The Tories should be careful what they wish for

Writing in the Times newspaper, Professor of political science Matt Qvortup has warned Boris Johnson of the political dangers of taking the Scottish government to court in order to block a second independence referendum. Qvortup believes that the UK Supreme Court would rule that an independence referendum without the express consent of the Westminster parliament would be unlawful. He draws a parallel to Catalonia, where the Spanish Supreme Court ruled that the Catalan independence referendum was unconstitutional and against the law.

Qvortup is a professor of political science, not a lawyer. Some legal experts such as the former Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins are far less certain that the courts would ultimately rule in favour of Westminster and decide that a consultative referendum held by Holyrood was in fact unlawful. The legal position is far from clear, unlike in Spain. What is certain is that the very act of an unpopular Conservative Prime Minister taking legal action in order to thwart the democratic will of the people of Scotland would itself have massive political consequences irrespective of the eventual outcome.

There are enormous political and legal differences between Spain and the UK in terms of the political and legal status of independence movements, and these differences make for a very distinct political context in the UK which means that a ruling from the UK Supreme Court that Holyrood did not have the legal right to hold another independence referendum without the express consent of Downing Street would most certainly not be the end of the matter. Indeed Qvortup believes that such a ruling would only strengthen the desire for independence within Scotland and make Scottish independence more likely rather than pulling the rug from underneath the independence movement in Scotland forever as Boris Johnson and the Conservatives might hope.

Catalonia is a part of Spain because of the dynastic union of the Crown of Aragon (which included Catalonia) and the Crown of Castile (basically the rest of modern Spain). However Catalonia retained considerable self-government until the king in Madrid unilaterally abolished the Catalan Parliament, known as la Generalitat, in the aftermath of the War of Spanish Succession in 1707 and imposed centralised rule throughout the entire Spanish state. There was never any question of the Catalan parliament or the people of Catalonia being consulted on the matter, far less was their consent required. The old Catalan parliament was abolished because it had supported the losing side in the War of Spanish Succession.

The biggest and most important difference between the UK and Spain is that the Spanish Constitution quite explicitly specifies that no part of the territory of the Spanish state has the right to independence.The territory of Spain, the constitution states, is una e indivisible “one and indivisible”. An independence referendum in Catalonia would be unlawful even if the government in Madrid was disposed to give consent to it. The only path to independence recognised as lawful by the Spanish constitution would be via a referendum held throughout Spain. The equivalent for Scotland would entail Scottish independence being approved in a UK-wide referendum.

The UK’s political and constitutional tradition is very different from Spain’s. The understanding of traditional Scottish Unionism and all British governments has always been that the UK is a union founded on consent and that it is for the people of Scotland to decide whether to continue the union or to end it. This difference is due to the varying ways in which the modern states of Spain and the UK were formed. Although Scotland was under severe economic and political pressure from England, the Union of 1707 which abolished the old Scottish Parliament was a voluntary one. If forming the Union was voluntary on the part of Scotland, ending it should be voluntary on the part of Scotland too.

The voluntary nature of the union has always been the view of successive British Governments. The Scottish Claim of Right which states that the people of Scotland have the right to determine the form of government best suited to their needs was adopted and approved by the Westminster Parliament. The referendum of 2014 set a precedent. That referendum came about because Westminster accepted that the people of Scotland had elected a government with a manifesto commitment to an independence referendum, as the people of Scotland did again in 2019.

By signing the Edinburgh Agreement the British Government implicitly accepted that it’s for the people of Scotland to decide whether or not Scotland should become independent. If Johnson’s government was to take legal action in order to block another referendum, irrespective of the judgement eventually delivered, it would be a clear signal that the British Government no longer believes that the question of Scottish independence is for the people of Scotland to decide. That would be as clear a political statement as possible that the traditional understanding of the Union was dead. That would still be the case even if they attempted the transparent ruse of getting a supposedly private individual to take the case on their behalf. This is why the Conservatives have carefully avoided saying that they’d take legal action to block a referendum if the Scottish Government presses ahead with one.

If the UK Supreme Court, packed full – as Qvortup points out – with posh English lawyers, was to rule that the occupant of 10 Downing Street had an effective veto on a Scottish independence referendum, it would destroy the traditional foundations of Scottish Unionism. Scotland’s membership of the Union of the UK would no longer rest upon the consent of the people of Scotland but rather upon the will of a Prime Minister in Downing Street from a party which Scotland didn’t necessarily vote for, and in the case of Boris Johnson a Prime Minister who is massively unpopular in Scotland.

