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Brexiteers can’t deny Scots a vote The SNP just want to take back control

Just what Britain needs: another referendum. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Just what Britain needs: another referendum. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images


March 24, 2021   6 mins

Boris got Brexit done. Then Ursula made it cool. We have reached a sort of inner peace as a nation as a result: so what do the original Brexiteers do with themselves now?

With lockdown sceptism having proven itself not very popular with populist voters, another cause presents itself in the form of “devoscepticism”.

Next year marks the 25th anniversary of the referendums that began devolution in Scotland and Wales. The first, and most radical, of the big New Labour reforms has long outlasted New Labour itself, and a quarter of a century on, what have we got to show for it? The devosceptic answer is this: SNP rule in Scotland; and not much of anything in Wales. Devolution has been a disappointment, and a failure.

Just as unionists warned, home rule has empowered nationalists and marginalised unionist parties, leading to one-party state in Edinburgh with all the corruption and incompetence that goes with it.

In those areas where power is devolved, such as education and health, the SNP has performed poorly. Evidence of a Scottish or Welsh culture renaissance is thin on the ground, and the main growth industry associated with the devolved administrations is the growth of government itself. Just as the Eurosceptics of old longed to be rid of the Eurocrats, the devosceptic bugbear is the “devocrat”.

Is it any wonder, then, that a small, but growing, band of devosceptics scent an opportunity here? Yes, they may be few in number — but 20 years ago the same could be said about the early Brexiteers. So could the anti-devolution movement become a serious force?

Politicians aren’t popular, especially those deemed surplus to requirements. Reversing devolution in Scotland and Wales would mean getting rid of 189 MSPs and AMs — plus all the hangers-on, of which there are many.  And public hostility to paying for the apparatus of politics is a potent force. It proved decisive in the 2004 referendum on the creation of a North East regional assembly and the 2011 referendum on electoral reform. Those two paved the way for the biggie: the Brexit referendum.

Already, the devosceptics have a voice in the media: try Googling “devocrat” — a word which no one uses with admiration, but which is already gaining traction just as so much of the language of Euroscepticism helped sow the seed of Brexit.

In May’s elections the anti-devolutionists are also set to establish a political bridgehead. Polls show that the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party (whose purpose you can probably guess) will win its first seats in the Senedd. “Abolish” is full of former-UKIPers and they’ll be hoping that 2021 is the start of bigger things just as 1999 was for Nigel Farage.

And yet, I fear — or, rather, hope — that the devosceptics are doomed to disappointment. Devoscepticism is not the new Euroscepticism. Look beyond the superficial parallels and it soon becomes apparent that the two causes — and their underlying dynamics — are completely unalike. It also becomes clear that there is no going back on devolution; instead something else needs to be tried to correct the mistakes made by the Blair government.

Let’s start with a point that ought to be obvious, which is that Scottish (and Welsh) separatism is first and foremost a British failure — specifically that of the British political establishment. With great power comes great responsibility — so when millions of people yearn for something as disruptive and painful as leaving the United Kingdom, the responsibility has to lie primarily with those who had — and still have — most of the power.

The devosceptic agenda, however, puts all the focus on the failings of Edinburgh and Cardiff, therefore avoiding the underlying problem. Devolution in its current form has not — as promised — halted the march of Scottish nationalism, but that doesn’t change the fact that the stresses and strains of the Union precede devolution by decades. Unless the devosceptics have anything to say about that, then they don’t have anything to say at all.

Let’s not forget that prior to 1997, there was an explicitly anti-devolution party — called the Conservative Party. You may recall how that worked out for them. From holding half of all Scottish seats in 1955, they went down to zero by 1997 — and zero in Wales too. Even they got the message after that.

In any case, Eurosceptics, of all people, should understand that voters don’t like being ruled from distant places. Westminster was to pre-devolution Scotland and Wales what Brussels was to pre-Brexit Britain. In many ways, it was worse. At least the UK was never under direct rule by a team of ministers headquartered in the Berlaymont. And only some of our laws were decided in the European Parliament.

Also I don’t remember any occasion when the EU trialled its least popular directives in the UK first — unlike Margaret Thatcher’s government, which introduced the hated Poll Tax to Scotland a year before England and Wales. Whatever you think of Scottish separatism, it is a monster of Westminster’s making.

Of course, the parallels are far from exact but, being Eurosceptics, devosceptics ought to have a sense of what it feels like to have your future decided by institutions in which you’re outnumbered by outsiders. What part of “taking back control” don’t they understand?

This is also about the principle of power sharing. We’ve already had eleven years of Conservative government. Given the state of the opposition parties in England it’s likely that we’ll have many years more. Indeed, it’s not impossible that we could see a situation like in Japan where one party governs for decades on end. This might work in a consensus-driven society with a highly unified national culture, but Britain is not either of those things. We are a nation of nations — of different sizes and political predispositions. Such a situation would be torment to most Scots.

Devolution therefore provides a vital safety valve, a mechanism by which the Westminster system can persist but without giving the dominant English party exclusive power over the whole of the UK.

That’s why the boo-word “devocrat” is so ill-judged. Devocrats are in fact democrats. As individuals and as governing parties they are voted in directly by the Scottish and Welsh electorates — and they can be voted out again. They couldn’t be less like the Eurocrats we’ve just freed ourselves from. Whether you like Nicola Sturgeon or not — and I’m about as big a fan as Alex Salmond is — she has democratic legitimacy.

But, of course, for devosceptics that’s the problem. If the SNP secures a majority in May, then the pressure on Westminster to concede another referendum on Scottish independence becomes overwhelming.

Well, so be it. It is completely consistent with the principles of British Euroscepticism to give the people — in this case, the Scottish people — the deciding vote on that most fundamental of democratic questions: who governs? Brexit supporters in the Government, and the London media, can hardly complain if Scottish voters demand that its government carries out their wishes.

If such a vote is what Scotland truly wants, it’s not our place to suppress it. After all, isn’t that what the pro-EU establishment did to a number of countries which voted against them, and what EU supporters in Britain tried to do after the 2016 vote?

There are of course matters to settle about the timing of the referendum, the wording of the question and who can vote. The UK Government should be adamant that the Covid recovery comes first; that the question presents a clear and explicit choice between leaving and staying in the United Kingdom; and that Scots who live outside Scotland should not be disenfranchised. However, the principle of Scottish people deciding Scotland’s future should never be in doubt.

In any case, what’s the alternative? A constitutional ban on independence referendums forever? Lock up the SNP leadership? Force Nicola Sturgeon into exile? This is Britain, not Spain.

We’d do better to follow the Canadian example instead, the only country to democratically neuter a secessionist movement. Back in 1980 the French-speaking province of Quebec held an independence referendum that was defeated. Then a landslide election victory for the Parti QuĂ©bĂ©cois (the equivalent of the SNP) led to second referendum in 1995, but that too was defeated — though more narrowly. At the time, independence for Quebec looked inevitable, the result of unstoppable trends; today, the PQ is in long-term decline, independence is off the political agenda and the province is governed by the centre-right Coalition Avenir QuĂ©bec.

Perhaps the single worst argument for reversing devolution to Scotland and Wales is that devolution is imperfect and full of contradictions. Well, of course, it is! There’s no such thing as a perfect democracy. The rule of the people, in all their wondrous complexity, will always and everywhere produce messy compromises and inconsistencies.

Those who think we should give up on devolution because we’ve never really solved the West Lothian question remind me of the anti-Brexiteers who relentlessly focus on all the problems caused by leaving the EU. In both cases, they overlook the much greater problem of their preferred alternative. In the case of the continuity Remainers, it would have meant submitting to a sovereignty-destroying superstate. In the case of the devosceptics, it would mean going back to an outdated, over-centralised model of Britain that the people of Scotland and Wales have clearly rejected.

We don’t have to stick with Tony Blair’s botch job, and there are other ways of decentralising a country. We could learn a thing or too from the Swiss, for instance — who have been at this lark for a lot longer than we have. Without a common language to unite them, they’ve nevertheless held their confederation together for centuries — and they’ve done it through fiercely-defended localism and direct democracy.

A system of cantons with local responsibility for their finances could suit the nations of the UK very well. Each area could come together with other areas as they saw fit — so that our governing institutions could emerge from the bottom-up instead of being determined by Westminster.

But that’s just one option. The key point is that if you believe that our model of devolution doesn’t work, then you need a positive vision to put in its place, not some unloved and long-discarded ancien regime that can never be brought back. Devolution can and should be re-done, but it can never be undone.


Peter Franklin is Associate Editor of UnHerd. He was previously a policy advisor and speechwriter on environmental and social issues.

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daniel Earley
daniel Earley
3 years ago

This article seems to miss several points,
a) there has already been a vote and the SNP lost,
b) The SNP have not accepted the loss and will continue to demand more referendums until they win,
c) the SNP appears to have captured every arm of the Scottish government so Scotland has become a single party state,
d) the SNP has weaponised the independence debate and attacks anyone and everyone who opposes them, particularly Scots who are then declared not Scottish, evidenced by Fraser Nelson’s recent article and the SNP’s response to the Spectator in Scotland. ‘We see you’. How insidious is that?
e) Other parties are afraid to oppose the SNP and shout for the Union as that is now ‘anti-scottish’.

Phil Bolton
Phil Bolton
3 years ago
Reply to  daniel Earley

Spot on Daniel … you encapsulated my thoughts exactly !!

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
3 years ago

They had their referendum on independence, and decided against it.

I’ve no objection to them having another vote at some point, but it should be at least 10 years, probably a bit longer, after the last one (“once in a generation” and all that, remember?). You know full well that if they had voted for independence, those who didn’t like the outcome would not have had any demand for a rerun entertained.

Michael Joseph
Michael Joseph
3 years ago

This is moronic. And patently written by somebody who knows nothing about the situation here in Scotland. We had a referendum and the Nats lost. End of. Shall we just keep running it until they get their way? Do the rest of the people of the United Kingdom not get a say in this?
It also assumes that all SNP voters are in favour of independence, which is demonstrably untrue. People vote for the SNP for a variety of reasons, not least because the SNP have worked hard to own Scottishness. Coming after decades of Labour arrogance and incompetence up here, it’s little wonder the Nats have been able to do well.
However. In case Franklin hadn’t noticed, it’s the beginning of the end for the SNP. That may sound ridiculous considering they will almost certainly win in May, but the wheels are well and truly falling off. The corruption and the incompetence that we’ve all known about for years is beginning to cut through. Sturgeon will be gone within the year and there is no talent to replace her. Humza Yousaf? Don’t make me laugh. John Swinney? Damaged goods. The SNP will almost certainly win in May (although they may not get a majority), mainly as a result of habit, also because of a lack of strong alternatives. That however, will not last forever.
Granting the referendum in the first place was a mistake, as it undermined the notion that the United Kingdom is indivisible. To give the SNP a referendum now just at the point where they’re on the brink of implosion would be a cretinous and catastrophic error. But hey, this is Peter Franklin, so bad takes are to be expected.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Joseph

The SNP were formed in 1928-years before the EU-they were probably looking at the Irish situation then. There have been various SNP supporters who say they want independence ie to go to pre-1707 but don’t want to join EU. The politicians are the ones who seem to have linked the two ideas together.

