Options for Independence 1387

So what do we do now with Theresa May apparently obdurate on blocking the referendum?

It is important to realise politics are fluid. In a week’s time the situation will not be what it is today. The battle for public opinion is key. The unionist media (ie virtually all of it) are asserting continuously, as a uniform line, that opinion polls say the people of Scotland do not want a second Independence referendum in the timescale Nicola Sturgeon has set out – even though that is not true at all. The serial Tory crooks at You Gove came out with an opinion poll right on cue “showing” that support for Independence is hitting new lows. But I suspect it will not be long before evidence emerges that May’s unattractive diktat has profoundly assisted the Independence cause. That will change the game.

So with a wind of public opinion behind her, what does Sturgeon do if Westminster denies a Scottish Parliament request for a referendum? There are several options:

1) Hold an Advisory Referendum

It appears probable (though not undisputed) that the Scottish government can hold a referendum which is not binding, without Section 30 permission from Westminster. It is hard for Westminster to dismiss the result of an advisory referendum, given that Brexit was only an advisory referendum and May has taken as a matter of faith that it is binding.

But as we saw in Catalonia, a boycott by unionist forces can be quite effective in denying the credibility of a non-binding referendum result. I strongly suspect that would be their attitude to an advisory referendum, and I do not see it as a strong way forward.

2) Call a New Holyrood Election

This is an attractive option in many ways. It would be predicated on the plain statement that a new pro-Independence majority would declare Independence unilaterally. That would be the normal and internationally accepted way for a country to secede – a referendum is very much the exception.

But there are problems with this approach. The first is that it would require a two thirds majority of the Scottish parliament to dissolve it, and the Unionists would in all probability simply block it. Forcing them to do that may be a good move, but doesn’t take us far forward.

The second problem, should parliament dissolve, is the campaign itself. As it would not be a referendum campaign, media coverage would not be balanced on independence, but the unionist parties in effect given three times the coverage of the SNP, assuming the Greens continue to be very poorly treated. But as the “Balance” of the referendum coverage was risible anyway, I am not sure this is so much of a drawback.

More difficult is the uncertainty created by the appalling De Hondt system. There is no doubt that the optimum outcome for Independence would be for every Independence supporter to vote SNP 1 and Green 2. But in practice that will never happen on a significant scale, and what is the best way to utilise your vote to achieve independence is simply not predictable. Risking all on a system so prone to statistical fluke is a problem.

3) Call a National Assembly

In the event that Scotland is being blocked from holding either a referendum or an election, the Scottish Government could move to convene a National Assembly. This might consist of all MPs, MSPs and MEPs and that body could declare Independence. To be clear, that would be a revolutionary act in UK terms, but it is perfectly normal for such an act to be required at the birth of a new state and is no bar to it being accepted in international law as a state through recognition by the United Nations General Assembly.

The argument would run that, having been blocked at every turn from holding a democratic vote either by way of referendum or parliamentary election, the Scottish government had taken the option of convening all representatives democratically elected at the national level – MSPs, MPs and MEPs, and these elected representatives of the Scottish people had made the decision. That is perfectly respectable and entirely analogous to the way many EU members such as Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovenia, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia became independent.

To return to my original argument, the possibilities depend very much on how public opinion is seen to be trending. May’s calculation appears to be driven firstly by a desire to play to her Brexiteer base in England – which judging by the rabid comments pages across the media is very successful – and secondly by a desire to further polarise Scottish politics to the benefit of the Scottish Tories. She is more than happy for Independence to be decided on a straight SNP vs Tory field. That May thinks she can win such a battle is an example of staggering hubris.

I have been saying in all of my speeches across Scotland in the last year that the game has changed and we have to be prepared for the idea we may have to achieve Independence without the consent or cooperation of the Westminster government. I am happily no longer a radical outlier in this belief.

Allowed HTML - you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

1,387 thoughts on “Options for Independence

1 2 3 10
  • branches

    You don’t need a majority against the status quo in opinion polls to stage a referendum. David Cameron called the EU referendum when Leave was averaging 35%

    • fred

      You just need to have not said the last referendum was once in a lifetime.

      David Cameron didn’t call another EU referendum because he didn’t like the result of the first one.

      But then Westminster is run by grownups, not the spoilt brats we have at Holyrood.

      • James W

        The original 1975 EU referendum was supposed to be once in a lifetime but we had another one because some people didn’t like the result. Hopefully it won’t take quite so long till the next one.

        • Loony

          There was no EU referendum in 1975 for the obvious reason that in 1975 the EU did not exist. Rather there was a referendum regarding continued membership of the EEC. At that time the SNP considered that continued UK membership of the EEC would be disastrous for Scotland.

          Still why let facts stand in the way of rabid polemic.

        • MJ

          The EU didn’t exist in 1975. There was only the EEC, or Common Market, which was just the free market. When it went all integrationist and re-emerged as the EU, surely a new referendum was warranted on the grounds that there had been a significant material change.

          • Haward

            This is a typical Leaver untruth. EFTA, of which we were already members was a free trade zone. We deliberately and consciously joined the EEC which had clear integrations objectives which were welcomed even by the Daily Mail at the time.

          • Loony

            It may have been welcomed by the Daily Mail but it was most certainly not welcomed by the SNP.

            Did you know that the definition of consistent is “acting or done in the same way over time, especially so as to be fair or accurate”?

          • haward

            not only do I know the meaning of consistent; I could probably jot it down in a grammatically correct manner. If you wish to advise the rest of us on meaning you should do so using the Queen’s English.

          • Derek

            In 1975 the politicians swore blind that joining the Common Market would not mean a European super state despite what the Treaty of Rome said. In fact the very existence of the treaty of Rome was scarcely mentioned during the campaign. As usual we were lied to.

