It’s Scotland’s Choice

c6zcmwzw0aacwhr-jpg-largeThe inevitable next step is now here – we will have a second referendum some time between Autumn 2018 & Spring 2019. You can read the full text of the First Minister’s speech from Bute House at The National here, but here’s three key points from Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement today.

The first is that the timing is important. If we were voting ‘blind” about Brexit without any clear idea of what it meant and what it’s consequences would be – we will not be voting in such an uninformed way for independence. She said:

“Having Scotland’s referendum – at a time when the terms of Brexit are known – will give the Scottish people a choice about the kind of change we want.”

The second is that the idea that this is a situation manufactured by the SNP is clearly a nonsense. This is a moment created entirely by Theresa May’s intransigence and the ideological agenda of a handful of Tories. The First Minister said:

“If I ruled out a referendum, I would be deciding – completely unilaterally – that Scotland will follow the UK to a hard Brexit come-what-may, no matter how damaging to our economy and our society it turns out to be.”

The third is that there is clearly a change in tone, first witnessed by Andrew Wilson’s announcement about taking oil revenues out of the economic case for independence and now marked by Sturgeon’s  comments that she will be “frank about the challenges we face”. But also that there is continuity: internationalism, our place in Europe, sustainability and social justice were all referenced in the First Ministers’s speech:

“I have already said that by the time a choice comes to be made, there must be greater clarity about Brexit and its implications for us. It is just as important that there is clarity about the implications of independence. And there will be. We will be frank about the challenges we face and clear about the opportunities independence will give us to secure our relationship with Europe, build a stronger and more sustainable economy and create a fairer society.”

Unity in Diversity

One of the interesting things about the press conference was that, when you get the UK press corps in one room they are exposed often of having a really limited knowledge of Scottish politics. One journalist asked, perhaps more in hope than anything, in response to Sturgeon’s statement that the Scottish parliament would be asked to vote on a second poll queried whether the Greens would support her. Here’s Patrick Harvie’s unambiguous statement:

“I’m very pleased to welcome today’s confirmation that a Section 30 order will be sought. That step is clearly necessary if Scotland is to have the option of holding a referendum, to give everyone who lives here the choice about our own future.

The UK Government has been reckless and destructive in every possible way since June last year, taking a narrow result as a mandate for ripping the UK out of the single market, which even Leave campaigners promised not to do. They have treated Scotland with nothing but contempt, refusing to respect the 62% Remain vote, and refusing to engage either with Government or with Parliament on these critical issues.

I know that not everyone who voted Remain last year will suddenly convert to supporting independence if they didn’t before. However it’s also clear that not everyone who voted No in 2014 is willing to see Scotland dragged along with a hard right, anti-immigrant, “Empire 2.0” Brexit agenda. Voters in Scotland deserve the right to make their choice, and I will make the strongest case I can for a Green vision for Scotland’s future as an independent European country”.

One of the things that’s immediately obvious is that the unionist forces are in complete disarray, endlessly repeating the same arguments from 2014 on a loop. We will completely disorient them by disengaging form this dialogue and engaging not with them but by putting forward a positive and imaginative prospectus for independence.

That’s what Bella will be doing over the next two years – engaging with the people who weren’t convinced the last time, engaging with people who aren’t already in our circle. We’ll be doing that in a  respectful way and we’ll be hosting a public conversation about our collective future that aims to reach out to people not just confirm our own beliefs endlessly. If you want to support us to do so please go here. Thank you.

It’s time to get organised.

Comments (39)

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  1. bringiton says:

    Some monkeys off Nicola’s back now.

    1. bringiton says:

      Oh and should have mentioned the clear impact this will have on the Brexiteer’s negotiations with the EU.
      They will not be able to credibly use Scottish resources as a bargaining chip and I would expect a statement from the EU at some point that because of our stated intent to become an independent state,we will be put into a holding pen between the time of UK exit and the result of our referendum being known.

      1. Crubag says:

        It’s a political club, so difficult to rule out entirely, but the major challenge is that applicants need to show they are an independent, stable market-economy before applying.

        Scotland can’t do that while it’s monetary and fiscal policy is made by another country.

        (There may also be resistance from multi-national states wanting to limit their own breakup.)

        1. Jeff says:

          Yeah, let’s just forget all about it, eh?

