To be a nation again!

Surely the obvious conclusion from Richard Walker’s analysis is that the Section 30 route is dead. Even setting aside objections on the grounds that requesting a Section 30 order compromises the sovereignty of the Scottish people and quite apart from the fact that the Section 30 process gifts the British political elite legitimised power to interfere in Scotland’s referendum to which they are absolutely not entitled, this analysis makes it clear that there are no circumstances in which the British state will grant a Section 30 order. This is just as well because getting one would be worse than being refused one.

If you are still thinking in terms of the Section 30 process – if it forms any part of your thinking on how we proceed to the restoration of Scotland’s independence, then you need to wake the **** up and take a look at the reality of our predicament. Aye! I’m talking to you, First Minister!

Angus MacNeil MP is reported to have said to Boris Johnson,

I don’t have any questions about independence for you Prime Minister, it’s not a matter for you, it will be decided in Scotland

Not for the first time, Angus gets it right. And he speaks for a growing number of people coming to the realisation that a process which is critically dependent on the willing and honest cooperation of the British state and all its apparatus is a process that’s doomed to fail. There is no route to independence through a legal and constitutional framework that has for more than 300 years been informed by the imperative to preserve the Union. There is no route to independence which does not involve confrontation with the British state. If we are not prepared to face that confrontation then our commitment to the restoration of Scotland’s independence is inadequate. Again, I’m talking to you, First Minister. Because confronting the British state is your job!

Forget Section 30! It never was viable for a second referendum. Only the Scottish Parliament can restore Scotland’s independence because only the Scottish Parliament has the necessary democratic legitimacy. That it is deprived of the legal authority to do so is a function of the Union and the tangle of legal and constitutional contrivances which armour it against democratic choice. Whatever route to independence is chosen; whatever process is adopted; whatever ‘cunning plan’ is implemented, we always come to a point where the Scottish Parliament must act in a way that British law says it is not authorised to act. We always reach a juncture at which the choice is between British law and Scottish democracy.

We can do what is ‘legal’ in terms defined by those who are determined that Scotland shall always be subordinate to England-as-Britain in a risibly archaic, grotesquely asymmetric and transparently exploitative and unjust political union. Or we can do what is right in terms of fundamental democratic principles.

If we are intent on restoring Scotland’s independence then we better accept that ultimately the Scottish Parliament is going to have to do something it does not have the legislative competence to do. We have to get used to the idea that the only way the Scottish Parliament can acquire the power to restore Scotland’s independence is to defy British law which denies our democratic right of self-determination. If we want our right of self -determination; if we want to rescue Scotland’s democracy from the scourge of increasingly fervent British Nationalism; if we want our Scottish Parliament to act in the interests of Scotland’s people rather than in the service of the structures of power, privilege and patronage that define the British state, then we must stand ready to support our Scottish Parliament as it TAKES the powers which rightly belong with it but which are withheld by the British state.

The choice is between British law and Scottish democracy. That choice rests with the people of Scotland alone. The only way this choice can be made is by the free and fair exercise of our right of self-determination in defiance of British law but in strict accordance with democratic principles and internationally recognised conventions. This means a properly constituted referendum on the question of the Union conducted under the authority and auspices of the Scottish Parliament. A poll of all Scotland’s people that is entirely made and managed in Scotland. For this to happen, the Scottish Parliament must, at the urging of the Scottish Government, assert its exclusive competence in all matters relating to Scotland’s constitutional status and settlement.

It is to be expected that the British political elite will challenge this action. If we are not prepared to face and defeat that challenge then we are not fit to be an independent nation.

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20 thoughts on “To be a nation again!

  1. There is no evidence the Scottish govt is not fully aware of any of this. Their published “way forward” does not preclude the actions Peter proposes if/when it becomes necessary to implement them. If/when it comes to it, I will be urging people to get behind it just as much as I’m urging them to get behind the current plans. Being seen to be reasonable and accommodating in the first instance will stand us in good stead in the latter stages re recognition of a UDI if/when it becomes necessary. That’s all I’ve ever argued.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said Peter, until it dawns on the FM (more like she knows and doesn’t care) that there’s no route to dissolving this union via Westminster we’ll continue to be at the mercy of whichever plonker occupies Number Ten.

    In my opinion Sturgeon doesn’t want to dissolve this union, and she knows that there’s no route out of it via Westminster, I don’t even think a plebiscitary election will save us, it to will face a legal challenge, but that’s the least of our worries, with the Civil Service and its ex-head admitting it actively worked against Scotland leaving the union, along with the entire UK media machine and the security services, not to mention the useful idiots place within the SNP.

    No a form of UDI is the only way out of the union.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I contrast your comment that

    “we always reach a juncture at which the choice is between British law and Scottish democracy”

    with that of the FM in her announcement on 28th June that the two principles guided her approach were the

    “rule of law and democracy”

    regarding the UK Supreme Court judgment and Scottish self-determination, respectively.

    The former is the reality while the latter contradicts itself.


  4. Well said MBP, we have.e to be seen by the international jurists to exhaust all local l remedies before grasping the ultimate thistle of UDI.


