By Panda Paws
They say a week is a long time in politics and last week was a rather interesting one. Earlier than expected Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland announced there would a vote in the Scottish parliament on asking for a section 30 order to hold an independence referendum at the earliest in Autumn 2018 but before the UK leaves the EU around Spring 2019. The important bit of that sentence is “ask”. Because when David Cameron decided to hold off UKIP and the Eurosceptic section of his own party by offering a referendum in his manifesto for the 2015 Westminster election there wasn’t a bit about asking Brussels’ permission. Why? It wasn’t needed. Despite all the rhetoric about reclaiming British Independence from the EU, the Tories could do what they wanted if they won the election.
Legally Scotland can’t as we ACTUALLY don’t have sovereignty. The SNP have, however, a moral right. They also have an electoral mandate receiving the highest number of votes in the history of devolution on a manifesto commitment to seek a second referendum in exactly the same circumstances we find ourselves in. But like the Sewel convention, it counts for nothing legally. Devolved power is power retained right enough.
Still when Theresa May announced that “this is not the time” I thought who has been advising her to take that line, dumb and dumber? Then Fluffy Muddle and Buffalo Bill, sorry, Ruth Davidson, popped up to give a press conference to tell us to eat our cereal and I thought “ah”! For it seems like the UK is the Hotel California – you can check out any time you like but you can never leave.
So you’re not having a referendum says the PM. “Did she aye” responds approximately half of Scotland. You can have one when we’ve left the EU was the implication. Translation – when we’ve bartered away your assets in favour of the City. Such is her imperialist mindset it doesn’t cross her mind that the EU might ask – do they actually belong to you? Still, this is not the time because you don’t have all the information you need. Said the PM leading us out of the EU with no detailed white paper or, indeed, clue! And that Ms Morrissette, is what you call ironic.
The last place to attempt to leave the UK was partitioned creating an unstable and volatile situation in the North of that island. Ironically Peter Brooke, Thatcher’s Northern Ireland secretary said in 1990 that Great Britain had “no selfish strategic and economic interest in Northern Ireland”. I doubt the Tory government would bat in eyelid if NI votes for reunification with the South which, given Brexit and demographic changes, is not the long shot it was once thought to be. Meanwhile we Barnett guzzlers, we subsidised scroungers, are benevolently being looked after by the Tories who don’t even subsidise a spare room for a disabled person’s carer (and soon for an OAP). Which makes you wonder if they do have a selfish strategic and economic interest in Scotland, does it not? As recently detailed in WOS, several eminent sources have confirmed that GERS are a fiction. (And I don’t mean Sevco!)
Does Scotland have a deficit? Probably, after all, most countries in the world do.
Is it £15 billion? Err, no.
Up until a couple of years ago, the UK deficit was twice Scotland’s, even using their dodgy calculations (so probably much worse than that). But nobody was asking Westminster if they should be an independent country. Well until this week –
The look on the Maybot’s face at the end was like a bulldog chewing a wasps’ nest! She has the same authoritarian instincts as Thatcher but isn’t half as competent as her. Nor does she have her political instincts; after all, she thinks Ruth Davidson is worth listening to. Of course, given that the Tories have the majority of the MSM in their corner and the official leader of the opposition is as much use as a chocolate teapot, she doesn’t need to be competent. And in what passes for her mind, the wee pretendy leaders, or First Ministers of the devolved nations as they are otherwise known, are irrelevant.
Unfortunately for her, she has made the same catastrophic mistake as Jeremy Corbyn in listening to the branch office manager. Ruth Davidson talks a good game and has the MSM bigging her up, but she’s not the political genius they claim she is. Stripping the dying husk of Scottish Labour of their loyalist vote might have improved Tory electoral standing in 2016 but they are miles behind the SNP and have less of a share of the vote than Thatcher did here. The problem for May is that she is playing noughts and crosses whilst Nicola Sturgeon is playing 3D chess.
To compound matters, May then suggested the Scottish parliament shouldn’t even bother to vote on the matter this week given she wouldn’t grant a section 30 order.
I don’t think so, dear. I fully expect the vote to be 69 in favour, 59 against and then the political game continues.
Apparently, Gordon Brewster asked Patrick Harvie why wouldn’t he abstain from the vote? Err because the Scottish Greens support independence! And even if they did abstain (damaging their council election prospects) it would still be 63 votes yes and 59 votes no (the Presiding Officer, Ken the unionist, doesn’t get a vote). However, 69 yes, 59 no will do fine.
I remember Tris writing he was thinking of giving up on Munguin’s Republic as he was finding it hard to find enough to write about. Something tells me that in the next few years, well he won’t have that problem.
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.