Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
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 ]


Occasional Series