          • Harry Vimes

            In regard to that latter statement about a material change one can argue whether or not such a situation existed following the referendum in the 1970’s however, are you listening Fred, there is little doubt that following the promises, guarantees and vows made about continued EU membership on a no vote in that September 2014 Independence referendum – with the converse that EU membership would be under threat should there be a yes vote for independence – it cannot be seriously argued that a material change does not exist regardless of what may or may not have been said or claimed to have been said.

            In that regard this position, far from being the actions of ‘spoilt brats,’ is much in keeping with that outlined by the late John Maynard Keynes who, when taken to task by a real spoilt brat over his change of mind over a particular issue, gave a reply along the lines of ( to praphrase) ‘when the the facts change, so do my conclusions. What do you do sir?’

            A point Fred, amongst others here, would benefit from taking on board.

          • fred

            There has been no material change yet and there won’t be for some time and then it will take time to determine the effects of the change on Scotland.

            Why doesn’t the SNP just fight the 2021 election on a manifesto of holding another referendum then we will see if the people of Scotland actually want one.

      • branches

        Namecalling combined with references to fictitious promises no politician ever uttered does not make a reasoned and substantial argument.

      • Sharp Ears

        The context of what Alex Salmond actually said this on the Marr show in 2014:

        ‘Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond told the BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show that if the majority of Scots vote No to independence on 18 September, there will be no second referendum on the subject within this “political generation”.

        “Harold Wilson famously (said) one vote is enough in a referendum but we’re not aiming to win by one vote, we’re aiming to achieve a substantial majority if we can.”

        He added: “If you remember that previous constitutional referendum in Scotland – there was one in 1979 and then the next one was 1997. That’s what I mean by a political generation.

        “In my opinion, and it is just my opinion, this is a once in a generation opportunity for Scotland.”

        Asked if he could pledge not to bring back another referendum if the Yes campaign does not win on Thursday, he said: “That’s my view. My view is this is a once in a generation, perhaps even a once in a lifetime, opportunity for Scotland.”


        He WAS the First Minister then. Nicola is the First Minister NOW.

      • Bahoocie

        We’ve just had a once in a generation event in Brexit. A second Scottish referedum is the result of that. No Brexit No ScotRef2

      • D-Majestic

        ‘Westminster run by grown-ups’ Fred? Since when? They mostly had nannies and house-masters/mistresses. Or even tutors-like Orestes. Lol.

  • MJ

    At the moment May doesn’t seem to be obdurate in blocking a new referendum so much as delaying it so it doesn’t take place while UK/EU negotiations are taking place. This is consistent with Sturgeon’s own time-scale, which suggests spring 2019 at the latest date.

    Don’t you think it would be better for the Scots to see how the negotiations are fairing before having to make a decision?

    • Republicofscotland

      It would be too late by then, we need to set the date now, in order that Scotland can remove itself from the union and the more than likely hard Brexit, that is on the horizon.

      Remember the respected Fraser of Allander Institute, has forecast the loss of 80,000 jobs across Scotland on a hard Brexit along with a drop of £2,000 pounds on wage incomes as well, that’s a devastating outcome for Scotland.

      Along with that Scotland’s economic growth could be reduced by £8 billion, exports could also be cut by 11% and the chancellor has indicated that Scotland’s debt would increase by over £10 billion to help pay for Brexit.

      It’s a unacceptable risk, that’s why we need a date set now and if Westminster says no, we must find a way around that, because by 2018, we’ll know where we stand on Brexit.

      • MJ

        Forecasts are ten a penny, there’s nothing like dealing with reality. If you think there’s going to be a seamless transition from the UK to the EU then forget it.

        • Republicofscotland

          “If you think there’s going to be a seamless transition from the UK to the EU then forget it.”


          Yes we know there will be challenges ahead no one is denying that, however they are challenges, that we will deal with, and not Westminster.

          The best people to make decisions for Scots, are Scots themselves.

          • Harry Vimes

            As I understand it what your argument boils down to is one of ‘taking back control.’ A principle I’m sure no one on these islands outside Scotland would surely disagree with or challange without abondoning their own principles on that matter.

  • Loony

    Yeah yeah. D’yall know that in 2011 there was an Independence Referendum in South Sudan – independence won the day when 99.5% of the electorate voted in favor of independence.

    Guess what happened in South Sudan post independence?

  • Loony

    You provide a list of EU states that have become independent in the recent past. What a pity you confined yourself to the EU otherwise you could included the independence of countries such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, Moldova and the Ukraine.

    I wonder what could explain such an omission? – surely not that independence for many of these states was not exactly “voluntary” or without subsequent problems.

    • bevin

      From whom did the Ukraine declare its Independence in recent years? Certainly neither the EU or the USA.

      • Loony

        The Ukraine achieved independence in 1991 when the USSR, of which it had been a constituent part, ceased to exist. Since 2014 most of the country has effectively been a colony of the US. Parts of eastern Ukraine have declined the opportunity to become absorbed into the US empire and continue as an independent entity – albeit with some support from Russia. The Crimea decided to detach itself completely from Ukraine and has been reabsorbed into Russia.

        I hope this helps to clarify matters for you, although am somewhat surprised that you were not already aware of this basic background..


    I very much agree Westminster will never let Scotland out of the union without a fight. The hi-jinks they pulled last time shows this together with Cameron’s ‘for a generation’ assertion. The result was marginal, with older voters far more in the ‘no’ camp than younger voters.

    However it is achieved I hope it is sooner rather than later. Certainly before any ‘Brexit’, should such a disaster come to pass.

    • Republicofscotland

      “I very much agree Westminster will never let Scotland out of the union without a fight. ”



      So why would Westminster want to hold onto a country that is in their opinion, too wee too poor, unable to govern itself properly blah blah blah etc?

      Why does everyone of the 37 or so national newspapers constantly scaremonger that a independent Scotland would sink in a sea of debt?

      Wouldn’t Westminster be better-off helping the independence case “IF” that were the case?

      However in truth, it’s far from the case, that’s why Westminster is desperate to hold onto Scotland.

