The judgement and what matters more

The choice in a new independence referendum should be much bigger than in 2014, as Sir John Curtice puts it. But we are not being offered a choice. The referendum as proposed asks only for a preference on the basis that the expressed preference doesn’t actually change anything.

In 2014, we went into the referendum campaign with the genuine belief that a Yes vote would be both a choice and a decision. We now have reason to doubt very much that a Yes vote would in fact have been decisive – in the sense that it would have been implemented. Everything we learned during and since that campaign indicates that British ‘respect’ for the outcome would have been in the form of lip-service only. And a sneering lip at that. Everything we have learned during and since the 2014 referendum indicates that the Scottish Government was never minded to press the issue. We can’t know that for certain, of course. But my very strong suspicion is that there was always going to be the need for another referendum.

The referendum we need is the referendum that we supposed the 2014 referendum to be. The referendum that is being proposed is not that referendum. It is bigger than the 2014 referendum only in that there is a great deal more at stake. It is bigger in the sense that we stand to lose everything if the vote is No, but we gain nothing if the vote is Yes. In the 2014 referendum we at least had cause to assume a Yes vote would win us the star prize. In the October 2023 referendum – if it happens – we have been explicitly told that the prize has been removed from the offer. A Yes vote is, in effect, to be merely a vote for Nicola Sturgeon to plead for a Section 30 order yet again. Scotland’s cause will be back to where it is now but having had the second referendum we demanded.

Had I not been as well-acquainted as I am with the Yes movement, I would have been shocked that Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement of a possible 2023 referendum failed to provoke riots. Or at least angry demonstrations. That is how much of an insult her ‘plan’ is to Scotland’s cause. But knowing the Yes movement as I do – and particularly the Sturgeon/SNP loyalist faction – I was not at all surprised to find the majority jumping up and down with excitement as they celebrated being insulted.

The referendum we need has to serve as a formal exercise of our right of self-determination. The referendum we are being offered is not that nor anything even vaguely like it. Whatever happens with the mock referendum or the de facto mock referendum, we will be left where we are now having potentially exhausted ourselves, our resources and our time for less than nothing. We will still be in need of that bigger referendum. But it will no longer be the second one. It will be the third. Which has implications that it would be patronising to explain.

There is still time to force the SNP/Scottish Government to change tack and deliver the referendum I suspect most of us thought we were voting for when we gave them mandate after mandate. The best time to do this would have been at the Scottish Parliament elections in 2021. The opportunity existed then for a mass campaign in favour of a #ManifestoForIndependence which would have committed all the parties adopting it to holding a proper constitutional referendum. One that produces a decision as well as a result. That opportunity was squandered, as so many opportunities before it. But there remains scope for a mass campaign to force a rethink of the SNP’s failed ‘strategy’. A strategy which has failed and will continue to fail because it has been designed to be ineffective.

The Yes movement has to make a choice. Do we settle for Nicola Sturgeon’s mock referendum? Or do we demand that the Scottish Government facilitate a democratic event which will be recognised globally as a formal exercise of our right of self-determination. Do we accept the mockery that is being offered in which a Yes vote means nothing? Or do we insist on a referendum in which a Yes vote means the restoration of Scotland’s independence?

We will know the answer to that tomorrow. How we answer that question is vastly more important than what the UK Supreme Court judges say.

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13 thoughts on “The judgement and what matters more

  1. The crucial question but answers from Scotgov came there none.They are taking the piss out of the tottering independence movement and a massive change in attitude is urgently required but a forlorn hope. The senior members of SNP who are complicit in the construction of this misguided personality cult which has trashed our inalienable right to self determination must shoulder much of the blame.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Wrong court, wrong question, spineless deliberate failure-seekers. History will judge them as Scotland’s equivalent of Norways’ Quislings, France’s Vichy collaborators, we’ll need a new word – I’m not quite ready to use the “T” word. Maybe Blackfordites or Murrellings – suggestions on a discarded SNP membership card ?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. They could best be described as duplicitous betrayers of Scotland’s people in the quest of our sovereign right to exist as an Independent Nation. The people are sovereign and we must take command in the absence of integrity within the current cabal who would seek to renounce Scotland.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Meanwhile the SNP are making complete arses of themselves:

    SNP MPs split on attending Supreme Court indyref2 rally with activists

    but it’s actually even worse than a “split”:

    Several MPs have prior commitments at debates and house business but most, The National understands, are waiting for guidance to come from HQ.

    and as for the MSPs, absolutely nothing, nada, nihil. nichts, rien, lickety-spit.

    It’s a disgrace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I said I’d follow this through, and I am.

      They have less than 11 hours to get most of the MPs to the Supreme Court for 9.45 am, just 5 minutes walk from Westminster, and make a real showing, or face the wrath of the Indy movement. Some of us will not forgive them.

      Wha daur meddle wi’ me?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This will give more momentum to the idea that Scotland is now officially a colony, same as was true for Ireland – my wife’s country.

    But please don’t try to bend figures and statistics to make that assertion; there is no need and it just weakens the case.


  5. Apparently because we do have mp representation in the westminster parliament and because we were historic oppressors along side the other brittish oppressors we are not regarded by the UN as a colony. We are not on the list of colonies that they hold.


    1. Not yet we’re not. A General Assembly Meeting of the UN would have to add us to the list of Non Self-Governing Territories (NSGT).

      I suspect we’d have to be proposed by the likes of Ireland, as the UK is incredibly unlikely to do so.


    2. There are numerous oppressed and exploited peoples that are not on the UN Decolonization List. Let’s remember that the UN is still dominated by the bully powers.


      1. I can’t find anything in UN Declaration 1514 or other material dealing with self-determination which cites ‘oppression’ as an essential criterion. The point is that ALL nations and peoples have the right of self-determination ALL of the time. It’s a human right. You can’t, for example. have the right not to be enslaved only if you are enslaved.

        The question is NOT whether we have the right of self-determination. It cannot sensibly be denied that we do. It is only a question of whether, when and how we exercise this right. The right of self-determination is meaningless if it does not include the right to exercise the right. Imagine a right to freedom of expression which could only be exercised with the consent of a third party.

        Our problem is NOT that we don’t have both the right of self-determination and the right to exercise that right. Nor is it that we lack the means to exercise the right of self-determination. We have a democratically legitimate Parliament and all the infrastructure required to manage a democratic event. The ONLY thing that is lacking is the political will.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Yes, political will would certainly help our cause, tho a deceitfu dominant national party elite leading the independence movement up a blind alley fits rather well with postcolonial theory.

          Colonialism, which the UN terms ‘a scourge’ (i.e. the cause of suffering, punishment) and calls for its ending, arguably always involves ‘oppression’ of ‘a people’ in various forms, including the under-development of a people and nation unable to access and use their own resources, their culture and identity obliterated, high levels of poverty etc.


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