Fine words

Ian Blackford portentously declares that the next UK general election will be “one of the most important in Scotland’s history”. If we are to take him at his word, we must know what makes it so. What is it about this election that makes it so significant for Scotland? How might the election impact Scotland? In what way will the outcome of the election determine Scotland’s future?

What are Ian Blackford’s – and, we must assume, the SNP’s – priorities in this election? What do he and they hope to get out of it?

Of course, as Mr Blackford speaks, there is no election. Under the terms of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, the next UK general election isn’t due until 5 May 2022. Few people, however, expect the current regime to last that long. The smart money isn’t betting on anything right now. But there is talk of opposition scheming to bring down the government and force an election in December. Spare a thought for the canvassers and leafleters who will have winter weather to contend with.

What you may have noted is that this date is beyond the most recent Brexit deadline. So it’s not at all clear what the point might be in “putting Scotland’s opposition to Brexit” at the heart of the election campaign, as Ian Blackford states is the SNP’s intention. Whatever else might be achieved, there is no way for an election to turn back the clock or alter the past. By December, Brexit will be a fait accompli. Scotland will have been wrenched from the EU against the will of the Scottish voters. By December, the deluge of Mad Brexiteer triumphalism provoked by a no-deal Brexit may just be starting to abate. The harsh realities of Brexit may even be beginning to bite despite the British government’s efforts to bury them under a pile of money and propaganda.

Is Ian Blackford suggesting that the SNP will be asking people to vote for them as a protest against Brexit and/or the contempt shown for Scotland’s democratic will by the British establishment? It’s a strategy of a sort, I suppose. But ‘Vote SNP as a futile gesture’ is hardly the most compelling campaign slogan ever devised.

Maybe the SNP is hoping for a further extension in the further hope that there may yet be hope of stopping Brexit. Some hope! It is true that the British parliament has passed legislation which will force the British Prime Minister to request another Article 50 extension if, by October 19, he hasn’t managed to persuade MPs to vote for either the ‘deal’ that they’ve already repeatedly rejected or a ‘new deal’ which currently exists only in Boris Johnson’s roiling imagination. Commentators are busy speculating about the possibility that the malignant child-clown might simply ignore this legal requirement.

There is little reason to suppose Boris Johnson might be prevented from breaking the law by a personal moral code evidently even less substantial than the ‘new deal’ which hasn’t actually been proposed and which the EU isn’t actually prepared to negotiate even if it actually had been proposed. But Boris probably won’t have to risk whatever penalty he might incur by defying the law and refusing to ask for more time. There’s a very good chance that the EU will not grant this request; especially if there are no fresh proposals – not involving wishful thinking and magic – which might break the deadlock. Johnson need only deploy the dithering and bluster which are his political stock in trade and the UK leaves the EU at 23:00 on 31 October by default.

The hope of stopping Brexit is looking rather forlorn. Opposition after the fact is a decidedly hollow basis for an election campaign. Indeed, the SNP might be well-advised to avoid any mention of Brexit, lest they remind voters of just how ineffectual their opposition has been. What else might they say about Brexit other than that they failed to prevent it being imposed on Scotland. Perhaps the campaign slogan might be ‘At least we tried!’.

Fortunately, Ian Blackford isn’t suggesting a campaign which relies entirely on a combination of credit for effort and post hoc protest. Alongside that “opposition to Brexit” at the heart of the SNP campaign will be a demand that Scotland’s people be given “our right to choose our own future with independence”. Which immediately prompted me to wonder why we are asking for this right if it is already ours. If it’s a right it requires no permission. If it’s ours we have no need to seek that permission. Already this second prong of the SNP’s election campaign strategy is starting to look as wobbly as the first.

What Ian Blackford is referring to is, needless to say, the Section 30 order that our First Minister has declared essential for a ‘legal’ independence referendum. On the matter of the process which must be followed to make the referendum legitimate, Nicola Sturgeon is in full agreement with those who are determined to ensure that a referendum doesn’t happen. You may count me among those who find this a curious position for the First Minister to have contrived for herself. She has committed to a process which is fraught with problems and pitfalls and, in doing so, she has ruled out all other options by effectively branding them illegal. You may count me among those who find this squandering of options totally incomprehensible.

