Andy Mac

The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘sedition’ as’ the encouragement of a section of people to rise up against the authority of the state and/or its leader’. In 2014, the British government, as an act of generosity, temporarily permitted a regional body to be the primary executor over the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom. It empowered the ruling parties in that regional seat of government to hold a referendum on an issue which could have led to the destruction of that same Kingdom. It allowed Holyrood to set the date, the question and the franchise. When the results were finally announced on the 19th September, 2014, the margin of victory for those who wanted to keep the United Kingdom intact was greater than the population of Glasgow over their opponents; and a total of 28 of Scotland’s 32 council areas had rejected the notion of ‘independence’. 

There was nothing in the Scottish independence referendum creating a legal or constitutional precedent. A Section 30 order, giving the Scottish Parliament the express authority to hold the vote duly expired on the 31st December of that same year. Far from honouring the result, the Scottish National Party have attempted to invoke any pretext as a means to hold a second vote. At first it was the question of Trident being housed on Scottish soil. Then it was austerity. Since 2016 it has been Brexit. In the latter, the party has been eagerly cheered on by sections of the London-centric media, desperate to upbraid the UK for having the temerity (as they see it) to leave the European Union. No amount of economic or territorial pain is too much punishment for Brexit Britain to endure. These journalists despised the quest for quitting the EU, despise the people that voted for it, and wish to see them humiliated by supporting the territorial evisceration of the UK as a consolation prize.

There has also been a tendency, amongst the more Eurosceptic elements of the media, to draw an analogy between Brexit and Scottish independence. Cristo Foufas made just such a mistake on the new Talk TV channel this very morning (03/07). Let me be clear: There is no such comparison. The United Kingdom is ONE country. If you doubt  my veracity, I challenge anyone to find a tract of British constitutional law (or indeed international law, which everyone on the Twittersphere pretends to be an expert on these days) suggesting Britain is some ‘voluntary union of nations’ . The generally accepted international interpretation of a country is ‘a sovereign state in its own right’. Scotland doesn’t fit that criteria. If it did, the rest of the UK would not have to endure this constant assault on our British nation at the behest of secessionists who are, let’s be frank, never going to accept any result that doesn’t go their way. However, the moment their aims were achieved, the possibility of ever reversing them would be closed off. Thus, it’s fair to say both Scottish and Northern Irish secessionists – for all their talk about ‘equality’ – actually demand a notion of self-determination for themselves they are unwilling to concede to Unionist voters.

Nicola Sturgeon has set October 19th, 2023 as the date for Indyref2, subject to the approval of the UK Supreme Court. When that court rules devolved administrations do not have power over the constitution (as it almost certainly will), Sturgeon has then promised to make the subsequent General Election a de facto referendum on the question, supposedly giving the green light to elected MPs to negotiate the very future of the same United Kingdom millions of men in uniform have died on the battlefield in order to defend and protect. In other words, having exhausted the legal means to try to break up the UK, the SNP will invoke its own rules to try to achieve the same result. I see folk who denounce Boris Johnson as the greatest personification of evil since King Herod over his desire to ensure Northern Ireland has the same trading arrangements as the rest of the UK, are strangely mute when its comes to what amounts to an incitement to undermine the sovereign authority of Westminster. Again, there is no provision in UK law to use General Elections as a cast iron mandate for constitutional change. Even the referendum provisions in the Northern Ireland Act 1998, enacting the British-Irish Treaty into domestic law, are only consultative. There is no requirement on either the UK or Ireland to actually agree the legal cession of Northern Ireland in international law. So why should Scotland, sans the history of deep communal division and terrorist violence, be afforded a right not granted to any other part of the Union?

Tony Blair, the greatest constitutional vandal of our time, promised in his 1997 General Election manifesto that Scottish devolution would effectively strengthen the Union and see off the threat of nationalism. It has done just the opposite. We are now faced with a regional assembly whose primary function is to undermine the British state – with all the economic, political and social ramifications that come with it. Faced with this existential threat to the unity of the UK, all Boris Johnson’s administration seems capable of is stonewalling the SNP’s incessant agitation instead of displaying the sort of muscular unionism necessary in a time of crisis. The Spanish state made it clear Catalan secessionists would not get their way; the German constitution expressly forbids secession; and most countries would contemplate all actions up to and including war to defend their integrity. Ukraine provides us with the current quintessential example. So why should the Establishment here constantly bend the knee and place the UK in a condition of ongoing fragility? We have as much right to exist as a nation as any other in the world and, in many cases, a greater right given our history, achievements, influence and place in the global family. If the Scottish Parliament is not capable of carrying out the tasks for which it was created, it should either cease to exist or be radically changed by statute at Westminster. The time to be accommodating to Scottish separatists is long past.

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