Terry Mushroom
Terry Mushroom
3 years ago

The SNP wishes to break up unitary state. It’s demanding that the U.K. cede some of its territory. It’s doubtful that the SNP would allow Shetland to secede from the new Scottish state Or, say, Dumfries & Galloway.
It’s very doubtful that the SNP would allow partition in an independent Scotland. But somehow it’s okay to partition Britain.
It’s wrong to hold UK together by force. Therefore before we go any further, we need a Clarity Act to objectively and clearly explain what the rUK would look like if Scotland and/or NI were to leave.
Plus the SNP must, clearly, objectively, accountably set down what an independent Scotland would look like. This would include what Scotland would be like before and after its aim of joining to the EU is achieved. And clarify the relationships it wants with its foreign neighbour across its EU hard border.
Brexit was not about breaking up a state. But leaving a political organisation barely 30 years old by its own rules.

Last edited 3 years ago by Terry Mushroom
Fred Bloggs
Fred Bloggs
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry Mushroom

Is Brexit made illegitimate by the fact that there was never a clear, objective, accountably set-down programme post-Brexit? This is exactly what Remainers said before, during, and after the referendum (I’m a Leaver by the way)

Terry Mushroom
Terry Mushroom
3 years ago
Reply to  Fred Bloggs

The U.K. was already an established state with all the apparatus that goes with that: central bank, its own currency, embassies, treaties & alliances, NATO & UN membership, defence force etc etc.
Unprepared and damaged by leaving, if you will, but the U.K. still exists.
There’s no agreement among Scots about the absolute basics on what would make independent Scotland a state. Monarchy or Republic? Defence? Currency? Expectation of a Common Travel Area with rUK?
The last question is an illustration of the goodwill Scotland would need to get from rUK if it wanted a CTA. How would the SNP achieve that?
I can imagine many south of the Border saying “Certainly not”. This also involves another very basic, so far unanswered, question: where would Scotland want its border?
The SNP must also consider the effect on tourism from rUK if matters became acrimonious. Other holiday destinations are available!

Mark Shelly
Mark Shelly
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry Mushroom

Monarchy or Republic?” with the SNP, I can only think of an authoritarian state.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Fred Bloggs

No its Made illigetimate because Boris has allowed Eu to bypass international Law on UK Fishing Zones and 1922 Irish Border,by Blair’s Sellout treaty with iRA….

gjardine.2011
gjardine.2011
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry Mushroom

As a Scot by birth living in England perhaps I can see the problem from a slightly different perspective to either a Scot (or an Englishman/woman) who never left home. One needs to realise that many Scots have a dislike of Westminster every bit as strong as Brexiteers disliked Brussels and mainly for the same reasons – part real, part myth, part plain wrong and part manufactured by the proponents of “independence”. The Scots are not stupid but today they are not convinced one way or the other – this is why the vote is split so closely. They do not trust their (or any) politicians. The article is correct when it states that the issues pre dated devolution and it is also onto something comparing with Canada and Switzerland and how they tackled their issue. May I suggest that Scotland should be granted another referendum? – but make sure they know the consequences. Why not offer (in the event of a yes vote) that we should have a 20 year “trial separation” after which time the Scots – and the rest of the remaining UK then get a defining vote on whether either party want to go forward with a final divorce. The terms of the trial? 1) All subsidies to Scotland cease on day one of the trial . 2) English investment – including military and infrastructure stops. 3) A border is erected on the main roads. 4) Passports are required for Scots together with visas to work in the rest of the UK. I believe the offer itself would be enough to focus the minds of ordinary Scots on the costs as well as the romanticised benefits of independence. If they still opt for independence then at least the infrastructure of Statehood will be part way imbedded and the shock to both nations less dramatic.

Mark Shelly
Mark Shelly
3 years ago
Reply to  gjardine.2011

The Scots are not stupid” you lost me at that point.

Eddie Johnson
Eddie Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Shelly

Pity. Because he goes on to make some very valid points.

Alexander Morrison
Alexander Morrison
3 years ago

Broadly speaking I agree with the arguments about the need to maintain a devolved political settlement (though not the current one, which is failing the people of Scotland and Wales, less so Northern Ireland despite the difficulties there). I also think there should be more decentralisation and subsidiarity in government within England. We used to have it – somebody like Joseph Chamberlain could become a national political figure as mayor of Birmingham – and we should return to it. I also think the Quebec precedent is the most promising and the one we need to learn from.
Where I disagree is with the idea that you should hold something as fundamental as a referendum to break up the United Kingdom whenever the SNP forms a government in Scotland or sweeps the board at Westminster (let us not forget that they have never actually achieved more than 50% of the popular vote in Scotland). They had a referendum in 2014 and they lost – there should not be another for at least ten years, and arguably (given the ‘once in a generation’ tag) not for twenty or thirty. It is far too destabilising for the UK as a whole, and is just playing the SNP’s game whereby they get to hold as many referendums as they like until they get the result they want (and you can bet your bottom dollar they won’t be holding referendums on rejoining the Union every decade thereafter).
Finally, while there are indeed clear parallels between the motives for Brexit and for Scottish Independence (which is why purely economic arguments won’t work against the latter), the key difference is that while there is no common European electorate or political nation, there is a British demos and identity, one which in fact was invented by the Scots (I consider myself one of them, as someone of Scottish descent living in England). That should not be ignored.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

As others have already said, Scotland had what was billed by nationalist politicians at the time as a ‘once in a generation’ vote in 2014 and democratically elected to remain part of the UK by a pretty comfortable margin.

Scotland is not sovereign the UK is, and nor are any of its constituent nations incidentally, so this ‘Scotland voted by a huge majority to remain in the EU’ is a convenient, overblown red herring peddled by the SNP to keep independence on the agenda, not least because that’s its raison d’etre and its own record in government has been so utterly woeful.

There’s a reason why we don’t have referenda hot on the heels of another on the exact same question simply because the losers don’t like the answer.

However imperfect, it’s called democracy, but given the latest shameful shenanigans in Scotland involving the SNP, Sturgeon and Salmond and, previously, their endless calls for a rerun of the 2016 EU referendum it’s not exactly difficult to see why the idea of democracy remains an inconvenient anathema to them.

Last edited 3 years ago by G Harris
claire.orush123
claire.orush123
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

As Neil Oliver pointed out, when the SNP was urgently calling for independence in 2014, it would have entailed Scotland leaving the EU, as the Brexit movement was not in full force then and Britain was still solidly part of it. Scotland would not have met the qualifications to join the EU independently. So a lot of shrillness from Nicola Sturgeon about her indignation that Scotland has had to leave the EU against its will and that is why she’s demanding another referendum on the heels of the last one, doesn’t make any sense. My personal opinion is that she wants to overturn democracy in Scotland and create a one-party totalitarian state in all but name. For instance, the recent ruling that Scots cannot voice their own opinions in their own homes without fear of imprisonment, and the state encouragement for families to report on one another, speaks for itself.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago

You’ve called it right. Scotland is today even less eligible to join an EU that doesn’t want it anyway, both at federal level and at those of individual states unwilling to countenance or otherwise endorse breakaway regions such as Flanders, Catalonia or at a pinch Bavaria.

If any lessons have been learnt from 2014, no discussion of a referendum should be tolerated until the SNP sets out its position on a number of key issues it was allowed to either leave vague (currency, role of the Queen, etc.) or lie about (automatic accession to the EU) or which would require prior negotiation and agreement with rUK (share of national debt, pensions, status of non-resident Scots by birth, others ad nauseam).

Most of these issues cannot be resolved either at all or else at enormous cost to people in Scotland. The recklessness inherent in attempting to plunge an already malfunctioning, indebted, public sector-heavy economy into the wilderness (neither part of the Union or the EU) ought to be obvious – IF the SNP’s feet are held to the fire of objectivity and truthful manifesto. Scotland’s terrible destiny as an independent nation would be to fall to the basement of emerging markets or less developed nations, with a cost of capital / risk profile worse than – say – Albania or Kyrgyzstan, effectively sub-junk bond status on sovereign markets.

The dissembling and vague evasions of the SNP are precisely because scrutiny and transparency of the type that should be on offer as a matter of course for something so important would obliterate their pretence at a case. But then, as you say, this is about becoming a one-party totalitarian state – a description the SNP has largely fulfilled already.

Last edited 3 years ago by Duncan Hunter
Kevin Thomas
Kevin Thomas
3 years ago

“If such a vote is what Scotland truly wants, it’s not our place to suppress it.”
The Scots had a vote though, seven years ago, and they voted to stay in. Would you try and make the argument that if Remain had won the EU referendum, anyone would be considering letting Leavers have another go 7 years later? We nearly had the result overturned when we won. There are also Scottish unionists to be considered and making them vote regularly on this is unjust (do you seriously think this will be the last one if the SNP lose again?) – they must win every time while the nationalists only need to win once. Besides the justification given for a second referendum is that Brexit will be bad for Scotland. At this point all we know about Brexit’s effect on Scotland is that far more Scots have been vaccinated against Covid than would have been if Sturgeon had got her way.

ian.gordonbrown
ian.gordonbrown
3 years ago

I am a brexiteer and I have given up caring. I just want Teflon Krankie and her ilk to shut up. If that means they leave to achieve their silence, then so be it. If I am offered a vote as part of rUK, I will vote for them to leave and I will push for the erection of a new Hadrian’s wall on the border to keep them out. With their justice secretary, nothing short of a fundamentalist, keen on bringing sharia to their country, and the majority of Scots having the stupidity to vote for the SNP, the misery they will reap on themselves will not garner any sympathy from me. And good luck joining the EU. The last thing the EU needs is another beggar taking scraps from the table.

Mike Wylde
Mike Wylde
3 years ago

They wouldn’t shut up though. Within 2 weeks they’d be moaning about how the dastardly English had robbed them of something and everything and left them penniless.

