Well here we are a couple of days from the most significant General Election in most of our lifetimes and a Tory majority that will allow them to do whatever they want with Brexit and anything else they wish, which could include tampering with the devolved settlement.
To be plain, the way the Scotland act is set up at present, the only way it can be revised is with the people of Scotland voting in a referendum, to have the Scottish Parliament annulled and that is contained in the Scotland act 1998. However, the Scotland act was brought into being by the Westminster parliament and therefore, it can be changed by the Westminster parliament. There is no doubt in my mind that faced with the real possibility of Scotland seceding from the united Kingdom and the resulting chaos emanating from the loss of revenue, coupled with the fact that we have the most unstable prime minister in history, that the possibility of Westminster seeking to dissolve the Scottish parliament is very real.
So how did we get here? Well think back to where we were a couple of months ago. The Tories were riding high in the opinion polls because of the latent racism prevalent in England. This had been fostered through a huge social media campaign by the leave campaign headed up by Boris Johnston, in the lead up to the Brexit vote.
The ironic thing about this was that the Tories were playing on prejudices built up over the years against black and Islamic people, mainly from the British commonwealth, transferring this prejudice onto the immigrants from the EU, who are mainly white and Christian.
This of course had nothing to do with the real reasons of the shadowy backers of this huge media campaign, who were more concerned with the implications of new EU laws concerning the transfer of profits to offshore companies in order to avoid paying the taxes due in EU countries. Taxes, which if paid could alleviate poverty in one fell swoop.
Now parliament were in the main against either Brexit at all or a Brexit which, still did not allow a good trading relationship with the EU. I needn’t go into the machinations that went on in parliament over the 3 years since the Brexit vote and more especially in the last 6 months.
Johnston wanted an election as it looked like he had a majority, but he wanted it before the awful effects of Brexit could be shown, whereby, even the racist element in England would be turned off when it started affecting their pockets. Problem the Tories had, was that they were boxed in and Johnston was in a cage. They had prorogued parliament and been thwarted in court by the actions of Joanna cherry (not the Scottish government) forcing parliament to be restarted. Johnston had lost 8 votes in parliament which was unprecedented. He was boxed in and held tight.
Ok , so Labour, the lib Dems, the SNP and a goodly number of tory MP’s were all against either Brexit in total or the deal that Johnston had come to with the EU which meant a border on the main land of the UK ( put out as a border in the Irish sea, which was abject nonsense) A deal which would have lead to the breech of the good Friday agreement.
Now the SNP could have seized the chance ( as I laid out in a blog I did at that time ) and could have came to an agreement with the Tories to back their request for a General Election on the basis of a legal agreement to recognize a second referendum on Scotland’s independence being made. Yes, it would have meant tolerating Brexit for a time (although, only the transition element) and yes it would have meant the unsavory though that it could have meant the election of a right-wing Tory government. (In the event they chose not to take that rout and we have now got the tory government without a section 30 agreement.)
So, what did the SNP do? I remember Johnston putting forward the request for a December 12 General election on the Thursday, followed by howls of derision from the SNP, with Ian Blackford saying that “a December election was madness” however, by the Saturday, ( two days later) it was not only a great idea but the SNP had proposed an election three days earlier on December 9. I thought I was hearing things, I just couldn’t believe it.
So, let us get this very straight, here was the SNP prepared to allow Johnston out of the cage he was confined in and without any agreement on a future referendum for Scotland. Now they did this in collusion with good old Jo Swinson of the Lib Dems and this inexplicably bounced the renowned fence sitter Corbyn to fall into line and also agree to the date in December.
The SNP have made many mistakes along this interminable road to independence, but this will surely go down as the worst, because they had just facilitated the election of the most right-wing government in the history of the UK.
So, where are we now on the road to independence, well, as usual the SNP have once again been the beneficiaries of circumstance and the Tories have yet again made the case for independence, the SNP only half preparing themselves for this eventuality and let me explain what I mean.
To do this I have to go back to when Nicola Sturgeon was made leader of the SNP. From day one she decreed that the governess of Scotland was to be in no way associated with the cause of independence. That was a huge mistake and one that has haunted them (and us in the yes movement) over the last 5 years. I remember in the run up to the General election in 2015 being visited by Chris Law (at that time, candidate for the WM post). We had an independence rally booked for the City Square for the week before the election. He asked us to postpone this until after the election because ( his words) “Stewart Hosie says that we cant have Yes signs and saltires being waved around the City Square , the week before the election” Yes ,incredible , the SNP party of independence was trying to subdue an expression of a willingness for independence. Now the election was won on a huge majority and 56 SNP MP’s were sent down to Westminster, but it was won on the sentiment of loosing the referendum not in any way because of the actions of the SNP under Nicola sturgeon.
