The Scotland Act wouldn’t exist and devolution wouldn’t have happened if it put the Union in jeopardy. There is and can be, no route to independence that remains within the confines of laws, rules and procedures which are designed for the preservation of the Union. Neither is there any path to independence which does not pass through a point at which there is direct and inevitably acrimonious confrontation with the British establishment.
I have been saying this for five years. And I cannot possibly be the only person who has woken up to the harsh reality of Scotland’s predicament. I have no special insights and I find it glaringly obvious that where there is a political imperative every option will be explored to satisfy that imperative. The British state has always considered it imperative to keep Scotland under London control. That’s what the Union is all about. It is about preventing us from being a nation. It’s about stopping us being any more different than is expedient politically and economically. It is about the status of Britain and the British ruling elites’ conceit of themselves.
Given all that, it can hardly come as a surprise that the same ruling elites have contrived over the last 300 years to devise ways of locking Scotland into what we like to insist is still a voluntary political union.
If, as is now beyond question, there is no guaranteed democratic route to the restoration of Scotland’s independence accessible at will and independently of any other authority by the democratically elected representatives of Scotland’s people then this necessarily implies either that the Union was, in fact, annexation of Scotland by England or that Scotland has since been annexed by stealth.
Scotland has been annexed by England-as-Britain. Until the independence movement and the SNP acknowledge this reality, we are going nowhere. We’ve been fighting the wrong battle. We’ve been fighting for independence when we should have been fighting against annexation. We should have been fighting against the Union.
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8 thoughts on “Scotland’s predicament – a dose of reality!”
“… either that the Union was, in fact, annexation of Scotland by England or that Scotland has since been annexed by stealth.” Nicola and the SNP mandarins must surely see this! If they really do want an independent Scotland they must engage, as you say be “direct and inevitably acrimonious confrontation with the British establishment.” I find myself doubting that they want an independent Scotland. They seem to be colluding with the English Government of the UK to lock us into the Union by attributing to that Government sovereignty over Scotland that’s incompatible with the sovereignty of the People of Scotland in Scotland. They do it by submitting independence to Domestic Law, which is irrelevant. They need to pursue International Law. If they don;t act soon it will be to late.
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The avoidance of testing this in court – it’s all very well believing it, but I think we need it ruled on instead of just speculation – is very telling. How can you have a strategy to gain independence when no one actually knows what the rules are? I very much support the Forward as One crowdfunder to start the case to test some fundamental constitutional questions – do we have any recourse to choose who we are ruled by, and if not, is this directly in contravention to Scotland’s constitution? And could the latter go before the courts?
That is, is the Scotland Act unlawful within the Scottish Constitutional framework?
Aiden O’Neill’s legal arguments are very enlightening, particularly when he quotes some of the debate around the Scotland Act and that Sewell’s attitude was ‘they will never be able to have a referendum’ – these are not people that have our best interests at heart.
I had hoped political pressure – we have a thousand and one mandates, and the key promise ‘Scotland will not be taken out of the EU against its will’ – would get things moving, because Brexit is happening – but what we actually have is full on stagnancy, and no move to try the courts, or explore other avenues of approach. It’s pathetic.
You are right the SNP are going nowhere. With the current leadership all we can hope for is more stagnancy – to tell the truth, I expected a leadership change before now, or at least for the SNP to be talking about it: it’s remarkable that, politically, they’ve just dragged on in the same manner for the last few years, and are still not talking of change. I am not arguing against the strategy of waiting until we’ve actually been taken out of the EU (it has increased the numbers pro-Indy), but they appear to have done nothing in the meantime. The idea that they have a secret strategy for moving forward is very very similar to Theresa May’s negotiating technique with the EU – she didn’t have anything, and I would suggest the SNP have nothing too. (Though would be pleased to be proved wrong)
So, the SNP are a dead duck. It’s time for the long hard road – try and force their hand through the courts; start promoting and signing the Covenant thing (I suggest this will likely take a long time, but should get there); did Lesley Riddoch not suggest she might start her own Indy party? I don’t understand the arguments against more Indy parties, ‘split the vote’ is a not a sign of weakness, it’s an awareness that not everyone that supports Indy has the same ideology, it’s healthier to have more variety. I will not be supporting the SNP any longer if they do not deliver a referendum in 2020, or at least have a very major reshuffle in their hierarchy. (And neither look likely)
I see Joanna Cherry was trying to promote some new Yes Movement organisation, and said that it isn’t kicking the can down the road. Just what we need, another hierarchal organisation to tell us from high what we ought to be thinking, that’s a real winner. What we have – lots of diverse Yes groups – is perfect – and the app that should allow them to coordinate is good – then we get more ideas, more diversity of ideas, and a good idea of peer approval from other groups. More smaller Yes groups would be best, coordinating when they agree on a strategy – no one should be forced into obeying commands from on high, and we should accept that everyone has different motivations, beliefs and needs. The centralised power model does not suit the Scottish psyche.
