I don’t know this David Clark. He may be every bit the foreign affairs expert John Drummond says he is. But I still need to pull him up on a couple of points. The reason federalism is a “non-starter” is even more “simple and straightforward” than Mr Clark suggests. A federal settlement acceptable to the people of Scotland would have to be negotiated between parties of equal status. In other words, such a settlement could only be negotiated AFTER Scotland’s independence was restored. Try imagining that happening.
But the main dispute I have with David Clark is when he maintains that “independence is inevitable” and “the present Unionist position is unsustainable”. He is wrong on both counts. Worse! He has fallen into a very dangerous fallacy which encourages complacency.
I used to say that independence was inevitable. I reasoned that it was inevitable because any constitutional arrangement which succeeds in terms of the ambitions and imperatives of the British state necessarily fails in terms of the aspirations and priorities of Scotland’s people. I was not wrong about the intractable conflict of interests. I was horribly wrong about the inevitability of that conflict being resolved by the restoration of Scotland’s independence.
I has since come to realise that, notwithstanding David Clark’s assertion, the ” Unionist position” is entirely sustainable. They can keep on saying “now is not the time” forever. The Union affords them that power over Scotland. The Union affords British state total dominion over Scotland should the British ruling elite choose to exercise it.
There is simply no way the British state is ever going to cooperate with any process which puts the Union in jeopardy. There is no political power which can force them to do so. The imperative to preserve their ‘precious’ Union is existential. Even if there was such a political power, forced cooperation would be false and come at a price and with inherent dangers for Scotland. We have a name for this impossibly fraught process. We call it a Section 30 referendum.
So long as the Scottish Government remains committed to the Section 30 process, the British state can sustain indefinitely its effective veto over the exercise of Scotland’s right of self-determination. The British state’s grip on Scotland is not going to break. It must be broken.
The twin notions that we are on the verge of independence and that the UK is crumbling are both part of the same pernicious folly. Power is not given. Nor is it relinquished gracefully. Power must be taken. It can only be power if it is taken. It cannot be taken without confrontation. Hence, our independence can never be restored while avoiding confrontation.
Having realised all of this, it was but a short step – but a strangely protracted one – to the conclusion that there is only one way Scotland’s independence can be restored. I use the term #ScottishUDI.
Federalism is definitely a “non-starter” – for ALL the reasons stated. Just forget it! It is not even being mooted as a practicable proposition. It is being flogged by Gordon Brown solely for the purpose of muddying the constitutional waters.
Independence is NOT inevitable. It will happen only if we make it happen. Scotland’s independence can only be restored by the Scottish Parliament. Only the Scottish Government can initiate the process. What is inevitable is confrontation with the British political elite. The Scottish Government must be prepare to deal resolutely with that confrontation. The support of the majority of Scotland’s voters will be essential.
The Unionist position can be sustained forever unless the Scottish Government is prepared to reject the British state’s authority to obstruct the exercise of our right of self-determination. The Scottish Parliament, on a proposal by the Scottish Government, must assert its competence in all constitutional matters on the basis of its exclusive democratic legitimacy and on the grounds that this is the ONLY way the people of Scotland may exercise the right of self-determination guaranteed to us by the Charter of the United Nations.
Having asserted its competence in constitutional matters, the Scottish Parliament must entertain a proposal to dissolve the Union subject to the agreement of a simple majority of the Scottish electorate – such agreement to be sought by means of a referendum held entirely under the auspices of the Scottish Parliament.
There is no other credible process being presented which could result in Scotland’s independence being restored. I would posit that this is because #ScottishUDI is the only way. Others may disagree. But if they do, then they must be prepared to explain the process that they have in mind.
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