But let us set aside, for the moment, the fact that the Section 30 process is undoubtedly toxic. Let us consider only the demand for a Section 30 order as a plank in the SNP’s platform come the next UK general election. Various questions may be asked of such a demand. Is it reasonable? How you answer that will depend on whether you recognise the toxic nature of the Section 30 process. And whether the question relates to the reasonableness of the requesting or the granting. A better question might ask if it is reasonable to be required to ask for permission to exercise a right which you already have the right to exercise. However, we’ve already covered that ground.

Another question that might be asked of a demand made as part of an election campaign is whether it is realistic. Is it possible for the demand to be met? How likely is it to be met? Is there any point to it?

The answer to these questions depends on the outcome of the election. Whether the demand is realistic or attainable or meaningful is all down to the make-up of the House of Commons in the wake of the election. Rather helpfully, Stu Campbell on Wings Over Scotland has done the arithmetic for us. He has modelled various scenarios ranging from the highly probable to ludicrously fantastical. In none of these scenarios does the SNP Westminster group end up in a position to secure that Section 30 order. Even winning 51 of Scotland’s 59 seats, the SNP simply wouldn’t have the necessary numbers.

None of Stu Campbell’s scenarios had the SNP win all the seats. But I suspect the end result would be the same. Whatever the weight of public support for independence it will always be outweighed in the British parliament by the overwhelming majority of Unionist MPs. The obvious conclusion being that it is utterly pointless to suppose Scotland’s independence might be restored via Westminster. It will only be restored by the Scottish Government acting through the Scottish Parliament in a way that breaks the British state’s rules but with the support of the Scottish people.

In summarising, let’s look at what Ian Blackford said,

The SNP will be putting Scotland’s opposition to Brexit and our right to choose our own future with independence at the heart of the contest… 

Scots urged to register to vote ahead of ‘crucial’ General Election

In the next UK general election, it looks like the SNP will be campaigning to stop something that’s already happened and to get something we already have by demanding something they can’t get and which they shouldn’t be asking for because asking for it does harm and getting it does even more harm.

You may count me among those who are not at all impressed. Not for the first time, Ian Blackford offers fine words which leave the parsnips quite devoid of butter.

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Bring it on?

As talk of a General Election mounts, I say ‘bring it on’…but it must be before Oct 31. MPs must not allow Johnson to game the date as a ploy to push through a no deal Brexit.— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) September 2, 2019

A nice soundbite from Nicola Sturgeon. Although the “bring it on” thing is getting a bit tired and threadbare, she carries it off. Perhaps well enough that people will cheer at the words without considering the content. They may applaud here steely determination and her grit and all that, but never think about the implications of a UK general election being brought on.

Our First Minister – and therefore, presumably the SNP group of MPs – seem bent on trying to force a snap election. She, and they, overstate their power to do this, of course; but that’s just politics. SNP MPs have no real power at Westminster. If they did, it’s unlikely they’d be tolerated at all in the parliament of England-as-Britain. The SNP is just part of an effort to block Brexit and/or prevent a no-deal Brexit and/or force a UK general election that is being mounted by a disparate, disjointed and disordered mob of MPs lacking any leadership or coherent plan or even agreed objective.

Nonetheless, this being British politics, such a random rabble may be effective. It may do something. Although whether what comes out of their effort in any way resembles what they intended or hoped for, is almost entirely a matter of luck.

But suppose what transpires is what Nicola Sturgeon appears to want when she urges the Johnson regime to “bring it on”. Suppose there is a UK general election called for mid-October. So what? What does Nicola Sturgeon stand to gain from this? What does the SNP stand to gain? What does the anti-Brexit campaign stand to gain? Most importantly, what does the cause of restoring Scotland’s rightful constitutional status stand to gain?

Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP almost certainly stand to gain more seats in the British House of Commons. So what? The Union is, and always has been, designed to prevent Scottish MPs being effective. The Union’s purpose, from its inception, has been to ensure that Scotland’s voice could never be meaningfully represented in British politics. Having 52 or 56 or even 59 MPs who actually speak for Scotland will make no difference.

The campaign to spoke the wheels of the Brexit juggernaut stands to gain… nothing! All the indications are that a UK general election will result in a British parliament even more committed to Brexit at any cost than the current one, If that is even imaginable. It will result is a British executive further empowered to wrench the UK out of the EU, trampling over democracy as it does so and dragging unwilling Scotland with it. This will be the outcome of a UK general election because this is what voters in England want. And they are the only voters who matter. A general election alters the make-up of the British parliament. But it doesn’t dilute the British Nationalism in that place. It only further concentrates it. The already vile mix would be made even more pungent and more potent by the addition of extremist followers of Nigel Farage.

