Post by ABU HAIMI ABU HASSAN
Munguin’s Man in Malaysia
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Nicola Sturgeon announced recently that she would seek the Scottish Parliament’s consent for another independence referendum to be held latest by Spring 2019.
Though those of us on this side of the independence debate have expected that another independence referendum would have to take place in the near future, I was pleasantly surprised by the boldness of the move.
After reading some more blogposts and opinions, I am convinced that the move was truly momentous, and the effects will be more far-reaching and sublime than initially expected.
Firstly, the most immediate effect is the removal of Scottish assets as bargaining chips in the upcoming United Kingdom’s (UK) Brexit trade deal negotiation with the European Union. The UK government now cannot barter with the European Union, say for example, Scottish fishing waters because it cannot guarantee such waters will be in United Kingdom in the foreseeable future. In this sense, Nicola Sturgeon really did screw Theresa May’s bargaining position up with the European Union.
Secondly Theresa May, in her reply to Nicola Sturgeon, decided to delay (or deny [doesn’t matter as it has same effect]) the proposed referendum’s date until the Brexit negotiation is over. Some say she going to force the issue to be framed in the next Scottish Parliament election and put up God knows all kind of conditions. Theresa May’s reasoning, saying that Scotland should not have an independence referendum until the Brexit trade deal terms are finalised (hence avoiding economic uncertainties), is truly hypocritical and ironic. Scotland did not vote to get out of the European Union, so why do we have to be in the trade deal mess that is not our creation? We may or may not get a deal to our liking, or worse, no deal at all. Then again, the Tories are hypocritical creatures that don’t do irony.
Notwithstanding this, what is legal and what is politically moral/expedient are two different things. Theresa May can pass all the laws she wants in order to stop the referendum but the moment Nicola Sturgeon has the backing of the Scottish people, she will get her date no matter what. Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come.
Thirdly, by forcing hard Brexit, Theresa May has effectively lost the economic argument. Whatever position she takes in order to argue against Scotland can be effectively chucked back to her. Callum McCaig MP did use this method of argument and embarrassed her in the most recent PMQ. The logic is simple; if the UK can go it alone, why can’t Scotland do the same?
Thus, the only real argument in this referendum is about sovereignty. One may recall that a certain Tony Blair labelled the Scottish Parliament as “a glorified parish council”. In a sense, that is true. To put it crudely, the current manifestation of Scottish Parliament is the bastard child of Westminster Parliament. It is an unwanted but necessitated creation, an attempt to placate the Scots. Its authority flows from Westminster Parliament and can be taken back (there are some already clamouring for this). The Scottish Parliament that adjourned itself in 1707 still lay dormant in its 59 Westminster MPs. The sovereign will of the people of Scotland can only be actually manifested through these 59 MPs.
When the people of Scotland wish to be independent and the Scottish Parliament confirms this decision, it basically has no effect on Westminster Parliament, unless it has in advance agreed to it. Failing so, it is up to the 59 MPs to reflect the sovereign will of the people of Scotland. Therefore, in order to dissolve the union and achieve independence, all Scotland has to do is to instruct its MPs (or the majority of, as stated by one Mrs Thatcher) to notify the Speaker of the House of Commons that the Treaty of Union is annulled. For a dramatic effect, they should literally walk out of the House of Commons. The Union then ceases to be. Only then, we can properly resurrect the Scottish Parliament of 1707.
Fourthly, I am not sure whether this particular effect was planned or was a bonus, Theresa May has inadvertently been the cause of the hardening of views in Scotland. When the issue of sovereignty finally crystallises, the people on the fence must decide what they want; a free, independent and sovereign Scotland or a Tory-ruled hard-Brexit Union. We will definitely see this effect in the upcoming local election results. I’m of the opinion that Theresa May is willing to throw Ruth Davidson under the bus in order to prioritise/save England (as if it needs much effort anyway). I suppose the only people who are going to vote for Scottish Tories this time around are hardcore unionists.
As for Kezia Dugdale, God have mercy on her because by becoming “a pound shop Ruth Davidson”, Scottish Labour is going to haemorrhage even more votes than they did in 2016. The only thing I can say is that she is so deep in Lala-land, she thinks that place is real.
There you have it ladies and gentlemen, a masterstroke in realpolitik. I think most of us on this side of the independence debate do not doubt that Nicola Sturgeon means business all the time. It is worth highlighting that in her last two First Minister’s Questions appearances, you can detect a steelier demeanour. It is going be an all-out effort to get out of the Union, and you can expect the same rigour to be returned by the unionists. It has to be said, too, that a theatrical John Swinney is much more fun than a dour one!
Mark my word, Scotland will have that referendum before or in the spring of 2019. And we MUST win it.
Editorial Note: Soppy Sunday will be a little later this week… but fear not, it will be with you by early afternoon.