The fight is on

There was a time, only a few short weeks ago, when I would have discounted the idea that the UK Government would try to deny Scotland’s right of self-determination. When anybody suggested such a thing, I would point to the fact that the British establishment was also determined to block the first independence referendum. They failed to do so. We should consider why.

I think we can safely assume that David Cameron’s decision to avoid a constitutional confrontation with Alex Salmond was not prompted by respect for the democratically expressed will of the people of Scotland. There is simply no evidence of such an attitude. And ample evidence that Scotland and its voters are held in utter contempt by the Westminster elite.

Cameron caved because he knew he would lose. He knew – or he was advised by wiser heads – that Salmond would not back down. Why should he? Defying the arrogant might of the British state was always going to make him a hero in Scotland. And being defied was always going to make Cameron, and thereby the British ruling elite that he represented, look weak and ineffectual.

The form of the defiance hardly matters. Salmond was always astute enough to know what he could get away with, legally and politically. He knows, better than most, how the British political system works. He had a response ready should Cameron get uppity. He didn’t have to spell it out. Cameron knew that this response would be massively more problematic than a referendum; which, we must bear in mind, he was absolutely convinced would be won easily by the British state. Cameron understood Scotland’s politics no better than any other British politician.

What has changed? First of all, and despite all the posturing by British nationalists, they can no longer be so confident of being able to lie their way to victory in an independence referendum. Nor can they be sure that such a win would be any less like a defeat than in 2014, when the high-fiving and hugging in the British Labour/Tory alliance quickly turned to bitter tears as they watched the ‘losers’ walk away with all the prizes.

Not only would the Yes side in #indyref2 be starting from a much better position, the Yes movement itself has grown stronger. It has matured. The anti-independence campaign, by contrast, lies in tatters – totally discredited by its dishonesty and the despicable behaviour of Better Together/Project Fear.

For this reason alone, the British establishment has a greater incentive to try and prevent a second independence referendum than was previously the case. That incentive might just be verging on an imperative. And what may tip the balance is the sheer madness of the current regime in London.

Normal service has been suspended. Alex Salmond had the luxury of dealing with a UK Government that was delightfully predictable. May’s government is erratic, mercurial, temperamental, vacuously arrogant and unconstrained by convention or even any kind of political, diplomatic or economic logic. Anything can happen with this lot. They are not in control; of events or themselves.

But this doesn’t mean Nicola Sturgeon is stymied. Far from it. She is no more likely to back down before the anti-democratic bullying of the British establishment than was her predecessor. She too has options. She is not going to be intimidated.

After 2014, it was always the case that Scotland’s independence movement had two battles to fight. The campaign to restore Scotland rightful constitutional status and bring our government home would obviously continue. But the first task has to be to assert and defend our democratic right of self-determination. Sir Michael Fallon’s threatening language means that this battle has now heated up. We must stand ready to engage.

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9 thoughts on “The fight is on

  1. Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

    Exponentially more air-power is vital this time. A “Gutenburg” print-infantry might still achieve wonders, but a high-alert audio-visual presence is essential to respond to London’s pivotal air-supremacy. We should think “global-reach”, isolating London and its contemptuously distorting media-lens. We must be able to explain ourselves directly to the international community.

  2. Alasdair Macdonald

    It is clear that Project Fear 2 has been underway for some time now and, since so many of the assertions made by the unionist side during the referendum have been shown to be lies, exaggeration, vacuous nonsense there are nastier ones like hints about the ‘suspension’ of the Scottish Parliament and the ‘Sovereignty’ of Westminster emerging. These are being coupled with increasingly overt xenophobia – contemptuous disdain – against Scots as well as the perennial of how ‘we are the worst at everything’ – PISA, health statistics, transport, etc.’ ,Of course, the old ones continue to be recycled – nae oil, Spanish veto, currency, border posts, etc. – because they reinforce the views of many No voters.

    It is also clear that the Better Together alliance of Tory, Labour and LibDems continues. When it comes to the position against Scotland, the words are exactly the same. I have just received my monthly eNewsletter from one of my (Labour) MEPs and it reads exactly as the single brain, RuthWullieKeziaDugdaleRennieDavidson, in separate bodies intones it.

    This is going to be far nastier. Campaigners for independence in Scotland have been admirably democratic and peaceful in their pursuit of the case for independence. Despite the repeated Unionist and media assertions of the ‘violence’ by supporters of independence during the first referendum campaign the police reported no significant violence other than the events in George Square on the day after the referendum, grossly misreported by BBC Scotland and much of the press. We now have Ms Davidson’s use of the word ‘fratricidal’. It appears that Westminster is implying through the media that it prepared to have use force to resist this illusory violence by supporters of independence.

    Is it challenging people in Scotland to show they have the will to defend their Parliament and the right to run our own affairs?.

  3. Iain More

    Project Fear never went away in the first place. We as a people and a nation have been subjected to a daily tirade of abuse since the rigged Indy Ref 1 vote.

    Anybody who thinks the mendacious Brit Nats wont rig Indy Ref 2 the way they rigged the first one is being incredibly naïve. The Economic and Political stakes are even higher now then than they were in 2014.

  4. Big Jock

    They the English describe Brexit as liberation. Have you ever known such a strange liberation. This doesn’t feel like a country being liberated. It feels like one country dominating 3 smaller countries. It feels like a dictator throwing out the knives and building a wall around itself!

    We need to get out of this for the sake of our souls, our children and our sanity.

  5. Big Jock

    Regards Indi Ref 2 we must only allow postal votes for genuine cases. No lazy arseholes getting postal votes. The votes must be counted in Scotland and supervised. The electoral commission must not run the election. I suggest it’s run from Scotland with Eu observers.

    I have said this before. To lose even when you actually won is the end of Scotland and the idea of democracy.

  6. J W Brown

    Unfortunately the Scottish Government agreed that they needed the ‘permission’ of the UK government to have the first referendum. They had no choice, and if we’d won it would have been fine.

    They had no choice because, if they had a referendum without ‘permission’, the media would unanimously have declared the referendum to be illegal/unconstitutional and that it would be a waste of time to vote. The result, on a low turnout, declared void.

    The same holds true this time round, so we need to start talking about control – unlike the last time where we were led by the nose into talking about currency, Europe, pensions etc.

    Talking about the difference between having control and being controlled might just lead to people realising that you don’t ask anybody else’s permission to be independent because that we be a contradiction in terms.

  7. Martin

    Westminster denying Scotland a referendum is just what we need. My fear is that we don’t have a single clear emotional message to unite people behind a Yes vote. Campaigning for yes to stay in the EU isn’t going to get us there. Campaigning under ‘who decides’ banner could do it. A referendum fought on the basis of who decides our future is our best bet. Let’s hope they hand us this opportunity on a plate.

  8. Dorothy Bruce

    Let’s not forget the words on Canon Kenyon Wright when Chairman of the Scottish Constitutional Convention, as applicable today as it was then. “What if that other voice we all know so well responds by saying, ‘We say no, and we are the state’,? Well we say yes – and we are the people.”

    May has already been forced to change her mind on the way she approaches Brexit. We need to keep up the pressure to ensure she changes her mind on a second referendum. Otherwise we go ahead anyway and pose her another problem.

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