Too timid to win?

Ruth Wishart asks, “does hesitancy now really help the cause?”, and rightly concludes that it does not. But what of hesitancy’s sibling, timidity? Ms Wishart neglects to ask whether or how the cause of restoring Scotland’s might be served by approaching the project with anything less than total commitment and absolute determination.

Having decided that action to resolve Scotland’s constitutional issue should not be further postponed, why so half-hearted about the nature of that action? Having quoted Cannon Kenyon Wright’s resounding affirmation of the ultimate authority of the people, why immediately contradict this assertion by allowing that the British political elite may constrain the authority of the people? Either the people are the source of all legitimate political authority, or they aren’t. If you concede that the British state may overrule or limit that authority, then you are putting the British political elite above and before the people.

When the British Prime Minister says, “We are the state, and we say No!”, did Canon Kenyon Wright insist we should respond saying, “We are the people, and we say Yes… so long as that’s OK by you!”? He did not!

Why then does Ruth Wishart say we, the people of Scotland, should limit ourselves to a “consultative, advisory referendum”? What is the “legal impediment” to holding a fully-fledged, binding referendum if not the voice of the British establishment maintaining that it’s authority supersedes that of the people? How might we ever restore Scotland’s rightful constitutional status so long as we are too timid to defy that voice?


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23 thoughts on “Too timid to win?

  1. There can’t be a binding referendum without Westminster approval.

    Anything else would be boycotted by unionists – voters and the councils needed to hold such a vote.

    The Yes vote that it would produce would lack legitimacy and attempting to act upon it would be UDI.

    Catalonia shows us how little the world cares about western separatist movements. The idea that Scotland – that already rejected independence through a legitimate vote just a few years ago – would be treated any differently is asinine.

    You may feel that Westminster has no legal right to control Scotland’s future, but it does. And the rest of the world agrees.

    You’re peddling typical nationalist snake oil.

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    1. Would you boycott an election, Westminster or Holyrood? You obviously don’t agree on a party actually acting on a manifesto commitment so I guess that wouldn’t matter even if everybody apart from you in Scotland voted for the SNP. Democracy isn’t a one time deal. Don’t hit me with respecting referendums because Westminster has just shat on the devolution referendum and the GFA. Pull your head out your arse long enough you just might get up of your knees to see what they really thing of the sweaties of the land north of the north

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      1. No I wouldn’t boycott such elections because they would be legitimate and the result meaningful.

        A pretendy referendum would not possess those qualities.

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      2. I have not the slightest doubt that anti-democratic British Nationalists would refuse to accept the result even of a referendum with a 75% Yes vote on an 85% turnout, on the grounds that the ruling elite of their beloved British state had not sanctioned this exercise in democracy.

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    1. Westminster can pretend it has Authority over Scotland… but it does not!
      The Union of 1707 was not meant as a takeover, tho, it did turn out that way, in effect, but only because the main political establishment in Scotland allowed it to do so.
      When the politicians of Scotland, (the majority) withdraw their support of London, there is nothing London can do.
      To date, the majority has either been Labour (who have consistently betrayed this country), the Libs, and tories. Their majority has gone and will not be coming back.

      Also, regards legitimacy of any “Advisory” Referendum…. it was the case the 2016 EU Referendum was just that… an “Advisory only” vote.
      Yet, the UK political Establishment has treated it with all the solemn worth of a binding Vote that must never be gone against, even tho, 2 parts of UK voted an opposite way, and the outome itself, was almost 50/50, UK wide.
      How comes it, any such vote, if it had to come to that, in Scotland, would be treated less seriously than that 2016 EU vote?
      That is one point the pro 1707s do not like put to them, and do not like to answer!

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  2. When did Scotland have a referenda on Westminster being allowed, to breach of the Act of Union, which has created this problem? When did we agree to the Supreme Court overruling the Court of Session? Westminster has no legitimacy in Scotland and as to the first vote, there was so much wrong with that!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Peter,
    On the one hand, there is a belief that the people of Scotland are sovereign. On the other hand, there are those who believe that this sovereignty was ceded to the U.K. parliament as a consequence of the act of Union. The establishment of the Supreme Court by Tony Blair was a measure put in place to establish the latter position and any occasion when Scotland refers matters to or accepts rulings from this court, reinforces this position.In other words, the sovereignty of the people of Scotland is not universally accepted even in our own country.

    In pragmatic terms, the result of an independence referendum, organised by the Scottish people (as opposed to U.K. parliament) will require international recognition and I agree with the poster above who states that the EU has shown a great reluctance to support the rights of separation movements. Their response to Catalonia, even to the extent of ignoring the jailing of political prisoners and lending no support to the natural justice of their case is indicative of their stance. Their preference is not to interfere in what they regard as “internal matters”.