Elaine Hunt
Elaine Hunt
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Wylde

So what. We could all have a bit of a laugh about looking before you leap.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago

I have family in Quebec and have discussed this many times with them. Their view is that Quebec should go it alone because it is rich enough to do so but they say they are blocked because the whole Federation needs to give its approval – which it won’t because Quebec has is ice free in the winter leaving other areas of Canada without a port.
In Wales over the last year there has been a sort of alliance in the Assembly between Labour and Plaid Cymru. At the last election, (2016) Labour said that it did not want independence. This year, about 4 months ago, Labour suddenly said that it was in favour of independence and would fight the election on that basis. Now the election is close and the idea of independence has been removed again from the manifesto.
In 2019, Labour and Plaid Cymru together commissioned a very expensive consultants’ report about independence. This report re-presented figures of recent polls which had said, in their opinion, that more and more wanted independence. But, the consultants added that independence would mean that somebody would have to give Wales money for survival – Europe being the only possibility. So, the conclusion was that Wales should have permanent politicians based in Europe, who had to work on European politicians so that after independence entry into Europe would be automatic. Otherwise, there would be no money for survival. This permanent home for Welsh politicians actually exists in Brussels and is called Wales House.
Now, with all the recent kerfuffle about the politics of Europe, Labour has very quietly removed the idea of independence from its manifesto. It doesn’t mean that the aim of independence has gone, just that it is better to keep quiet about it before the election.
As I have said before, the politicians are playing games with poll figures to say that more and more people want independence. Typically, in polls (and there is a poll every couple of months) 25% say Yes, 50% say No and the rest are Don’t Knows. The politicians then take out the Don’t Knows and recalculate to show that 33% want independence.

Elaine Hunt
Elaine Hunt
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I suppose this degree of wishful thinking comes for years of getting subsidies from the productive regions of the UK. The only reason for that is historic ‘partnership’. I don’t suppose for a minute that any European politician wants to take on the Welsh as a charity case, they’ve got enough of them already and at least most of them are actually joined physically to the Continent

Chris Dale
Chris Dale
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

One way to sort it out is to recreate the condition of the Scotland Act 1978 where it specified that a “Yes” vote had to come from a minimum of 40% of the total electorate. As it turned out the result was a narrow majority in favour of devolution (52% to 48%), but the turnout was only 63.6%, so only 32.9% of the electorate had voted “Yes”.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

I can’t really disagree with any of that. And yes, I would love to see much greater subsidiarity in the form of a Swiss-style system. However, we must do it in such a way as to not increase the numbers of politicians and their hangers on.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I agree about the politicians and hangers on. We should activity look to reduce existing numbers. But look, there are severe shortages of Lollipop persons in Scotland and Wales. And those ex-politicians could still indulge their taste for directing people.

Last edited 3 years ago by Prashant Kotak
Simon H
Simon H
3 years ago

Blah blah blah.
Brexiteers oppose a second referendum on the principle that they are once in a generation events, we’ve argued this endlessly, and will defend it endlessly.
Scots had their referendum, the campaign was clear that it was the “one chance” …

Move on.

Anjela Kewell
Anjela Kewell
3 years ago

The Scots had the vote. When will those on the left learn to understand what democracy is. The UK is in the mess we are in today because democracy is never honoured by the left. They moan, groan and agitate until they wear everyone down.
Even our vote to leave the EU has been hampered by five years of tears and bullying by those who do not want to accept that their side of the argument was firmly rejected by the majority.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Anjela Kewell

It depends on how you define democracy. Some would say it involves the right of people to decide how they are governed – the people being governed in Scotland now aren’t all the same people who were being governed in 2014 and the situation regarding the EU has changed. So why do those with a vote now who and those who didn’t then not have the right to democracy?

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Eh? Even a day after a general election some voters have died and some young ‘uns have moved on to the electoral roll. We can’t be having elections, or referenda, all the time. We have accepted the principle of a maximum of five years for a term of government based on what voters decided on a particular day. Referenda which are not about day to day government but major and unalterable (in the medium term) constitutional change cannot be anywhere near as frequent if we are to have any sort of stability to encourage stability, development, progress, happiness, etc.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Jos Haynes

We had 4 GEs in 10 years, 3 in 5, so that principle didn’t stick. I’m not saying a referendum every 5 years but leaving EU was a significant material change. If the democratically expressed will of voters is to hold the referendum it should be held. As it was in 2016.

Chris Dale
Chris Dale
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

But if independence had occurred, the newly independent Scotland would not be a member of the EU because Scotland was not a Member State. This is a point that Sturgeon ignores or shuts down whenever it is mentioned. She occasionally replies that the EU would fast-track Scotland’s request, yet Spain has said it would veto it.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

The situation regarding the EU has only changed in one, sobering, salutary respect: they want you even less!

They will never admit another economic basket case to add to the other 24 non-contributors and, in any case, why would Scotland jump the queue of Balkan nations? Even to spite the rest of the UK for daring to leave or daring to procure and execute a successful vaccine programme, the economic cost is too much and the political fallout (Flanders, Catalonia, etc.) unlikely to be welcomed.

Delusional fantasy land stuff. It isnae gonnae happen, pal!

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan Hunter

That’s quite possibly true – and if so it would become apparent during the referendum campaigns. Its not a reason to refuse a referendum, though.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
3 years ago

Step one: A UK wide, explicitly non-binding referendum on whether the union should remain for 2024.
Step two: The British government, not the Scottish government, announces a Scottish ‘separation referendum’* in 2027 in which all British citizens with one or more Scottish grandparent and all British citizens who have resided in Scotland for over a year can vote.
*The term ‘separation’ rather than independence will neuter the wokeish victim mentality Scots nats have deluded themselves with as Scotland is not a colony but a former and rapaciously profiteering participant in the imperialist enterprise.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

Even during that splendid period when the Scotch were “rapaciously profiteering “ as you so perfectly put it, much of the place still belonged to England.
For example the renowned Clydebank shipyard of John Brown & Co, the builders of H.M.S.Hood, was English owned as were many of the mines and railways.
However for the Scots Nats to portray themselves as Colonial Serfs is, as you say, utter tosh.

Last edited 3 years ago by Charles Stanhope
Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago

Not sure I’d be using building the Hood as a selling point! A little like Harland & Wolff’s infallible double-hulled Titanic.

However, JE’s and your other points are spot on. I’d add that everything has to be negotiated prior to an in/out referendum or no referendum. Period.

And please – Scotch is what others call our whisky. Unless you aspire to be the next Dr. Johnson…he of the Scots biographer. I am assuming that the current ‘Johnson’ in Downing St. holds no such attraction!

gjardine.2011
gjardine.2011
3 years ago

Why do so many people fail to grasp the fact that as milk from their mothers breast Scots children get fed the lie that their problems can all be laid at the door of perfidious England? But they also know how much stuff costs! The challenge is to explain the real cost to even the most fervent ‘Brave Hearter’

Last edited 3 years ago by gjardine.2011
Alan Healy
Alan Healy
3 years ago

We’ve had a referendum already . We demand that our votes should be respected .

Peter Mott
Peter Mott
3 years ago

If such a vote is what Scotland truly wants, it’s not our place to suppress it”
An independent Scotland is one thing. A Scotland in the presently hostile EU is quite another. When Brexit has finally calmed, then there may be another referendum, not before. That is a matter of national security.
There is also the ongoing chaos of COVID. To add a referendum campaign till that has past would be crazy.
A second referendum cancels the first which is a big thing to do (cf the anti-democratic proposed “People’s Vote” to cancel t he people’s vote). There must be a good stretch of time between referenda – at least two parliamentary terms or 10 years.
Unionists should also remember Scruton’s exhortation to use delay as a political tool. So No, No, No until 2024.

Alexander Morrison
Alexander Morrison
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Mott

Absolutely – there is a geopolitical as well as a domestic dimension to this. Why is it that Russian and Chinese media are such enthusiastic cheerleaders for Scottish independence? Because they know it would permanently weaken the UK (and they perhaps see it as a perverted form of ‘payback’ for the independence of Taiwan and Ukraine). This is something Scottish Nationalists really should be thinking long and hard about.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

For the same reason they were cheerleaders for Brexit – they knew it would weaken the UK (and EU).

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Weaken the UK? Nonsense with Scotland gone, we are just amputating a diseased limb, and will be all the stronger once it has gone.

Alexander Morrison
Alexander Morrison
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Indeed – but let’s not compound the error!

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago

They are incapable of that kind of nuanced thought, largely because it resides at a distance beyond their parochial noses.

Richard Goodall
Richard Goodall
3 years ago

All devolution has brought Scotland is centralisation of power in Edinburgh rather than London.I’m tired of hearing anti English, anti westminster tirades,blaming others for there own shortcomings. By all means let’s have another referendum . If my country is determined to go down the sh***er let it be swift. If the result is to remain part of the UK then no further referendum should be considered for an actual generation. Scotland does not need it’s temperature taken every hour.

Pierre Pendre
Pierre Pendre
3 years ago

The Scots fared badly after the war when their heavy industry based economy declined and wasn’t modernised although governments tried to establish a car industry and tried to keep the shipyards running. The Scottish unions which are even more stupid than the English unions made sure that didn’t work.
If you think Scotland is la la land under the SNP, imagine what it would have been like had it been devolved earlier in the second half of the 20th century under Scottish Labour.
It would be wrong, and more trouble than it’s worth to England, to keep Scotland tied to the Union if a majority want to leave. It might even be better to cut them loose on London’s terms – you don’t need a refo, you’re free to leave -rather than waste time with the SNP’s endless picking of fights. I don’t think a firm majority of Scots do want to leave but as long as the English-hating SNP run things, Scottish politics will be pro-actively hostile round the clock. This is exhausting and pointless.
The SNP’s knuckle dragging base has never twigged that Scotland needs England, that England doesn’t need Scotland at all and that independence is really a get-rich scam that will benefit only the Scottish elites. The claim that England will be grievously damaged by Scottish independence is laughable. Most people in England wouldn’t notice they’d gone. Most people in Scotland would be devasted at what they’d done to themselves.
As an Anglo-Scot, I’ll admit that the English are a snotty lot who look down on the Celts (of whom there aren’t many in Scotland). But breaking up the union would be an economic nightmare for the small, authoritarian socialist economies of the leavers unless the English were generous and gave them sweetheart deals like the Irish. Give them a hard border and see who feels the more pain.
The problem with the Scots is that they are politically immature and don’t know what they want. The SNP and its central Scotland base want to gain independence and then surrender it to Brussels where its influence will be zero. We’re dealing with emotional people here who know only that they don’t like England for reasons they couldn’t rationally explain.
Sturgeon says the elections in May will give her a mandate for Indyref2. Call her bluff and give it to her but not on terms designed by the SNP as in 2014. People who don’t like being part of one of the most successful countries in the world are welcome to eat impoverishment if that’s what they really want.

