It was the best of elections. It was the worst of elections. It was certainly a good election for the SNP. But it was always going to be a good election for the SNP. It was only a question of how good. Despite the efforts of a party leadership which often behaved as if winning wasn’t their first priority and candidates who too often looked like the very concept of campaigning was unfamiliar and not well understood, the SNP did better than even the starry-eyed fantasists among the faithful had expected. I don’t recall any poll or pundit predicting 45% of the vote or 47 seats. (48 if we include Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath, spectacularly won by Neale Hanvey who was only an SNP candidate on paper having succumbed to the party’s passion for suspending and expelling members to appease whoever wants to be appeased. We’ll come back to that.)
But it was also a good election for Boris Johnson and the Mad Brexiteers. Not in Scotland, of course. Although perhaps not as bad as they might have feared. At UK level, which is all ‘One Nation’ British Nationalists supposedly care about, the Tories’ Christmas came early. Bad Santa brought them a majority which effectively means the lunatics now own the asylum.
In other news, British Labour is a joke and the Liberal Democrats are a dirty joke. It seems I was wrong about Corbyn. I had thought him merely ineffectual. It turns out that he is actually quite effective – at losing! I considered it unlikely that he would make much of an impact. Certainly much less of a transformative impact than was believed by those who saw him as some kind of socialist Messiah. In fact, he has presided over a decline in British Labour’s electoral fortunes that pretty much eliminates them as a significant force in UK politics and all but certainly gifts power to the Tories for the next decade at least.
In other words, he has done precisely the opposite of what he was supposed to do. At a minimum, it had been hoped that he would keep British Labour in contention and progressive politics in England-as-Britain alive, even if on life-support. Instead, he has officiated at the funeral of both and left the field to a rampantly triumphalist Boris Johnson. Nice one, Jeremy!
The Liberal Democrats differed from British Labour only in that nobody – other than the dementedly deluded Jo Swinson – expected them to do anything politically useful. And nobody who’d seen or heard Swinson either expected them to do well in the election or, indeed, wanted them to do anything other than embarrassingly badly. They duly obliged. If pressed, I might concede that the blame for British Labour’s woeful performance can’t be laid entirely at Jeremy Corbyn’s door. But there is absolutely no doubt who shoulders the blame for the Liberal Democrats’ humiliation. Making her leader was the political equivalent of necking a pint of hemlock. It’s just one more thing about British politics which is totally inexplicable.
And that’s about all there is to say about the election outcome at UK level. It long since ceased to be appropriate to consider the UK as a single political entity even for the purposes of a Westminster election. A reality which even the BBC may be forced to accept sometime in the first half of the 21st century. Just the other day, a lady who exuded matronly Britishness remarked to me that, much as it saddened her heart to acknowledge it, Scotland really is a different country now. “Different and better?”, I ventured. To which she responded with a rueful half-smile and one-shouldered shrug which intimated that, while she may have been even more reluctant to acknowledge this, she was not prepared to attempt to refute it.
Scotland and England-as-Britain have diverged in ways and to an extent evident from everything except the way we are governed. Two separate nations with increasingly distinctive and incompatible political cultures, but with one forced to accept the political choices of the other. That is a situation which is not only untenable but infeasible. Which distinguishes it from an ongoing refusal of a Section 30 order request, which has famously been described as untenable but which is perfectly feasible. It is certainly true that such refusal cannot be justified or defended. But it is also the case that it doesn’t have to be justified or defended. It can simply be done.
It is within the powers of the British Prime Minister to refuse a Section 30 order request and there is absolutely nothing in the law that requires him or her to explain or justify their action. It is at least possible, if not probable, that not even the courts have the authority to demand an explanation or justification. And if the courts don’t have that authority, then they certainly don’t have the authority to overrule the British Prime Minister and order the granting of said Section 30 order. At the core of this issue is the principle of parliamentary sovereignty. It is exceedingly difficult to see how any court – and certainly any court furth of Scotland – could effectively strike down that principle and set itself above the British parliament.
This is not simply a question of parliamentary procedure or the interpretation of rules. This is a matter of law. If refusing a Section 30 order is not unlawful, then overruling the refusal can only be an overtly political act. It might have been possible for the Scottish Government to argue that the refusal of a Section 30 order is unlawful, citing a body of international laws and conventions. But not after the First Minister and other senior figures have declared that the Section 30 process is. not merely lawful, but the only process which is “legal and constitutional”.
