they’d ask Edinburgh for permission first?
Folks have every right to question the present SNP strategy.
As for SNP and this General Election, obviously, there is the no choice but to vote for SNP, but still, there is no reason why we can’t question their current position,at same time.
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”Why not have the Scottish Parliament declare the Union, Dissolved, and revoke the Treaty of Union?”
Eh, maybe because around 50% of Scots won’t be too happy about that, Gordon. May take to the streets and create absolute havoc and additionally issue one legal challenge after another. And how how long is that gonna take? To my mind they could drag that out for years on end.
Let’s go ahead with the S30O route and see where that gets us first. Boris the er*se isn’t as daft as he looks, but if he isn’t conversant with UK, EU and UN law someone will surely put him right.
Grizebard, you don’t seem to grasp that Peter’s problem is not one of strategy but of principle. Nicola and the SNP leaders grant that the English Constitutional Principle, which has no counterpart in Scots Law, of the unlimited and absolute sovereignty of the Westminster Parliament applies to Scotland. Since they have granted that, they have no choice but to submit to the decisions of that Parliament as expressed by the Prime Minister. Given that fact, the SNP simply cannot lead Scotland to independence. It is no longer a party of independence, unless Nicola and the other leaders have a radical metanoia.
The SNP has given up on the Scottish Principle of the Sovereignty of the People of Scotland being above the Monarch, the UK Government, and the Westminster Parliament. In my view, they are betraying their rightful Sovereign, the people of Scotland, by submitting to the sovereignty of a usurper, the Westminster Parliament.
Of course, they threaten to take the matter to court if Westminster does not grant a S30 order, thus challenging the unlimited and absolute sovereignty Westminster, That may be a strategy, but how can it succeed when they have already granted Westminster that unlimited and absolute sovereignty? it’s a self-contradiction!
I think that Peter is right; in the forthcoming election Scots have no choice but to vote SNP because, even though it not longer marches to the beat, it is still banging the drum of independence. Even if it gains 59 seats, unless the SNP reverses its submission to the unlimited and absolute sovereignty of Westminster, it will not lead Scotland to independence. A new party of independence will have to take its place after the election.
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I t is my view, too, that we need a new political Party of Independence.
This is SNP’s last chance, i’d say.
Otherwise, that new group will certainly replace them, the way SNP has replaced Labour of late.
But obviously, it would be better if SNP changed tact, but as things stand, they seem prepared to accept London rule, and play a long drawn out game.
But Scotland no longer has the timescale, certain figures within SNP seem to have in mind..
But there is still time for SNP to change it’s present policy. We hope it does, and soon.
How does anyone know that the “this S,30 business” hasn’t already reached an an end? If the English just keep saying “now is not the time”, how will anyone ever know that the end has been reached?
If the FM argues that the S.30 process is the only way forward and that the UK Government/Parliament should decide, how then, can she subsequently argue that it should be the people of Scotland who decide.
This strategy is built on sand and the only way it could have been robust is if she had argued that the people of Scotland were sovereign. As I understand it, that is the essence of what Peter Bell has been saying but which seems to have escaped you.
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”Your only contribution at the moment is to assist those outright malefactors who are plying their dark trade to sow disengagement and thereby undermine any possibility of progress.”
Excellent post, grizebard. This site does no more than run Nicola Sturgeon down to the ground on a daily basis now. She’s a hypocrite, has no grit or gumption etc, etc etc. Mr Bell is just another Unionist lackey, imo, doing their dirty work for them. I’ve directed people to this site and asked them what they make of it. What they think of Nicola Sturgeon and I’ve been told that it, the site and Mr Bell, would put them off of voting for the SNP altogether. Damning or what?
Many of the points that he makes in his latest article, once again, make no sense. Too many to even be bothered to cover on here.
Jeremy Corbyn is doing his utmost to win this GE, against all odds, so ”pretending” is the name of the game for him. He’s trying to distance himself from the SNP because it’ll lose him votes, however if there’s a hung Parliament and he needs SNP support he’ll change his tune. This will probably never come to pass anyway as it looks as though Boris the narcissistic liar will continue to sit on the Westminster cludgie.
”Scotland’s political leaders evidently lack the grit and the gumption to challenge the asserted authority of the British state.”
Let’s just wait and see what happens if a S30O is refused, why don’t we?
And what about, between now and the GE, supporting Nicola Sturgeon and using your precious time to run the Unionists down to the ground for once? You know help to ensure that the SNP do well in the forthcoming GE. Sending out another strong message to Westminster prior to Nicola Sturgeon applying for a S30O.
Unfortunately, as a tactic, “sending out a strong message” doesn’t appear to have been very effective. How could it when those to whom it is intended simply leave the room. And in case you weren’t aware of it, we already know what happens if a S.30 is refused.