Jake C
Jake C
3 years ago
Reply to  Pierre Pendre

As someone with roots from all over Britain, and Scottish family background I can honestly say that if anyone is looked down upon its the English, especially by London “Brits” with roots in Scotland and Wales.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Jake C

I think the non-London English have a very different outlook from the London English, too.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Are there any English people left in London after 6.00 pm?

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago

All this Independence crud isn’t being pushed by the average Scot, it’s the brain-child of the leftist mainstream media, and the hard left SNP, the media are doing it because they want to undermine the Brexit result, and the SNP are not doing it out of any desire for independence, they simply want to secure the one party state, and become the “regional administrative power” for Scotland under the Brussels flag. It’s all about feathering their own nest. They would sell out the Scottish people in a heartbeat.

Last edited 3 years ago by Russ Littler
Gary Cole
Gary Cole
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

The paradox is that the aims of the SNP are effectively far-right. Their one-party state would be fascist in all but name. Their ‘Hate’ Act is something well on the way to that.

Last edited 3 years ago by Gary Cole
Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Cole

See My past Posts.SNP founded in 1934 by Pro-nazi Right Wing Scots ,Archibald Ramsey, arthur Davidson etc..

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Precisely.

Jacqueline Heath
Jacqueline Heath
3 years ago

This article misses one important point. When Brexiteers voted to leave the EU they did so (as polls have proven) for reasons of sovereignty. This article assumes that Scotland will be doing the same but it won’t. The avowed intent behind Scottish ‘independence’ is to rejoin the EU. The ‘independence’ they seek is simply a necessary stepping stone to their ultimate goal.It is not something they value in itself.
This is where any parallel drawn between Brexit and Scottish independence breaks down.
Where is the SNP’s over-riding moral reason for independence? Where is their noble imperative? There isn’t one. Instead we are looking at a campaign that simply wishes to choose a different absentee-landlord master for Scotland.
Once you realise that then you realise lots of other things too. For example, without a principled reason for the decision there must be other, far less salubrious reasons. Those reasons are likely to involve money, power and position for the few who manage to persuade the many to make this decision.
If this campaign was more truthfully branded as a ‘Rejoin the EU’ campaign instead of a campaign for independence for Scotland then I suspect that there would be far less support for it north of the border.
I wouldn’t have any problem with a cry for true independence from Scotland for the reasons this article enumerates but this campaign seems to me to be smoke and mirrors – designed to mislead the people of Scotland by whipping up a patriotism for their country that will ultimately be used against them, used to sell them to a bloc that is even more distant and unconcerned with Scots and Scotland than Westminster ever was.
Once independence and rejoin were finished the logical and necessary next step would be to send people to Brussels from Scotland to support Scottish interests there. There I believe is the crux of the issue. In that scenario the world’s largest gravy train would have pulled into Edinburgh Central and all those people who knew what their political career would look like from inside the EU would be back on track.No prizes for guessing who would be getting onboard.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

The SNP since its foundation in 1934 Has been Pro-german,Pro-nazi and liking No accountability.”Hate Laws” they see !984 as a Template,not a Warning..

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago

I can understand the idea of Scottish independence.
But changing Westminster rule for EU rule seems contradictory – it is not independence. So it is not comparable to Brexit, which was about independence.
I quite like the idea of Swiss referenda. Would your suggestion about local responsibility for finance mean the end of the Barnett formula?

David J
David J
3 years ago

Such a shame that Sturgeon’s anti-English propaganda stokes up unnecessary resentment on both sides. But a cunning plan for the SNP leader.
However, the Scots voted to be in the Union only a few years ago, and I suspect would do so again.

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago

@At the time, independence for Quebec looked inevitable, the result of unstoppable trends; today, the PQ is in long-term decline, independence is off the political agenda and the province is governed by the centre-right Coalition Avenir QuĂ©bec@
Perhaps, but they still have their moronic laws suppressing English, a culture of celebrating quebecois mediocrities and an addiction to scrounging money off the Canadian government. Canada should have let them go.

Tony
Tony
3 years ago

It was remainers who wanted a second Brexit referendum so soon after the first and we neartly caved into them. What a disaster that would have been on many levels. It only serves to make referendums completely worthless to keep repeating them after just a few years. It is a fundamental point.

Simon Cross
Simon Cross
3 years ago

How can you write such an article without ONCE mentioning the 2014 referendum? That’s not just lacking in credibility – it’s actually a joke.

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
3 years ago

No, the relationship between the EU and the UK does not mirror that between the UK and Scotland. The UK was substantially democratically under-represented in Brussels (or Strasbourg when there’s an R in the month), whereas Scotland is significantly over-represented in Westminster. The UK paid the EU in excess of ÂŁ10 billion a year as a membership ‘fee’, Scotland receives in excess of ÂŁ10 billion a year in subsidies from the rest of the UK.
As for an independent Scotland rejoining the EU, this overlooks the minor details that (a) it would not (certainly for many years) be able to meet the financial criteria for accession; (b) there would be a queue of countries with their own fissiparous tendencies keen to veto any such move (Spain, Italy, Belgium and probably France); and (c) they would be required to join the financial disaster area that is the euro.
Scots may be daft, but they aren’t stupid.

Pete Marsh
Pete Marsh
3 years ago
Reply to  Quentin Vole

Your points are true, but I think the leave ballot will depend more on emotion than logic and economics. And the SNP have subverted the Scottish education system to their cause and have the local media firmly onside.

Pete Marsh
Pete Marsh
3 years ago

“to correct the mistakes made by the Blair government.”
Who says it was a mistake – Labour wanted to fragment the UK to make it more malleable within the greater EU.

Martin Woodford
Martin Woodford
3 years ago

Well I think Brexiteers are entitled to refuse a second referendum. There are some obvious differences between Brexit and so-called Scottish independence. Firstly the UK is a country, a union of four nations – the EU is not. Brexit was a one off vote and a remain result would have been respected by at least the vast majority of Brexiteers – unlike the SNP who seem to want the best of two, or three, or four. It was agreed that the referendum was a once in a lifetime vote – well it’s just seven years. So the question remains then – what would Remainers want? Support a vote to break up one of the world’s most successful unions – or reverse their natural tendency towards unionism?

Last edited 3 years ago by Martin Woodford
Earl King
Earl King
3 years ago

So, as an American I am not well versed on the specific issues. I suspect it is no different however then what America is going thru. Forget the hyperbole of our small minded politicians. America is more divided on who, what and how we are than in the period 1964 thru 1970 when the National Guard shot college students demonstrating over the Viet Nam war. As a former CA now living in NJ, I have nothing but memories. I do not recognize the progressive nirvana that been established. I do not understand the need for citizens of San Francisco to need an I Phone app to let authorities know where the latest pile of human excrement is laying. Americans are self separating over politics, over the vision for the county. This is a failure of our political class. Ultimately we only have ourselves to blame.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

I’m interested in the argument about Scots outside of Scotland having a vote. How would you determine who is a Scot? How would you prove it? Is it country of birth, years lived in Scotland, intention to return at some stage, how long ago you left? Would you be able or have to pay to be registered as an ex-pat Scot?
I understand the precedent that in UK General Elections and UK wide referenda ex-pats who register and were eligible to vote in last 15 years have a vote but I’m not sure how valid a principle it is that people who don’t live in a place have a vote in how the place is governed.
An argument I’ve not seen made explicit to support the claim that leaving the EU was a significant ‘game changer’ in terms of making requests for new referendum valid is that in 2014 EU citizens in Scotland had a vote. The electorate, now, is very different from in 2014.

cajwbroomhill
cajwbroomhill
3 years ago

The majority of Scots, who have not
supported secession from the UK, feel that the Nats are the outsiders, actually uninterested in our wellbeing, but proclaiming leaving the UK would solve all problems.
They are frauds, more so than most Parties.

John Huddart
John Huddart
3 years ago

I suspect that the SNPee hierarchy is merely a one issue shakedown operation who shamelessly pimp off their deluded followers highly emotive independence demands, just to fill their coffers as well as their own pockets, with Westminster ie English gold. They are actually banking on Scotland staying in the UK cos they know fine well that Scots would suffer badly if it went solo. But they don’t care, cos they all have plans to bail out and take off for sunnier climes, like Krankie’s tax payer funded villa in Portugal, if their demands were ever met.

Last edited 3 years ago by John Huddart
Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  John Huddart

Krankie doesn’t give a tush about Scotland or the Scottish people. All she wants to do is to go down in history as the woman who broke up the union – irrespective of the cost. If they vote out then good luck to them, they certainly going to need some.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago

It is completely consistent with the principles of British Euroscepticism to give the people — in this case, the Scottish people — the deciding vote on that most fundamental of democratic questions: who governs?”
I agree – and I certainly wouldn’t want Scots to vote to remain in the Union just because it would be economically beneficial, I would only want them to stay if they had a stronger attachment than that.
However, the SNP promised the 2014 referendum was a once in a generation event. We must keep them to that promise, otherwise we are just consigned to a perpetual state of bickering and increasing anti-English racism.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago

Or keep voting until they get the right result

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
3 years ago

I am a staunch Unionist. Why? Because I’m British.
I’m a British citizen of Irish, Scots and English descent who lives in England. I describe myself as British, I think of myself as British. (I’m only ‘English’ during the 6N Rugby season.) I see the 4 home nations as 4 parts of one nation, the longest-standing and most successful union (I think I’m right in saying) in the World.
I’d no more want to see Scotland cede from the union than I would Cornwall. But of course I accept that Scotland has its own history and culture and many Scots feel it is a separate country. If they voted to be independent then who am I to try and stop them?
All that said – I still think Scotland would vote to remain in the UK because, even if the vote is allowed to happen, the debate would be much as before, and the issues that would face an independent Scotland are crushing and insurmountable.
Many Scots Nats point to Brexit as the deal-breaker. I understand that. As a Brexit supporter, who wholeheartedly believes in the right of self-determination, I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t agree that there was a case to be made for the Scots being allowed another crack at their “once in a generation” indy vote because (if we’re honest) we have to admit that the situation has materially changed since the last one.
We cannot insist that Brexit was a necessary corrective to a remote power structure that sought to impose laws without the consent of the governed and then dig in our heels and insist the Scots have no right to another vote. It would not be a fair or consistent argument to deny them, much as I would rather it didn’t happen.
However, that said, it’s often overlooked – by those who seem to consider Scotland as a Remain monolith – that more people in Scotland voted FOR BREXIT than had voted for the SNP in the previous election. Not to mention that the fact that over a third of SNP voters (34.9% according to a June 2016 Survation poll) themselves voted for Brexit in the referendum.
If I were just slightly more confident of a vote to stay in the Union I’d welcome another indyref, just to put the matter to bed, but of course even if they lost another indy ref it wouldn’t stop the SNP’s bleating, because that is their entire raison d’ĂȘtre. Without that, what would they have?

