When it emerged last night that the SNP were about to hold an opposition day debate in the Commons on the Claim of Right, I speculated on the pickle the unionist parties might get into depending on how they decided to vote. I expected the Tories to vote against the motion, in which case they would have to explain why they were opposed to the Scottish people's right to self-determination, and I thought Labour and the Liberal Democrats might abstain, in which case they would have to explain why they were refusing to support the founding principle of their own Scottish Constitutional Convention. In the end, all three parties declined to walk into that trap. They all backed the motion, which meant that it passed by acclamation - essentially a unanimous vote without a single MP registering an objection (not even the notorious 'Mr Upskirt').
But of course there are also consequences that flow from backing the Claim of Right. If, when Nicola Sturgeon renews her request for a Section 30 order, the answer continues to be "no", it will be reasonable to ask what the Tories actually meant when they voted in favour of "the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs". As a veteran of interminable back-and-forths about Devo Max with Tory supporters on Stormfront Lite, I'm well aware of the argument that the sovereignty of the Scottish people cannot be absolute when the objective is an enhanced form of self-government within the United Kingdom, because any change in the UK's internal constitutional arrangements affects the whole of the UK and can only be decided by mutual consent, not unilaterally. But that excuse falls apart if you're still claiming that the sovereignty of the people is not absolute even when the decision is about whether to leave the UK altogether. The choice on independence really is nobody's business but Scotland's, and the sovereignty of the Scottish people means nothing if it doesn't mean the right to say "Now Is Not The Time is an interesting opinion, but we disagree with it, and the decision is ours, not yours". It means exactly the same right to decide whether to leave at a time and manner of our own choosing that the British people exercised in relation to the EU.
Tories: We accept that the Scottish people have the sovereign right to decide their own constitutional future.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) July 4, 2018
Scottish people: We have decided that -
Tories: Not now.
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Fundraiser: If you find Scot Goes Pop's polling coverage useful and would like to help it continue, donations can be made via the 2017 fundraiser page. The initial £7000 target was reached last summer, but one year on that money has all been used up. I know there are always lots of very worthy pro-independence causes looking for support, so I've held off for as long as I possibly could before actively seeking donations again.