Amidst the eight hundred or so articles I’ve written since I started blogging in February 2012 you will find several which take as their subject warnings about what the future may hold if events play out in particular ways. Warnings, for example, published in the period before the 2014 referendum warning about the consequences of voting No. Or, subsequent to the first referendum, warnings about the implications of too long delaying a new referendum. Here are a few examples, with passages emphasised.
This is from 5 April 2018.
I had hoped to find in his [Pete Wishart] latest writing on the subject answers to such questions as what criteria are to be used in assessing the “optimum time” and how, having delayed the vote, he proposed to deal with the British government’s moves to make a new referendum impossible and/or unwinnable. I’m none the wiser on any of these points.Referendum 2018
From 7 April 2018.
We can be sure, also, that while emasculating the Scottish Parliament the British government will also introduce measures for the purpose of making an independence referendum ‘unlawful’ and/or unwinnable. If the democratic route to independence is likely to be used, it must be closed off. If the people of Scotland might presume to exercise their democratic right of self-determination, that right must be denied.Threat and response
From 23 April 208.
The difference – and pretty much the only difference – between the anti-democratic British Nationalists and Pete Wishart is that, while he still supposes there might be a new referendum at some undefined time in the future, Ruth Davidson, Richard Leonard and Willie Rennie) are determined that the referendum be postponed until such time as the British government, to which they give total allegiance, has implemented measures to ensure that a new referendum is impossible and/or unwinnable.Sage advices
From 19 July 2018.
Scour that timeline as you may, you will find no mention of the steps the British government will be taking in order to make a new independence referendum impossible or unwinnable or both. Which is odd given that Gordon [MacIntyre-Kemp] otherwise seems to suppose the British government to be the only effective actor in all of politics. His timeline is almost entirely a tale of what the British elite does, and how the Scottish Government might react.It’s what we make it
Finally, from 21 July 2018.
In all this talk of postponing the new referendum, whether it be until 2019 or 2021 or 2022, I see no explanation of how those commending delay propose to deal with the measures that the UK Government will surely implement in order to make a referendum impossible or unwinnable or both. It’s as if they think the British state is a benign entity which is just going to sit back and wait until we get our act together. It’s as if they are dumbly unaware that locking Scotland into a unilaterally redefined political union is one of the principal imperatives driving British policy.I despair!
Now look at the image below showing the relevant detail of a Bill (Referendums Criteria Bill 2020) currently being considered in the British parliament.
As I express concerns about Nicola Sturgeon’s commitment to the Section 30 process and the SNP’s whole approach to the constitutional issue one of the most common responses I get is to tell me to shut up because ‘the powers that be’ know better than I do.
I have been told that, for various procedural reasons, this Bill might make no further progress in the British parliament. To focus on this, however, is to miss the point. The point being that the Bill existed in the first place. It serves to illustrate the ways in which the British establishment will seek to close down all democratic routes to the restoration of Scotland’s independence. Something which could easily be foreseen.
It has been further stated proposal of the Referendums Criteria Bill 2020 was prompted by the 2016 EU referendum and the ensuing chaos. So what? Does this mean it wouldn’t have applied to Scotland? No! Does it mean it wouldn’t have serious implications for the independence campaign? No!
Does it mean there is no possibility of further efforts to make a new referendum impossible and/or unwinnable? No!
Is the Scottish Government ready to deal with those efforts? You’d like to think so. But….
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11 thoughts on “Leave it to the experts”
This image is flying about social media. My immediate thought was that by these criteria Brexit would not now be happening. From which I concluded that its passage into an Act would be far from plain sailing. I am relieved to learn that it is not likely in this form to proceed. It is as you say nevertheless a clear warning. I have been banging on for years to anybody who listens about the so called UK being equivalent to the British Empire and that Scotland leaving is equivalent to the final end of Empire, which the establishment is not going to allow. The British state is not the benign entity wished for in democratic dreams. Anybody who believes otherwise is simply delusional. And yet, many prominent party people expect us all to fall in line with their particular delusions about the authenticity and necessity of the section 30 process. The manchild can keep ignoring the request for as long as he likes while allowing his underlings to release scary documents like the above, so we will be ground down into acceptance of the same old same old. I despair.