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

The real antipathy the SNP feel towards England – or Westminster – is down to the fact that they know, despite all the rhetoric, that Scotland simply is not a viable country without the financial support they receive from their accursed English neighbour.
When Scottish nationalists complain that they get nothing positive from Westminster it has to be challenged. Whatever your feelings, however much you might want to see an independent Scotland – which is entirely your right – it is simply, factually wrong to pretend Scotland gets a raw deal out of the union. It receives more monies, per capita (and, yes, allowing for North sea oil revenue as well) than any other region within the UK. I don’t begrudge this fact. There are reasons for it: Scotland makes up less than a tenth of the British population but almost a third of the landmass and obviously it costs more, per capita, to provide education, health, transport and so on in sparsely populated parts of Scotland.
By the SNP’s own figures tax revenue was ÂŁ400 higher per head than the rest of the UK, however, if you interrogate their figures further they admit that spending amounts to ÂŁ1500 per head more than the rest of the UK. The Rest of the UK is, therefore, subsidising Scotland to the tune of ÂŁ1100 per head of population annually. In the post Covid world that extra spending gap will likely increase  – dramatically.
You could also argue that a Scot has more say in policy making than their English counterpart. Given the number of powers now devolved to the Scottish parliament, given the power Scots MPs have over their cousins south of the border, with no reciprocal arrangement where English MPs have any say in Scotland, given this pretty sizeable discrepancy in expenditure, can you explain why Scottish nationalists feel so hard done by Westminster?
I totally respect the right of any Scot to wish for independence – though it seems bizarre that they’d wish to throw off the yoke of the accursed English oppressor only to become a far smaller country within a far larger union, dictating policies that affect Scots whilst giving them far less democratic control – and far, FAR less money than those awful English taxpayers the SNP appear to hold in such contempt.
If they think they’d ‘take back control’ of Scotland by quitting the union and becoming a tiny, heavily indebted country in the EU then good luck with that. I fear they’d be on the wrong end of an austerity program that would make Greece’s look like a mild squeeze.

Pierre Pendre
Pierre Pendre
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Scotland, like any country, is capable of being viable under independence, simply not at the level it owes to its membership of the UK. If the Scots are willing to sacrifice their standard of living for a few years for the sake of independence, they have the resources to make it work. The problem is that outside the well insulated Scottish establishment who will not notice any difference to their comforts, I don’t think rank and file Nats have any idea of what they are getting themselves into.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Good words Patrick and I agree with you most hearty. Trouble is though even if they did get another referendum, and lost again, the SNP would only go all out for a third. It’ll never end I reckon, they like a dog with a bone i fear.
.

Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards
3 years ago

As a Welsh nationalist of long standing, I think I can see why devolution doesn’t work.
(1) The UK is stuck with parties which have become institutionalised, serve themselves, do not serve the people.
(2) The pool of talent is of very poor quality. The parties consist of people with limited life experience and weak links with voters. Following opinion polls, and not leading, is one weakness. Another is being “woke”/”baizuo” which has the effect of producing a de facto Labour/Plaid coalition in Wales, and the SNP simply slipping into the shoes of Labour in Scotland with bad results in both countries and no change or progress.
But my personal beef is that politicians are so poorly informed about politics. Organising a Constitutional Convention provides a lot of answers. Can be Welsh one for Wales, a Scottish one for Scotland, a Liverpool one for Liverpool, or a UK one for the UK or any combination. The Convention process allows for renewal by discussing and then deciding on where the various powers should be exercised, and whether we need the standard model ie elected Chief Executive, Bi-cameral legislature/budget process, independent judiciary.
You get a clear-out, a clean start, and legitimacy. Worth it, surely?

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago

I would like Wales to be independent but I know there would be no money to pay the bills afterwards. PC paid for a report in 2019, as you know, which said that Wales had to be ready to join the EU as soon as independence is won. After recent events, that doesn’t sound very good.

Also, a few months ago Drakeford said that Labour would fight the election based on independence. After the EU fiasco, this is no longer the plan and is omitted from the manifesto.

In my opinion, what we need is for more people to be involved, more to vote, more to be aware of the real issues. Your constitutional debate would have to find a good way to involve people and not just focus on those who want to make a name for themselves in politics.

Last edited 3 years ago by Chris Wheatley
Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago

Why do you think your politicians would suddenly become so brilliant merely from a constitutional reset? Your idealism offers no solutions, solves no problems.
PS. Once voted for PC at a time when I wanted some devolution. Having seen it, NEVER again.

X Xer
X Xer
3 years ago

No-one denied Scotland a vote, it was had in 2014. Sturgeon, not Brexiteers or anyone else, denies the result being settled for a generation.

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago

The title is very, VERY misleading, though, isn’t it.

Basil Chamberlain
Basil Chamberlain
3 years ago

The trouble in principle with pro-independence parties is that, because they basically exist to campaign for a single issue, supporters of that cause often end up having to swallow the rest of the platform whole.
In Catalonia, there are three pro-independence groupings represented in the regional parliament. Granted, they are all basically left-wing or centrist (which slightly surprised me, because I understood that one of the main motives for Catalan separatists was the feeling that they paid too much in taxes to support poorer regions of Spain!). Last month, in the most recent Catalan regional elections, where pro-independence parties secured a majority for the first time, the Independent Left of Catalonia and the centrist Together for Catalonia came almost equal in terms of seats, while the far-left Popular Unity Candidacy lagged far behind and the (once dominant) centre-right Catalan European Democratic Party failed to clear the electoral threshold. Whatever one thinks of the result, it’s surely a healthy situation to have multiple socio-economic ideologies represented within the independence movement.

Last edited 3 years ago by Basil Chamberlain
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

The late Salvador Dali would not be impressed by that line of argument.
Although he described himself thus:

“There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.”
He was a fervent Spanish nationalist who despaired of Catalonia’s histrionics.

I had the pleasure of hearing him speak on the subject in some smart
( may have been called Lafayette) New York restaurant in the late 70’s. He was most impressive, and very well dressed bar for the absence of socks!

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago

bar for the absence of socks.
ï»ż Oh you middle classes!

Stewart Slater
Stewart Slater
3 years ago

Firstly, I think there are issues of legitimacy with any moves to a referendum promised in the Scottish elections. The last vote was “once in a generation” and a generation has not passed. If we want to maintain standards in public life, we should insist on both sides of the issue sticking to their word. Further, the question of another referendum is not one devolved to Edinburgh. It is reserved to Westminster. A party in Scotland has no power to bring it about. Running a campaign for the Scottish parliament promising to have another Indyref has the same force as campaigning for free unicorns for every household.
Secondly, the article is premised on the changes we need to make to keep Scotland in the UK. What if the rest of the country no longer wishes to or is unwilling to accept those alterations to the constitutional framework? The views of the other nations are equally important. Do we really want to be attached to a malign one-party state which flaunts its virtue while failing its people? For all the talk of “British Values”, does the way Scotland is run really represent them?
Perhaps the question is less “How should we keep Scotland?” and more, “Do we really want to?”

Pierre Pendre
Pierre Pendre
3 years ago
Reply to  Stewart Slater

“Once in a generation” is a canard, uttered by Salmond after he lost and binding on no one after he resigned. As the late Jacques Chirac liked to say, promises are binding only on those who believe them. Sturgeon didn’t.

Stewart Slater
Stewart Slater
3 years ago
Reply to  Pierre Pendre
Kevin Fiske
Kevin Fiske
3 years ago

The central observation and comparison between Brexit and Scottish Nationalism here is false.
Brexit was not driven by racism. The SNP is. We should call it out for what it is.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Fiske

Precisely: Racism. Hatred. Both unadulterated.

Diana Durham
Diana Durham
3 years ago

Devolution seems to have enabled some petty bureaucrat/dictators. They like to control things, they have few ideas. What is the big possibility of devolution? Wales and Scotland are small areas, they are part of the same landmass as England, they share a very long and colourful history, including the way the differences between the areas add great richness to the overall story. I think your article has a large helping of bs, just like the mini/semi-dictators of Scotland and Wales.

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago
Reply to  Diana Durham

Dictators?

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago

Hey Pete, you not read the news then?

Because if you did, and if you remember a few years back (not that many that you would forget) there was a wee referendum north of the border a couple of years before the big one, you know, the one where WE VOTED TO LEAVE the EU.

Well, that other referendum, the one before the big one where WE VOTED TO LEAVE the EU, the one in Scotland. THEY VOTED TO STAY IN THE UK. Unbelievable, I know…but that’s what they voted for.

So why should they have any right to another? What if that goes the same way? IndyRef3? Or best of 5 maybe?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago

The Scots are a free peoples and should be allowed to leave the Union without rancour should they so wish. Not the best decision but it’s their choice. There is no point forcing people to remain who don’t want to. In all honesty, the biggest mistake Westminster can make is if they go down the route of the Spanish government’s behaviour – imprisoning the Catalan leaders etc – I would find it very difficult to thereafter support any UK party that was complicit in that.

Stephen Murray
Stephen Murray
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I wonder if Scotland will be even asked to return the ÂŁ100 billion odd that England has given Scotland in the last few years, to keep that country solvent?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Murray

Well, the original reason the Scots joined the Union was a bailout – because they bankrupted themselves over the Darian Scheme, part of the wider South Seas bubble which blew up big time a couple of decades later – but from your surname I’m guessing you know all that. The Scots gentry were attempting to acquire colonies in the new world, but the Spaniards kicked their ass. But we must be generous with the settlement if they decide to split.

Last edited 3 years ago by Prashant Kotak
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Why should any settlement be “ generous”?

We owe them nothing, and as Stephen Murray so appositely says ‘we’ have “given “ them the astonishing sum of
£100 billion in the “last few years”.

