Time for the First Minister to stop turning the other cheek for Scotland

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Iain S Bruce challenges Nicola Sturgeon to use her party conference, which opens today in Glasgow, to relaunch the independence campaign and refuse to accept second-class status for Scotland.

Yep, nothing new, you’ve heard it all before but what’s different at the beginning of October 2017 is that this needs to be the message to Nicola Sturgeon at the SNP Conference: now is not the time to be faint hearted, for equivocation, nor to spurn the chance for independence.

David Cameron and his merry band of old Etonian cowboys, with a 12 seat majority on only 37 per cent of the vote in 2015, gave us the opportunity for what was supposedly a non binding referendum on our continuing membership of the EU. This undisguised attempt to head off opposition from the UKIP bandits led by his nemesis Farage and fix the internal squabbles of his ever ethno-centric Tory party, was certainly not in the interests of his country. When he lost and left the political pantomime stage it was cast in stone as the settled will of the British people conveniently ignoring the 62% of the Scottish electorate who voted to remain.

WEASEL WORDS

It turns out of course that within a Remain leaflet setting out all the reasons for voting No, were contained the weasel words that “the Government will implement what you decide.” How was that for over-confidence?

Now is not the time, despite mandate number one within the SNP’s 2016 Holyrood  manifesto, which stated “or if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will.”?

Despite obvious frustration, the dynamic duo of Sturgeon and Russell endeavoured to show reasonableness and table alternative strategies to suit our circumstances. Now is not the time says Fluffy Mundell, Spreadsheet Phil and old knuckle duster Davis to the chorus of the Unionist press, so that must be right. Oh dear we’ve forgotten that we must do as we are told not as we vote.

DAY OF INFAMY

According to Alex Salmond, Thursday 2nd February 2017 was “A day that will go down in infamy when the (then) single Tory in Scotland voted against Scotland’s interests to pass the Government’s European (Notice of Withdrawal) Bill”. But the voice of sweet reason whispers Now is not the time.

There can be no clearer evidence that we are second class citizens in the democratic process, as illustrated by the rejection of the SNP’s 50 amendments to Article 50. The mistake we made was to have scorned the ultimate democratic protest by making 56 applications to the Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds and of the Manor of Northstead, that quaint resignation device so beloved of Westminster. The subsequent 56 by-elections would then have been fought simply on Independence for Scotland under the long-held convention of a majority of Scottish MPs being elected on that basis.

Now is not the time when their Lordships in the Supreme Court decree that the Sewell Convention – enshrined in the Scotland Act 2016 – is nothing more than a liquid measure of ‘Jackie Ballie’.

Now is not the time despite mandate number two with the majority vote in Holyrood against triggering article 50 in February 2017.

And emboldened by what might well be seen as supine responses rather than reasonableness, they throw democracy in our face once more with their conceit that Westminster will retain EU powers previously considered to be Holyrood’s as of right in the name of ensuring and exploiting a British-wide market for goods and services and rejecting the founding premise of the Devolution Act. Is this not the existential threat to our Scotland and the return to the Victorian idea of North Britain?

THREE BOZOS

We’re now witnessing the indescribable abdication of responsibility by the Conservative and Unionist Party to the interests of the population beyond their cliques with the very real prospect of their hobbled leader being replaced by any one of three bozos – or another General Election to allow yet another set of unionists their buggin’s turn.

We mustn’t lose sight of mandate number three, or the triple lock as it’s known, and the Westminster majority in last May’s General Election. In spite of losses from a previously unrealistic high, the SNP won in the perverse context in which the opponents had nothing to talk about but taking power to block a second referendum.

And all of this is without mention of David Cameron’s EVEL speech in Downing Street following Indyref 1, the infamous Cameron, Clegg and Milliband Vow and the rejection of all SNP Amendments to the Scotland Bill.

If at the beginning of October 2017, Reuters are reporting that ‘German firms with a presence in Britain need to prepare for a very hard Brexit’, now is not the time to be feart by the Britnats and their naked self interest in pursuit of Home Counties’ values, or by the wilful blindness of the commissars of Europe to aggression against their own people.

Now is the time for the SNP not to waver but to provide decisive leadership to the broad Yes movement so that Scotland’s people can choose their own path in the radically altered European political landscape of the past week. Now is not the time for Scotland to turn the other cheek again.