Lots more marches for independence would be good too.
So: drag everyone and anyone through the courts until we get hard and fast answers; keep building more and more small Yes groups; App to help coordinate and share ideas of Yes groups; sign the covenant when it is up and running, and promote it; keep going with independence marches, increasing size and frequency if we can; support whoever you like that could start a pro-Indy party; and have more ideas,,,
Apologies Peter, that just sort of came out and a bit ranty, but I feel much better for sharing!
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Well I was thinking, re Joanna Cherry’s initiative, that Sturgeon isn’t only the leader of the SNP, she is also the FM of Scotland, 55% of whom voted to remain in the UK last time they were asked. A dual role. I wonder if she feels constrained by that role as she has to represent the 55% as well as the 45%. This would not be a problem of course if we were free. A government in power can do as it wishes. But as long as we are in the UK we are tethered by devolution and as FM is it possible for her to head the charge? I think we need another figure who would not be open to the charge of abuse of office like Puigedemont in Catalonia if she attempted to use her office to lead an independence movement.
You are correct in some of this MBC, as the party of government the SNP in Holyrood can’t be seen to only be driving for independence. But, not all the SNP are in government, and why couldn’t the party (rather than the government) ask for clarity on what the actual position is of the devolved parliament in the courts? I would even suggest it is of general importance and interest and could be backed by the scotgov.
You are very wrong in your analogy with Catalonia – there is no situation or law in the UK that would put a politician in jail for supporting independence. Huh, there’s very few ways for us to get politicians in jail at all even for criminal behaviour.
But, why does there need to be a leader at all for independence – yes we need a political party to bring it about, but why do we need a large overarching independence organisation with someone in charge? That’s a political party, and we are told we need no other than the SNP. Also, the SNP have already tried to create one, and it’s fizzled out. The only reason there is a call for a NEW Yes organisation would seem to be that someone wants control, and power of course. It’s all talk, a distraction. There are Yes groups already in place and active – funding and coordinating them, and providing support for more to be formed, is all that is needed. A new organisation is not going to be trusted, and is open to abuse.
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I must say I welcome the way the debate is forming , with all the prominent Independence bloggers going through a transition at the moment, (most notably The Rev has turned his laser like logic which dismantled so many news part headlines) and turned it on the SNP High command.
Then we have Craig Murray advocating UDI -till a referendum is held ,,,,,
And your good self the ever florid Peter Bell , talking of “annexations”
I was one of the few voices who wanted a full and proper post mortem analysis of the disastrous 2014 campaign .
There was no such, there was no analysis of “Why ” the campaign failed as the results of which would have been far too painful far too close to home.
The notion that a newspaper headline the “vow ” could have caused such damage as all YES arguments were breached ? And half a million folk did an about turn .
Is a tad simplistic, yet this is what the SNP will have you believe.
And now 7 years later we are seeing the fruits of that .
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You’re right that Sturgeon wouldn’t face jail for using her position as FM and appropriating any financial resources of the Scottish Government to lead an independence movement to break away from the UK. There is no crime of rebellion or sedition in the UK. The UK does not have a written constitution either, unlike Spain, making the claim that it is a unitary state so that leaving would be unlawful and unconstitutional. This is a problem for the Catalans but it’s not a problem for us. The UK doesn’t actually know what it is. It’s all smoke and mirrors and ‘tradition’. But most of the 55% would regard it as an abuse of office if she did. There would be political fall out from that, certainly, and possibly legal challenges if the finances of it were looked at closely. The Scottish Government is constrained in many ways from how it uses its budget. It has a degree of wriggle room in how it administers the pot of money the Treasury gives it in the block grant, but that’s all. It is not actually free to spend that grant as it sees fit. I think this has a lot to do with her caution and why she can’t be more proactive in leading an independence movement.
As to your other point, entirely agree. The SNP as a party is distinct from the SNP as a government. The SNP as a party has 125,000 members all paying £2 a month. What on earth does it do with that money? Who gets to decide how it is used? Why isn’t some of it being used to test the premises you raise? Who controls it? Why does Forward as One need a crowdfunder to look at legal aspects? Why aren’t the SNP as a party looking at this?
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Well said Peter Bell. I too have suggested before that challenging the terms of ‘union’ would be an easier route to our destination. The terms on which we challenge would allow what’s at present hidden and unknown by most of the electorate, to be made clear to all. After that revelation, we could be pushing at an open door.
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