The stick to beat the bully

There’s been a bit of discussion recently about how to circumvent the refusal of the UK government to concede to another independence referendum. Yesterday in the Herald it was reported that Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil has suggested turning the 2021 Holyrood elections into an effective referendum on independence. The idea is that the SNP and other pro-independence parties would be using these elections, not to seek yet another mandate for a referendum that Westminster could ignore, but rather to seek a mandate for independence itself. In other words, to turn the 2021 Holyrood elections into a plebiscite election.

I’ve always favoured the idea of a plebiscite election as the option of last resort. Other options should of course be explored, but if there comes a time when all these other options fail then it’s a back up plan which can guarantee a recognised and legal independence ballot in which the anti-independence parties must participate.

There are certainly other options. There’s continuing to press for a Section 30 order and using the increasing political pressure and demand for independence within Scotland as a means to put pressure on Boris Johnson. There’s court action to force Westminster to respect the existing mandates for a referendum. There’s testing the legality of an advisory referendum without a Section 30 order. All these avenues must be explored and exhausted. Even if they do not succeed in bringing about a referendum the very process of exploring and exhausting them will continue to put pressure on the British government and will keep the question of independence front and foremost in Scottish politics. Exploring and exhausting these routes will continue to promote the drift in Scottish public opinion towards support for independence.

A plebiscite election is not UDI, it would not amount to a unilateral declaration of independence. However it would neatly sidestep an obstinate Westminster which continues to refuse to cooperate with another independence referendum. It would provide the people of Scotland with a recognised democratic ballot in which they could express their support for Scottish independence. It would give the First Minister a mandate to write to the UK Prime Minister to demand the immediate opening of negotiations for Scottish independence. Backed by a popular mandate for independence itself obtained legally and legitimately within the framework of the UK constitution, that’s going to be impossible for Westminster to ignore, all the more so as Europe and the rest of the world will be taking a close interest.

There is absolutely nothing in UK law or under what passes for a British constitution which prohibits a plebiscite election. Indeed, that’s precisely what the SNP was doing prior to the establishment of the Scottish parliament. The party was using Westminster General Elections as plebiscite elections, seeking a mandate for independence based upon the number of MPs it was able to return to the Commons. It was widely accepted at the time that if the SNP had ever been successful in obtaining a majority of Scottish MPs, then it would have achieved a mandate to open negotiations with the British government for Scottish independence.

This is a crucial point. A plebiscite election is often misunderstood as seeking a majority in Holyrood for pro-indy parties which can then make a unilateral declaration of independence. That’s not quite the case. In order to be legal and constitutional within a framework which will be recognised and respected by the international community (which is what counts if independence is to become a reality) the plebiscite election should be fought with the goal of obtaining a mandate to negotiate independence with Westminster. Westminster can still be obstructionist, it could still refuse to collaborate. However what it can’t do in the eyes of the international community is to ignore the result of a democratic vote within Scotland giving the Scottish Parliament a mandate to negotiate independence. In fact you can bet your last penny that if there’s a majority in Holyrood for independence following a plebiscite election, Westminster will be falling over itself to offer a referendum. However should Westminster continue to be obstructionist and to refuse to recognise Scotland’s democratic mandate, that would give the Scottish Government the political capital it requires to internationalise the dispute.

In a recent paper published by the constitutional legal experts Chris McCorkindale and Aileen McHarg a number of objections were raised to a plebiscite election. However these objections are not legal in nature, but rather political. As such they are not barriers which cannot be surmounted. The first objection they raise is that the Scottish Government is not in favour of a plebiscite election. That’s the case because the Scottish Government currently believes that it possesses sufficient leverage to get an agreement from Westminster on a Section 30 order. We are yet to see what the further steps will be that Nicola Sturgeon has said that the Scottish Government will take at the end of this month. It may well be the case that Westminster will eventually concede and will cooperate with a Section 30 order, in which case discussions about a possible plebiscite election will be moot.

However the opposition of the Scottish Government only remains an objection until such time as the Scottish Government changes its mind. It may very well change its mind faced with continued intransigence from Westminster and a rise in support for independence in the opinion polls because Brexit becomes a reality at the end of this month.

The second objection raised by McCorkindale and McHarg is that Westminster would not recognise a mandate for independence achieved via a plebiscite election. This may or may not be the case, however we’re currently in the situation where Westminster is not recognising successive mandates for a Scottish independence referendum. Therefore it could just as easily be argued that there is nothing to lose by going for a plebiscite election and everything to gain. Forcing the Conservative government to ignore a mandate for independence itself raises the stakes considerably and increases the political pressure on Westminster and Boris Johnson by several orders of magnitude.