  • Loony

    Hey Scotland I have an idea that will help you achieve the support of the EU for an independent Scotland within the EU (sic).

    All you need to do is send your top diplomats down to Ankara and assure them that the people of Scotland have no problem in accepting 15,000 migrants a month. That will take the wind out of Turkish sails and earn you the respect of the EU


    • John Dee

      Migrants need help! not to be used a political tool and push xenophobic propaganda.

      • Loony

        Go tell that to the Turks. But of course you wont because Europeans have lost all sense of reality, all sense of truth and all sense of justice. Just sit back and watch the Turks humiliate you.time after time.

        Go tell it to the Swedes – the worlds largest per capita arms manufacturer. But of course you wont because every knee must bend at the altar of Swedish insanity.

    • Andrew Wilson

      Considering the Scottish government’s policy already, is to increase immigration, I don’t see a huge problem with that! 🙂

      • Loony

        Fair enough. I have more good news for you. The population of Africa is increasing by an aggregate 80 million people per year. Scotland could really max out by taking all of these “surplus people” Get a couple of hundred million in and everything should look great – just don’t forget to explain the true impact of this policy to Scottish voters. Should be no problem as I am sure it will be an attractive proposition.

        • bevin

          It would certainly be a great opportunity for you to preach your message of racism and fear.

          • Loony

            bevin – I sometimes wonder about you. I have no message of racism and fear. I have a message regarding the exponential function – surely you are aware of it and have knowledge as to how it works.

            Why do people like you always respond to facts with infantile emotion? You are a human being not an ostrich. Get off your knees and behave like a human.

          • bevin

            What other than an attempt to elicit fear is the point that you are making by telling us that the population of Africa is increasing by 80 millions a year?
            (Would you prefer be less concerned if the population were declining? Would that be welcome news to you?)

            The truth is that your racism is so deep that you are perhaps unaware of it. No doubt your Malthusianism is equally deepseated. Both are irrational prejudices.
            As to your idiotic excuse that you were simply attempting to explain “the exponential function’ your friend Villager would seem to agree.

          • Loony

            bevin – your penchant for playing the man and not the ball would try the patience of a Saint.

            Here is Professor Bartlett setting out how it all works


            Whatever you do – don’t watch it because you would run the risk of learning something.

            Most informed people are of the view that in 1961 the human population of earth consumed, on an annual basis, slightly more than half of the earths annual bio-capacity. Today we are consuming 1.5 times the earths bio-capacity.

            What cannot persist will not persist.

            There are no good outcomes available – only a series of bad or worse choices. (What do you think the one child policy in China was all about?) Not all people think like you. How much evidence do you need that there are some who intend weaponizing people. Check out Erdogan and his pronouncements about flooding Europe with migrants and calling on Turkish people to “out-breed” Europeans,What do you think he means by these statements? Do you think he cares about people?

            Scotland wants more immigrants. Well they can be easily provided, and provided in their hundreds of millions. Do you really think that Scotland could exist with a population of several hundred million people. Or do you intend accepting some and refusing others on some arbitrary basis – perhaps making them swim the Med to prove their desire. Oh how very humanitarian and non racist.

            Most likely you are completely delusional and just respond to the truth by hurling insults at the messenger. A less generous interpretation is that you are so wedded to Marxism that you see no particular problem as you envision a new dawn for Stalinism or Pol Pot or the Cultural Revolution and look forward to the day when vast swathes of humanity can be dispatched on ideological grounds.

            Grow up and address arguments and try to forget that you have been indoctrinated to scream racist at anyone who tells you something that you don’t want to hear.

      • Anon1

        Erdogan has just urged Turks already in Europe to have five children so as to “change the face” of Europe forever.

        Careful what you wish for.

  • ross

    How about all SNP Westminster MP’s resigning and fighting subsequent election on an unambiguous independence ticket? If more than 50% of Scottish pro independence MP’s are returned, then we have a mandate to negotiate independence terms……

    • Andrew Wilson

      I’m not sure how ambiguous the Scottish National Party standing with an independence referendum in their manifesto, could be?

  • mike

    This headline tells you all you need to know about where the state broadcaster’s loyalties lie:

    “Israel’s Arrow anti-missile system ‘in first hit’.


    You’d expect a headline like this in, say, an IDF in-house magazine (whatever their equivalent to ‘Stars and Stripes’ is). Or in the PR fluff from the manufacturers of the Arrow system.


    That’s the story. But what do the execrable BBC do? They celebrate the missile’s accuracy.

    Recently, they airbrushed Saudi war crimes (and RAF complicity) completely out of the picture in a laughable 10pm news item on famine in Yemen.

    Have you read Kuenssberg’s latest? “Corbyn’s Beard Is Russian Hacking Device”

    It’s frightening stuff, and very well researched.

    • bevin

      “But the story…ah, the story is…4 Israeli F16s BREACHING A SOVEREIGN STATE’S AIRSPACE AND FIRING ON ITS ARMED FORCES…”
      You’ve buried the lede- the real story is that the IDF bombing was in support of ISIS and Al Qaeda, under pressure from the Syrians and their allies.

  • branches

    Kezia Dugdale has tweeted to tell Angus Robertson that she’ll “never vote for something that makes poor Scots poorer”.

    So we must draw the conclusion that she thinks hard brexit will help the poorest.

    • Republicofscotland

      Labour in Scotland have made themselves irrelevant, Kezia Dugdale is on a par now with Wee Willie Rennie, no one listens to him either. ?

    • Loony

      That would be a logical conclusion to draw – but of course no-one actually cares about the poor and so any attempts to help them must be stifled in a fog of propaganda and half truths.

  • James Kerins

    Is it not possible for the Scottish MP’s in Westminster to vote to dissolve the Act of Union? I thought that if a majority of MP’s from either England or Scotland voted to end the Act than that was it. Was I wrong?

