Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Are we fast reaching the point where it will be untenable for the SNP not to put radical constitutional proposals in their Holyrood manifesto?

You might remember that in the early days after September 18th, some people on the moderate wing of the SNP were shooting down anyone who even dared to raise the topic of a second independence referendum.  Although I didn't agree with Yes supporters being told what they should and shouldn't say out loud, there was a big part of me that did feel the SNP were just going to have to "take their medicine" for a prolonged spell.  It seems quite strange in retrospect, but I even suggested in an International Business Times article that the party should categorically rule out pushing for independence for two full Holyrood terms, unless something drastic happened, such as Britain leaving the European Union.

So what has changed since then?  Just about everything, actually...

1) The SNP membership has increased several-fold to 115,000.  Most of those new members have not joined with a view to seeing the constitutional question neglected for the next decade.

2) The Smith Agreement has been reneged upon by the UK government in several key respects.  That's not something that can simply be allowed to pass, given that the No option in the referendum was so explicitly tied to the Smith process.

3) The SNP's performance at the general election was in itself a game-changer.  Nobody thought in late September or early October that anything even remotely close to 50% of the vote or 56 seats was a possibility.  Sometimes you have to press forward when history beckons so obviously, regardless of the timetable you originally had in mind.

4) The UK government are going out of their way to act as if the general election changed nothing, and have rejected out of hand each and every amendment to the Scotland Bill that has been tabled by the SNP.  Such utter contempt for the verdict of the Scottish electorate requires a firm response.

5) Brexit may still look unlikely, but it no longer seems quite as fanciful as it did last autumn, and there is now a clear route-map which might just take us there.

6) It seems that EVEL is about to be introduced, and in a manner which shows total disregard for the democratic and parliamentary process.  This by definition will constitute a "material change" in circumstances, because it will alter the basic "deal" of the United Kingdom - henceforth Scottish voters will be second-class citizens.  Remember that Westminster retains absolute sovereignty over Scotland, and can abolish the Scottish Parliament on a whim at any time - so the oft-heard line about English MPs having no say on domestic Scottish matters is absurdly inaccurate.  But in future, Scottish MPs will no longer have a say on matters that have a direct financial impact on public services in their own constituencies.  This new inequality is utterly intolerable, especially when an English parliamentary majority has just been used to veto Scotland's democratic will for Full Fiscal Autonomy.

Now, I'm not saying that any of these material changes are necessarily sufficient to warrant an unconditional manifesto pledge for a second independence referendum, but they do warrant something substantial.  It already seems very likely that there will be a conditional commitment to a referendum in the event of Brexit, but I wonder if we might also see a move towards a referendum on FFA itself.  Another possibility might be to use the Holyrood election to seek a mandate to negotiate FFA with the UK government - with an explicit indication of what the consequences will be if Cameron ignores that mandate.


  1. Very good article James, thanks.


  2. I'm just wondering what it says in the Treaty of Union about the equality of Scottish members? Nothing about the making of Scottish MPs, and hence voters, second class was mentioned before the morning of 19th Sept - a material change in circumstances from the evening of the 18th.

  3. The SNP are never going to waste a referendum on FFA. And I very much doubt they are willing to center the Holyrood election on the issue.
    If the support isn't there for IndyRef, Sturgeon is patient enough to wait. My guess would be that the SNP would then push to make the parliamentary term last three years, and have the opportunity to have it in their 2019 manifesto.
    After 9/10 years of Tory rule, and another 5/6 on the horizon, I think we will have reached breaking point.

    1. No, the SNP are going to have to do something this time. If they don't want to confront FFA, then they can push hard for a package of powers short of FFA. But I don't see how they can just mark time on the constitution for the next five years - that bird has well and truly flown.

    2. What are you saying no to?
      I'd quite happily bet my car that on the fact that the SNP won't have a mandate for an FFA referendum in their manifesto - that to me is obvious.
      You suggest they can 'push hard' for something else, but the SNP exist fundilymundily to secure independence - this is the goal, and policy decisions will be made to meet that end goal.
      In my opinion, some patience is required, and I have great faith that Sturgeon will exercise such patience.

    3. "What are you saying no to?"

      Well, basically I'm saying no to what you said in your previous comment and in your new one - I just don't agree with you. I think the SNP should and will consider radical options to put Cameron in a corner over the delivery of far more extensive powers than are in the current Scotland Bill.

    4. The Smith proposals include Barnett + tax raising powers - a no detriment policy. Whilst recoiling at the hypocrisy of having our cake and eating it too, as a Scot, that works for me. It is in every way superior to FFA, which would expose us to unnecessary risk. Why are the SNP even pursuing FFA at all if the 'have your cake and eat it too' option is on the table? Is it just to look good? Do they always have to be fighting to keep their supporters onside?

      We're at risk of throwing out the baby with the bathwater here - and all because the SNP can't keep its mouth shut.

