The binding

Nicola Sturgeon insists that the process – which she has yet to identify – by which Scotland’s independence is restored must be “legal and constitutional”. Her view appears to be that the international community is eager to avoid recognising Scotland’s status as an independent nation and that they will therefore seize on any excuse to refuse that recognition. She and it must be allowed, many others take the view that recognition by the British state is a prerequisite to recognition by the international community. This might be the case were Scotland a colony and the British state the colonial power. Although the principle of “equal rights and self-determination of peoples” as stipulated in Article 1 (2) of the Charter of the United Nations would surely be cited to dispute this. As would a host of other UN Declarations and international conventions. Basically, international law prohibits interference by the “administering Power” in the exercise of the right of self-determination.

I am constantly perplexed and, let’s be honest, not a little disgusted, by people who claim to think of Scotland as a nation denied its rightful status but who stand ever anxious to question the ‘legality’ of whatever the Scottish Government and Parliament might do to restore that status while never questioning the legality of anything the British state might do to prevent it.

When Nicola Sturgeon says that the process by which independence is restored to Scotland must be “legal and constitutional” she is, of course, referring to British law and the British constitution. She is saying, in effect, that independence can only be legitimately restored by a process that remains entirely within the legal and constitutional framework devised and evolved for the preservation of the Union. If that is not what she means, then she would do well to better explain her position.

At some point, almost certainly within the next four years, the British state will ‘reform’ the legal and constitutional framework such as to make independence illegal. They may even go as far as to make it illegal to campaign for independence, effectively outlawing the SNP and Alba Party. Personally, I don’t think they will. Not because they are likely to be pricked by a democratic conscience, but because they will have no need. They will be able to rely on Nicola Sturgeon’s absolute commitment to abide by British law.

If Nicola Sturgeon should protest that this would constitute a change of circumstances and hence justify a reevaluation of her approach to the constitutional issue, others might well point out that we’ve been there before. We’ve had such “meaningful” changes. If Nicola Sturgeon at this point declares that she will not allow this binding of Scotland to a ‘reformed’ Union, many of us will recall how she and her government assured us they would never allow Scotland to be dragged out of the EU against the will of the people. We all know how that worked out.

Whatever the outcome of the 2024 UK general election the winning party will spend the following 2 years finishing the job of ‘neutralising’ the Scottish Parliament. The SNP/Scottish Government signally failed to prevent us from being dragged out of the EU – mainly because they didn’t try, being too preoccupied with trying to stop Brexit altogether. How much less likely is it that the SNP/Scottish Government will be able to prevent the imposition of a ‘Madrid solution’ on Scotland when Holyrood has been reduced to the status of whipping boy for the UK Government in Scotland?

It’s not too late. Although it very soon will be. The situation calls for bold, decisive action. Nicola Sturgeon must accept that there is no route to independence that does not pass through a point at which there is direct and acrimonious confrontation with the British state. If she acts now, she gets the advantage of choosing the matter on which confrontation will happen. That matter must be the competence and status of the Scottish Parliament. In part because the process by which independence is restored requires that the Scottish Parliament already has the powers of the Parliament of an independent nation. This power is not given. It can only be taken. If it is given, it is false. It must be taken. And once taken, it must be held with determination and tenacity.

Another reason for picking this particualr fight is that the people of Scotland can be expected to support her in a fight to save our Parliament.

We no longer have to wonder about the path to independence. If there ever were alternatives then these have already been closed off by the British state. If any should remain, these will be sealed by the binding.

The First Minister must repudiate the Section 30 process as an illegitimate constraint on Scotland’s right of self-determination. Having done this, the process of restoring Scotland’s independence may commence.

