Thursday, April 12, 2018

Renew the Section 30 request, put a deadline on it - and then if needs be go ahead and legislate for a referendum anyway

Stuart Campbell of Wings Over Scotland has helpfully moved forward the debate over indyref timing by arguing that the Scottish Government should go ahead and legislate for a second referendum without specifying a date.  I would maybe quibble over whether this proposal stands outside the dispute over timing in quite the way that Stuart thinks, because what many of the people arguing for a long delay really want is for the whole issue of a referendum to fade from public debate, whereas legislating and perhaps triggering a challenge in the Supreme Court would have the opposite effect.  Nevertheless, on paper at least, preparing the ground for a referendum without naming the day ought to be able to unite all shades of opinion on timing.

Two key points need to be added to the proposal in my view.  Firstly, the Scottish Parliament should only go ahead and pass a Referendum Bill after the request for a Section 30 order has been revived and clearly rejected.  To avoid further "now is not the time" delaying tactics, the UK government should be given a specific deadline for a definitive response to the Section 30 request, with a failure to give a clear "yes" or "no" by that date being interpreted as rejection.  It must be plainly seen by the public that the Scottish government wanted an agreed process, and only legislated unilaterally after their overtures were spurned.

Secondly, it's important to get the message across that any hypothetical rejection of a Referendum Bill by the Supreme Court will not lead to us all packing up and going home.  Of course we would obey the law, and of course we would not hold a "wildcat referendum".  Instead, we should make clear that if all other options are exhausted, the next Holyrood election will be used to seek an outright mandate for independence.  A negative outcome in the Supreme Court would actually be helpful in the pursuit of that mandate, because it would provide clarity - Yes supporters would be under no doubt that the only way to achieve independence will be by turning out in huge numbers in a Holyrood vote.

54 comments:

  1. Very interesting read
    Actually I must agree

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  2. Agree, take the fight to their camp and put them on the back foot.

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  3. Totally agree with your comment and with the Rev. I'm the same as David and panda we need to stop fire fighting and start setting the agenda. I commented on Bella we need to up the anti. For as long as we play by their rules they control the game and they don't play fair

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  4. Sorry but I can’t agree that most people supporting want the whole issue to fade from public debate. On the contrary, I think what they want is a vigorous campaign for independence, leading to a clear and sustainable majority. That’s a perfectly legitimate point of view, in my view, although I’m in two minds myself about the tactics.

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    1. If you go back to last summer and look at quotes from people who were urging Nicola Sturgeon to put the referendum on the backburner, it was absolutely clear they wanted the word 'referendum' to disappear off the face of the earth for a period of years.

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    2. I'm not the 1st to say it but if the SNP let this go with a whimper it will be new labour-esq everyone will abandon them and never trust them again, myself included. There is a conception that the SNP are settling into the comfort of don't rock the boat because I'm doing alright out of being a MP or MSP. Wether that is true or not is up for debate but it is an image that if it sticks can only be shook off by rolling the sleeves up and start pushing the main reason for their existence. It's like the labour politicians who distance themselves from socialism then have the cheek to sing red flag at their conferences. If I had the means I would start a party and stand in every election on one promise, withdrawal from the union and a majority as mandate. I know the mainstream media would belittle such a party but sooner or later we will have to withdraw from Westminster because we are achieving nothing there. Yes timing is crucial and it's ok to have different ideas about when but the Scot gov / SNP have to start kicking back because London is going to go into full Madrid mode

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  5. I agree with most of what you say, particularly with specific deadlines and clear narrative that "Now is not the time" definitely equals "NO".

    Not convinced though that "we tried for a Section 30 and we tried legislation and neither worked and we can't do anything else at the moment so everybody just vote for us again at Holyrood" is going to be a big selling point for a lot of folk though. How does it actually translate to independence? I'm probably just not understanding the point.

    There's also the vagaries of the Holyrood PR system and it being designed to stop outright majorities (yes that can be beaten, but 2016 showed just how difficult it can be). I mean I could possibly understand the pitching of that idea in a UK General Election with FPTP, but not convinced about it in a Holyrood election.