The calling of a UK general election could warrant a further extension to the Article 50 process. Which might be regarded as a small victory for the ‘rebel rabble’ that the SNP is siding with. But only if all 27 real EU member states agreed to it and, even more crucially, only if the UK Government requested such an extension. Which simply isn’t going to happen.

It will be claimed that increasing the number of SNP MPs will strengthen Scotland’s cause. But will it? As already noted, the Union makes those MPs powerless regardless of their number. And they are now faced with a British executive which sees great virtue in emphasising and exploiting that powerlessness. A British regime which is eager to pander to British Nationalism’s anti-Scottish prejudices. A British political elite which will, therefore, relish every opportunity to demonstrate its contempt for Scotland’s elected representatives and democratic institutions.

Apart from which, a UK general election cannot possibly be both a proxy Brexit referendum and a proxy independence referendum. I trust that is obvious enough not to require further explanation.

Just as a UK general election will surely result in a British parliament and government which is even more determined to pursue Brexit at any cost, and which is empowered so to do, so it will result in a British administration even more committed to the ideology of ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism.

It will be claimed that having a massive majority of Scotland’s MPs will give the SNP some sort of enhanced mandate to pursue a new referendum and independence. But what difference might it actually make? If the British state is prepared to discount the existing “triple-locked” mandate, what reason is there to suppose it will not also discount any mandate no matter how ‘enhanced’. Especially when there is a British government that sees considerable political advantage in slapping Scotland down.

Bear in mind that Nicola Sturgeon has committed herself, and thereby Scotland, to the Section 30 process. A process which affords the British government ample scope for ensuring that no referendum ever takes place. There is no numbers of SNP MPs which will be able to force or persuade the British ruling elite to ‘allow’ a new independence referendum. Or to agree to a referendum on terms that would make a Yes victory anything more than the remotest possibility.

So! Bring it on! Bring on a UK general election. Just realise that after it is over we will be exactly where we are now. Brexit will still happen. At 23:00 on 31 October 2019 Scotland will be wrenched out of the EU despite our democratic will and ignoring all our protests. The people of Scotland will be stripped of their European citizenship with all the disbenefits and hardships that this implies. We will have imposed on us all the economic horrors that have been talked about and all the constitutional abominations that have been largely left unremarked.

The cause of restoring Scotland’s independence will also be no further forward. Doubtless those in the Yes movement are correct who say more people will be encouraged to support independence because of what they see happening in England and to Scotland. But without the means to express their democratic will, it means nothing. It changes nothing. And Nicola Sturgeon has effectively ruled out providing the means by which the people of Scotland might exercise their inalienable right of self-determination by inexplicably granting to the British government the authority to deny our right of self-determination.

That means of exercising our right of self-determination can only be provided by the Scottish Government acting through the Scottish Parliament with the support of the Scottish people. And it must inevitably and inescapably involve breaking the rules imposed by the British state. This is where we are now. And it is where we will still be after a UK general election.

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Where is the spirit?

Truly depressing stuff from Nicola Sturgeon. I read the headline ‘This was the day independence became completely inevitable‘ and immediately supposed our First Minister was at last going to say something that at least hinted at the possibility that she might be on the verge of considering actually doing something to bring about the restoration of Scotland’s independence. But, having scoured the article all I find is well-worn platitudes and stern condemnation tagged on as an afterthought to yet more of our First Minister’s obsession with England’s Brexit.

Of course, Brexit will adversely affect Scotland. But only if we, the people of Scotland allow it. And to prevent it we need our First Minister to step up. We need her to be bold and decisive. We need her to be entirely focused on Scotland’s cause and not the forlorn cause of trying to rescue England from the consequences of its own democratic choices.

It is patent nonsense to say that “a No-Deal Brexit was not on the ballot paper in 2016”. Of course it bloody was! It is the default outcome of invoking Article 50. If England’s voters were unaware of this before the 2016 EU referendum then that’s down to their politicians, their media and their own reluctance to make an effort to inform themselves. But the result of that referendum stands regardless.

The people of England are getting precisely what they voted for. And it is being delivered by politicians who have all the mandate the British political system requires. What Boris Johnson is doing may be outrageous, but in terms of the ‘British constitution’ it is totally legitimate.