        2. James Mills says:

          Sounds awfully like deja-vu to me ! Better Together meets Groundhog Day .

  2. Crubag says:

    It’s not actually clear to me that there will be a referendum, the speech seems to be seeking the option of having one, not the certainty. I think there’s a risk this is a kind of gloopy mebbe aye/mebbe naw approach, to allow SG/SNP to pull out from holding a referendum should it look like opinion is tending to No/Remain.

    I also think the EU membership piece is not a good fit, the relevant paragraph (“If the UK leaves the EU without Scotland indicating beforehand – or at least within a short time after it – that we want a different relationship with Europe, we could face a lengthy period outside not just the EU but also the single market. That could make the task of negotiating a different future much more difficult.) seems to envisage exiting the UK, setting up the new state apparatus, and applying to join the EU – and being ratified by the 27 – in only a few months – or in some kind of holding pen?

    It would be good to get a clearer sense of what is meant and a timeline. If there is to be an EU application, that should be a separate vote, though I think it could go on the same voting form. We managed two questions in 1997.

  3. Mathew says:

    Big gamble -possibly should’ve waited a bit to see what happens in Europe over the next few months. Pray that Le Pen and Wilders don’t get in.

    1. Crubag says:

      I think the next big EU crisis is more likely to be Erdogan opening the borders again as punishment for the perceived slights from the Netherlands and Germany.

    2. Frank says:

      Pray that Le Pen and Wilders don’t get in. WHY?

      1. Mathew says:

        Because this referendum will be about getting out of the UK and into the warm, welcoming embrace of the EU. If Wilders and Le Pen get in then that embrace looks less warm and less welcoming. Will the EU even survive with Le Pen in power in France?

      2. tickle says:

        cos they’re fascists

    3. John Monro says:

      Yes, the wish to remain in the EU surely is predicated on having a healthy EU, I agree Matthew. Thereshould be no doubt in anyone’s mind there’s some serious dysfunction in that organisation, and huge political and financial fissures that have been papered over. Scotland should bear in mind what the EU have done to Greece, or Ireland for that matter, a pretty salutary lesson for a small country like Scotland. Leaving the UK to stay in the EU might be uncomfortably like jumping out of the pan into the fire. Fortunately there is a year or two to see what happens both with the negotiations and with the EU. My recommendation would be for Scotland to have a relationship to the EU like Norway and certainly not become part of the Euro, but would the EU allow this? So, so, so complicated, best not to make too many predications.

      1. bringiton says:

        It was entirely predictable that the message from the London establishment prior to Scottish independence was going to be either that Scotland would be rejected as a member state or that the EU would fail as an organisation.
        Either way Scotland has no future outwith England’s union (they claim).
        I don’t hear the same rhetoric from HM press about the union on the other side of the pond where some states are threatening to secede.
        Odd that.

    4. 3Rensho says:

      You’ve got the calculus re Le Pen and Wilders all wrong. Up to a point. If the EU project is viable but fraying around the edges the SNP look a lot more credible in their pro EU rhetoric because it’ll be pretty obvious Brussels needs all the pals it can get. If the EU is just completely falling to bits the calculus will be so different no-one can really pretend to understand the prospects for indy. Except for nat ideologues and lefties who just think independence should be a self evident good for everyone in the country.. which it unfortunately isn’t.

      1. Anne Mackenzie says:

        Maybe not but we will be in charge of our revenue and can decide not to waste it on things down south that do not benefit Scotland in any way.

  4. Roland Laycock says:

    Good look to the Scottish people in which ever they choose, the Tories have no respect for Scotland or its people they don’t even respect the North of England, you are there to be used

  5. Rose says:

    Seems unambiguous to me – her terms are clear, the mandate was there and to say the reasons for triggering a 2nd referendum have been made manifest is an understatement! She appears to be saying it’ll happen but timing would be decided around when we have more concrete information. I agree the unionists are in disarray and this undemocratic Brexit approach will have further implications for rUK. Good.

  6. Redgauntlet says:

    Superb timing by Nicola Sturgeon, she just drove a bus through the Brexiteers week….
    Brilliant performance too.