    5. "Why are the SNP even pursuing FFA at all"

      Because they believe in maximum self-government. You quite clearly don't, which is fine. Unionist/partial devolutionist parties are available.

    6. I really should clarify - Barnett + control over certain types of revenue + tax raising powers. A good deal - the rest of the UK could easily say "no more pooling of resources, no more sharing". They didn't. They committed to Smith.

      The SNP were elected to "hold Westminster's feet to the fire". As much as I detest this sentiment, presumably the intention was to send as many SNP MPs as possible to ensure the delivery of the post referendum settlement. The SNP are, of course, powerless now to ensure anything. But it looks like the conservative government will honour the agreement regardless.

      And let's see how that pans out with all the new powers before demanding anything else, shall we? After all, we had tax raising powers since devolution and never used them - once. Let's see the SNP put the powers into use.

    7. "And let's see how that pans out with all the new powers before demanding anything else, shall we?"

      Sorry, who is this "we"? Your position is basically that of the unionist parties. There's nothing wrong with that, but there seems to be some cognitive dissonance going on here. It's like a Cameron supporter telling UKIP that "we" need to get behind the government on the renegotiation and forget all about this nonsense of leaving the EU.

    8. Maximum self government where it is detrimental to the people? That's just political dogma with no benefit to anything except the egos of those calling the shots.

      And if the SNP really are for maximum self government, why did they refuse to use Holyrood's existing tax raising powers and instead allowed them to lapse - decreasing self government?

    9. "Maximum self government where it is detrimental to the people? That's just political dogma..."

      No, mate - this idea that it would be detrimental to the people is your political dogma, not mine. If you really believe that, then justify it - but you're sure as hell not going to get me to take it as read. My own belief is that maximum self-government will be fantastic for the Scottish economy.

      "And if the SNP really are for maximum self government, why did they refuse to use Holyrood's existing tax raising powers and instead allowed them to lapse - decreasing self government?"

      Because the power is practically unusable. Regardless of whether you increase or decrease the basic rate of income tax, the effect is regressive unless you adjust the other rates, which you can't do under the current arrangements. In any case, the power is still theoretically there, so self-government has not been "decreased", as you put it.

    10. I'm just saying that it would be a good idea to see how things go with the new powers before moving on to anything else. A gradualist approach, if you will. Here's what I'm worried about - the SNP wants to keep all the controversial stuff until after independence. They don't want to raise a tax, make a cut or do anything really radical and governmental until we are locked in with no way back. I would like to see them govern. I'd like to see what they are proposing to do to make this country a fairer place. They'll have extensive redistributive powers at their disposal. Use them. If they refuse, it either means they are neoliberals or they know for sure that we wont like what they have in store. If they act on the new powers, we can see what kind of government they plan to be in an independent Scotland. This will go some way to informing our future decision making re further indyrefs. It doesn't, however, deal with the problem of our economy and public finances being damaged by an exit from the UK.

    11. "They don't want to raise a tax"

      This is absurd - you're still harking back to them refusing to use the Tartan Tax, which until now has been the only option open to them. Are you seriously saying they should use any limited power they have to raise tax, just because it's there?

    12. So increasing income tax by 3p in the pound would not have generated any new revenue? And this new revenue could not have gone some way to offsetting, say, the need for foodbanks, for example? It couldn't have been used to buy, say, new textbooks for schools? My local school still uses books that have photos of Margaret Thatcher in them. Quick! We'll need to replace them wi Salmond!

      The SNP are afraid of raising taxes. They know it would go down like a lead balloon. But here's the thing - with all these left wingers on board, they NEED to be seen to do it otherwise they'll lose their support. Whatever they do, they'll end up losing support. They will finally know what it is to accountable - something that has been sorely lacking with them up until now.

    13. "So increasing income tax by 3p in the pound would not have generated any new revenue?"

      That's not the point. If the limited powers open to you make it impossible to raise tax in a non-regressive way, you don't use them. You argue for wider powers instead, but even if you don't get those powers, you don't use the regressive ones you've got. You always do the right thing (seek to do the greatest good and the least harm) within the constraints you have been put under by others.

      This is really simple stuff. You're just here on a Nat-bashing mission, and it's rather tiresome.

    14. It's a perfectly legitimate point I've raised, I think.

      By regressive taxation I take it you mean taxing the poor - the people you shouldn't really be taxing if you can help it? Well, if you end up doing that, you just find a way of filtering the money back to them. The increased taxation is aimed at helping 'the poor' anyway. I realise certain matters are reserved to Westminster but if Scotland were to offer to fund a particular policy purely out of extra taxes raised within Scotland, then I believe Westminster would be quite content with that and find a way of accommodating it. But in 8 years of SNP government we've had nothing - not a peep on raising tax. Plenty of whingeing about poverty and austerity etc - but no attempt to directly tackle it with the powers available to them. And what about the massive underspend they had recently? 400 million or thereabouts? Money that could have been spent in our hospitals and schools but wasn't. Are they artificially keeping living standards down?