  • lysias

    The national assembly route to independence was what was used both by Ireland and by the colonies that became the United States.

    • Loony

      You make it all sound so easy.

      …and there was I laboring under the impression that violence preceded by US and Irish independence.

      • lysias

        Only because the British government in both cases resisted independence violently.

        • Loony

          Is reading something you are comfortable with?

          I merely observed that both Irish and US independence was preceded by violence. I made no comment as to the aggressor.

          In the unlikely event that you have any interest you will find that Pakistan was birthed in a river of blood. You will find that violence preceded the establishment of Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo and Bosnia. Similarly South Sudan separated from Sudan via violence.Malaya and Kenya also witnessed significant pre independence violence. Korea separated into 2 countries via violence. Surely you have heard of Vietnam. Guess what happened in East Timor. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

          It is true that some of this violence was arguably caused by the British – but guess what? Scotland played its full role as a constituent part of “the British”

      • Republicofscotland

        The majority of MSP’s at Holyrood (who represent the will of their constituents aka THE PEOPLE).

        Will vote to hold a referendum, that’s the will of the people.

        Scotland wants another referendum, no matter what a unelcted prime minister hundreds of miles away in another country says.

  • Russell

    If a portion of the Scottish Government unilaterally declares independence what will the large percentage of Scots who voted to stay in the union feel? You cannot ignore the last referendum result.

    It’s only legitimate if you can persuade people in a referendum rather than going above their heads. The elites love to arbitrarily use their power but there’s no way this would be considered right by most Scots.

    If you can’t take the majority with you then it’s not legitimate.

    The best bet is to simply keep demanding a referendum and ultimately it will be impossible for Westminster to resist. At that point win the referendum. That’s the only fair way to proceed.

    • lysias

      I’ve read that, at the time of the American Declaration of Independence in 1776, about a third of the American population supported independence, a third were what were called “Tories” and wanted the British connection maintained, and a third were neutral. The supporters of independence had stronger views and included the bulk of the wealthy and the ruling class in the colonies.

      • bevin

        “The supporters of independence had stronger views and included the bulk of the wealthy and the ruling class in the colonies.”
        I’m not sure about that the loyalists included much of the ruling class. The clincher, however was that they risked the loss of their property by resisting the rebel forces. It should always be remembered too that both the indigenous peoples and the slaves of African origin sided with the crown. And the indigenous, in particular the Iroquois Six Nations, were subjected to outright genocidal campaigns because they hewed to their treaties with the Crown.
        One of those who knew these things and was greatly influenced by them was Lord Edward Fitzgerald who fought in the war and, when retiring from the Army in the late 1880s, refused to step on US soil on his long trip across the Great Lakes and down the Mississippi to New Orleans.

      • Zed

        The supporters of independence had stronger views and included the bulk of the wealthy and the ruling class in the colonies and thus could afford guns and ammunition!!!

    • MJ

      “If a portion of the Scottish Government unilaterally declares independence what will the large percentage of Scots who voted to stay in the union feel?”

      Perhaps they’ll do a Crimea and defect en masse back to the UK. The border counties might be tempted, also Shetland and Orkney etc, which would certainly put a spanner in the works.

      • lysias

        Which is also how the state of West Virginia was created. Because the mountain counties of Virginia opposed secession, when Virginia seceded from the Union the mountain counties themselves seceded from Virginia. And then the Union Congress approved the creation of the new state of West Virginia. (The Union side had created a Unionist government of Virginia whose writ only extended to the parts of the state that the Union Army occupied, and that government also gave the consent for the creation of the new state that the U.S. Constitution required.)

      • Jamie

        What a load of utter non-sense.

        1. The people of Scotland are soverign. Look up the Act of Union and Treaties of Union. Its plain to see.
        2. If the elected members of the Scottish Parliment choose to hold a referendum by gaining parlimentary approval, no matter the opinion in Scotland, it will be done.
        3. If it is ignored by Westminster (which i doubt very much) then the option available is to reconvene the Scottish MP’s and MEP’s along with all MSPs to hold a vote in the Scottish Parliment to abolish the Union with England Act.
        4. This by default would end the political union that ties Scotland and England together. There is no country called the UK, it does not exist. Scotland and England are sovereign countries in a political union, that is all.
        5. Independence is a misnomer. Scotland simply needs to repeal the Union with England Act, as Westminster is doing with the applicable EU Act.
        6. For Scotland to repeal this act, would in effect force England to reconvene its own parliment. This would then dissolve the union and Scotland and England would be free to make their own choices.
        7. The World Court, UN, the EU etc already recognise Scotland as a soverign country, what they dont recognise is the competancy of the Scottish Parliment to decide terms on behalf of Scotland and England i.e. the UK. Westminster does that…it is its function.

        • Shatnersrug

          Jamie you’re just making stuff up it say country of origin United Kingdom on my passport as it would on yours.

          • Travelady

            No, he’s absolutely correct. The UK is a political construct. You may wish to read the UN’s definition of the UK. To paraphrase, it recognises England & Scotland as equal countries in a polical union, even provides historical context.

  • Soothmoother

    Can’t all of The Westminster MPs resign simultaneously. This would mean mass bi-elections. Then a vote for SNP could be a vote for independence.

    • Loony

      SNP Westminster MP’s could indeed resign en mass. However I think you will find that it their intention that you pay the price of their political maneuverings and not them.

      Despite the eminent merit of your suggestion expect to see it ignored. In the unlikely event that it is not capable of being ignored then expect to see proponents of this idea smeared as anarchists or racists or just general lunatics.

      • lysias

        In 1919, the Sinn Feiners elected to Parliament refused to go to Westminster. Instead, they set up the Dáil in Dublin.