    While I recognise that the situations in Scotland and Catalonia are different, we may well be put in a similar situation – having to hold a referendum without a section 30 – and while you and I may believe that we have every right to do so, this will undoubtedly be disputed and international recognition ca not be regarded as a given.

    It is suggested by some that there should be an approach to the ECJ to determine whether Scotland has the right to unilaterally revoke article 50, given that its people decided overwhelmingly to reject Brexit. The approach to the ECJ has already resulted in a judgement re the right of the U.K. to unilaterally revoke article 50.

    If the approach was successful, then this would firmly underline the legitimacy of the Scottish people’s sovereignty in an international court which would be instrumental in ensuring the legitimacy of any further decisions we might take (eg independence). If unsuccessful,would we be any worse off than we are now. We only have a limited time to secure this since we move away from ECJ jurisdiction with Brexit.

    The purpose would be to secure and strengthen international recognition for something many of us believe is a self evident truth. However, such truths are not always evident to others. I wonder what you think would be the merits of such an action?

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    1. How could Scotland revoke something which Scotland did not invoke?

      Article 50 is a mechanism for EU member states to withdrawn from the EU – Scotland is not an EU member state.

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    2. I’m not sure what form this approach to the ECL might take. Or who would make it. It would have to be the Scottish Government. But it’s a reserved matter, so it can’t be the Scottish Government. I would also be concerned at further delay. And that’s before we get to the very high probability that the ECJ would find against the claim that “Scotland has the right to unilaterally revoke article 50”. The legal complications are manifold. The political implications may be worse. For a start, how could the Scottish Government assert the right to revoke Article 50 without acknowledging responsibility for it being invoked in the first place?

      The mistake people make is accepting the idea that the process leading to the dissolution of the Union must be ‘legal’ under legislation implemented by forces determined to lock Scotland into the Union. Three centuries of being told that the British parliament is sovereign and the British state supreme has had an effect. Which is why the starting point for a campaign to restore Scotland’s rightful constitutional status is a change in the mindset of those conducting that campaign.

      We need to rid ourselves of the notion that we are fighting to restore Scotland’s independence and focus on the core aim of the campaign; which is to #DissolveTheUnion.

      We need to rid ourselves of the notion that there is a process by which the Union may be dissolved that is approved by the British state. Or even the possibility of such a process. We must resolve to create and control the process ourselves. Or there is no process.

      We must rid ourselves of the notion that independence is in the gift of the British state and that we must petition the British state even for consent to exercise our fundamental democratic right of self-determination. We must accept that power is not given. It must be taken. We must realise that power will not be relinquished readily. But we must act with the absolute conviction that sovereign power is ours and that it is being illegitimately withheld from us.

      We must rid ourselves of the notion that the sovereignty of the people of Scotland is subject to the approval of, or dependent on recognition by, any other nation. We must proceed in the knowledge that there cannot be a process which is ‘legal’, but that this is vastly less important than ensuring that the process is totally democratic.

      We must stop fretting about whether the process by which we hold a referendum is ‘legal’ by the shifting standards imposed by the British state and start questioning the legality of the British state’s efforts to prevent and prohibit the exercise of our right of self-determination.

      Scotland is a nation. The people of Scotland are sovereign. The Union is a device by which the people of Scotland are denied the full and effective exercise of our sovereignty. This denial cannot be acceptable by international standards. We must act like the sovereign people of an already independent nation bound in an anachronistic, asymmetric and dysfunctional political union.

      We must conduct ourselves in a manner which says we are not doing anything extraordinary. We must act in the conviction that independence is normal; that the Union is anomalous; and that our sole purpose is to rectify this constitutional anomaly.

      We must realise that there is no ‘message’ – no mystical form of words describing independence which is going to induce an epiphany in those who, despite everything, remain convinced that the Union is a normal, or ‘natural’, constitutional arrangement that must not be tampered with. Those people are not listening to that ‘message’. Not even if you soak it for a week in a strong solution of ‘positive’.

      We must realise that, in order to win over the numbers required, we must clearly identify the Union as the core issue. It is the Union that is the problem – not lack of independence. It is not independence we need to gain, but the Union that we have to be rid of.

      We must accept that there is no route to independence which does not involve direct and probably unpleasant confrontation with a British political elite determined that Scotland must remain shackled by the Union. There is no path to independence which does not require that we defy the British establishment and break its rules.

      Without this change of mindset, we risk lapsing into the same campaign and the same process as for the 2014 referendum. I fear this would lead to a similar outcome.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “…Without this change of mindset, we risk lapsing into the same campaign and the same process as for the 2014 referendum. I fear this would lead to a similar outcome….”

        I agree that we would simply have the same outcome or even a greater vote for NO, but not because we necessarily believe that Westminster has the final say. All we need to do is refuse to obey their constitutional vetoes. That is not, in my opinion – and I stress, although others may hold the same opinion – the real problem that faces us. The answer to our real, fundamental problem lies in our slavish obeisance to two groups of anti-independence voters: the home-grown so-called Unionists, actually British Nationalists, and the rUK voters, who voted in huge numbers against our independence.