”It is my view, too, that we need a new political Party of Independence.This is SNP’s last chance, i’d say. Otherwise, that new group will certainly replace them, the way SNP has replaced Labour of late.”
I’d say that if this is what you advocate Gordon it’s over and out for all of us. We won’t be around to see another Independence political party form to the point of being effective in our lifetime, or probably our children’s either, and by that time Scotland will be totally decimated to the point that no one will want independence.
Once again, no attempt to address the concerns being expressed about the Section 30 process, just petulant demands that people stop expressing those concerns and arrogant insistence that others adopt the dumb faith you exhibit.
Nicola is correct the denial of a S30 Order, which is an agreement to respect the result of the referendum, not permission to hold one, is unsustainable.
As you are aware Scotland has a mandate through Holyrood to hold another independence referendum and will do so in the Autumn of 2020, the legislation for which has been passed through Holyrood. We, the Scottish Government request that the UK Government formally agree to respect the result of that referendum by issuing a S30 Order as did David Cameron when he was PM.
Whilst you will no doubt give this your most careful consideration I think you should add the following to your deliberations, we remind you that the UK is a signatory to the UN convention on Decolonisation and also to the protocols on Kosovo when that country was seeking secession from the then Yugoslavia. As a legally equal joint partner in the United Kingdom the UK Government acts on our behalf just as much as it does for the other partner and must therefore show neutrality in such matters. A denial of the request will immediately mean that the Scottish Government will #DissolveTheUnion and through the International Court of Justice affirm this position, as this will formally demonstrate that Scotland is being treated as a colony, not a partner.
The First Minister
Still think a S30 will be denied?
In the first place, that is not the letter the First Minister will be writing. It is a product of your fervid imagination. Secondly, all of these things were true when the First Minister actually did send a letter that she didn’t get you to write for her, and it didn’t stop the then British Prime Minister brushing off the request with a contemptuous remark and then simply ignoring it.
Like everybody else who asserts that British denial of a Section 30 order is “unsustainable”, you totally fail to explain what makes it so.
I wasn’t aware that my imagination was fetid, no need to be rude I’m on your side.
What do you suggest should happen if there is a S30 refusal? At least taking legal action is an option.
I didn’t say your imagination was “fetid”. The question of what should happen when the Section 30 order is refused should put to those who think it a good idea to ask for it. Of course legal action is an option. The point you miss is that it is the only option. Because all other options have been needlessly squandered. And it is not a risk-free option. In fact, going to the courts is a very high-risk gamble. It makes no political sense whatever to leave yourself with no options other than one which, should it fail, would fail catastrophically.
Well Peter, Nicola has repeatedly stated that she is going to ask for a S30. So if that is her next move then what is the rationale behind it . I am merely suggesting that the direction I have indicated is an option that will lead to either a S30 or a case before the ICJ.
You may well be correct that your alternative position is better, but that is not what NS is apparently intending. She may well be concerned about backlash from Unionists and is seeking to avoid that by “going down the S30 route”. On the other hand it may all be a bluff and she may follow your desired route, only time will tell, but I dont think she will be announcing her attack line in advance.
If you can’t be bothered reading replies, I’m not going to waste any more time on you.
I could change a couple of words and write that letter about Scotland’s democratic and Sovereign rejection of Brexit, making the act of Brexit itself the red line ultimatum which summarily ended the Union.
Why leave Independence hostage to a Section 30 and Referendum skewed by BritNat propaganda and colonial indoctrination, and invite our subjugation?
We are on a merry-go-round, and will stay on the merry-go-round until we exercise the untested initiative of jumping off. Every destination on our current Independence itinerary has already been visited before and the outcome was never Independence.
We have proven Scotland can walk soft. It’s time to show we carry a big Constitutional stick.
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Agreed Breeks and it will probably come to that. At least in my opinion the Act of leaving the EU is a clear breach of our constitutional right to choose how we are to be governed. However I can see legal action on that point being frustrated by continual obfuscation by lawyers over many years meanwhile we will continue to be stripped of our resources. So my preference is that a refusal of a S30 is acknoweldement by the UK that they will not allow the matter to be resolved democractically and therefore legal action at the ICJ under the arrangements the UK has already signed up to is fairly cut and dried IMHO.
Scotland does not qualify to resort to the ICJ. It’s a good idea to check the facts before declaring something “cut and dried”.
Amazing how once again Johnston mentions us holding a Scottish referendum next year. You know the one that people keep telling us that we’re not going to get.
Johnson is a pathological liar and dishonest opportunist who will say the first thing that spontaneously occurs to him even if it’s the direct opposite of a thing he’s just said moments earlier. He makes it up on the hoof, unburdened by any sense of consequence or accountability.
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I know only too well what Johnston is like Breeks. He’s spouting this to put people off of voting for Corbyn. However the point is that he and just about everyone else is talking about the forthcoming Indyref and that includes the Electoral Commission.