Petition for Official International Observers for Next Scottish Independence Referendum 501

Please sign the petition

This UK Government cannot be trusted to behave democratically. We have seen that in the prorogation of the Westminster Parliament and in tricks like not providing tellers to count votes against an amendment, causing it to pass. Ian Blackford, SNP leader at Westminster, described Boris Johnson as behaving “like a dictator, not a democrat”.

It is highly likely that the Scottish people will shortly be voting on whether to become an independent nation again. It is essential that process be scrutinised by formal international invigilation, to make sure the conduct of the referendum is fair.

Please sign the petition for international observers to the next Scottish Indyref. Only the UK government can request an OSCE observer mission (it must be a current member state that asks), therefore the petition must be addressed to Westminster, not to Holyrood.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, through its Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, is the organisation specifically charged with monitoring democratic processes in Europe, and in which the UK government is an active participant in monitoring other countries’ elections.

Not only will the OSCE send a large team to observe the conduct of the campaign and physical balloting and counting process, they will send an advance team of experts with international experience in monitoring media bias in campaign situations, with a particular emphasis on state media. These experts will produce a careful and scientific quantitative and qualitative analysis of the extent of media bias, and this analysis will be presented to all the member states of the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe. The very presence of the international monitoring team will be a strong deterrent to bad media behaviour, and will boost public confidence in the process.

In the 2014 referendum there was massive anti-Independence bias through all the privately owned media and also, blatantly and demonstrably, within the BBC.

There was a crucial and highly significant breaking of the rules of the referendum when the Unionist parties combined to issue the (since spectacularly broken) promises of “The Vow” during the official purdah period of the last week. Suspicion was attached by many to some extraordinarily high postal vote turnouts in certain localities. All events of this kind would be subject to real time scrutiny were an OSCE observer mission present.

We are frequently told by the government that, when it comes to their programmes of mass surveillance of the population, “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear”. Those who wish to claim that it is axiomatic that both the media coverage and the physical process of an Independence referendum would be fair, have nothing to fear from OSCE scrutiny. It is an organisation of which the UK is a contributing member anyway, so there are no grounds to objection to its monitoring.

The OSCE handbook on the media monitoring they will undertake is well worth reading and gives a valuable insight into how thorough they are. They do not just measure crudely the amount of time given to each side. They assess the quality of coverage of each side, the inferences and body language of the presenters. They look at the legal, institutional and ownership framework in which journalists operate and the pressures on them to self-censor, as opposed to just considering whether there is formal state censorship.

It is essential that all sides in a future Independence referendum have trust in the fairness of the process. There is every reason to believe that British state institutions, including both the BBC and the Electoral Commission, need to be subjected to outside scrutiny.

Wherever you are in the UK, and whatever your stance on Scottish Independence, please sign and support this petition for strengthening confidence in the fairness of democratic process. The restoring of Scottish Independence and the break-up of the UK state is a major step; it is essential that the process involved in the decision is accepted by all as fair.

Obviously an observer mission takes some time to organise and needs to be in place right from the start of any campaign period, or even before. Like all international organisations, the OSCE’s processes take some time to agree between members. Therefore it is essential to launch this petition now rather than wait until a referendum is called.


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501 thoughts on “Petition for Official International Observers for Next Scottish Independence Referendum

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  • Hatuey

    Signed the petition immediately.

    “It is highly likely that the Scottish people will shortly be voting on whether to become an independent nation again…”

    Rees-Mogg just said that the so called surrender bill will be passed ASAP and we now have another vote on calling a General Election on Monday night.

    Join the dots.

    • Deb O'Nair

      “another vote on calling a General Election on Monday night.”

      Can’t see that passing. Tories will probably end up having to table a VNC in themselves which will be highly amusing, especially if they lose.

        • N_

          Due to be released during the election campaign: Tommy Robinson. He got handed nine months at the Bailey on 11 July 2019 when he had already served 69 days, so his Earliest Date of Release is 4.5 months minus 69 days after 11 July which comes to around 18 September, or about a fortnight from now. That will be around the time the political parties will be publishing their manifestos.

          To recap: this is the man who after running the English Defence League did some work at the Quilliam Foundation, and who seems to know what a lot of other people don’t insofar as he flew into JFK airport in New York and managed to escape from immigration officials and go about the far-right business in the US that he’d arrived to undertake.

          In other words, he’s got “MI5” written all over him. And Lord “Brexit-face” Pearson likes him.

