Saturday, October 9, 2021

Independence will not be won by drifting through time and waiting for Alister Jack's dismal vision of restoring "a YouGov democracy by 2039"

With the normal caveat that I'm not a legal expert, it seems to me to be utter nonsense to claim that the Supreme Court ruling a few days ago scuppers hopes that a legal referendum can be held without a Section 30 order.  The issues involved are very different.  The crux of the ruling was that the Scottish Parliament cannot constrain the UK Parliament's unlimited powers to legislate for Scotland, even on devolved matters.  But as far as a referendum is concerned, the argument of the legal experts who believe Holyrood already has the powers to hold a vote is that the UK Parliament's right to legislate would not be constrained in any way, because they would not be bound by the outcome of a purely consultative referendum.  (Of course they'd be bound in a moral rather than a legal sense, which is why they're so terrified of a consultative referendum).

A slightly more convincing argument is that, although the ruling is not directly relevant to the legality of a referendum, it nevertheless reveals the Supreme Court to be a deeply conservative and instinctively British Nationalist body which is highly likely to dream up a legal argument for striking down a referendum, even if we have no idea yet what that argument will be.  Well, that may or may not be the case, but it strikes me that the amateur psychoanalysing of judges is not the most sensible or reliable way of forecasting the outcome of complex legal cases.  We need to concentrate on the things we can control, and stop worrying about the things we can't.  What we can control (and by "we" I mean the pro-independence side under the leadership of the Scottish Government) is legislating for a referendum - something that frankly we should already be doing or already have done.  What we cannot control is whether that legislation is then challenged by the UK Government or by a private citizen used by the UK Government as a proxy, or whether any such challenge is successful.  In a sense that doesn't really matter, because this is a process that has to be gone through.  If a legal challenge fails, the problem is solved - we won't need a Section 30 order and a referendum will go ahead.  But if the challenge is upheld, we'll still be further forward because we'll have demonstrated to the Scottish people that the referendum route is totally closed off and that the UK Government's pigheaded intransigence has left us with only one reasonable option for pursuing a democratic mandate for independence - namely via a parliamentary election.  That will be a moment of liberation, because it will break us out of the "No to Indyref2", "now is not the time", "once in a generation" paradigm.  Parliamentary elections take place at least once every five years, and there's not much the UK Government can do about that, short of a Nazi-style Enabling Act.

As ever, though, the real problem is that the ruling may encourage the Scottish Government's ongoing passivity.  Let's be honest, pretty much everything encourages the Scottish Government's ongoing passivity.  "We might fail so it's really important we don't even try" has been the guiding principle since the catastrophic loss of nerve in 2017, and that shows no sign of changing.  Anyone who seriously wants independence should be terrified by Nicola Sturgeon's admission that she doesn't know how the impasse will be broken, but that she thinks it somehow will be, one way or another, because "time is on her side". Decoded, that means the SNP leadership's solution is to do absolutely nothing with even more studied determination and wait for something to turn up.  Spoiler alert: nothing will turn up, even if we wait decades, because the British constitution does not change and the British state's vested interest in keeping Scotland prisoner does not change.  If we want the weather to change, we have to change it ourselves.

And there's another way in which a truly radical and daring pro-independence government might have reacted to the Supreme Court ruling.  Aileen McHarg pointed out that there's now a clear incentive for the Scottish Parliament to refuse to agree to Sewel motions giving the UK Parliament consent to legislate on a specified devolved matter, because the court has created a novel distinction between laws on devolved matters passed by each parliament - Holyrood can only control/influence the interpretation and implementation of legislation it has passed itself.  But that also, I would suggest, means there's an incentive for Holyrood to "re-legislate" on swathes of laws passed after previous Sewel motions, so that the new Holyrood laws replace the Westminster laws, thus rendering the ruling largely redundant.  That would be roughly analogous to what the Parti Québécois administration used to do when it invoked the "notwithstanding clause" (allowing Canadian provincial legislatures to override court rulings of unconstitutionality) on every single piece of legislation it introduced, even when there was no particular reason to think that was actually necessary.

In other news over the past week, Alister Jack has revealed that Scotland will only be held as a prisoner against its will for another eighteen years. In the year 2039, dictatorship will be replaced by a "YouGov democracy", ie. we can have the things we want as long as YouGov say we want them (supermajority requirements apply, naturally).  So that's exciting.   Only six thousand, five hundred and seventy-four more sleeps to go.