So, let’s look at what has happened since, with this, “don’t mention independence” culture. At every election since 2015, the Scottish elections in 2016 both national and local authority, the GE election in 2017, the SNP lost seats in every single one. At the GE in 2017 they lost half a million votes in comparison to the previous one.
So back to today and we find that yes, there is an opportunity with this election but perhaps not deserving the euphoric reception in which it has been received in certain quarters.
So, throughout this Brexit mess Nicola sturgeon has pursued a road to unionism, every effort has been to save England from itself. Right from day one after the EU referendum , instead of announcing a campaign for a Scottish referendum, based on the fact that Scotland voted 62% to remain, she announced that Scotland wished to be “part if the single market” although not a single person in Scotland voted for that.
Now it would appear that she has realized, rather reluctantly that her policy of sweeping independence under the carpet has been a disaster. It is also very obvious that during all of this long five years in which I and others have been criticizing the SNP strategy ( or lack of) and all these times when I have been pounced upon by the Nicola cult for having the temerity to criticize their glorious leader with shouts of “Nicola has a clever plan” that there has never been a clever plan ,in fact there has never been a plan at all, unless you class her crusade to save the UK as a plan.
Some of the reasons for coming to this conclusion are contained in what happened the other day and the lead up to the GE. You might have noticed that before the GE campaign started there was a burst of independence fervor from Nicola, even a rally hastily organized in George square for Nicola to appear at, the first independence rally she has appeared at since the 2014 referendum. Preferring to restrict her appearances to either Gay Rally’s or anti Brexit rally’s.
Lots of talk about a referendum in 2020, but as I have pointed out in previous blogs, she did not actually say there would be one, and certainly never gave a date. Great, on our way to independence! But was it? When it actually came to the campaign, the word independence was yet again conspicuous by its absence, instead we had a big yellow bus with Stop Brexit all over it ( an act which would have actually taken away one of the main reason for independence by Sturgeons own admission, remember the “significant event” caveat? ) So, the campaign was in the main about saving the UK from the evils of Brexit and in that, the SNP lost.
There was of course a mention of the main reason for the SNP’s existence in the election manifesto which could be the lifesaver and probably the main reason most people voted for the SNP and this is the straw we must grasp.
The SNP increased the amount of seats by 12 , 13 if you include Neal Harvey who was de-selected by the SNP because of a ridiculous anti-Semitism accusation inexplicably leveled at him by the wok faction in the SNP itself. This falls short of the 56 seats won in 2015 when people thought the SNP were still the party of independence. They drew back half of the votes they lost in 2017. It looks like there were a sizable number of people still not convinced that the SNP were back on the road to independence.
So, the position today is this. We now have the most right-wing government in the history of the UK,( bordering on Fascist) compliments of the SNP who facilitated this general election. Johnston has yet again said he will not countenance a section 30 derogation of schedule 5 of the Scotland act. Once you strip out the stop Brexit element the SNP have a sort of a mandate (the fourth one) to insist on a section 30. There have been suggestions that the way forward is to get all the SNP MP’s to resign, causing by elections which would be fought on a mandate for independence. That suggestion is going nowhere, as there is no way these MP’s will put their cozy £90K plus Jobs at risk and if that seems a good idea now then why was it not a good idea in the manifesto (another suggestion I and others made). In fact, I walked out of a meeting that Nicola Sturgeon was hosting in 2016 ( the week before the Scottish elections) in the Queens hotel in Dundee because I was prevented from being able to ask that very question as to why she had not included that intention in the manifesto Nicola is now saying that we “will not ask for another referendum we will demand it”! So why didn’t we “demand” it some of the other times the faithful have been marched up to the top of the hill and down again?
This magic letter that Nicola has been threatening to send for some time requesting this illusive section 30, has not been sent but when it is, and that should have been yesterday, should contain an ultimatum. “We will have a referendum by next September, it can be with or without a section 30 , your choice, if the referendum confirms the people of Scotland wish to continue to be independent and leave the Union then we will announce our intention to dissolve the union of 1707. In the meanwhile, we will enter preparatory discussions with the UK government in connection with the transfer of the instruments of state and the sharing of assets.
That to my mind is the only option left open to us. My suspicions are that Nicola Sturgeon has in mind a federalization option.
Mark my words, although I have had great reservations of the ability’s and commitment to independence of Nicola Sturgeon and her husband Peter Murrel, should what I suggest or something similar come to pass and a campaign comes about, I will campaign to the best of my abilities and the Yes Bus will once more be out on the streets of Dundee.
One more thing, the Yes movement should not be hi-jacked by any Gay rights movement and the yes sign should be two colors white and blue the colors of the flag of Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon must stop this transgender nonsense with self ID, allowing men to share intimate places with Women and children.
Hopefully, and with a struggle, we just might be back on the road to independence.
By the way this is the kind of independence battle buses you need, not ones with Stop Brexit all over them.