    All in all I think I actually favour the wildcat referendum if we get that far

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    1. The point is extremely simple. In every previous Holyrood election, the SNP have sought a mandate for a referendum, rather than a mandate for independence. If the option of a referendum is removed by a combination of the UK government and the Supreme Court, we simply use the Holyrood election to obtain an outright mandate for independence.

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    2. I would say that in the absence of the option of a referendum, we revert to the Thatcher Doctrine and our existing majority of Scottish MPs become an automatic mandate for independence negotiations to begin. Why waste time on another vote?

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    3. Simple answer: Because those MPs were not elected on a specific independence mandate. It wouldn't be democratic.

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    4. Also, to be fair, MPs are elected using the ""First Past the Post" system which doesn't generally produce an overall majority in any constituency, ie. it could easily be argued that the majority of voters in that constituency voted against independence.

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    5. But those are the rules established by unionists. If the preferred referendum option is ruled out by WM, they leave us no choice. Those MPs were elected on a platform of reinforcing the Holyrood mandate. If that mandate is ignored, they need to assume greater power over things. They should declare independence, leave WM and begin preparing for a referendum to ratify that decision.

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    6. Unfortunately, the SNP were too gunshy at the last election. If they'd stood on a platform of "if we get a majority, Scotland is going independent", then we'd be home and free by now.

      Instead they've gotten suckered into this "referendum game".

      I'm shocked to say it, but Thatcher was right: A majority of SNP MPs should bloody well be a mandate for Independence, that its not is just about the only major fuck-up the SNP have made that I can recall.

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    7. Unfortunately, the SNP were too gunshy at the last election. If they'd stood on a platform of "if we get a majority, Scotland is going independent", then we'd be home and free by now.

      They can't just declare that by fiat. They'd need a majority of the vote for the result to carry any kind of moral authority. So unless such a bold approach would've increased the SNP's share of the vote significantly (maybe it would have), we wouldn't be there yet.

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  6. Can anybody explain how the english supreme court can have any jurisdiction over Scotland under the terms of the Treaty of Union?

    Given that is has no right to legislate then tell T May that her actions are nothing short of a declaration of war. Overthrowing the democratic will of Scotland by english law. Why do supposedly intelligent people like Peatworrier go along with such a charade?

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  7. Scotland needs to be careful of "asking permission"...instead it must move from a position of its own sovereignty (not a colony). Eg., The UK did not seek permission for the BREXIT referendum from the EU and would never countenance such a position.

    Why does the Scottish Independence conversation never start from a position of its own strength? I have yet to see anyone start by defining its constitutional position regarding Scotland's sovereignty and its inherent role for dissolving the union.

    Scotland needs to decide/define which institution speaks for the sovereignty (as sovereignty is held by the Scottish people as I understand it). Is it:
    * The Scottish parliament;
    * The majority of its Scottish Westminster MPs,
    * The Leader of Scottish Parliament.
    The answer to this question then defines the processes of constituting a valid Independence referendum. This is essential as it is possibly the holder of the final fail-safe...UDI. Scotland should also decide if any calling for a Referendum carries the proviso that any interference by the other members of the current Union would trigger a UDI.

    I fear for the Yes movement and Scotland's people more broadly as many Yes commentators are dangerously (and mistakenly) assuming a future that is lineal from the present. Everything will be the same only there will be a vote for independence when the Yes movement wants it.

    BEWARE! Too many factors already in play that are able to radically change the ground rules from under your feet. I.e:
    * Brexit,
    * Henry VIII powers,
    * Northern Ireland, ...an exodus of NI unionists no longer comfortable with a prospect of a united Ireland.
    * Threats to Devolution,
    * A new de facto Scottish government via Westminster's Scotland Office,
    * Westminster rewriting the Treaty of Union (signed-off for you all by the Tory & Labor House of Lords members from Scotland)

    Once Scotland put its head above the parapet in 2014, Westminster appears not to be content to just manage the frictions with its Northern Country. Instead, it now appears to be actively maneuvering to fully assimilate it, both politically and cognitively. The result of not leveraging sovereignty for independence in 2014, Westminster now aims to take it...just look at the attack on Scotland the brand, devolution, funding. Yes the Vow has fully evaporated as the apparition it always was.