However as older readers will recall ‘to get a thrupenny bit out a Scotsman’s hand you need a spanner!

Last edited 3 years ago by Charles Stanhope
Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Why must we be generous with the settlement?
Fair yes – generous no.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Murray

The issue is not whether they return that money. I see no reason why they should given that we were stupid enough to give it to them. No, the much bigger issue is whether or not they assume their share of existing UK debt after independence. The Nats insist that they are under no obligation to do so.

Stephen Murray
Stephen Murray
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

And where would they find any money if England pulls the Barnett cash? The EU? (no, don’t laugh(

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Re assuming debt, I think the outcome would be similar to the EU commitments (pension provision) that the UK had to take on in the course of Brexit.
Also, it’s obvious that debt and assets would otherwise need to be shared proportionately, i.e. if in a Scexit negotiation the goal would before Scotland to exit with minimum debt, they would also retain a minimal proportion of national assets.
All in all, the negotiation would probably run like Brexit: months of posturing, with a last-minute resolution which embodies the sensible choices most uninvolved people could see from the beginning.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

I hope you are right. But the Nats are probably even more vicious and self-interested than Brussels, so it could get very nasty.

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

If it does get nasty, then the SNP get their equivalent of a no-deal Brexit. And that is quite possible…
I think the SNP are a different kind of bully to Brussels. Much less sophisticated, and without any economic power. SNP are very good at controlling the narrative & motivating their base / riling up their opponents / dealing in wishful thinking, whereas eurocrats excel at detailed technocratic negotiation leveraging the economic power of the EU.

harry.adam
harry.adam
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

And by analogy – the Tories?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

A repeat of Culloden perhaps?
Even with a Nano Army of 72K we should be able to manage that.

Last edited 3 years ago by Charles Stanhope
John Lewis
John Lewis
3 years ago

The author seems to be inventing a new word and then arguing against it. Meanwhile on planet Earth……..

Malcolm Ripley
Malcolm Ripley
3 years ago

To those stating another referendum should not be held for 10 years, you are wrong. Another referendum should be held when major arguments for maintaining the Union have changed. The primary one being : The only way for Scotland to remain in the EU is to remain within the UK! That was rammed down our throats (I’m a Yorkshireman in Scotland who votes independance).
That said I think the UK (in fact the whole world!) could do with breaking up into smaller self governing “states”. The states can group together for obvious defence, coordinated resource reasons and culture. Westminster shrinks to become a coordinating body. No house of Lords.
One thing this blatant hijacking of a pandemic has shown is that governments, multi national companies and tech giants are far too big and centralised. They are great for billionaires to get ever richer but really bad for the vast majority of the population.

David Foot
David Foot
3 years ago

If there were any further referendums we must end for ever all referendums, it must be a solution and should be in a generation. Devolution as it is now has not worked and is unstable.
This is a guerrilla warfare damaging ALL the Kingdom and Boris is right, if the old national socialist party of Scotland is to be trusted then a generation must mean a generation for them, however they have no integrity so they must be put in their place.
The 1997 Marxists destroyed the unity of our Kingdom by aligning ALL the nations of the UK united against England divided and broken up. All the nations of the UK must be devolved around population centres and not nations OR all devolved as entire nations. The 1997 Marxists attacked England.
And the 2019 Marxist Leninist Corbyn was going to attack England, brainwash the kids and swamp with incompatibe immigrants but that is another matter, what really is important is that in all changes always the Marxists attack England using whatever they have at hand.
If we want to fix the Union today:
Devolution of Wales and Scotland must be changed to be a devolution by cites and areas looking after their own interests in the same way as in England, taking out the nationalist poison left behind by the Marxist partition of the UK after the near fatal landslide of 1997 which ended in the “no more money” and the Gordon Brown Austerity.

  • One Parliament: Next Referendum no Marxist solution keep it simple, the Marxist solution was an attack on England, it has to go:

Are you in the UK with ONE Parliament in Westminster or not in the UK, end of the Nationalist guerrilla war one way or the other.
Questions should be:
1 . Do you want Full Independence ? => ONE Parliament in Hollyrood
2. Do you want to End Devolution? => ONE Parliament in Westminster
No more nationalist guerrilla warfare against the UK from inside. As they did last time: We will try again in a year or two 😉 this is not on. There must be no more part of a 5 million population tail trying to attack and wag 55 million population dog all the time. The other nations deserve respect and stability and not to be constantly attacked from behind.
James VI of Scotland would have never organized the UK as the Marxists of 1997, that is why it lasted. Then came the act of Union etc. we got closer and closer. The Marxists, on the other hand, only left a recipe for animosity and strife. (Typical of the Marxist doctrine)

  • Withdrawal Agreement pre-negotiated:

In order for there to be a referendum there should be first a negotiation on the terms to leave the Union, so that Scots know what they are voting for as English jobs, MOD, ship building come home, what currency they will have etc.

  • Devolution within Scotland: In order for there to be a referendum the Islands deserve respect and devolved powers, a say in their future, if they want to stay with the rest of the UK or take part in the referendum towards separation and be ruled from Edinburgh.

If the Scots chose to stay in the end: Then changes should be to devolution: One Parliament. Any future devolution should take the same shape everywhere. Just like in England the large cities or areas of Scotland should be looking after their local interests avoiding the poisonous nationalism which the Marxists left behind smouldering for ever against England. Their dream of a socialist Scotland for ever never materialized, to the contrary, this plan of theirs backfired on them.

Tony Nunn
Tony Nunn
3 years ago

Why would Brexiteers want to deny Scots a vote? As far as I’m concerned, England has left the EU (Hooray!) and the Scots can do what they like – so long as they don’t charge extortionate prices for malt whisky and haggis.

David Crowther
David Crowther
3 years ago

Thank you for this. This is pretty much how I’ve felt about devolution in Wales for some time. It’s refreshing to see someone so clearly articulate it. My view is that devolution in Wales is an unfinished project. I’m not happy with the current status quo and feel that we’re also a one party state in many ways which I want to change. However, I feel arguments around devolution in Wales currently fall into one of two extreme camps 1) Abolish the Welsh Assembly altogether, hand power back to Westminster and return to an over centralised mode of governance or 2) Total independence (but what they really mean is leave the UK and rejoin the EU – so not actual independence at all). Neither of those are particularly satisfactory outcomes to me. I would prefer a middle way where we keep devolution but make it work better. I feel that electoral reform for Senedd elections has to be part of the solution. I would like a more proportional system that prevents the over dominance of the likes of Labour, the Conservatives or Plaid Cymru.

Ronnie B
Ronnie B
3 years ago

Physical distance does not always lead to disenchantment. Part of the Shetlanders’ antipathy to Scottish independence was due to Edinburgh being closer to them than Westminster.

Victor Newman
Victor Newman
3 years ago

The SNP always conveniently forget that more people in Scotland voted for Brexit than voted for the SNP. The SNP only have power as long as they can hide the results of their incompetence and maintain the support in the Assembly of the Greens (who like melons, are green outside and red inside).

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Victor Newman

No, More people in Scotland voted SNP in 2019 than voted Brexit in 2016. Nearly five times as many voted for Remain parties than Leave parties in 2019. Or have I misunderstood your point?

Philip Adams
Philip Adams
3 years ago

I believe there are more people coming to their senses realising the many are suffering to save so few (less than 1% death rate over 99% recovery 33% of people with cancer die)
And many more people are saying if the Scots dislike this union let them go, see how they manage without the Billions the UK government put into their economy, what about their regiments and air bases the UK pay for, what about their own currency out of the UK pound, we can move the Sub base and air bases, let them pay for their own defence maybe then the UK forces wouldn’t need to be cut so much.
At the end of the day they are a nation if that’s what the majority want let them have independence

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip Adams

I’m tempted to say ‘Good luck and good riddance’ but there is a huge number of good people up there who want to stay in the UK; see the benefits. Leaving would be an act suicide in my mind but sometimes in life we learn only by our mistakes. God help them.

Margaret Donaldson
Margaret Donaldson
3 years ago

It is hard to see how devolution can be modified as it is a massive gravy train. Scotland is seriously over governed with far too many MSPs at the expense of local authorities who not only lose good blood to Edinburgh but have lost most of their power. As for the Parliament building! It costs hundreds of thousands of pounds a year to maintain. The system needs significant reform but it won’t happen as too many folk would feel they would lose too much power. The population is under 5 million, the land area the size of England. I voted against devolution for those reasons and still find the cost of the hideous Parliament building unbelievable.

As for Quebec. In the late 1980s/early 1990s, the province was paralysed by very severe ice storms that caused massive damage to the infrastructure. Hundreds of people from the rest of Canada went in to help and central government provided most of the aid. The desire for independence fizzled out as the people of Quebec met other Canadians, found they were human and realised what they would lose rather than gain.

Paul Goodman
Paul Goodman
3 years ago

“Whatever you think of Scottish separatism, it is a monster of Westminster’s making.”
No I think it is the monster of Gordon Brown and Mel Gibson but I am not sure which of them has more to answer for on so many levels.

Andrew Lale
Andrew Lale
3 years ago

Get gone. Who needs Trainspotting’s locations? Seriously, it will be fun to watch Scotland become a cold, shrivelled version of Venezuela. Looking on from afar will be schadenfreudelicious.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

Switzerland, that paragon of virtue, with a national approval ranking of about 80% compared to the UK’s dismal 42%.*

As all its schools are bilingual if not trilingual there is as you say no problem with language, which works out at about 70% German, 20% French, 8% Italian & 2% other.

What is paramount importance is a shared history of thrashing various Europeans thugs on a repetitive basis. The Habsburgs, the Savoyards, the Burgundians and numerous others.

Their system of Direct Democracy is unparalleled, and is undoubtedly the major contributor for the astonishingly high approval rating of the Federal/Cantonal Government system.

Their Public Sector is proportionally very similar to our in size, (14% of the work force), and again like ours ridiculously overpaid. However, for the moment the Swiss public are prepared to carry this unwelcome burden.

Could the UK replicate such a Utopia?
Off course not!
We despise the Swiss as the makers of Cuckoo Clocks, Cheese & Chocolate, and laugh at the fact that their trains run on time! Normally to the very second.

* OECD figures.

Paul Blakemore
Paul Blakemore
3 years ago

‘We despise the Swiss’. Really? Where do you get that from? 

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Blakemore

Personal empirical research over a period of over sixty years.