The SNP cannot extract a Section 30 order from Boris Johnson and cannot proceed with a new independence referendum without one.
In the same way, although for different reasons, there is no way even 47 (or 48) SNP MPs can “stop Brexit”. They simply don’t have the power. Not, in this case, because they have inexplicably squandered what power they may have had, but because the nature of the Union is such that Scotland cannot ever have such power. The Union means that Scotland must always be subordinate. The Union means that Scotland’s interests can only ever be served, even partially and inadequately, if they happen to coincide with the interests of England-as-Britain. The divergence between the two nations makes such coincidental convergence of interests as close to impossible as makes no difference. Which makes the Union unworkable – at least so long as some semblance of democracy prevails.
But the fact remains that the combined force of an SNP administration in Scotland and a large SNP group of SNP MPs can do absolutely nothing to halt Brexit. Or to prevent Brexit being imposed on a clearly unwilling Scotland.
All of which is rather unfortunate given that securing a Section 30 order and stopping Brexit were two of the four promises that formed the basis of the SNP’s election campaign. The others being, “locking Boris out of Number 10” – now undeniably as daft an undertaking as it always was; and “putting Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands” – which brings us to the question that I have long been asking. The question that will surely now be asked by increasing numbers of people and with increasing impatience.
How does the SNP plan on honouring its promises to the people of Scotland?
In a letter published in The National on the eve of polling day, Selma Rahman put it rather well when she wrote that, after the election,
… most of all, I will need even just an inkling as to how pro-indy parties, led by the SNP, see the next months panning out: the outline of a strategy.
Selma is far from being alone in this. People are not stupid. For the most part, they are perfectly capable of figuring out that those election promises were empty rhetoric. They voted SNP despite those promises at least as much as because of them. They voted SNP because they are well aware that the consequences of doing otherwise are quite unthinkable. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Nicola Sturgeon is trusted in a way that is quite extraordinary for any politician. Trusted in a way which, at the extreme, shades into blind faith. But even those of us whose confidence in her personal commitment and political skill is firmly rooted in reason, there is a large element of giving her the benefit of the doubt; if only because there isn’t a lot of choice in the matter.
As dubious as we may be about Sturgeon’s ability to deliver on those promises, the alternative is to abandon hope altogether of Scotland’s independence ever being restored. Few of us are ready to give up on that hope. As Alex Salmond said, the dream shall never die.
The dream is not enough. Making that dream come true requires a plan of action. And we need to be assured that Nicola Sturgeon has such a plan. Don’t fob us off with trite platitudes and empty assurances. Give us more than glittering generalities and glib slogans. And don’t dare tell us we must have faith! We are a constituency of adults not a congregation of adherents! There can be no secret plan. There are no options that aren’t knowable by the opposition. All that stuff about not showing her hand is just the sort of infantile drivel that is making folk angry. It is too obviously what somebody would say if they didn’t have a plan to make it acceptable as an excuse for not answering questions about that plan.
Selma Rahman ended her letter with a warning.
Westminster better listen, cos you truly haven’t heard us roar, not yet.
She might well have directed that warning to Nicola Sturgeon. The people of Scotland have given her yet another mandate. Now, she must deliver. And it is for her to convince us that she has a plan to deliver. She has not heard us roar yet. But the election of Neale Hanvey in Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath may be regarded as Scotland clearing its throat ready to let rip. There is a message there for the SNP leadership if they care to listen. It is a message about loyalty. The message is that, should it ever come to a choice between Scotland’s party and Scotland’s cause, not even Nicola Sturgeon will be able to save the SNP.
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33 thoughts on “Over to you, Nicola!”
Indeed. A fine analysis as always.
The rehabilitation of Neale Hanvey has happened by media. Already he is one of the 48. Almost as if the establishment acknowledges that it was always a stupid ruse to discredit a good man. His reinstatement should now be a matter of priority. His election should actually come as a warning to the party, for if he can be elected without party support, then others can too.
But aside from these games of thrones by which we are persuaded that we live in a democracy, the political process has always involved much more than party politics. Maybe the SNP was once the political wing of the broader independence movement, perhaps it still can be. But something is different now, like the lady you spoke to, many many others are expressing sentiments they would never have expected of themselves, realising at last that this is already a separate country.
These are interesting times indeed.
