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Solved: the Scottish referendum issue

In 2014, Scotland had a “once in a lifetime” referendum on independence. And now, some of them want another one – a “neverendum” as it sometimes known. The UK government is disinclined to give them such a plebiscite – on the basis that “life” should mean “life” – so the Scottish government is thinking about holding a Catalan-style illegal one.

There is, however, an alternative. An alternative that doesn’t require any legislation and would allow the people of Scotland to make a clear decision.

I don’t know whether I read this, heard it or dreamt it but I seem to remember Enoch Powell extolling the virtues of Sinn Fein in 1918 (not something you would expect from an Ulster Unionist). In that year they stood in the general election (to the UK parliament (Ireland was part of the UK in those days)) on an abstentionist platform. If elected they would not take their seats, not accept any salary (a novel thing in those days) and not recognise the authority of Her Majesty’s government. They won just about every seat in what is now the Republic of Ireland – Dublin University was just about the only exception – and next to none in what is now Northern Ireland. Had the British government under David Lloyd George accepted this verdict there and then 3 years of bloodshed could have been avoided.

Perhaps a British Prime Minister – coming or going – should point out that were the Scottish nationalists resign their seats – they hold a majority – and then win the subsequent by-elections, the UK would be honour-bound to allow Scotland to pursue its manifest destiny as the Venezuela of the north.

 

Update I think I would have to accept there is a big difference between “once in a lifetime” and “once in a generation”. Unfortunately, “generation should mean generation” just doesn’t scan.

I should point out that while Sinn Fein did indeed do badly in Northern Ireland there were some Nationalists elected. By my estimate – complicated by the fact that some constituency boundaries appear to have crossed today’s border –  Nationalists of various stripes won six out of 29 seats.

On a more general point I am a little disturbed by what I an only describe as a rather colonialist attitude to Scotland. As far as I am concerned Scots have every right to choose to govern themselves or, as some point out, choose to be governed by the European Union. 

35 comments to Solved: the Scottish referendum issue

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Not convinced it would work in rolling back the socialists.

    Although socialists do run out of other people’s money, they will never run out of people to blame.

  • Aetius

    Utterly no. An SNP majority is merely an artifact of the electoral system. There is not majority support for separation. Furthermore, if Scottish people realised how financially dependent on England Scotland is the nationalist movement would soon shrink back to a few nutters and haters.

    When there was a vote on separation they lost – 45% to 55% on a high turnout. We were told it was a “once in a generation event.” If there was another “indy ref”, they would likely lose again.

    They should not be allowed to get what they want by nagging.

    Instead British governments should stand up to them. We should develop an equivalent of the acquis communautaire, where, when the EU passes laws on something, it prevents the member states passing laws which contradict it. Then Westminster should subject the Scottish “parliament” to a death of a thousand cuts by legislating whenever it is needed, and in that way gradually shrinking the jurisdiction of Holyrood.

    The Covid “emerrgency” would have been an ideal time to start. Westminster should just have legislated for the whole UK, as it was an “emergency”, explicitly stating in the legislation that this amended the Scotland Acts, etc.. Similarly, we are heading in to an energy emergency with high fossil fuel costs and shrinking real generating capacity. Westminster should take the opportunity of the “emergency” to take charge of the issue.

    And the social attitudes of Scots are much the same as those of the English.

    We should also learn from the Americans and start “federal” agencies investigating Scottish politicians and their cronies for corruption and law breaking. These people have an attitude that they are above the law, and that usually goes with any amount of nefarous activity. The financial backers of the SNP should also have their tax affairs investigated extremely thoroughly.

    Oh, and don’t forget the symbolism. When the little witch or her successors meets the prime minister or a government minister, the meeting should be correographed to emphasise her inferiority to representatives of the real government of a real country – the UK. She is actually only a regional politician, like the mayor of a city.

    Incidentally, the leadership of the SNP are phonies. They just exploit the romantic nationalist fools to obtain and keep power. In reality, they are hard left internationalists, plus a few opportunists. They don’t want an independent Scotland, but one ruled from Brussels with mass immmigration and every dream of the Frankfurt School Marxists implemented in full.

  • Absolutely bloody not. They had their chance in 2014 and they blew it. If they want Indyref2 then I’m happy for that to be scheduled in the calendar sometime after 2039.

