Improbable though it may seem, it happens that Guy Verhofstadt, who is lead Brexit negotiator for the European Parliament, envisaged immediately after the UK EU referendum result that Scotland would be able to hold an independence referendum before Brexit took effect (such as the Scottish First Minister is proposing) so that that country might apply to remain within the EU if that was what its population wanted. He also envisaged that the EU would be favourably disposed to welcome independent Scotland as a member of the EU in those circumstances. Press here to watch the Scottish Television interview in which these remarks were made.
The UK government, as you will possibly not be surprised to learn, has shown itself today (Thursday ) to be determined, however, that Scotland is not to be allowed to choose, because it is believed in London that, if a second Scottish independence referendum is held, the result is likely to be that Scotland will leave the UK, with Northern Ireland possibly following shortly thereafter, thus completing the process of deconstructing England’s domination of the British Isles by creating a Scottish-Irish arc of power within the European Union, deploying the power of that organization for protection against our domineering neighbour sitting all alone excluded from a vast Single Market from which we shall be benefiting, drawing financial services away from London and at last enjoying the freedom and exercising the power to create an effective protection against the economic and demographic gravity pull of that monstrous city.
As you may have heard by the time you read this, First Minister Sturgeon is now beginning to consider her options after the decision of Prime Minister May to block an independence referendum until some distant unspecified time after Brexit without giving any indication as to how Scotland’s interests might be protected by the UK in the Brexit negotiations. If, as is intended, the Scottish Parliament nevertheless proceeds on Tuesday to authorize the Scottish Government to arrange for an independence referendum to be held, there is a democratically legitimate way in which this can effectively be achieved without the agreement of the UK government and within the powers of the Scottish Parliament, although they were not specifically intended to be used in this way and very few people are aware of it. No doubt, however, this is one of the options which the First Minister will be considering, as she would not have put herself in this position without having something up her sleeve. I shall go into this in detail in due course.
As a scrupulously law-abiding citizen it pains me even to think about diverting constitutional mechanisms from the purpose for which they were originally intended, but, if that is what one is driven to, so be it. One of the most decent and honourable political activists whom I have ever encountered would also always have wished to honour and respect the rule of law and due process, but, like the American and French revolutionaries in the 18th century, she knew only too well that this is not always possible if you believe in a cause so fervently that you cannot bear to see it crushed by the utterly indefensible principle that might is right.
Miriam Casals i Couturier was a dear sweet lady who, aside from being an economist, was the leading light of the Catalan civic organization Omnium Cultural and a prominent member of the Catalan independence movement, who was actively involved in organizing next September’s illegal Catalan independence referendum as a member of the majority pro-independence group in the Catalan Parliament when she was killed in an apparent but highly improbable accident.
A tear ran down my cheek that day as I thought back to her memorable visit to the Scottish Parliament, where she marvelled at the freedom that Scotland seemed to have to choose its own destiny, but the sad reality is that Perfidious Albion only permitted the independence referendum to take place in September 2014 because it calculated that it could not be won by the advocates of independence. As support for independence stood at about 28% at the time when that nice Mr Cameron agreed to allow a legally-binding referendum, that is hardly surprising. Imagine the horror and indeed panic in Downing Street when an opinion poll showed support of over 50% a week before the referendum. This prompted empty promises of “equal partnership” within the UK, whose worthlessness has now been demonstrated beyond a peradventure.
50% is roughly where the level of support for independence stands now. So the wholly unprincipled Tory pragmatist who resides in 10 Downing Street at this juncture has no intention of allowing another Scottish independence referendum, or so it would appear. The time has evidently arrived, therefore, for Scottish independentists to begin to pay homage to Catalonia and learn lessons from the Catalans. If that is what we have to do, so be it. There are many lessons to be learned from them and much that can be done to ensure that right prevails over might. Carpe diem.
More to come in part 2.