The idea of Scottish MPs unilaterally declaring independence is bonkers
I have read some articles in a couple of prominent pro independence blogs recently talking about the prospect of the Scottish MPs leaving Westminster and essentially just declaring independence.
The first one, by Craig Murray is slightly more reasonable as he only postulates it as an option to use if Theresa May declines to grant a second referendum.
If the Tories refuse a referendum, the Scottish Government should respond by declaring Independence. My preferred method of doing this would be to convene a National Assembly, comprising of all Scotland’s MEP’s, MP’s and MSP’s, and for that National Assembly to make the declaration. This would broadly accord with international norms. Independence should be effective from the declaration, but that Independence could if desired be employed to hold the referendum which the Tories had refused.
You won’t actually be able to get the unionist MPs, MSPs and MEPs to join such an assembly so the detail of this plan is lacking. To be honest I’m not even sure many of the SNP MPs would vote for a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) for the obvious reasons we’ll get to in a minute.
The second article was by Alf Baird in Bella Caledonia.
Until very recently, Westminster politicians of all parties have always acknowledged (and regularly taunted as much) that if the Scottish ‘nationalists’ ever secured a majority of Scotland’s Westminster seats then that would amount to de facto independence, i.e. independence is there for the taking. What is required thereafter, and to bring about de jure independence, is for that majority of Scotland’s elected MP’s to re-establish the independent Scottish Parliament, and to pass an Act ending the union of UK parliaments, at least as far as Scotland is concerned.
These statements are coming from an understandable sense of frustration at the lack of control we have over our destiny.
We sympathise with where these authors are coming from. For instance we have complained it is wrong we need to ask permission to have an independence referendum. We have talked about how an independence referendum is only advisory so even if we vote Yes in a referendum we still need Westminster’s approval. We have bemoaned the fact that Scotland has no legal say in the article 50 process.
I don’t even have a problem with the concept of UDI. Electing parliamentarians to declare independence on our behalf seems like a civilised and democratic way to go about the matter.
The blindingly obvious problem with the concept outlined above is there is no mandate for it. None of our parliamentarians, ran on a ticket of unilaterally declaring independence under any circumstances. The SNP barely included a mandate for a second indyref in their Holyrood manifesto. Even if they did promise UDI, in both Holyrood and Westminster the nationalists only received around half of the popular vote. In the UK general election, the SNP may have gained 95 percent of the seats but only 50 percent of Scots voted for them. Some of them voted for the SNP despite being against independence, never mind UDI.
Moreover, we voted in 2014 to remain in the UK and the polls have remained steadily against independence since.
Some may lament the behaviour of the media and unionist politicians in that election. However, that day for the first time in over 300 years the people of Scotland were sovereign. We made the sovereign decision to remain in the UK. The modern Scottish Claim of Right and the independence white paper reminded us that in Scotland the people are sovereign. That should be respected.
Now, I do feel the UK political system is grossly unrepresentative which is a key reason I support independence. I hate how a party who we hardly ever vote for can wield power over us. However, the solution to that is not to gain independence by means that are just as undemocratic. That would defeat the whole purpose. I could see the validity of the argument if the polls were sitting at 70 percent and Theresa May refused to grant a plebiscite. It would be criminal to do it now when more than half the country still want to remain in the UK.
We wrote before about how the type of country we will become is dependent on the stories we tell about that country and ourselves.
I think now when you compare the direction of Scotland and the UK then Scotland is telling the more appealing story. In fact, I think if we call a second referendum and can’t win it then I don’t see the point of being independent.
If more than half the population are willing to put up with the glaring lack of sovereignty telegraphed by recent events, because of a fear that Scotland doesn’t have the competence to do what is normal to all other nations it would be a rubbish country anyway.
That said, it wouldn’t be half as bad as a Scotland created by a minority forcing their will on the majority. Our creation myth would contain an dreadful original sin and would result in an angry, divided and forever tainted omnishambles.