It’s time to move to Def Con 1 on Scottish independence

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Commentary by Derek Bateman

I want to make clear that I am not deviating from any prescribed path towards self-government. On the contrary, even a cursory read of my earlier commentary makes obvious that I’m using this snap election to claim our independence – surely the objective we all share.

Derek Bateman

I do not advocate UDI. I never have. It only applies in extreme cases where the world community realises all democratic means have been exhausted and there remains no other option. That is far from the case with Scotland. Such is our constitutional position that I believe even a referendum result requires to be endorsed by the current state – the UK – before the world will recognise us. Only then will other nations see the way clear to shake our hand. Rogue actions will not suffice.

Nor am I attempting to subvert some constitutional process by declaring the idea of a referendum null and void. It remains the most likely avenue to guage opinion and secure the mandate. I support SNP moves to achieve one.

However, I am trying to upgrade the political messaging – to Defcon One, if you like. At the moment, by endlessly pleading with a tin ear government in London for the right to consult our own people, we play their game. We make it sound as if our objective is indyref2 itself when it is of course independence.

IMPERVIOUS

May and her team have proved themselves impervious to reason and enemies of democracy – using it only as a means of self-advancement even when they legislated to avoid snap elections. She isn’t listening to Sturgeon and won’t until the Brexit process is over and it’s too late.

My name’s Theresa and I’m listening…just not to you

To her we are bleating about needing her permission to hold a vote. Please, please, Theresa. Be nice and say Yes.

We are currently utilising Defcon Three – Force readiness upgrade above the normal. That means we’re angling for action and getting ready to repel. (Sorry about the warlike tone) It does not mean we’re deadly serious here and you’d better believe it.

Weaponising (here I go again) the general election to say every SNP vote is a demand for independence strengthens the case and drags the referendum issue along in its wake. In other words Defcon One – War is Imminent. (Are you scared yet?)

ENDORSEMENT

I see no contradiction in letting the SNP carry on with their politically correct requests for acknowledgment for a popular vote from Her in Downing Street and hundreds of thousands of voters declaring that for us it isn’t about the method of delivery any more. It is the actual hard fact of independence we’re voting for and we consider every single vote an endorsement of that ideal.

If we openly argue for national self-government while others emphasis a referendum, then one supports the other. Voices complaining that this is splitting the campaign miss the point. There is only one objective but there are multiple voices and approaches to achieving it. We don’t all think the same way and it would be spooky if we did.

I’m not disagreeing with anyone who wants a referendum but I am changing my emphasis away from a cri de cour for someone else to deliver my civil rights to a statement that I and others want an SNP or Yes majority to be taken as a mandate – one that no democrat can ignore. How many elections can we win hands down and still be angling for another referendum – like dookin’ for apples? I see the Unionist Press now indicates that the loss of any SNP seats, which seems inevitable to me, will be taken as failure and loss of credibility even if Yes parties win an overwhelming number of seats and 50 per cent of the vote. They, on the other hand, have only to win a seat or two or even hold Edinburgh South to claim a major victory. This is the world of distorted democracy we inhabit. I these circumstances, it seems reasonable to me to step up the game and leave London in no doubt what’s at stake in the June election.

CATTLE PRODS

To those potential switchers who need to be wooed carefully towards Yes – Hello, by the way – I simply say that the time to pretend the SNP is soft on independence to sway your vote is over. The stark truth today is that Scotland needs a lifeline to escape this horrendous Brexit debacle, and quickly too. Waiting to see what turns up in Boris Johnson’s briefcase won’t do. Hoping Liam Fox can sell enough electric cattle prods to Asian dictators isn’t the answer. Expecting this regressive Prime Minister, who is currently manipulating the parliamentary process for party gain, to turn into Scotland’s Mother Theresa, is for your dreams.

If you can’t hack independence in these circumstances, you never will. And that’s true for us all. For Scotland. This truly looks like the parting of the ways. Either it’s stepping off dependency into self-sufficiency in Europe or it’s downhill to right-wing hell. You personally might ride the storm but the country you know today won’t. The powers will go back. The privatisers will take over the NHS. Essential immigration will end and the tax take will decline. The demographic will age further. The London elite will organise what they can for themselves – as ever.

I’m not voting for a referendum. I’m voting for a country.

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35 COMMENTS

  1. I agree Derek……So what do the SNP put in their manifesto, short of saying a majority means independence.

  2. May’s mini coup has presented us with an opportunity strategists would be foolish to ignore. We must turn this to our advantage. IndyRef2 is here. The entire Brit state system and the puir wee Scotland Unionists clinging for succour to mother Britannia need a very rude awakening.

  3. As Derek suggests, without doubt the opportunity and rationale exists to make this GE a vote on independence. Westminster has already refused Scotland a referendum despite the SNP having secured a mandate (from the people and the parliament) to hold one. So the GE is the only opportunity left for Scotland’s democratic voice to be heard. The UN General Assembly will recognise this, and that is where recognition really matters. Come on Nicola and Angus, don’t bottle it this time.

