Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
The case for Scottish independence, like Brexit, is not based on short term economic benefit. Neither would the case for Irish re-unification be based of short-term economic benefit, although the point of my piece is that Ireland should refuse re-unification until and unless terms are on offer which offer some prospect of improved economic circumstances in due course. Only the zealots will vote for it otherwise.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 22nd, 2021 at 01:53:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But that's the thing. Brexit was based on power and tells us nothing except that the Tories and the press can do whatever they want. No one really cared about the EU until they were told to. The Scottish nationalists have no lever they can pull to make their wishes come true, that decision lies entirely in London.
And while I take the you're point that Ireland shouldn't rush unification, it's going to look inevitable pretty soon. Though of course the future can stay inevitable for a long time without ever happening.
by generic on Fri Jan 22nd, 2021 at 01:11:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scottish Independence could look "a lot more inevitable" pretty soon, if the SNP win overwhelming majorities in the May elections. The SNP /Scottish Parliament could organise their own "plebiscite", a la Catalonia, and challenge Westminster to ignore the results, if they dare. With all the talk of the "will of the people" in the Brexit campaign, it will look hugely hypocritical for BoJo et al to ignore them.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 22nd, 2021 at 02:11:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's no doubt the SNP would win, but implementation would be difficult for both sides.

Aside from trying to secure a land border and set up an independent economy, one huge complication from England's POV is that Scotland is home to the UK's nuclear deterrent. England can't let that go, so it's likely troops would be sent in to secure it. That takes everyone into very difficult territory.

I suspect behind the scenes NI, Ireland, Scotland, and perhaps Wales are discussing some form of Celtic Alliance. It would be much harder for England to move against a union of countries which would likely have some form of EU backing. That's possibly the ideal outcome for everyone except the English.

But England is also split. The bigger towns and cities lean progressive, and anti-establishment sentiment is up for grabs by either end of the spectrum in the North and parts of the West Country. Only the Midlands, East Anglia, and some of the southern shires are wholly dedicated to Tory Brexitism.

It's a very volatile and dangerous situation, not least because the current Westminster government is spectacularly and blatantly corrupt and self-serving, as well as astoundingly childish, petulantly aggressive, and dysfunctionally stupid.

None of the major English parties are being run by adults. The Greens and the SNP both have adult leaders and there are some good MPs in Labour. But the top of greasy pole is populated exclusively by chancers, timeservers, and Establishment seat warmers. They either have no idea how fragile the entire country is now, or they simply don't care.

I'm going to be hugely surprised if the UK makes it to 2024 without a major convulsive rupture. And I wouldn't be entirely astounded if it happens before the end of this year.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jan 22nd, 2021 at 02:56:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The placidity, timidity, and establishmentarianism of the average Brit never fails to astound me. They seem to accept all sorts of outrages as normal. The blatant cronyism, corruption, and incompetence of their betters never seems to bother them too much.

Many actively support Boris and his cronies as being made of "the right stuff". Everyone else is being extremist or inconsiderate. The Queen is untouchable, as are many of the established institutions of the state. All are obviously "the best in the world" compared to those horrible foreign countries.

So no, I don't see a revolution any time soon, despite a precipitous decline which they seem barely aware of - a bit like the frog who was boiled alive because the water temperature only went up a little at a time. Instead they appear to live in a sea of WWII victories, 1966 World Cup wins, and Beatles nostalgia - back in the day when England was best in the world at something.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 22nd, 2021 at 04:35:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also there is the "overtaken by events" factor. Planning for an independence referendum a decade from now assumes that the UK situation remains stable during that decade. It's easy to think of scenarios where something changes the UK's position relative to the EU's economic setup, or the US's defense setup, or the oil or wind energy market, or fishing, etc., that could change the tradeoffs.

I would propose that at the moment, the biggest issue in play is the short-term results of Brexit. Collapse of the London financial industry, disruption of the auto industry, electrical power marketplace difficulties, serious food shortages, a tourist industry collapse, or any of dozens of other potential Brexit-related difficulties could pose much bigger problems than Scotland or Ireland.

by asdf on Sun Jan 24th, 2021 at 05:42:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indyref2: SNP reveal 'roadmap' to another independence referendum

It states that if the SNP take office, the Scottish government will request from the UK government a section 30 order - part of the Scotland Act 1998 which allows Holyrood to pass laws normally reserved to Westminster.

