Monday, January 7, 2019

Would a snap Holyrood election in 2019 really be such a risk?

I'm beginning to realise what it must have felt like to be a social democrat in about 1980, finding yourself by default in a shrinking middle ground as political debate becomes ever more polarised around you.  It seems to me that the two extremes of the debate on how to achieve independence are just as hopeless as each other at the moment.  On the one hand, I had people responding to my post on New Year's Day by saying that Nicola Sturgeon shouldn't even be asking for a Section 30 order, but should instead simply be "repealing the Act of Union".  I asked how that would even be possible, given that the constitution is explicitly reserved to Westminster.  The response was either pseudo-legal gibberish about how the Act of Union supposedly gives the Scottish Parliament a unilateral right to withdraw from the UK (hint: it really doesn't) or a link to Craig Murray's piece explaining that it is normal for countries to become independent without a referendum, and that it is usually done simply by securing recognition from other states.

In principle, I actually agree with Craig that independence is ultimately a matter for international law rather than UK domestic law.  But the snag is that none of the countries that bypassed the hurdle of domestic law in the manner that Craig suggests (for example Slovenia or Croatia) did so just four or five years after their own citizens rejected independence in a free referendum.  Few states, if any, are going to recognise an independent Scotland until it has been demonstrated that the No vote of 2014 has been unambiguously overturned by a fresh vote, which ideally would mean another referendum, or less ideally an election.  So even if you go down the road Craig wants, it just takes you straight back to the original problem of needing a clear mandate for independence.  There isn't any shortcut.

But equally unpromising is the position that some people are attributing to the SNP leadership, which implicitly recognises an absolute Westminster veto by accepting that a) independence cannot happen without a referendum, and b) a referendum cannot happen without a Section 30 order.  The only plan for getting around a veto would appear to be to shame London into backing down by securing mandate after mandate for a referendum, no matter how many years or decades that takes.  So if London says "now is not the time", we campaign some more for an independence referendum, and "take it to the people" in the 2021 Holyrood election.  And if we get another mandate but the reply is "now is still not the time", we campaign even harder and "take it to the people" in the 2026 Holyrood election.  And on and on into infinity: in other words a recipe for Scotland never becoming independent.  The example of Catalonia gives the lie to the notion that no central government would have the nerve to keep saying no indefinitely.

Is there a compromise position between these two extremes that might actually be more effective anyway?  I would guess that the "dissolve the union" camp would be less hostile to the notion of securing another seemingly needless mandate for an indyref if there were two assurances: firstly, that only one more mandate will be sought, meaning that if London are still intransigent after that an alternative course of action will be followed, and b) the new mandate will be sought very quickly.  If, for example, a snap Westminster general election was held this year, and the SNP decided to use that to have one last go at securing a mandate that London might actually respect, that wouldn't slow things down much at all.  The snag, of course, is that the timing of the next Westminster election is not in the SNP's control.

What is effectively in their control, though, is the timing of the next Holyrood election, because there is provision for an early election in certain circumstances.  Nicola Sturgeon can't literally "call" a snap election, but it would be relatively easy for her to engineer one for the purposes of securing another indyref mandate.  It's widely assumed she would never do that because of her instinctive caution, but I'm not actually sure the risks of an early Holyrood election would be as great as they appear.  Yes, elections can throw up surprise results, but that generally only happens when the underdog party has an inspiring leader capable of turning things around on the campaign trail.  Scottish Labour have...Richard Leonard.  OK, Ruth Davidson is a different proposition, but there appears to still be a natural ceiling of around 30% on Scottish Tory support, so any real danger would have to come from Labour, and at the moment I just can't see that happening.  Barring a very weird chain of events, I would suggest the worst-case scenario in an early Holyrood election would be the SNP returning to power once again as a minority government, but without a pro-independence majority.  That would clearly be a sub-optimal outcome, but I'm not sure it should be considered awful enough to deter us from chasing a potentially huge reward if the election went well.

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35 comments:

  1. What the hell is this?

    YouGov / People's Vote Survey Results https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/3ia2o3oyky/PeoplesVoteResults_190104_LargePoll_w.pdf

    25,537 polled but only the London geographic crossbreak revealed?

    No wonder Anthyony Wells hasn't dared update his UKPR site!