  • Assert the primacy of the Scottish Parliament on the basis of its democratic legitimacy and the sovereignty of Scotland’s people
  • Recall Scotland’s Members of Parliament from Westminster to sit on a National Convention with Members of the Scottish Parliament and such representatives of civic society as are deemed appropriate by the Scottish Parliament for the purpose of overseeing the drafting of a Constitution for Scotland
  • Propose dissolution of the Union with England subject to approval by the Scottish Parliament and ratification by the people of Scotland in a referendum
  • Hold referendum on the question of the Union under the auspices of the Scottish Parliament and subject to oversight and management by the National Convention and such bodies as may be appointed by the Scottish Parliament

Bold, decisive action supported by the people of Scotland? Or the binding? Choose!

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19 thoughts on “The binding

  1. Ah, the ‘international community’.

    There is no ‘international community’; it sounds plausible, but it’s a fallacy. What are the membership rules for joining the ‘international community? Indeed, who are the members and how did they obtain their status? How do they reach consensus?

    It’s a complete diversion, smoke and mirrors. There is no one to ask; Scotland’s independence will not a topic for the UN to vote on.

    If a country thinks it can benefit from recognising an independent Scotland, it will. I’m sure many would see that benefit. As Lord Palmerston put it:

    “We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I cannot argue with the logic and reason of your route to independence. It is fair and democratic. It excludes the British (and any other foreign) state from the process. It is Scottish.

    The problem is the premise upon which it is based namely that “he First Minister must repudiate the Section 30 process as an illegitimate constraint on Scotland’s right of self-determination.”

    Nicola Sturgeon won’t do this. In fact, she can’t. That would be to genuinely confess to being wrong after 7.5 years screaming that her approach was right and that her proposition was the one and only true path. And it would admitting being wrong on achieving the aim upon which the SNP was founded.

    Before that happens hell will freeze over, pigs will fly in the sky and Scotland will win the World Cup.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My hope, of course, is that Sturgeon can be forced to do what is required by pressure from the Yes movement. But this would require that the Yes movement find some of the solidarity it has lost, along with a dose of pragmatism and plain good sense. So, whatever way you look at it…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sturgeon wont be forced to do what is required by the YES movement, she as her eye on a job with the UN and that wouldnt look good on her CV. Just look at her performance today at the Scottish Parliament. She looked tired and against the ropes when questioned about the ferries fiasco. This women wont be prepared to take all the hassle and pain of leading Scotland to be independent. Nicola Sturgeon will never be a Scottish version of Joan of Arc.


  3. International recognition is always pragmatic, 1971, but it is fairly necessary for floating your own currency and drawing down loans on it. Having said that, the whole thing is a fudge and an avoidance of actually having to do anything. So many Scots, and almost every single Scottish administration, including the SNP and SNP/Green ones, have not deviated one iota from the Westminster/British State line. That is the real, enduring problem. They will say that we require more Unionists to agree to independence before we embark on it, but did the Tory party or any other at Westminster ever ask the Scots to ratify their policies by a majority? No, and they would have been pushed to get any kind of majority on most of their policies, and that goes for Labour, as well. The Union operates on voter numbers and that cancels out the three smaller nations in England’s favour every single time we go to the polls for a GE or referendum. It is not a partnership (not a union either, except in the sense that a particularly bad marriage is a union) but a large, dominant state that has the others in thrall and under its thumb. Acquiescence and a lack of will is our default position always and because every FM has, as you say, Peter, accepted the premise that Westminster and the British State, actually England acting alone has to agree. Nonsense! They have broken almost every Article and breached our trust and confidence. We must go.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “International recognition is always pragmatic, 1971, but it is fairly necessary for floating your own currency and drawing down loans on it.”

      Oh Lorna, I simply can not let that statement about currency go by unprotested.
      I know that to many the ‘dismal science’ of economics is perceived as unfathomable,
      but this kind of oft repeated certainty is in fact utterly wrong. Completely False, the opposite of the existing reality.

      All that is necessary for any National Government to launch its own currency is to begin operating a Central Bank, and start issuing and spending its own currency and to begin taxing the citizenry in that currency. There is simply NO REQUIREMENT for the Scottish government to have to ‘Borrow’ some other Nations currency, if it has the faith in its own competence to issue its own.

      At its heart this issue is almost as simple as the points that Peter makes about Scotlands self-determination.