So why is Scotland’s First Minister – whose first responsibility is, by definition, to Scotland – so insistent on trying to “work with others” within the British political system to undo something that is a product of the British political system? Why is she not primarily concerned with the fact that the Union allows this product to be imposed on Scotland?

What will it take for the First Minister to realise and/or recognise that Brexit is merely a symptom and that the Union is the disease? What will it take for her to stop putting her faith in a British political system which is so plainly deleterious to Scotland’s interests?

What does the British political elite have to do to really piss her off to the point where Nicola Sturgeon admits that she must break the Union that places Scotland at the mercy of the likes of Boris Johnson?

Our First Minister looks forward to Holyrood going back into session next week and the Referendums Bill resuming its leisurely parliamentary progress. But she does so immediately after acknowledging the threat to the Scottish Parliament that many of us have been aware of for years. It’s almost as if she trusts Boris Johnson not to ‘suspend’ the Scottish Parliament as casually and arbitrarily as he did the British parliament. That is depressing.

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Scotland’s has a Parliament

So, our First Minister has at last caught up with those of us in the Yes movement who have been warning for years that Scotland’s democratic institutions are in jeopardy. Or, more likely, she is finally prepared to speak publicly about the likelihood of the Scottish Parliament being ‘suspended’. I find it hard to believe Nicola Sturgeon was oblivious to the threat. But it is easy to understand why, as a senior politician, she might have been reluctant to admit any concerns. It’s not that long since talking about the Scottish Parliament being closed down would have called down a torrent of mockery and condemnation from the British establishment for ‘scaremongering’.

Now, it is those who try to deny even the possibility who open themselves to mockery. It is those who try to dismiss the threat who must be condemned. The threat is real. The threat is imminent.

All of which creates a major problem for the British parties in Scotland. What does Richard Leonard say now? How does Ruth Davidson rationalise Boris Johnson’s unceremonious attack on the British democracy that she holds to be sacrosanct? If anybody was listening to Willie Rennie, what sort of simpering drivel would they hear? How do any of them defend a Union which places Scotland at the mercy of Boris Johnson and whatever form of unthinkable worse that is yet to come?

England has chosen its path. As Stu Campbell points out on Wings Over Scotland

The UK has a democratically-elected government which is currently due to run until the summer of 2022. And that government has a mandate to deliver Brexit, in any form, come what may.

It’s a common cry from Remain-supporting politicians and media alike that Johnson has “no mandate” for no-deal. But all leaving personal opinion aside, it’s simply impossible to support that argument.

Two-and-a-half years ago, the UK parliament voted overwhelmingly – 498 to 114 – to enact Article 50, the mechanism by which a member of the European Union leaves the organisation. The terms of Article 50 are clear, and stipulate a no-deal exit unless a deal is done. The EU has already granted the UK two extensions on the timetable, which have produced absolutely nothing.

Scotland has no right to interfere with the choices made by the people of England. And no capacity to do so even if such interference could be justified. There have been opportunities to stop the Brexit madness and to avoid the hard-right British Nationalist coup currently underway. Voters in England have spurned every chance to choose differently.

Ii is time for the Scottish Government to leave England-as-Britain to its own devices. However noble you may consider the efforts of Nicola Sturgeon and Ian Blackford to have England’s voters draw back from the abyss, it is now time for them to acknowledge that the effort is doomed to fail – because the people of England don’t want it. They want what they’re getting. However anathema it may be to most of us here in Scotland, what is happening in London right now is precisely what the majority of people in /england voted for.

Scotland has made different choices. It is time the Scottish Government focused on ensuring that those choices are honoured.

Many of us realised that the Scottish Parliament’s future started to look perilous in 2007, wth the first (minority) SNP administration. When the voters broke the system to elect a majority SNP government in 2011, the fate of the Scottish Parliament was sealed. The British establishment was only prepared to tolerate devolution so long as the Union was not compromised. It was only a matter of time before they found a way to end the ‘experiment’.

The only way to avoid Scotland’s democratic institutions being dismantled is for the Scottish Parliament to assert its primacy on the basis of its exclusive democratic legitimacy. The Scottish Government must propose that the Scottish Parliament declare itself the sole voice of Scotland’s people and agent their of democratic will. It will then be for the people of Scotland to vote on whether to #DissolveTheUnion in order that Scotland should should be able to choose and follow its own path..