    Wee Nippy getting up on her podium every 1/20th of a second screeching for a new referendum because of UK Gov’s latest constitutional outrage (currently a rather democratic leadership election) is beyond tiresome.

    While the demented porridge wogs of the SNP would love to be able to overrule (and rule over) the rest of us, the vast majority of the Scottish electorate don’t vote SNP (just for a diverse spectrum of other parties) and don’t support independence.

    Given the current parlous state of Scottish finances, it is an outright lie to portray Scotland as some Celtic tiger or representative of “Southern Scandiwegia”. Alex Salmond tried that lark in 2014 (when oil was a bigger contributor) and nobody bought it then either.

    The Scots will not vote themselves Independent because they are fundamentally DEPENDENT upon UK taxpayer largess to cover the gap between local taxes raised and local spending. They will not vote for penury simply to assuage the ego of Wee Nippy.

    So it’s all a bit moot.

    One advantage of an illegal referendum in 2023 though, is that a definitive “No” might be the final shove required to get rid of the Wee Jimmy Krankie impersonator currently occupying the office of First Minister. So that might be a reason to do it, even if ignored by the real government in Westminster.

    John Galt is a resident of Perth, Scotland

  • Paul Marks

    The SNP and other, supposedly, “nationalist” parties (in Wales and Northern Ireland) are caught in a logical contraction – they say they want independence, but they support rule by the European Union.

    This is such an extreme contradiction that most people turn their attention away from it – as they would a person shouting “cold is hot, up is down” – but we must face the full implications of such a massive logical contradiction.

    People who say they want “independence in the E.U.” are indeed saying that cold is hot, and up is down. They are not rational – they just are not.

    No good will come from trying to talk to non rational (indeed anti rational) people.

    “Paul are you really saying that the Scottish National Party is anti racial – that it is caught in, indeed based upon, a logical contradiction?”

    Yes that is exactly what I am saying, because it is the truth.

    They are not rational and, therefore, one should not expect rational behaviour from them. And any effort to reason with them will fail – because they are not rational.

  • Paul Marks

    To give an English example of non rational (indeed anti rational) behaviour – expecting conservative polices from someone who wrote a deeply anti conservative book “Greater Britain After the Storm” only last year.

    So the denial of basic logic is most certainly NOT confined to some people “north of the border”.

  • James Hargrave

    Scotch and Welsh nationalists show all the breadth of vision of G. Princip married to utter incompetence in everything they touch when it is ‘devolved’ to them and an urge to centralise within their little cabbage patches (e.g. SNPolice Scotland). Very strict attention by Westminster to expenditure on anything that is not within the remit of the devolved entities would, I hope, open up the prospects of prosecution, disqualification from office and personal liability.

  • Stuart Noyes

    If the Scottish people want independence, no one should stand on their way. That’s tyranny.

  • If the Scottish people want independence, no one should stand on their way. That’s tyranny.

    They don’t want Independence. The vast majority want very different things, that’s why they vote Conservative, Lib/Dem, Labour and others.

    SNP and desire for Independence is a minority sport, even in Scotland.

  • Patrick Crozier (Twickenham)

    If the Scottish electorate are aware that voting Scottish Nationalist could lead to Scotland leaving the Union then they are likely to vote differently. There is precedent for this. In 1924, IIRC, the Boundary Commission was doing its work in Ulster. The election for the constituency of Fermanagh and Tyrone was seen as a referendum on the question of whether it should be part of the UK or the Republic. For the first time ever, they voted for a unionist candidate and Fermanagh and Tyrone remained part of the UK.

  • Matthew

    As with any regional separatist movement, I say let them leave. But they need to assume their share of the national debt (as determined on a per capita basis) as well as pay for all government properties, roads and facilities. And they need to pay for it all immediately.

    Let the new nation have a nice, new start!

  • Paul Marks

    Stuart Noyes – do you also believe that hot is cold, that up is down, and that water is dry?

    “Independence in the European Union” is not independence. Brussels is not even in Scotland.

    One might as well say that Texas was independent AFTER the Republic of Texas joined the United States in 1845.

    As for “independence from the United Kingdom” – there was a referendum on that in 2014, the majority of people in Scotland voted to remain part of the United Kingdom.

    As for the SNP – it has spent its time in office in Scotland undermining Scottish education, Scots Law (gone are the old principles – such as that someone must be brought to trial within a set number of days, or released) and everything else that was good about Scotland.