    15. "Well, if you end up doing that, you just find a way of filtering the money back to them."

      Like what? Specifics, please. Progressive taxation is the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor - you seem to be advocating redistribution of wealth from the poor to, er...the poor.

      "But in 8 years of SNP government we've had nothing - not a peep on raising tax."

      There is only one way the SNP could have raised income tax in the last eight years, and that is the blunt instrument of the Tartan Tax as outlined above. I ask again - do you seriously think they should have used that power, simply because it was there?

    16. I think you both have a point here.

      Holyrood or Westminster doesn't matter to me, my part of the world is ignored either way. But I'd be happy to take a better government, so showing me how they plan to govern financially would help lessen my concerns about an SNP-led legislature. I share the concerns above that the SNP are too populist and seem to be holding off on anything controversial because they want to hold together a disparate tribe of pro-indy supporters without alienating anyone.

      But James's point is valid as well. The only tax powers they were given were on the basic rate, and that's a shotgun tax. It's just too blunt an instrument to use as an effective target, so I don't blame them for leaving it alone.

      FFA would have been nice, shame it didn't go through.

    17. If you people using the anonymous option are really going to need a handle at the end of your posts so we can discriminate between you. The name/url option doesn't actually require you to put in a url you know.

  4. If the SNP promise another referendum they will lose the support of the 'no' voters who voted for them in the General Election. They will also, if they win, then have to hold one within four or five years. Will they really want to commit in that way if the polls still indicate a unionist win?

    If they rule out a referendum, they lose the support of the radical element who want independence ASAP. I don't believe they will do this.

    If they are non-committal (maybes aye, maybes naw), they risk losing both subgroups of their support. Westminster would also be entitled to block any referendum attempt, citing the manifesto and claiming that people didn't vote explicitly for a referendum.

    The most likely option is the 'material change' one, which I think will be the one pursued by them. They will say they will hold another indyref if something important changes. In reality, this means Brexit not supported by a majority of Scottish voters - although many SNP voters will assume that 'material change' means Sturgeon finding a lucky penny or something. They will become increasingly disillusioned as time passes them by with no indyref 2.

    I am thinking of designing a website. It would basically be one page with a counter, giving the number of years, months, days and hours elapsed since indyref 1 with no rerun scheduled. I think it would be good fun - sort of taking the "tick tock" threat used by nationalists and turning it on its head.

    1. "If the SNP promise another referendum they will lose the support of the 'no' voters who voted for them in the General Election."

      It's less than a year after the referendum, and according to polls there is a significant majority who want another referendum within the next 10 or even 5 years. Only about a quarter to a third of No voters *at most* oppose the idea of a referendum in a significantly shorter period than the much-vaunted "once in a generation" people love to harp on about.

      "I am thinking of designing a website. It would basically be one page with a counter, giving the number of years, months, days and hours elapsed since indyref 1 with no rerun scheduled. I think it would be good fun - sort of taking the "tick tock" threat used by nationalists and turning it on its head."

      Ah yes, I'm sure that'll work brilliantly, just like everything else the SNPout gang have done.

    2. Weirdly, I agree with much of this.

      Indyref2 is an Albatross around our necks politically speaking. It will be a lose-lose in the upcoming campaign.

      What we should be doing is looking for a way to transform it into a win.

      I personally would like to see the SNP cut the issue loose. Give the power to call Indyref2 directly to the people.

      We raised a home-rule petition of something ridiculous like 2.4 million signatures in the 50's so you could conceivably set the bar at 60 or 66% of the electorate. The SNP never have to talk about it ever again, it's beyond their control, when it happens it is a slam dunk and the number of signatures will hang above Westminster like the sword of Damoclese.

      If I had my way I would go the whole hog and introduce a Direct Democracy bill similar to what UKIP have suggested.

      The people of Scotland are Sovereign. If you give them a voice to express their Will you short circuit the entire UK 'constitution'.

      Switzerland seem to be muddling through with their system, it's worth giving a bash. If we don't like it we can always repeal it...

    3. My strong belief now, after all the events since indyref, is that there is no use for another referendum, note my use. It can serve no purpose in securing independence for Scotland. What I now strongly believe will happen is that the Scottish contingent of 56 MPs will withdraw support for UK government opening the doors for Scotland to enact its lawful right and, I believe, Scottish Independence will be declared on April 6th 2016.

  5. Westminster will likely block any attempt at Ref2 for the foreseeable future. As I read it (and I think Lallands Peat Worrier confirmed) the Edinburgh agreement was a one-shot deal and resistance to another referendum will be long lasting. Both the Tories and Labour are painting a rosy picture of constitutional fulfilment around the new Scotland Act even though we all know it's bullshit. 'Having your cake and eating it too'? It's like having your cake and then finding it's laced with an emetic.