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It is all so fragile

My wife and I are working our way through the first series of the TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale at the moment. It makes for disturbing, and at times harrowing viewing. Thought-provoking on many levels. And the thoughts it provokes can be dark, indeed. Comparisons will doubtless be deemed invidious. But, as a study of power relationships, it is for me very reminiscent of Orwell’s Animal Farm. But The Handmaid’s Tale is very much more affecting. It will make you angry. It will make you afraid. It will lead you to despair of humanity. Because, for all it’s extremes, Atwood’s vividly imagined dystopia is horribly credible.

One of the things that struck me as most frightening about the TV dramatisation was the the way in which the descent into this dystopia is portrayed as happening almost unnoticed by people intent on the pursuit of what quickly come to seem ludicrously trivial gratifications. It was this, too, which put me in mind of Animal Farm. Each stage in the process of moving from democratic civilisation to barbaric totalitarianism appears, in isolation, perfectly reasonable. Or a passing phenomenon. Later, extraordinary measures are deemed necessary to deal with exceptional circumstances. Acceptance of each step in the process paves the way for tolerance of the next. Until there is no way back. Too late, the realisation dawns that what has been so casually squandered can never be recovered.

How fragile it all is!

Could this happen in real life? Is it already happening? If Margaret Atwood is right, we may be unaware. We may already have accepted too much. We may already have developed the tolerance which will allow our rights and freedoms to slip away from us. Not wrenched from our grasp, but given up without demur. Almost as if we were relieved to be freed from the responsibilities which are the necessary corollary of those rights and freedoms.

Brexit looms! Scotland is about to be forced out of the EU against the democratic will of Scotland’s people. That is serious. It is an outrage. And yet we see in the meek acceptance or dutiful rationalisation of this outrage precisely the dumb, fatal complacency that is so powerfully conveyed in The Handmaid’s Tale. We see the same failure – or refusal – to look beyond and beneath immediate events. As ever, we are distracted by talk of economic consequences. Brexit will destroy jobs! Brexit will cost each of us £2,456.76 per year! Brexit will mean empty shelves in the supermarkets and delicatessens! We are constantly encouraged to focus on those gratifications that we have yet to see as ludicrously trivial. Will we learn before it is too late?

Will we lift our eyes and see beyond Brexit to see the dismantling of Scotland’s democratic institutions and the decimation of our public services and all the other extraordinary measures that will be deemed necessary to deal with exceptional circumstances? Will we look beneath the seemingly benign bungling and entertaining eccentricities of the British political elite foisted on us by the Union and discern through the fog of media distortion a regime with motives hardly less malign that that portrayed by Margaret Atwood?

Will we remember that, only a few short weeks ago, the idea of the UK Parliament being prorogued to allow the British executive a free hand would have been, if not unthinkable, then hardly the topic of serious political discourse? Will we realise that the mere fact of the ‘suspension’ of democratically elected parliaments being discussed is part of the process by which the public consciousness is prepared for the actuality? Today’s fodder for political anoraks imperceptibly metamorphoses into tomorrow’s inevitability. And it’s somehow OK because we knew it was going to happen.

Will we think to follow this chain of developments even further? Perhaps to the invoking of the Civil Contingencies Act, with all that this entails? Or will we tell ourselves, and each other, that there is no chain; no connection; no linkage leading from one to the next? Will we see only isolated developments, each of which can be comfortably ignored or readily rationalised?

Will we all wake up one day to find ourselves in a world of nightmares, and wonder how it could have happened?

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Web inside web

I hear the likes of Jeremy Corbyn and the increasingly ludicrous Jo Swinson talking about having a ‘plan’ and my first thought is that they are three years too late. This is almost immediately revised upwards to 13 years, or possibly more. Because the time for planning was before the Brexit project was launched. And a project so complex would surely need at least ten years preparation time.

I know this has all been said before. And I know it’s too late to do anything about it. But when politicians are talking as if the situation can be resolved if we just put our faith in them it is as well to remind ourselves that the Brexit situation cannot be resolved.

I suspect most couples have gone through a period of hardship. The economic system under which we are obliged to live is driven by insecurity, inequity and imbalance. It’s engine is the tension created by contrived difference – differences among individuals and groups and differences between the ideal with which we are presented and the reality with which we must exist.

