Yet again Sturgeon is long on “bullish” rhetoric but damnably short of substance (Indyref2 WILL be held with or without Section 30 order, Nicola Sturgeon pledges). What is stopping her from telling us now what she intends to do if a Section 30 order is refused? How will she guarantee a referendum which stands as a formal exercise of Scotland’s right of self-determination? Or will she instead deliver only a pretendy ‘advisory’ referendum that decides nothing? If she is planning on telling us anyway then it can’t be a secret?
If this alternative route is not yet finalised, why the hell not? What has she been doing for the last eight years? So there was a pandemic! So what? The government continued to function. People were still working. Why were they not working on the most important issue facing Scotland?
What does she intend to do if a Section 30 order is granted? Clearly, she still hopes to extract a promise of respect and honest cooperation from the British state even if it is dangerously naive to imagine the British political elite would honour such a promise? Sturgeon is so averse to confrontation that she is prepared to trade the sovereignty of Scotland’s people for worthless British assurances. What conditions is she prepared to accept in order to avoid confrontation? Will she allow the British government to dictate the franchise? Will she let them impose a qualified majority? We need to know!
Sturgeon says she is prepared to negotiate a Section 30 agreement (Edinburgh Agreement II). But by requesting a Section 30 order she hands all the power to the British. Section 30 of the Scotland Act gives the British Prime Minister sweeping powers to alter what is devolved and what is reserved. It places no constraints whatever on their ‘right’ to impose whatever conditions they want in return for temporarily handing over powers which rightfully belong with the Scottish Parliament in the first place. At what point is Sturgeon prepared to walk away from these negotiations? More pertinently, what will it take for the British to force her to walk away?
What happens if she does walk away from negotiations for a Section 30 order that won’t actually be negotiations so much as the British telling her what is and is not permitted? How does she then argue that a Section 30 order is unnecessary after having conceded that is necessary by asking for it? How will she respond to the British when they argue that by entering into negotiations for Edinburgh Agreement II she has accepted that such an agreement is required and by walking away from the negotiations she has killed the possibility of agreement and therefore the possibility of a referendum? Does she not realise that this highly probable course of events provides ample grounds for the courts to uphold any claim the British may make that a referendum without a Section 30 order is unlawful?
By requesting a Section 30 order Nicola Sturgeon not only compromises the sovereignty of Scotland’s people, she fatally undermines her own argument that a Section 30 order is not required. How does she intend to resolve the contradiction of saying that a Section 30 order is both required and not required?
These are questions that demand answers. These are the kind of questions that every independence supporter should be asking. We simply cannot afford to take it on faith that Sturgeon has satisfactory answers which will be revealed to us when she sees fit. And let’s have none of that drivel about not showing her hand to her opponents. They know what her options are. They’ve already gamed everything she might do. It would be stupid in the extreme to underestimate the British. They’ve been doing this for a very long time.
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