With the SNP having beaten Labour to form the devolved government in Holyrood, the notion of a referendum on Scottish independence has ceased to become a moot point and has become a genuine prospect. As a result the independence issue in Scotland seems to be coming to life. There is a feeling that as Scots have become used to their SNP devolved administration they are increasingly warming to the idea of full independence – or enhanced devolution at the very least.
Polls last year by YouGov and Ipsos-MORI showed a majority of Scots voters still opposed to independence, although support for independence was shown to be increasing. In between those two polls, however, Scotland’s Herald newspaper commissioned a poll by TNS-BMRB that saw more respondants in favour of independence than against it. Momentum is clearly with the pro-independence argument and it seems to be building.
We have long been subjected to the sight of the main three political parties uniting under a ‘consensus’ banner to oppose any idea that doesn’t suit their wishes. The same thing is happening in respect of the issue of a Scottish independence referendum. The main three parties want to lead a government of the United Kingdom (setting aside the EU elephant in the room). The idea of English, Welsh or Northern Irish MPs running a government that does not encompass rule over Scotland doesn’t fit with their delusion of power. What the Scottish people may want is neither here nor there, which is why Westminster is holding on tight to its legal authority over binding independence referenda by countries that form the United Kingdom. And therein lies the problem. That is why we are seeing non Scots holding forth in front of the media saying what the Scots can and can’t do, must and mustn’t do.
Polling data shows the desire for independence is growing, therefore the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems are now pressing hard for a referendum in Scotland to be held sooner rather than later. The aim is clear – force the SNP to hold the referendum now before momentum builds and more people swap to the independence side. Understandably the SNP wants to wait until it thinks enough Scots will vote for independence. The resulting bunfight is now in full swing.
The only people who should decide the future of Scotland are the Scots. The only people who should decide the timing of the referendum in Scotland and the question(s) asked of the Scottish people are the Scots. The Scots must be freed of the constraints imposed by Westminster and allowed to decide their future for themselves.
We are now witnessing hypocrisy writ large. There are people who expressed outrage that Ireland’s Lisbon Treaty referendum was subject to heavy interference by the EU, but who are endorsing similar interference by the UK in Scotland’s independence debate.
The Scots must be free from interference to organise themselves, reap their own rewards and make their own mistakes. The same must hold true for the English, Welsh and Northern Irish. That is what democracy and self determination entail.
Never mind the irony that they might secure for themselves independent nation status only to surrender it to governance by the anti democratic European Union, or help bring about the EU’s regionalisation agenda. Never mind that they may have misplaced assumptions about North Sea oil ownership and revenues. Never mind the complex issues around fiscal and military (to name but two hugely important matters) separation from the UK. The Scots must decide for themselves – and they must do so on their terms and at a time of their choosing.