The decision of the Supreme Court is a seismic and fundamental shift in the basis upon which Scotland is a part of the United Kingdom, a change which has been imposed on Scotland without consultation, consent, consultation or permission.
First published: Dec 2022.
O h dear, how sad, never mind. The ruling of the UK Supreme Court last week that Scotland must get back in its box and that there is no internal Scottish democratic process which can bring about another independence referendum has singularly failed to stop the independence movement in its tracks as certain democracy-denying Anglo-British nationalists had hoped.
Rather, the independence movement become refocused as a campaign for Scottish democracy, since it is now evident that even when the electorate of Scotland chooses to elect a Scottish Government with a clear and unambiguous mandate for a particular course of action, it can and will be overruled by an unelected Conservative Prime Minister in Downing Street representing a party that has not won an election (in Scotland) since 1955¹.
Scotland is not, as we have always been told, a partner in a voluntary union, it is a prisoner of voting decisions made in England which requires the permission of a Parliament overwhelmingly elected by voters in England in order to ask itself about its future as a part of. This is a seismic and fundamental shift in the basis upon which Scotland is a part of this so-called union, it is a change which has been imposed on Scotland without consultation, consent, consultation or permission. This is not the union that Scotland was told it would be a part of if it voted No in 2014.
We were promised then that Scotland would be a part of a voluntary union in which the Scottish right of national self-determination would be respected. We were told that it would be a union in which Scotland’s place in the European Union would be assured and in which the devolution settlement would be inviolable and sacrosanct and would be placed beyond the ability of any Westminster government to meddle with it or change it without the express consent of the Scottish people and Scottish Parliament. None of these things have turned out to be true. That deceit by the Better Together parties would alone be more than sufficient to justify a second independence referendum.
Those parties are very fond of demanding that the result of the 2014 referendum must be respected. Very well then, let them go first and demonstrate that they will respect the promises and commitments that they made in order to win that referendum, a referendum which it is now clear that they won with lies, mis-selling and deception. And now they have the unmitigated gall to demand that the people of Scotland honour a bargain that they themselves have so shamelessly traduced.
The Supreme Court ruling last week was the crap icing on the British sh*t cake. Not only did the court rule that Scotland cannot decide for itself whether it wishes to revisit the question of its relationship with the other nations of the UK and the wider world, for good measure it stuck the Westminster supremacist boot in and informed Scotland that this ancient nation, which has been in existence considerably longer than the United Kingdom which it helped to create, has no right to self-determination in international law.
There has been an inevitable backlash in Scottish public opinion. In the immediate aftermath of the publication of the ruling, Channel 4 published a poll from Find Out Now which it had commissioned which showed that once don’t knows were excluded a large majority would vote for independence parties in a general election being used to seek a mandate for independence². There are good reasons to treat this poll with caution, it was commissioned by a company with no prior experience in Scottish political polling and it used unconventional wording which means it is not directly comparable with previous polling on the independence question.
Nevertheless, it was extremely good news for the independence campaign and an early indication that the political fallout from the Supreme Court ruling would not be to the advantage of the Anglo-British nationalist parties.
Those initial indications have now been resoundingly confirmed by the first opinion poll from an established polling company which has asked the standard question on independence, the poll from Redfield & Wilton Strategies registered a 5% rise in support for independence over the previous poll from the same company, putting support for independence on 52% once don’t knows are excluded³. This is a rise in support greater than the 3% margin of error which is standard in opinion polling and therefore almost certainly represents a real phenomenon and not just statistical noise.
More significantly, support for another independence referendum within the next year has shot up by a massive 12%. This is a huge increase well beyond any margin of error and suggests that the Supreme Court ruling has provoked a profound shift in Scottish public opinion. It turns out that Scottish people don’t like being told what decisions they can make about their own country by an English judge, there’s a shocker.
46% are now in favour of an independence referendum next year, with just 43% opposed. Once don’t knows are excluded this means that 52% want another independence referendum next year, the same percentage that say they plan to vote yes. It would be nice if this poll would stop the likes of Jackie Baillie insisting that most people don’t want another referendum, but we all know that is not going to happen.
On Thursday it was announced that Ian Blackford, the SNP Westminster leader for the past five years, will not be seeking re-election at the SNP group’s AGM on Tuesday of next week. There has been some disquiet within the SNP group with his leadership, particularly over his handling of the complaints of inappropriate behaviour made against Glasgow North MP Patrick Grady.
It is reported that Aberdeen MP Stephen Flynn is likely to stand for the post. Whoever does take over will have some very big shoes to fill.
However, we are now in a new phase of the independence campaign, with a Westminster which is naked in its contempt for Scottish democracy and which denies Scotland its national right to self-determination. It’s time for a far more confrontational and forceful approach in the Commons, making use of every arcane rule to be as disruptive as possible and refusing to accept the non-answers from the Prime Minister which have come to be typical at PMQs. Here is hoping that the new leader, whoever he or she is, will deliver that. Judging by today’s poll, it’s an approach which will be popular in Scotland. It too will be the inevitable backlash to Westminster’s contempt for Scotland.
— AUTHOR —
▫ Wee Ginger Dug, also known as Paul Kavanagh. Blogger who writes and talks about UK Politics and Scottish Independence.
- Text: This piece was originally published in Wee Ginger Dug’s Blog and re-published in PMP Magazine on 2 December 2022, with the author’s consent. | The author writes in a personal capacity.
- Cover: Flickr/Scottish Government. (Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)