  4. If t

    If the S.N.P have a majority on the 4th May and on the 8th of June : that is as good as any referendum.
    The M.S.Ps and the M.Ps could come together in Edinburgh and sign for secession of Scotland from the union. Our written constitution and claim of rights was recalled back to Edinburgh May 1999:reserved to and by Scotland Parliament alone.
    Westminster Parliament has not any input to this.

  5. It’s the Battle of Britain all right. Scottish people really have to start thinking about it that way too. A battle between what most people think is fair and decent behaviour and policies and the extremely authoritarian right. Getting older folk to realise that the Britain they knew has gone. Brexit guarantees that.

    It will not be easy, it will be frightening at times but we need to do this.

  6. Why do they keep on forgetting the rigged referendum? The fake vow and the rigged referendum stole the democratic process from under our feet. If it wasn’t for dicks like this we would be independent!!! #sudim

  7. ‘I believe even a referendum result requires to be endorsed by the current state’ – Really? So all the ‘current state’ has to do is refuse to endorse. Brilliant.

    Let me think about this. Having agreed to a union with a much larger population – the only way out is if we have their permission? They would say the permission of their conveniently sovereign parliament in which, just as conveniently they have a large majority of representatives over all three of the other countries combined – 533 to 117. So one of the four countries can ‘endorse’ its own position any time it likes, but the other three require, at the very least, 209 MPs of the largest country to join in the ‘endorsing’. Democratic, fair, reasonable ? Aye right.

    You don’t ask for permission to be independent – you announce it, assert it.

  8. 1314
    Agreed.

    Additionally, isn’t “UDI” an irrelevancy and legal figment in the context of the bipartite Treaty of Union between the legal entities of Scotland and England? Is it not rather a situation where Scotland simply (?) abrogates the Treaty on specifically stated grounds relating to x,y, z violations of this internationally recognized Union Treaty rather than this emotive Rhodesia-like red herring UDI scenario?

    Perhaps Derek might consider broadcasting a roundtable discussion of legal eagles whose fingers are on the pulses of constitutional Scots law plus international treaty law? EU and UN law input also if relevant, etc?

    Could make for a fascinating debate?

    Thoughts, Derek?

  9. This is how you do it!

    In the 1918 general election Irish voters showed their disapproval of British policy by giving Sinn Féin 70% (73 seats out of 105,) of Irish seats, 25 of these uncontested. Sinn Féin won 91% of the seats outside of Ulster on 46.9% of votes cast, but was in a minority in Ulster, where unionists were in a majority. Sinn Féin pledged not to sit in the UK Parliament at Westminster, but rather to set up an Irish Parliament. This parliament, known as the First Dáil, and its ministry, called the Aireacht, consisting only of Sinn Féin members, met at the Mansion House on 21 January 1919. The Dáil reaffirmed the 1916 Proclamation with the Declaration of Independence, and issued a Message to the Free Nations of the World

  10. Might I suggest that all SNP groups across Scotland propose a motion for their next group meeting: ‘that the SNP campaigns for Scotland’s independence at the GE on June 8th, which would be democratically secured via the party winning a majority of seats and a majority of the vote in Scotland’.

  11. Alf- Why not.

    We are the SNP as much as Sturgeon or Robertson are. We have been through thick and thin all our lives. It’s time the strategists listened to the members. We are crying out not to lose this chance. We can’t believe we have 56 MP’s and are still acting like the opposition. I hope the SNP are reading these posts.

  12. I definitely think all of us need to hammer the point in whatever social media we use that if a majority of MPs supporting Scottish Independence is elected then REGARDLESS OF THE NUMBERS involved THAT is a vote for Independence. It will also counteract the nonsense in the media that a 1 seat gain, by the Unionists is somehow a vote against Independence.

    Similarly in commenting on the Local Elections we must emphasise that gaining a majority of Independence councillors in Scotland together with a 50%+ share of the vote is also a very strong vote for Independence

  13. I think the manifesto should confirm that if the SNP win a majority of seats (30) then the date of the referendum shall be between autumn 2018 and early spring 2019.

    • Ronald, if the SNP states in its manifesto that a vote for them on June 8th is a vote for Scotland’s independence, and if it then wins a majority of seats in Scotland, and secures over 50% of the vote in Scotland, then there really is no longer any need for another referendum.

      • Alf, I appreciate that. However, there is no chance of achieving that unless the SNP produces a comprehensive paper confirming the financial realities e.g. currency etc.

        It would take far longer than a few weeks to convince a majority of voters to vote for Independence via SNP on 8th June.

  14. Ronald -That would put us in the exact same position with May saying:” Now is not the time”. Instead we need to grasp the nettle and have the GE as an independence referendum. Having a referendum relies on an unwilling third party to co-operate. In other words it takes away the authority from the Scottish Government and hands it to the Tories.

    We need to bi-pass the referendum altogether.

  15. Ronald – As per the Brexit negotiation. The shape of Scotland would be determined in the negotiations later on and then ratified by the people in a Scottish parliament. If it was voted down at that stage then they would need to amend it or call a Scottish election.

    • Precisely, Big Jock! There was no “comprehensive paper confirming the financial realities” of brexit or anything else for that matter. Scotland has no need of another 1,000 page tome simply for the msm to endlessly question and ridicule.

