If we can’t win #indyref2 now then what’s the point?
I don’t know what the best timing is for holding #indyref2. The arguments on both sides are pretty strong.
There are those who say it is in Scotland’s best interest to do it asap, to capitalise on the Brexit chaos, and to give us a chance of remaining within the EU. There are others who take the gradualist approach, who think we should take advantage of the new powers that are set to move from Brussels to Holyrood. Powers we could use to grow our economy so we are better placed to face independence.
Today Nicola Sturgeon announced that a new independence bill will be published next week. This raises the possibility of a second referendum being held before the article 50 process has ended.
This may be a risky strategy from the First Minster but the more I think about it the more an early referendum is appealing. It means for me that I might be able to get closure on an issue that takes up a lot of my time, for a nation unwilling to take control of its fate in the current climate is not one worth fighting for.
Last time, a no vote was narrowly avoided by last minute promises of more devolution of power, yet at this juncture, the democratic deficit that so many yes voters fought to end could not be more obvious.
We voted to stay in the EU yet we will be forced to leave. The people negotiating our exit belong to a political party that less than 15 percent of the Scottish electorate voted for. That party shows all signs of favouring a hard Brexit which was not something that was actually on the ballot paper and is at odds with the outlook shared by the majority here. The process that will initiate our leaving is called ‘Royal Prerogative’, an antiquated, backward law that stems from the monarch’s sovereignty over the people.
The whole point of independence is that in Scotland the people should be sovereign.
The whole Brexit fallout is a distillation of just how far that is from the case. If we cannot persuade half of the population that democracy is the major issue here, then we might as well just accept our fate as a gangrenous appendage dangling from the torso of a long dead empire. Let’s just scrap the Scottish parliament while we are at it. We could just all sit back and enjoy our perpetual Tory future, as they sell every last iota of the British State to their own private companies, as they complete the job of extending inequality to American proportions.
Some will argue that Brexit is fair when viewed from the context of the UK as a whole. I’m not trying to convince those people. Those who call themselves “unionists” but are in fact not interested in true union at all. I’m interested in those who believe that Scotland is a nation. Who believed in 2014 that our nation belonged to a union of equals and was better off remaining inside it. Those who are deluding themselves if they think that this continues to be the case.
Still, many pundits will continue to inject some sobriety into the thoughts of wistful Nats like me.
I have lost count of how many times I have been told by sensible types that Scotland is a financial basket case or that England is our biggest trading partner. However, talk of surety in economic matters is up there with talk of mind control chemtrails. Good luck making the smug economic argument as the UK continues its self inflicted death spiral.
There are few things at all certain about economic predictions but there are things that we know about independence. The most prescient for this discussion is that our democracy will improve markedly overnight. If you look at any OECD markers for quality of life, the majority of the better off countries are small, EU states with representative governments. They are this way because they have relatively easy to manage economies, they are able to react better to big global events, and most importantly, they have parliaments that are answerable and reflect the will of people.
The only thing preventing Scotland from being like them is our own lack of confidence.
Our current choice, between an antiquated, declining, backward looking UK and becoming a progressive modern state is so stark in the current climate that it is hard to even believe that we are so divided. True representative democracy should be a fundamental principle of nationhood and progress, but half of us seem to be intransigently fixated on remaining voiceless and ignored. Serfdom in exchange for the chimera of perceived economic stability.
That’s why I don’t mind if Sturgeon calls for a referendum now. If the only way we can win is if people are told by the Institute Of Fiscal Studies that they will be better off, then it won’t be any better than the UK.
However, if we can win based on the ideals of democracy, internationalism, inclusiveness and equality, then we may end up with a country worth living in. Nations are about the beliefs that bind us together, and if we can’t win when our ideology is so much more palatable than the alternative, then what’s the point?