* Nicola Sturgeon should not even request a Section 30 order (because the request would be rejected) and SNP supporters shouldn't be pushing her to do it. This point is implied by the article rather than explicitly stated, but I defy anyone to dispute that the implication is readily apparent. It effectively paints as a form of extremism any suggestion that Ms Sturgeon should do what she's already done once in 2017, and what we've been strongly led to believe she's about to do again. It would also mean that it's somehow outrageously militant to merely ask that the SNP stick to their own manifesto commitment - and remember that the manifesto arguably went further than simply pledging a Section 30 request. It certainly didn't acknowledge any Westminster veto on the holding of an independence referendum in the event of Brexit.
* The example of Catalonia demonstrates that the holding of a referendum without the agreement of Westminster would set the cause of independence back 10 years. This is a really appalling piece of victim-blaming on McMillan's part. The Spanish authorities trampled all over the Catalan people's democratic rights, meted out arbitrary violence against citizens casting a peaceful vote, and took political prisoners. But apparently this is all the Catalans' fault for failing to meekly take "no" for an answer. In actual fact, hardly anyone is seriously talking about following Catalonia's example by holding an illegal referendum - what is being suggested is instead that the current powers of the Scottish Parliament should be tested by passing a Referendum Bill and then seeing if the Supreme Court upholds it. If they don't, no harm done, and alternative methods for seeking an independence mandate would then have to be considered. But if they do, the referendum would become the law of the land, so what exactly would be the problem? Why are some senior SNP people in such a hurry to brand something as "illegal" when a) we don't know whether it is yet, and b) there'd definitely be no illegality in simply putting the matter to the test?
In any case, the United Kingdom is not Spain. Disappointingly, it probably is the case that there's a natural majority within the UK population for denying Scotland's right to democratic self-determination for the time being, but what there most certainly isn't a majority for is the deploying of Spanish-style tactics in pursuit of that policy. There would be an outcry if any such thing happened. The UK government are in practice much more restricted in their options than the Spanish government were, and they know that full well.
Not that any of this has got anything to do with politely requesting a Section 30 order, an act that would be fully in line with the UK's constitutional arrangements, but which for some bizarre reason McMillan also regards as unconscionable.
* There can be no move towards independence until "consensus" and "harmony" are achieved, and this may well take 20 years, as was the case with devolution. Blimey. Where do you start? First of all, it implies that the UK government were entirely right to ignore the narrow 52-48 vote in favour of devolution in 1979 (an outrage that McMillan herself has spoken out against plenty enough times). It drives a coach and horses through the SNP's long-standing position on a referendum, which has always been that a simple majority of 50% + 1 is sufficient. In the 2014 referendum, the SNP were certainly seeking consensus between Yes and No voters, but the form of that proposed consensus in the event of a narrow Yes vote would have been a compromise involving a "soft" form of independence - ie. a currency union, a monarchical union, a social union and so on. (Much of that remains on the table - the only exception is the currency union, and the blame for the failure of that idea can be placed squarely at the London Treasury's door.) Now it seems that the only appropriate form of "consensus" if there's a narrow majority for independence is no independence at all. A suitably Orwellian proposition.
Isn't it also a bit odd that someone who cautions against hasty action that could put the cause of independence back 10 years would then advocate doing nothing for 20 years anyway? I mean, doesn't the latter put the cause back by 20 years rather than 10? What am I missing here?
And last but not least, putting a referendum on the backburner for 20 years until this utopian state of "harmony" is achieved would also mean that the SNP's current stated position, and the position stated in their manifesto, ie. that the Scottish people should have the right to another say on their own constitutional future in the event of Brexit, is a sham. The idea that anyone would have taken that promise to mean "but only once you've had a chance to mull it over for a couple of decades" is risible.
McMillan's stance is not technically anti-independence, but it can be summed up as "unionism for the foreseeable future, and then we'll see". It reminds me very much of the original constitutional policy of the current governing party of Quebec (the Coalition Avenir Québec) which was a ten-year moratorium on any talk of an independence referendum. That then gradually mutated into "we will never hold a referendum, but we might seek more powers for Quebec within the Canadian federation". Why any elected SNP representative would be flirting with this stuff is beyond me. I would suggest our response to this disturbing development should be the opposite of what McMillan wants - we should redouble our urgent calls for Nicola Sturgeon, in the first instance, to renew her request for a Section 30 order within the next few weeks. That, frankly, is a position of moderation not extremism, and we should have no patience for any attempts to gaslight us into believing the contrary.
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