The right to determination

Image thanks to NewsMD

Following yesterday’s UK Supreme Court ruling that the draft Scottish Independence Referendum Bill is outside the powers of the Scottish Parliament the media has got the wrong end of the stick. It has followed the angle of what this means for independence and how it affects those in favour and those against. Such issues would have been decided by the referendum and so were some way off.

The real story is the relationship between Scotland and England. The union that brought the two nations together in 1707 was supposed to be in both nation’s interests. The Scottish and English parliament merged to form a British parliament at Westminster. Today though it is clear that the Westmister parliament is in fact an English parliament, dominated by the Conservative Party, while Hollyrood is beyond doubt the domain of the Scottish National Party. Taking constituencies alone, the SNP has 62 of the 73 seats.

The decision to take the issue to the Supreme Court was a win win for Sturgeon. If the court had come down in favour of the Scottish Parliament having the right to hold another referendum, she would have got her way. The fact that it hasn’t makes it look like the English are deciding the future of Scotland. 

It is Brexit all over again, the ability of a country to determine its own path is being hampered by a government, not elected by the Scots and miles away from home. This will play into the hands of those that want independence and fuel further unrest. Far from resolving the issue of Scottish independence once and for all, just as the referendum in 2016 was supposed to sort out the European question, it will have the opposite effect.

There is no guarantee that the SNP would have won an independence referendum. It would be a difficult sell. No doubt people north of the border will be nervous of leaving a union when considering the shambles that Brexit has and continues to be. With this decision the SNP has won the argument without having to go to a referendum. True or not, it will be spun that the English have decided that Scotland is not fit to govern itself.

It could be that the decision not to grant the Scottish Parliament such powers will provide further impetus to the independence movement. It is an issue that is not going away.

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