Fictional Unions

“No Country that values its independence and indeed its self-respect could agree to a treaty which signed away our economic independence and self-governance.”
Boris Johnson

“There’s no other treaty in the world that I’m aware of where a sovereign nation undertakes to join up and can only leave when the other side says so.”
David Davis

“Ultimately membership of any union that involves the pooling of sovereignty can only be sustained with the consent of the people.”
Theresa May

The irony is that it is really the likes of Boris and David and Theresa who are ending the union. Here’s why.

The contradictions, pitfalls and strange opportunities of the new political roadmap are mesmerising (and confusing). The ‘plan’ as laid out by the First Minister has the following advantages: it aims to secure cast-iron legitimacy for the referendum thereby cancelling the sole Unionist talking point of ‘legality’ (and their sole tactic of boycott). In doing so they also contrast Scottish Government/polity as being ‘responsible and legal’ with UK Government/polity as being restless and law-breaking; it entices the Supreme Court to quash any opportunity for a Section 30 and in doing so shifts the UK position from “Now is not the time” to “We will never let you do this”, which is a potential game-changer even for No and Undecided voters. This is clever, in my opinion.

Where We Are

Current voting according to Savanta ComRes has ‘No’ with the narrowest of leads: If a referendum were tomorrow, 44% of Scots say they’ll vote Yes, while 46% say they’ll vote No, leaving 10% undecided. Commenting on the findings, Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes said: “Our latest independence polling only serves to underline the division within Scotland. Should Scotland be an independent country? The results are practically neck and neck.” 

There’s a few ways of looking at this. You could ask “Why in hell ‘Yes’ isn’t miles ahead?”, “Why they didn’t campaign through covid?” or “Why they haven’t put in place the essential building blocks for independence years ago?” (more of this in a moment). As Humza Youaf has tweeted: “New independence poll putting Yes at 49% & there are 1 in 10 undecided. That is why Unionist politicians are desperate to talk process & avoid the substance of the argument, they know the positive case for Scotland being a normal independent country will beat Project Fear.”

The (cup half-full) point being: the last time we started at 22% and this time we’re starting at 44%. The Britain of 2014 was indefensible but they made a case. The Britain of today is beyond recognition and a campaign to defend it will be laughable.

In addition the Don’t Know voters are (by definition) up for grabs. While the Yes campaign should (no doubt) be further ahead the No side has gained no support since 2014.

Comments (8)

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  1. Doug says:

    Whether you agree with the First Minister’s approach or not, it has done two things.
    1. It has stopped the UK government kicking the can down the round indefinitely.
    2. Forced the Supreme Court to start the process without non-state actors.

    In my world that’s a huge step forward.

    1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

      I agree.

      For some – fortunately, not too many – amongst the pro-independence supporters there is always an “Ah, but, whit aboot …..?” All strategies have risks.

      The other strategies – and more – listed by Mr Small from Mr Dalzell’s article – will all probably have to be deployed at some stage.

      Perhaps, more people who live in England are realising that England has no Parliament, but has a government which pretends to be acting in the interests of the people of England, but is the servant of international finance. It is seeking to disempower them and, by racist, xenophobic, anti LGBTI, misogynistic, anti Islamic, anti Muslim, anti Scottish/Irish/Welsh/European means, divert them from the main task and put them at one and others’ thoats.

      Does anyone really think that SIR Keir Starmer and SIR Ed Davey, in a parliament presided over by SIR Lindsay Hoyle, have the interests of the mass of the people of England at heart?

      1. 220701 says:

        England does have a parliament: the UK parliament. Scotland had two parliaments: the UK parliament and a devolved Scottish parliament. England just doesn’t have a devolved parliament.

        Devolution for England was first proposed in 1912 by the Member of Parliament for Dundee, Winston Churchill, as part of the debate on Home Rule for Ireland. In a speech in Dundee on 12 September, Churchill proposed that the government of England should be divided up among several parliaments, with power devolved to areas such as Lancashire, Yorkshire, the Midlands, and London, as part of a US style federal system of government for the whole population of the British Isles. In 2004, proposals to devolve political power to fully elected parliaments representing people in different parts of England on the model of London, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales were abandoned due to lack of local interest.

    2. Dave says:

      Hullo Doug. The person kickin the can doon road is F.M. Sturgeon. She has done this continually using many non-sensical excuses since 2014. The latest of begging the English P.M. for permission many times to hold a referendum and now the begging to the English supreme court is kickin the can over and over again.
      1) We do not need another referendum. The NU S.N.P. were voted in last year to declare independence not another referendum. Once again the FM was the one who decided another referendum was required. She says she’ll do her best for late next year. Her best is not good enough.
      2) The 1707 arrangement between the two SOVEREIGN countries of Scotland and England was agreed to by a VOTE in the Scottish parliament. There was NO referendum.
      3) FM Sturgeon has never said she wants independence. She always says that it is up to the Scottish people but then does everything in her power to keep our voices silent. Try calling her yourself and see what you will be told.
      4) Scotland is one of the richest countries in the world. You have never heard that from the NU S.N.P. at Holyrood.
      5) FM Sturgeon has never stood up for Scotland against Boris Johnson. We have been ridiculed, laughed at and treated like the English colony we are. FM Sturgeon has always remained silent and has never said anything positive about Scots.
      6) FM Sturgeon has never demanded reparations for the Scottish oil which England kept lying to us about it drying up since 1945.
      7) FM Sturgeon and the NU S.N.P. are NOT the YES movement.
      8) When the two ALBA MP’s were booted out of the English Westminster parliament for DEMANDING our right to be independent none of the NU S.N.P.’s sitting there got up and walked out with them in support. FM Sturgeon then said that they would never walk out in the future. They just sit there being humiliated making Scotland a laughing stock all over the world.
      Neither FM Sturgeon or her husband Mr. Murrell who was never voted in, want independence for Scotland. Her approach proves that.
      If you think that her approach of begging the for permission to the English aristocrats, in this case Boris, is going to get us our independence please let us know because that is her approach.

  2. Edward Cairney says:

    Independence is a state of mind. Independence isn’t a mark on a piece of paper. If we forget about independence and concentrate instead on reinvention, independence will happen by itself. We need to visualise a Scotland fashioned in the image of what we want it to be and if we want it badly enough, it WILL happen.
    We need to be unafraid of being honest and have and have a really open conversation minus the shouting.
    We need to learn from the mistakes of 2014 and make sure we are looking in the right direction and not into the HEADLIGHTS like we did in 2014.

    1. Edward Cairney says:

      Only one “and have”

    2. 220702 says:

      But there are upward of five million visions of what we want Scotland to be. By what political process of governance is the Scottish government proposing that, on the 20th of October 2023, we begin to independently refine a nation from all these several visions? That process won’t just magically materialise all by itself; it will be the process that the existing Scottish government puts in place, its prospectus for independence. Going into a referendum, we surely need to know what that prospectus is, to know what process we’d be buying into with a ‘Yes’ vote.

      Independence isn’t just about being ‘free from Boris’ or ‘free from Westminster’ or ‘free from the English’ (Or is it? Is this negativity the be-all and end-all of ‘independence’?). It’s also about the positive matter of what being ‘an independent country’ in the question ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ will actually mean in practice, the process by which that ‘Scotland’ will be realised?

      What we need to ask the Scottish government in advance of the referendum is: ‘What is the pig in the poke you’re offering us?’

  3. Tom Ultuous says:

    Good (and slightly depressing) point regarding the difference in eligible voters for the referendum and election.

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