So most couples, and possibly others, will be able to recall times when it’s all gone wrong. Unemployment, debt, rising costs, family responsibilities and eventually ill-health all combine to imprison them in a web of intractable problems. They will recall those long hours spent in fruitless and futile discussion, pushing and tugging at the tangled threads of the web trying to find a way out. They will recall moments when a thread seemed to come loose. They will recall the wrenching, crushing despair on realising that this has only tightened two threads elsewhere.

When people have shared problems they tend to talk about them even when the talking takes them round in circles. However much they talk things through, they always end up back at the same place, or in a worse place. Sometimes they try to deny the soul-sapping powerlessness, insisting there has to be a way out. There just has to be. What if we….

Brexit’s a bit like that. Some foolish choices have sent things spiralling out of control, and now we’re at the talking-in-circles stage with politicians pretending they have solutions by pointing at the loose thread while ignoring the ones that are tightening. Those with nothing to gain from such pretence/deception stand back – to the extent that is possible when you’re trapped – and take in the whole snarled and ravelled knot, or as much of it as they can. And they see no way out.

Tug at the tread of an Article 50 extension and you are merely buying some time before you end up back at the same place.

Tug at the thread of a general election and you end up in the same place but with some new cast members.

Tug at the thread of a ‘people’s vote’ and the result puts you back in the same place.

Tug at the thread of revoking Article 50 and you find that the place you’re trying to get back to no longer exists; so you end up in the same dire situation but with a different web.

Where stands Scotland in all of this? We stand trapped in a web inside a web – the web of the Union. Deemed incapable of making our own choices, despite having made the choice that would have avoided the Brexit web altogether. Deemed helpless, despite being expected to help those who dragged us into the web. Deemed undeserving of a fate any better than that which England has chosen for itself, despite having a clear way out.

Brexit isn’t Scotland’s problem. The circuitous and circular discussion about how to ‘fix’ Brexit is not our conversation. The posturing of British politicians like Jeremy Corbyn is not for our benefit.

We don’t want to be here. We don’t deserve to be here. We don’t need to be here. But here we remain. Why?

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Bad doctor!

To be fair to Paul Kavanagh, the headline on his column in The National is rather misleading. He doesn’t actually say “Scottish independence is about escaping the UK’s Brexit fantasies“. But it would be understandable if he did. Because this is precisely what the Scottish Government has done. Intentionally or otherwise, it has linked the independence cause so intimately and inextricably with Brexit that it is now common to hear people say a new referendum cannot happen if Brexit is called off. Or that no action can be taken to move the independence project forward until after Brexit has happened.

Rarely, now, is independence or a new referendum discussed without Brexit being mentioned. Nicola Sturgeon may occasionally make some passing remark saying it’s not all about Brexit, but a few throw-away lines cannot outweigh the months and years of talk that has been all but exclusively about Brexit.

Scottish independence is NOT about escaping the UK’s Brexit fantasies; as I am sure Paul Kavanagh realises. In fact, it is now apparent that the Scottish Government isn’t even trying to effect Scotland’s escape from Brexit fantasies. To the very limited extent that the First Minister has revealed her intentions, these would appear to be to let Scotland be dragged out of the EU against the will of Scotland’s people and then maybe do something at some unspecified time after that.

The Scottish Government’s remit is to save Scotland from Brexit. Not to prevent it happening altogether. I, for one, would never give them a mandate to disrespect England’s voters the way the British political elite disrespects Scotland’s voters. While the Scottish Government is busy failing to thwart the democratic will of England’s voters, the British government is being allowed to get away with denying the democratic will of Scotland’s people. Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this picture?

Scottish independence is NOT about escaping the UK’s Brexit fantasies. It is about escaping the Union which gives the British state the power to impose Brexit on us. Brexit is merely a current, and particularly egregious example of how the Union leaves Scotland at the mercy of a corrupt and incompetent British political elite and an English parliament that has NO democratic legitimacy in Scotland. What is the point of escaping Brexit while the Union remains? It will only be a matter of time before the British state once again treats Scotland’s voters with the same contempt shown when Scotland’s Remain vote was summarily dismissed and our elected representatives excluded from negotiations.

Brexit is but a symptom. The Union is the disease.

Right now, the Scottish Government isn’t even treating the symptom effectively while apparently having forgotten about the disease entirely. Lashing the independence cause to the millstone of Brexit was a very bad idea. Failing to attack the disease of the Union has been a fateful mistake. I don’t know if it is possible to recover from these errors of judgement. But I know the Scottish Government has to try.

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