As British nationalist fanatics on both sides of the border gleefully celebrate the idea of Scotland being held on a choke-chain by the ruling elites of the British state, more rational minds turn to the political, as opposed to the legal, implications of the UK Government seeking to deny Scotland’s democratic right of self-determination. A right which, it is worth reminding ourselves, is guaranteed by Article 1 of the UN Charter as well as by both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR, in which the principle is stated thus,
“All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”
Note that it does not say “all peoples except the people of Scotland”. It is a tenet of British nationalist ideology that Scotland is held to be an exception in all manner of ways. Scotland is declared to be uniquely incapable of being as other nations. From managing our economy to honouring the democratic will of our electorate, we are deemed to be singularly unworthy of the authority and the capacities which other nations assume to be theirs by right. The fact that the UK is a signatory to, and therefore bound by, an internationally recognised principle guaranteeing the right of self-determination is, according to the British nationalist faith, irrelevant. It is superseded by the principle of expediency and the concept of parliamentary sovereignty which, in turn, derives from notions of divinely-ordained bloodlines and absolute monarchy. Britannia waives the rules!
Nor does it matter that the UK government has set a precedent by acknowledging Scotland’s right of self-determination in the Edinburgh Agreement. The British political establishment places a great deal of importance on precedent, unless it happens to be inconvenient. Just as they believe in ‘playing by the rules’, just so long as they get to be the ultimate arbiters of what the rules are.
Perhaps the most repugnant manifestation of British nationalist arrogance lies in the insistence that even a fundamental democratic right, such as the right of self-determination, is in the gift of the British ruling elite and subject to the whim of whoever happens to be exercising the royal prerogative at any given time. That, and the idea that the British state can, with impunity and as part of its entitlement, flout not only its international obligations but normal standards of decent behaviour. Something that is sickeningly evident in the way the anti-independence campaign was, and continues to be, conducted.
All of which leads British nationalists to assume that blocking a second independence referendum is a simple matter of Theresa may saying “NO!”. And that’s an end to it. They are deluded.
Whatever the legal niceties, the political repercussions of denying Scotland’s right of self-determination would be immense. The British state is like the bully who relies on their status and reputation to deter any challenge to their dominance. But the people of Scotland are not intimidated. We have found our voice, and with it our democratic power. We are prepared to challenge the might of the British state. We did it before. We can do it again.
Any move to deny Scotland’s right of self-determination will be resisted. Any attempt to block a second referendum will be defied. For all the macho posturing, the UK Government is aware of this. Theresa May’s advisers are just as aware as David Cameron’s were that refusing a Section 30 order would provoke a backlash such as the British political establishment is no longer able to withstand. Theresa May will not attempt to deny Scotland’s right of self-determination for the simple reason that it’s a fight she cannot win. Because even if she succeeds, she loses. She will be defied. And being powerless to act crush the defiance, she will be humiliated.
British nationalists will make much of the argument that a referendum held under the auspices of the Scottish Parliament without the approval of the Westminster elite will have no legal validity. But the lack of legal standing is irrelevant. This is politics. It’s what people perceive that matters, not what lawyers say. And they will perceive an overbearing, anti-democratic British political elite being defied by “ordinary people”. A British political elite that is already seriously divided and generally held in various degrees of contempt by the public throughout the UK.
Forget any notions about No10 shooting down #indyref2. It’s not going to happen. And even if May was stupid enough to try to deny Scotland’s right of self-determination, it would only serve to further boost support for independence.
There will be another referendum. The only dispute is about the circumstances in which it is held. Independence is inevitable. It is only a question of how much needless harm the British establishment is prepared to inflict and endure in its final frantic efforts to preserve the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state.Views: 9798
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