    It has even pushed the idea that people should be punished for opinions they express in their own home.

    The SNP seems to take every insane idea that the London establishment pushes (“Hate Speech” legislation, Covid lockdowns and-so-on) and do such things even MORE in Scotland.

    Mark Steyn noticed this – with the SNP and the Welsh and Irish “Nationalists”, they do not want independence (they want rule by the European Union) and they do not want to depart from the “Woke” doctrines that are choking England – they want to do such things even more.

    “That is tyranny” – yes I agree, the SNP (and the others – in Wales and Northern Ireland) do represent tyranny.

    A revolt against basic reason (embracing irrational logical contradictions – such as “independence in the European Union”) can only lead to tyranny.

  • Barracoder

    Speaking as a Scot, the only guaranteed solution to keeping Scotland in the Union is for England to have a non-binding referendum on whether to keep Scotland in the Union. The overwhelming support south of the border for ejecting Scotland would kill all notions of Scottish independence for eternity.

  • Mr Ed

    In 2014, Scotland had a “once in a lifetime” referendum on independence.

    Well, I think that the ‘once in a lifetime‘ thing was aspirational, or simply rhetorical, a way to get out the vote and not binding, and in any event, some people’s aspirations were not met, and some lifetimes have started and ended in the interval. And given my loathing of the United Kingdom, I cannot but wish well to any who would wish to secede, but leave must mean leave: no handouts, no retained citizenship, no right to work. Not sure about sharing the National Debt, let those who lend money to governments (i.e. seekers-out of future tax revenues) lose their money for all I care.

    And the problem with abstentionism is that it foregoes the opportunity to be a nuisance, and so court expulsion from the UK, and in any event, Sinn Fein MPs still get allowances for certain expenses, even though they do not take their seats or get salaries as MPs.

    My proposal would be to remove Rockall from Scotland, make it the fifth part of the UK, expel England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from the UK and let the Republic of Ireland claim and invade Rockall and face up to the UK’s National Debt, the local gannets and puffins are unlikely to be bothered by bailiffs.

    So let’s have them keep on voting until we get a ‘final’ answer. After all, who now in the Dominican Republic would want Haiti to be in any form of union with it?

    Aetius:

    We should also learn from the Americans and start “federal” agencies investigating Scottish politicians and their cronies for corruption and law breaking.

    But we don’t have a comparable system, the UK is not like the USA or even the former Yugoslavia as it fissured horribly, there is no ‘federal’ jurisdiction in the UK, just the four distinct legal systems. With the exception of some indictable offences where there is a ‘substantial connection’ to another part of the UK, criminal prosecutions for offences in Scotland are the responsibility of the Lord Advocate, an officer of the Scottish Government, not the UK government. So almost all offences in Scotland can only be tried in Scotland under the aegis of the Scottish (devolved) government. There is also, since the Acts of Union in 1707) no appeal to the UK Supreme Court (or its predecessor) against criminal convictions in Scotland except in limited circumstances where ‘Human Rights’ considerations apply, so there can be no such steps taken: it would have to be like asking a Governor of Arkansas to investigate his State with his Attorney-General deciding on how far to take cases. It might work, but it might not look as if it works satisfactorily.

    And I think ill of anyone who looks at the SNP government and sees a sort of Milosevic, but one without an army.

  • Stuart Noyes

    But that would be decided by the Scots and no one else. Whatever happened, they would be the masters of their own destiny. That is democracy. You might not agree with it, but it wouldn’t affect you. Live and let live.

  • Philip Scott Thomas

    @Paul Marks

    If a majority of Scots were to decide to secede from the UK then that is their ancient right. It is the same right of a free people to establish their own government that justifies both the American War of Independence and Brexit.

    Were Scotland to secede I would miss it sorely. But the right remains theirs. Whosoever the Scottish people may wish to associate themselves with afterward is none of any Englishman’s business, including yours.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    An alternative solution is to have a referendum in England to ask the English whether they would rather be a free, independent, self-governing country, or carry on being in a Union with a trio (quartet if you count Cornwall) of Celtic countries who cost us a fortune and who mostly loathe us.

