Also relying on magic

Kenny MacAskill is obviously correct when he says that “it has always been the case that it was for the Scottish Government to set out both the timetable and the means by which it would deliver a referendum by the end of 2023 with or without a Section 30 Order being granted“. It is just as true to say that it has always been the case that is for the Scottish Government to set out both the timetable and the means by which any referendum they do deliver will lead to the restoration of Scotland’s independence. This is where we find gaping holes in the ‘plan’ announced by Nicola Sturgeon back in June 2022.

For a plan to be credible the proposer of the plan must always be able to answer the question, “What next?”. The UK Supreme Court (UKSC) deems the proposed referendum unlawful. What next? The SNP is alone in claiming the next UK general election is actually a Scottish independence referendum. The British government and the British political parties and the British media and therefore the overwhelming majority of voters in that election all decline to play along with Nicola’s plan. What next?

The UKSC surprises everyone by finding that the Scottish Parliament can lawfully authorise a referendum so long as that referendum has no effect. (Actually, I wouldn’t be so surprised. But that’s another matter.) The referendum happens in October 2023 and Yes wins a substantial majority. What next?

Asking that question – and others in similar vein – is what is meant by scrutiny. It is what is meant by examining a plan to discover whether it is actually feasible in the real world. Since Nicola Sturgeon announced her plan, there has been a massive effort made to prevent proper scrutiny. One might have expected that this scrutiny would have been undertaken prior to the announcement of the plan. One might have supposed that such testing against real-world constraints would be an integral part of the process of formulating policy. We often hear it said that proposals have to be costed in order to be credible. That is what is meant by testing against the constraints of reality. Funding is a hugely significant constraint. The more ambitious the proposal, the more essential it is to explain where the money is to come from.

Money isn’t the only constraint, of course. In the context of this discussion the central constraint is the power of the Scottish Parliament. If as is generally anticipated, the UKSC rules that even the ineffectual referendum proposed by Nicola Sturgeon is beyond Holyrood’s powers what we will have is the plan arriving at the point where all plans to restore Scotland’s independence eventually arrive. The point at which the plan involves the Scottish Parliament doing something deemed beyond its authority under the laws of the British state.

Given that all plans to restore Scotland’s independence face this obstacle, it would seem rather important that we have an answer to the question, what next?

Nicola Sturgeon’s answer to that question is that we give up. We just give up on the plan for a referendum held under the auspices of the Scottish Parliament. We simply accept that the parliament which is democratically elected by the sovereign people of Scotland can be overruled using laws enacted by a government elected by the people of a different country. That is our First Minister’s plan. I find this wholly unacceptable, of course. But that is because I adhere to the fundamental principles of democracy and am not prepared to have the sovereignty of Scotland’s people compromised. The First Minister evidently find’s it expedient to take a more ‘relaxed’ view of our sovereignty. Her plan includes no attempt to defend the principle of popular sovereignty. When the UKSC says the will of Scotland’s people is worth less than the will of the British state, Nicola Sturgeon intends to just accept that and abandon plans for a referendum.

But It’s not only Nicola Sturgeon’s plan that must be subjected to scrutiny. Alternative proposals must also be rigorously interrogated to determine whether they are feasible and whether they are likely to be effective. Kenny MacAskill proposes that a Scottish constitution convention be set up. Again, we must ask, what next? What does this constitutional convention actually do? Kenny MacAskill says “The key question then will be who decides Scotlands future?”. But that question will already have been answered by the UKSC. Just as it has been answered by successive British Prime Minister. Just as it will always been answered so long as the Union prevails. The answer is that the British parliament decides Scotland’s future. And that answer will have been accepted by Scotland’s First Minister. Under those circumstances, what does the proposed constitutional convention do?

The key question is always, what next? Kenny MacAskill doesn’t answer that question any more satisfactorily than Nicola Sturgeon does.

If you find these articles interesting please consider a small donation to help support this site and my other activities on behalf of Scotland’s cause.