    Although all that may only serve to drive Scots into the pro-independence camp I think that Westminster could rebuff calls for Ref2 for quite a while. There will be little international pressure to allow Scotland's democratic will to be heard. Who's going to force them? It's not like the Tories need the votes.

    Brexit might be another turning point, but it might not. Although attempts to compare Scotland and Greece are bollocks, the Greek crisis may give many pro-Europe Scots cause to question their views. Not because of any putative comparison of currency union woes, but because Greece is quite clearly the subject of a coup d'etat by the powers of international finance, refusing to accept increased taxes on corporates and the rich in preference to imposing the universal mantra of austerity. What price an anti-austerity Scotland in that den of pan-European capitalist thieves?

    1. "Westminster will likely block any attempt at Ref2 for the foreseeable future."

      Ruth Davidson has said a number of times that a Conservative government would not block a second referendum if the SNP won a mandate for it. She's also said that she's had extensive discussions with Cameron on the topic, so presumably she's been authorised to make these commitments.

      A Boris Johnson-led government might be a different matter, of course.

    2. Cameron ruled it out though, categorically.

      But then, he is a politician!

      Bojo will never be PM. My money's on Theresa May - it's like looking at Margaret Thatcher pre-1979.

      Bojo can be secretary of state for light entertainment.

    3. "She's also said that she's had extensive discussions with Cameron on the topic, so presumably she's been authorised to make these commitments."

      Hmmmmm. I think it more likely that Cameron doesn't give a toss what Ruth Davidson says, much like the rest of us. After all, imagine the catastrophic collapse in the Tory vote in Scotland if Davidson was found to be lying. How much more dead can you make a dead thing?

    4. "Westminster could rebuff calls for Ref2 for quite a while. There will be little international pressure to allow Scotland's democratic will to be heard. Who's going to force them? It's not like the Tories need the votes. "

      Scotland is not helpless in this and will have to be proactive (I've detailed how below). This needs to be war-gamed well in advance of any enabling legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament, and there will have to be the stomach to see it through.

      Question to ask is, in the face of the express will of the Scottish people - how will England prevent it? Specifically? Step by step?

    5. If Theresa May gets in then at least we won't have to listen to that lame joke about MPs and Pandas any more.

      Not that I think she'll get more Tory MP's elected. I just think she'll come round and shoot the Pandas.

    6. The tory party will be slightly more occupied with tearing their own party apart over whether they are a pro-Europe party or not.

      Cameron Major ruled out an EU referendum before his backbenchers voted against him so let's not place undue weight on what he says.

    7. As Peatworrier has pointed out, negotiations with Westminster about devolving more powers is well within the competence of the Holryood parliament. So a referendum asking for a mandate to begin negotiations for independence would be well within Holyrood's competence.

      I expect something like that, along with our human rights to self determination were pointed out to Cameron last time when if you recall his first response was a flat No.

      In addition they are intelligent enough to realise that a refusal to allow another one would just be spun in Scotland as further democratic deficit and just harden and extend a Yes vote.

  6. You see how much more civilised everything is without that 'Mick Pork' guy around? Here we are having a nice, gentle debate about politics - mutually respectful - despite our differences. This is the way it should be. Sadly, the internet brings out the crazies. I think it's had a detrimental effect on the entire process.

    1. I've just tagged him as an Aspergers nut and try and skip his posts.
      He shits all over any potential discussion and kills it off before it can really get going, but that's the price of an open forum.

    2. Trying (and failing hilariously) to pretend you are three different people and now answering one of your own posts makes it crystal clear that you are the one in dire need of your meds Jeffrey.

      You might want to stop whining like a child on a website where I and James regulars have been posting for quite a bit longer than we've been hearing your shrill, though amusingly witless, far-right shrieking.

  7. Only "material change" of relevance will be that point where we can be confident a robust majority sentiment in favour of independence will be sustainable through the indyref2 campaign. The determining factor for the GO/NO-GO decision must be that datum.

    What that critical mass might be is open to discussion - say 55% for a sustained period? 60%?

    The causes of the swing will likely include frustration with Westminster's intransigence; a sense of betrayal over the VOW; realisation that in so many crucial matters, we are under direct rule from London; that unionism is de facto, colonial rule, wherein Scots are vassals in a vassal state, that comprises a constituent territory of England's inner empire.

    The demographic shift - nature taking its course: 75% of those 65 and over voted NO. That original cohort is of course going to continue to shrink. Their replacements, polls indicate, are far more YES friendly.


    With respect to the likelihood of another Edinburgh agreement - I think we must prepare for the contingency where Westminster refuses point blank to move Section 30 enabling legislation.

    We need insist that in matters constitutional the people of Scotland are sovereign, and independence is a matter for them and them alone. If the Scottish people want a referendum, there will be a referendum. And if in that referendum the People vote for independence, then Scotland will dissolve its union with England.