    Beware of Westminster looking incompetent. Westminster appears to be orchestrating a series of outcomes where Scotland has no say until is hemmed in with no other options. David Mundell may appear bumbling but each failure just moves decisions from scrutiny where Scotland has valid representation to forums where they don't and the outcome can be controlled by Westminster...not Scotland.

    I would also add that YES must set the terms for the debate. It can not/must not use the language from 2014 or those defined by Westminster. Any new referendum is not the same question as the 2014 vote. In the BREXIT vote England and Wales left the path the UK countries were collectively on....as such it should be argued that England and Wales left the Union and the other countries have a right to decide their direction. I.e. the Union is now no longer agreed at a fundamental level about the member's functioning role in the world.

    This new referendum is about sovereignty and who has the right to speak for Scotland. It is no longer about Status-quo v. Independence...there is no longer any Status-quo. There are over 19000 laws to be re-written and the question is not what the Scotland government's position is.... The question is does Scotland get to decide those 19000 positions for itself. Can Scotland set its priorities and vote in and out governments to deliver those priorities.

    Remember your sovereignty gives you choices...but each choice has its consequences. Even in Europe, when State power is threatened, they are no longer scared of brutal repression...just look around you for examples.

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    1. It's your right I know BUT... Gonny stop being Anonymous please... You're talking a helluva lot of sense...!

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    2. FYI: You can simply use a psudonym and leave the URL blank in the "name/URL" option.

      Anonymity doesn't have to go hand in hand with not having an identity.

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    3. If things are heading to the courts then the Scottish Parliament and Government sole target in challenging the British State must be by way of direct challenge to the Act of Union. End of. The only other viable option is a consultative referendum by Holyrood on Single Market Access and Customs Union membership a la Northern Ireland...

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    4. What "we" need is absolutely more polarisation of the people who live and work in Scotland around the constitutional question. Time to pick sides...back us (social democracy) or sack us and replace our government with more of the same Neo Con bull crap that got us all in this situation.

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    5. @Alistair White

      Agreed. It is probably getting close to time...where YES may have to go all in.

      You don't think it would be better to craft that intent into a positive message. (Same driver....its time, you need to chose....only use a message that opens it up to peoples best intentions.

      Even as you note....this time its all about Scotland's sovereignty. This is a precious thing that generations of Scots have managed to protect....it is the last fail-safe.



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  8. Will Yum Wallace PatriotApril 13, 2018 at 12:46 AM

    We need martyrs who will raise the flag and suffer a few beers in the Yes Bar, anything is better than being ruled by England. Meet doon the lane when you wake up preferably afternoon.

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    1. State of this.

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    2. Hello Glynis. Are you well?

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  9. Scotland, Welsh, NI and English are solid behind the Union. Ok the Jock and Irish bum boys and a few red head Welsh will do their predatory thing but they will lose. Decency will overcome them..

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    1. State of this.

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    2. Hello Glynis. Are you well?

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    3. Fine and how are you the EU erselicker.

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    4. Hello Glynis. Are you any better?

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  10. Panic and its accompanying hate speech ensues. 🤣

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    1. Vile English hater.

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    2. Hello Glynis. Are you all right?

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    3. Cardinal Opus FondlerApril 14, 2018 at 1:50 AM

      Is your bum sore Rex? Ignore GWC2 he is a heathen.

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    4. It thinks it's fooling us. Bless...

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    5. Hello Glynis. Are you alright?

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  11. "the UK government should be given a specific deadline for a definitive response to the Section 30 request, with a failure to give a clear "yes" or "no" by that date being interpreted as rejection"

    This is the only bit I disagree with. I think it should be if no clear yes or no it should be interpreted as acceptance. It would force them to respond No and therefore make it even plain to the people. And if they didn't respond then they've agreed!

