Quietly taking the lead

Joanna Cherry MP

I believe Joanna Cherry today has become the first Scottish politician to explicitly repudiate the Section 30 process. That has to be some kind of landmark for Scotland’s cause. I could wish she had been even more forthright in rejecting the “cap in hand” approach that remains official SNP policy. But I’ll settle for her acknowledging that “we need to move away from going cap in hand to ask for a Section 30 order and focus on our sovereignty”.

That statement is significant for another reason. Not only does it represent a clear departure from the Sturgeon doctrine which saw Scotland’s cause beached and disintegrating for more than eight years, it recognises the indisputable fact that it is the the sovereignty of Scotland’s people which is the basis and backbone of the fight to restore Scotland’s independence.

I recall some years ago writing that we actually faced two battles. We would have to fight to regain our nation’s independence. But first we would have to fight to defend our sovereignty and the right of self-determination that bestows on the people of Scotland. The best way to defend rights is to exercise them. The most effective way to defend our right to vote, is to use our vote at every opportunity and use it wisely. The best way to defend our right of free speech is to speak freely as often and as loudly as we may.

The only sure way to secure the right of the people of Scotland to determine the constitutional status of our nation and choose the form of government that best serves our needs, priorities and aspirations, is to do what we have an absolute right to do regardless of any obstacles or impediments that may put in our path or any threats that may be made. Just do it!

The notion that the British state would ever cooperate with us in this was always and obviously idiotic. Section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998 exists not to facilitate Scotland’s democracy, but to constrain it. Like the Union and the rest of the legal and constitutional armour that has been constructed to protect and preserve it, Section 30’s purpose is to deny the people of Scotland the full and proper exercise of our sovereignty.

One way in which our sovereignty has been disabled is by convincing people that we are not sovereign at all. That the people of Scotland are not as the people of other nations. That we are an exception to the most fundamental principles of democracy. That somehow the rules don’t apply here as they do everywhere else. That the democratic rights guaranteed to us by international law are subject to veto by the British state. The British learned long ago that it was not enough to colonise the land. To truly conquer and control a nation it is essential to colonise the minds of its people.

The idea that the British state should have a veto over our fundamental democratic right of self-determination could only take root in a mind that was already colonised. To the uncolonised or decolonised mind, this idea is anathema.

We can hardly hope to instil in the people the confidence in their own agency that comes with knowledge of their sovereignty while our elected government actively seeks to compromise that sovereignty and deny that agency by conceding the supremacy of the British state. To date, the approach to the constitutional issue taken by the SNP and (almost?) the whole of Scotland’s political elite has been that we must first persuade the people to support Scotland’s cause and then use that support to get the generous consent and honest cooperation of the British state in a process intended to end the Union which is a prerequisite for the British state’s concept of itself. It is difficult to understand why the self-defeating nature of this approach is not recognised by more people.

To become what we want to be we must act as we would if we were. To be the sovereign people of Scotland, the people of Scotland must act as the sovereign people of Scotland would. To be the parliament of the sovereign people of Scotland, the Scottish Parliament must act as a parliament mandated by the ultimate arbiter of legitimate political authority – the people.

Joanna Cherry isn’t quite there yet. But by repudiating the Section 30 process and putting popular sovereignty front and centre of he thinking on the constitutional issue, she appears to be heading in the direction the SNP leadership must go if the SNP is to be credible as ‘the party of independence’.

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10 thoughts on “Quietly taking the lead

  1. My concern is that there will be those, ostensibly by those that support Scotland’s Cause, that ‘challenge’ this expression of an alternative approach by Joanna Cherry with a series of ‘what ifs’ after a positive vote:

    What if London says No?
    What if we can’t trade with England?
    What if Europe doesn’t recognise us?
    What if the World falls on our head?

    They will whine. Those same people who were ardent adherents to ‘Nicola’s Secret Plan’.

    Bu I comment JC for attempting to at least find some common ground for us to coalesce around, one where the rights of the Scottish people – and not the British parliament – are paramount.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Something I noticed when I read this earlier, was that Joanna Cherry seems not to realise, that Scotland has a fully constitutional set of Parliamentarians already, not constrained by the Devolution Agreement. Those elected by the Scottish people to represent their interests at Westminster, who are not covered by any Supreme Court decision on Devolution, and have competency to hold a referendum thereby. Even if they left Westminster permanently to sit in Scotland that competency would remain in place, for as long as they continue to be elected.


      1. Not overrule, but act usefully for the Scottish people who elected them to do so. Whether we like it or not, those Parliamentarians are the only ones who cannot be put aside at the stroke of a pen, by ending Devolution. Westminster is already testing the waters to do that. Now I would prefer the Holyrood ones, to grow a pair, and declare competence in all things Scottish, but that doesn’t appear to be on the agenda.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. MPs have a mandate to represent their constituents in the British parliament. Outside Westminster, they have no mandate. The reason asserting the primacy of our parliament isn’t on the agenda at Holyrood is the we, the people, failed to put it there. Most of us were too busy devising and/or promoting some cunning but forlorn plan to get around the Scottish Parliament rather than facing up to the challenge of going through it. A few people are beginning to see the folly of this. But far too few. And while their numbers may be growing, they aren’t growing fast enough to save Scotland.

          In a couple of years this nation will be 100% fucked. Barely missing a beat, the Yes movement will then switch from arguing about what we should do to arguing about what we should have done. All while remaining stubbornly oblivious to what must be done.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. A lot of work to be done to reverse out of the dead end s30 enabled Referendum “route” by which politicians purported
    to surrender our sovereignty. The scene may now be setting for the British State to play its last card and it could get very ugly.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Apparently, she thinks she is a comedian, like Salmond. Oh dear.

    I can’t remember Cherry saying anything as an MP on either of the subjects that her SNP voters rate as most important to them (and rate them more important than Scottish independance by orders of magnitude). Interest in her political crusade of choice is at 2% – it rates even less interest than covid. But she’s your girl if you want someone to help stop unwarrented peroging (something to do with Russian dumplings?).

    Thus stands her legacy. As my MP she has done nothing of note. She may as well not exist. Super-entitled, establishment-authoritarian upper-middle-class twit of the year candidate.


    1. You forgot to include a link to the source for the statistics you quote. And to identify the “subjects” to which you refer. That’s ‘nul points’ for communications skills.

      That you have never seen or heard something is absolutely no evidence of its non-existence. Most of the real world lies outwith the limitations of the blinkered mind.

      Liked by 2 people

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