Alicsammin is back in the news, not that he ever really left it. You may remember him from last year, while you, oh naive Caledonian person you, thought you were voting in an independence referendum, according to the UK media Scotland was voting in an Alicsammin’s referendum. Alicsammin was, at least until the votes were counted, the only person in the entire UK who wanted independence. Or, according to the Daily Mail, to shamelessly rip the beating heart out of this great nation of ours out of hatred for all things English.
Anyway, Alicsammin has been annoying the UK media again by making the perfectly sensible and obvious point that another independence referendum is inevitable. This has led to an outbreak of oooing and tutting in certain sections of the metrocommentariat, who are playing clips on an infinite loop of Alicsammin saying that the referendum was a once in a generation opportunity. They’re doing this because they’re still labouring under the misapprehension that it was Alicsammin’s referendum.
But it wasn’t, it was your referendum, it was my referendum, it was my maw’s referendum, it was my late partner’s referendum. It was your cousin’s referendum, it was your pal’s referendum. And no one asked us whether we thought it was only going to be a once in a generation deal. I don’t recall the question on the ballot paper being – should Scotland be an independent country and should we never ever ask this question again in your lifetime?
The only question that is still open is the timing. We need another independence referendum. I want another independence referendum. And the only material change of circumstances that I’m interested in is the one that says we’re going to win. We’re not there yet, but support for independence has increased somewhat since the referendum. We need to build on that and increase it. The next time we have a referendum it needs to be a formality, the legal recognition of what will by then be the settled will of the Scottish people, the settled will to become independent.
Alicsammin said that there were already several reasons why another referendum is inevitable. There’s the infamous vow for starters. At the fag end of the referendum campaign when the Union was a doubt we got promised devo to the max. Now Westminster says devo my arse. This super dooper near federalism home rule was supposed to have been overseen and supervised by the personal guarantee of Gordie Broon, who now makes the Invisible Man seem like a bit of an exhibitionist. Rumour has it he’s pissed off to the USA. No one knows who he is over there so he can go to the shops and buy stuff without the risk of having his custom refused because no one has any change.
Despite voting for 56 SNP MPs who stood on a platform of yer Smith commish is pish, Scotland is still lumbered with the pathetically inadequate devo proposals that came out of that half hearted process. The only thing that we learned from the Smith Commission is that giving politicians the benefit of the doubt is always a mistake. It may take a few more years before that message percolates through to No voters, but slowly they’re realising that they were had. A tipping point is in the offing.
Then there’s the EU referendum, the Faragegasm of British politics. There’s going to be a lot more of David Coburn in Scottish television studios, blazing away like a self-immolating bonfire of fart gas and blaming everything on immigrants and the SNP. But he’s going to be a lonely voice as Coburn’s appeal is very restricted, restricted to his own bathroom and a pile of kleenex, and even the kleenex doesn’t want to be there. All by himself he will be enough to ensure a massive victory for staying in the EU from Scotland, no matter how intransigent Angela Merkel gets with small European countries who refuse to toe the austerity line.
However in the rest of the UK, the immigrant bashing tendency is very much in the ascendant, and it’s far from certain whether England will vote in favour to say in the EU, despite the Project Fear on Steroids which will be unleashed on the voters. We’re in a different world now, where support from the mainstream media provokes suspicion and not trust. We may very well end up with a situation where Scotland votes to remain in the EU but the rest of the UK, or at least England, votes to leave. That would turn the entire EU question on its head in the second indyref.
And finally there’s the permausterity. Scotland didn’t vote for that. We voted to grow our economy, we voted not to blame the poor and the low paid for the sins of the banks and the bosses. But we’re getting Iain Duncan Smith making Cruella de Vile look like a patron of PETA, and George Osborne being touted as the next Prime Minister. The self immolation of a Labour party that no longer has a clue what it’s there for, what it’s doing, or how it’s supposed to get out of the hole it’s dug for itself means that we’re all facing being condemned to the Conservative con for another decade and a half. You want the Thatcher era all over again, only this time with no family silver in the form of nationalised industries to flog off? Well that’s what you’re getting, No voters. But there’s still an escape route, and it’s marked Indyref2.
In its report on the story, the BBC made the non-point that getting the UK government to agree to another referendum might prove to be very difficult indeed. Like any independence supporter thinks that we require their permission. The letter of the law may very well say that, but law is trumped by politics every time and if there is a large majority in the Scottish Parliament in favour of a referendum, and it is clear that a majority of the Scottish public wants independence, then we will have a referendum and we will have independence irrespective of what Westminster wants.
You want a legal principle for this? It’s perfectly easy – it’s the principle familiar to hundreds of thousands of Scottish people when told that they can’t do something, the principle of “Aye, that will be right.” Scotland is still on the highway to independence, we’ve not reached the exit yet, but the journey is getting close to its end. We’ll know that we’re there when opinion polls show a consistent majority in favour of independence. And then we can have a party, and get down to some serious work.
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