We frequently see it claimed that a Section 30 order is merely an agreement that Westminster will respect the result of the vote. We also see it asserted that there are viable options other than the Section 30 process. What I have termed ‘cunning plans’. The most commonly cited of these cunning plans are
- Dissolve the Union based on Claim of Right/Treaty of Union breaches
- Plebiscitory Election
- United Nations Decolonisation process
These are not options. Mainly due to one factor that proponents of ‘cunning plans’ invariably try to wish away – time!
- The Claim of Right has no force in law. In written evidence submitted to the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee in October 2012, Professor James Mitchell observed that the Claim of Right embodied ‘a political rather than justiciable claim’ to the ‘sovereignty of the Scottish people’. (House of Commons Library)
Breaches of the Treaty of Union would have to be proved in court – probably one at a time. This could take decades. We don’t have that kind of time. McKerrell mentions Catalonia. He said:
They often compare Catalonia and the referendum there – where it was explicitly illegal, because the constitution says you can’t have a referendum on independence in Spain.Legal expert explains the paths to a Scottish independence referendum
It is all but certain that the British are looking at the Spanish constitution with envy. There is nothing to stop the British state from imposing such a constitution on Scotland and the rest of England-as-Britain’s periphery. In fact, Boris Johnson is likely to fight the next UK general election on a platform which includes some kind of measure to ‘secure the integrity of the UK’. In other words, to finally complete the ‘Greater England’ project started several centuries ago.
- Plebiscitary elections are highly problematic and entirely unsuited to resolving major constitutional issues. Elections are never binary. The exercise of our right of self-determination must be binary in order to have a conclusive outcome – a decision and not just a result.
The requirements for a referendum which stands as a formal exercise of our right of self-determination are that it be binary; that the options are distinct, defined and deliverable, and that the action which ensues from a vote, either way, be specified. Most importantly of all, it must be impeccably democratic and conform to the criteria set out in, inter alia, UN Declaration 1514.
Ignore those who try to tell you the referendum must be ‘legal’ in terms of local laws. That is simply not true. If it was, the implications for human and civil rights would be horrendous. A government which has the power to deny something as fundamental to democracy as the right of self-determination could just as readily sweep away other defining aspects of democracy such as the universal franchise.
- Again, ruled out due to the time factor. For Scotland to use the United Nations Decolonisation process we would first have to be added to the UN’s list of non-self-governing territories (NSGT). That alone could take several years. And that’s before we even start the process of restoring independence.
There is, in fact, only one way Scotland’s independence can be restored and that is if we simply take it. A form of Scottish UDI. People have been manipulated by British propaganda so that they automatically recoil at the mention of a unilateral declaration of independence (UDI). This propaganda associates UDI with Rhodesia and all the negative ideas this implies. But Scotland is not Rhodesia. Also, Scotland is not Rhodesia. In addition to which, Scotland is not Rhodesia.
Think about it! What does UDI mean absent the irrelevant and insulting associations with Rhodesia and ‘white supremacy’? We have a fair idea of what is meant by independence. If independence is being restored there has to be a declaration – otherwise, how is anybody to know it’s happened? Duh! And ALL declarations of independence are unilateral. Who else has the authority to declare Scotland independent once more besides the people of Scotland? I say again, duh!
Power is never given. Power is only ever taken. Scotland’s independence will only be genuinely restored through a form of UDI specifically tailored to Scotland’s circumstances. That process begins with the Scottish Parliament asserting its primacy on the basis of the exclusive democratic legitimacy it derives from the mandate granted by means of a transparently democratic process by the sovereign people of Scotland.
This process was set out in the #ManifestoForIndependence published about two years ago. The hope was that the SNP and/or other pro-independence parties could be forced by the weight of a united Yes movement to adopt this manifesto for the 2021 election. Unfortunately, too many in the Yes movement thought they had better things to do than ensure the SNP Scottish Government acted to restore Scotland’s independence. But the process set out in the #ManifestoForIndependence remains valid.
- Repudiate the Section 30 process as an illegitimate constraint on Scotland’s right of self-determination
- Assert the primacy of the Scottish Parliament on the basis of its democratic legitimacy and the sovereignty of Sotland’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 a referendum on a proposal to dissolve 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
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