The following was posted by me as a reply to a comment on Bad ideas and worse ideas. I thought it might usefully be offered to a wider audience.
Your “reservations” are based on a false idea of what #ScottishUDI is. And don’t start your standard whining about it never having been explained unless you can explain how come so many other people understand it perfectly.
It’s not even as if an explanation is really necessary. Once a few basic truths are recognised, #ScottishUDI follows as the inevitable and only conclusion. All that is required is to stop and think about it for a while. Not, as you have so evidently done, decide that it is wrong and then try to justify that conclusion.
We must have a referendum. That is a basic truth. That referendum must serve as the exercise of our right of self-determination. That is a basic truth. A Section 30 referendum cannot serve as the exercise of our right of self-determination because the process itself denies the popular sovereignty on which our right of self-determination rests. Yet another basic truth.
We then ask what are the criteria for a referendum which serves as the exercise of our right of self-determination. It must be binary. The options must be discrete, defined and deliverable. It must be impeccably democratic. It must involve ONLY the people of Scotland, their elected representatives and democratically legitimate institutions AT EVERY STAGE. All basic truths.
The next question is how do we go about holding this referendum? By this time, it should be obvious that the right kind of referendum can only be authorised by and held under the auspices of the Scottish Parliament. A crucially important basic truth.
Here we have arrived at the point at which all supposed routes to independence converge. The point at which the Scottish Parliament has to do something which is unlawful within the legal and constiutional framework which armours the Union. Simple logic dictates that if there is no lawful way to proceeed within that framework and the right of self-determination is absolute and inalienable then it becomes necessary to step outside the framework which constrains in any way the exercise of that right. More basic truth.
The rule of law must hold. Democracy and, indeed, civilisation depends on it. So the conduct of a referendum must occur within some legal framework. What other legal framework might there be but the same legal framework which identifies and guarantees the right of self-determination ─ the UN Charter and relevant Declarations. We must step outside the local (British) framework while staying within the international framework. All basic truth.
So, we need a particular kind of referendum. This kind of referendum can only be done by and through the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Parliament is denied the relevant competence by the British state using the power afforded it by a grotesquely asymmetric political union. How can the Scottish Parliament acquire the competence it needs? Only be taking that competence. Asserting it.
This is #ScottishUDI. It is not, in fact, an outright declaration of independence. It is a de facto declaration of independence because once a parliament has competence in all constitutional matters the nation is effectively independent. But crucially, it is not an explicit declaration of independence. It is an assertion of a particular competence ostensibly for the purpose of facilitating the exercise of our right of self-determination ─ there being no other way the exercise of this inalienable right would be possible.
The British government then has two choices. It can accept the new reality. Or it can mount a challenge to the actions of the Scottish Parliament in asserting its competence to facilitate the exercise of our right of self-determination. If the former, the British will try to attach conditions and caveats to their acceptance of the new reality. This must not be permitted. For reasons which I wish I didn’t have to explain but am resigned to having to do so, just not here and not now. If the latter, the British state will have to go to court (ICJ not UKSC) and openly state some things that it would prefer it didn’t have to say out loud and which once stated aloud would all but guarantee a massive majority in favour of ratifying a proposal to dissolve the Union. Again, the sort of arguments the British would have to make in open court and why it would prefer not to are things which should be obvious and which have been described in some detail on numerous occasions, but I fully expect a demand that I explain them again for the benefit of those so intellectually indolent they’d rather use my brain than test their own.
It’s all there. All the basic truths of the matter. Every day I see more and more people coming to similar conclusions because thay have actualy started to think about the issue for themselves rather than latch onto some pre-packaged ‘solution’ offered by politicians and other political actors. This shift may be happening solely within the relatively tiny ‘echo-chamber’ of independence activists. But this matters because these activists are the ones who will take the arguments to others. It is a tiny bubble only in a realitive sense. In practical terms, it is all the people who matter in terms of mounting a campaign. It is the people who have to be persuaded first. It is, therefore, a cohort whose importance is out of all proportion to its size.
My hope is that a tipping point will be reached at which the slow dawning will turn into a flood of illumination such as not even Nicola Sturgeon wll be able to ignore. That is the only hope for Scotland’s cause.
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