22 thoughts on “Also relying on magic

  1. I would take a slightly different tack, Peter: if we did have a referendum, if we did win, if we won by a large majority, would you be happy for this lot to lead us to the ‘promised land’? You talk of the process and I agree with you, but do you believe that this lot are capable of doing anything that is not an exercise in virtue-signalling, that is really hard to do because it must encompass a proper social and political and economic reality, and requires deep thought and working out of the possible scenarios for each policy? More to the point, would they appoint the people with the necessary expertise, would they listen and then act on their advice? I hae ma doots.

    People who are incapable of working out that devolution is a dangerous dead end or that biology trumps feelz, that heteronormativity has been with us since we stood up on two legs, or even if they just afraid to face the reality of those two scenarios, are unlikely to be capable of sustaining a credible model for an independent state that works for all its citizens. Neither the Westminster nor the Holyrood governments are in any way capable of that. Each, in its own way, has chosen the easiest path and pandered to those with the wealth and power to the detriment of ordinary citizens.

    Each has chosen the American neoliberal, unfettered capitalist market-led economy when what each needs to do is place the country(ies) on a ‘war footing’. By that, I man that we will descend into Third World status, accompanied by a totalitarian mindset, unless we are able to stop the haemorrhaging of capital out of the UK/Scotland and use it for the good of the mass of the population by investment in the industrial economy, and punish the speculators and hedge fund managers who undermine all efforts to put the economy on a level keel.

    The Tories and the SNP both understood that once. They no longer do. Both – and each in its separate way – will come unstuck. Austerity does not work. It has never worked. It has been the underlying factor in every economic crash from way back. It does not work. Thatcherism does not work, as we should all be aware by now. The American model does not work. We need people willing to work out what will work and implementing that instead of useless virtue-signalling gestures that do untold damage down the line.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is rather obvious that “this lot” are not the ones to “lead us to the promised land”. If they were, they would have done it by now. Or they would at least have made some discernible progress. At minimum, they would have a plan – a route map that sets out a credible path to the restoration of independence. But they don’t seem to be aware of where we are and aren’t all that clear about where they want to go and haven’t a clue how to get there even if they did know both the start and end points. So, not! This lot isn’t my choice for the job.

      Unfortunately, however, I don’t get a choice. None of us do. We had our opportunity to make a game-changing choice in 2021. The Yes movement as whole opted not to bother. They were too busy with other projects. None of which have brought independence any closer than whatever it is the SNP imagines it is doing in that regard. So, the SNP is the party of government at this critical time without the #ManifestoForIndependence commitment we might have forced them to adopt. Basically, we elected that lot with a licence to do as they pleased on the constitutional issue. Some of us knew that what the SNP (Sturgeon) was prepared to do would never be enough. We get to say “Telt ye!”. And that is all we get.

      Time to go make the dinner. My typing fingers are getting numb.


    2. Totally agree Lorna . Radical thinking would be required if iScotland was to have any hope of becoming something other that yet one more lamb to be slaughtered by the hyenas of Neolib predatory Capitalism : the current mob are only too happy to open the pen .

      We have to believe Independence would end the dominance of the SNP , allowing other Parties to rise . Ones comprising people with vision , unafraid to depart from the Economic/Social dogmas that do nothing to address the growing inequalities of wealth , opportunity and security ; rather , exacerbate them . I think you’ll agree there are plenty of such people in our country , they just never seem to reach positions of power and influence in the present across-the-board Mediocracy

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I surely can’t be the only person who is unimpressed with the First Minister’s mutterings today!
    She promised Scotland it would get a Referendum for Independence, regardless of whether London approved it or not.
    Now she is telling us she will respect an English Court ruling if it says Scotland is not allowed to have its own vote. Even tame thing being asked for.

    This is the headline from STV just now …………

    “Nicola Sturgeon has said the SNP will respect the judgment of the Supreme Court if it determines that Holyrood does not have the power to legislate for a second independence referendum”.

