There’s a wooden fence. It’s painted red white and blue, but underneath that coat of paint the fence is rotten, worm eaten, fragile. It’s only the paint that holds it together. It looks solid, it looks like a fence that can keep out the angry, the dissapointed, the disillusioned, and the determined, but as soon as the fence is tested it will fall apart. That’s where we are now in this UK, Scottish independence is kept at bay by a rotten fence which is coated with the paint of Boris Johnson’s refusal to allow another independence referendum.
The SNP won a convincing victory in Scotland in last week’s General Election, standing on a mandate to give Scotland the right to determine its own future. But mandates and elections don’t count for a great deal in Scotland. But but but Scotland doesn’t want independence, they tell us. But but but the SNP said that a vote for them in this General Election wasn’t a vote for independence. But but but the SNP didn’t get more than 50% of the total vote share. The spurious reasons come thick and fast.
We don’t know if Scotland wants independence or not, for the simple reason that those insisting that Scotland doesn’t want independence refuse to put the question to the test. But if they were really so confident in the correctness of their assertions, then why are they so frightened, hiding in a fridge in order to avoid the question. They tell us that they don’t want a referendum because it was divisive, but the only violence that resulted from the 2014 referendum came from British nationalist thugs running rampage in George Square after the result was announced. Are the British nationalists really telling us that Scotland can’t have another referendum because they can’t control themselves?
Yes indeed, the SNP were saying that a vote for them in last week’s General Election was not a vote for independence, what they were saying was that it was a vote for Scotland’s right to decide its own path whatever that path may be. Having a referendum is not the same as independence. They are quite different and quite distinct propositions. If holding an independence referendum really was the same as becoming independent then Scotland would have become independent as soon as the 2014 indyref was announced. I don’t know if the Tories have noticed, but we’re not independent. It just currently suits the Conservatives to conflate those two issues. They think that you’re stupid, they think that you can’t remember what you were told just a few days ago.
We’re not independent, so the result of the 2014 referendum is being respected. That’s how you respect the result of a referendum in which people campaigning against independence won a majority. Disrespecting the result of that referendum would entail overturning that majority without another vote on the matter. No one is proposing that. But it’s not just the losers of popular votes who need to respect the outcome. It’s far more important that those who won that vote respect the promises and commitments that they made in order to win it. If they don’t respect their own promises and commitments, then it’s them who are the ones who are disrespecting the referendum. If they refuse to allow the electorate to hold them to account, then they’re not only disrespecting the referendum but they are also demanding the right to lie and cheat with impugnity. Democracy dies if that is allowed to happen. Whenever Boris Johnson or Jackson Carlaw demands that the result of the 2014 is respected, they are demanding the right to lie without having to face the consequences.
Perhaps the most common ah-buttery being put about on social media by British nationalists who see their precious union collapse like a rotten fence is that the SNP did not win over 50% of the popular vote in this election. Neither did Boris Johnson, but that doesn’t stop him claiming that he has a mandate for the Brexit of his choosing. This was a General Election, not a referendum. If you want to apply a referendum’s rules to a General Election, I have some biodegradable straws for you to clutch at in order to save you from embarrassing yourself.
It is irrelevant to the outcome of another independence referendum that “only” 45% of the Scottish voting public who registered a vote voted for the SNP. The turnout in the referendum is likely to be far higher, and not everyone who votes for independence is going to vote SNP. We know from opinion polling that there’s a very large segment of Labour parrty supporters in Scotland who would vote for independence. You cannot conflate support for the SNP with support for independence. British nationalists just like to do so in order to make themselves feel better, and pretend to themselves that everyone who votes against the SNP is also voting against independence. It stops them from examining how rotten their fence is.
By Westminster’s own rules, the SNP won this election handsomely, and their victory was far more convincing than Boris Johnson’s supposed landslide. Boris Johnson won 43.6% of the popular vote on a turnout of 67.3%. The SNP won 45.0% on a turnout of 68.1%. Boris Johnson was 11.5% ahead of his nearest rivals in the popular vote. The SNP was 19.9% ahead of its nearest rivals in the popular vote. Boris Johnson won 56.2% of UK seats. The SNP won 81.4% of seats in Scotland. If Boris Johnson has a mandate for Brexit, the SNP has an even stronger mandate for another independence referendum, and moreover this is the fourth mandate for another referendum that has been won by the SNP.
For all their bravado, braggadocio, and bragging, British nationalists in Scotland are terrified. They know that Thursday’s election was a dreadful one for unionism, that it signalled a divergence in views between Scotland and the rest of the UK that cannot be bridged by nawbaggery and a refusal to engage. You can’t run a Union on saying no. You can’t maintain a partnership when one partner insists that it has a veto over whether the other can decide if it wishes to remain in the partnership. All that Boris Johnson’s refusals will achieve is to make the vote for yes even greater when Scotland finally has its say. And make no mistake, Scotland will have its say one way or another. The UK is a rotten fence. We’re pushing against it.
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