The third objection is that the international community would not recognise a unilateral declaration of independence based upon a plebiscite election. This is what occurred in Catalonia, whose declaration of independence was not recognised by the international community. However there are two significant differences between Scotland and Catalonia. The first is that a plebiscite election seeking a mandate for independence is illegal under the Spanish constitution. It’s not illegal or unconstitutional in the UK. Secondly the point of a Scottish plebiscite election would not be to make a unilateral declaration of independence that Westminster does not recognise but rather to force Westminster to the negotiating table. The international community would be willing to collaborate in that process and would put pressure on Westminster to negotiate with Scotland as simultaneously with the plebiscite election the UK will be mired in trade negotiations with the EU. It is in the interests of the EU to ensure political stability in its trading partners.

However the real value of publicising and discussing the possibility of a plebiscite election just now is that it sends a very strong signal to Westminster that its refusal to collaborate with a Section 30 order and its continual ignoring of successive mandates for a referendum obtained by the SNP will have consequences. Consequences which will end Westminster rule in Scotland. It tells Westminster that it’s very much in the interests of the British Government and the anti-independence parties to cooperate in bringing about an independence referendum because that is the only means that they have left of persuading people in Scotland that this really is a union in which Scotland is a voluntary partner.

If Scotland is forced into a plebiscite election on independence, the anti-independence parties will no longer be able to make the much loved partner argument with any plausibility. Telling Scotland that it’s a partner in a union is the strongest argument, the only argument, that they’ve got. It is important that the independence movement and the Scottish Government make Westminster realise that a democratic reckoning awaits Westminster at the end of their refusals, obstruction, and denial of Scotland’s wishes.

It’s the realisation that Scotland is planning for and intending to go ahead with a plebiscite election which can force Westminster to collaborate in a referendum process, because if a plebiscite election does come to pass it will mean that Westminster has entirely lost control of the process. The possibility of a plebiscite election is the independence movement’s big stick with which we can threaten Westminster and get their collaboration in the referendum process. And if they don’t cooperate, we have a vote anyway. The anti-independence parties can say that they’d boycott a referendum, but they can’t boycott elections to the Scottish Parliament. They can’t stop elections from happening without trashing the devolution settlement even more than they have already – and that would only increase support for independence. For the independence movement, it’s a win-win.

If we’ve learned one thing about the Conservatives, it’s that they don’t respond to pleading, begging, or being nice. The prospect of a plebiscite election is a surefire way of telling Boris Johnson that his refusals mean nothing, because eventually, with or without his cooperation, Scotland will have its say. When dealing with bullies, you need to stand up to them, and you need to demonstrate to them that they will be the losers in the end. Ultimately a plebiscite election and the ballot box is our weapon, the stick we can use to defeat the bullying Boris Johnson.

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77 thoughts on “The stick to beat the bully

    • It was indeed. The only part where the reasoning got shaky IMO is in the paragraph beginning “The third objection is that the international community would not recognise a unilateral declaration of independence based upon a plebiscite election.”

      I do think this is a major problem, and will be the reason the SNP don’t attempt to secure indy *solely* through such a plebiscite. Instead, as Paul says, it might be used as leverage to make WM come to their senses about an indyref.

      Online indyland is a much more interesting place today. Less whiny Goth-style navel gazing, less irrelevant distraction, more justified anger, and a consensus emerging about the general direction of travel. 2020 should be far more fun than the endless Waiting for Godot absurdist Brexit theatre of 2016-19.

  1. Paul, good article as well as Rev Stu’s –

    “In this site’s view the best strategy is still to first pursue the legal route by notionally legislating for a referendum (with no intention of actually carrying it out) and contesting the UK government’s inevitable challenge in the Supreme Court.
    If that challenge was won, all well and good. The Scottish Parliament would have the right to hold referendums whenever it chose.
    If the case was either lost, or wrecked by the UK government moving the goalposts (as detailed above) to outlaw it, that would strengthen Scotland’s case in the eyes of the international community, because it would clearly be being denied any democratic route to self-determination, a protected right under the UN Charter.
    The scheduled 2021 Holyrood election could then be held – which the UK government would this time have no grounds to cancel or obstruct, because it would be due as the normal course of events – on the basis of being a de facto referendum. Were more than 50% of the vote to be achieved, Craig Murray’s plan would become viable.
    This strategy is not foolproof. There’s no guarantee any court case could be concluded before the election is due next May, for example. The opposition parties could refuse to conduct the election as a plebiscite, at least partly undermining its credibility. And the UK government could cancel the Holyrood election even without having any legitimate basis for doing so.” – WOS

    Seems his conclusion is the same as yours. What is your view on these three points?
    – There’s no guarantee any court case could be concluded before the election is due next May, for example. The opposition parties could refuse to conduct the election as a plebiscite, at least partly undermining its credibility. And the UK government could cancel the Holyrood election even without having any legitimate basis for doing so

    • Unfortunately the flaw in the plan is…..
      Westminster Government can write a law which makes plebiscite elections just as illegal here in both Holyrood and in four year’s time Westminster it’s self,and create a Catalonia situation!
      There’s not a thing we could do to stop it

      • They could. They could also abolish Holyrood. They could pass a law saying it was illegal to campaign for independence. They *could* do whatever they wanted. The point however is that they won’t do any of those things because politically it would be suicidal for them.