        • Travelady

          And taking about Sinn Fein, a SF Northern Irish MEP gave a speech at the EU this week where she ripped the British Government to shreds and eloquently told Theresa May she can shove any notion of a border where the sun won’t shine. Suspect this was as a result of David Davis fessing up this week that some kind of ‘light border’ would be required if no EU deal was made. Was a rather assertive speech.
          On top of that the natives of Gibraltar are getting restless and ignored.
          May is onto a hiding to non if she doesn’t engage her brain, take advice from a wider network and stand up to her very right wing MPs.

  • Tom

    A major problem here is that the Tories, the media and the polling organisations are in cahoots, so we don’t really know what the state of public opinion is. They are using the same tactics to deter people from demanding a Scottish referendum as they are to deter people in the UK as a whole from demanding a general election – ie keep releasing polls that suggest the independence/Labour would lose.
    And because the media find excuses after every election the pollsters get wrong (nearly every one), most people don’t realise the polling companies are deliberately telling lies and/or selectively releasing polls that suit the Tories and their poodle media.
    Someone needs call their bluff.

    • Soothmoother

      Not always. If you get too far ahead you risk voter lethargy. It’s a balancing act Reeves!

  • branches

    Wacky campaigning group Scotland in Union have today revealed their response to Nicola’s announcement on Monday.

    They’re calling it the Referendumb.

    How clever.

    There you are Fred. A toy for you to play with.

    • Travelady

      Did see that. Notwithstanding I support their right to protest, half a dozen pensioners, who were clearly affluent, standing under a portable billboard with ‘dumb’ highlighted did bring a smile to many. Don’t think the protestors got the irony.

  • Alan Crocket

    Interesting stuff. We should be grateful to May for forcing us to attend to the illegitimacy of the current block she wields.

    The founding statute of the Scottish Parliament reserves constitutional issues to Westminster. The effect of that as far as Scottish constitutional referenda are concerned is to render them incompetent and invalid unless sanctioned by Westminster, by what is known as a Section 30 arrangement, which London can refuse.

    Such withholding power may be perfectly proper for constitutional arrangements which are intended to apply in a United Kingdom of which Scotland is to remain a part. It is, however, outrageous and unconscionable for it to apply to measures by the Scottish Parliament which are intended to facilitate the expression by the Scottish People of their will on the question of independence from the UK.

    In such circumstances the power is oppressive and illegitimate because it enables London arbitrarily and without limit, to frustrate the will, if such there is, of the people of Scotland to leave the UK. This can be done simply by withholding the only key to the door, namely a Section 30 power. Bluntly, it makes it possible for Westminster permanently to imprison Scotland, with no legal means of escape whatsoever.

    It seems to me that the SNP and the rest of the movement should be hammering this point home relentlessly, both to galvanize support for independence and to embarrass London into backing down (if they have any shame). It would be nice to think we could simply declare the S30 procedure null and void for the democratic and constitutional abomination which it is, but unfortunately by our pusillanimous No vote in 2014 we democratically subjected ourselves to the damned thing.

    • fred

      It can’t be said that the British government won’t give Scotland a Section 30, they gave them one for 2014 and haven’t ruled out giving another one in the future.

      All they have said is that a referendum in the near future would be harmful to Britain’s negotiations with Europe, detrimental to Scotland and unfair on the Scottish voters who would not know all the facts regarding Brexit because they haven’t been determined yet.

      That is all perfectly reasonable and quite frankly is just plain common sense.

      • Republicofscotland

        “It can’t be said that the British government won’t give Scotland a Section 30, they gave them one for 2014 and haven’t ruled out giving another one in the future.”


        Westminster’s man in Scotland Fluffy Mundell has said there will be NO discussions on a Section 30.

        Fluffy represents a unelected Tory PM in a another country. The people of Scotland are sovereign and they want a referendum.

        They shall have it.

        • fred

          The people of Scotland?

          The Nationalist cult are not the people of Scotland, all indications are that the actual people of Scotland don’t want another referendum. Opinion polls show the vast majority of the people of Scotland don’t want another referendum and a petition against another referendum has more than 177,000 signatures.

          • JOML

            Fred, Craig’s article above has a link to a recent opinion poll that does not tally with your post here. Have you read Craig’s article and related links? A bit rude to comment if you haven’t.

          • fred

            That asked the question “If Nicola Sturgeon calls for a second independence referendum” not “Do you think Nicola Sturgeon should call for a second independence referendum”.

            But either way it doesn’t support RoS claiming to speak for the people of Scotland.

          • JOML

            Thanks, Fred, I understand that no on can claim to speak for the people of Scotland. However, if the majority of MPs and MSPs want a referendum, then I believe it would not be democratic to deny a referendum. The people of Scotland can then vote in the referendum and have the opportunity to vote out these MPs and MSPs in due course, should they wish.

          • fred

            No one has denied a referendum, we had a referendum in 2014.

            If holding a referendum in the near future would be detrimental to Britain getting the best possible deal on Brexit then the people of Britain have a right to say wait. The rest of the people of Britain are entitled to have rights as well aren’t they?

          • Republicofscotland

            The MSP’s represent their constituents, they are the people. The majority of MSP’s INTEND to vote FOR a referendum.

            That is the Scottish people’s will, what part of that Fred do you not understand?

          • fred

            Then it’s the MPs who want a referendum not the people.

            MPs often vote for things the people don’t want.

          • ThrowAway

            You mean like the driving force behind Brexit? Nationalism is on the rise in europe, this is simply another manifestation. Its quite amusing how its ok for britian to publicly demonstrate nationalism when it suits but right now “its not convenient” according to Ms May. So scotland should schtum? If the outcome would be so terrible for scotland let it happen unless of course its too much trouble Ms May.