    Based on the Claim of Right (Scotland) 1689 and article 19 of the 1706 Treaty of Union and the interpretation of both by Lord Cooper in 1953 in McCormack vs the Lord Advocate, Westminster agreed that:

    1. The considered will of the people of Scotland remained paramount as stated in the 1689 Claim of Right and protected for all time by article 19 of the Treaty of Union which protected Scotland's Laws and constitutional practices.

    2. Under the terms of the 1707 Treaty of Union the UK Parliament has no role to play in any changes or alterations to the Treaty of Union (which clearly includes its termination) as only the original sovereign signatory parliaments have that power.

    We will not seek to secede FROM the UK, since without Scotland, there is no UK. Nothing so crass as a UDI.

    The United Kingdom of Great Britain is a legal and political entity formed by the Union of two and only two countries – the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England (incorporating Wales). It was created by a bilateral internationally recognised treaty.

    It is the case that upon dissolution of the Treaty of Union, its associated enabling acts of parliaments, and any subsequent contingent intra-state treaties and agreements derived therefrom, the United Kingdom of Great Britain will cease to be.

    There can be no continuing state of an extinguished voluntary union of two nations. It is on its face a daft proposition.

    Consider the tautology: When the Union is dissolved, the Union ceases to be.

    Try this gedankenexperiment: The scenario is that provision for a referendum on independence is part of the SNP manifesto for the Scottish Parliamentary Election in 2016. The SNP win the election with an absolute majority.

    The Scottish Parliament passes legislation authorising the plebiscite but the Westminster Parliament refuses to move Section 30 enabling legislation. The Government of Scotland being mindful of the express will of the People and their parliament, decide to move forward anyway with a national consultation, a plebiscite, to ascertain the will of the People with respect to resuming our independence.

    1. How does Westminster stop the consultation with and the balloting of, the Scottish electorate? No Scottish court will stop it, Police Scotland would not interfere, and the so-called UK Supreme Court has no jurisdiction in this matter.

    2. If subsequently, the People having voted AYE and in the face of continuing UK Government obduracy, the Scottish Parliament enacts legislation dissolving the Treaty (Acts) of Union, thus effecting independence, whose going to stop them and how?

    1. Extremely interesting post and analysis. much to contemplate. thank you

    2. In that scenario there's a good chance that many 'no' voters will not vote, seeking to deny the poll's legitimacy.

    3. There is absolutely nothing to stop the SNP calling another referendum at any time. The point is whether it gets Westminster sign-off. If it does not, then what you end up with is a very one sided campaign, which the pro-Union sides do not take part in and which is not conducted under the auspices of the Electoral Commission. At that stage the whole exercise loses its potency. This is exactly what happened in Catalonia last November.

    4. @Jeff.
      The Catalans had a consultative referendum. We should a proper referendum, declaring independence if it is a Yes. I would really, really love Westminster to say ye cannae dae that.

    5. Don't think some have thought this through. In raw numbers, the YES vote total participation is going to rise if we are to win.

      Indyref2 would NOT be "just like Catalonia", for we know already know from indyref1 what a winning threshold would be, nor could it be seen as illegitimate if just over 200,000 more voters (a 5% swing) vote YES than did in indyref1, regardless of the turnout for NO.

      We know with an 85% turnout last time that the practical limits in terms of voter participation for NO had been reached. If it looked remotely likely that number was set to increase, an indyref2 would not even be contemplated.

      IF THE YES VOTE EXCEEDS ~1.8 MILLION THE INTEGRITY OF THE OUTCOME OF AN INDYREF2 VOTE IS BEYOND REPROACH REGARDLESS OF THE TURNOUT FOR "NO" (which is not remotely likely going to exceed the difference comprising the total participation of indyref1)

    6. Good luck with that. The Catalan plebiscite became consultative once it became clear Madrid was not going to play ball. Without Westminster support, Electoral Commission supervision and official unionist participation, it's hard to see anyone outside the Yes camp taking the exercise very seriously. But the fact that some of the more extreme nationalists are talking about this kind of referendum and of UDI shows that the SNP is going to have to be very careful in the way it takes things forward in order to keep everyone inside the tent.

    7. @Jeff - As explained above, if the YES vote much exceeds 1.8 million, what Westminster may or may not do is of little consequence. As for the electoral Commission - give me a break.

      It may be hard for you to see anyone outside the YES camp taking it seriously, but consider that opinion is predicated upon your extremist pro-Union world view.

      What matters is the will of the People of Scotland as expressed in the plebiscite. Advocating non-participation because you know your going to lose doesn't cut it, I'm afraid.

    8. ERRATUM

      "... you know YOU'RE going to lose doesn't cut it"

    9. ERRATUM

      "... WHO IS going to stop them and how?"

      No chance of an post-submission edit function I suppose?

    10. As I say below, the SNP's best bet is to run a specific pro-independence platform in a UK or Scottish election - a vote for us is a vote for separation. There are too many variables in a one-sided referendum campaign and too many ways for its results to be dismissed, both by Westminster and internationally, whatever the number of people voting in favour. I'd be very surprised indeed if the SNP leadership took that option, whatever some members might think.