        • Paul , can you develop the suicide idea a bit more ? It’s by no means self evident that it would be fatal for Boris to refuse to see sense . He might even broaden his support base by sticking it to the Jocks .

    • “With no intention of actually carrying it out”

      legislate for an election but with no intention of carrying it out – bonkers – hope the word bonkers doesn’t get me another yellow card from WGD. If the SNP proposed that WOS would be the first to criticise them

      Is he not just saying that because he said there won’t be a referendum.

      Also we are already being denied our democracy – right now. Democracy denier as Blackford said to Johnson earlier today.

      I say we hold a referendum or failing that bring forward the 2021 Scot parliament election to Autumn 2020.

      PS WGD is there a rule re how many yellow cards before getting a red.😔😔

        • Never use the c – word not even about Tories or phoney independence supporters.

          But I have been known to now and again have heated discussions with people who I think are phoney independence supporters. But as I respect the value of your site to the independence movement and I respect your values re behaviour I will do my best to be civil in my posts – even to racists.

          If you feel I fail and do not meet your standards – no problems warn me or ban me – no hard feelings.

          I’ll assume bonkers is acceptable to describe a comment but not necessarily a person.

  2. We said Paul,

    I don’t think we should underestimate the importance to the EU of knowing what is going to happen. For example, they are being offered Fishing rights. It is only reasonable for them to wonder ‘who’s rights are these and will the U.K. still be in control of them into the future?’. They will not want to have a trade under such circumstances.

    The only question I have about a plebiscite election is whether it will trigger closure of Holyrood and imposition of direct rule to prevent a vote.

    This is not an argument against going ahead with one but don’t be surprised if that is the response. It will be a bumpier road but would harden and unify Scottish resolve (we can already see some welcome signs of Unionists arguing in favour of a referendum even when they will campaign against Independence). On balance, although I think Johnson stupid enough, I don’t think he is brave enough to do this.

    You are always a welcome voice of sanity

    Keep up the good work

    Best wishes

  3. I’m all for a plebiscite election after all other avenues have been exhausted. The Section 30 route, in my opinion, is now a dead-end but that does not mean that a referendum should be ruled out entirely. The SNP as a political party has been considering the constitutional path to Independence for decades. I posted this minutes ago on Indyref2 site but it’s also approprite for this article by WGD.

    This is something every serious scholar on Independence should read at least once. It’s a paper written 20 years ago by the then Vice-President of the SNP, Neil MacCormick. Those that think the SNP have never considered the route to Independence don’t have a clue, it is the very reason for their existence. Serious thought has gone into how Independence may be achieved and you can be sure that every legal avenue has been explored.

    Serious thought for decades has been going on and it is close to coming to fruition. This paper is a long read but if someone can’t be bothered to try and absorb the information in it then they are missing a big part of what is still SNP strategy to this day. Here’s a snippet.

    “Is there a constitutional path to Scottish independence, and, if so, what is it. ‘Clearly, yes’, from my point of view since I am a Vice-President of the Scottish National Party, one of the two SNP Members of the European Parliament, and have been for many years involved in SNP constitutional policy-making, was indeed the chief drafter of the SNP’s draft Scottish Constitution of 1977 and of its last major revision in1991. More important to me is the conviction that no other path than a constitutional one ought to be taken…”

    “Absolutely critical, then, is the question whether a referendum could constitutionally be called by a Scottish Executive under the present devolved powers.

    Ah, says the objector, the Constitution is a reserved matter under the Scotland Act, so how could a Parliament which has no power over the Constitution pose a question about the Constitution and put it to the people? There is an answer to that, as compelling as it is simple. The Scottish Executive has unlimited powers to negotiate with the Westminster government about any issues which could be the subject of discussion between them, therefore it could seek an advisory referendum.

    Formally, the question might take some such form as ‘Do you advise and consent to the Executive opening conversations with the United Kingdom government to agree terms for Scottish independence on the basis of the constitution envisaged, or on such other basis as the people, by then, choose to put in place?’.

    That would be a referendum that would be appropriately advisory in form. Politically, however, it would be binding in effect, especially if a very clear majority came out either way…”

  4. Paul, another great article.

    Some of the comments above are from non lawyers who, unsurprisingly do not realise is that national and international law are not really the determining factors here. What really matters is recognition. The law is not a straight-jacket. Whether Scotland should be independent is not something to be resolved by legal argument alone. This is essentially a political question not a legal one.