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Hi Mr Bell, I hope you don’t mind my coming in again? I’d like to say that independence is not inevitable if it is not made to happen. Inevitability comes with a certain set of conditions, and one of those is that the momentum built up must be put to use, not allowed dissipate until 2021. That will be far too late. I am seriously angry with the way that silly acts of self-harm seem to be the order of the day in some SNP circles, as in the Hanvey case, but also in other ways that are self-destructive. The simple and plain fact now is that we will never win anything if we continue to play by Westminster’s rules, and we will never win unless we are prepared to face up to the fact that there are those in Scotland who would do anything – literally anything – to keep us in the Union. I think we need to think long and hard about our pandering to and cosseting of these hostile elements because it only gives them the feeling that they can dictate our future with impunity. I see today that Craig Murray gets it about Slovenia and the Serbs during the most recent Balkan War. I know you said you felt uncomfortable about this, but it is a reality we need to think about. The Serbs used the excuse that they were defending their own ethnic minority in Slovenia and the other former Yugoslav republics, and that gave them the excuse to invade. This situation is precisely what I have been warning against since 2014. For Slovenia, think Scotland; for Serbia, think England. This is my most profound reason for wanting to take the Treaty to the ICJ for resiling and for not wanting another indyref that could tear Scotland apart, especially if we lose again. Given the chance, people of all origins will settle down and integrate and become a nation, but some, if they are told repeatedly that they are special and that the big bully next door will look after them and their rights at the expense of the rights of the people who were actually born in the other part, can become hostile and aggressive. On Debate Night recently, an English-accented chap told the audience that the SNP government had failed at all its enterprises and that only when they were fixed would “we” think about another independence referendum. As if he had every right to veto a referendum. That chilled my blood because he wasn’t trying to be funny or awkward. He was perfectly serious in his arrogance, lack of respect for the Scots and aggressive attitude. A stunned silence greeted his outburst. This is my greatest fear, not least because my own family straddles the border.
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Not so long ago I had a chat with a man who had direct experience of these things, during which I asked how far the powers that be are prepared to go. His answer was chilling. Not so much for the words themselves, but for how he delivered them. Their perfidy is deeper than the pits of hell. They hate Scotland except as anything more than hunting grounds.
So I agree with your comparison. That is how bad it could get. The duty of those of us who are able to see this is to prevent it by all means necessary. Challenging the Act of Union in international courts is certainly one of many reasonable strategies. Much better than expecting to win by the rules of the current game. Or believing in the inevitability of independence. We have to make it happen.
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How might Scotland access these international courts?
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I am assuming Ms Campbell has researched this. If it is possible there would seem to me to be no reason to rule it out. In general I believe we should confront the British State by as many methods as there are. Keep the bastards busy.
I get some of your concerns. And I am left wondering…. perhaps wrongly, but still I wonder, if English voters living in Fife, or Moray, may have voted for tory or Lib, against SNP, for the very reasons you outline at the end of your post. (The fact EU nationals were not allowed to Vote, being another factor.)
However, I just can’t see UK trying to send an army in, as many in that army are from Scotland, and would never tolerate such a move. Just as Spain hasn’t sent an army into Catalonia… but they did send extra Police from outwith. But again, that would be unlikely to happen in Scotland.
Westminster has its media machine, and would try other methods. Threats to the Scottish Parliament’s powers, being another thing they might be tempted tot try from London.
As for the Section 30, it really isn’t good enough to hear SNP MPs still rave on about “Legal” ways, etc.
SNP should have Parliament in Edinburgh vote to annul the Treaty of Union, alongside the majority of Scottish MPs…. who ought to, and should refuse to take up seats in House of Commons. Go down, take their oaths, etc, Be there a week or so, then walk out, and stay out!
That move alone, if most Scottish MPs walked out of there, would create a Constitutional crisis which no English Government could adequately respond to. That is something they would not be expecting. It would throw Downing Street into total confusion, and consternation.
In fact, that is what those 56 MPs should have done in June 2016.
We could and probably would be Independent today, had they did just that back then.
Another thought to ponder over, is what if both Scottish and (a majority of) Northern Irish politicians were to form some kind of pact along those lines? That would certainly help destroy the Union. Or does SNP simply go meekly along with London rules, and watch as Northern Ireland goes first?
So long as they continue to pander to Westminster rules, SNP is not going to go anywhere regards getting Independence anytime soon, or stopping Brexit for Scotland.
It is way past time they started being less meek, and more bold if they want Scotland to stay in EU, and be Independent, in order to do so.