It says "there could be no moral or democratic justification for denying that request" and adds that if the UK government did adopt such a position it would be "unsustainable both at home and abroad".

The document goes on to say that if it has a parliamentary majority it will introduce and pass a bill allowing a referendum to take place after the pandemic.

It says that will leave the UK government with three options:

  *  agree that the Scottish Parliament already has the power to legislate for a referendum
  *  agree the section 30 order - as happened ahead of the 2014 vote
  *  take legal action to dispute the legal basis of the referendum

"Such a legal challenge would be vigorously opposed by an SNP Scottish government," it adds.

I read the current statements as not willing to commit to Catalonia-style referendum, at least not yet.

However, having decided to fight this fight in the court of public Scottish opinion last time, London really doesn't have any leg to stand on except "We don't want to and we have the power". Which they will probably argue, and if it is settled in London courts I expect the London government to win. Which in turn will likely increase support for independence - nothing like a perfidious overlord to get independence thoughts going - and then we shall see if the Scottish government folds or goes for independence anyway (with or without referendum). Maybe re-establish the Auld Alliance? Or just argue that it was never revoked, and therefore in place, so if England invades (ie, refuses to leave) Scotland, then France is treaty-bound to come to the aid of independent Scotland.

by fjallstrom on Mon Jan 25th, 2021 at 10:38:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You will note I used the word "plebiscite" rather than referendum. Thus holding a non-legally binding popular vote need not be a direct challenge to Westminster authority. However if the SNP were to win such a plebiscite, they would have the upper hand in any negotiations with London. (Even the Brexit referendum was only politically, not legally binding).

They could then enter into a formal period of negotiation with London, and informal discussions with the EU, and put any outcome of those discussions - currency, national debt, military bases, border management etc. to a formal referendum vote for final approval.

The unspoken threat would be that either London agrees to an orderly process of separation, or Scotland goes its own way anyway - but the key issue is democratic legitimacy. London trying to over-ride a Scottish popular vote would inflame the situation to a degree even the Brexit process never did.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 25th, 2021 at 12:25:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely they can hold one to direct Scottish government policy e.g. to begin negotiations with Westminster for independence. That sort of question seems to fall well within the Scottish government's legal powers and respect Westminster's self-appointed role, while also conveying a serious message about the popular will and where legitimate power lies.
by IdiotSavant on Mon Jan 25th, 2021 at 10:57:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good idea. I'm very much against holding referenda on vague, ill-defined proposals which charlatans can twist any which way they please. But a referendum instructing the Scottish government to open independence negotiations with Westminster and membership "exploratory discussions" with the EU doesn't impinge on Westminster prerogatives - to be followed by a formal referendum on the precise terms negotiated.

Of course if Westminster plays "silly buggers" and seeks to impose impossible divorce terms onto Scotland they could inflame the situation to the extent that Scotland proclaims a unilateral declaration of independence and England is left with military force as the only means of maintaining the Union. Then the situation would get very nasty indeed and perhaps provoke US/EU/UN intervention...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 26th, 2021 at 12:10:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]

It would seem to me to be a similar road like the one they started on in 2014:

Legality of a referendum

The Scottish government insisted in 2010 that they could legislate for a referendum, as it would be an "advisory referendum on extending the powers of the Scottish Parliament",[17] whose result would "have no legal effect on the Union".[16]:17 Lord Wallace, Advocate General for Scotland, said in January 2012 that holding a referendum concerning the constitution would be outside the legislative power of the Scottish Parliament[24][40] and that private individuals could challenge a Scottish Parliament referendum bill.[41]

The two governments signed the Edinburgh Agreement, which allowed for the temporary transfer of legal authority.

As far as I know, the Edinburgh Agreement came before there was any serioud legal challenges.

If I understand correctly, the objection is based on the subject matter - Scotland's relationship in the UK - isn't decided by the Scottish parliament. And any legal proceedings about this kind of political matters are always a political matter even if it is fought in courts.

by fjallstrom on Tue Jan 26th, 2021 at 12:21:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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