Why shouldn’t the British government “think they can treat Scotland however they like and get away with it”? They’ve been doing it with impunity for centuries. Some of us thought reconvening our Parliament and electing a proper Scottish party as our Government would change that. But here’s one of that party’s MSPs telling us that nothing has changed. The British political elite is still treating Scotland with the contempt we can only deserve if we continue to accept the Union which imposes subordinate status on our nation.
Much is being made of the notion that Nicola Sturgeon has made a commitment to having a mention of a new independence referendum in the SNP’s manifesto for the 2021 Holyrood election. It is a commitment to nothing. Without an alternative explanation as to the process by which this new referendum will be initiated and conducted then we must assume that Nicola Sturgeon stubbornly maintains her determination to adhere to the Section 30 process. A process that we know cannot possibly lead to the free and fair referendum that we require. A referendum entirely made and managed in Scotland. A referendum as free from malign interference by the British state as may be possible and as fair to the people of Scotland as any democratic exercise might be.
If we settle for the empty, meaningless, false ‘commitment’ currently being offered by the SNP then we deserve no better than the continuing and worsening abuse that we will receive at the hands of a British political elite emboldened by its Brexit ‘success’ and by our timidity in the face of a very British form of oppression.
And let none reject the claim that it is oppression. Wherever democracy is denied then there you find oppression however well it may be disguised. The Union was designed for the purpose of subjugating Scotland’s people and it continues to serve that purpose well. Because we allow it.
We must allow it no more. We must not accept the feeble, pusillanimous approach adopted by the present SNP leadership. We must demand more and better than a vague promise to beg the British Prime Minister’s gracious consent to us exercising the right of self-determination that is fundamental to democracy.
We must demand that the SNP adopt a Manifesto for Independence. We must demand the renunciation of the Section 30 process. We must demand a cast-iron commitment that an SNP administration shall, in the first half of its term in office and in the name of the sovereign people of Scotland, act to assert the competence of the Scottish Parliament in all matter relating to Scotland’s constitutional status and arrangements on the basis of the Scottish Parliament’s democratic legitimacy.
We must demand a further irreversible undertaking that an SNP administration shall, subsequent to having asserted the relevant competence of the Scottish Parliament, immediately request that the Scottish Parliament sanction a popular referendum on the question of Scotland’s continued participation in the Union.
Nothing less than a formal commitment to a Manifesto for Independence should suffice. For to settle for less is to accept ever less than what is settled for. It is to accept that Scotland will ever be less than it might be.
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