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    1. I don't see how anyone can force them to agree. Section 30 is a formal process.

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    2. If we're setting up a "no response will be taken as" option, then I don't see why it has to be rejection.

      And we'd not be forcing them to agree, we'd only be forcing them to respond if they don't.

      Us saying "hi, we're going to do this, that's ok right?" is much better than "can we do this, if you don't answer then I guess we can't"

      It's all about who has the power. By forcing them to respond, we are taking the power to ourselves and forcing them to challenge it.

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    3. When you say "we" who do you mean? Does it include the two million who voted Naw?

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    4. State of this.

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  12. Jist found my NAW stickers.. Kept some for the second round to oppose the English hating nat si rascists.

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  13. Hello Glynis. Are you alright?

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    1. Cardinal Opus FondlerApril 14, 2018 at 7:31 PM

      You do sound like a nice young gullible alter boy Rex! Do you have a cute mouth?

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    2. It thinks it's fooling us. Bless...

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    3. Cardinal Opus FondlerApril 15, 2018 at 11:19 AM

      My lovely lovely boy.

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    4. State of this.

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    5. Cardinal Opus FondlerApril 17, 2018 at 1:27 AM

      My lovely lovely boy how Devine you are for sucking a Fishermans Friend.. Oha

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    6. State of this.

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  14. If a holyrood vote is used for indy would it be 50%+1 of the vote for any indy part including greens? Not sure if that's a clear enough message to campaign on. 50%+1 votes for SNP aint gonna happen and a majority of seats I'm not sure will fly either and could cause all sorts of problems.. I'd probably go with the first option and hopefully a labour breakaway party is an option too. But again, maybe not clear enough.

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  15. If a holyrood vote is used for indy would it be 50%+1 of the vote for any indy part including greens? Not sure if that's a clear enough message to campaign on. 50%+1 votes for SNP aint gonna happen and a majority of seats I'm not sure will fly either and could cause all sorts of problems.. I'd probably go with the first option and hopefully a labour breakaway party is an option too. But again, maybe not clear enough.

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  16. goodgollymissmollyApril 14, 2018 at 4:54 PM

    If the SNP/Greens want to press it then I'm sure the Section 30 will be granted. The last one was valid for any date in 2014, the next I think valid for winter 2021/22. This is after the no-change Brexit transition, in between the Holyrood and Westminster elections so there is no overlap of campaigns, and also will be seven years after the first vote; this time scale is mentioned in the Good Friday Agreement as the minimum between border polls and sets a precedent on referendums.
    So, Yes are happy, they get to set an Indyref2 date and Union parties are happy as they get to prove, or not, that the country supports their view in the 2021 Holyrood election (whereupon they cancel indyref2 if successful).
    I can't see an unsanctioned, non-binding vote in 2020 gaining traction if a legitimate one in 2021 is on the table.

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  17. @goodgollymissmolly

    I fear you may be misunderstanding what the "TRANSITION PERIOD" is.

    Transition starts actually after the legal BREXIT date. Everything as changed legislatively. Importantly, Westminster has fully enacted its HENRY VIII powers.

    You appear to be putting a lot of faith in a large number of assumptions.

    If there is a "TRANSITION PERIOD" the UK is a 3rd Country that has just adopted laws that along with the EU. But its internal structures are radically changed from the UK you know now.

    You are trusting:
    - Westminster will not crash out of the EU
    - There will be a TRANSITION PERIOD.....that doesn't fail part way
    - Westminster's sweeping legislative changes don't undermine Devolution..
    - & there is a Scottish parliament that has such functional capacity.
    - A Section 30 would be forthcoming even post 2020.
    - Indépendance parties are able to secure a post 2020 majority.
    - Scotland's population makeup will remain consistent with now.

    Beware of projecting a linear future....Where the future is almost the same as now only Scotland gets to hold another referendum....Westminster is not standing still and the changes afoot are too siesmic and more that likely to throw up the unexpected.

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