    National law as the name suggests is the law of a particular country from time to time. While the UK government has not consented to the request for a Section 30 order it is also true to say that there is no existing rule of law which forbids Scotland becoming independent. Therefore, the mechanism for achieving independence is unclear but not impossible.

    While the Scotland Act of 1998 may reserve constitutional powers to Westminster that does not prevent the Scottish Parliament from legislating for things within its legislative competence. For example, there is no restriction on the calling of referenda. Therefore, it is legally competent for a Scottish Government to hold a referendum on independence. However, if Westminster did not play ball a UK government would not be legally obliged to recognise the result.

    By way of analogy, the old Strathclyde Regional Council held a referendum in 1994 about whether water services should be privatised. Holding the referendum was a perfectly legal act. However, the result of the referendum would not have bound the UK government.

    The UK does not have a written constitution but that does not mean the party in power can simply make things up as they go along. There is no rule of law in the UK that says one part of it cannot leave. The UK government has accepted that such a thing could have occurred given the 2014 referendum. Moreover, Section 1 of the Northern Ireland Act of 1998 specifically says that Northern Ireland may leave the UK is the people of the province vote that way.

    In the 2010 the United Nations General Assembly asked the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”) for an advisory opinion on the Unilateral Declaration of Independence made by Kosovo after its long standing dispute with Serbia. Following years of deadlock between Kosovo and Serbia regarding its constitutional status Kosovo made a unilateral declaration of independence. On 22 July 2010, ICJ ruled that the declaration of independence was not in violation of international law. This position was supported by the Government of the United Kingdom whose views had been set out in a written statement dated 17 April 2009 submitted to the ICJ.

    The UK submission was prepared by Daniel Bethlehem QC, the legal adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In Chapter 5 paragraph 61 of the submission he concluded that:

    “…international law does not accord to entities within a State any right to separate, whether by way of a declaration of independence or otherwise. But neither does it guarantee the territorial integrity of the State against internal developments which may lead to separation or even dissolution. In the absence of some pronounced international illegality leading to collective non-recognition, international law neither authorises nor prohibits secession”.

    In summary, I am not advocating an immediate declaration of UDI. However, I would not rule out UDI at some future point. The key thing would be that before UDI was attempted a Scottish Government going down that path would need to demonstrate that (a) independence is the will of the majority of the Scottish population and (b) that it has exhausted attempt to do things in a consensual manner with UK government

    There are some foreign countries who may well recognise a Scottish UDI. We should also be mindful that the solidarity shown to Spain in relation to Catalonia is in large part due to the long standing convention of EU states not wanting to get involved in other member states’ domestic affairs. Once the UK leaves the EU it is unlikely that other nations will be so willing to back it up, particularly if the UK is inconsistent in the way it treats its constituent parts in terms of the right to self determination.

    If this sounds fanciful it is worth remembering that the independence of the Baltic states from the USSR was due, in so small part, to the fact that Iceland was the first sovereign nation to recognise their declarations of independence.

    In summary, we have to think of the long game. In the face of Boris simply ignoring us the process is going to have to be something like (i) legal challenge followed by (ii) non binding referendum, then (iiI) plebiscite election , (iv) UDI and (v) international recognition. This may be hard for some to swallow but its where we are at. Like it or not the 2014 referendum was a once in a blue moon chance of resolving things by a simple vote. The path ahead is going to be long and difficult but we must stick with it if we want to avoid Scotland being reduced to a colony.

    • I disagree on the point of a legal challenge. It looks like a waste of time and of resources, however a plebiscite election could be a positive step.

      I believe (although he is jumping the gun on timing) that Craig Murray is right that once the UK is well and truly out of the EU that the nations of the EU will be quite eager to recognise Scottish independence through a UDI. They have stood by Spain because it is part of the ‘club’. The UK soon will no longer be and has gone some distance in thoroughly alienating its former ‘club’ members.

      It is absolutely counterproductive in my opinion to rule out a UDI in the foreseeable, although not immediate, future.

      • I don’t think a legal challenge is likely to be successful, but the point of it is to demonstrate to Scotland’s voters that every single possible step has been taken by the Scottish Government and the indy movement to get Westminster to cooperate. It’s only when soft yes voters and undecideds see that’s the case that they’ll be supportive of more radical steps further down the line.

    • That won’t happen. However in the unlikely event that it did then the next Westminster elections in Scotland become the plebiscite election instead. Essentially we’d return to the SNP strategy prior to devolution.

