We can be perfectly sure that Westminster would not attempt to block a second independence referendum in Scotland. Not out of any generosity of spirit or respect for the fundamental democratic rights of Scotland’s people. Given the supremacist nature of the British state and prevailing attitudes to Scotland as evidenced by treatment of our democratically elected representatives to the UK Parliament, the notion of beneficent or even benign motives seems quite ridiculous.
The UK Government will grant a Section 30 order for the next referendum for the very same reason they did so the last time. Fear of the consequences should they refuse.
Some of the more strident British nationalist commentators like to revel in the supposedly untrammelled power of the British state over its northern dominion. “We will not permit another referendum!”, they proclaim. (For they invariably imagine themselves part of, or at least closely associated with, the ruling elite.) “And that’s an end of the matter!”. This is commonly followed by a descent into some increasingly demented fantasy about the shaming of Nicola Sturgeon, the demise of the SNP and, in the more seriously spittle-flecked episodes, the abolition of the Scottish Parliament and even the removal of Scottish MPs from the House of Commons.
What these brainsick bladders forget is that the British establishment was just as desperately eager to deny Scotland’s right of self-determination when David Cameron was Prime Minister. But it was considered to be impossible. Their sad condition prevents these hate-addled bigots reflecting on the reasons for this. But there’s no reason why less tragically afflicted individuals should not. Join me if you qualify.
Cameron, or more likely his advisers, thought things through. They realised that it was highly unlikely Alex Salmond and the SNP administration would respond to an edict from the British state prohibiting a referendum by simply shrugging their collective shoulders and walking away. After all, they were answerable to the people of Scotland, who had afforded them a clear mandate for that referendum. The Britnat loonies might have imagined Salmond being cowed by a stern remonstration from Cameron, but Cameron himself was well aware of the limits of his power. He knew that, if he refused to grant consent, the Scottish Government would almost certainly just ignore him and go ahead with a referendum anyway.
It would not be a ’proper’ referendum in the eyes of the British state. In fact, it would be difficult for the British state to participate in campaigning and thereby appear to give the process legitimacy. But all of this would suit the independence movement rather nicely. It would be very much easier to win support for a Yes vote if the referendum was merely advisory. Especially if the anti-independence effort was limited by the unwillingness of the British parties to become formally involved. And all in an atmosphere charged with justified indignation and anger at the imperious behaviour of the UK Government,
While the outcome of this alternative referendum would not have any legal force, it would inevitably carry massive political weight. Suppose the question asked was whether there should be a ‘proper’ referendum. Suppose a similar Yes campaign to that which actually developed. Suppose a turnout of around 80%. Suppose a massive majority for Yes. To say that this would be problematic for the British establishment would be a considerable understatement. Even given the extraordinary amount of supposing in the foregoing, there was no way Cameron was going to take a chance. Not least because the mere fact of his prohibition being ignored by Salmond would leave him looking weak and ineffectual. Politicians tend not to like that.
What applied then is just as relevant now. Theresa May will be urged by her advisers not to try and block #indyref2 because #indyrefB would be a worse option.
Why would the British establishment view the prospect of #indyrefB with such trepidation? Because of the likely format. Rather than a straight question on independence, #indyrefB might well take the form of a series of questions asking what powers the Scottish Parliament should have. Given that only sane, sober and sensible people were invited to read this far, I’m happy to leave it to them to think what the precise wording might be; and assess what responses might be forthcoming.
There’s one fly in this otherwise pleasing ointment. When I say we can be perfectly sure that Westminster would not attempt to block a second independence referendum, that’s not entirely the case. There has to be a caveat. The nature of the current clueless and flailing Tory administration in London bids us be cautious about ruling out any action, however inadvisable in rational terms. This lot might do anything. It’s entirely within the bounds of possibility that God might speak to Theresa May and command her to ’northward rush, rebellious Scots to crush!’.
We should be ready to respond with the democratic equivalent of the bared arse.Views: 3848
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