    1. Jo says:

      I agree. She was very calm and gave a clear summary of the sequence of events to date highlighting the failure of May to keep her promise to allow devolved governments to participate in the Brexit discussions. She stressed that the SG had submitted its own report which had included a willingness to compromise yet it hadn’t been even acknowledged. And I believe her when she says she did not want to be in this position.

      The really depressing bit came later hearing Dugdale, Davidson, Carmichael and Rennie all responding WITHOUT mentioning Brexit or May’s behaviour or the impact on Scotland. All of them stick to pretty much the same which amounted to little more than “We hate the SNP!” Depressing indeed.

      What a sorry state Labour and the Scottish Lib Dems are in and how embarrassing to see them sharing a script with Davidson. All banging on about “the people of Scotland” without being willing to discuss the impact of Brexit on the same people or recognise May’s role in this whole sorry mess.

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        Nicola Sturgeon is a world class politician, in the same league as somebody like Angela Merkel, and yesterday she proved it again. She played an absolute blinder.

        She is the only UK politician since the Brexit vote to have outmanouevred the crowing, braggart Brexiteers…. Nicolas just put their gas at a peep and the look on May’s face said it all.

        Now we need to build a new YES coalition, on a different set of coordinates than the last time…

  7. George Gunn says:

    I agree, Redgauntlet. Thank goodness we still have Bella to promote the reality of an independent Scotland. This forum is going to be vital in the tricky, exciting months ahead. It will be a struggle, but we have to be free of London rule if we are to progress. We need to make as many allies as possible in and beyond Europe. The reaction of the BBC so far today (Radio Scotland) has been pathetic. It is an example of what we can expect… and worse, much worse… to come.

    1. kate macleod says:

      Yes. Seems likely various pro indy forces would have been keen to save Bella at this moment in time.

  8. Jamie says:

    I had been pessimistic about our chances in past months but recently there are some positive signs. Recent politics shows from an English perspective as well as the Scottish media are still throwing out the sound bites from the 2014 referendum and it seems they are going to wage war from that angle and they are onto a loser as they can fool some of the people some of the time but they can not fool all of the people all of the time.

    A recent sky news paper show had an English woman on the program who said that Nicola Sturgeon saying Teresa May is not compromising with regards to the EU, is “not very braveheart”, I thought that was pretty funny and highlights that many of the English commentators still have not grasped that Civic Nationalism is quite far from Braveheart.

    Also, many commentators from England and Scotland are saying joining the EURO will be a disaster… I can only guess that they have conveniently not been looking at the markets recently and failed to notice the collapse of the pound to the point that there is only 10p difference between the pound and the EURO.

    I also presume they conveniently forgot that there are many members of the EU who do not have the EURO. The events prior to indy ref2 are very different to indy ref 1 and it is the people powered campaign of the YES movement that will win this in comparison to the Unionist media smear campaign which will be project fear 2.0.

    They are exposing themselves to be the liars that many of us knew they were in 2014 and now many more people are starting to see this for themselves which is fantastic.

    The time of the “experts” is over and this referendum is going to be won by the people.

    1. bringiton says:

      It isn’t,there is no queue only the time taken for states to comply with EU law.
      Scotland already does.

      1. Hector says:

        The UK as a whole may comply with EU law. Does Scotland, with a national deficit on tax income three times EU requirements and no national currency?

        1. Crubag says:

          The big issues are the same as they always been, own currency, central bank, and a record of economic management. Every state that has joined has had those. And in or out of the EU, Scotland would need those.

          There’s also some more minor institutions required, like an independent stats office to provide data like GDP? so that performance can be assessed.

  9. Fiona Sinclair says:

    At the risk of flagging up a `rival` publication, I think Derek Bateman has highlighted crucial points in his analysis of today’s announcement. It’s worth the short time it takes to read it through:-

    http://newsnet.scot/archive/indyref2-call-betrays-downing-street-mis-reading-snp-brexit-stance-bluff/

  10. kate macleod says:

    I saw the indy ref 2 announcement on the ABC in Sydney this morning. It made me very happy and hopeful. It seems England and Wales will be trashed by both Brexit and Westminister for decades, and this is Scotland’s (and NI’s ) best chance of not going with it. The Tory Brexit is not made with increasing living standards,wages or health & social services in mind. There is no sign that UK Labour can win an English election or has a post Brexit roadmap to a more prosperous collective society to offer the disenfranchised currently non voting masses. The Tory Brexit has no aim but continued plunder for the ruling class under cover of stoking racism. In a hopeful sign here WA just voted down the local right wing racists and local tories, One Nation and the LNP, in favour of what appears to be the lesser evil in a number of ways, Australian Labor.

