Don’t fall for the trap, this election has nothing to do with Scottish independence.
In 2011 the SNP won a majority of seats in the Scottish Parliament running on a manifesto pledge of having a Scottish independence referendum.
The Edinburgh Agreement, signed on 15 October 2012, set a precedent showing how such a referendum can come about. As we wrote before, in 2011 Ruth Davidson was clear that a pro independence majority in the Scottish Parliament was sufficient for a referendum. In 2014 we had that referendum.
At the time all of this happened the SNP only had 6 seats in Westminster.
Clearly then, this Westminster election has absolutely nothing to do with indyref2. The mandate for a referendum comes from the Scottish Parliament. Regardless of what happens in June, the Scottish government are still going to have the same mandate they had in 2011 and there is without doubt going to be a lot more pro independence seats in the UK parliament then there was back then. Regardless of the make up of the Scottish MPs at Westminster they are still vastly outnumbered and easily outvoted by MPs from elsewhere in the UK.
The reason that the Tories are trying to make this about independence is that they are attempting to deflect the Scottish people from what the election is really about.
This election is about getting the Conservatives a larger majority and buying them more time so that they can get the Brexit deal that they want. The reason they want to distract Scotland from that is that a firm majority of people in Scotland think that leaving the EU is going to be bad for them as shown in a recent Ashcroft Poll. Ruth Davidson agrees with this diagnosis; she fought tooth and nail to avoid the type of Brexit we are going to get before doing an about-turn and meekly toeing the party line.
Sadly, quite a lot of independence supporters seem to want to play the game the opposition want us to play in the election.
I would advise that if your opponents are trying to goad you to do something then it is not a great idea to go along with it. They know that their only chance of doing well is if the election is framed on that questions. That’s why I despair when I see people urging the SNP to make this election about a Unilateral Declaration of Independence.
No, as independence supporters we should play our own game.
When the argument gets drawn to the constitutional question we should say that we already have a mandate for indyref2. The Scottish Parliament has a pro-independence majority and it voted to seek to have a second referendum. As in 2011 we are in the process of negotiating with the UK government over the details and timing of the event. Nothing that happens in this election can make our position weaker than it was in 2011. The UK government are going to play hardball with our request but they will do so regardless of what happens in June.
We should talk about the real issues that this election will impact on.
The most glaring of these is the damage that will be caused to Scotland by a Tory Brexit neither Ruth Davidson or Theresa May wanted. We can also talk about Tory policy in general. The years of failed austerity. The selling off of state assets to private companies. The shocking cuts in welfare that the Scottish Parliament is forced to mitigate. The Great Repeal Bill which is set to ride roughshod over the Scottish Parliament and Scots laws.
Independence is important but it is not a factor in this election. The more we go along with the agenda of making it an issue, the better Ruth Davidson will do.
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