They must be bold and brave and far more radical than at present. Maybe Boris Johnson will force them to be, in the end.
According to Kirstene Hair she needed the help of the Police to walk the streets of Angus.nonsense. Her great success was saving RM Condor, she says. I wonder if Angus will miss her or Condor? Anyway, no doubt she’ll go back to work at DC Thomson or retire to the family estates. Maybe her cousin John Lamont MP can get her on his team.
Anyway, on a different note I suspect Nicola will continue to dither until an inspirational leader takes over. Having read the good Friday agreement I think the immediate crisis for Boris is that he is now obliged to call a border poll. The suspect the US Irish lobby wont give him his trade deal until he does so.
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SNP Elected members
You are now Freedom fighters
Do not take the comfort seats at Westminster
Do not take any Oath of Allegiance
Do not make any affirmation
After all, QE(2)made her Coronation Oaths on a fake Stone. The foundations of this dynasty and in particular all that leech from it are well exposed. No initiative or responsibility has been shown to acknowledge or address the injustices of her dominion.
Time to call time.
Do not pass Go
Do not collect £200
The Army personnel and RAF personal in Moray are largely English, Mr Keane, but I have little doubt that they would try everything else first. Our mutual history, apart from the 312 years of the Union is very similar to that of the Balkans. I am not saying they would do this; I am saying it is a possibility we should bear in mind.
The miner’s strike during the 1989s. Squaddies dressed as cops battling with miners at Bilston Glen. Maybe they will not explicitly send in the army, but they have other resources.
This is very much my thinking too. Is the UK a unitary state? How do we define a unitary state? It strikes me that it is such an odd amalgam that it does not fit any definition of a unitary state. Scotland remained and was not extinguished by the Treaty. All institutions bar the parliament and the Privy Council remained and were not replaced by UK or English institutions. The Scottish parliament was incorporated into the Westminster parliament but the Westminster parliament ceased to be called the English parliament and was henceforth referred to as the parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. The fact that there are from time to time faint calls in England for an English parliament bears witness to the fact that the English parliament was also ‘extinguished’ by the union of 1707 and the Westminster parliament is the UK parliament not the English parliament. If Scotland was extinguished in 1707 then so too was England. That proposition is nonsense.
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Time for a few words of dissent. I think that it is very worth while now, particularly in the light of the UK GE results to have the argument with the British State over the Section 30 order. The issue is well framed now as Scotland’s Right to Choose and has been endorsed by the electorate. So as suggested in The National today, it should be a Section 30 order for permanent devolution of the right to hold a referendum.
It can’t be permanent. Think about it.
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Being permanent takes away the wrong sort of pressure. It concedes that the right to choose belongs to Scotland alone. It means that you will stop bleating about why do we have to ask permission. It means that when people choose, they choose on the merits of the case. It means that they are not voting for Indy under the pressure that there may never be another referendum. It means that the double glazing salesman pressure tactic of ‘a special price for tonight only’ is not in play. People are resistant to such pressure and rightly so.
It can’t be permanent. I see you didn’t follow my advice to think about it. No devolved power can be permanent. By definition, it cannot be permanent. Because it is devolved. Have you never heard the phrase “power devolved is power retained”? It’s true.
A better argument for non permanence is that we get Independence, of course.
If YES trust NS…you get what you are given.
If YES really want it…it’s not over to Nicola – It is time for YES to force the issue and make the space where NS must act. The demo in Glasgow on the election night has shown the way.
Hi Mr Bell,
How might we access these international courts? The same way that everyone else does. You put your case to them. See Andrew Tickell in ‘The Sunday National’, and the replies.
To put your case before a court that court must first have jurisdiction in the matter to be considered and then must agree to hear the case. To take your proposal seriously, we have to know that a procedure exists whereby it might be implemented. It certainly isn’t a matter of just doing it.