    11. We tend not to listen to the advice of far-right bigots like yourself Jeffrey. Our members are perfectly capable of assessing our policy and Nicola's stance while winning over the public just like we did in May when we had a historic win and out of touch BritNats like yourself were utterly humiliated.

    12. I enjoy reading political debates, even online ones, but can't you boys keep it civil? No-one's opinion is wholly right or wrong, and everyone's opinion is valuable. Enough with the personal name-calling, per-leeease.

    13. "No-one's opinion is wholly right or wrong"

      Try telling that to Adam "IT'S THE LAW!!!!" Tomkins.

  8. Clearly there will have to b some kind of commitment to a referendum, as that is the only way the SNP is going to stay together.

    1. Well Jeffrey, since we have over 115,000 members and rising under a hugely popular leader while the tories are preparing to tear themselves to pieces over being pro or anti-Europe, (with about half their grass roots opposing the other half) it's safe to categorise your witless opinion as "comedy gold". ;-)

  9. When Scotland expresses its will as a preference for independence, the Westminster Government will revoke the Scotland Acts, dissolve the Scottish Parliament and restore its (Westminster's) Imperial Power.

    1. And the Scottish Parliament would continue to sit in Holyrood and move legislation to dissolve the the Treaty (Acts) of Union.

      THAT Scottish Parliament would be the reconvened parliament suspended in 1707 that is not reliant on the Scotland Act or Westminster for its authority but rather derives its legitimacy from the sovereign will of the Scottish people as expressed in their vote for independence.

      Westminster power and primacy in respect of the Treaty of Union and Scotland's fundamental constitutional rights, is illusory and unenforceable in practice.

  10. @ James Morris July 1, 2015 at 9:00 AM

    At which point Scotland declares UDI.

  11. The SNP should put a proposal for a 2nd referendum in their 2016 Holyrood manifesto with a pledge to hold it before the end of that Holyrood parliament.
    Westminster will immediately say no. Its arrogance, along with its austerity cuts, can only increase the SNP's support.
    Holyrood must say it will hold it regardless of Westminster, and regardless of any unionist boycott.
    Any further threats from Westminster will, again, increase support for the SNP and independence.
    Holyrood must say an Aye vote, regardless of any boycott, will automatically mean, as Christian Wright says above, "the Scottish Parliament enacts legislation dissolving the Treaty (Acts) of Union."

  12. I've thought of the SNP possibly setting targets in their manifesto. For instance, should they win another simple majority, that would give them grounds to hold another referendum in the event of Brexit(with Scotland voting to stay) as well as any other pledges which have not been delivered.

    If they break 65% on the regional list, it's a mandate to hold a referendum before 2020.

    And if they gain 80% of the regional lists(on a >75% turnout, mind!), after the recent antics of Westminister, I wouldn't oppose an UDI clause. And I've hated the concept of UDI ever since I heard about it, hence the almost impossible target. But the whole point is, if the SNP did gallop all the way to such a milestone - 2.5 million votes! - the UK is finished anyway.

  13. What we need is for the SNP to start fighting clever.

    The first thing we need to do is look again at any referendum franchise, as the last one would have been won had people who were not born in Scotland, not had a vote.

    So call another referendum with only people born in Scotland allowed to vote.

    Only people living in Scotland allowed to vote.

    No postal votes allowed because of fears about fraud.

    (The feedback from Unionists that they had been able to look at postal votes figures used as evidence)

    We must fight fire with fire and stop all this Mr moral high ground nonsense.

    Fight dirty and we get our's as straightforward as that!

    1. Best just to allow only Yes voters to vote. That should do it.

    2. I do understand where you're coming from, however, any curtailing of the franchise based on ethnicity would undermine the fundamental legitimacy of the plebiscite in the eyes of many - including me.

      It would be directly contrary to the SNP's long held principle of inclusiveness in participatory democracy. It would only serve to undermine it's and the Independence Movements moral authority.

    3. Patrick,

      What's the point in voting Yes if you're happy to be just as dirty as the people you're replacing?

    4. Are you sure Patrick?

    5. So you're saying I should not have a vote because I was born in Germany whilst my Dad was in the Army?

    6. By disallowing those not born in scotland voting rights, you would lose a LOT of yes votes. Most people I know who voted No are scots born in Scotland. I'm not, and neither are most of my Yes-voting friends. We just have a clear vision of how we want our country to be, and that would most easily come via independence.

  14. The SNP's best bet is to run on an explicitly pro-independence ticket. In other words, a vote for us is a specific vote for independence. That by-passes the need for a referendum and because it was during an election campaign the other parties could not simply ignore it. It probably would not work for 2016, but could well be a goer in 2020 for either Holyrood or Westminster.

  15. I disagreed with the SNP leadership pushing for FFA at this stage. It was never going to happen, and all it did was give the Unionists a free hit. There's no chance we'll get a majority support for independence or FFA until Scotland's finances are in a stronger place, trying in the next few years could cause us great damage in the longer term.