    The more I’ve read of this discourse at Aberdeen, the more appalled I become!
    It is totally an unacceptable position for any SNP leader to take. And it is in fact, to be condemned outright!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. “Nicola Sturgeon has said the SNP will respect the judgment of the Supreme Court if it determines that Holyrood does not have the power to legislate for a second independence referendum”.

      But that’s not all Gordon, the STV then says:

      The SNP leader said that her party, as well as the independence movement, will “reflect” in such a scenario.

      However, she insisted that the case for independence will in that case be put to the people of Scotland in an election.

      Which is exactly what she said back in June.


    2. I just found her full speech on the SNP website:

      including this:

      But I will never – ever – give up on Scottish democracy.

      For now, the question of process – the ‘how’ of securing independence – is in the hands of judges.

      against a background of this:

      Much more significant are the findings of the latest British Social Attitudes survey.

      Ten years ago, support for independence was at 23 per cent.

      Five years ago, 45 per cent.

      Now – in that gold standard measure of public opinion – support for independence stands at 52 pc.


    3. I haven’t read the transcript of Sturgeon’s speech yet. But I’ll guarantee that she also said something which will allow her devotees to claim she meant something else entirely.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Some of the folks who comment on The NATIONAL, () and on seem to see it very, very differently.
        Tho can’t figure why!
        They sem the taken more by the delivery and style above the substance and the reality of what was actually said.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I haven’t read the transcript of Sturgeon’s speech yet. But I’ll guarantee that she also said something which will allow her devotees to claim she meant something else entirely.

        Perhaps you should read it before commenting on it?


          1. I did.

            Was there something about your own words you didn’t understand? Here there are, at 06:04 on Oct 11, 2022:

            I haven’t read the transcript of Sturgeon’s speech yet. But I’ll guarantee that she also said …

            Peter, it’s strength to admit when you got something wrong. To bluster and accuse others of your mistake as you do all the time, is transparent weakness.


            1. You really are a fucking idiot. Although even an idiot might have figured out that I hadn’t read the transcript at the time I said I hadn’t read it but I had read it by the time I commented on it. Duh!


  3. And yet, Peter puts forward no credible plan if his own. Only a half-baked “mock” UDI that he appears to believe will “magically” render the UK govt powerless during the limbo period between the “mock” UDI and us finally getting the chance to decide whether we want independence or not.

    He cannot imagine that a Yes vote in a properly constituted referendum, advisory (as were the referendums on taking us into the EU, out if the EU, Devolution and Independence in 2014) or not, makes it possible to declare a “real” UDI (should it be necessary) with definitive evidence of the Scottish people’s support for it.

    It’s Peter’s way or No way on this forum …. and everywhere else he cut and pastes his shtick. No debate. No compromise. No imagination. Only a child-like determination to get his own way while refusing to entertain counter arguments or any other credible narrative.

    He may as well rename the site “Groundhog Day” as it’s the same old stuff, from the same old people, every single time.


    1. You will find Peter Bell has indeed thought of many other ways, and it took him quite a while for his view to turn to the “UDI” way.
      The fact is, it wouldn’t matter in the slightest how Scotland voted, but London would simply ignore any outcome that didn’t suit it.

      The point he has been making is that there never will be anything Scotland does, that will be accepted by UK Govt. Nothing!
      And the only way we will ever get that “properly”constituted Referendum” is by Scotland going ahead with its own, and with no input from London, whether London wants it or not.
      Anything done with London’s hand, will be so restrictive, as to make it near useless, as far as getting Independence goes.
      And the thing that would make London powerless, is if the Scottish Parliament stood its ground.
      There is no need to declare Independence as such, but what makes it, is that Parliament defying London rule.
      That’s what creates the Independence side of it.