      I would encourage any who have not grasped that we MUST have a Scottish pound and MUST NOT be beholden to the Bank of England or the City of London financiers ( or the American dollar and the Federal Reserve Bank or the Euro and the European Central Bank.) to read a little about the topic. [1]

      It would be sheer folly to burden our fledgling new democracy with a massive millstone of unnecessary foreign debt,

      A government will only ‘need’ to borrow in a foreign currency if it plans to spend that foreign currency outwith the borders of the currency zone that it controls.
      Scotland has an exporting economy in massive surplus so foreign currency should flow into the Scottish currency zone _if_ we plan carefully enough to baulk the British attempts to prevent that from happening.

      [1] see any of Professor Steve Keene, Professor Stephanie Kelton, Professor Richard J Murphy

      p.s. other that that one point, as usual I appreciate all that you contribute. 😉


      1. I was never troubled by the idea of using sterling as a transitional measure. Control of fiscal policy is the urgent thing. Monetary policy moves much more slowly and in the interim it seemed unlikely that the BoE would do anything harmful to Scotland’s economy as this would also be harmful to England’s economy. Using sterling would work until the two economies diverged beyond a certain point. We’d know well in advance when we were approaching that point and could act accordingly – almost certainly by launching a Scottish currency.

        That was then, this is now. While I still reckon sterlingisation would be an acceptable transitional arrangement the transition period has shrunk massively due to various factors – rapid and dramatic change globally as well as the British government having added malevolence to incompetence and unpredictability being principal among them. I am increasingly persuaded that adopting our own currency has now become a matter of some urgency.


  4. International ‘recognition’ is a nebulous concept; deliberately so. It provides a fig leaf for adopting a particular approach

    Who grants it and how do you tell when you have it? Is there a power of veto? What if someone chooses not to recognise you?

    It’s rather like ‘right thinking people’

    Liked by 2 people

    1. To remove the fig-leaf, I suggest FM Sturgeon writes to Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the UN, asking what it would take for UN countries to “recognise” an Independent Scotland and whether “recognition” would depend on how Independence was achieved!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The UN has no role in the exercise of Scotland’s right of self-determination. It is a matter for Scotland’s people and democratic institutions exclusively.


  5. I don’t really see that as a viable approach. Given that there is no existing UN process, expecting it to come up with an agreed set of rules in short order seems rather optimistic. There’s also the small issue of the Security Council power of veto.

    As long as the process is democratic, it would be easier simply to expect countries to deal with the facts on the ground. As I said earlier, there are countries who may find it expedient – even advantageous – to recognise an independent Scotland from the off. They won’t wait for permission from any ‘international community’ – first mover advantage will not be squandered.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The Scottish parliament is part of the British State (just in case anyone had the loopy idea that it isn’t), hence that’s where you have to start. End off.

    As far as UN clap-trap goes, it recognises Britain as an independent State, but the UN currently doesn’t recognise Kosovo as an independent State.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “Seall deòin is dìcheall” is Scottish Gaelic for ‘show willingness and determination’; yet, while languages matter, it’s more important that honourable truthfulness is recognised internationally! When you’re saying “the people of Scotland can be expected to support her in a fight to save our Parliament”… this absolutely suits the ‘honourable truthfulness’ that describes the Scottish people!

    In this day and age, International politics is very different to when the so-called ‘UK’ came into being – after all, our ancestors couldn’t visualise/imagine what humanity now takes for granted! When most of Scotland’s population recognises that we ‘The People’ are truly sovereign, then WE simply vote on regaining our independence!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When you refer to ‘we ‘The People’ are truly sovereign’, are you on about ‘The Claim of Right’ from about 1680, where ‘we the people’ meant some Protestant land owners (but not any Catholic landowners). If you are interested in it, read it: It’s shocking stuff that could be an Orange Order advert if it wasn’t so religiously bigoted to make it illegal in 2021 under the human rights act.

      In modern reality every single MP, and MSP has sworn allegiance to the actual, real sovereign, who is also Queen of Scotland with or without independence.


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