    It’s at least arguable that England’s membership of the United Kingdom lacks democratic legitimacy as the Union was formed well before anything resembling universal suffrage was granted to the people of England by the Norman-invader ruling class. All major political parties in England are committed to the Union. The most significant one that isn’t – the English Democrats – frankly amounts to little more than being part of the comedy cast at by-elections.

    We voted in 2016 to quit our membership of one expensive and burdensome Union with countries that mostly have little affection for us (the affection they may have felt for our financial contributions to the common pot being a different matter, of course). Time for England to have a vote on its membership of another expensive and burdensome Union with countries that mostly… etc., etc.

  • Mr Ed

    PST

    Whosoever the Scottish people may wish to associate themselves with afterward is none of any Englishman’s business, including yours.

    Curious last two words at the end there, of a strange, and certainly unnecessary thing to say. Nowhere does Paul Marks say anything about who the Scottish people might wish to associate themselves with, nor does he even suggest that it is the business of anyone outside Scotland*, (but obviously it is a matter for anyone outwith Scotland if they are to be associated with Scotland in a political entity). The comment gives the appearance of having read into Paul’s taking issue with irrational positions of politicians an attack on Scottish people and the right of self-determination, despite that not being a necessary nor (rightly) a permissible inference. If it was not reading that in, what was it?

    And so, why say it? I’m curious. And why bring ‘Englishman’ into it? An Englishman then resident in Scotland was entitled to as a voter to vote in the 2014 referendum, it was not about nationality as such.

    *There is the latent question of the Norwegian dowry and Orkney and Shetland, and whether those islands might wish to go for a Faroeseque option with one of three options or even independence. How far could that properly be taken? I write as an admirer of the Fürst of Liechtenstein who spoke of one of his counties seceding if it wished to as being perfectly a natural thing to consider.

  • Peter Briffa

    How about:

    1. Do you, the Scots, want Scotland to be a sovereign nation?

    2. Do you, the Scots, want to get rid of the Scottish Parliament and return to being ruled by the British Parliament, as was the case before the previous referendum?

  • Duncan S

    I don’t live in “a union”, I live in a single country called The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The “union(s)” were events and not the result of those events. The UK is not a construct like the EU.

    I am British. I was born in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to parents who were born in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. My 4 grandparents were born in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

    The last member of my family to be born in the Kingdom of Scotland died in about 1770. He died in the same village he was born in, but at the time of his death he died in a Kingdom/Country called Great Britain. The last member of my family to be born in the Kingdom of England died in about 1770. He died in the same village he was born in, but at the time of his death he died in Great Britain.

    In 2014, because I was residing in Ayrshire, I was able to vote in the “independence” referendum. Prior to 2008 I was living in London and so could vote for the London Mayor. Living in London didn’t make me “a londoner”, anymore than living in Ayrshire makes me “a Scot”. But for any of those blood and soil nationalists out there I can trace one line of mine back to Slamannan in West Lothian in 1470. I can trace my ancestors back to the Kingdom of Ireland, the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England. So am I “Irish”, “Scottish”, or “English”? Who decides?

    So to all those commenting on “the Scots” or “the Scottish people” who are you referring to? We currently have the situation where a Canadian is a “minister” in Nicola’s cabinet. We have people referring to themselves as “New Scots”: immigrants who are agitating for the break-up of the UK.

    The inhabitants of the UK counties north of the Solway/Tweed (and I count myself in that group) have no more right to claim “independence/FREEDUMMMMM” than do the inhabitants of Yorkshire or Basingstoke.

    The SNP and their ilk want to return to the mythical time before 1707 when the Kingdom/Country of Scotland was an independent entity. The Mercian Independence Party want freedom for the midlands!!

    Ignore the number of MPs who are sent to Westminster, ignore the number of MSPs who are sent to Holyrood. The only figures to look at are the votes cast, and the SNP constantly poll around 1/3 of the electorate. Evita Sturgeon has no “mandate” to break up the UK.

    Patrick Crozier talks of “colonialist attitudes”: The only “colonialist attitudes” I see come from those who believe that the UK counties north of the Solway/Tweed which once formed the separate Kingdom of Scotland are somehow a separate entity to the rest of the UK. Stop feeding the SNP narrative that we live in a “voluntary union”. We don’t. The UK IS NOT the EU.

