Respecting democracy

Nicola Sturgeon’s position on a second independence referendum is flawlessly democratic. It takes the matter out of the hands of politicians and leaves the decision where it belongs – with the people.

The notion that “the SNP may struggle to claim a mandate if it does try to hold another [referendum] before 2021” is offensively nonsensical. A mandate doesn’t derive from a manifesto. A mandate is wholly in the gift of the people. And they can choose to award that mandate at any time. To assert that an election brochure is the sole basis for a mandate is an unwarranted restriction of the democratic process. A restriction that is, however, perfectly in keeping with a British political system which assumes that opportunities for expression of the democratic will of the people are appropriately restricted to occasional stage-managed events. A system which explicitly denies the proper nature of democracy as a continuous process.

Hence, the total inability of those immersed in the British political system to comprehend that the first independence referendum was not the end of the matter – if not for all time, then for some undefined but arbitrarily extended period. Embracing the British political system, as hard-line unionists do with a fervour that borders on religious fanaticism, necessarily involves unquestioning acceptance of severe constraints on the democratic process that true democrats hold to be excessive, and impediments to democratic expression that those less contemptuous of the fundamental principles of democracy naturally regard as onerous and unacceptable.

As well as being unwilling to accept that there never was any “once in a generation” promise from the SNP, ideological unionists are incapable of understanding that, even had it been offered, such an undertaking would be meaningless as not politician or political party has the rightful authority to impose such limits on the democratic process.

A genuinely democratic government is as constantly receptive and responsive to the will of the people as may be possible. A genuinely democratic government acknowledges and accepts that sovereignty is vested in the people and not in some political elite.

Nicola Sturgeon has recognised this. She has said that, if elected in May, her government will listen to the voice of the people and abide by their will. She has renounced the British concept of parliamentary sovereignty by which the Westminster clique asserts the superiority of its authority.

British politicians, such as Ruth Davidson, insist that they (or rather their bosses in London) will tell us if and when we may exercise our inalienable right of self-determination. They brazenly state that they will not permit us to have our say even if a clear majority of the people demand the opportunity to make their voice heard. They are unashamedly anti-democratic – because, for the British nationalist, the imperative of preserving the old order and the old ways takes precedence over democracy. The needs, aspirations and priorities of Scotland’s people are as nothing compared to preservation of the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state.

That is what is at stake in this coming election. That is the choice facing the Scottish electorate. A choice between Nicola Sturgeon’s solemn undertaking to respect the sovereignty and democratic authority of Scotland’s people; and the British parties’ openly declared determination to assert the dominance of the ruling elites of the British state and spit on the democratic process.

Doesn’t seem like a difficult choice to me.

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6 thoughts on “Respecting democracy

  1. Macbeda

    Peter A Bell

    What he says is 100% spot on.

    Colonial rule in Scotland here and now.

    If you want the chance of an independent Scotland then
    SNP for both votes.

    After independence then you can vote for whichever bit of the rainbow you like because it will be a free country.

    Democracy will rule in Scotland after independence.

  2. Stuart

    What a load of old baloney from Mr Bell, demonstrating yet again his monomaniacal constitutional obsession for all to see.

    “Nicola Sturgeon’s position on a second independence referendum is flawlessly democratic. It takes the matter out of the hands of politicians and leaves the decision where it belongs – with the people.”

    Really?

    The ‘People’ decided in 2014 that they did not accept the SNP’s fraudulent prospectus for Indy.

    In fact for the first time in its history, the ‘People’ democratically decided to validate the union.

    As for this twaddle;

    “A mandate doesn’t derive from a manifesto. A mandate is wholly in the gift of the people.”

    Seriously?

    So you want them to vote blindly without knowing what’s on offer?

    Oh dear even by Parochial Pete’s standards that’s a humdinger.

    Just who will organise this ‘Mandate’ Mr Bell and on what terms?

    The piece de resistance though is this gem;

    “A genuinely democratic government is as constantly receptive and responsive to the will of the people as may be possible. A genuinely democratic government acknowledges and accepts that sovereignty is vested in the people and not in some political elite.”

    Oh please can I have another Indyref?

    Pretty please-:)

    Any excuse to try and get a re run.

    You had your chance Mr Bell, and you and the Nationalist camp blew it.

    Incidentally Peter since the SNP delayed putting out their manifesto until after postal voting had started, indyref2 is off the table until at the very earliest 2021, and in reality much, much longer.

    Enjoy your twilight years Peter, as a citizen of the UK-:)

  3. Taranaich

    “The ‘People’ decided in 2014 that they did not accept the SNP’s fraudulent prospectus for Indy.”

    And yet the SNP are polling well about 50% in the constituencies. Or perhaps the 2 million Scots recorded as voting No did so for other reasons than blind frenzied hatred of the SNP?

    “So you want them to vote blindly without knowing what’s on offer?”

    If you think there’s any ambiguity over voting for the SNP in regards to independence, then I’m afraid you might indeed need your eyes checked. With the SNP, independence is *always* on offer – but having respected the democratic will of the Scottish people, they will offer it if and when the people of Scotland want it.

    “Just who will organise this ‘Mandate’ Mr Bell and on what terms?”

    It’s not complicated, Stuart. Governments run consultations and surveys all the time: pathfinder projects, trials, research. That’s how the first referendum got into the SNP’s 2011 manifesto in the first place. Seeking a mandate for independence would be no different. How do you think governments do anything that isn’t explicitly stated in their manifesto?

    “Any excuse to try and get a re run.”

    That’s correct. When you believe in something, you don’t just give up because 2 million out of 3.6 million didn’t agree with you: you keep promoting it in the interests of hoping to change people’s minds. You don’t get to shut us up any more than we would have any right to deny you your voice were it officially a Yes vote in 2014.

    “Incidentally Peter since the SNP delayed putting out their manifesto until after postal voting had started, indyref2 is off the table until at the very earliest 2021, and in reality much, much longer.”

    That would be a bit more convincing if the other parties hadn’t also waited until after postal voting had started. And, you know, if postal votes were supposedly historically SNP friendly.

    If indyref2 is “off the table” for five years, then why exactly is the SNP bothering with a an initiative to increase support for independence this summer? A two year independence campaign was one thing, but starting one FIVE YEARS before a possible second referendum seems ludicrous.

    I don’t know why you’re so eager to wait, anyway. Demographics show that every age group below 55 is broadly pro-independence. Time is not the union’s friend.

    1. Peter A Bell

      I am obliged to you for saving me the trouble of dealing with the anti-democratic British nationalist zealot.

  4. Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

    Why are so many No voters switching to SNP Stuart? I’d wager that a fair few have voted SNP out of a sense of shame at their former actions.

    Scottish, not British.

  5. Pingback: The New Majority | A Wilderness of Peace

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