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I don’t believe that is what I said, Mr Bell. Of course it has jurisdiction. All international agreements are governed by international law. The Treaty was an international agreement. And, yes, they have to agree to hear the case. Why would they not? They have done so for many other former colonies, independent states. We are not supplicants at the UK table. We are partners in a Union, a Union (and UK) furthermore which owes its very existence to an international Treaty signed by both Scotland and England multilaterally, not unilaterally by England’s take-over of all our institutions and nationhood. The Treaty Articles alone are evidence of partnership and not subsumption. Devolution is secondary to the Treaty. Our most basic rights as a nation lie in the Treaty, not in devolution, which is always within the gift of the state, a state run, moreover, by one part of the UK for its own advantage and to the ultimate detriment of the other three parts. If Brexit has not shown us that, I do not know what would. I would also bring an extra layer to the table on the breach of our human rights and the breach of our fundamental right to self-determination via the UN Charter. Yes, we will have to face up to the fact that three-quarters of rUK residents voted NO last time to show that it is virtually impossible for us, all things being equal, to be able to bring forward a YES vote where the indigenous Scottish NO voters ally themselves with those who are not indigenous (UN use of the term) in order to thwart a fundamental human right and a right enshrined in the UN’s own Charter. I admit that I am not au fait with the details of lodging a case with the UN, as this is normally done by governments or administrations of territories in the name of their peoples, but I will endeavour to find out. Let’s not be pedantic. Let’s give thought to doing it first. It is absolutely essential now, as we tiptoe towards the endgame, that we keep everything out ion the open, with the international community cognizant of our moves. What we must avoid is trying to embroil the law courts in political matters, but this can be avoided by keeping the issues out of the domestic legal circles, where I do not believe we can win, anyway.
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I still have no idea how Scotland’s case might get to be considered by the International Court of Justice. Having briefly studied the ICJ’s jurisdiction it seems that Scotland would first requite to declare UDI and then hope that the UK Government refuses to recognise our independence. We would then require someone to intercede on our behalf at the UN and hope that the ICJ agreed to issue an Advisory Opinion which, while helpful, would not be binding on the British state.
So we have a dubious process leading to an inconclusive outcome. And, if the case of Kosovo is any guide, this process will take at least five years. We don’t have the luxury of time.
If these arguments are correct, then it would seem to be imperative to gather a together a team of people to work out how to go about making a case. It is as blindingly obvious as anything can be that Scotland is not an equal partner in a relation of equals. At one level, it seems almost silly to have to make such an argument to any court of law. But if it can be done, then I am behind any efforts to do so.
There is no fairy godmother coming to Scotland’s rescue. If we want to restore Scotland’s independence than we have to do it ourselves.
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An insightful and incisive analysis, Peter!
I’ve written many times in the past year that Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP mandarins may lose Scotland it’s independence by becoming a British party, as it did with its STOP BREXIT campaign to try to impose the will of Scots on the English. I have also posted many times Craig Murray’s claim and advice. Why is no one willing to heed him? https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/12/the-scottish-parliament-does-have-the-right-to-withdraw-from-the-act-of-union/?fbclid=IwAR1qusDGh12Jqivd6-GcnVSaOF3iy9loIUepK5da2W5Fl5hHZ4k82pwyJdI
Peter, the IJC can be asked for advisory opinions by the General Assembly of the UN, for instance, in the recent case of the Chagos islanders. 180 states at the General Assembly backed the move to refer this to the IJC. The IJC gave an opinion in favour of the Chagos islanders but Britain chose to ignore it in the end. But here’s the point: the exiled Chagos islanders were in no position to declare UDI (being no longer resident). But had they done so, 180 states would probably have recognised them. Craig Murray makes the point frequently that becoming a new state in international law simply involves other countries being willing to recognise you, but not necessarily the state from which you wish to resile; it’s the others with whom you will conduct relations in future that you need to convince. Before Norway seceded from Sweden, various high profile Norwegians, most of them in business, sounded out and courted other states including Britain to see if they would recognise them. Nicola has been having various high profile talks with European leaders and I’m fairly certain the subject of what those states’ views would be of an independent Scotland have been informally sounded out.
I am aware of all this. What is your point?
I don’t think you have to declare UDI before the IJC can issue an advisory opinion. The Chagos islanders case was referred to the IJC by the General Assembly of the UN without them having declared UDI (I believe). 180 states backed this. I agree it would be foolhardy indeed to declare UDI before ascertaining informally through back channels if there is likely to be support and recognition of Scotland as an independent state and acknowledgement of our right to resile unilaterally from an international treaty signed with England 312 years ago. I’m assuming Sturgeon has been quietly doing this under the radar.
The UK is not as highly respected around the world as it once was which may play in our favour. Brexit has antagonised many of our European ‘friends’. As Craig Murray has highlighted, it is more important to gain recognition from the others you would be having dealings with in future than the state from which you wish to resile. In our case that would mainly be European states.
