A very Scottish independence referendum

There is a body of opinion in Scotland that wishes for that country to leave the United Kingdom and become a fully independent nation state, embodied by the Scottish National Party (SNP).

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.

11 Responses to “A very Scottish independence referendum”

  1. 1 Scottish Calvin 11/01/2012 at 3:24 pm

    For those who think this is a recent phenomenon, possibly a way of government that Blair+Labour brought in, search onilne for the McCrone report. Frankly I hope that Gordon turns up thinking he still holds some importance, given that he’s possibly more despised in Scotland than England (at English people can distance themselves from him on a basis of being English) and he would swing the argument in Salmond’s favour. My view? Fiscal Independence. Scotland is only ‘unable to pay for itself’ if you include the massive deficit that it already has as part of the UKs share. If the UK became self funding, so would Scotland.

  2. 2 jameshigham 11/01/2012 at 3:42 pm

    The irony of Cameron weighing into it is not lost.

  3. 3 Eneas 11/01/2012 at 8:41 pm

    yes for Scotland independence,Gibraltar for Spain and Malvinas Islands for Argentina ! inglish ,go home!

  4. 4 Autonomous Mind 11/01/2012 at 10:13 pm

    Sorry, but you don’t seem to grasp the idea of self determination.

    Scotland’s people should determine their own future, Gibraltar’s people should determine their own future and Falkland Islanders should determine their own future. You seem to think other people should determine the future of those people for them. So why don’t you ‘go home’?

  5. 5 Orde 11/01/2012 at 10:29 pm

    Also! Cameron doesn’t want a “yes to full Scottish independence” referendum result, giving English voters ideas over the EC does he?

  6. 6 NickM 12/01/2012 at 2:08 pm

    “The only people who should decide the future of Scotland are the Scots.”

    It is not as simple as that. “Independence” for Scotland (as you say, neglecting the EU elephant) is also “independence” for England because the UK was formed as a Union of two kingdoms. As a result England has as much right to set conditions as Scotland does.

  7. 7 NickM 12/01/2012 at 2:10 pm

    Eneas, can I suggest that the Spanish and Italian colonialists of the artificial country of Argentina also “go home”?

  8. 8 Bruce 12/01/2012 at 2:11 pm

    I’m a Scot but I don’t know if I’d even cast a vote in a referendum. Can’t see the point of an independent Scotland in the EU any more than remaining part of the UK within the EU. The whole issue strikes me as being a complete waste of time and money.

    And besides, I’ve never met an English person I didn’t like whereas I know plenty of Scots who are a complete pain in the arse!

  9. 9 Sam Duncan 12/01/2012 at 3:19 pm

    Amen to that, Bruce.

    And, as you say, the Nats don’t want Scotland to “become a fully independent nation state”. They want it to remain in the EU. This can’t be repeated often, or loudly, enough. Because it’s important: for forty years, the UK has been stuck in this miserable Union because nobody’s been honest about it. Most of us still think Britain is an independent nation state in some kind of arms-length “relationship” with “Europe”. Scots can’t make a proper decision on their future if they aren’t told what they’re voting for.

    The prospect of post-referendum “nationalists” joyfully celebrating their “freedom” to dive headlong into a political union far closer and more restrictive than anything we’ve seen over the last 300 years is, frankly, nauseating.

  10. 10 Bruce 12/01/2012 at 4:22 pm

    Sadly, Sam, there’s a certain type of Scot quite happy to be ruled by anyone provided it’s not the English. I think Scotland is a bit of a lost cause. Whereas England might seem to be ruled by liberal statists there remains, at least, a fair number of Libertarians and natural conservatives. Up here it’s socialism all the way.

  11. 11 rapscallion 16/01/2012 at 1:05 pm

    By and large I tend to agree with your pieces AM. I can understand your reasoning as to why the Scots only should have a vote, but I feel that there is a bit more to it than that. If the Scots vote for independence then, they are in effect breaking the Union. That concerns ALL those in the Union, not just the Scots.

    Conversely, why are the English getting a vote on whether they want independence from Scotland? Just a thought

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