      For so long as SNP bow to London “Law”, they will get us nowhere.
      And even s’posing the Supreme Court rules in favor of Scotland in this instance, we still have the politicians at Westminster who would try to block any vote, as well as the fact, said vote does not gives us Independence.
      It is in effect, a glorified opinion poll.
      Many folks seem to think a YES vote will get us Independence, but that is not what the vote being proposed will do.
      It basically is hoping for a vote that returns a majority YES, and then hopes again, that by itself forces London to negotiate Independence.
      That’is an utterly futile hope.


      1. There is absolutely no point in trying to explain #MainifestoForIndependence and #ScottishUDI to that bladder. I’ve tried. It just keeps on saying I haven’t no matter how often I do. SNP/Sturgeon loyalists are every bit as bigoted as British Nationalists. Indeed, they use the same trolling tactics. I try to ignore them unless in responding to them I can make some point that might be of interest to open-minded readers.


      2. You wrote ….

        “The point he has been making is that there never will be anything Scotland does, that will be accepted by UK Govt. Nothing!”

        …. I don’t disagree with a word of that. But then you wrote ….

        “And the only way we will ever get that “properly”constituted Referendum” is by Scotland going ahead with its own, and with no input from London, whether London wants it or not.”

        …. Can you not see the flaw in that reasoning? The logic of your initial statement means Peter’s “mock” UDI would not be “accepted” either. Not only that, the lack of definitive evidence that Scots desire independence coupled with the “limbo” period the “mock” UDI created would gift the UK govt every opportunity to crush it. If you’re going to go for a UDI, you get the definitive evidence the people want it BEFORE you declare a “real” UDI that takes you straight to the negotiation table. The Scottish govt’s proposed referendum would facilitate this.

        Peter claims I do not understand #ScottishUDI and deny he has ever explained it to me. Both statements are untrue. I fully understand the process he describes, I just see gaping holes in it that he will not admit exist never mind address.

        I have Peter to thank for making a UDI a viable route to independence for me. However, because I disagree with his idea of a post UDI referendum and see the wisdom in getting a definitive Yes vote beforehand, I get nothing but abuse. I am willing to listen to what people have to say, think about the merits of it and adjust my view accordingly. Peter, and so many other malcontents, are not.


        1. What “gaping holes”? You don’t get abuse. I merely point out the fact that you are an idiot. A fact made all too evident by your insistence that you “fully understand” #ScottishUDI while making it abundantly clear that you do not with talk of a “post UDI referendum”. Now you pile idiocy upon idiocy by demonstrating your failure to comprehend that the proposed referendum in 2023 is utterly meaningless even if it does happen. Neither it nor the Plan B ‘de facto referendum can possibly be “definitive”, for all the reasons that I have explained repeatedly ─ but evidently to no avail.

          Just as I have explained that the effective UDI of asserting the constitutional matters competence of the Scottish Parliament is NOT separate from the ensuing referendum but part of the same process. Asserting the primacy of the Scottish Parliament is the ONLY way to have a “definitive” referendum. And that “definitive” referendum is the ONLY thing that can make the effective UDI of asserting Holyrood’s legitimate. They are NOT separate events. They are the essential elements of what I have termed #ScottishUDI in the hope of making it clear enough so that even idiots can grasp the concept. Clearly, I tried in vain.

          But there I go, wasting time on fools like you who are so certain that they “fully understand” they think it beneath them to listen to the explanation.


          1. Sigh ….

            I have listened to the explanation, time and time again, and it is nonsense. For example, you wrote ….

            “A fact made all too evident by your insistence that you “fully understand” #ScottishUDI while making it abundantly clear that you do not with talk of a “post UDI referendum”.”

            …. then you wrote ….

            “Just as I have explained that the effective UDI of asserting the constitutional matters competence of the Scottish Parliament is NOT separate from the ensuing referendum but part of the same process.”

            …. hmmm. Both “post” and “ensuing” mean the same thing. They mean “happens afterwards”. To make the central point of your argument concerning my intelligence the use of the word “post” instead of “ensuing” does call into question your own understanding of words.

            All you continue to do is confirm that #ScottishUDI means there will be a referendum subsequent (another word that means the same as “ensuing”) to a “qualified” (less confrontational than “mock”) UDI.