  • Mr Ed

    The good thing about the Scottish independence debate is that, unlike in say, Spain with Catalonia, there is no question either in law or in the political class that Scotland has the right to leave the UK and be a sovereign nation, an EU member or even in a Union State like Belarus.

    The difficulty for those in Scotland who seek independence (in whatever form) is that the Scottish Parliament merged with the English (and Welsh) Parliament after 1707 to make the Great Britain (or Grate Britain to some) Parliament (later the UK Parliament), and it is that body (effectively its House of Commons) which is ultimately sovereign, and what a shower it is. The Scottish government is a purely statutory creation under The Scotland Act 1998 et. seq. and cannot go beyond its establishing statute and develop new areas without permission of the UK government (subject to the UK Supreme Court clarifying the extent of its powers). So the ultimate legal say on a referendum is with the UK (Westminster) Parliament (as controlled by the UK government of the day). Perhaps the day will come when the UK folds like the Soviet Union and the constituent parts emerge blinking into the sunny uplands, but that is a political more than a legal question.

    What must be really galling for the c. 55% of voters in Scotland who voted in 2014 to remain in the UK is that it is as if their votes did not count to the Scottish political class, which like a machine following an algorithm, or a bird stubbornly following an instinct regardless of circumstances, carries on as if a democratic decision does not matter, much like the UK political class sought to do 2016-2019 most blatantly, over the independence of the UK from the EU. The two political classes are more similar than they seem, they are there to represent only themselves and what they think, so long as they can get away with it.

  • Ignore the number of MPs who are sent to Westminster, ignore the number of MSPs who are sent to Holyrood. The only figures to look at are the votes cast, and the SNP constantly poll around 1/3 of the electorate. Evita Sturgeon has no “mandate” to break up the UK.

    Patrick Crozier talks of “colonialist attitudes”: The only “colonialist attitudes” I see come from those who believe that the UK counties north of the Solway/Tweed which once formed the separate Kingdom of Scotland are somehow a separate entity to the rest of the UK. Stop feeding the SNP narrative that we live in a “voluntary union”. We don’t. The UK IS NOT the EU.

    This. So very much.

    Just because Nicola Sturgeon keeps being given time on TV to carp on about her monomaniacal obsession with “Muh Scottish Independence” doesn’t mean it’s important or even relevant to most people living in the part of the UK subject to the tyranny of the toy town parliament at Holyrood.

    I would happily support a referendum to abolish Scottish devolution, but doubt that I’ll get the opportunity any time soon.

  • Paul Marks

    Philip Scott Thomas.

    The people in Scotland have already voted on the United Kingdom (2014) they voted to stay part of the United Kingdom.

    As for independence – no party in Scotland is campaigning for an independent Scotland.

    Rule from Brussels is not independence.

    However, Sir – you may be asking a theoretical question.

    You may be asking IF a majority of people in Scotland wanted it to be an independent country (as, say, Iceland is) governing itself, whether they have a right to do that.

    Yes Sir – I agree with you. But that is entirely theoretical – as this is NOT on offer to the Scottish people, no party is campaigning for an independent Scotland. They are campaigning for rule by the European Union and the rest of the “international community”.

  • Patrick Crozier

    I think Peter is quite right. Whatever happens, Scottish devolution has to end. It creates constant uncertainty. The irony is that one of the stated purposes of devolution was to end calls for independence.

    I think Scotland has every right to leave the United Kingdom and join the European Union, in much the same way that in 1922 Ulster (effectively) had a right to leave the Irish Free State and become part of the United Kingdom.

  • Sam Duncan

    One advantage of an illegal referendum in 2023 though, is that a definitive “No” might be the final shove required to get rid of the Wee Jimmy Krankie impersonator currently occupying the office of First Minister.

    The danger of any “No” votes in an illegal poll is that they’ll be used to justify it. An anti-separatist boycott of such a stunt has to be clear and total. It can’t be left for the psephologists to speculate about after the event. I believe it’s illegal to advocate not voting, but if the vote itself is illegal, then all bets are off. The campaign must be “Yes” vs. “Don’t Vote”; nothing else.

    I don’t live in “a union”, I live in a single country called The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The “union(s)” were events and not the result of those events. The UK is not a construct like the EU. … The only “colonialist attitudes” I see come from those who believe that the UK counties north of the Solway/Tweed which once formed the separate Kingdom of Scotland are somehow a separate entity to the rest of the UK.