          • Travelady

            Fred, the ‘best deal’ is already on a shoogly peg. I saw today a list of a number of assets that the PM & her team are willing to give away as bargaining chips. Indeed, the U.K.gov have published that fishing rights are negotiable. Every sane person was saying that before the Brexit vote and told to shut it. The fisherman are not happy campers.
            Anyway, I digress. Given a number of these assets / resources sit within Scotland it’s clear the PM is trying to hold onto us so she has access to said resources. The flaw is, now that the world and his dog know the intention of the Scottish Gov., irrespective of whether Indy is gained or not, is going to weaken May’s hand. The EU will simply laugh if she tries to bargain using some Scottish resources as they know fine well there’s a possibility they’ll be clawed back again. In this respect, Nicola Sturgeon has played a blinder and well and truly thrown a spanner in the works.

      • Old Mark

        All they have said is that a referendum in the near future would be harmful to Britain’s negotiations with Europe, detrimental to Scotland and unfair on the Scottish voters who would not know all the facts regarding Brexit because they haven’t been determined yet.That is all perfectly reasonable and quite frankly is just plain common sense.

        Fred- ‘Near future’ is a pretty elastic term, but if you think it goes as far as Oct/Nov 2018 it actually invalidates the latter part of your statement about Scottish voters not knowing the outline of the Brexit deal, as both Barnier and David Davis have said that that stage should be reached by then.

        To call holding Indyref2 in late autumn 2018 ‘harmful’ to the UK negotiating position is also over egging it- yes holding Indyref 2 complicates things for the UK govt as they try to conclude their negotiations with the EU- and that is obviously why the PM wants the date of any Indyref put back- but Sturgeon is under no obligation to make Brexit negotiations easier for the PM, escpecially given she’d rather they’d not be taking place at all.

        • fred

          The voters have a right to know more than the outline of the deal, they have a right to know the outcome and the effect of the deal and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t.

          • John Dee

            During the Brexit referendum, no one really knew what they were voting for then either (apart from a promise of £350 Million extra towards the NHS…..oh wait…. :-/ ) so surely the same applies?
            Besides…. Come the day of indyref2…. We WILL know the outline of the Brexit negotiations and what England’s relationship with the rest of the EU will be.

  • Ewan

    A national assembly declare independence? When half the population don’t want it? How is that better than denying the half who do want independence a referendum?

  • Sid F

    ” But I suspect it will not be long before evidence emerges that May’s unattractive diktat has profoundly assisted the Independence cause.”

    You’re deluding yourself. Sturgeon is increasingly despised. There is no appetite for a second referendum.

    • JOML

      Well, Sid F, there’s a huge appetite for a referendum round my workplace and I don’t know anyone who “despises” Sturgeon. However, I wouldn’t be so pompous to suggest that was the case in all areas of Scotland.

      • Republicofscotland

        Yip and mine and with a membership of 120,000 and climbing, I’m pretty sure there’s quite a few more folk who want a sovereign Scotland to hold a referendum.

    • Travelady

      Sid, where I live and work the people are mainly Tories and the vast majority voted to remain in the EU. These people typically voted to remain in the UK in 2014. What I am now seeing is having to make a choice between what has become a pretty right wing Tory Gov taking them out of the EU without any thought, their conclusion is an independent country that then has the opportunity to gain access to the EU in whatever form is preferable. These are moderate Conservatives who abhor the more right wing side of the party. They’ll never vote SNP in their life, but know they don’t want to live in the world being shaped by May & her team. Now if I’m seeing this regularly from true blue Scottish Tories you know the appetite is changing, even if slowly.

      • Sid F

        Well, Travelady, they can choose to stay in the UK or they can choose to join East-Germany-on-the-Clyde. Neither may be particularly appealing but it’s still not a difficult choice.

  • Dave

    I can understand a pro-UK Unionist not wanting another referendum, but it would have been better for May to say Yes, but not yet, rather than No, not now, because the SNP will portray No as a Westminster diktat refusing Scotland a referendum, whereas a Yes would require an explanation of why, not yet! And because a Yes is the right answer if there is a mandate for another referendum in Scotland and arguably there wont be until new Holyrood elections with manifesto promises to hold one.

  • Habbabkuk

    If there is a second Scottish independence referendum, logic – and more importantly, honesty – dictate that it should be held neither while the Brexit negotiations are still going on nor immediately after the outcome of those negotiatiions. It should be held a couple of years (say 2-3) after the UK has exited. Only in this way will the Scottish electorate be able to decide, on the basis of facts and experience, whether the consequences of Brexit are sufficient to justify a vote in favour of Scottish independence.

    The apparent wish of some to have the vote held before the UK has exited and the real consequences are known reveals a deeply dishonest approach to the question of the timing of the next independence referendum and indeed to Scottish independence itself. The dishonest consists, essentially, in using BREXIT as a pretext for Scottish independence.

    But that should not surprise, because the SNP and various others – including our blog host – can be as dishonest as the next man when it suits them…….


    I seem to recall that – in a UK context – the last country to unilaterally declare itself independent was Southern Rhodesia in the 1960s.

    But Craig was only in short trousers at the time, wasn’t he.

    • JOML

      S Rhodesia was a colony, whereas Scotland is in a union of equals (no laughing at the back…). I don’t want my big neighbour making all the important decisions in my life. Sometimes, I may make the same decision, sometimes not – but at least I want to be free to make the decisions that dovetail with what’s best for this little country of ours.

      • fred

        But that is the same for every area of Britain, the NE, the NW, the Midlands, SE, SW, N Ireland, Wales they all have the rest of Britain making decisions for them. People in Orkney have people in Mainland Scotland making decisions for them

        It only becomes a problem if you believe people in your area are intrinsically different to people everywhere else and that is the Nationalist mentality.


        • Republicofscotland

          Scots don’t want or need a parliament in another country headed up by a unelected Tory PM, who only has ine MP in Scotland telling them when and when not they can have a referendum.

          Scotland was a country for almost a thousand years before we entered into the union. The union is only 300 odd years old.

          It’s time for the people of Scotland to vote yes to independence.

          • Mike

            “Scotland was a country for almost a thousand years before we entered into the union” No it wasn’t.
            The people of Scotland are fundamentally made up of three different peoples. Anglo Frisians, Scots and native British. They were just as different racially and in attitude and character a thousand years ago as they still are today. England is similar.