  11. Jo says:

    Interesting too that a Guardian editorial today laid the blame for today’s announcement squarely at Theresa May’s door!

    1. kate macleod says:

      i saw theresa may may claim in regard to sturgeon’s announcement ‘politics is not a game’, words that are beyond hypocritical. the tory game of brexit was fought from every angle to cover all possible outcomes and take no responsibility for any.
      of the two i think sturgeon believes that human society is not a game much more than may.

      1. Jo says:

        I could not agree more. May’s comments were astounding when she spoke of playing political games and about games over the constitutional issues. I could not believe my ears.

        She is the one who has blocked input from the devolved nations – despite two of them voting to Remain – and she’s even (sadly, successfully) blocked even parliament, pretty much. (I wonder how the lady who brought the case defending parliament’s right to make the big decisions feels today after the Commons has, once again, caved in and backed off. Shame on them!)

        May is also telling massive porkies about having kept the SG and the others involved in talks when, in fact, as Sturgeon said yesterday, they’ve been ignored and the SG written submission was also ignored!

        What’s riling me most, however, is that, in interviews, both Dugdale and Rennie are choosing to focus only on the fact that the last referendum on independence was in 2014. Nothing else, no mention of Brexit and the impact of it! Why are they getting away with that? Both agreed with Sturgeon after the EU vote that this was very damaging for Scotland and yet now it’s as if it’s been wiped from their memory banks!

        I meant to enclose a link to the Guardian comment yesterday in my earlier post. Here it is here. I think it’s excellent and I’m still shocked an English publication has been brave enough to lay the blame at May’s door.

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/13/the-guardian-view-on-another-scottish-vote-theresa-mays-homemade-crisis#comment-94833878

        And this is the Guardian one published earlier which was written by Ruth Wishart. It too is very balanced. If only we could get the same balance up here!

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/13/theresa-may-forced-sturgeon-hand-independence-referendum#comment-94806203

  12. Wul says:

    I’m very glad that we will have Bella Caledonia here to promote a positive, pro-independance argument. It will be essential and I will dig deeper into the pockets to support you.

    Just a wee aside though; Bella is by far the slowest web site that I visit, I mean painfully slow.

    I click the Bella link from Google and then open another tab to read whilst I wait for Bella to load (I use a Mac). If this is happening to me, it is happening to others and many, many people, accessing the web by mobile phone, say on a train or via GPRS will simply not wait that long and go elsewhere. You need to get this fixed, its a real disincentive to come here. (e.g my wife never looks at Bella ” it doesn’t work on my computer” she says)

    1. Hi Wul

      thanks for this feedback. We have a tech support team for the first time in a very long time who are looking at this.

  13. Big Jock says:

    Serious talk of May trying to block a referendum. Would Holyrood Government resign and call a Scottish election on independence ticket? Given May’s bloody mindedness and lack of foresight of political consequences I wouldn’t rule it out.

    Could be a case of her saying yes here’s the Section 30 but you can only have the vote after April 2019. That would be unacceptable so may lead to either a non mandated referendum or a simple election.

    1. Jo says:

      @ Jock

      It’s certainly looking like she intends to dictate how early it can be.

      She’s saying other things today too tho’ none of which make her position or approach look any better.

      She’s declaring that the UK government has been “consulting” with the devolved governments when we know that just isn’t true. So she’s resorting to absolute lies on top of all the “We don’t know.” answers to any question that is raised on Brexit!

  14. Eleanor Ferguson says:

    I worry about the media brain washing people to think that they are ‘tired of referenda’. I hear people parroting this without any thought. How can you be tired of having a chance to leave all this nonsense and have a say in your own life!
    Also ,as I have said before, it is completely cynical for Labour in Scotland to go along with Brexit plans. Are they not supposed to be standing up for Scottish people?

    1. Josef O Luain says:

      Yep, the turnout in the recent NI election runs a big bus through that kind of argument. If people are enthused, they’ll come out to vote.

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