I do not consent!

Only 100% committed to a new referendum!? Come on, Gillian Martin! Surely you can do better than that! I’m pretty sure Keith Brown or Angus Robertson would have given us at least 110% assurance. Alyn Smith might have gone as far as 200%. But he’s the guy who says ‘we’ve never been closer to independence’. So he’s likely to say pretty much anything.

It’s the wrong question, anyway. There was always going to come a point where the question of whether there is to be a referendum would become secondary to the matter of when that referendum would take place. I hesitate to say that Nicola Sturgeon couldn’t keep kicking that can down the road forever. She might well mock me with her can-kicking skills. But assuming that is not one of her super-powers then the effort of keeping the referendum in sight but not within reach would eventually become greater than the gain was worth.

Focus has already started to turn to the date. There has long been a sizeable part of the Yes movement that insists Sturgeon name the date. But we’re now moving on to the bit where focus turns to the actual date rather than the naming of it. This is where it becomes a bit obsessive. Remember the hoohah about the date of the first referendum? Remember the storm of speculation? Remember how that reached its apogee with The Sun’s ‘revelation’? They got it wrong, of course. But they sold a lot of newspapers, so what does right or wrong matter?

This is a problem. Because the more people are obsessing about precisely when the referendum will be held the longer it will take them to start asking about the details of the referendum itself. And that matters most of all.

In fact, the when of the matter pales into insignificance relative to the how. How will the proposed referendum be organised? How will it be framed? How will it be authorised? How will it be overseen? How will it achieve a decision and not merely a result that fuels endless arguments about what that result actually means in terms of next steps?

In other words, the questions of process that professional politicians and allied trades are forever telling us we should not trouble our silly plebeian minds about. Which, if you think about it, is the best argument possible for making it the principle preoccupation of plebeian minds not as silly as some would suppose. Or hope!

What we know of the intended process is summarised nicely by The National’s Chief Political Reporter, Kathleen Nutt.

The First Minister’s policy is to seek the UK Government’s agreement to hold a second vote, as happened in 2014.

That’s all we need to know to be very worried indeed. The ‘plan’ to do everything just the way it was done a decade ago is supposed to offer the reassurance of familiarity. Here is a process that we all (with the obvious exception of younger voters) remember very well. It is a process, moreover, which has been hailed (mostly by professional politicians and allied trades) as the ‘gold standard’ of Scottish independence referendums in 2014. Which is all it can be the ‘gold standard’ of since every independence referendum is unique. Not only unique among all independence referendums everywhere else, but unique also within Scotland and the UK. This must be so, as not only do circumstances change in whatever period of time separates two ostensibly identical referendums, but the constitutional context itself also may change. It certainly has in Scotland’s case.

Generally, folk might think of the constitution as something that is fixed. Or, sufficiently fixed that amending it requires some high-level action. Not so in the UK, however. There being no written constitution to constrain the British government and it wielding the powers afforded it by the Union, Scotland’s constitutional arrangements are pretty much whatever the British political elite says they are. If we, the people, get a say at all it is according to a process entirely controlled by the British government (nominally by the British parliament) and its agents in Scotland. We may be given a choice. But the British government ultimately decides what the options will be and sets the terms under which the choice is made. And, of course, this being the British they reserve the right to alter the options and change the terms at will.

That is the ‘gold standard’ of democracy to which Nicola Sturgeon has committed Scotland.


In my maybe not so silly plebeian mind alarm bells are ringing loudly and constantly. More loudly as my conviction increases that Sturgeon really is going to try to replicate the process of the 2014 referendum with as few modifications as she can get away with. She appears, by her own account and on the word of those authorised by her to speak to the matter, determined to compromise the sovereignty of the people of Scotland by requesting a Section 30 order – thereby acknowledging the sovereignty of the British parliament and relegating the people of Scotland to the status of subjects of the ‘Crown in Parliament’.


She seems intent upon inviting the British state’s involvement in and interference with and influence over the exercise of the right of self-determination which is the sole and exclusive province of the people of Scotland.


She is set on a course which cannot lead to a free and fair exercise of our right of self-determination by the people of Scotland who alone have the rightful authority to determine our nation’s constitutional status and who alone have the right to choose the form of government which best serves our needs, priorities and aspirations.

We are being asked to accept a process which necessarily means that our choices will, in this as in all else under the onerous imposition of the Union, be subject to moderation by the British political elite.


Even if the degree of moderation by the British were to be infinitesimal, it would be unacceptable. It would, in fact, be a democratic outrage.


