Thursday, March 16, 2017

What are Nicola Sturgeon's options for holding a vote on independence without Westminster's agreement?

Nicola Sturgeon said tonight she was determined to hold a vote on Scotland's future on the reasonable timescale she has already set out, and that she would "consider her options" if Theresa May tries to block it (which is clearly what will happen).  So what are the options for holding a vote without a Section 30 order, and which is Sturgeon most likely to plump for?

1) A consultative referendum without Westminster permission.  This would probably be the best option IF any legal obstacles can be overcome (opinions differ on how easy or difficult that would be).  It would essentially be lose/lose for Theresa May - if the Tories and other unionist parties actively campaign in the referendum, they will give it legitimacy and they may as well have just granted the Section 30 (and they will also look stupid and anti-democratic for having not done so).  But if they boycott the referendum, a Yes vote will be assured, quite possibly on a respectable turnout, and the moral authority of the 2014 result will be surrendered.

2) An early Holyrood election to obtain an outright mandate for independence, with the SNP and Greens placing an explicit commitment to independence (without any need for a further referendum) in their manifestos.  This option has the beauty of being legally watertight - there's nothing London can realistically do to stop it, short of dismantling devolution.  It would probably mean we'd be chasing 50%+ of the popular vote on both the constituency and list ballots, which is a very tough target - but remember the SNP and Greens took an outright majority of votes in Scotland at the UK general election in 2015.

3) SNP MPs or constituency MSPs (or both) resign en masse, and trigger by-elections across Scotland to obtain a mandate for independence.  This idea has been floated a few times, but is unlikely to happen because a Scotland-wide mandate would be required to bring about independence.  The SNP (and allied "independents") hold all but three Scottish seats at Westminster - but those three would be enough to ruin the legitimacy of any mandate, unless the vote obtained is implausibly decisive.  As the option of a Holyrood general election exists and is superior, there's simply no point in going down the by-election road.

4) Play the long game, implicitly accept Theresa May's decision, and wait until 2021 to obtain a mandate with which to beg her (or her successor) for a referendum all over again, with no guarantee that she will prove to be any more reasonable.  This is exactly what May and Davidson want us to do - which might be a little clue as to why it's a very, very bad idea.

Verdict : Obviously it'll either have to be the consultative referendum or the snap Holyrood election.  The only other way forward I can see would be an early Holyrood election to obtain an even more emphatic mandate for a Section 30 order than the one we already have - but if Theresa May is just going to keep mindlessly saying no, what's the point?  We'll have to take the bull by the horns eventually, and dragging voters to the polls one more time than is strictly necessary might prove counter-productive.

*  *  *

Random thought : Is Scotland the only "democratic" country in the world where the defeated opposition leader gets to announce what the elected government won't be allowed to do?

73 comments:

  1. Bumblefuck kipper tories for unityMarch 16, 2017 at 10:44 PM

    C4 News @FactCheck 5hr

    Senior Tories have been defending the party over #electionexpenses — but their defence doesn’t stack up:

    https://www.channel4.com/news/factcheck/factcheck-tory-election-expenses-defence-doesnt-stand-up

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't think we can have an early Holyrood election.

    Scotland Act 1998 with amendments at
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/46

    3 Extraordinary general elections.
    (1)The Presiding Officer shall propose a day for the holding of a poll if—
    (a)the Parliament resolves that it should be dissolved and, if the resolution is passed on a division, the number of members voting in favour of it is not less than two-thirds of the total number of seats for members of the Parliament...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's not the relevant part of the legislation. An early election can also be held (and effectively becomes inevitable) if the government resigns and no alternative government can be formed. Without the Greens' cooperation, the unionist parties do not have the numbers to form a government that would command the confidence of parliament.

      Delete
    2. Theresa May or the Scottish Parliament. Who do scots trust?March 16, 2017 at 10:48 PM

      We already have a mandate.

      We already have a majority in the scottish parliament.

      We're not about to give that up or bend an inch on it to please the tories or anyone else.

      Count on it.

      Delete
    3. Statgeek‏ @StatgeekUK 1hr

      Mandate Checkmate

      https://statgeekuk.wordpress.com/2017/03/16/mandate-checkmate … pic.twitter.com/MCUEMWOToP

      Delete
    4. I think you're the missing the whole point - the object of the exercise would be to win an entirely different sort of mandate from the one we currently have (ie. it would be a mandate for independence itself, not just a referendum). We wouldn't be giving anything up. Count on it.

