The timeline for restoring Scotland’s independence is not a matter of choice. If bold, decisive action is not taken to initiate an equally bold and decisive process before the next UK general election, we may find ourselves in a situation even more precarious than now. Who can now doubt that the next UK general election will be a contest of superficially different flavours of right-wing British Nationalist populism? If you dismissed this as scaremongering prior to the Tory leadership contest then you’d have to be completely oblivious not to have changed your view by now.
Similarly, if you imagined British Labour might be offering some alternative to this BritNat insanity then you’ve surely had second thoughts by this time. There were moments in the past weeks when Keir Starmer could have easily been mistaken for one of the contenders in the Tories-only wrangle over who gets to wear the British Prime Ministerial crown.
Whoever wins that unedifying rammy will lead the British Conservative Party into the next UK general election. It has been a contest among the very best of the Tories and therefore some of the worst of humanity. The candidates were all deeply unpleasant people each in their own way. What the early rounds of voting did was pare away those who were unpleasant in the wrong way or who weren’t unpleasant enough. It is entirely possible that in the next year or so we may find ourselves looking back with something akin to fond nostalgia on the days when jolly Boris Johnson was PM. At least he was occasionally comical.
Where British Toryism goes British Labour follows. It is inevitably so as both the main British parties are chasing the same voters. The voters who gave us Boris Johnson – and would do so again tomorrow. Having realised that, unlike Gordon Brown, there is no way Margaret Thatcher can be revivified, these voters are looking for someone in the same mould. But they broke the mould before they made Thatcher. So all they – and therefore we – can possibly get is a cracked and misshapen approximation of the Batty Baroness.
Those who thought the British political system had reached its nadir with Boris Johnson are about to learn a very hard lesson.
Whichever of the remaining two contenders wins, the next Tory leader and British Prime Minister will be the instrument of such dark forces as roil in the underbelly of every society. Those forces will define the next Westminster election – to be held sometime before the end of 2024. Desperation to retain power will drive the Tories to unprecedented extremes with the other main British parties not far behind. This will not be good news for Scotland. This will be very bad news for Scotland.
If the UK general election is to be fought as a battle to save the Union and ‘make Britain great again’, as it all but certainly will, then Scotland stands to be the villain of the piece. Just as the 2016 EU referendum saw antipathy towards the EU whipped to a frenzy, so the 2024(?) Westminster election will see Scotland presented as a threat that has to be ‘dealt with’. Just as trade unions are even now being portrayed as a threat that has to be ‘dealt with’. As Lesley Riddoch observes, negotiation plays no role in the British political elite’s plans for ‘dealing with’ these threats.
The timeline is drawn for us. Whatever leeway we might have had, it has expired. As have whatever choices we might once have had about what Lesley refers to as the “gameplan”. Like a growing number of people, I have come to realise that most of the choices we thought we had were not real. I have come to realise that all the talk of various ‘routes to independence was just circling a core truth without ever connecting with it.
There is no legal way out of the Union for Scotland. There is no way out of the Union for Scotland that will not be deemed illegal or unlawful or illegitimate or invalid by the British ruling elite. There is no way for us to restore Scotland’s independence that will not be labelled ‘UDI’ by the British state, while their propaganda machine hangs every imaginable negative connotation on that term. All that is left to us is to decide what form that ‘UDI’ should take and how soon before the next UK general election it can be initiated. That is what “gameplan” means. It may be what it always meant. There is absolutely no doubt that it is what it means now.
Will our First Minister be the last person in Scotland to acknowledge the reality of our predicament? Will she finally admit that the consensual, cooperative, non-confrontational “legal and constitutional” route to independence that she hoped for simply doesn’t exist?
Now is the day. #ScottishUDI is the way.
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