It is by any criteria that might reasonably be applied, unacceptable that the First Minister of Scotland should even consider such a course of action, far less commit to it on our behalf.


I see what Nicola Sturgeon says she intends to do and…


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13 thoughts on “I do not consent!

  1. That “gold standard” is an anachronism . Gold is no longer the bedrock of currency value nor is leaving this anachronistic union ultimately dependent on Westminster’s permission . We can have mandates ad nauseam and “now is not the time ad infinitum” till aa the seas gang dry , and still be union bound.


  2. Dinnae fash yersel, Peter. The SG has plans that will eliminate consent across the board in the fullness of time – that is, soon. Consent to anything will become redundant, a dirty word, something to chortle about like 1970s hairstyles.


  3. You want Scotland out of the UK without consulting the people of Scotland.

    I do not consent to that!


    1. Who the fuck are you to tell me what I want? The arrogance is competing with the ignorance. The article you either didn’t bother to read or utterly failed to comprehend is entirely about holding a referendum – but ensuring that it is done appropriately. Lest I haven’t mentioned it before, you’re a fucking idiot.


      1. You have mentioned that, I disagree.
        Holding a referendum but excluding people more likely to vote NO is not a consultation.
        Holding a referendum without being honest about it’s consequences in not a consultation (Brexit being a fine example).
        Holding a referendum that is outside the competence of Holyrood to legislate on is a nonsense.

        2014 was a free and fair vote which the YES side would have won if they had made a decent job of developing a policy on currency and economics. Given that the SNP has been going for almost 90 years you’d think they had the time to do that.
        The sophistry that Scotlands parliament has, or should have, primacy over Westminster seems to be taking hold in the Yes movement. In effect that is saying that we already have independence – which we don’t.
        Holyrood is a devolved administration with limited powers.
        We have a process to change that. It’s not Westminster that’s stopping anything at the moment, it is Sturgeon.
        The problem isn’t the need for Section 30, the problem is Sturgeon.
        The problem isn’t following the same rules as in 2014, the problem is Sturgeon.

        Like it or not, when you talk to anyone in Scotland who is not politically active the associate independence with Sturgeon and the SNP.
        Who is going to vote for independence when the party of independence have screwed up our public services so much? When they can’t get ferries built or bought to sort our crippled services to the islands but they can produce 111 pages on how to deal with kids who question their gender at school?

        All the debating, twisting and turning of things we could do to set Scotland free is just echo chamber nonsense.


    2. Errmm, I think you missed out on the bit about Scotland having signed an International Treaty with England, and that we are “Equal” to England.
      If we are then so “Equal” in this Union, why should we need to go ask London’s “permission” to have a Referendum?

      As for 2014 being “free and fair” the Postal vote was very suspect.
      The fact they were taken to England was bad enough, but that in more than a few instances, like the over 90% plus levels of “No” votes, is the kind of thing we only get in a dictatorship, especially when those vote percentages didn’t happen at the poling stations. And were never seen at any election count before or since.
      And again, in some instances, there did appear to be far more Postal votes returned, than folks who were eligible for them. Strange that, don’t you think!?!
      And Ruth Davidson had access to those Postal votes. How come?
      And tell us what was “fair” about Gordon Brown making those promises just a week or so before the vote, and having the leaders of the Westminster Parties come to Scotland to back G. Brown’s now infamous “Vow”, when they had no intention of honoring anyone of those big promises, and a tabloid newspaper flogging said promises they way it did?
      All that had a real impact on the outcome.
      Not to forget the appalling BBC spin on everything.

      It isn’t true to claim Public Services in Scotland are in a big mess. Things are nowhere near as bad as painted by certain politicians, or the Media.
      The ferries by they way, had the plans for propulsion changed a few times while under construction.That is hardly the direct fault of the Scottish Government.
      While the SNP administration has certainly made mistakes, and is not beyond criticism, to ignore the fact there is only so much that can be done with so many powers still Reserved, is being dishonest.

      Sturgeon is not without fault, we can all agree, but to blame her for everything, and to claim things would different if she wasn’t there, is far fetched.
      So long as SNP keep to this Section 30 idea, it would make little if any difference, who was First Minister.

      And it wouldn’t matter to many an anti Independence person how great the Edinburgh administration was, they’d still be for keeping with London.
      We have a bitterly anti Scottish Media who go out of their way to trash this country, and whatever is pointed out in favor of Independence, is never good enough for them, and never will be.
      To pretend otherwise, being quite dishonest.