          • Habbabkuk

            Mrs May is no more “unelected” than Ms Nicola Sturgeon.

            That is b”cause the UK does nor have a Presidential system and elections are about political parties.

            Would RoS care to apply his foolish “reasoning” to Winston Churchill’s appointment to the PMship in 1940, I wonder?

        • JOML

          Well, Fred, in a democracy, the areas you mention should be free to organise and move on. The alternative is to dominate and suppress these areas / people. Many in Scotland have made it very clear that they wish to leave the U.K. and some want to deny them a democratic route for this to be considered. I know you harp on about the 2014 referendum but a week is a long time in politics… did anyone ever think Scotland would return 56 SNP MPs out of 59 in 2014? If that happened without the 2014 referendum, Scotland would be independent now (Thatcher’s rules). I’d say these 56 MPs is a mandate in anyone’s language, despite the shortcomings of 1st passed, etc.

          • fred

            Yes I do go on about 2014 because that is when the majority of people in Scotland said they want to remain in the UK.

            A week might be a long time in politics but that doesn’t give Nationalists the right to keep having referenda till they get the result they want. Would a week be a long time then? Would they have another referendum after a couple of years to see if the people had changed their minds? Would they hell.

          • branches


            Winning one referendum doesn’t give Westminster the right to walk all over Scotland and effectively suspend our democracy.

    • Republicofscotland

      “If there is a second Scottish independence referendum, logic – and more importantly, honesty – dictate that it should be held neither while the Brexit negotiations are still going on nor immediately after the outcome of those negotiatiions. ”



      Nonsense, the referendum must be arrange now, so when we get to 2018, we’ll have a good idea of just how damaging Brexit will be to Scotland, and by the looks of May’s hard Brexit it going to be disastrous.

      No point in waiting till after Brexit, when the economy its in the process of flatlining and the unelected Tory PM, is snatching back EU powers intended for Scotland.

      • fred

        And the Scottish voter is supposed to take your word for it that the UK economy is going to flat line.

        Like they were suppose to take your word for it that an independent Scotland would have billions in oil money last time.

        It’s the Nationalists record for getting things disastrously wrong that makes it imperative no referendum is held until well after Brexit so the voters can see for themselves if it worked or not.

        Let’s face it, if the voters had listened to the Nationalists last time Scotland would be up shit creek without a paddle now.

        • Republicofscotland

          Well we took the word of David Cameron on staying in Europe and the so called vow.

          Do Scots want to be so badly duped again, I don’t think they’re stupid enough to fall, for it a second time around.

          The bottom line is you can’t trust Westminster.

          • fred

            So we won’t listen to Cameron either, we’ll wait and see for ourselves.

            You know it makes sense.

          • Republicofscotland

            No Fred it doesn’t make any sense, why should Scots plod along for two years in the and hope that the unelected PM and her Brexiteers get a good deal, it far to much of a risk.

            No instead we should plan our own future by first having a indyref.

            Remember before Theresa May became the unelected PM, she herself said that Brexit would be disasterous, now she’s changed her tune.

            You just can’t trust Westminster.

          • Habbabkuk


            Fred is right when he says (in support of my point):

            “Wait and see how it goes there’s absolutely no reason not to, if things are as bad as you say they will be you’ll have plenty of support for another referendum.”

            Jackasses like you hope to win a second referendum on fear-mongering about the state of the economy after Brexit but I suspect fewer people than you think will fall for that.

        • JOML

          That’s the monetary argument, but there’s more to this debate than whether Scotland is subsidising or scrounging off Westminster.

          • fred

            The argument is that the Nationalists don’t have a good track record for making predictions, they get things wrong, so we have the right to wait and see for ourselves the effects of Brexit.

          • fred

            Read what I said above, no need to listen to David Cameron either, we just need to wait and see for ourselves.

          • fred

            They will still be negotiating 18 months from the trigger and like I say, we not only want to know the terms we want to know how they affect us.

            If I go to buy a car I want to see the car before I buy, then I want to test drive it. If someone is selling me a car and they don’t want me to see it or drive it then I suspect they are not being honest, especially if they have a reputation for not being honest.

            Wait and see how it goes there’s absolutely no reason not to, if things are as bad as you say they will be you’ll have plenty of support for another referendum.

        • Travelady

          Fred, I don’t mean to sound rude, do you actually understand trade? What reverting to WTO rules actually means? 18 months from now, we will know exactly the landscape in front of us. Indeed if David Davis’s team had any experience we would already know through scenario planning and options analysis the two or three routes we are going to explore and we would also understand the impacts from each. If the game plan is actually let’s go for a low tax haven economy & WTO we’ll know that sooner than 18 months. .

    • bevin

      “..– the last country to unilaterally declare itself independent was Southern Rhodesia in the 1960s…”
      And it did so without attempting to elicit the opinions of 90% of the population. Which was the justification that the Labour government, quite properly, advanced for refusing to accept the legality of the UDI.
      As to what Craig was wearing at the time-I wasn’t looking.

      • Habbabkuk

        Does the SNP speak for 90% of the population of Scotland?

        Judging by the referendum result and the lqst elections to the Scottish Parliament I’d say no.

        Just as Sinn Fein didn’t speak for 90% of the population of Ireland in 1918 either, for that matter (that’s for our mischievious Irish-American Friend 🙂 )

        • Dave Price

          Habbs ‘countered’:

          “Does the SNP speak for 90% of the population of Scotland?… I’d say no.”

          What Bevin actually said:

          “[Southern Rhodesia declared itself independent] without attempting to elicit the opinions of 90% of the population”

          Habbs, I think you’re having trouble understanding English again, or at least understanding the difference between holding a referendum or election, and the referendum or election result. It is not a requirement for the SNP to speak for 90% of the population of Scotland, only that all legitimate voters are given an opportunity to vote.