I was thinking just now that there is the EU and there are European states. The EU may feel restrained by its treaty obligations from interfering in the internal affairs of a signatory (witness Greece, Malta, Spain) but the same may not apply to European states as such which may have their own views separate from the EU’s. They are after all still sovereign.
Shortly the UK will no longer be a signatory. Yet during the transitional period the EU would presumably not want to unduly antagonise the UK government as presumably it would want to get the best deal possible from Britain for the EU.
Despite this caveat, I scent the possibility for leverage here for Scotland if skilful means are used, but am not clear exactly what or how. Perhaps in connection with Northern Ireland and the customs border being in the Irish sea? As this would affect Scotland, perhaps disproportionally, more than England. Also the fisheries.
Peter you asked my what my point was. I had several points. Firstly that it is possible to pursue justice via the IJC despite not being a state through the advisory opinion route, of which you are aware. Secondly that the Chagos islanders drew support from 180 states. This is very hopeful. It does suggest that people who are not a state can draw support from others who are states, so why not us? In their case the judgement in their favour was not much use to them as they did not occupy the territory they were claiming so could not institute UDI. But this would not apply to us as we live here, in the territory we claim sovereignty over. My third point was to agree with you that it would be foolish to declare UDI without having probed if our claim might be supported by other states.
In sum, that this route is worthy of pursuit, but for obvious reasons it has to be under the radar and for all we know, maybe it already is being probed.
You seem to be disputing and/or agreeing with things I’ve never said. For example, I have never claimed that it is not possible for Scotland to have a case heard by the ICJ acting in its advisory capacity. Only that it isn’t just a matter of going there and taking a number. And while I don’t like the term UDI I have to accept that it is the term others will insist on using for the process which I envisage.
As far as the ICJ is concerned, we don’t take any case there. We wait for the UK Government to take the case there. We do what we must, ensuring that the fundamental principles of democracy are adhered to, and defy the British political elite to try and stop us.
Sorry, not clear. What do you mean by taking a number?
Why would the UK government take the case there? What case are we talking about?
I think we are talking about different things? I am referring to the Scottish Government obtaining an advisory opinion from the ICJ on whether it can unilaterally resile from the Treaty of Union.
Of course it would be madness to actually do this unless we knew we had a good majority of Scots in favour. And had some idea of the likely recognition abroad. But if a Section 30 was refused for another referendum and we were shafted by the UK in trade talks after January 31st that might be something to explore.
I mean it’s not as simple as just going along to the ICJ’s offices and waiting in a queue until it’s your turn. You talk glibly of “the Scottish Government obtaining an advisory opinion from the ICJ”. But you omit to explain the procedure involved. Besides, any lawyer will tell you that you shouldn’t ask a question in court unless you know what the answer is going to be. Much the same applies to asking for an opinion. It would be madness to ask the ICJ for an opinion on anything relating to the restoration of Scotland’s independence unless you are absolutely certain that you’re going to like what the court says.
Evidently, you take as your starting point that Scotland’s right of self-determination is somehow in doubt. That it requires confirmation from some legal authority. I start from the view that the right of self-determination is universal and inalienable. That is to say, it is ours unless and until somebody ‘proves’ that it isn’t. To put it in the simplest terms possible, we (the Scottish Parliament) should declare independence and defy the UK government to challenge our right to do so in court. Put the burden of proof on them instead of, as you would have us do, assuming that burden ourselves – unnecessarily and for absolutely no good reason.
It goes without saying – or, at least, it would if people weren’t such fucking idiots – that the final decision on the matter of Scotland’s constitutional status lies with the people of Scotland. The mistake is to suppose that decision must come first – before the Scottish Government and Parliament do anything.
We’ve been conditioned to suppose that there is only one route to a referendum and only one route to independence. In both cases, that route is the one defined by the British state. We need to change that mindset. We need to think outside the little British box. We need to stop asking and start telling. We need to get away from petitioning for power to be given and start taking that power.
And we need to stop looking to external agencies to do the job for us. We do it ourselves.
Before we can free Scotland from the Union we must free the colonised minds that are to be found even in the Yes movement.
In international law there is no right of secession from a unitary state. The right of self-determination refers to colonial situations. That is why I would like to explore the matter in terms of law.
‘United Nations 1514 (XV). Declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples’ is applicable because it refers to rights that are Scotland’s as much as any colony. Hence the reference in paragraph 5 to “all other territories which have not yet attained independence”.
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