Jim Sillars puts words in my mouth when he says that I am suggesting UDI. This is a term I choose not to use, in part because of its negative historical associations and also because it is profoundly silly.
What does the term ‘unilateral declaration of independence’ mean? Isn’t independence always declared? If it wasn’t declared, how would people know that it has happened? And aren’t all such declarations ‘unilateral’? Who else could declare independence on our behalf?
More to the point, whose agreement do we need? If restoring Scotland’s independence mustn’t be a unilateral act by the people of Scotland, our Government and our Parliament then this implies it must be at least a bilateral act. Why would we expect some other party or external agency to restore our independence for us?
Even further to the point, why would we suppose our independence cannot be restored other than with the consent and cooperation of a ‘foreign’ government which has declared itself implacably opposed to the restoration of Scotland’s independence?
The term UDI is used by the British state to imply that the act of restoring Scotland’s independence is somehow improper if it is done without their approval. It is easy to understand why the British political elite would wish to promulgate such a belief. It is impossible to understand why the people of Scotland would accept such curtailment of our right of self-determination.
Nothing I wrote in the letter to which Jim Sillars has responded implies that I favour UDI. I favour the restoration of Scotland’s independence. That is all. And I see absolutely no reason why a government and parliament furth of Scotland should have any role in the process of restoring Scotland’s independence. It is a decision for Scotland alone. Only Scotland should be involved in the process.
I do not accept that this process requires the imprimatur of a British Prime Minister in order to be legal and constitutional. I maintain, rather, that the process derives legal validity from the body of international laws and conventions guaranteeing the right of self-determination; and its constitutional legitimacy from the sovereignty of Scotland’s people.
I do not accept that the process of becoming independent must necessarily be undemocratic, and be perceived as such by the international community if it eschews the involvement of and disallows external interference by the government of England-as-Britain. I maintain, rather, that Scotland is perfectly capable of ensuring an impeccably democratic process absent any outside ‘assistance’.
The ‘self’ in self-determination is Scotland. Nobody else!
The process by which Scotland’s independence is restored must be founded on the informed consent of the people of Scotland. There must always be a plebiscite in order to determine that consent. The term UDI is commonly used to imply a process that doesn’t involve a referendum. I would never suggest such a thing.
But neither am I inclined to be a slave to the polls. We campaign to move the polls. Not because the polls have moved. Jim Sillars seems to belong to that faction of the independence movement which pleads for patience on the grounds that the polls have not moved sufficiently in our favour while insisting that we stick rigidly to the campaigning methods which have failed to move the polls sufficiently in our favour.
My own thinking on the matter is that it makes little sense to depend entirely on campaign tactics which have proven ineffective. My assessment of the situation is that the required support for independence already exists, it just needs to be motivated. What the polls tell us is, not that the support for independence isn’t there, but that people are not being inspired by a mix of doorstep chats with clipboard-wielding activists and platitudinous rhetoric from complacent politicians.
Something needs to happen! Something designed to provoke anger at the way the Union affects Scotland and propel people towards the obvious solution of restoring Scotland’s independence. Less craven compliance and more determined defiance!
If you find these articles interesting please consider a small donation to help support this site and my other activities on behalf of Scotland’s independence movement.