  16. I think any talk about unilateral action ignores reality. I suspect Westminster simply would not allow Scotland to become independent following on from such action. If they did, it would be bare bones independence - a bit like leaving home with nothing but the clothes on your back. In separating from a country of 65 million when we are only 5 of those millions, we need the cooperation of the other 60 million and their allies (our allies, at the moment - the USA, the EU etc). Independence without Westminster consent just cannot happen and speculation about it is in itself damaging both to Scotland and the nationalist cause.

    I suspect the Westminster government would permit a second referendum if the SNP won a Holyrood majority promising one. It's a risky strategy but if it fell again - and it probably would - then independence is a dead duck for a lifetime - not just a generation (be it a normal generation or a Salmond generation). I think they would consider it a risk worth taking and a preferable option to stoking up resentment in Scotland.

    1. "Westminster simply would not allow Scotland to become independent following on from such action. "

      And specifically, how would WM stop Scotland dissolving its union with England? Will they use tanks? No seriously, how will WM - effectively the English parliament, deny the express will of the Scottish people?

      "If they did, it would be bare bones independence - a bit like leaving home with nothing but the clothes on your back."

      Again, exactly how would that be achieved. There would be no agreement in Scotland paying a proportion of UK debt -- debt that is exclusively the burden of the UK, as the Treasury was forced to admit to calm the markets in 2014.

      And what of the dislocation to English commerce with Scotland, which is by some margin, a net importer of English goods and services? Indeed, Scotland is England second largest "foreign" market, as I recall.

      You really believe a militarily and commercially strategically placed Scotland fulfilling the wishes of its people in accordance with international law and the UN Charter, would become a pariah?

      "Independence without Westminster consent just cannot happen and speculation about it is in itself damaging both to Scotland and the nationalist cause."

      Even talk of independence damages "the cause" and Scotland - this sound like boilerplate britnat-speak. To make it clear to you, the WM can't grant Scotland independence - it doesn't have that authority.

    2. When the London establishment agreed to be bound by the result of our referendum,they were acknowledging that we have that right and they would respect the outcome.
      This was recognised internationally and further reinforced by the begging bowl
      Westminster went around the globe with seeking support for their anti Scottish campaign.
      Everyone now knows that Scotland exists as a country and part of the political union with England which only continues with our consent.
      We should be grateful to the British Foreign Office for clarifying this matter on the global stage because,without their efforts during the referendum,Scotland may well have been considered simply a region of England.

  17. The whole farce is "untenable".

    1. That's a pretty funny page. Love the not-at-all-leading poll question at the top there.

      They also seem to be big into Robert the Bruce. Which is weird given that I doubt he was a huge fan of progressive representative democracies, Scottish or otherwise.

  18. "henceforth Scottish voters will be second-class citizens"

    Henceforth? That's a joke, right?

  19. The crux of this is that some members and Independence supporters seem shocked just how far out of their way the nasty party has gone to ignore and antagonise scottish public opinion after the VOW and our massive success at the GE.

    While it would be easy and a bit glib to say "what did you expect them to do, they're tories?" it would also be wrong as at least one of the things James lists was pretty surprising considering it has huge implications even outside of scottish politics.

    Namely number 6.The seeming willingness of Bercow to go along with the absurd 'quick fix' of changing the rights of MPs to bring in EVEL and the lunatic idea that Cameron can solve the WLQ by dictat.

    So far Bercow has just given a facile and fairly meaningless "it's up to MP's" over the issue but the entire point of Cameron's bizarre 'wheeze' is to use an obscure parliamentary procedure to avoid proper scrutiny over the issue. He quite clearly has no intention of allowing MPs to have a say on it except to rubber stamp it.

    To fully appreciate the staggering stupidity of Cameron's move right this second the likes of Hague and Grayling are spending a couple of days trying to basically 'solve' the WLQ and then presenting their rushed and cobbled together efforts to the commons as a done deal.

    For those who know little of the background you should perhaps look at the McKay commission and see what they came up with as they took years and the final outcome was as complex and riddled with caveats and placeholder measures as you would expect.

    There is simply no way on earth that Cameron's chumocracy are going to solve every facet of the WLQ (in a matter of days, LOL ) while pleasing all of his backbenchers and producing something that is workable or tenable for the long run.

    This isn't JUST about making scottish MPs second class MPs as the WLQ affects every aspect of devolution and ties in NI and Wales.

    Nor is the precedent of an out of touch executive like Cameron's fundamentally changing the rights of MPs (without even cursory scrutiny) one that will please all tory MPs. Some Eurosceptics in particular will be less than amused at that prospect after Cameron stupidly tried to bounce his entire parliamentary party into supporting his pro-Europe position.

    As for how it plays in scotland, I think we all know the answer to that one.