      1. I think all local remedies have been exhausted but that needs to be affirmed at ICJ . We can’t just assume that international jurists would decide in our favour .


  5. Well said, Peter. I think we need two things:

    A plebiscite which shows that a majority of the people of Scotland support independence
    The support of the international community

    Of these two, the support of the majority is by far the most important. When that is established then independence is inevitable. The British state can and will throw everything it has into delaying the loss of its cash-cow, but it will ultimately fail so long as Scotland’s people are united.

    My only concern about Scotland’s independent future is getting a majority in favour. I couldn’t care less about what rUK will try to do to frustrate us. My frustration is with all the Scots who still support the union despite everything that has happened.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Re my 10am comment, I’ll add this to it.

    Pinning our hoped at least on a plebiscitary GE is in my opinion a dead end as well, if it happens that is, its very possible that they’ll be a flood of folk into Scotland from South of the border, such as military personnel, infact all that really needs to be done is to register that you live in Scotland, with the other at least half-a-million incomers from down South who we know are in Scotland because they’ve registered with a doctor in Scotland, this doesn’t include the ones that haven’t.

    Then there’s the postal votes system, open to abuse, and the likes of IDOX which is owned by Tory Peter Lilley that counts the votes, and of course the hostile polling stations and councils that are not above reproach when it comes to saving their beloved union, even if most of them couldn’t actually give you a good reason for saving it.

    Mind you none of the above matter right now for we’re going nowhere with Sturgeon at the helm.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay Peter I get your point, still;

        ” Over one hundred councils in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland use Idox Elections’ election management and postal vote verification software and almost one third of all the voters in the UK are registered to vote with local authorities that use its electoral registration software.”

        As well as Electoral Registration, Idox Elections is focused upon its Postal Vote Management System (PVMS).

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the point is that democracy trumps legality. Who’s law are we talking about anyway? England’s? Scotland’s? British Law (is there such a thing)?

      From the USA to Ireland to Brunei; when the people decided they were no longer part of greater England – greater England was powerless to stop them. The only reason the north of Ireland was retained was because a majority of the people there wanted that at that time.

      If a majority of Scots want independence, no power on Earth will prevent them having their say and getting what they want. All of the power of the British establishment can’t even remove a maverick failed prime minister from occupying Downing Street!

      The people will decide – not the courts.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. If that is so and independence is assured then it becomes essential to consider the how of the matter. The manner of our restoring independence will be part of Scotland’s story forever. It would be good if this chapter was something from which future generations could take inspiration. We can be sure that some will try to taint that story in one way or another. The British version is likely to say that Scotland was given its independence by beneficent England. I don’t want my great-grandchildren reading that.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. The matter seems relatively straightforward. As Scots are already and always a sovereign people and country functioning within a treaty-based alliance then it must be the case that a majority of Scotland’s elected national MP’s represent that sovereignty and they may lawfully withdraw Scotland from the treaty-based alliance.

    A Scottish court would be expected to confirm this should the matter be contested. Lets remember here that Scots Law itself only still exists because of the self-same treaty articles, as does the Claim of Right and Scotland’s Constitution. All key elements are bound together in the same treaty.

    If a Scottish court were then to confirm that a majority of Scotland’s MP’s may lawfully withdraw Scotland from the UK treaty-based alliance, as would be expected, then Scotland is effectively an independent state again and the UK is at an end. This would also imply that Scotland is already de facto independent.

    However, if a Scottish court for some reason rejected independence via withdrawal by Scotland’s MPs then this means that Scots are not sovereign, and hence sovereignty over Scotland is therefore held primarily by England’s near 500 MPs.

    The International Court of justice may then be asked to give an opinion on the matter. If the ICJ finds in favour of Scotland then this means Scotland’s MP’s may lawfully withdraw Scotland from the UK treaty-based alliance.

    If the ICJ finds against independence then Scotland may be Listed with the UN Decolonization Committee C-24 as a colony with the aim to bring about Scotland’s decolonization and end ‘the scourge of colonisation’. In the latter event Scots should be conscious that there would be no ‘unionists’ in our midst, only colonists.

    The SNP’s S.30 blind alley is merely another (arguably much weaker and riskier) option for independence. The SNP could and should pull the plug on the union now via their elected majorities and if they were really nationalists they would have done so given election of three successive nationalist majorities and numerous violations to the treaty as well as the ongoing suffering, oppression and exploitation of the Scottish people.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That all sounds great, Alf. If this course of action had been embarked upon in 2015 I would have been among the first to sign up for it. But time is now the deciding factor. The process you describe would certainly take several years and with England-as-Britain running interference that might even turn into decades. We simply don’t have that kind of time. I am firmly persuaded that the British are working towards putting some very problematic barriers between us and independence. This is underway now – right this moment. I am convinced that action must be taken immediately. The issue must be resolved in months rather than years.