            As to the “gaping holes” you seem blind to, there are a couple. One concerns the “dark forces” of the UK state you claim will bedevil the Scottish govt’s proposed referendum supposedly making a Yes vote almost impossible. However, when it comes to your “qualified” UDI, you appear to assume they will be rendered impotent. You assume they will not be able to call it illegitimate (rightly or wrongly) and shut down the process, by force if necessary. You assume they will remain dormant during the limbo period between UDI and referendum; that they will not be making use of that period to undermine people’s support for independence. You appear to assume the UDI will put a force-field of some kind round the referendum process itself that will stop them from interfering with it. And even if the Scottish govt managed to weather all that in the months between UDI and referendum to finally get a Yes vote, you assume the “malign” UK govt will have to accept it. Spoiler alert – it won’t unless forced to. It’s the real world out there and it will take more than wishful thinking to achieve our independence.

            Another “hole” is the “political bubble” nature of your preferred process. You “explain” the constitutional process to be followed, but you don’t explain how Scotland is to be actually governed during the limbo period. As above, you decry the “malign” nature of the UK govt but then expect them to benignly continue governing those parts of Scottish infrastructure and institutions they are currently responsible for. Not to mention the instability in the economy and financial sector the limbo period would create. All of which the “dark forces” mentioned above would be exploiting to the absolute max in an effort to destroy any chance of a Yes vote in your “ensuing” referendum.

            All your “qualified UDI”-“ensuing referendum” route does is drag out the process for months longer than it need be, giving the UK govt ample time and opportunity to crush it by the use of “law”, subterfuge, economic/financial manipulation and/or force.

            The “definitive Yes vote”-“definitive UDI” gets us to the critical point much quicker and with less opportunity for the UK govt to f*ck it up for us. The Scottish govt’s proposed referendum (which would have the same status as the referendums that took us into and out of the EU and denied us independence in 2014) would facilitate that. Fair enough, bang the UDI drum. I’m with you there. But do it while arguing passionately for a Yes vote in 2023, with a subsequent “definitive” UDI should the UK govt, as expected, ignore that result. It’s not infallible. A “definitive” UDI would face the same initial UK backlash as your “qualified” UDI, but it would remove the months of limbo for the UK govt to exploit. It would also gain us much needed international support as we will have been shown to be utterly reasonable in the face of an unreasonable, unpopular and incompetent UK govt. That will be critical if we are to make independence a reality, however much you assert otherwise.

            As I said previously, I listen to arguments, take them on board and adjust my view accordingly. Can you not do the same? At the very least, can you not disagree while remaining reasonably polite? Slanging matches are wearisome and counter-productive.


        2. Take care MBP, he is a horrible person and you have to make sure it doesn’t rub off on you, though you’re better at that than me.

          See you around.


          1. I don’t actually know Peter, so I don’t know if he is a nice person or not. His online persona is appalling but that is never the whole story.

            In his favour, he does allow debate on his site which few other bloggers do. It was the one thing Labour Hame had when it was active. It allowed Indies to post. It was nice to debate the merits of independence with unionists for a change. As opposed to interminable back-and-forths with Indies over “process” for so, so, so many years. The blogosphere has morphed into a series of echo-chambers these days.


            1. I’ve never met him either. Supposedly his talks were very popular back in the day, my local YES group of which I wasn’t a member, were impressed. Maybe Covid!

              Anyways yes, he’s never deleted any of my comments AFAIK, and as well as echo chambers, there are people who expect to be spoon-fed and complain about you being lazy if you say “AG for S” [1] or even UKSC [1], having just spent my own time reading and posting a few opinions about, the AG for S’s dismissive and quite poor, reply to the SNP’s intervention in the UKSC, minutes after reading a link to it.

              [1] Don’t ask 🙂

              I stayed on the ‘Net for this case, now it’s all over bar the decision, it’s back to having a life – and some home maintenance 😦


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.