*  *  * 

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the Supreme Court ruling (and it's interesting that many eminent experts believe the judges erred in law), it's worth remembering that the Scottish people were firmly opposed to the UK Government taking the matter to court in the first place.  Here is the result of a Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll conducted in April - 

The Scottish Parliament recently passed legislation that incorporates the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots Law. The law seeks to protect children's rights by forbidding public authorities from acting in a way that is incompatible with the UN Convention. However, the UK Government are challenging the law in the Supreme Court on the basis that it would interfere with the UK Parliament's right to make laws for Scotland. Although the UK Government are allowed to challenge laws that they think may exceed the Scottish Parliament's powers, they are under no obligation to do so.  Do you think the UK Government are right or wrong to challenge the new Scottish law on children's rights? 

Right: 33% 
Wrong: 42% 

With Don't Knows excluded - 

Right: 44% 
Wrong: 56% 

*  *  * 

Courtesy of the fatalistic rabbit in Watership Down, here is the Scottish Government's current strategy for securing independence -

Where are you going, wind? 
Far, far away 
Over the hills, over the edge of the world. 
Take me with you, wind, high over the sky. 
I will go with you, I will be rabbit-of-the-wind.

Where are you going, stream? 
Far, far away 
Beyond the heather, sliding away all night. 
Take me with you, stream, away in the starlight. 
I will go with you, I will be rabbit-of-the-stream. 


  1. "Decoded, that means the SNP leadership's solution is to do absolutely nothing with even more studied determination and wait for something to turn up."

    That pretty much sums it up - Nicola Sturgeon is the Ms Micawber of Scottish politics.

    1. Aye spot on. The Mr Micawber is Kavanagh and his family of Micawbers btl.

      Stay positive and something good will turn up say the WGD numpties.

  2. We need action. Legal or illegal. Take back our MPs from the Westminster cesspit for a start. Anything that gets us world-wide attention and gets the brinats' knockers in a twist.

  3. The whole thing is a continuation of the SNPs modus operandi. Instead of presenting a positive case for independence they instigate things like this which is designed to stoke up ill feeling keeping the hardcore rump of there support from turning on them allowing them to continue kicking the indyref can down the road.

    As I said last week once you drive your moderate support away this is the sort of stuff you have to do; grievance politics is not going to win the second referendum only positive campaigning is, something the SNP show no interest in doing.

    On a side note I see our former regular contributor is writing reams of text about how he cant possibly be a 'blood and soil' nationalist before proving he is time and time again by blaming everything bad on the British/English/England whilst everything good is because of Scots, which is text book blood and soil nationalism, would make me laugh if was not so disturbing.

  4. An interesting article James.

    As I said before a TRUE party of independence would have challenged the UK gov in some way e.g. saying agree to a sec 30 or we will make the May 2021 election a vote on Scottish independence.

    What do the SNP leadership do - slag off Salmond continuously and tell their sheep to Both Votes SNP . Devolutionalists at best. Working for the British State at worst to stop independence. Either way they will not deliver independence. Vote Alba in future.


    Why is Scotland the only part of the UK delaying its 2021 census till 2022? The official reason is Covid. No problem for England to go ahead so why is it a Covid problem in Scotland. Fundamentally it is sending out a form for people to fill in and return. How is this a Covid problem when we have COP 26, an election in May, Hampden, full of fans, nightclubs and bars open etc etc. There has been a census every ten years in Scotland (except 1941) for more than 200 years. Is Covid really equivalent to the situation in 1941?

    Now this census will tell us whether or not the English have been pouring in to Scotland in their hundreds of thousands as some believe. Me I have no idea but the very fact that the mad liar Skier is always punting this in southern Scotland makes me skeptical. There have always been some English in East Renfrewshire where I live. However, if I was the leader of a political party that wanted independence I would really want to know that information. So why does Sturgeon not want to know asap?

    If the census shows high numbers of English have migrated to Scotland it reduces the merit in Sturgeons wait do nothing and let the old unionists die off and the young will vote for independence in the future that she recently alluded to. A strategy that is morally wrong and more than likely practically wrong.

    English no voters migrating to Scotland may be occurring at a greater rate than old no voters dying off.

    What it shows is that Sturgeon has no plan for independence but we all know her preferred pronouns.