I spend half my life there, and have made a close study of the raucous British venting their spleen due to a combination of high altitude and alcohol!

Perhaps it is unthinking bravado, but most seem to regard Switzerland rather as a playground and not sovereign nation.

Occasionally there this more sober ranting about the ‘Gnomes of Zurich’, but that has decreased in recent years,

Last edited 3 years ago by Charles Stanhope
Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago

I don’t think poncy drunk Brits on the ski slopes are representative of the British. Certainly not like anyone I know. It’s just your ghastly set. You should try a more civilised holiday.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Blakemore

Dont comprehend that,You Sound like Orson Welles in prater Park aka 1949 ”The third man” $100,000 per dot,dear boy..

Christopher Thompson
Christopher Thompson
3 years ago

We can’t blame them for cuckoo clocks – I think they’re made in the Black Forest region of Germany, but their provenance was deliberately concealed during World War I when anti-German feeling was its height, much as German Shepherds became Alsatians and the Royal Family switched from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

I was ’ blaming’ them, merely quoting Harry Lime’s pejorative remark in “The Third Man”.
However the Black Forest is adjacent to Switzerland as I am sure you will agree.

Paul Blakemore
Paul Blakemore
3 years ago

Looking at the history of Scotland and of relations between Scotland and England it was perhaps only a matter of time before the Scots would want to resume their independence.
Given the current upheaval from Brexit it would be sensible to delay a second indyref for 5-10 years at least.

George Bruce
George Bruce
3 years ago

Scots who live outside Scotland should not be disenfranchised. 
Glib line – but whats a Scot, Peter?
Me? Lived there until I graduated, never since. But my parents were born there, and I go back for at least a few weeks every year.
My children ? One Scottish parent (me), neither born there nor ever lived there. They often go with me.
I would actually say no to me and my children. In fact I
d be going the other way. No-one who isn`t Scottish should be voting – so certainly no-one who has neither Scottish parents nor was born there.

George Bruce
George Bruce
3 years ago
Reply to  George Bruce

And I am meaning even if they live in Scotland.

RĂłnĂĄn Davison-Kernan
RĂłnĂĄn Davison-Kernan
3 years ago

A whole article on UK devolution and not a single mention of Northern Ireland. Seriously?

Patrick Langan
Patrick Langan
3 years ago

What a stupid and lazy headline

Steve J
Steve J
3 years ago

There should be another vote on Scottish independence, but it shouldn’t be between the status quo (or devo max) and independence. The vote should be between a) Scotland losing its separate legal system, losing Barnett and having the powers of the Scottish Parliament cut back (they certainly shouldn’t be able to pass laws restricting freedom of speech) and b) independence where it is made very clear that they will be expected to take 10% of the UK debt with them and people taking Scottish citizenship will lose their UK citizenship.

Paul pmr
Paul pmr
3 years ago

The SNP are remainers, yet they seem incapable of grasping that all the remainer arguments against brexit apply to scexit — in spades!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

Yes if ‘we’ carry on like this the next thing you know Alexander the Great will be declared a Greek!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

The 2014 vote was the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, the only major defeat ever suffered by an English army at the hands of the Scotch.

Now, it was avenged by the failure of the Indi’ Referendum.

Mark Shelly
Mark Shelly
3 years ago

Sadly, Longshanks was gone at this point. He had an excellent diplomatic, nuanced and effective strategy when dealing with our northern friends.

juanplewis
juanplewis
3 years ago

The problem is that the SNP will never accept any other result but a victory. They like democracy only if the demos does what they want. So the UK government is perfectly entitled to say, sorry, but not sorry: Scots already had a vote, which they said it was “once in a generation”. They voted to stay and they’ll stay.
“We’re not Spain”. Northern Ireland says otherwise.
In any case, I’m a British citizen by choice. I live in Scotland. I fathered two Scots. I think the Union is the best that ever happened to this island, esp. because it hasn’t tied the concept of nation and state in the way France has. Try to be a unionist in Scotland and you’ll see how nasty the SNP can be. I don’t want to live in a country that questions my loyalty when I criticise the government.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  juanplewis

They’re huge on hate crime and yet revel in hating the English

juanplewis
juanplewis
3 years ago

Scots who live outside Scotland should not be disenfranchised”
The SNP raison d’etre is to disenfranchise part of the population. Now you’re enfranchised in the whole of the UK. The SNP want to create a border, i.e. to narrow down the area where you are enfranchised.
They don’t care if the million or so Scots who live in England and Wales are disenfranchised. Independence trumps everything else because, as you show very well in your article, they have nothing to offer (their record is terrible, they’re authoritarian, and they have been an obstacle rather than a prop to Scottish culture renaissance. In that sense we’re clearly not Spain, where Catalan and Basque cultures thrive).
If the SNP secures a majority in May, then the pressure on Westminster to concede another referendum on Scottish independence becomes overwhelming.”
No it doesn’t. It’s a local election. It’s not a constitutional one. Westminster has the power to say no based on the referendum already granted (see previous post). Scots can rebel, but I can’t see them dying for their country.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  juanplewis

Not only do they not care, they worry (know) how we would likely vote. To paraphrase the old WW1 song, you can’t keep ‘em down on the farm now that they’ve seen Paree…

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

Scotland receives Far more Money from English Taxpayers,than Wales,Northern Ireland or indeed England….they have also been Pro-German since 1934 & Pro-nazi in Second World War,dictator Sturgeon is Sadly Mistaken,Would EU want another Greece in their failing Euro?…PR in Holyrood elections should be A warning to those Who want that Sytem in local or General Elections,you get stuck with Parties who’d never be Elected otherwise & Independents Would be even further from Election

Cave Artist
Cave Artist
3 years ago

Scotland and the Scottish people are not defined by a residency test at particular date. Sometimes history cannot be turned back. Centuries of interbreeding with the Welsh and English have cast the die.

Elaine Hunt
Elaine Hunt
3 years ago

I don’t mind if the Scots want to leave the Union. Good luck to them, it’s their choice.

But a union is made up of more than just one member. In this case, there are four. Surely everyone in the Union, all the citizens of the UK , should have at least an advisory vote, to say whether they would prefer or not to be in the same nation as Scotland. ( Am I wrong in thinking that this is what happened with the Czech Republic and Slovakia?)

You may be able to guess from this comment which way I would vote…..

Neil Papadeli
Neil Papadeli
3 years ago

Pretty much complete agreement from me.
Pragmatically speaking as a natural Unionist, I would recommend having your Indyref2 as soon as possible. Close to the EU vac debacle and Salmond stink so the Scots still have the unequivocal evidence of what can be expected from independence front and centre of their minds. After the EU’s shenanigans with NI, I simply can’t imagine that expectations of what the Scottish/English land border will look like can deliver anything other than a bigger Unionist victory than last time out.
As a democrat, putting aside the tricky ‘once in a generation’ pledge (er…), if a nation continues to elect a Nationalist party (90% of whose voters apparently intend to vote for Independence) election after election, then, OK, have at it. At least Brexit proved that Independence can be achieved, however complex. Jeez though, I shudder at the complexities the Scots will have to face, but it can be done if they want it enough.
I would suggest not getting the rest of the UK involved in the ref, I suspect the English are far keener on Scottish Independence than the Scots might imagine.

Mark Shelly
Mark Shelly
3 years ago

The SNP have it wrong. They should not be campaigning for a Scottish vote to ask if Scotland should leave the UK for two reasons;
– it is largely hypocritical that the last ‘once in a generation’ vote was held in 2014.
-They might find that Scotland, again votes to stay. This will only set up the call for another vote within 10 years and so on.

The SNP are bound to achieve their dreams of independence (well, if leaving the UK but becoming a part of an either larger EU can be called independence) if they campaign for those in England, Wales and NI for the right to vote for the expulsion of Scotland from the UK. If this vote is carried out Scotland would be free.

William Blake
William Blake
3 years ago

The Scots have allowed themselves to be persuaded and perhaps deluded into thinking that their country is self sufficient when it isn’t. They are heavily subsidised by England. Scotland was actually saved from bankruptcy in the 17th century when they became part of the UK. The SNP have been allowed by successive Westminster parliaments to get away with the lie that Scotland can survive on its own. A delusion that can only be dealt with by scrapping the Barnett formula and ceasing any more payments to the Scottish so called parliament. Why our politicians won’t threaten this is beyond me.

Dee Frazier
Dee Frazier
3 years ago
Reply to  William Blake

Very true and the last go round they demanded more British taxpayer funds, and to be able to have Scots only votes but still allow Scottish votes to have a say in British matters. The SNP have only betrayed Scottish citizens. If Scots want another referendum they need to clean up their government and start independently funding themselves first.

Jonathan Munday
Jonathan Munday
3 years ago

I would be relaxed if Scotland voted to leave and certainly feel that the current clamour must be heard. Particularly if Alba/SNP win the May election.
The Blair devolution settlement is clearly not working and if the Scots vote to remain must be replaced. My own solution is a Federal UK with four national parliaments with all the tax and spend powers except for defence and foreign policy and a UK parliament in the (abolished) HoL chamber formed of per capita delegations of the national parliaments meeting on Fridays once a quarter for those purposes.
This gives the Scots and the Welsh everything they want short of Independence. It gives the English the end of the Barnett formula and the start of Celtic self responsibility.
The SNP can have their referendum, if they win, but not on leave or stay but leave or Federal or no devolution.

Carl Goulding
Carl Goulding
3 years ago

London/Westminster is effectively an insular city state disconnected from the people of the UK. So perhaps the rest of England should also be be given the opportunity to devolve. Why should the Scots and Welsh be the lucky ones.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  Carl Goulding

Well, the thought has occurred that I could perfectly legitimately make a UDI in my uncle’s back garden, covering four like-minded freeholds in the street.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Carl Goulding

What about giving London to the SNP? The rest of the country could then be Great Britain and if we invite the N I Unionists to move to Scotland ( which I believe was theirs historically) there could be a united Ireland and everyone would be happy?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

I think there would be a surprising degree of support in London for an Independent London in the EU and closely affiliated to an Independent Scotland.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Yeah but London would be landlocked. And the rest of us get to deicide the tariffs for any traversal over the surrounding land – by air or road. I cannot imagine it wouldn’t be steep. I think perhaps London had better wait until teleportation technology is invented; and then we can look forward to the day when Sadiq Khan gets to say to Nicola Sturgeon, ‘beam me up scotty’.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Up me beam, Scotty?

