Tory manifesto pledges England will choose if Scotland can have indyref2

In their 2017 General Election manifesto the Tory party have made the following pledge. They are saying Scotland can’t have a referendum until Brexit has played out and there is public consent for it.

We have been very clear that now is not the time for another referendum on independence. In order for a referendum to be fair, legal and decisive, it cannot take place until the Brexit process has played out and it should not take place unless there is public consent for it to happen.

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I won’t dwell on the Brexit point other than to say that the SNP have said that they want clarity on the Brexit process as well before the people are asked to vote on independence again.

It’s actually a fair point as people deserve to know what they are choosing between. However, the second point about consent I find pretty disturbing and so should anyone who respects democracy.

First of all, I find the concept of a Conservative party caring about the consent of the Scottish people hilarious.

We have rejected them at the ballot box for decades and yet they have subjected us to regressive policy after regressive policy. That’s fair enough, that is how UK democracy works but it is a bit rich to pretend they suddenly care about what we collectively think. The truth is they don’t but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Secondly, and more importantly. There is consent for a referendum as the Scottish Parliament voted to hold one.

When did the British stop believing in parliamentary democracy as the best system of governance?

Don’t get me wrong I know that a substantial amount of people in Scotland don’t want indyref2 but that doesn’t matter. We voted for a majority pro-independence parliament and that parliament voted to have a referendum. That parliament, due to the voting system, is far more representative than the one at Westminster. That is what we call democracy.

I respect democracy even though at UK level the system is flawed.

Only a relatively small amount of people vote for the Tories yet they dominate Westminster and will do so for years. I hate the policies they inflict on us but I don’t quibble with their right to govern us. I don’t like the unfair voting system, and I don’t like Tory laws, but I do respect their right to make those laws because even an antiquated form of democracy like First Past The Post is better than chaos.

My solutions to a Tory party inflicting policies on Scotland that hardly any of us vote for is either Scottish independence or radical reform of the UK system. I campaign to achieve those things through democratic means.

In contrast, by mentioning indyref2 in their UK manifesto the Tories are trying to prevent the democratic will of the Scottish people.

Again, the vast majority of Scottish people will not vote for this manifesto but the Tories will sweep to power because England, due to the size of its population, dominates UK politics.

What the Tories are doing with this manifesto is saying that the will of England, as expressed by a very unrepresentative voting system has more power over the future of Scotland, than the will of Scotland as expressed by a proportional system.

The Tories are telling us that England will make Scotland’s decisions for it. In that sense they don’t actually care about Scottish consent at all.

Even if you are against independence, you should be deeply worried about a Westminster government we don’t vote for preventing the Scottish parliament from giving you the choice.

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Bobby Hainey

Joint founder of Autonomyscotland. In my spare time I enjoy Road Cycling, Munro bagging and beer.

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1 Comment on "Tory manifesto pledges England will choose if Scotland can have indyref2"

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Power in Westminster is everything. The potential loss of an independant Scotland for the English government might be financially toublesome, but the populist press will blame Europe as usual…..

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