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The new ACT (not Treaty, note, a Treaty being an international agreement and an Act being a domestic legislative enabling procedure, allowing the British parliament to vote it down, to change it, etc.) of Union, as introduced in the Lords, but which has fallen, I believe because Parliament was prorogued, was also intended to scupper any attempt by the Scots to use the Treaty as a means of escaping the Union. The utter cynical manipulation is breath-taking. Many Unionists and assorted British and English Nationalists argue that the Acts of Union superseded the Treaties. That is, of course, rubbish, legally, which is why the Treaty is still dangerous to British/English pretensions and delusions of grandeur. Only a short while ago, a certain Pete Bell, Unionist troll, made all kinds of nonsensical legal statements about the Union and was published in The National. I asked for a right of reply to knock down all the irrelevant and untrue propaganda which, I am sure, at least some independence supporters would have believed, but was not given one. I think I have become persona non grata, which I couldn’t care less about. I do care, though, that it is because I am female, as I have encountered misogynist backlash before. If they can’t take women with them, the game is up. I do care, also, that The National is publishing untrue Unionist propaganda. I can still hardly believe it, and I think there is an independence establishment that does not want the truth to reach the people who matter. It is a deception that is heart-breaking, and my heart is broken. I have had enough. Thank you for your generosity and forbearance, Mr Bell, and please keep up the excellent work you do. I shall continue to read your blog when I can, and will, of course support our independence till my dying day, but I really am signing off this time.
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I recently wrote to The National in a manner more critical of the paper itself than my previous contributions. It was not published. My specific complaint, with the column written by Mr A Wilson was thus not aired. Instead there was only one missive agreeing that we should indeed simply toe the party line, not rock the boat and ignore hardline unionists. Under the heading Changing the Tune, this is what I wrote:
“Since the result of the British General Elections, many issues have been raised and proposals aired. Much discussion is underway in many places and upon many topics. There are many active Facebook pages that do not only involve idiot baiting and hurling abuse, and there are many excellent bloggers whose comments threads contain a great deal of deep analysis and strategic thinking.
“In the pages of The National however, the most interesting discussions take place without doubt on the letters pages. There are many excellent columnists and features writers, we all have our favourites no doubt, but I sometimes get the feeling that there is a developing party line readers are being asked to toe.
“The most recent example, and hitherto possibly the most crass, being Andrew Wilson’s exhortation to … er … toe the party line, not rock the boat, not waste time arguing with unionists and to persuade the persuadable with the shining beacon of truth (Three big rules to win and win big: discipline, truth, understanding). The very notion that supporters of independence would do anything other than what the leadership of the SNP expects is utterly beyond Mr Wilson, a position which is infantilising, self destructive and flies in the face of historical reality.
“If Mr Wilson’s pseudo-ethics is to be accepted on the pages of The National, might I propose that certain balance be struck, in a similar vein to that implied by the space given to Mr M Fry every week. Simply give over one column per week to a prominent blogger or commentator, to be rotated among interested and interesting parties according to some as yet to be negotiated process. After all, did The Wee Ginger Dug not begin as a blog?
“In these changing times it would seem to me imperative that different voices be given space to express themselves. I could name several whose opinions would contribute positively to these pages; Peter A Bell, The Grousebeater and Calton Jock immediately come to mind. I would also be happy to put in an oar from time to time, as no doubt would many others.
“Certainly, it would be a great pity if all a loyal reader had to look forward to of a morning were the cartoons, the puzzles and the letters pages.
I shall continue to remind them, although I suspect I too may now be persona non grata. Despite respecting your wish to sign off, I urge you to contribute still when you can. I always enjoy your writing. For which thanks.
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Thank you, Mr Spence, but I watched my dad, in his last years, despair of ever getting independence. I don’t want to go the same way, and I have other things to do, too. I simply cannot give my allegiance any longer to a movement that has seriously lost its way by trying to be all things to all men.
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See Nicola’s response below. In particular please read the last paragraph.
There is no secret plan. She is hoping the empire will crumble and consent. This is no use at all.
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Oh well that didn’t work, lol.
It works if you paste the link
Or indeed if you click mine
I’m wondering today if our escape from the UK if we ever achieve it, will more resemble the American colonists in 1776 than Ireland in 1919. Hopefully without the armed resistance, but like the American colonists, by affront to basic constitutional and democratic principles which the people become aware of and rise up against. The American colonists’ rebellion was a product of several things; their previous semi-independence suddenly being interfered with, but also an Enlightenment tradition of philosophical study of the basis of what constitutes legitimacy and why you should obey and submit to a government.
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I rather like the Referendums (Criteria) Bill 2020. It is the kind of thing which would switch me from following due process with a Section 30 to just holding a referendum and dissolving the union. Something Peter has failed to do.