      • I thought that might be the next move. But then all we’ll hear is, “This was a UK election. You said ‘once in a generation’, blah, blah.” Back to where we are today with the landslide SNP result last month – WM simply ignoring it. If they can ignore a referendum request, we can bet our last penny they’ll ignore an SNP landslide in Scotland in 2024 GE. Sorry to be so pessimistic here – not usually like this. Just fucking scunnered with WM’s arrogant and dismissive response.

  5. Mathematically, with the D’Hondt method, would it be easier, harder or much the same to win a plebiscite independence election compared to a standard 50% + 1 vote referendum?

    • It wouldn’t be any more difficult to achieve 50% plus of the popular vote. The D’Hondt method allocates seats according to the result of the popular vote, it doesn’t actually have any bearing on the popular vote itself.

      • OK, sorry if I’m being dense here – the mandate would come from the popular vote % rather than the seats, or both or either one?

        So e.g. if the SNP wins an outright majority of Scottish parliament seats but on 48% of the popular vote is that a mandate for independence?

      • … but , Paul , to ensure the maximum return of independence votes/seats there needs to be some thought given to the ”List” vote problem .
        A YES party standing only on the List would double up the chances of an overwhelming independence majority . This needs to be sorted well in advance of a vote .

        • 50% plus of the popular vote for the SNP would solve the problem without another list party.

          I am agnostic about the need for another pro-indy party to stand on the list. However any such party needs to be led within Scotland, and to stand on one single issue – independence – and nothing else.

          • I agree with you that a YES party MUST be Scottish – I do not endorse Mr Campbell’s putative Wings Party as he is too much a Marmite figure !

  6. Johnson likes to think he’s smarter than he actually is (as do 99% of us). Johnson’s delusions regards his intellectual prowess are however epic. It would be intellectually inelegant for him to simply say “naw”. At some point he will attempt to negotiate, throwing say variable Corporation tax into ring (he already has in NI). Devolution of control of broadcasting would be a tempting sop to accept, but what Westminster gives it can as easily take away (as has been established).

  7. The other thing I now say to people is that the PM of a foreign country i.e England is telling the leader of another foreign country and it’s people i.e Scotland what they can and cannot do. Would they accept the leader of Denmark dictating to the leader of Sweden what they can and cannot do? This really ruffles the unionist feathers😁 Once the reference the UK as an overarching position is removed, the UK becomes untenable.😁 Regards Craig

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

  8. I applaud the spirit of this piece but would question the wisdom of talking about a “pelbiscite election”. This is to confuse two quite different things. Were the term ‘plebiscite’ to become established, it would merely legitimise the argument that the result would require a 51% vote for the SNP and Greens to be an indpendence mandate. However, to designate the 2021 election – or the next Westminster election – or a set of simultaneous Scottish Westminster byelections (timing chosen by the SNP) – as ‘Independence Elections’ would do the trick very nicely. I’d favour consideration of all of those scenarios and would marginally prefer the third. The great beauty of the use of Westminster elections is that it would maximise the division of our opponents and make Westminster’s own rotten FPTP ‘system’ work against the British Establishment and in Scotland’s favour.

  9. We should not forget that one constituent member of the U.K., has already achieved independence. Albeit by a tortuous route that, I’m quite sure none of us would not advocate. I would also hope that no U.K. government would ever again display such intransigence as the British government displayed over Irish self-determination. The important point is that we should remember that, however difficult the road ahead may be there is already a precedent for independence within U.K. history as demonstrated by Eire, which acheived( eventually) independence and recognition by the international community.

  10. Go for it my fellow countrypeople. Make sure you control the application of the referendum this time. International observers and rules etc. Why no exit polls last time? Stinks.

    • As I understand it there was no Exit poll (same with the Brexit vote) as you need previous results to compare that votes decision against. I’m sure I read that at the time.

    • No exit polls were published but that does not mean that private exit polls were not undertaken for the purpose of betting on the market movement by traders. It is said that Farage on tv declared an early defeat for leave to manipulate the market when he actually knew leave was going to win.

  11. Fellows, the Brits will stall this for as long as they can. In the meantime, expect massive housebuilding projects in your country. They will try their best to move as many English people there as possible ( no need to say that some English people will support independence, but the majority will be indifferent or at best or, more likely, downright hostile). They cannot afford to let you go. In Wales we have LDPs in the north east tying us ever closer to Chester/ Liverpool and now hugely in the south east tying that part of our country to Bristol. This is intentional. These areas are becoming dormitory zones for English commuters. The majority of people in mid east Wales (Powys) are now born in England, thus the westward advance of conservatism/British nationalism. Comrades, they will pull this on you. Time is on their side.