          Robinson has been quite important in the past. It was his role “advising” the UKIP leader that Nigel Farage cited as his reason for leaving that party, after which Farage set up a new organisation, the Brexit Party, which won the EU election with about 3.5 times the voteshare of the fifth-placed Tory party. Robinson could be important again, and perhaps very soon.

          • Hatuey

            You’re suggesting a guy who is publicly ridiculed in the media all the time and who just spent several months in prison, is working for MI5?

            Can you confirm that’s what you’re saying here?

  • Mist001

    It’ll have to be a quick petition then because when Sturgeon does get her section 30 order for a 2020 referendum, whoever is in power in Westminster will delay it until such time that Brexit will have happened and will claim that they are unable to request OSCE assistance since the UK will no longer be a member state.

    This lot stitch up their own members and parties, stitching up Sturgeon and the SNP will be childs play to them, especially when Sturgeon seems to be deliberately gullible.

  • Daydreamer

    Leaving aside doubts about the chances of a referendum any time soon, my concern is that establishment figures are becoming increasingly brazen in their lack of adherence to existing rules and protocols. Playing dirty is routine these days, and having a referendum monitored may not really influence their behaviour. Receiving critical comments from a watchdog is of considerably less importance to them than winning on the day.

    • N_

      I don’t know what case those 114 pages were in, but would the judiciary in an iScotland order the release of all the files in the Dunblane murder case that under the iron heel of “England/Westminster” rule it ordered to be kept closed for 100 years? Or would that be too concrete a promise?

  • Courtenay Barnett


    I remember a post of yours when you showed how England/Westminster overnight changed the maritime line between England and Scotland just on the eve of the last referendum. With that sort of precedent then, of course, the call for independent observers is warranted and necessary.
    P.S. Seems then that the new lines drawn just coincidentally had some three sources of oil included within the new lines on the English side of the boundary. How absolutely convenient – but – just a coincidence, of course.

  • Republicofscotland

    Signed it and I see someone has linked it to Wings as well.

    Yes we face an opposition to independence (internal and external) whose history is steeped in interfering in other countries elections in one way or another.

    Now as Westminster’s democratic process is stripped to the bare bones for all to see, the tide is turning in Scotland towards the feeling that being an independent nation is the way to go.

    However we must be vigilant, for Westminster will try every dirty trick in its considerable book to thwart Scottish independence. They have the the media as a onesided propaganda tool, which was used to great effect back in 2014 it didn’t matter if the claims were true or not, and we’ll see that despicable tactic once again.

    If Westminster were to lose Scotland it would diminsh its powers greatly. Nowhere to house its phallic symbol Trident, no new cannon fodder to replenish its now diminutive armed forces, no taxes to flow South, no North sea revenue, (oil gas) apart from the 6000 miles of sea illegally transfered to England, to name but a few.

    This is why as Craig wisely puts it this coming Scottish independence referendum must be monitored closely by outside bodies to stop the very strong possibility of interference by the British state.

    • Grafter

      ROS you forgot to mention the ongoing theft of Scotland’s North Sea oil orchestrated by London to the benefit of multi.national oil companies.

  • Ralph

    Seriously Craig, you trust the OSCE??? It does what the USG tells it to do, and as Marcel says, the OSCE’s SMM in the Donbass is almost useless, they are referred to a 3 blind mice there. ukraine – backed by the stupid Brit Govt – is even using uavs with explosives to attack the SMM in the conflict zone.

  • N_

    A Scottish Independence referendum determines the relationship between two potentially separate states.

    Someone can’t think straight.

    • Yr Hen Gof

      Absolutely agree, I’m sure it’s very comforting to a Tory in a marginal to know that Mi5 (and their predecessors) have been intimate bedfellows of their party for over a century.
      Both organisations have serious form for lacking any respect for democracy or the rule of law.
      When people regularly say: “I can’t believe people still vote for them”. Well, maybe, just maybe, they don’t.

    • Republicofscotland

      Yes I recall Ruth Davidson being spoken to by the police on “sampling” postal votes, though I’m not suggesting any impropriety on her behalf.

  • pasha

    Your faith in the OSCE is touching. Of course they did such a good job investigating the MH17 shootdown, the “poison gas” in Syria, etc., etc.

