Know thine enemy!

It’s not deluded Unionists we need to be concerned about. Rather, it is those individuals in influential positions within the independence movement who imagine that Boris Johnson’s denial of Scotland’s right of self-determination is “utterly unsustainable”. Or that “the Tory position will not hold”.

For a start, it is not a “Tory position”. It is the position of the British state. It is the position of all the British parties, no matter how they dress it up in the hope of deceiving voters in Scotland. This is not a party political issue. Scotland’s predicament would be the same no matter who was occupying Downing Street.

For some time now I have been expressing concerns about the Scottish Government’s approach to the constitutional issue. In doing so, I have stated that Section 30 of the Scotland Act (1998) is not there to facilitate the granting of new powers to Holyrood. It is there to allow the British Prime Minister to alter the competencies of the Scottish Parliament in whatever way he chooses. In an attempt to refute this point, an apologist for the Union claimed that the British Prime Minister could not fiddle with the list of reserved powers without first getting the nod from the British parliament.

According to this Unionist, the assertion that the British Prime Minister could ‘revise’ the powers of the Scottish Parliament at will was false because the Tories won’t always have a majority at Westminster. But, as I then pointed out, the British parties WOULD always have a majority at Westminster. Approval for stripping powers from the Scottish Parliament will always be a mere formality in the parliament of England-as-Britain.

Alyn Smyth is guilty of the same erroneous thinking as those who go on Yes marches with banners and chants demanding “Tories out!”. Ours is not an anti-Tory campaign. It is an anti-Union campaign. To lose sight of this is to forget the whole point and purpose of the Yes movement. Of course, it would be great to ‘get rid of the Tories’. Just as it would be wonderful to get rid of Trident. But these are secondary aims. They are contingent on the restoration of Scotland’s independence. It is this that must be the focus of our campaign. And of the efforts of our elected representatives.

Every bit as misguided as the idea that the Tories are the problem rather than the Union – and probably more dangerous – is the notion that the British establishment’s position is “unsustainable”. It is deluded to suppose that this position “will not hold”. The reality is that the British political establishment can not only maintain its anti-democratic denial of Scotland’s right of self-determination, it can also implement whatever measures are deemed necessary to ensure that the people of Scotland are never allowed to chose the form of government that best suits our needs.

This is not to say we should just give up. We must not succumb to pessimism or be daunted by the armour which protects established power. But we must properly appreciate the nature of the forces defending the British state’s structures of power, privilege and patronage. Those defences are not going to crumble under a barrage of righteous outrage however rousing the rhetoric of SNP MPs.

Scotland’s cause cannot rely on the British establishment having a change of heart. If Scotland’s independence is to be restored then it must be restored DESPITE the fervent opposition of the British political elite. Not because we’ve shamed them or won them over. The British state has no shame. And no heart.

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17 thoughts on “Know thine enemy!

  1. I’ve asked questions at various times on what the basis is for Westminster sovereignty over seemingly all aspects of life in Scotland. Anent Lord President Cooper. But nobody seems to ever offer an explanation other than the assertion that ‘parliament is sovereign’. How come ? From where does it originate ? There is at least an argument here surely, other than just assertion & an assumption of no basis to question it. Its like they treat it as some sort of Holy-Writ.

    I’m beginning to wonder about some of our representatives & their understanding of Independence & sovereignty. Its treated as some sort of game they play during a career, then, time for a comfortable retirement. The movement’s goal still undelivered.
    The tories however always deliver for their electorate. It may not be to your taste or mine, but they drive their agenda on. Simple & Ruthless.

    I have not given up on all of our leadership just yet, I still have some hope, just a little, but February is THE key month I feel.
    Dilettantes won’t do.


    1. In a way, it is “Holy Writ”. Parliamentary sovereignty derives from the absolute authority of a divinely ordained monarch. Parliamentary sovereignty is, therefore, a tenet of faith rather than a constitutional principle.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Parliamentary Sovereignty derives from England, pre union in struggles between the Stuarts and Parliament. It has extended to the British State by default. In Scotland, it is the people who are sovereign over the monarch, whereas in England it is parliament sovereign over the monarch.

      The untested question is whether parliament [Westminster] is sovereign over the people or the people sovereign over parliament. The brexit issue tends to indicate that the British people are sovereign over parliament, although parliament is well capable of reversing that.