    • No. They won’t. It takes time to build houses. It takes money. It takes resources. It takes people wanting to move, so they must have a reason to move. The reasons to move are essentially the reasons that would reinforce an the argument for indy. Better prospects. Better jobs. NHS secure etc etc. You know…none of the things the tories are remotely interested in. It would take a damascene conversion of the tories to reverse investment away from England to Scotland. It ain’t going to happen.

      Remember who is leading the tories right now. A man who looks like lard that was poured into a suit and allowed to set. A man who lied to a queen. A man who used London rate payers cash so he could bang a blond with big boobs. A man couldn’t get a bridge built and a finally a man who has to go round begging for money to get Big Ben to Bong on Brexit night.

      He couldn’t build a bothy in Brigadoon for a holiday home, let alone colonise Scotland

    • ‘Plantation’ is a tried and tested method of ensuring a population is suppressed – any anger is displaced to the newcomers instead of the government that’s causing it. They’ve done it for centuries to us all. It’s to ensure the divisiveness is maintained. ‘Hostile’ foreign nation is the only way to describe the uk (English) government really, they ain’t ever going to be our friends.

    • In their 2015 manifesto for the GE the Tories said they would build 200,000 affordable houses. To date they have not built a single one therefore your idea is fanciful to say the least

    • I agree with what you say.
      There is no doubt in my mind that there is a planned effort by Westminster to make it easier for English people to move to Scotland and Wales
      We already know that house prices are artificially different lower in Scotland and much higher in
      England for the same house.
      This gives anyone in England a great opportunity to retire earlier by moving from England to Scotland it also allows them to increase their standard of living by moving from England to Scotland.
      Retire collect your work pension sell your house and buy one the same for half the price in Scotland or Wales then pick up a wee part time job or start a wee business.
      There is no shortage of houses at the higher end in Scotland it’s the entry level housing that is a problem , it’s a problem for Scottish people but not for English people moving to Scotland.
      Even the help to buy schemes in England have a higher upper limit for the price of a house so buying in England with help from such a scheme then selling up and moving to Scotland to buy the same size house at half the cost is very real.
      We already have English zones in Scotland around the British forces bases located here of which there are many.
      And our universities schools colleges NHS local govt and central govt and other agencies are well stocked with English folk it’s easy to transfer when you work for govt .
      People here in Scotland are blind to it and don’t believe it’s organised by Westminster.
      It’s Westminster that control the Scottish office who do census and population movement states for the national records office I don’t believe what they publish.
      We already know government agencies tell lies they do what Westminster tells them tax , social security etc etc we have seen the many scandals over the years.
      England is a huge country compared to Scotland or Wales , the movement of people from England is a tiny loss for England but a big impact on Scotland and wales especially politically and in housing and jobs.
      People in many areas of England travel further to work because they have to move so far away from work to get a house they can afford

  12. As I understand it there was no Exit poll (same with the Brexit vote) as you need previous results to compare that votes decision against. I’m sure I read that at the time.

  13. I think they do not want us to go for strategic and financial reasons. They also know we have a mandate.

    I am sure that the civil service can not manage Brexit and do not want indy negotiations at the same time. This will have been considered.

    No PM want to be the one that broke this glorious State of chaos.

  14. The SNP Scottish Gov is renovation/building 6,000 affordable houses a year. Council house sales are stopped to conserve stock for rent. There are 17,000 houses a year built by private builders. Some for affordable rent.

    50,000 people died in Scotland each year mainly from old age. 25,000 dwelling (approx) coming on to the market. Sold?

    48,000 dwelling becoming available. In a few years there will be enough houses.

    Homelessness is often caused by social problems. Family break ups, drug/drink problems, mental health problems.

    It is estimated if all the houses were available rather than being empty. There would be enough houses.

    Councils build empty shops and offices rather than building houses and supporting essential services.

  15. People can live in Wales and work in London. Commute. Wakes benefits from EU funding but voted Brexit. Wales is underfunded by the Westminster Gov.

  16. Well…

    I will leave this here without further comment – recently posted by Pat Kane

    Jaw-dropping on @afneil from @lisanandy
    asked about SNP/#indyref2: we will learn from how socialists have defeated divisive nationalists – in places like Catalonia…😱 This has to be playing to focus-group results on Northern marginals. How else could you be so inflammatory?

    • “You sound like the Prime Minister on that issue” says Andrew Neil.

      Yes she does because she is a Britnat red Tory. Just what I have always said about Labour scratch beneath the veneer of socialism and they are just another bunch of colonialists. Nandy the internationalist (ha ha) is a Brexiteer but not a democrat because in Nandy world democracy is only for those worthy of it in the UK and it does not include Scotland.

      Democracy for all except Scotland that should be Labours next election slogan.

      Proud to say that I have never voted Labour.

