The following was written as a response to a comment on an earlier article. I reproduce it here because while it may do so in a rather clumsy fashion, it covers pretty much everything I have to say about the obsession with seeking ‘solutions’ from outside agencies.
No! No! No! This is the mistake far too many people make. Their first thought is to go look for some external agency that’ll sort the problem for them. Think! Why would we “lodge a case” anywhere? Our argument is that what we are doing by asserting the sovereignty of Scotland’s people and the democratic legitimacy of our Parliament is not illegal. It is not for us to prove that we are ‘innocent’ of doing something illegal. It is for our opponents to prove that we have done something illegal. If the British want to seek help from an external agency to keep Scotland bound by the Union then let them! Let them “lodge a case”. Let them try to prove they have the authority to override the democratic will of a neighbouring nation. Why the fuck would we “lodge a case” and put the burden of proof on ourselves?
It is a political issue. As such, we keep it in the realm of democratic politics. To resort to the courts is to admit that you have no solution within the realm of democratic politics. Why would we admit that when our entire position is that we do have a solution within the realm of democratic politics? How can we assert our nationhood and all that it implies whilst simultaneously asking a court if we have a right to do so? Why would we make our nationhood the disputed issue when it is the Union that is and must be the disputed issue?
The appropriate action happens in the appropriate place. The appropriate place for democratic politics is not a courtroom but the chamber of our democratically elected Parliament. It is our Parliament that acts to dissolve the Union. We are restoring our independence ourselves because it is what we want. We are not having it restored by some court because of something the British have done. Our Parliament takes power. We don’t look for some external agency to give us power. Because real power is only ever taken. What is received as a gift can be lost as a penalty. Our independence is not in the gift of anyone. Not the British state and not the courts and not the international community.
We do not go to court. We go to the people. We do not concern ourselves with legality but with democratic legitimacy. We put all our energies into ensuring that the process by which we restore our independence is impeccably in accordance with the democratic principles enshrined in various international laws and conventions. We challenge the British state to prove that its local laws take precedence over those principles. We create and control the process by which we restore our independence. We do not hand control to a bunch of lawyers. We’ll never get it back!
We do not “lodge a case at the UN and ICJ”. We dare the British state to do so after we have restored our independence. We dare them because there is a very good chance they will not accept the dare. There is a very good chance that their advisers will tell them they’d lose. There is an excellent chance that seeing our independence as a fait accompli and recognising that they have no way to prevent it, they will decide that there own interests are served by negotiating the best deal they can get.
Why would we “lodge a case at the UN and ICJ” when there is no need for any court case? And if there does turn out to be a need, it is their need and not ours.