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    Replies
    1. Scottish Nat sis do not accept the results of elections with the exception when they win. So why should others accept when the Nat sis win.

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    2. Poor incoherent Cordelia, hammered and vomiting the odds again...

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    3. GWC is just one of Cordelia's personas. When she gets really drunk she chooses other names which are usually weird and spelled strangely.

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  2. There appear to me to be a few roads to freedom.

    1) Declare before a Westminster election that a vote for you - SNP or Green - is a vote for independence. In the event that we won that I'd expect that that is game over for some of your seriously mad-cap commentators. It is also a majority - should we win them over - of electors in Scotland. That ought to be game, set and match?

    2) Stretching here a little bit. At Hollyrood, ask the question. Should we be free or not? In the event of a positive result declare ourselves independent.

    3) Force a referendum on independence, after a Brexit vote was won by the Tories, which might be a tad more difficult. We are then fighting agin the declared 'box' of Brexit through the electorate and Parliament. I'd still opt for option 1 but it might be a tad more difficult.

    4) lastly, civil insurrection, which I am not advocating by the way, it is just what we are left with when all democratic avenues are excluded.

    The only people that would win that battle are not the sort of folk I would want to lead us anywhere, anyhow. Which loops us back around to options (one) and (two)

    So, maybe two options then?

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  3. love the fact that the nationalists like Trump,Le Pen,Sturgeon and the AFD ,along with Wilders are all out to preserve our nation,culture and borders. Makes me proud to be Scottish.

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    1. Presume your tongue is firmly in your cheek...?

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  4. Sturgeon always fights for white ,hetrosexual,christian, mens workers rights,wages and conditions,It is her top priority.

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    Replies
    1. Should say White Protestant.

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    2. Wrong on so many levels... troll or bot? Who knows? Who cares?

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    3. Jimmy Worker. Is "mybiwn" Welsh for "available"?

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  5. James. I apologise for posting a comment on polling here. I was unaware that the comments were populated by far right BritNat fanatics, wholly lacking in reason, wisdom, knowledge or balance. I will leave them to their mindless frothing.

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    1. The BritNat lunatic fringe really are out in force, aren't they? James - keep up the good work. They're running scared and doubling down on their delusions.

      Of course, they may not all be human - which means that the Powers that Be have decided your blog is a real threat!

      Congratulations!

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    2. ...unless they're all just dear wee Cordelia Bracegirdle-ffortescue Smythe again.

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    3. Cordelia's on the meths again. She's inventing a whole array of new names. Keep it up darling. Your audience loves a good laugh.

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  6. The thing is though, you need to understand the UK as a union to appreciate how to either break it up or keep it together.

    While there are some people who see the UK as 'one nation', the vast majority of Scots don't see it that way at all. You'd have never got 74% Yes in 1997 if they did. Scotland is Scotland, their country, their nation alone, and the UK is just a union like the EU is.

    Ergo, if Scots ever believed that they were no longer in the UK voluntarily, the UK would be over very quickly; support for it would collapse overnight. You can bet your bottom dollar there would be civil unrest; even an SRA if needs be. Such things would be absolutely justified if England tried to tell Scotland it couldn't leave. And it would be England, not Britain, because the UK is Scotland + England(+Wales). Scotland is as much Britain as England is. So 'Britain' can't refuse to recognise Scottish indy, only England can, and if that happens, it destroys the UK overnight by turning Scots unionists into Scots independence supporters. More Murray Footes and Big Yins.

    And legally, if there was a way to stop Scottish indy, it would have already been employed. Don't think for a second the Spanish approach wouldn't have already been used if it could have been.

    Scotland isn't independent because, in the end, it so far has chosen not to be.

    We can e.g. moan all we like about 1979 being overruled and that being anti-democratic. No doubt it was, but Scots still f'n voted for unionist parties, so they brought Thatcherism on themselves. They bent over and took it.

    I'm perfectly happy to attribute blame for Westminster trashing the economy; it's them running it. However, unlike brexiters, I don't blame everyone else for Scotland'd problems. Ultimately, the buck stops on Scotland's doorsteps; we've voted to be part of the union so far.