      • This is the point were you would talk about London Labours tin ear and spectacular lack of interest in Scottish politics. But this is beyond the pale. Even for labour. The tories are swivel eyed gobshites, but not even they would employ these sorts for threats. Utter contempt for Scotland? yeah got it in loads. But never this.

        This is a staggering new low for Labour. I honestly believe the party should wrap up its affairs and get out of Scotland.

        • IMO no British London controlled party should be sitting in a SCOTTISH Parliament. Their loyalty is to London not Scotland.

          Get them out of the parliament and then get them out of Scotland.

    • If Nandy and Phillips are examples of Labour’s rising stars the Tories will be in power for decades and it won’t matter how bad Brexit is.

      Proud to say I have never voted Labour and never will. A total fraud of a party.

      • Talking of frauds I just happened to see Baroness Bennet of……… speaking in the House of Lords. Yep that’s right the Greens ( not Scot greens to be fair ) – another sellout to the establishment.

        Approx 900 unelected chancers having a say on our laws whilst picking up oodles of taxpayers money.

        Democracy in the UK what a joke.

    • Strewth…. I cannot believe the level of complete ignorance on display in that short clip…. We really have entered a parallel universe with all this propaganda swilling…

    • Jaw dropping right enough, David. You wouldn’t know where to begin with such a total ignoramus! And if I hear another BritNat politician mention our record ”which is frankly appalling” here in Scotland I’ll go into meltdown. Where are all of these so-called Labour politicians coming from? Individuals online are spot on when they say that she has more in common with Franco than Hardie.

      On her father’s, Dipak Nandy, Wikipedia it states in reference to Lisa Nandy and her mother, ”Louise Byers, (daughter of the late Lord Byers, Leader of the Liberals in the House of Lords for 19 years). Their youngest daughter, Lisa Nandy was born in 1979. She became a Labour MP in 2010, and states that her father thinks she is right wing.

      Says it all and fingers crossed that she’s going to get the bum’s rush.

      What a blinkered, undemocratic, wee hypocrite. ” What people want is more power – and that’s what I’d give them as the next Labour Leader.”

      • Ms. Nandy is putting on a first rate display of how to be an uninformed political lightweight. Also, pretty much gone from the leadership radar t’boot so far as I can see.

        Self awareness not exactly a strong suit for the political class as a rule, Ms Nandy’s draconian ideas on how to educate the population of a different country/culture on how they should behave, vote, conform to her ideas aren’t much of a shock tbh.

        Look at the background. What she has been fed as a daily diet of narrative by professional peers, meeja and social circle. She, like all too many others in that… circus, are very much a product of their environment and prejudice.

        Thing is, most are completely unaware. They simply don’t believe that they are or could possibly be prejudiced. It’s not that their narrative or system has gone or is wrong. Oh no. No, it’s that everyone else is wrong… somehow. Mainly because… REASONS… and why can’t you see.

        As I say though, she isn’t alone in that world. Take a look at any broadcast punditry, on any UK channel and when they talk about Scotland, our culture, our politics, our lives and experiences of their politics? See if you recognise anything of yourself and your personal experience in their discussion. If the answer is no, then they are talking the usual uninformed, misrepresentative and frankly insulting guff we hear all too often.

        Otherwise known as ‘same s**t, different day’.

  17. When I first pointed out the possibility of a plebiscite GE for indy as a last resort many years ago, before indyref1, I got pelters from all quarters. And again later raising the possibility after we won 56(4) MPs because that represented a real opportunity to effectively have another referendum at a time when support for indy had gone over 50%.

    Just sayin.

    • To be fair, think it’s more a case of the original majority strategy vanished when they arrived at the trigger majority prior to indy1, and now with HMG playing silly buggers over indy2, the strategy has grown arms and legs including plebiscites, UDI etc..

  18. One elephant in the room that no-one seems to be mentioning is the EU. The EU is prohibited from interfering in the internal politics of any member nation.
    However, very shortly, the UK will cease to be a member nation, and the EU (or any of its remaining constituent members, will be free to interfere as much as they like, and will certainly have a vested interest in (a) grooming a future new member and (b) throwing a stick through the spokes of the belligerent ex-member.

  19. The Party of illegal war. Bomb them to bits. Cause the worse migrant crisis since the 11WW. Millions of displaced people.

    Internationalism? The banking crash. Crashed the world banking system. Thatcher/Reagan, Brown/Clinton.

    It is just appalling. The nonsense.

    Iraq, Lockerbie, Dunblane kept secret for 100 years. Kept secret under the Official Secrets Act.

