I have a question for the Depute Leader of the SNP. It’s a serious question. If he is so appalled by the idea of the British Prime Minister being able to block a referendum why does Keith Brown agree with allowing him a veto? It’s a very serious question. But I don’t expect an answer. I don’t anticipate any kind of meaningful response. I don’t even hope for an acknowledgement. It’s just not something the SNP leadership does.
The reason I’m asking this serious question – lest it isn’t already obvious – is that glaring contradictions irk me. And there is a glaring contradiction here. Keith Brown says,
If Scottish voters in May back the SNP’s plan to hold a post-pandemic referendum, then the Tories have no right to block it.
Note the phrase ““the Tories have no right to block it”. Ignore for the moment the fact that it isn’t about the Tories. It’s not the British Conservative & Unionist Party which is claiming the authority to veto our right of self-determination, it is the British state. But I’ve given up hope of the SNP leadership ever learning this or realising the importance of reminding people that Scotland’s cause is not the SNP versus the Tories – it is Scotland’s people versus the Union. Keep that phrase in mind as you now look at what Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs and SNP President Mike Russell says in his ludicrous ’11-point plan’ which isn’t a plan and doesn’t have 11 points.
If the SNP takes office the Scottish Government will again request a Section 30 order from the UK Government believing and publicly contending that in such circumstances there could be no moral or democratic justification for denying that request.
Presumably, Keith Brown agrees with this. It is, after all the official position of the SNP leadership. Although what the party membership’s position is might be a very different matter. But we’ll never know. Because members will not be asked. That, however, is another topic. Back to the contradiction and my question.
Readers will note that there is already something of a contradiction in Mike Russell’s statement. If there can be “no moral or democratic justification” for denying a Section 30 request then this necessarily implies that the request isn’t denied. Or that the request is redundant. As it would be if it can’t be and therefore isn’t denied. To put it another way, consent that cannot be denied cannot be required. I could probably think of several more ways of formulating this. What I can’t think of is any way of formulating this simple logical statement that would be comprehensible to the SNP leadership.
Keith Brown’s statement is just as illogical. It surely goes without saying that something the people of Scotland have voted for cannot be blocked by a government the people of Scotland did not elect. That’s basic democracy, is it not? And yet both Keith Brown and Mike Russell also say that the British political elite does have a “right to block it”. Otherwise what would be the point in a Section 30 request?
Nicola Sturgeon has gone even further. She has described the Section 30 process as the democratic “gold standard” and strongly implied that it is the only “legal and constitutional” way for the people of Scotland to exercise our inalienable right of self-determination. But, haud the phone! How can it be the democratic “gold standard” when there is “no moral or democratic justification” for its primary if not its sole function – to allow the British Prime Minister to override the democratic wishes of Scotland’s people and prevent us from exercising our inalienable right of self-determination? How can it be both things? They are mutually exclusive.
If Nicola Sturgeon is correct and the Section 30 process is the only “legal and constitutional” way to a new independence referendum, does this not mean that all other ways are ‘illegal and unconstitutional’? And yet here we have two other very senior figures in the SNP saying, in effect, that what Nicola Sturgeon has identified as the only “legal and constitutional” way isn’t in fact “legal and constitutional” at all! Unless it can somehow simultaneously be “legal and constitutional” and lack any “moral or democratic justification” as claimed by Mike Russell. We might also wonder how the Section 30 process can be “legal and constitutional” yet bestow on the British Prime Minister no right to use it, as stated by Keith Brown.
Are you confused yet? Or is it the SNP leadership that is confused? They are tying themselves in knots trying to discount the Section 30 process without contradicting their boss. There’s something a bit creepy about that, don’t you think?
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