    We also accept e.g. devo getting trashed. We voted for it. If we want to control powers in Holyrood without England just taking control of these when it wants to rape us for more cash, then we need to vote for indy. It's that simple.

    As it stands, we're not being stopped from leaving. The propaganda machine may be fully against us. They may try to dodge and delay, but until such time as England actually tries to stop us being independent in court or sends in the tanks, we're here because Scots choose it.

    So the empty shelves, lack of medicine, trashed economy, loss of jobs. Well, that will be because we voted for it in 2014. Some of us saw this shit coming a mile off, unfortunately too many didn't.

    But dinnae worry, there's not long left for the union now. And England is increasingly way too preoccupied with it's own independence to try and put down multiple rebellions in the celtic periphery. N. Ireland will be off soon too mind, while support for indy in Wales has hit record levels.

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    Replies
    1. Well said skier so the Paddies, Welsh and Jocks all want to give up their nationality and be run from Bruxelles.

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    2. >>Some of us saw this shit coming a mile off, unfortunately too many didn't.
      And plenty still don't, and don't want to. My own take is there has not been nearly enough 'friendly fire' from the UK to wake up a critical mass of unionists. The consequences of Brexit might do it - we'll see.

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    3. The likes of Cordelia won't be woken up until their masters force them to harvest fields by hand in exchange for their pensions.

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  7. I'm quite envious that Cordelia in all her guises (GWC, Glesga, Bomsy, Unknown, Duke of Cumberland 1746, et al) can afford the amount of alcohol she must consume to get so relentlessly tanked up and ranting.

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    Replies
    1. GWC - take your meds and seek further psychiatric treatment, because you are seriously aff yer heid.

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    2. Its homophobic, sectarian and racist fixations are a cry for help.

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    3. If Cordelia is sober then her state is even more tragicomic than anyone imagined.

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  8. The storm is arriving, sadly.

    Medicines starting to run out too according to health professionals. Stockpiling / hoarding inevitably causes this; it increases demand, but not (necessarily) supply; it's esssentially a form of panic buying, emptying the shelves.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46774053

    Car sales see biggest fall since financial crisis

    The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said 2.36 million new cars were registered in 2018 down 6.8% on the previous year, the biggest drop since an 11% fall in 2008.

    #BetterTogether

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  9. #facepalm.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-46786441

    DUP criticise post-Brexit migration plans

    The DUP have criticised the "very rigid" approach taken by Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) on post-Brexit immigration policy.

    The party made the comment after meeting business representatives.

    The MAC recommendations informed the government White Paper on migration. It would put new restrictions on lower skilled migrants.

    But the DUP said "appropriate future access to low-skilled labour in Northern Ireland is important".

    The party points to the potential for local firms to be placed at a competitive disadvantage to those in the Republic of Ireland where there would not be similar labour market constraints.

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  10. Yurr baldy-heidit GWC, thoan's whit maks ye fuhll ah rage.

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    Replies
    1. It's either that or the Toilet Duck.

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  11. This story is the perfect microcosm of brexit.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46799136

    'Impossible' for Seaborne's Brexit port to be ready for March

    ...the BBC discovered that Seaborne had never run a ferry service before and did not have any ships. Later, it was discovered to have used terms and conditions on its website apparently intended for a takeaway food firm...

    ...Seaborne Freight had "no money, no ships, no track record, no employees, no ports, one telephone line and no working website or sailing schedule".

    One of the firm's directors, Ben Sharp, is already under investigation by a government department...


    They might as well have been writing about HMS Brexitannia, which is about to head out on its maiden voyage across the icy north Atlantic to the United States of Trumpania.

    --

    We're all absolutely fked if it goes ahead. If we'd copied sensible countries run by clever people like Norway or Switzerland, we could make Brexit work ok, but Britain is just dumb, untrustworthy, incompetent, and racist.

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    Replies
    1. Scottish Nat sis are racist. You would sell out Scotland to Sudan if it got rid of your hated English.

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    2. Cheers Cordelia. Bottoms up!

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    3. Like Sinn Fein its Brits out everyone else in.So its English out whole world in,especially muslims who get preferential status,by the Nats.

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    4. Cordelia's hammered and being racist again.

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    5. She's absolutely guttered halfway through a Wednesday afternoon. Happy lady.

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