        I have not the slightest doubt that many voted primarily because they fear the economic changes that would come with independence, and I have the greatest respect for that viewpoint, although I cannot agree with it. No, the real, fundamental and underlying toxicity is British and English Nationalism and their adherence to both the colonial and imperial mindset. This can be the only explanation for why previous NO voters became the majority of Leave voters, and why the polls have scarcely shifted in our favour over the Brexit effect. These voters, from both groups, not only wish to deprive us of the right to self-determination, but they are also utterly devoted to ensuring that we Brexit with them, regardless of the consequences and/or economic harm. It makes no sense to bleat about the perceived economic consequences of independence but continue to support Brexit, the economic consequences of which, can only be even greater.

        The evidence of the most recent four pre-independence referendums (five, if you count Quebec with two NO results) is that a pre-independence referendum is the least likely way to achieve independence. In all four situations, the parts wishing to gain independence had been colonised by, or was part of, a former imperial state.

        I believe, personally, that we must leave the Union as we entered it: by dissolving the Union through the international courts, by-passing the UK’s constitutional barriers. That we did not begin this process immediately after the loss in 2014, still rankles.

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      2. It ‘rankles’ you that the Scottish government didn’t immediately ignore the result of the referendum and seek independence at some mythical ‘international court’ through some mysterious method?

        Which ‘international court’ is waiting to hear the case for independence from Scottish nationalists?

        What precedent is there for this?

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      3. Did you even bother to read the comment you imagine you’re responding to? Why are British Nationalists invariably such total cretins? What is cause, and what is effect?

        Rhetorical questions. I really don’t care. You are evidently an idiot troll only here to waste others’ time and cause aggravation.

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      4. @Lorna Campbell

        Agreed. This must not be a 2014 re-run.

        This is different….England’s own actions broke the union.

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    3. @Jomry

      RE: SCOTTISH SOVEREIGNTY

      It would be a fascinating legal case…and all is conjecture until someone brings it to a court….However so many of the players are acting “half pregnant”…
      YES: Want the rights of continued sovereignty but play coy:
      Westminster: Want it not to exist – but by inference of actions recognise it (and are scared of it).

      I find it hard to understand how Scottish sovereignty was extinguished or ceded to Westminster (would love to here the reasoning). For all the pitfalls in Salmond getting a Section 30 for Indyref…it was potentially the first time (that I am aware of) that Westminster recognised Scotland’s sovereignty (by inference).

      If sovereignty was not contrary to, or inconsistent with the Articles, it did not need to be revoked. Hence is it not possible that it sits under or within the union?..i.e It is either:
      – Aligned sovereignty does not make sovereignty disappear (normal political unions).
      – Or, as per native title constitutional cases, the UK’s sovereignty does not by default over ride pre-existing sovereignty…and where not ceded continues in some form.

      Even before that argument – Given sovereignty did not rest in the Scottish parliament, did the 1706 parliament have the competence to legislate on sovereignty. (That would be an amazing day court seeing that point argued out)

      We can argue Sovereignty until we pass out….but in reality sovereignty is when it is recognised by other sovereign bodies. This is what should scare the sh*t out of Westminster. The Article 50 case is predicated on the rights that EU can not force members out, it may also create a reciprocal responsibility for sovereign bodies that want to remain – regardless of their membership structure.

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  4. Peter your last comment exemplifies and amplifies the PURE nuts and bolts of the situation , Scotland , the SG and the PEOPLE need to DEFY and REFUSE any decisions or rules put forward by Westminster , and start by refusing to take any part in a PV and declare CATEGORICALLY that Scotland will not be leaving the EU unless the EU ejects us

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Is that supposed to be a first nation greeting , it is a waste of time trying to explain ANYTHING to a subservient brutish nationalist who is quite content to remain colonised , disrespected , denigrated and marginalised by his imperial maisters , try facing up to your cringe

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    1. It’s an invitation for you to expand upon your bluster and rhetoric with some concrete examples of how your ideas could be put into effect.

      It’s clear you’re unable to. I guess you want somebody else to do the hard work.

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  6. In reply to James Stephenson: my final sentence is not disrespecting anything. EVEL? NO vote, 18 September, 2014; EVEL, 19 September, 2014. The disrespect was all on one side. We have waited 311 years for a reformed UK. Our patience is at an end. You don’t like that, tough. I have explained why the referendum had an in-built bias against independence. It is my opinion, and you may accept it or not as you please.

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  7. The Article 50 case ruling is predicated on the rights that EU can not force members out, it would be interesting if it also create a reciprocal responsibility for it regarding sovereign bodies that want to remain in the EU – regardless of their membership structure.

    Maybe this is another reason Westminster fought the Article 50 court case so hard…they would be sh*ting it

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