  4. Marty: Whether you agree with his views or not – and I, personally, am totally opposed to a second referendum of any kind, but would prefer an electoral plebiscite followed by independence and the regulation of the Treaty at the UN, then a ratifying referendum – Peter is scrupulously democratic, as, incidentally would be my preference. Unionists really need to get their heads around this or they will discover at first hand what a non-democratic and non-legal split looks like. You can constrain a people’s aspirations for only a certain time before it starts to come apart at the seams. Have you Unionists learned nothing from NI and what preventing people from exercising their democratic rights can lead to? Really? Can’t you even begin to comprehend hat many, many Scots want out of the Union? Whatever you think of Peter, he is wedded to Scotland’s best interests and is a deep thinking advocate for independence, far from being stupid. You have totally misunderstood his piece.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lorncal, I have not called Peter stupid nor do I think he is. From what I’ve read I agree with most of what you say about him.

      What is absolutely undemocratic is the belief that Scotland should be taken out of the union without the express consent of the majority of Scots.
      Someone would have to be a much bigger idiot than Peter thinks I am not to know that we have a large minority who want independence – and most of them believe that it would be in Scotlands best interests to achieve that. Sadly, very few seem to understand that most of those who want us to remain in the union believe that remaining is in Scotlands best interest.

      I want what’s best for Scotland and that is certainly not what we have in Holyrood at the moment.

      If you believe that an election can be made a plebiscite then what carries the decision? A majority of votes cast or a majority of the voters registered? A majority of seats even if they are won with a minority of votes?
      When you figure that out you can start thinking about how you persuade the SNP to cooperate.

      I’ll tell you how Scotland could achieve independence. It’s simple but very unlikely because our career politicians put their careers first.

      The Scottish government works with the UK government as much as possible to improve and benefit the people of Scotland.
      The Scottish government gets our public services running properly, managed well and visibly succeeding. Are you not sick of them pretending everything is ok and any problems aren’t their fault?

      Do that and winning a free and fair referendum is easy.
      Do that and it’s easy to get the ‘soft’ No voters over the line. Do that and people will have confidence that independence is a natural progression rather than a leap in the dark. We’d already see how the relationship with the rest of the UK could work instead of this constant whinging at Westminster for everything and anything.

      It’s Peters site so I’ll take my ‘idiocy’ elsewhere.


      1. “the belief that Scotland should be taken out of the union without the express consent of the majority of Scots”

        Except that this is not my “belief” but yours. It is YOU who have imagined this. It is YOU who not only failed abysmally to comprehend what is plainly written, in your dumb bigotry you managed to read the total opposite. You are an idiot.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The Scottish parliament is a devolved parliament with no powers over the UK constitution. Asserting the primacy of the Scottish Parliament over the UK parliament is a declaration of independence – what else could it be?
    I am not dumb, a bigot or an idiot. Neither are you and neither are most of the people of Scotland, whatever their views on the constitution.


    1. Yes, Marty, the SP is a devolved parliament within the Union. However, like so many, many others, you forget the Treaty or treat it with disdain. That Treaty shows unequivocally that we were intended to be full and equal partners with England. That did not happen, and England assumed supremacy. In fact, very probably, in international law, the devolved parliament is unconstitutional in that Westminster had no right to devolve powers to a representative body of the Scottish people without also doing the same for England. That is the real tragedy of Scotland: that we have never, ever asserted our rights in international law and in domestic constitutional law within the parameters of the Treaty as equal partners. In other words, Westminster has been acting ultra vires (illegally) since 1707 in assuming supremacy over Scotland and Scottish interests. No, we’re not dumb or stupid, Marty, but those who purport to govern us have simply acquiesced in every circumstance all along the way to create what is effectively an English parliament ruling the UK solely in the interests of England, which was to be expected of the Unionist administrations. The SNP, not so much. The efficacy of the Treaty and what is actually enshrined in international law via the Treaty, and on behalf of Scotland and her people, would be made plain if the Treaty were ever taken to the UN for judicial review and resiling. Which is why our SG, aided by the Unionists in the parliament, will do everything in their power to prevent that from ever happening. The clue to the importance of the Treaty lies in the many attempts to have it renegotiated as an Act under domestic law – which would, in essence, render it also an Act of the de facto English parliament that is Westminster, and also render it useless to us because it would then be subject to British (de facto English) constitutional law. The SG will bleat about not being able to do this or that, but, as the representatives of the Scottish people, in an unbroken line of constitutional sovereignty since before 1707, when Scotland was an independent country (as it was when the Treaty was negotiated and signed), they are perfectly entitled to, and capable of, bringing the Treaty to the UN. Will they do it? No. Because they don’t want independence. I would hazard a guess that they want independence even less than Westminster does.


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