      Delete
    5. Theresa May or the Scottish Parliament. Who do scots trust?March 16, 2017 at 11:13 PM

      I'll wait at least until I hear what the Scottish First minster has to say at conference and the outcome scottish parliament vote before demanding/kite flying all manner of votes for hypotheticals, if ye don't mind.

      Feel free to do so yourself by all means.

      However, the inescapable fact of the matter is we have a mandate right now and a majority right now to conduct a referendum on Independence for the scottish people.

      We are hardly going to dismiss or minimise that on day 1 of the tory PM's arrogant, counterproductive, posturing, response. As I said, count on that.

      Delete
    6. You'll forgive me if I don't take this pulling of rank from an anonymous commenter terribly seriously. Personally, I don't believe in shutting down all thought while we await the leader's verdict. I quite like having a mind of my own. Sorry if that offends you, but there it is.

      Delete
    7. Theresa May or the Scottish Parliament. Who do scots trust?March 16, 2017 at 11:34 PM

      "Feel free to do so yourself by all means."

      "I'll wait" "if ye don't mind"

      You'll forgive me if I don't take your "shutting down all thought" terribly seriously then either. Since I was explicit in voicing not only MY OWN opinion - which I carefully labelled as such - but also YOUR absolute right to your own opinion to state in your blog and in the comments.

      So as you yourself say, I quite like having a mind of my own. Sorry if that offends you, but there it is.

      Since at no point have I been remotely abusive, racist, homophobic or any of the other multiple crimes some trolls carry out with impunity, I trust you are at least fine with the general principle of us both agreeing to disagree and respecting the right of each other to hold our own opinions?

      Delete
    8. Dun Garbhan‏ @Dungarbhan 16 minutes ago

      All these folk opposing a Scottish Referendum have just applauded the prospect of a 2nd EU Referendum. #bbcqt

      Delete
    9. For the avoidance of doubt, the "pulling rank" observation should also be seen firmly in the context of your remarks on the previous thread, and perhaps also (if you're the person I suspect you may be) in the context of some remarks you made on EU referendum night. However, I have absolutely no intention of getting into an extended argument with you, so let's draw a line under this pointless exchange now.

      Delete
    10. If we are going to avoid pointless arguments online, the internet could just fall apart. Just saying....

      Delete
    11. Option 2), please.

      Why hang about for years of 'When will Westminster allow us our vote on independence?' when we can swiftly move instead to 'When will Westminster acknowledge the vote for independence that's already happened?'

      The ball will still be in their court -- there's no getting away from this. But it's now match point.

      Delete
  3. Tory Expenses Scandal - Because they just can't help themselvesMarch 16, 2017 at 10:45 PM

    Richard Murphy‏ @RichardJMurphy 8 hours ago

    May's claim that the Tories cooperated with the Electoral Commission is a straightforward lie according to the Electoral Commission

    ReplyDelete
  4. Theresa Trumpette and her revolting kipper toriesMarch 16, 2017 at 11:00 PM

    Wings Over Scotland‏ @WingsScotland 5 minutes ago

    Changes to the Personal Independence Payment leaves 160,000 disabled people without financial support

    http://archive.is/ukyXK

    ReplyDelete
  5. The Brexit vote was an excuse for the Nat sis to call another referendum. The Nat sis hated the fact that the Scots voted to remain in the Union. The Nat sis only accept a ballot in which they win. Democracy is a no go area as far as the Nat sis are concerned when they lose.
    The Scots that support the Union need to be very concerned and vigilant about the hate the Nat sis have for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bears in the West are meeting at 6a John Street; G1 1JQ; Glasgow; Underground Bar. Friday April 7th come and join us for a convivial fun night.

      Delete
    2. We already have a mandate.

      We already have a majority in the scottish parliament.

      We're not about to give that up or bend an inch on it to please the tories or anyone else.

      Count on it.

      Delete
  6. Tory Expenses Scandal - Because they just can't help themselvesMarch 16, 2017 at 11:15 PM

    ⚡ScotsVsAusterity ⚡‏ @ScotIndyDebate

    Sky News - Tory Election Expenses scandal could lead to a series of By-Elections

    ReplyDelete
  7. Tory Expenses Scandal - Because they just can't help themselvesMarch 16, 2017 at 11:17 PM

    Paul Arrowsmith‏ @just4paulok 3 hr ago

    Tory party fined over election expenses! Is anyone surprised they have been found guilty of election fraud on an unprecedented scale?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. £70k is just an invitation to do it again

      Delete
  8. The Cognitive Dissonance of the Westminster BubbleMarch 16, 2017 at 11:43 PM

    Conor McKay‏ @conormckay 10 hours ago

    Imagine if @GuyVerhofstadt was able to prevent Cameron from having an EU referendum on the grounds that it would be inconvenient for the EU.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I would suggest that Strugglin forget all about pointless referenda that will be boycotted by half the population. She also needs to forget about snap elections and suchlike - the people want her to fix the things her party has broken, rather than engaging in political stunting that can go nowhere.

