In a significant move, the SNP yesterday announced that it is prepared to call a wildcat referendum of its own if Boris Johnson refuses to grant one himself (4)— The Sunday Times (@thesundaytimes) January 23, 2021
Sunday, January 24, 2021
The Sunday Times also used the above language in its front page today, and added for good measure that the so-called "wildcat vote" would be akin to the one held in Catalonia - thus implying it would be illegal and presumably that its instigators could end up in jail. All of that is completely and utterly untrue. I've no idea whether it would be best characterised as a lie, or as utter cluelessness.
In reality, the plan Mike Russell set out the other day was to hold a legal referendum on independence, and to do it without Westminster's permission if necessary. That is not a contradiction in terms. "Westminster doesn't like it" is not synonymous with "illegal". Any referendum would be held under the terms of an Act of the Scottish Parliament - which by definition means it would be the opposite of illegal or "wildcat". If the UK Government feel that the Act in question exceeds Holyrood's powers, there is a well-established procedure for putting that to the test and obtaining a legal ruling. There are three possible outcomes -
1) No legal challenge occurs, in which case an independence referendum is the law of the land.
2) The UK Government mount a legal challenge, but it is rejected by the Supreme Court, in which case an independence referendum is the law of the land.
3) The UK Government mount a legal challenge and the Supreme Court uphold it, in which case no referendum takes place. (Although in a rational world the SNP would then move on to using a scheduled election as a de facto referendum.)
As you'll have noted, in none of those scenarios does an illegal or 'wildcat' referendum occur. If anyone can face being royally mucked around and fobbed off with technicalities, there is - on paper at least - a strong case for complaining to the press regulator IPSO on the grounds that the Sunday Times' reporting is straightforwardly, demonstrably and verifiably inaccurate.
Posted by James Kelly at 6:21 PM