The truth is that there cannot be one ‘gold standard’ process by which the people of Scotland exercise our right of self-determination and restore Scotland’s independence. Every situation is different. No two constitutional arrangements are ever identical. There cannot be a set of ‘rules’ which are universally applicable and ideal.
What we can have are general principles. In fact, we do have general principles. The general principles of democracy as codified in various international laws, conventions and accepted norms. Anything approaching a ‘gold standard’ must adhere to those principles. It must acknowledge and abide by those international laws, conventions and accepted norms.
The Section 30 process and actions associated with it are actually in breach of those laws, conventions and norms. The Section 30 process fails any test of democratic legitimacy. It is not democratic. It is anti-democratic. As is the Union from which it derives.
It is for this reason that we must repudiate the Section 30 process. Both Plan A and Plan B fail in this regard. Neither rejects or eschews the Section 30 process. Both embrace it and give it preference.
The obvious conclusion from all this is that we need a process by which the people of Scotland can exercise our right of self-determination which IS democratic. Which DOES comply with international laws and respect conventions and conform to norms.
For reasons just as evident we cannot expect that such a process will be formulated and implemented by the British state. Who does that leave? Us! The sovereign people of Scotland and the democratically legitimate Parliament we elect and the duly mandated Government of our choosing. We create the process!
That process will be deemed ‘illegal’ by the British state. ANY process which facilitates the free and fair exercise of our right of self-determination will be deemed ‘illegal’ by the British state. There is no path to independence through a legal and constitutional framework which is designed to protect and preserve the Union. How could there be? The very idea is risible!
If we truly want to bring our government home then we must first bring home the power to exercise our right of self-determination. So long as we leave that power in the hands of those who are determined to deny us our democratic rights then there is absolutely no hope of restoring Scotland’s independence.
Power must be taken. Power is never given. Therefore, to ‘request’ power is nonsensical. Whatever is given in response to such a request it will most definitely NOT be power. Another way of saying this is that we must assert power. Power doesn’t just come to you. You take it and then you defend it against any who would take any part of it from you without your consent.
It all starts with asserting the competence of the Scottish Parliament in all constitutional matters. If you don’t start from here you must ultimately come back to it. Whatever ‘Plan’ you adopt if it doesn’t include asserting the primacy of the Scottish Parliament on the basis of its exclusive democratic legitimacy and the sovereignty of the people of Scotland then it barely qualifies as a plan. At some point, establishing the authority of the Scottish Parliament will have to be tacked on.
Paint for yourself the rosiest of pictures. Whatever ‘Plan’ you favour, imagine that it has surpassed your expectations. You now have a Scottish Government with a mandate to hold a referendum, or maybe you have a Scottish Government mandated to open negotiations with the British government preliminary to declaring independence. Whatever your ideal outcome is, nothing can be done with that outcome unless the exclusive legitimacy of the Scottish Parliament has been asserted. A referendum will have to be authorised. Negotiations will have to be under the auspices of a Scottish Parliament which has competence in constitutional matters. The Scottish Parliament must be the instrument of the sovereignty vested in the people of Scotland.
My argument is that if this is the prerequisite for anything to happen in terms of restoring Scotland’s independence we should attend to that first. Rather than make the 2021 Holyrood election a plebiscite on independence, make it a plebiscite on the status of our Parliament. Win that – better still win it conclusively, and the rest falls into place.
There’s the choice for you! British legality or Scottish democracy. Nicola Sturgeon has gone for the former. She’s wrong! She’s clutching at fool’s gold!
5 thoughts on “Fool’s gold”
“The Scottish Parliament must be the instrument of the sovereignty vested in the people of Scotland” – and therein Peter we find some of the problems we face.
Unless things change … Absent a change to the date, an election will be held on the 6th of May, and the people of Scotland will vote for those they wish to represent them, the Parliament will be constituted by dint of the votes cast, simply as a result of the “representative democracy” we adhere to – result – the Parliament will not be of one mind.
Unless things change … As matters currently stand there is likely to be a political party, potentially the majority party in the Parliament which will adhere to its manifesto which again – as things stand – is likely to express the intention of proceeding on the basis of a Section 30, there may also be additional parties which intend to stand on the Regional lists asking that the votes cast – overall – are to be taken as a plebiscite showing an overall vote for independence – result – the Parliament is even further removed from being of one mind – and seen to be so.
Unless things change … I will discuss what that change might be in the discussion we agreed to have.
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A prerequisite to Scotland and her people progressing to Independence lies in your second sentence in paragraph eight. In this context the individuals within the current SNP hierarchy who are rigidly applying the S30 doctrine must be confronted.
The newly elected NEC must exercise authority and campaign within the party branches to have the obstructionists removed in order that SNP policy in progressing Independence be fulfilled. It is crucial that this is enacted in the immediate future otherwise our futures are to be traded in our Blessed Leaders Fools Gold.
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Peter – your piece and the comments above are spot on. I’d maybe go a bit further than you, and say that the taking of power is the test of whether a country is ready to become independent. It is a prerequisite. We are in a position where we – the Scottish people – need to take power from two bodies – the current Scottish government and Westminster. As you rightly say, power isn’t given, so how are we going to get it back from ScotGov? Depending on the SNP membership to do what is right for everyone else seems futile, given the “wheesht for indy”, “this is the wrong time” and “Nicola can do no wrong” believers. As far as I can see, you (the SNP members) have no leverage, and no time to use it if you did.
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Are we sure there is a significant enough popular mandate? There are a significant number of dont knows in each poll. Are we sure that if we have a 4th May outcome that is as expected a referendum 6, 9, 12 months later will deliver? It is reasonable to expect that the Scottish Government has similar concerns as they try to balance the increasing impatience for action and or change against a semblance of risk mitigation. I agree the narrative on s.30 has to change, I believe sovereignty lies with the people but I would hate another busted flush referendum. Reassurance would be welcomed
You’re looking for a certainty that doesn’t exist. If we don’t have enough confidence in our cause to face the challenge of carrying the people of Scotland with us then there’s no point to any of it. We can wait until the polls change in our favour. Or we can act to change the polls in our favour. I know which I prefer.