    Smell the block.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carlotta ColostomybagMarch 16, 2017 at 11:52 PM

      "The undecideds and the bottlers will put it in the back of the net for 'remain'. I'm sure Cameron also has a few tricks up his sleeve to deploy in the dying days of the campaign."

      Aldo Vance

      Delete
    2. Ross Colquhoun‏Verified account @rosscolquhoun 9 hours ago

      If you didn't know @theresa_may and @RuthDavidsonMSP are rattled and scared of losing a future #ScotRef, you do now.

      Delete
    3. Doug Daniel‏ @DouglasDaniel 9 hours ago

      Erm... Can someone point to where Theresa May actually has the guts to say "I will block a section 30 order" rather than the usual rhetoric?

      Delete
    4. Sure. She will do that right after the Tories put that 350 million into the NHS.

      Delete
    5. You do of course mean keep on repairing the broken bits that the Labour/Tory/Lib-dems made a hash of except when they bought shares in companies for the PPI charade.

      Delete
    6. Aye, encourage all your Unionist mates to boycott it. We don't mind :)

      Delete
  10. Gwc2 is obviously the same person whose profile name used to be, 'Glasgow working class man'. Much as it's good to let everyone express their opinions, I have never heard a rational argument from him over last 3 years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are no rational arguments on this blog from Nat sis and how can there be as they are irrational anti democratic fascists.
      Wonder who will be the next Nat si appointee when smelly drawers is binned.

      Delete
    2. You're a troll, dearie. You're not interested in rational argument. Any time someone tries to engage you in a rational argument, you screech insults in response. Now run along; those green-ink letters to the Dreary Heil won't write themselves.

      Delete
  11. Tory Expenses Scandal - Because they just can't help themselvesMarch 16, 2017 at 11:51 PM

    Alex Nunns‏ @alexnunns 7h

    A quick note on a tweet from Laura Kuenssberg. #toryelectionfraud pic.twitter.com/9rrEkqnl3M

    ReplyDelete
  12. Tory Expenses Scandal - Because they just can't help themselvesMarch 16, 2017 at 11:59 PM

    Richard Findlay

    A sitting MP convicted of an 'illegal or corrupt' electoral practice loses seat. Automatic - no judicial discretion.

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/2/section/173 …

    ReplyDelete
  13. Bumblefuck kipper tories for unityMarch 17, 2017 at 12:02 AM

    A C Grayling‏Verified account @acgrayling 15 hours ago

    Representation of the People Act 1983 III.173: electoral fraud:
    'if already elected to a seat in the House of Commons shall vacate the seat'

    ReplyDelete
  14. Tory Expenses Scandal 2 - The Smell of FearMarch 17, 2017 at 12:03 AM

    Richard Findlay‏ @RichardFindlay

    Election Expenses: New emails show more members of PM's top team involved

    https://www.channel4.com/news/election-expenses-new-emails-show-more-members-of-pms-top-team-involved … via @Channel4News

    ReplyDelete
  15. Knickerkess kneels in the blow job position in front of drunken junker with a possible promise of entry. Spit it oot hen (knees trembling) vot dae ye vant. Just tae suck up tae ye Herr Mayor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tory Expenses Scandal 2 - The Smell of FearMarch 17, 2017 at 12:14 AM

      Richard Findlay‏ @RichardFindlay

      Election Expenses: New emails show more members of PM's top team involved

      https://www.channel4.com/news/election-expenses-new-emails-show-more-members-of-pms-top-team-involved … via @Channel4News

      Delete
    2. Bears in the West are meeting at 6a John Street; G1 1JQ; Glasgow; Underground Bar. Friday April 7th come and join us for a convivial fun night. I need to relieve some pressure its doin ma heid in

      Delete
  16. Breakin News, shock, Paisley Slapper ousted Knickerless. Ma drawers ming worse than yours. I will give free season tickets tae Ibrox tae extend socilusm fur the poor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tory Expenses Scandal - Because they just can't help themselvesMarch 17, 2017 at 12:49 AM

      A C Grayling‏Verified account @acgrayling 15 hours ago

      Representation of the People Act 1983 III.173: electoral fraud:
      'if already elected to a seat in the House of Commons shall vacate the seat'

      Delete
    2. Stealing Knickers is my favourite past time, I prefer grannie knickers

      Delete
  17. Bumblefuck kipper tories for unityMarch 17, 2017 at 12:48 AM

    Senior Tories seem to be spending more time on 'disaster planning' for the tory election expenses scandal than they are on 'disaster planning' for Brexit. The comical David Davies 'performance' was proof of that.

