Former Ambassador, Human Rights Activist
The UK government is reeling. It is like a boxer already knocked unconscious before hitting the floor. The wheels of the civil service continue to turn, but there is no longer any connecton to those at the top. Authority has simply disintegrated in Boris Johnson’s hands. Everybody knows he is no longer in charge, and nobody yet knows who will be.
The time to act is when your opponent is at their weakest. This is the moment for Scotland. With a majority for Independence both in the Holyrood Parliament and – massively – among Scottish MPs at Westminster, this is the time for Scotland’s elected representatives to declare that Scotland is now an Independent state. They should set a date for a confirmatory plebiscite, I suggest in September this year. That plebiscite to be held within a Scotland already independent, held on Scotland’s terms and in Scotland’s way, with no interference from outside of Scotland.
The declaration of Independence could be made now by the Holyrood parliament or – perhaps better – by a National Assembly to be convened in the old Parliament Hall of Edinburgh, consisting of all Scotland’s MP’s and MSP’s, in other words all representatives elected at the national level. The Act of Union would thus be repealed in the building where it was passed.
Scotland should declare Independence because it is continually governed by parties for which it does not vote, has indeed been forced out of the EU against its will, and has witnessed the polity of the United Kingdom become a cesspit of lies and corrupt malpractice which Scotland should never have to suffer.
How would the UK be able to react? Who could lead the campaign against Scotland’s new Independence? The utterly discredited Boris Johnson? Rishi Sunak as his tax increases and coming sky high energy bills destroy his artificial popularity? The hopeless Liz Truss? Michelle Mone if not in prison?
The massed supporters of Anas Sarwar and Douglas Ross would hardly fill a bus. A few toothless wonders might be found to wear union jacks and smash up George Square in Glasgow, but their activity would not extend much beyond closing time.
The SNP let the golden opportunity of Brexit slip by through a cowardly acceptance of Theresa May’s claim to a power to veto any referendum. The SNP never used their Westminster parliamentary leverage to forward Independence during months of May’s effective minority government.
The SNP believed that, rather than win an Independent Scotland still in the EU, it was their duty to try to prevent England and Wales from leaving the EU, even though England and Wales had voted to leave.
Now apparently the SNP believe it is their duty to strengthen the United Kingdom by working towards the replacement of Boris Johnson by a more honest and effective leader of the union. Who will enjoy a honeymoon period, may get a post-Covid popularity boost, and will probably be less toxic to the people of Scotland than Boris Johnson. Rather than act now on Independence, the SNP seek to strengthen the union.
In short, the SNP seem far more intent on maintaining their position on the gravy train of governance inside the UK than on actually attaining Independence.
It is simply astonishing that, with the United Kingdom government falling apart before their eyes, it has not occurred to any of the SNP leadership to act now for Independence. Instead they wish to act to shore up the United Kingdom.
Now is the moment for the Scottish MPs to walk out of a Westminster parliament which is already on the verge of collapse. It should be simply unconscionable for any genuine Independence supporter to do otherwise.
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