The vanishing road

road_closedI would certainly prefer to be discussing the duration of a transition period between the decision to dissolve the Union and actual independence rather than the length of a delay in making that decision. But there is something else we must bear in mind regarding the “final principle that applies when it comes to project management”. We may not have a choice.

It’s all very well to say that we can pick any two out of ‘cheap’, ‘quick’ and ‘good’. But choices are constrained by circumstances. And the aspect of those circumstances which seems little considered is the reaction of the British state to the prospect of losing Scotland.

It is rightly pointed out that sketching plans for the future requires making certain assumptions. The manner in which the British state conducts itself would seem to loom large in any independence scenario. And yet, beyond a rather casual discounting of a “Madrid style campaign of political repression”, there’s precious little discussion of how the British state will behave. Or, more pertinently, the assumptions it would be prudent to make about how it will behave.

In this regard, the discussion of a transition period resembles ‘wait and see’ talk of postponing a new referendum. In nether case do we find any recognition of the fact that locking Scotland into a political union is an absolute imperative for the British state. Factoring that imperative into our thinking, along with what we know of how the British state responded in 2014 when it began to look like Scotland might vote Yes, the only sensible conclusion is that we must anticipate that the British establishment will resort to desperate measures. We certainly cannot afford to underestimate their capacity for the very lowest of low politics.

In terms of those project management options, it seems likely that, at least to some extent, both ‘cheap’ and ‘good’ may have to be sacrificed in favour of ‘quick’.

This, too, is true of both the transition period and the scheduling of a new referendum. In both cases, we are almost certainly going to be obliged to compromise on cost and quality in order to get the thing done quickly. There’s no point in complaining. There was always going to be a price to pay for the No vote in 2014. Part of that price is that the democratic road to independence is now much narrower and daily more littered with obstacles.

How long before that road becomes impassable, or is closed altogether? Is a three year transition period even a choice? And, even if it is a choice now, will it still be a choice should The Postponers get their way and there is a delay of one, two or even three years before that transition period can commence?

What mischief might be wrought on Scotland between now and 2025?


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One thought on “The vanishing road

  1. Mr Bell: that is the reason I have always recommended a non-referendum route. It is in waiting for the right time for that referendum that will finish the independence cause as it is today. Even if we were to be ‘allowed’ to get one via a S30 Order, I would hazard a guess that we will not be ‘allowed’ to win it. I did not have much faith in the first indyref, but I, as one of many, fought for it and campaigned for it even so, in the knowledge that the British state would never let us win. Anyone who seriously believes that the first referendum was a ‘gold’ standard one is in need of therapy. The second, if it is ever ‘allowed’, will bring the forces of Westminster, Whitehall and the Thames Embankment together with our resident three-headed hydra of Unionist/English/British Nationalist opposition to ensure that we remain a colony, and devolution will seem like paradise compared with that which they have in mind for us after Brexit. I understand that we differ on the second indyref thing, but everything else you say, I agree with wholeheartedly. The UN charter on decolonization understands precisely the false role that strong minorities can play in a country’s future independence by trying to block it. We have two powerful minority blocks who, although different, have the same fundamental ideology: colonial attitudes backed by imperialism. I believe we should have made a case two years ago; I also believe we should have petitioned the UN on self-determination two years ago; and, lastly, I believe we should have petitioned the UN on human rights two years ago. Unless Nicola Sturgeon can pull something spectacular out of the bag very soon, we are Brexiting with rUK and people like me will have to decide if we wish to travel down the civil disobedience route.

    Liked by 1 person

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