    The 'mood music' from the Number 10 bunker is sounding very familiar and not in a way that will reassure the tory press (who seem to be running the show) and their minions. ;)

    That snap westminster election that had seemed to slip quietly into the the background with the rest of the tory posturing? It doesn't feel quite so remote now to be honest.

    Time will tell but this has long ceased to be anything resembling a government that looked remotely in control. May and her hapless far-right Brexitear incompetents are getting battered hither and yon as they stumble from one crisis to the next.

    They may have nothing to fear from a Labour party in disarray but that just means the hostilities between the kipper half and the other half of the tories will be the inevitable battleground as Boris and Farage look on with their beady little eyes shining in anticipation.

    For that matter is May really up for the fight and/or utter chaos to come?

    Her public performances are as soporific, wooden and unconvincing as Gordon Brown when he knew the game was up. Something even the tories have known for quite some time, but dared not speak it too loudly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Better Together? LOLMarch 17, 2017 at 1:02 AM

      Ross Colquhoun‏Verified account @rosscolquhoun 1 hour ago

      2014: "Don't leave us, lead."
      2017: "It doesn't matter what you want. UK first."

      Delete
  18. Chris Cairns‏ @cairnstoon 4 hours ago

    #bbcqt once again a forum for exchanging half-remembered half-baked lies someone overheard from someone who once saw a Daily Mail front page

    ReplyDelete
  19. The current situation is a standoff. Westminister can block a referendum but the fact that it can't allow a referendum and be sure of winning it means that it has no legitmacy when it comes to Scottish resources and assets.
    These would be certainly be some of the 'bargaining chips' (allow with EU nationals in UK) that would be used in EU negotiations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All that Westminster can do is refuse to be bound by the outcome of a Scottish referendum.
      The standoff down the road could well be between rUK and the EU,should they probably accept Scotland as a member.
      Their only claim to having the democratic credentials to block the referendum is that Scots voted to give them the right to continue to rule us in 2014.
      The fact that all the promises they made in order to achieve that result have not been kept is water off a duck's back to them.
      Lying is how they do political business in Westminster.

      Delete
  20. In the case of point 2 (an early Holyrood election), I'm wondering whether the SNP and the Greens (and perhaps RISE) should run as a Yes alliance in order to prevent wasted votes. Would this be possible without disbanding the existing parties?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Whats the point in wasting public money in watching the Nat sis lose again only to see the poor souls greetin their een oot and screamin it wis a fix.do no think I could handle that again. I could be forced to vote Yes. Aye.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're a troll, dearie. You're not interested in rational argument. Any time someone tries to engage you in a rational argument, you screech insults in response. Now run along; those green-ink letters to the Dreary Heil won't write themselves.

      Delete
  22. The government should make it a criminal offence if any Nat si attempts to use public money in promoting or paying for a referendum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're a troll, dearie. You're not interested in rational argument. Any time someone tries to engage you in a rational argument, you screech insults in response. Now run along; those green-ink letters to the Dreary Heil won't write themselves.

      Delete
  23. Nat si conference opens in Aberdeen with Angus Fuhrer gettin rapturous applause. Some fainting with the excitement.
    Die Fuhrer tae speak soon. Cannae wait tae see her in a new outfit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolute bloody state of this terrified Tory roaster.

      Delete
  24. BBC Breaking News‏Verified account @BBCBreaking

    Ex-chancellor George Osborne appointed editor of London Evening Standard newspaper



    Bwaaaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaa!!!!

    That'll be the dead tree press saved then.

    No more calling it the westminster media bubble either.

    HA HA HA HA
    HA HA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The incompetence of the out of touch westminster establishmentMarch 17, 2017 at 12:44 PM

      What next Boris Johnson as Foreign Sec.. Hahahahahahahahha!!!


      Complete fucking incompetents.

      Delete
    2. Tory Expenses Scandal - Because they just can't help themselvesMarch 17, 2017 at 12:52 PM

      Liam O'Hare‏Verified account @Liam_O_Hare 15 minutes ago

      Imagine the response if a sitting MP of the governing party was made editor of a major newspaper in a country Britain doesn't like.