    It's also gong to put 'scottish' Labour (and the lib dems though they increasingly don't matter) into yet another untenable position as their remaining supporters were told time and again by the Labour leadership just how terrible making scottish MPs second class MPs would be. Yet they campaigned right alongside the nasty party to dismiss Independence supporters when we told them just how little the tories and their poodles cared about scottish public opinion and just how hollow and meaningless all the "better together" propaganda was.

    We've been proved 100% right on that one while Labour are now facing yet more inevitable fall-out from the scottish voter and their own support due to their own disasterous actions.

  20. As for, "will all this factor into SNP policy for Holyrood and beyond?" How could it not?

    Rest assured, - even if this wasn't the tories basically handing us a ready made campaign on a plate showing the scottish public precisely just how out of touch and how much contempt the corrupt westminster establishment has for scotland - everything that has transpired will have to have a robust response in policy terms.

    It has to be said though that since we are facing an unprecedented amount of chaos and turmoil in the coming months in westminater with an EU crisis and the tories warming up for their inevitable pro-Europe anti-Europe split, it's not over yet and there is plenty more to come before Holyrood that we will have to factor in.

    How far will that response go? We simply don't know yet but what we do know for certain is that there is no prospect whatsoever that Nicola or the SNP will ever stop pushing for Independence by whatever means is most effective and most persuasive to the scottish public.

    Sure, some will have different views over how best to achieve that but we've just had one of the most incredible and historic wins under Nicola which should be more than enough to prove that we are on the right track and that future policy will certainly be outlined to the party in plenty of time for Holyrood.

  21. As far as I'm concerned, I don't care how we do it, I just want Scotland out of this stinking union.

    I want an inclusive Scotland, but so many of the mainly wealthy English people staying here voted No so robbed us of our Independence, so quite frankly you can stuff this moral superior clap-trap and start fighting fire with fire.

    We are not morally superior if we sit idly bye and let hundreds of thousands of our bairns be born into poverty, watch thousands of people need food-banks to survive, watch the Elite rob our natural resources, then call us scroungers.

    The Westminster Toffs must be laughing their cocks off as we stick to the rules while they win every battle.

    Did you all miss what has happened this week? we've had our democracy stolen and the MSM have hardly mentioned it!

    We live in a democracy that relies on the media to inform people so that these people can make informed decisions when they come to vote, but unlike every other nation on this planet our media is owned by people who are not from Scotland and don't have Scotland's best interests at heart.

    We have two of our most prominent media outlets that are 100% behind the Labour Party in the daily record and BBC, even though Labour only won one seat at the last general election.

    As far as I'm concerned we are in a war and people who won't fight don't win wars.

    It's getting close to the point when I will start to opt out of this crap because why should I fight a fight in which I know my side can win at any time if they want to, but want to be shown to be better morally than other people so they allow them to walk all over us.

    Getting sick of this mamby pamby shit!!!

    1. And getting sick of this namby pamby shit is exactly what the unionist parties want you to do, so you start getting all ethnic nationalist and UDI and SNLA about it. Then they've got an excuse to put the boot in you, and other less enraged people are repulsed by your style of campaigning. Wars are won strategically not just by fighting fire with fire. It's not moral superiority, it's common sense. I want an independent Scotland, but not one where nearly half the people aren't happy about it. Our side can't win 'at any time if they want to' - not yet. People want change but they don't want revolution. Start preaching revolution and see how fast their appetite for change disappears.

    2. I stopped reading at UDI & SNLA,...Numpty!

  22. Here's a thought. 2016 SNP manifesto to contain a mandate to negotiate Independence. SNP form government, job done.

  23. In all of this it is important to remember where we actually are now, in timescale. The indyref1 was held in 2014, the Scottish Government election is in 2016, so a commitment for a indyref2 is quite sensible. If the SNP had the mandate, indyref2 might not have to happen until 6 years after indyref1.

    I honestly believe that it will be in the SNP manifesto, since despite what some here profess, it isn't just 'fundamentalists' who want another referendum. Indeed, if my memory serves me correctly, in polling following indyref1, the majority expected/wanted another within 5 years.

    My honest feeling is, one more year of these Tories in London, sneering at Scotland, and generally being pigs to the sick, disabled and poor, will be more than enough for a mandate for indyref2. Leaving it from a manifesto until 2020, would mean it may not happen, for a very long time. Too long for me, and the SNP may not hold its commanding position in Scotland forever either - just look at what happened to Labour.

    6 years is a long time in politics. It won't be too soon for indyref2.

  24. WE MUST NOT TAKE THE UNION BAIT !! This is a calculated and purposely imposed attack on the #SNP56 at Westminster to force an #indyref2. Play the long game as the long suffering Scots of over 300 years or just be patient and watch the Tory's impose their Austerity madness not just on Scotland but the rest of the UK Nations to take notice how this Elite Tory Millionaire Party holds out on a long term confronted with over 60 million people ready to smash it's IDEOLOGY once and forever.