    Well said. This country is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, not of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. I don’t like the term “unionist”, when applied to Scotland: it refers to a desire to deepen – not simply maintain, but deepen – the union with Ireland, which was always less complete than that of Great Britain. (That said, given the current status quo with one of the most autonomous regional governments in the world, I can’t say it isn’t beginning to make sense. The Holyrood experiment has utterly failed.)

    Solid comments from Paul Marks, as always. (Why can’t we have someone like that as Prime Minister, instead of the miserable shower of contenders we’re currently facing?)

  • Paul Marks

    Patrick – Northern Ireland was not part of the Irish Free State, or, if it was, it was only part of it for a few months. Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom for more than three hundred years.

    I also repeat the basic point, that the SNP claims to be offering “INDEPENDENCE” – if Scotland is part of the European Union it is NOT independent.

    This is not up for discussion – any more than one plus one equals two, is up for discussion.

    The SNP are irrational, and must be treated as such.

  • Rich Rostrom

    “Great fleas have lesser fleas upon their backs to bite ’em.”

    If 50% + 1 adult residents of Scotland have a moral right to make Scotland an independent sovereign state, do 50% + 1 adult residents of, say, the Shetland Islands have a moral right to make the Shetland Islands an independent sovereign state? Note that the North Sea oil fields are much closer to the Shetlands than the mainland.

    When secession of Quebec from Canada was bruited, a question was raised. The Province of Quebec includes a vast sub-Arctic hinterland between Labrador and Hudson Bay. Until 1870, this area was part of Rupert’s Land, administered by the Hudson’s Bay Company, and until 1912 part of the North-West Territories. Its inhabitants are indigenous and not francophones. They voted overwhelmingly against secession in 1995. What of their self-determination? Note that this area includes many of Hydro-Quebec’s most lucrative hydroelectric plants.

    Some neighborhoods in central Montreal voted No as well. It’s been demonstrated on several occasions that referendums or plebiscites don’t reveal nice clean borders between those who want X and those who want Y; unanimity has often been achieved by brutal “exchange of populations”.

    There have also been occasions when a local majority sought independence in order to continue oppressing the minority (e.g the southern US in 1861).

    All of which shows that there is no simple abstract rule governing such situations: right and wrong must be determined from the particular circumstances of the case, and practical concerns must be addressed.

  • If 50% + 1 adult residents of Scotland have a moral right to make Scotland an independent sovereign state, do 50% + 1 adult residents of, say, the Shetland Islands have a moral right to make the Shetland Islands an independent sovereign state? Note that the North Sea oil fields are much closer to the Shetlands than the mainland.

    Yes. Indeed Shetland and Orkney have as strong a historical precedent to be granted independence (should they ask for it) from rump Scotland as Scotland does from the UK.

    More likely the Outer Hebrides and Western Isles that might make a break for a separate independence. The oil revenues spread over the relatively small population would be quite generous.

    Neither of them would succeed as countries in their own right as they simply don’t have the level of population and/or infrastructure, but as newly constituted Crown Dependencies (similar to the Channel Islands) that might work quite well for all concerned.

    SNP umbrage would be huge though, so a damned good reason to do it. After all, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

    🙂

  • Zerren Yeoville

    John Galt, 7.17pm: “Neither of them would succeed as countries in their own right as they simply don’t have the level of population and/or infrastructure”

    I would tend to disagree there, although a lot depends on how much heavy lifting is being done by the word ‘succeed’ in that assertion. Shetland has a population of around 22,000 and Orkney has a population of around 21,000. This would certainly put them among the world’s smallest countries by population – but by no means the smallest.

    If we exclude the Vatican City State as being something of a special case, then there are three generally recognised independent countries (all island states, too, albeit in the Pacific) that would be smaller: Tuvalu with around 11,000 people, Nauru with around 12,000 people and Palau with around 18,000 people. None of them seem to feel that their small size is a reason to renounce their independence and join a larger country.

    It should also be mentioned that the 1984 referendum in the Cocos Keeling Islands in the Indian Ocean offered the 261-strong electorate the option of becoming an independent state. Had they done so, they would easily have beaten the Vatican to the title of the world’s smallest country by population. The fact that only nine voters chose this option doesn’t alter the fact that the option was offered despite the tiny size of the territory.

