I hear the suggestion that the SNP should “commit to a second EU referendum in the event of Scotland becoming independent” and I immediately deploy that most basic and essential tool of political analysis, the question, “Why?”. Why would the SNP do that?
They have no mandate for such a commitment. Not only has Scotland just voted on the matter of EU membership, returning a decisive majority for remaining in the EU, but the party has just won two elections on manifestos that explicitly stated a commitment to remaining in the EU. Why would the SNP turn its back on this commitment now? What message would this send to our friends in Europe? What would it say about the party’s respect for the will of the people?
What the SNP cannot do, of course, is rule out a referendum on EU membership post-independence. It is absolutely implicit in the very concept of independence that it involves the power to freely negotiate the terms on which Scotland associates with other nations. Just as it is absolutely implicit in the concept of democracy that the people are the ultimate arbiters of those terms.
But it is not for the SNP, or any other party, to impose a referendum on the people. The way it works is that people must first campaign to win support for the holding of a referendum. Only once a significant level of public demand has been convincingly established does it become necessary for the government to respond to that demand.
The onus is on the Leavers to establish a persuasive case that another vote on EU membership is justified. It is not for the SNP, or any other party, to simply assume that the case has been made. Especially when there is such abundant solid evidence to the contrary in the form of recent polls.
That campaign for a referendum on Scotland’s membership of the EU can only sensibly take place in the context of an already independent Scotland where all decisions are ultimately a matter for the people of Scotland and where there can be no direct interference from the British state. We cannot have that campaign now, when it would necessarily involve British political parties which won’t even exist post-independence.
Why would we allow parties that are avowedly committed to denying Scotland’s independence (and even our right of self-determination) be part of a process that is relevant only to an independent Scotland?
Rather than pandering to the foolishness of individuals making a vote for independence conditional on something that can only be decided after independence, we would be better occupied challenging such folly.
Why would the SNP commit to a referendum on EU membership after independence? Why would the SNP allow itself to be herded by UKIP in the way that Cameron’s Tories were? Why would we allow the issue of EU membership to muddy the waters of the coming #indyref2 campaign when that matter has been decisively dealt with already?
The bottom line is that Yes/Leavers must make up their minds NOW whether they want decisions relating to such issues made in Scotland and by Scotland, or whether they want to join with British nationalists in handing that power to the Westminster elite – to do with as they please.Views: 3903
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