  20. I feel that the biggest elephant in the room actually, is the Scotland act itself, as it goes against the treaty of the union, whereby two kingdoms supposedly?voluntarily joined the treaty, it was not a takeover, and just because England has become big headed enough to think that the British parliament became solely England’s parliament, does not make this legally true, either we are still in the original treaty of the union, or we are not.
    If the original treaty of the union is beyond recognition, does it carry any legal weight,
    It was not up to the joint parliament of Scotland and England(British parliament) to then say that it would allow a sub-servient parliament(devolution) on Scotland while it claimed that it held the higher supreme authority. Under the treaty Scotland held on to its own laws and England held on to its law, one was not superior to the other.
    The Scotland act has to contravene the treaty of the union.

  21. If Northern Ireland gets special status for trade & customs with the EU, but Scotland is denied the same conditions would that not constitute a breach of the act of union 1707 section VI which states that Scotland must have the same conditions for trade and customs as the other parts of the UK?

    “That all parts of the United Kingdom for ever from and after the Union shall have the same Allowances Encouragements and Drawbacks and be under the same Prohibitions Restrictions and Regulations of Trade and lyable to the same Customs and Duties on Import and Export And that the Allowances Encouragements and Drawbacks Prohibitions Restrictions and Regulations of Trade and the Customs and Duties on Import and Export settled in England when the Union commences shall from and after the Union take place throughout the whole United Kingdom”

  22. EU members have to follow EU rules. The UK will be following until December and beyond.

    The Westminster unionists are tanking the. Economy. Economic growth is falling because of Brexit. Stagnation. Now 3% lower (£Billions) than other EU countries.

    Brexit has now cost more (£200Billion++) More than all the EU contributions ever made. Brexit hasn’t happened yet. Imagine the catastrophe when it does.

    The Tories are deliberately destroying the economy for power to tax evade and misuse public money. To line their pockets. It is really a disgrace.

    Deja Vu they had to get rid of Thatcher for greater ties with Europe. Geoffrey Howe. It was only greater ties with the EU that improved the British economy after the Thatcher devastation, especially in Scotland.

    The dope on a rope is going to get found out. A compulsive, greedy liar only interested in self remuneration. It will not be long before they are gone. Along with the broken promises and lies,

    Every unionist leader who does not support another Indy Ref and Independence for Scotland does not last very long. They will soon cotton on. Self preservation. Every unionist party member will get voted out in Scotland. There will be no opposition. The best time to have an IndyRef is when it can be won. Demographics.

    Support for the SNP and Independence is rising. The SNP standing up for Scotland. Improving the economy and mitigating Westminster unionist disastrous policies. All the unionist parties are doing are telling lies and losing support in Scotland. Some people never learn.

    • For the BBC – I was pleasantly surprised that it was a reasonably fair and accurate report – until the very last sentence. I mean just how many mandates do Scots have to get in the UK for something to happen. One mandate for the EU election was sufficient.

      This is just anti Scots racism.

      Of course the fact check in yesterday’s National covered this once in a generation or lifetime nonsense perfectly.

  23. Andrew Neil (Politics Live) has just mentioned the Lisa Nandy interview on his show last night. Pointing out that although he thought she had a good interview she had really botched up by comparing the Scottish Independence movement with Catalonia and would have to address that as she had angered so many people. Someone chimed in and said she’s not only annoyed the “Nats”, but some in the Labour Party too.

    Her mindset is truly strange when you take into account that her Indian (formerly) father is an academic and Marxist whose country of birth was treated abysmally by the British to the point that they too wanted their independence.

  24. Regarding the recent crowdjustice crowdfunder, I wrote a comment on John’s blog here:

    The funding threshold was reached, so it will go ahead. The group forward as one has published the Advocate’s advice on Facebook, and is a good read if you are interested in more background info about the relationships between parliaments, the history, the Treaty of Union and the Scotland Act. (link in the above comment)

  25. Do you really think that it’s s good idea to resile the Treaty of the Union whilst we still don’t know if a majority of Scots want to remain part of the Union, steelewires? Like it or not the BritNat Scots are sovereign too and wouldn’t put up with it.

  26. I’ve found reading this article, and thread quite encouraging. Little or no ‘now or never’, devise a cunning scam for indy tomorrow stuff.

    Good. A plebiscite election may well prove to be the way forward. The point is to keep our movement together, keep building support and wait for an incompetent uk govt, led by a snake oil salesman, to crash into one or more of the coming suite of crises.

    Meanwhile charge up your YES groups and party branches – get them out there and continue the incremental build up of support – the step changes will come.

    (… and yes, Lisa Nandy and Jess Phillip’s are clueless ,)

  27. A fine review of the matter at hand. Thanks.

    If the d’Hondt voting system was imposed on Hollyrood in order to prevent one party from gaining an overall majority then it is going to take some nifty tactical voting strategies to win a plebiscite election at Hollyrood.

  28. Hi the British government ignored the U.N. regards the Chagos Islands, I feel the British government will difficult with Scotland

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