I don’t know whether Michael Gove “accepts” that “indyref2 is coming”. And I don’t care! I do care that many people in Scotland assume that a new referendum is about to be delivered. A belief earnestly encouraged by SNP politicians, The National and much (most?) of the Yes commentariat. It is a false belief. And I deeply deplore the deception.
Let me state this as clearly as possible. There is at present NO good reason to suppose that a new independence referendum is in the offing. As things stand, there is no immediate prospect of a new referendum and no discernible progress being made towards a situation in which a referendum might be a realistic hope for the medium term. Let’s say a year.
Moreover, even the longer term hope of a new referendum recedes with every day that action is delayed.
Worse still, even the referendum that people are being encouraged to believe is imminent is unlikely to deliver a Yes vote. It matters little what the polls say. There is no process connecting public support for independence as indicated by polling to a free and fair referendum. The Section 30 process to which we are all wedded courtesy of Nicola Sturgeon MIGHT deliver a referendum. But there is absolutely no possibility that such a referendum would be free and fair. By requesting a Section 30 order, the First Minister is inviting the British government to attach provisions and conditions which, if accepted by the Scottish Government, would make any referendum unwinnable. And, of course, if the conditions are not accepted then there is no referendum – with the Scottish Government being blamed.
None of this is arcane knowledge. Indeed, in many cases belief in an imminent referendum is maintained in the face of full awareness of all evidence to the contrary. It is a faith position. It is an irrational belief.
By evangelising this faith position SNP politicians, The National and the guilty part of the Yes commentariat are discouraging any effort to ensure a free and fair referendum by rejecting Section 30 and establishing an independent process by which the people of Scotland may exercise our right of self-determination free from British interference. Only by doing this can we hope to secure a referendum in time to save Scotland from being absorbed into a new and decidedly ugly post-Brexit British state. Only by ensuring that our referendum is entirely made and managed in Scotland can we make it free and fair.
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