  16. The SNP should announce that if they win at least 2/3 of the seats they will begin negotiating the terms of the divorce, the final deal to go to a referendum. The Tory boast that every vote for them is a vote against independence is an open goal we must exploit. 2/3 is transparently fair and moves the results management baseline. We should keep withdrawal from Westminster in reserve but use it if May refuses to negotiate.

  17. Andrew 2/3 is realistically achievable, but it should be 30 as that’s the winning line, end of. The wording should be to win a majority of Scottish seats.

    • Big Jock, you are of course correct, I just think 40 is a smarter tactic, but whatever the number we need to avoid the new mandate to have a referendum distraction.

  18. If the SNP keep their powder dry until after the council elections, we’ll know the mood of the country.

    The GE should be campaigned on the basis that a referendum is no longer necessary seeing as we’re having a General Election and can democratically express our wishes.

  19. Brian – I suspect you are correct. However would the manifesto not need to be published ASAP as the campaign has already started yesterday. We would be talking 8th May for an election on the 8th June. Not much campaign time in there.

  20. Another reason the SNP find themselves in this conundrum ,is due to who votes for them. They stopped being a strictly nationalist party when they courted the mainstream vote in order to win seats, and stay in government. So there are a good 5-6% of their voters who don’t necessarily agree with independence.

    They stated it themselves in the GE 2015 that voting for them was not a vote for independence. That’s stuck indeed the dye was cast before that in 2007. So they have become a party of government rather than a strict movement for independence.

    This has led their strategists to look at ways of increasing vote share ,instead of how to win independence. They want to govern and govern well to prove the case for independence. Now that has been achieved ,and was achieved before 2014. They need to stop being a party that governs devolution and focus on independence again.

    The referendum idea has stuck because they realised after 2014 ,that they could have a referendum lose and stay in government. Not many in the SNP would have foreseen that! This is where the Theseus idea comes in. They have lost their way a wee bit.

    If the SNP had this chance in a general election before 2007. They would have used it as an independence vote. Now they see it as a mandate or bargaining chip ,useful but not an absolute.

    The circumstances don’t need to change. The SNP need to change back to the day job of independence!

    • I can see the logic in this, Big Jock. The SNP is now a large organisation with 1,000+ jobs to ‘protect’ (400+ councillors, 100+ MP/MSP/MEP, their assistants, HQ staff etc etc) plus thousands of active volunteers. However, I suspect there may be something else at work here, and perhaps even a secret deal between the SNP leadership and the British state, to the effect that the SNP will no longer campaign for independence at a UK GE, and instead focus only on the referendum route, the latter ultimately dependent on Westminster ratification (i.e. by 600 MP’s of other nations, which itself ignores the sovereignty of Scots). Scotland’s 1,000+ year political history is full of such deals, which the wider population were usually unaware of at the time.

    • While all your points are excellent and I totally agree with you, there is something I personally find absolutely infuriating about people who insert a space BEFORE a comma, then continue the text immediately after the comma. Sorry, I know that’s irrelevant to the discussion, but I can feel that vein in my head throbbing again when I read your comments, Big Jock.

  21. My feeling is that the SNP and media commentators have become fixated with London controlled referenda and that Craig Murray was absolutely correct with his recent blast that the next general election “is indyref 2”. Following the General Election all elected representatives of Scotland, Scottish MSP’s and MP’s, should attend a convention in Edinburgh where a declaration of independence should be voted on, and if a yes vote is recorded that should be it. The UN would have recognise the reality of the situation and declare Scotland an independent and sovereign state. A much more powerful voice than Tory leader Theresa May who would have no say whatsoever in the process. My only concern is that the Scottish Government may have to put something to that effect into their election manifesto and I have no confidence whatsoever that they have constitutional lawyers pouring over this as I write. Nicola Sturgeon hardly ever puts a foot wrong in her grasp of political situations but unless I hear something to the contrary I think that my worst fears will be realised and a cast iron opportunity missed.

    • Bruce, if the SNP leadership weren’t so full of themselves (or following a different/hidden agenda) they would have long since consulted with or even appointed someone with the international diplomacy expertise of Craig Murray. I have advocated previously that the SNP should have created shadow ministries for reserved powers (not least as something for the 56 to do!), one of which would have been a ‘foreign office’ within which someone with Craig Murray’s expertise would be invaluable. As Ian Hamilton QC once said, our greatest resource is our people, but the SNP are not using the expertise that is available within Scotland. Indeed, most of the heads of our hundreds of public institutions remain the preserve of the unionist elite. The SNP leadership need to start behaving as if they really do want Scotland to be independent, and they need to start with this GE.

  22. Alf – Perhaps an unspoken , unwritten assumed agreement!

    Time to prove it doesn’t exist. They say no to referendum we say ok , we will use another method. The SNP cannot spend too long in this half way house and keep winning. Everything has a high water mark. I think we reached that in GE 2015. So we need to use it while the stars have aligned in our favor. I honestly can’t see any better circumstance in the future.

    The referendum is a lottery in itself and even getting a binding one is difficult when up against the British state. The GE is much harder to fix.

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