      Delete
  25. Theresa May or the Scottish Parliament. Who do scots trust?March 17, 2017 at 12:51 PM

    NiceConversations‏ @NiceConvos 42 minutes ago

    A huge thanks from me, an EU citizen who chose Scotland as my home for passing the voting franchise resolution with such a huge majority

    ReplyDelete
  26. An excellent piece of writing James Kelly. Sometimes there is so much going on or is so convoluted that I get confused and worried, you have laid out the problem and the solutions very well, so I thank you for your thoughts and making it easier for me to understand

    ReplyDelete
  27. Theresa Trumpette and her revolting kipper toriesMarch 17, 2017 at 1:02 PM

    David Halliday‏ @DavidJFHalliday 4 hours ago

    BREAKING Putin shocks the international community by blocking a planned democratic vote in the breakaway region of hang on not Putin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The incompetence of the out of touch westminster establishmentMarch 17, 2017 at 1:03 PM

      Aditya Chakrabortty‏Verified account @chakrabortty 1 hour ago

      Joking aside, Osborne's appointment is bad for the press, for politicians and for democracy. It makes Britain even more of a tinpot country

      Delete
  28. Tory Expenses Scandal 2 - The Smell of FearMarch 17, 2017 at 1:17 PM

    Krishnan Guru-Murthy‏Verified account @krishgm 2 hours ago


    Looking forward to the Evening Standard's coverage of Tory Election expenses scandal

    ReplyDelete
  29. Good article James. Although I suspect we are looking at more a series of actions to build up pressure.

    I think we will see after the section 30 vote next week and then an official answer that the SNP will use the local authority elections as a platform to confirm their mandate.

    If that provides no change then a withdrawal of MPs from Westminster, if still no change then a series of resignations forcing Westminster by-elections. The focus in my opinion will be on Westminster as it forces a response and ties up May's resources.

    If still no change then you would probably see a Holyrood election on a mandate of another referendum not UDI with the prime target being to unseat Ruth Davidson.

    Finally if no section 30 agreement a consultative referendum. As an aside it wouldn't surprise me if one of the first actions is to ascertain the legality of a consultative referendum which is taken all the way to the EU courts. Wouldn't it be hilarious if the EU ruled a consultative referendum was legal !

    ReplyDelete
  30. One outcome of a consultative referendum might be an effective boycott by unionists, leading to a massive Yes vote, but with low turnout. Total Yes votes < total Yes votes in 2014.

    Arguably an inconclusive result that we can't do much with. Kinda what happened in Catalonia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With a Holyrood "independence" election, there would be repercussions from a boycott, but it is muddying the waters to hijack an existing non-referendum mechanism to have a defacto indyref2. Hmmm

      Delete
  31. 3) SNP MPs or constituency MSPs (or both) resign en masse, and trigger by-elections across Scotland to obtain a mandate for independence

    Unlikely, a lot of snouts to move from the trough there. If scotland did become independent you couldn't find room for all those pigs in a new administration, and a lot of them aren't up to the job anyways They'll be hanging in to keep taking their 60 large a year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Great Tory Election Expenses Scandal 2017 £££££££March 17, 2017 at 8:30 PM

      C4 News @FactCheck 5hr

      Senior Tories have been defending the party over #electionexpenses — but their defence doesn’t stack up:

      https://www.channel4.com/news/factcheck/factcheck-tory-election-expenses-defence-doesnt-stand-up

      Delete
  32. The Nat sis think they can away with the usual anti Tory/Thatcher rhetoric. When asked about the £17bn defecit Knickerkess went on the usual rant but never answered the question.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Great Tory Election Expenses Scandal 2017 £££££££March 17, 2017 at 8:31 PM

      Scott Nelson‏ @SocialistVoice

      Expenses scandal: Tory MPs say party officials 'covering their own backsides' #ToryElectionFraud

      http://news.sky.com/story/expenses-scandal-tory-mps-say-party-officials-covering-own-backsides-10801909 …

      Delete
  33. I propose a further option James. A massive demonstration in favour of Scottish Independence. Ideally half a million people, but any more would be a bonus. Ideally asap...possibly around Easter. George Square, obviously.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Here's 5) The partition of Scotland along the lines of Ireland

    Many in my area around Edinburgh and the Borders don't want anything to do with the Scottish National Socialists. You take Dundee and whatever other slums vote for indy, and the rest stays with the uk. After all, you can't have pro-union areas taken out of a union against their will, Nicola says that's undemocratic

    ReplyDelete
  35. Found a mention of my article 'Mandate Checkmate' in this thread, but the URL linked doesn't work. Here's the working link:

    https://statgeekuk.wordpress.com/2017/03/16/mandate-checkmate/

    ReplyDelete