  6. Stephen Daisley makes the argument in the Spectator that Holyrood has no mandate for an independence referendum because the consitutiion is reserved to Westminster. He says , for example, it would be the same if the Scots wanted a referendum on removing Trident from the Clyde. Defence is reserved.

    The easy solution to this argument is for the majority of Scottish MPs elected to have a mandate for a referendum. But no the SNP do not do this. They are not a party serious about independence. A bunch of charlatans.

  7. So the latest update by Sturgeon is she MAY provide some concrete details on her plans for independence next spring. Unbelievable how long she has been getting away with this. She gets away with this because of people like Kavanagh and the numpties that believe all this crap.

    How can people be so dumb.


    As ever there is an extensive choice.

    Staying with the theme of James article of doing nothing and waiting for something to happen. The Micawbers of WGD are all for this.

    There was barpe - "But what exactly are you wanting her to do? Put the bill before Holyrood and then see it crushed by the English "Supreme" Court?

    And barpe again - " We must be incredibly near our 'tipping point' - Scotland is being insulted on a daily basis by these Tory cretins."

    But a clear winner is Capella with - "Judging by the epidemic of anti SNP/Scotgov items in BBC Scotland these days the Union Unit is expecting the referendum sooner than 2023."

    Clutching at straws just doesn't cover it. These people make no sense and are delusional.

  9. James, according to a WGD numpty called Rosindale you have not only lost touch with reality but have become unhinged.

    He bases this on the fact that you are not happy about progress towards independence and you should just wait until Nicola decides it's time to make progress. These people are truly unbelievable.

    Note to ROSINDALE: Sturgeon is a politician not a messiah and certainly not a leader of a country trying to regain its independence.

  10. The pratt ROSINDALE also says we cannot go for independence now because we don't have a draft constitution, we don't have a new independence prospectus, we don't have this etc etc. Well it's not James fault is it you numpty it is the SNP's very own messiah Sturgeon who has done nothing to prepare for independence. Just how long does she need? If there ever was a refendum under Sturgeon she would be worse than useless and spend most of her time slagging off Salmond.

    Did Johnson bother with a Brexit prospectus or a draft constitution for the UK outside the EU. NO and he won with a simple take back control message but numpties like Rosindale want another 600 page document that most voters will never read never mind a draft constitution which would probably be lengthy as well if numpties like Rosindale got their way.


  11. Alister Jack rules out second independence referendum for another 25 years.

    Nicola Sturgeon in reply says that's too early I won't be ready by then.

    1. That was a joke, but it's fair to say there's a degree of convergence between the SNP leadership and Alister Jack on the optimal timing.

    2. That was for all the Micawbers on the slow boat to independence. Especially Hamish 100 who seems to think that if you don't bow before the messiah Sturgeon and her disciples then you are a Unionist. It's always amazing how some people turn a politician into a messiah.

  12. WGD Nasty Numpty Dr Jim complains about people being nasty to Blackford at Glasgow Green. He says they were nasty Alba people shouting abuse. He wasn't there he says but he has been told that by good people. Aye by that other numpty Pension Pete no doubt who wasn't there either. People shouted "too late" when Blackford said there MAY be a referendum in 2023. I doubt anyone grabbed them by the neck ( as per Dr Jim boasts of doing) and removed them from the Green. So who is the more nasty person Jim.

    A bit of political verbal heckling or phyical assault of a woman by grabbing them by the neck. People in glass houses and all that Dr Jim.

  13. Another nasty WGD numpty is Alec Lomax.

    Lomax in a previous thread said this when referring to the independence blogger Barrhead Boy:

    "That would be the same Barrhead Boy who loves Scotland so much that he resides in Spain."

    "And I just love those super patriots who can't be arsed living in Scotland."

    Now I thought it may be that Barrhead Boy lives in Catalonia for health reasons but I don't know him and had no idea if that was the case. In his current article he says he is in Catalonia for health reasons and spells out his health problems. Nasty people like Lomax who do not have the intellect to argue their case against Barrhead Boy just throw out snidey one liners.

    If Lomax had any decency he would apologise. I won't hold my breath.

  14. Tony Blair was appointed as a Middle East peace envoy.

    Matt Hancock has been apppointed by the UN to help Africa with its Covid problem.

    You couldn't make this stuff up. What a world we live in.