      I am also of the view that the Scottish Parliament has a crucial role to play. It is notable that you don’t even mention the Scottish Parliament. But look at the key component of the process you set out. Establishing the will of Scotland’s people. I have said that no matter what route is followed – yours being very much less of a ‘cunning plan’ than others – you always come to the same place. The point at which the process requires the Scottish Parliament to do something which according to the Scotland Act and the British government, it lacks the authority to do. Perhaps the most obvious thing is the referendum that establishes the will of Scotland’s people.

      In reply to another comment this morning I wrote,

      “The manner of our restoring independence will be part of Scotland’s story forever. It would be good if this chapter was something from which future generations could take inspiration.”

      For this and other reasons, I maintain that the referendum process must meet strict criteria. It must be done in a very particular way so as to be absolutely conclusive. The merest dubiety about the process will be the wee hole that Unionists pick at long into the future looking to portray the process as seriously flawed. I want to avoid that.

      In practical terms, how is the will of Scotland’s people established in the process you propose? I will make the argument that this must be by means of a referendum. At present, the ‘official’ position is that such a referendum must be authorised by the British parliament. In practice, this means obtaining the consent of the British Prime Minister. This is not going to happen. It never will and it would be the worse for us if it did. It is unfortunate that our First Minister has given credence to the Section 30 process. She will have to do a politically challenging U-turn to get out of the corner into which she has painted herself. But that’s her problem. For our purposes, we must ask how a referendum will be formalised. How can it be made to meet the criteria I consider vital. The only possible answer to that question is that the referendum should be held under the auspices of the Scottish Parliament.

      All roads lead to a point at which the Scottish Parliament must do something that it does not have the legal authority to do. There is only one way that the Scottish Parliament can acquire the necessary power and that is by taking it. The Scottish Parliament must assert its competence in all matters relating to Scotland’s constitution. Effectively, a unilateral declaration of independence but done in a way that is appropriate to Scotland’s constitutional circumstances. This would be UDI the Scottish way This would be #ScottishUDI!

      The British government will surely want to challenge this. Although if the Scottish Government exhibits enough determination to persuade the British that the game is up they may opt to try and negotiate the best ‘divorce’ deal they can get. But if they go to court they do so with a case that they really don’t want to make because while it may be a strong case against the Scottish Parliament’s asserted primacy, it involves making arguments that are sure to backfire on the British state. They will have to argue that the Scottish Parliament has less democratic legitimacy than Westminster. They will have to argue that the Scottish people are not sovereign; that we do not have a right of self-determination; in effect, that Scotland is not a nation. I don’t think the lawyer has been born who could couch these arguments in such language as might conceal their offensiveness from the people of Scotland. The backlash would be substantial.

      What I say is, if we are going to have to do this eventually anyway, why not do it right away – before the British state has an opportunity to create any more obstacles and impediments. Aspects of the process you describe, along with numerous others, would unquestionably provide reinforcement for the Scottish Parliament. But the utility of this reinforcement may be outweighed by the time factor.

      Perhaps we’ll have an opportunity to discuss this face-to-suitably masked-face at the end of the month. Geoff Bush has invited me to speak at the SSRG event. Although details are a bit sparse at the moment. I don’t do this kind of thing these days as I don’t cope well with large numbers of people. Two being a large enough number to trouble me. But I think this is sufficiently important that I’m obliged to put my big-boy trousers on for the occasion.

      Liked by 4 people

  8. A possible scenario that could skip the poorly thought out indyref (which yes will lose) and goes straight to the plebiscitary election.

    We need Boris Johnson to hang on, or at least attempt to hang on as PM, which might happen, and according to Labour’s Angela Rayner if that happens Labour will call for a vote of no confidence in the government.

    It then relies on a bit of luck, that Labour, the Lib/Dems the Greens and even the SNP will join that no vote of confidence along with the disgruntled Tories within the party that resigned or expressed a lack of confidence in Johnson as their leader.

    I’d be hoping that Johnson or the opposition would then try and call for a GE, which for us would bypass the possibility of a poorly organised (in which yes would lose) indyref, we’d skip that completely saving at last a year and go straight to the GE, which again I’d hope that Sturgeon would be screaming for it to be a plebiscitary one on Scotland dissolving the union.

    The problem is that the Tories will have also worked out all the scenarios on Johnson’s tenure teetering on the edge. I would also expect some sort of legal challenge from Westminster on holding a plebiscitary GE.

    Once again Westminster is in turmoil, lets see what our supposedly independence party does (SNP) to capitalise on it not for their own gain for a change, which is the norm now, but to get Scotland out of this union.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. “The manner of our restoring independence will be part of Scotland’s story forever. It would be good if this chapter was something from which future generations could take inspiration.”

    Thanks Peter. Removing an Imperial oppressor is never easy. However, postcolonial theory tells us that a colony is perishing so long as its people and culture remains crushed. Given that the oppressive status quo continues, and prevailing demographic trends, the notion of ‘future generations’ of ‘Scots’ becomes an interesting idea(l). The immediate priority is the liberation of the people from oppression (which also includes oppression from oor ain Scottish institutions within the UK!) and for this we need to use all constitutional and democratic means at our disposal.

    Liked by 3 people

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