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Oh no the SNP only get London. Everyone else stays in Scotland. The Scottish people would not be stupid enough to vote for independence. All the problems came out in 2014-currency choice , division of British assets such as defence which would have to leave Scotland etc. The SNP is a protest/have their cake and eat it vote. It is like saying you want to leave and be independent but still expect ‘Dad’ to pick up all the bills (rather like Prince Harry). London could be a principality like Luxemburg and be part of EU.The rest of the land of England ,Wales and Scotland could become Great Britain and outside EU , while Ireland could be re-united and part of the EU.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

That would worsen the current problem leaving Scotland, a broadly left leaning Social Democratic EU supporting country under the rule of England, a broadly right leaning Conservative anti EU country without the mitigating influence of lefty London.

Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Why not include a few other Remain voting English cities such as Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester, York, Leeds, Leicester and Newcastle? It could be fun.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

Leave Won 481 Constituencies to Remain 169 ,Every Region bar London..Woke Cities Like Oxford, Cambridge voted to Remain,but No one Looked at how many Students voted at least twice at home and at University?….My Guess is more Remain Voters are glad,Uk is out of EU, despite Adonis &his lords , than other Way..

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Qislington meets Brigadoon! Fantasyland, until the former realises it’s saddled with financing the latter. Think twinning Stoke-on-Trent with Singapore.

Alan Bright
Alan Bright
3 years ago

Although, I do think they have a point that Brexit makes a difference. Pre-Brexit, I certainly thought the ScotNats should keep quiet for a generation (30 years or so).

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Bright

But surely it makes sense to give Brexit a chance before any further vote.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Bright

Once in a generation means just that. All sorts of unexpected things happen over the course of any generation. For example, in the forty years between the two EU referenda, we saw the end of the Cold War, the re-unification of Germany (which changed the future of the EU significantly), the implosion of the USSR, the rise of China, the decay of American power, the Iranian revolution and consequent ME tensions, the list is endless.
Perhaps most importantly, the EU itself changed from a Common Market to a fully-fledged political union in that time but that, apparently, was not a sufficient reason for another referendum.

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Bright

Why should it make a difference? The Scots voted to stay within the UK. The UK then voted to leave the EU. Not all parts of the union wanted to leave, but the majority of people did. That’s how referendums work. If we’re going by local/regional majorities, then London has an equal claim to an independence referendum (come to think of it, perhaps not a bad idea…)

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Bright

Because Scots were not allowed to vote in the Brexit referendum? But they were.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago

I can’t get my head around why the Scottish and Welsh want to devolve from the UK and then involve (yes I know, whatever the opposite of devolve is) straight into the EU. I’m sure they’d be better getting pushed around as they see it by the folks down the street whom they have the chance to kick out every few years than that shabby self interested untouchable crowd across the sea in Europe.. Beggars belief really but then I don’t know the opposite to devolve so what do I know?

dorothywebdavies
dorothywebdavies
3 years ago

The problem with this article is that it is mainly about the Scottish attitude to independence and then lumps Wales in as if they were both the same. They are not. The Scots had a King/Queen and Parliament until the Act of Union passed in the reign of Queen Anne. This was pushed through because of fear of a Jacobite rebellion. The Scots were divided on the issue but we cannot go into all the details now. It is enough that there is probably a historic resentment = passed from one generation to another – a feeling that the English Parliament took away their rights. It is not at all the same in Wales. They were subdued by the Normans and united with England under Henry V111. Many English people have come to live in Wales, particularly in the south and large numbers of us are mixed – Anglo-Welsh. Devolution only scraped in because of a low turn-out of voters. The people were not really interested. Blair allowed it because he knew that Labour would almost always win a majority and of course the scoundrel wanted to break up the UK.

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago

Twaddle

Alan Dale
Alan Dale
3 years ago

Nothing to do with the Darian Scheme then?
The Scots were bankrupt and came running to England to bail them out…..Hence The Act Of Union.

G Worker
G Worker
3 years ago

I am English. I want my people to resolve the existential problems which successive governments have created for us. There is a better chance of that if the Union can be broken up. So I am a Scots Nationalist By Proxy. Let ScotsNats free the English.

Last edited 3 years ago by G Worker
Frank Freeman
Frank Freeman
3 years ago

The Brexit vote was won by 51.9%. This was because people from EU countries who had come here to work, keeping our NHS going (among other things) and paying more tax per person on average than British people, were not allowed to vote in it. In the Scottish independence referendum EU citizens and English people were allowed to vote in it,so only 45% of the total voted YES, but among those who identify as Scots, the vote was 52.7% YES. So leavers, who are also unionists should stop talking about “democracy” if they want to deny a second independence referendum to the Scots,

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Frank Freeman

That’s an interesting point

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago
Reply to  Frank Freeman

Dear oh dear. The SNP wanted the EU immigrants to vote because they believed they would support their line. But what is this about “identify as Scots”? That’s as vague and meaningless a term I have ever heard. Anyone can “identify” as anything but it does not mean they ARE whatever it is.
Today I am identifying as Welsh. Tomorrow I might try Scots. So many possibilities!

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Jos Haynes

Yes, even teenagers were co-opted – but that backfired somewhat. An EU national able to produce an utilities bill ranked above ethnic Scots (not those merely “identifying” as such – WTF is that? Someone who just watched Braveheart / Brigadoon and managed to finish a pint of McEwan’s Export without incident?). The SNP knows fine well how most expats might vote and will always exclude them.

Marcus Millgate
Marcus Millgate
3 years ago
Reply to  Frank Freeman

Why wouldn’t some EU citizens want to ‘help’ the NHS? There were 2.9m living in the UK at the time.

Last edited 3 years ago by Marcus Millgate
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Frank Freeman

“The Brexit vote was won by 51.9%. This was because people from EU countries who had come here to work, keeping our NHS going (among other things) and paying more tax per person on average than British people, were not allowed to vote in it.”
of course they weren’t, why would they be allowed to?

Elaine Hunt
Elaine Hunt
3 years ago

It’s called clutching at straws. There was a lot of that around the Referendum

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

Because they lived and worked and paid taxes here. No taxation without representation. Allowed to vote in council, Mayoral, EU elections and Scots referendum but not general elections or the Brexit referendum.
There is an argument that says you either exclude or include people in democracy. We sort of included people but not for the big decisions.

Michael McVeigh
Michael McVeigh
3 years ago

Peter has missed the most probable endgame (medium term). England will get its own Legislative Assembly. The UK will become a Federation.
The Lords will be reformed.

Spiro Spero
Spiro Spero
3 years ago

The comments on this article are super-revealing. Hypocritical, patronizing, chauvinist and ignorant. Three centuries of English imperialism are clearly going to take some time until they’re washed out of the national innards. The Scots were promised in 2014 that a vote for the continued UK union would mean the position of their historic nation would be secured within the European Community, thereby hopefully ameliorating domination by their neighbours to the south, and any attempt to reverse devolution. Both are proving to be v. untrue. And now, the very people who secured their ever-more-daily-disastrous Brexit (by the democratic skin of their teeth, as let’s face it, if the Brexit referendum was run again today, it wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing) have the cheek to ‘discuss’ whether ‘we should allow’ Scots a new vote. Self-awareness is clearly the issue of the day, UK-side, or can no one see this?

Last edited 3 years ago by Spiro Spero
David Purchase
David Purchase
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

if the Brexit referendum was run again today, it wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing. Well, if you believe that after the last months of wrangling about vaccines, you will believe anything.
I am British first, English second. I love Scotland. I love its people, its country, its hills, lochs and islands. I am a Munroist. If Scots vote for independence, that is their right (though I happen to believe that it would be a mistake). What I cannot understand is why they should want, having freed themselves from London, to align themselves with Brussels.
They might find (although the SNP won’t mention this in advance) that the EU is not all that welcoming to a new, small member state that would be a net beneficiary of the Union rather than a contributor to it. One minimum condition would be to adopt the Euro – disaster for Scotland.

Spiro Spero
Spiro Spero
3 years ago
Reply to  David Purchase

I’m afraid that you’re merely proving the point I was trying to make, my friend. If you or I were Scots nationalists then what either of us believe about Scottish independence is … well, it’s irrelevant, isn’t it? What matters is what the Scots believe. “I have no problem with Scottish self-determination” (translation: “Yes I do”). “It would be a huge mistake” (For who?). Rejoining the EU would be a ‘disaster for Scotland’. (How so?) All of this navel-gazing, chest thumping, vaccine hoarding, refugee de-welcoming. Am I the only person here who thinks that this is all heading, at an alarming rate, in a terribly wrong direction? Look at the conformity of British media over the last few weeks. It is scary.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

Ironic isn’t it that Scotland’s best chance of not being governed by extreme nationalists with a penchant for xenophobia and racism is voting for a National Party? I think people in England forget that Scotland has voted left for the last 60 years and been governed by Tories for nearly 40 of those years. Or maybe just don’t understand why that matters to Scots.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

‘ameliorating domination by their neighbours to the south’, And moving it even further south. Jees…you people!

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

Gash!

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
3 years ago

Voters have the opportunity to cast a vote every 5 years in the UK, and vote differently from previously if they wish to, due to changing circumstances. There have been massive changes since the last Scottish independence vote, in case you hadn’t noticed. Not least Brexit, and the impact of the Covid situation. The Scots might well still reject independence, but many could have changed their minds since the last vote, and in a democracy should be able to express their views on the new reality, even if their views don’t happen to coincide with yours.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

And if we have an independence referendum next year and another no vote, how long should we wait until Indy Ref 3?

Brian D
Brian D
3 years ago

Whenever a majority of the voters vote for politicians who declared they will have one. It’s called democracy.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

A vote for a government is not in the same category as a vote on a massive constitutional change.
The Scots voted to stay in the UK in a “once in a generation” referendum.
Like many people in the UK, I find myself tempted to say “let them vote to leave”. But, the economics are so clearly catastrophic for the people of Scotland that it seems remiss to just ignore that.

Brian D
Brian D
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

1. Is it maybe possible that the economy problem is due to Westminster policy.
2. Are the economic differences real. If you believe regional economic statistics then Scotland is 3rd best behind London and SE England. Tell the people of Yorkshire that they only survive because of subsidies from London and SE how that goes down at election time.

paul ho
paul ho
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

not sure if there is equivalency of independence vote and general election. would there be independence vote 5 years hence, after a yes vote ? think not

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

You’re confusing a referendum with an election.

Last edited 3 years ago by Giulia Khawaja
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary LW

A referendum is not the same thing as an election.

Mark Shelly
Mark Shelly
3 years ago

Don’t confuse the poor poster.