  • giyane

    A couple of years ago it was disclosed that after WW2 London legislated to prevent Birmingham from becoming a major financial centre competing with the City of London. The rubbling of Pebble Mill by the BBC and moving operations to Salford has left Birmingham to foster its own atmosphere, free from interfering Aunties and nagging racist Tories. We have cultivated over many years a hub of young people in our city centre, not only of every colour but also of no political colour unlike the moribund London. This week it was mooted by Radio 4 that Channel 4 might move here.

    My point being that London has been for many centuries a far off and self-contained province of the real UK, hide-bound by left-right tedium and ostriched by a navel-gazing political class. The mind-stultifying conservatism of a green belt which is sacrosanct to the enjoyment of billionaire traders, has travelled like blue-bell roots in a woodland to all the nimbie ‘home’ counties and even to war-bombed Birmingham. If you want to see modern buildings on a city skyline you have to go north to Manchester and Glasgow. Visiting London is like touring a troglodytic cave that has been untouched for a 1000 years.

    Well you see if you look over there to Big Ben, the inhabitants of these caves believed that only they possessed the great civilising arts of stiff upper lips and pin striped trousers, which could bring order to their immediate and far neighbours. Only they possessed the birthright to negotiate agreements with foreign powers and belief systems. London has become so precious of the last 100 years that you cannot logistically bring a new train service or plane service into the hub. HS2 and Heathrow are projects cursed worse than Tutenkamun’s burial chamber.

    I think therefore we should just take it as read that whatever Scotland, or indeed anywhere north of Watford Gap wnts to do with itself in the 21st century, they should get on with it without the slightest reference to the troglodites of London and the home counties, and without any feelings of guilt about the London Zombies’ feelings Switch off Mrs Frankenstein May and neck-bolted assistants Hammond and Grunt B and get on with your futures. Ignore them. They are ghosts from an Imperial past.

  • Republicofscotland

    For those who are interested here is the SNP conference session today in Aberdeen.


    Of course the unionist media, aired the Tory/Labour/Libdem conferences on the TV, but the SNP’s probably won’t get much coverage, because it would show a packed hall full of supporters again.

    A equal union, don’t make me laugh.

    • JOML

      I suspect we’ll hear more from the ‘talented’ opposition responding to skewed questions that what is actually said. I had a look at the BBC Scotland website today and the vast majority of people commenting were unionists, suggesting that the ‘yes’ no longer participate on the state broadcaster’s site. Understandably so.

  • Bob Smith

    Given there is real disagreement about whether Scots want another independence referendum, why not hold a referendum to see if a referendum on independence is wanted? Sounds crazy but everyone wins.

    • JOML

      I think a majority of MSPs (tbc) and MPs should be sufficient. They get paid to make decisions and, ultimately, the electorate will decide the outcome.

  • Velofello

    A poll result in a local Ayrshire newspaper today, 80% want independence.

    A National Assembly to decide on independence,as described by Craig is my preference. No referendum, so thus no postal voting scams, no algorithms written for electronic counting etc etc.possible.

      • bevin

        It sounds pretty daft to me- there are some fairly obvious ways of making sure that votes are counted honestly and that postal voting is not abused. To dispense with a vote altogether on the grounds that it could be manipulated makes throwing out the baby with the bathwater look positively sensible.
        This contempt for voting, like the increase in references to the uneducated (and no doubt unwashed) nature of opponents bodes ill for the future, in a country where there is always a suspicion that the ‘parcel of rogues’ in charge are on the look out for better jobs at the end of another high road out.

    • Anon1

      Invent a load of shite about how the vote was rigged because it didn’t go your way, then use that as a pretext for declaring independence without a vote. Voila!

      • Habbabkuk


        The best way to annoy those fools who keep hammering on about the referendum having been “rigged” is to ask whether the SNP made any official complaints about ballot-rigging or other electoral irregularities.

        As the answer is, apparently, “no”, the fools get very annoyed because they can’t bring themselves to say “no”.

        • fred

          I remember at the time of the referendum saying many times that if anyone had any reason to believe the ballot hadn’t been 100% fair and square they should report it to the police immediately. Election fraud is a serious matter which should be investigated properly by the authorities.

          But people just kept bandying about unsubstantiated myths as fact instead.

          • fred

            Yes no further action was taken and it wasn’t anything which would have affected the outcome. Observers made a rough tally of postal votes as they were opened so they had a rough idea of proportions. Are you claiming Yes didn’t do it as well because I wouldn’t believe it.

  • Dave

    The SNP have secured office by moderating their independence message and therefore their electoral success is in itself not a mandate for independence, because many Scots vote for them as a stronger voice in UK rather than independence or even not-independence in the EU Party.

    That is their message was vote for us for many reasons in confidence that we will not impose independence, but will let the people decide in a referendum and for that to be a honest promise it needs to be a manifesto promise at the next Holyrood elections and a decision for the new Parliament.

    And the election of 56 out of 59 MPs is also not in itself a mandate for independence and the MPs conceded this point by taking their seats (and expenses) at Westminster. This means they were elected and accept the legitimacy of Westminster and thus the constitutional route to independence that requires Westminster’s OK to hold a referendum.

    Only if they had not taken their seats or now re-contest their seats on an abstentionist platform (like Sinn Fein) can they claim their mandate includes ignoring Westminster’s agreement to hold a referendum or to claim UDI.

    • Habbabkuk


      Do you feel that SNP (and therefore independentist) MPs at Westminster could fairly be called “troughers”?

      In the same way as some have called the UKIP MEPsat Strasbourg “troughers”?

      I would not call the Sinn Fein MPs of the early 1900s or of the 1990s “troughers” because together with not taking up their seats at Westminster they probably didn’t accept their pay checks either (“Lysias” the Irish-American IRA Expert to confirm, please. Thanks)

1 2 3 10

Comments are closed.