Pete Wishart is undoubtedly correct when he says that the next independence referendum will not resemble the first one. But his analysis may not go far enough. He notes the economic, social and cultural impact of Brexit on Scotland, and the fact that Scotland is almost certainly going to be subject to an imposed right wing Westminster regime for as far into that dismal future as anybody can look without risking their mental wellbeing.
He recognises that Ruth Davidson has won the contest to be ‘Queen of the British Nationalists’, relegating Kezia Dugdale to the status of a lickspittle courtier. He clearly foresees the problems that this will cause for the anti-independence campaign in the next referendum. In electoral terms, Ruth Davidson’s strategy of targeting hard-line unionists among British Labour voters in Scotland was very successful. But it means British Labour in Scotland is no longer credible as a front for the British nationalist effort to preserve the union.
Not that there is any doubt about the British parties in Scotland standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the campaign to deny the sovereignty of Scotland’s people. It’s just that this campaign will be explicitly led by the Tory branch of the British political establishment instead of merely being financed be them. Not even the ominous blob that is Gordon Brown’s bloated ego will be big enough for Ruth Davidson to hide behind.
Pete Wishart is well aware of the seriousness of the problem all of this poses for the British establishment. But he fails to ask – or studiously avoids? – the obvious question to which this analysis leads.
How might the British state seek to deal with this problem? What steps might they take to obviate their difficulties? Given what we learned about the nature of the British political establishment during the first independence referendum campaign; in the light of what we witnessed in the British Leave/Remain battle; being aware of how recent UK administrations have behaved in every aspect of its activities, can we really afford to be complacent about their intentions towards Scotland?
Perhaps the UK Supreme Court’s confirmation of British perfidy and duplicity with regard to the the Sewel Convention should serve as a warning. It may well be that, having got away with that display of casual contempt for the Scottish Parliament and people, the British establishment will be emboldened to attempt further measures to rid itself of this troublesome pocket of democratic principle and basic human decency. Is it not at least possible that the right wing regime in London might now seek to further curtail the powers of the Scottish Parliament and the capacity of the Scottish Government to adequately represent Scotland’s interests?
Not so long ago, EVEL would have been unthinkable. If the Westminster elite is prepared to go to such lengths to sideline a relatively tiny number of MPs, how much further might they go in their efforts to subdue the tide of democratic dissent risen in Scotland? Devolution was supposed to kill the independence campaign ‘stone dead’. It didn’t! A No vote in the independence referendum was supposed to prompt the disintegration of the SNP and the evaporation of the Yes movement. That really didn’t work! So what might they try next? Surely we can’t assume that they won’t do anything.
It may be, of course, that the British state is intending to rely on the power of its propaganda machine. Unionists can be absolutely confident that the media will be at their service. If there is scrutiny of the unionist arguments – which there must be – it will not come from the mainstream media. It never did before. Why imagine it might now? But will this be considered enough? And will there not be a concern among thinking unionists (there must be at least a couple) that, as in 2014, the British side might win only to be obliged to watch the SNP walk away with all the prizes other than those that were taken by other pro-independence parties.
The British establishment is worried. It is scared. I have long warned that it is terrified enough do something really desperate. Up to and not excluding suspending the Scottish Parliament.
I have long warned that the British establishment was seeking a means to lock Scotland into the union by creating a legal/constitutional bar to further referendums. I have not the slightest doubt that the Smith Commission was seen as an opportunity to slip in some measure that would effectively abolish Scotland’s right of self-determination. I have no absolutely no illusions about the willingness of the British parties in Scotland to collude in such a ploy.
The election of 56 SNP MPs put paid to plans for subverting the Smith ‘reforms’ to the British nationalists’ malign purpose. But Brexit offers another opportunity.
My message here is that, while we can have total confidence that our First Minister, our Government, our Parliament and our SNP MPs will do everything in their power to defend Scotland’s right of self determination, we must be prepared to back them to the hilt in this endeavour. It may be that getting #indyref2 will turn out to be more difficult than winning it.Views: 5857
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