    That the islanders of Shetland might well choose either outright independence, or sticking with the UK (to which they have belonged for considerably longer than they were ever part of pre-Union Scotland), in preference to becoming a marginal region of Sturgeon’s proposed Euro-satrapy, is suggested by the fact that visitors to Shetland will not have to drive very far before noticing that the locals have a fondness for painting out the thistle symbol of Scottish Tourism on the road signs!

  • Paul Marks

    There is no automatic reason why an independent Scotland, or an independent Shetland islands should not a success.

    However, I repeat (yet again – as it does not seem to have sunk in) that no party is even suggesting an independent Scotland, they are suggesting rule by the European Union.

    Being a state of the European Union is not independence.

    “Paul, let us pretend that being part of the European Union is independence, and have a conversation on that basis”.

    No – I am not going to pretend that being part of the European Union is independence, having a discussion on that basis is barking mad.

    If someone tells us they support “an independent Scotland, that is part of the European Union” they are telling us that they are an irrational person who is contradicting themselves.

  • Paul Marks

    It is vital that a conversation be “framed” in rational terms.

    The late Saul Alinsky (the rabid Collectivist – who was, tragically, misunderstood and even admired by the philosopher Jacques Maritain and Pope Paul VI) insisted on the right of “Radicals” (he meant Collectivists) to “frame the debate” – meaning to control the conversation by insisting on irrational statements being true.

    It was a tragic error that so many people in the United States, and elsewhere, accepted such irrational “framing” in order to “have a conversation with the radicals”.

    “But Paul – how can one have a conversation with such people if they will only have a conversation on an irrational basis, and we refuse to accept their irrational definitions?”

    One CAN NOT have a reasonable conversation with such people – that is the point.

    One is defeated by them, or one defeats them – there is no logical third alternative. There is no “conversation”, no “dialogue”.

  • AFAICS, every Scot/resident of Scotland who has so far commented here has rejected the OP proposal. Let Niall Kilmartin (Stirling) maintain this consistent zero from those best placed to know by also rejecting for it.

    1) The behaviour you reward you get more of. Whether it is Brexit or Indyref, the people whose attitude is “If we win it happens, if you win we vote again (and again) till we win” are the very last people fit to be indulged in that way.

    2) If a majority of the people are honouring the referendum result, so voting for Tory, LibDem, Labour, Green, Reform, Whatever – or SNP for local, not constitutional, reasons – while a minority are voting for the SNP because they are treating it like a referendum, then they will win a majority of Westminster seats on a minority vote.

    3) BTW (while this does not necessarily apply to the OP proposal as phrased), let me add to Sam Duncan’s sensible point (July 16, 2022 at 2:36 pm) that

    The danger of any “No” votes in an illegal poll is that they’ll be used to justify it.

    In an illegal (Westminster-prohibited) poll, the SNP determine the electorate and the method (I predict lots of postal voting). If (as is very likely) most opponents abstain on principle, the conditions for vote fraud would be ideal. So we’d be caught either way.

  • In an illegal (Westminster-prohibited) poll, the SNP determine the electorate and the method (I predict lots of postal voting). If (as is very likely) most opponents abstain on principle, the conditions for vote fraud would be ideal. So we’d be caught either way.

    If a vote happens, even an illegal one, I will participate, but only to prevent the SNP claiming legitimacy on a low turnout of (primarily) SNP supporters.

  • Mr Ed

    However, I repeat (yet again – as it does not seem to have sunk in) that no party is even suggesting an independent Scotland, they are suggesting rule by the European Union.

    Which planet are you on, sir? Here on Earth, the SNP have been banging on about their wish for Scotland to be a member of what is now the EU for decades, it would be miraculous if anyone in Scotland thought that was not their plan. I challenge you to find me one person in Scotland who thinks they are promised anything else.

    They all know, they are open about their plans and to suggest otherwise is frankly baffling. What has not sunk into your head appears to be that the more open they are, the longer they stay in power. They are perhaps the most honest party in the UK as to their aims.

  • The Jannie

    Can I add nothing of any value but say that I find fishwoman repellent, her attitude juvenile and her supporters deluded?

  • Mr Ed (July 18, 2022 at 8:28 pm) is factually correct, but the commenter you quote is understandably puzzled that a proposal to swap out Westminster and swap in Brussels is so routinely described as ‘independence’.

    I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

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