      But this does not illuminate whether the Scottish people in Scotland are sovereign in Scotland over Westminster. For clarity, on this point I am not making the point in legal terms but in practical terms.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s actually a very good point. The unwritten British constitution relies on tradition and tradition relies on practice. The Brexit referendum was advisory only. Parliament could have ignored it. But they chose not to. Most MPs were opposed to Brexit. But they chose to accept the vote. This sets a precedent of the people being sovereign over Parliament.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You would think so. But be sure the British establishment won’t see it that way. The principle of parliamentary sovereignty underpins the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state. For British Nationalists, maintaining the sovereignty of parliament is an imperative on a par with preserving the Union.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘Know Your Enemy’ I’m with you all the way on that Peter. I’ve been on several auob marches and when I hear the “Tories Tories Tories – Out Out Out!” I think ok.. well I suppose it would be better if Labour were in power but not much. The tories will stab you in the front, Labour will stab you in the back.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. All true. But just like the embarassingly wrong ‘Stop Brexit’ message, spitting out the word ‘Tory’ has become de riguer for activists because they are following the example set by our FM and her team. So, let’s hope they read this blog and change their ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting to note that not one establishment media outlet is reporting the matter further. Nicola asked, the manchild refused, end of story. As far as the Brits are concerned, it is all over. Scotland has been put back in the box. It was a once in a generation decision. Outrage and reason will make no difference whatsoever.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I do get the anti tory sentiment, and as they are the ones in power at present, then the anti tory feeling is greater, presently, and with their shocking policies, much anger is aimed directly at them.

    However, the point about Labour and Libs, is true.
    Lisa Nandy, and Jess Phillips, and their sidekick in Edinburgh, MP Murray, prove that point.
    Indeed, MP Jess Phillips, seems to be trying to outdo Boris Johnson, and Ruth Davidson on Scotland, despite admitting she knows not one thing about this country.
    It was in large part due to Labour and their deception in 2014, that Scotland didn’t vote for Independence.
    Even yet, we still have Labour in Scotland, telling us, being under London rule is what they want.
    Labour are as much a part of the problem as anyone else.
    As for this “unsustainable” stuff, if it is the SNP leadership aim, to wait, and wait, for a change of position on Independence from London and pro London groups here, they are wasting their time, and ours, too!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The continuing mantra espoused by the SNP ‘intelligentsia’ that the Westminster government position on Scottish Independence is unsustainable becomes less apposite, but furthermore hypocritical, when viewed in context of the distinct failure of desire to prosecute the case for Independence within Scotland.

      The latter I might suggest, is the wholly unsustainable position!


  6. Every time I see banners at the AUOB marches with “End Tory Rule”, “Tories out” “Tory Scum” etc I think to myself they’re just not getting it.

    It pisses me off

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Politicians -and career-politicians in particular – are not the brightest or most capable of thinkers. Some are well educated but their wealth and sense of entitlement is what drives them. This is the crux of all maladies in public service and government. There are notable exceptions, of course, but they are few and far between. The pool of real talent, ability, and the required sense of altruism in each political party is very shallow indeed.

    The problem is compounded because anyone with talent is put off joining or getting involved in the hierarchy of a political party largely run by petty fools. Those fools with little talent in the hierarchy avoid bringing real talent into the fold in order to mask their own inadequacies. The cycle thus continues in a downward spiral until you have characters like BoJo and Trump weilding power with a government largely made up of fools and self-interested charlatans.

    Welcome to the British (and American) political system. It needs to change but it has become such a monster that it is incapable of change. It needs revolution rather than revision but revolution does not come from apathy. And nothing generates apathy more than being fed a diet of soundbites and lies from a complicit media wedded to the same fools that govern.

    Marching is great. Public display of discontent will channel anger and threaten those in power. But it’s not enough. The time will come when we need to march through the doors of media offices like Pacific Quay and create a civil disobedience unlike anything seen in Scotland for several centuries. We need to expose the media for what it is; collaborators in propaganda against our own citizens; a cancer on society which sickens our populace on a daily basis. It needs some chemotherapy.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That is a fair analysis – and your conclusion that the system has become such a monster that it is incapable of change is more or less where the British State is. The rather shocking Referendums (Criteria) Bill is a fairly blatant attempt to gerrymander our Indyref – but it also has the effect of making change within the British State much harder, so that even desirable changes from a British perspective such as PR or Lords reform become virtually impossible.


  8. I am with you on this Peter for a change. Waiting for a change of heart because to hold this line is ‘unsustainable’ is delusional. I had hoped, and still do, that the SNP leadership produce something radical in the next two weeks but I will feel utterly distressed if they don’t and I do believe this is very widely shared among Independence supporters. Time for action!

    Liked by 2 people

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