  • Alec

    Funny how Remainers think that Boris trying to get us out as Parliament was instructed to by it’s bosses- the British people- is undemocratic but a gang of MP’s conniving with Bruissels to prevent it isn’t. I’m happy if Scotland goes it’s own way but you appear to want that but deny the same to the rest of the UK. Either you respect a democratic vote or you don’t. Remainers don’t.

    • Michael

      Well said. You can’t be partly democratic. Either you’re democratic or you’re anti-democratic. Remainers will have no room to complain if they overthrow Brexit then the unionists overthrow a vote for Scottish independence. They will have set the precedent.

  • N_

    This UK Government cannot be trusted to behave democratically“.

    Democracy is something to do with the majority, right? Well according to my reading of the Guardian the government’s change from 14 October to 15 October as its preferred date for the general election was caused by its taking into account the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. (Source: this piece by the Guardian’s political correspondent, Peter Walker.)

    Interesting. Sukkot actually goes on for a week. Are religiously observant Jews allowed to vote on one day of that week but not another?

    I knew there had to be a reason. I thought it was the England-Bulgaria football game on the 14th, which – say what you like about football – will be an event that does enter the consciousness of a majority of voters, unlike the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles.

    WTF is going on?

    • N_

      People say there have to be “25 working days”, i.e. 5 weeks, between the calling and holding of a general election. (I should have thought Parliament could change that requirement by rushing a bill through all three readings in both Houses, but never mind. I’m just repeating what the “experts” are told to say.)

      Assume the result of an election will be known by the end of the next day. Then to ensure the result is known before the October EU Council meeting,

      * the election must be called by next Monday, 9 September, and
      * it must be held on Tuesday 15 October.

      Are those who want that to occur about to be called anti-Semites?

    • Deb O'Nair

      “Are religiously observant Jews allowed to vote on one day of that week but not another?”

      Sukkot runs until the 20th, only the 14th and 15th are days when religiously observant Jews are not allowed to vote.

  • Maria Conley

    We need to ensure that the WM government personnel are not allowed anywhere near our referendum results and count , as they have proved themselves untrustworthy , with all the lies and distortions they have circulated about Scotland’s ability to govern itself ! Also how they accommodated Ruth Davidson’s tampering with the postal votes ! We do not TRUST any WM government , or any VOWS / PLEDGES they make !

  • Mist001

    What’s interesting to me just now is that if Scotland had voted independence in 2014, it may very well have found itself in a similar position to the Westminster government just now. It would have left the EU, but would it have left with a deal or without a deal? Similarly, it would have had to separate from rUK with a deal/no deal scenario.

    If Sturgeon and the SNP have any sense, they should be watching and learning from current events so as not to have a ‘Whoops, we didn’t think about that’ moment in the event of a successful independence referendum. My suspicion is not that Westminster will interfere in said referendum but rather that it will be sabotaged from the inside because I seriously doubt that Sturgeon truly wants independence.

    • N_

      @Mist001. If Yes had won the indyref and Scotland had become independent without being allowed to join the EU, Article 50 would not have come into play because it only governs what happens when a member state leaves. It’s a clause in a treaty between member states and has no force in a territory that breaks away from a member state to become independent. I doubt that agreeing a trade deal with the EU would have been the biggest of iScotland’s problems. Except in a strictly pedantic sense it wouldn’t have been a Noel Edmonds type of game,

  • Kate

    I believe I read in an SNP eletter that came out as a result of their Voter Survery that I took part in, that this was something SNP intended to do. HOWEVER, I believe you are right to get it ‘out there’, and to petition that this becomes part of the Independence Referendum ‘rules’. As you say – it’ll take time to get it in place, sooo… good you got this going NOW.

    I think it will reassure a VERY MANY people that this Ref may not be quite so littered with questionable practices in what SHOULD BE a democratic process. And I think many voters will also be reassured to know BBC would not get away with the very obvious bias they displayed last time, if it is repeated in this next referendum (which I’m very sure they will try to do!)! That in itself may be, if not a help, then hopefully not a hindrance to independence!

    Thank you Craig.

  • Gordon Ritchie

    Indy ref 2 is every Scottish persons right, we are being governed by a country that is dominating us and draining our assets, we are sick to death of lies and broken promises.

    • Iain Stewart

      “Indy ref 2 is every Scottish persons right,”
      A Scotsman writes: Disnae work that way, Gordon (by the way, is the photie before or after?) ye hae tae be registered in Scotland. But if England had tellt the haill truth and kept a’ its promises, wad that hae made the domination and draining ony less boaksome?

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