Type to search



Journalists Iain McWhirter and Kevin McKenna are the Sacco and Vanzetti of Scottish independence media promulgation. There is no limit to their imagined visions of anarchy caused by everything not solely confined to the ‘magnificent’ SNP and its ‘esteemed’ leader: English perfidy, Brexit, Conservatism, southerly winds… you name it. All of Scotland’s problems for these two munchkins come from south of the Border, and every remedy can be found in the sunny uplands of Scottish independence. If McKenna ran a health shop, he’d sell bottles of Scottish independence balm and tell you by rubbing it on your skin you could cure warts.

The Guardian is always the keenest to afford a platform to anyone who fundamentally detests the United Kingdom as a thriving constitutional entity, so it’s not surprising McKenna’s fulminations feature regularly as far as Scottish issues are concerned. But his article kicks off with a crucial error – one that has been repeated by independence supporters since year dot. Unfortunately for them, repeating something over and over again doesn’t make it the truth. McKenna writes:

‘The only question for the SNP is how long to wait before calling a new vote on independence.’

In reality, it doesn’t matter whether the SNP wait 5 minutes or 5 years. Neither the SNP, nor the Scottish Parliament, have the constitutional power to call a referendum on independence. The prerogative can only be implemented with the explicit legal consent of the Parliament at Westminster. When the SNP wanted to call a referendum for September 2014, Westminster granted them the power to do so on the basis that the result would be respected for the long-term (‘once in a liftetime vote’, etc). Like the shills of the EU project, the SNP have a poor track record when it comes to honouring promises of plebiscitary respect.

McKenna mustn’t have looked at the anarchy unleashed in Catalonia last autumn, when the separatists there took on legal powers the state did not grant to them – the political and economic ramifications of which are still being felt in Spain’s north-eastern quarter. Because referendums in the UK are used sparingly, they are legislated for on the proviso they are honoured and not revisited for decades (for example, constitutional referendums took place in Northern Ireland in 1973 and 1998 – 25 years apart, and there is no prospect of another one on the horizon). Scottish separatists, like their pro-Brussels counterparts, cannot keep revisiting polls until they get the answer they want. Because, Mr McKenna, therein lies the foundations for real anarchy, not your imagined variety.