IT’S the weekend of the SNP party conference, and Theresa May has made a preemptive strike to tell Scotland that we can’t have an independence referendum until it suits her, because she has a plan for us.
The plan is that Scotland will be bought and sold for English innovative jam, as there’s no gold anymore.
At least it looked like Theresa May who told us this, although it could very well have been a waxwork figure from Madame Tussauds with a tape recording stuck on a loop. It’s very difficult to tell the difference with Theresa. All you get are soundbites on repeat.
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This means we’re forced to translate Theresa-ese into human language. When May, or her waxwork figure, says there can be no Scottish referendum so that she can ensure Britain can get the best Brexit deal, what she means is that she needs Scotland’s resources so she can sell them out. If Scotland is having a referendum, it will be much harder for Theresa to trade away Scotland’s fisheries in return for access to the single market for the financial sector of the City of London. The EU will curtly inform her that the fish aren’t hers to bargain away. And Theresa will reply that Brexit means Brexit. Now is not the time. I’ve been very clear.
Theresa wants Scotland to wait until after Brexit has been completed so that EU citizens won’t have a vote in our referendum. It’s a means of gerrymandering the vote in order to produce an outcome that’s more favourable to the Union.
We cannot allow the Conservatives, with their xenophobic, narrow- minded nationalism to tell Scotland who can or cannot have a view on our country’s future. That’s a choice that must be made by all who live in Scotland, whether they are Scots, English, Welsh or Northern Irish or from anywhere in the EU.
If I had my way, I’d allow non-EU citizens resident in Scotland to vote as well. Everyone who has chosen to throw their lot in with Scotland is Scottish. Britishness is restrictive and nostalgic, Scottishness is open and it looks to the future.
The Conservatives are lying to us, yet again. The proposal is that Scotland has another referendum after the Brexit deal is struck, but before it is ratified by the parliaments of the 27 other EU members. We will know by then what sort of deal is on offer.
The Tories want to delay the vote until it’s too late.
Theresa has just inadvertently told us what the new name of the United Kingdom is going to be after Scotland leaves. It will be the Benighted Kingdom, because Theresa’s taking it into the darkness. Her intransigence has just made it all the more likely that Scotland will vote for independence when a referendum is finally held.
There was us thinking that it was just David Cameron who loved pig-headedness, but it seems that Theresa enjoys it too, at least metaphorically if not literally like her predecessor.
There’s a word for a politician who doesn’t have a mandate who blocks a politician who does have a mandate, and that word is despot. Actually, there are a number of words. There’s Fluffy Huffy, in the case of our governor-general, the not so honourable Member of Parliament for beard-snacking and foot-stamping. And there’s rank hypocrite, in the case of Ruth Davidson, who said not so long ago, on more than one occasion, that if there is a majority in the Scottish Parliament for a second referendum, then there is a clear mandate for that referendum.
But the Unionist media aren’t about to call Ruth out for making more U-turns than a slinky, even though, like a slinky, her rhetoric only takes her downwards. Ruth and Fluffy keep telling us that a majority of Scots don’t want a referendum, but a majority of Scots don’t want Tories telling us what to do and that doesn’t seem to shut them up.
What makes May’s actions all the more arrogant is that she can’t actually prevent Scotland from having a vote. She only thinks that she can. There are other paths to a referendum that don’t require Theresa’s permission. Holyrood only requires Westminster’s consent to a Section 30 Order to make a referendum legally binding. There is nothing to prevent it pressing ahead with a consultative referendum.
The EU referendum was also a consultative referendum, and once a clear result is produced it takes on a political imperative of its own.
Alternatively, we could have an early Scottish Parliament, with that election turned into a plebiscite on independence. That would require close collaboration between the SNP, the Greens and the rest of the independence movement, and it would throw up some very difficult questions for the Labour Party: do they throw their lot in with the Tories, or do they fight for Scotland?
If a Conservative Government with a solitary MP in Scotland continues to block the democratic will of a Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government should make it clear that it will pursue a referendum regardless.
This isn’t about Nicola Sturgeon. This isn’t about the SNP. This is about democracy in Scotland, and whether we will consent to it being traduced by a Westminster Government which has the support of fewer than a quarter of Scottish voters. Watch and learn, Theresa. Scotland’s going to teach you how democracy is done. One way or another, Scotland will have its say, and May’s arrogance and high handedness only makes it more likely that when Scotland does vote again, it will vote to leave this Benighted Kingdom. Scotland holds the cards here, not Westminster.