Qvortup warns the Conservatives that the anger that this would create in Scotland would lead to a boost in support for independence and the generation of considerable political capital for the pro-independence parties. With a Scottish First Minister who enjoys a high reputation abroad and a British Prime Minister who is widely disliked and distrusted in Europe, this could lead to significant international pressure on Downing Street to concede to the democratic will of the people of Scotland, pressure which the Scottish Government would be quick to exploit. And ultimately, no British Government can prevent the people of Scotland from voting explicitly for independence in a Westminster General Election or a Scottish Parliamentary election.

Qvortup’s warning to the Conservatives who would like a court ruling that Holyrood cannot hold an independence referendum without the Prime Minister’s permission is to be very careful what you wish for. The political consequences will only make Scottish independence more likely in the longer term.


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114 comments on “The Tories should be careful what they wish for

  1. Maizi wilson says:

    Thank you for this. I found it really interesting and informative. I was never massively interested in politics until recently, mainly because I come from a very politically driven family. I was very young when my uncle Gordon was snp party leader, so spent a lot of my childhood with my family canvassing for snp. At that age I never understood what was going on, but lately a political fire has been ignited in me, so I am keen to learn as much as I can. I appreciate reading your blogs very much, and thank you for taking the time to write them.

  2. […] Wee Ginger Dug The Tories should be careful what they wish for Writing in the Times newspaper, Professor of political science Matt Qvortup has warned […]

  3. In the end, what the Westminster regime does in reaction to a “consultative” referendum sans §30 order may come down to whether Boris Johnson is so detached from Scottish realities and puffed up with his own self-importance that he tries to quash the independence movement by diktat – which will, as you point out, Paul, will fatally undermine the Unionist case here in Scotland.

  4. Capella says:

    Almost everything Boris Johnston and the Westminster cabal do inches the dial slowly towards independence. It’s like a ratchet. Only the date remains to be decided.

    AUOB are tweeting out the Articles of Union for our edification. Although they are now aligned with Alba and so no longer “ALL” under one banner, it is a good time to revisit the Articles and Treaty.

    You have to click on “show this thread” to read the whole list.

    • Dr Jim says:

      *Abla under one banner* not all if you’re just one, and that one has only 1.7% of the country’s trust

      • Capella says:

        I know. It’s very sad. I won’t be going on any more marches as long as they are aligned with one political party, specially one which is so openly hostile to the only national political party that can deliver independence.
        But tweeting the articles of union and then the treaty of union is quite useful IMO.

    • Movy says:

      I didn’t know AUOB had aligned with Alba.

      That is very sad and I had been looking forward to getting out there again.

      They needed to stay apolitical.

      • grizebard says:

        That’s what “all” means. Supposedly. But as Orwell famously wrote, some always strive to end up more equal than others. And he knew whereof he spoke. A popular movement tends to attract some who operate like that. Occasionally they can assist, but always there’s a hidden agenda.

      • DaveyTee says:

        I’d be interested to hear the evidence for the contention that AUOB is aligned with Alba. To quote from AUOB’s website: “To that end we would like to make it clear that AUOB will never recommend you vote for a specific party or candidate but will instead promote the view that votes should be given to pro-independence parties.” And from their website on 3rd March: “No matter what internal struggle there is, vote SNP on 6th May”. There’s no link on their website to Alba, though there is one to this blog. I’ve no doubt that AUOB would like us to move rather more quickly towards independence than the SNP currently appears to be doing, but that view is shared by a lot of independence supporters, not merely Alba.


        • Capella says:

          Read the first tweet in the thread.

          All Under One Banner
          Aug 25, 2020
          THE TREATY OF UNION between SCOTLAND and ENGLAND 1707
          Over the coming weeks
          will, one by one, tweet the 25 articles to the Treaty of Union, so we can all see exactly what was written, the language that used, and the relationship said to be struck. #VoidTheUnion 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

          • DaveyTee says:

            There appears to be a feminist group run by someone called Sam who tweets as AUOBALBA. It has nothing to do with the Alba party. How can I be so sure? The Alba party was launched in February this year. Sam’s AOUBAlba twitter account substantially predates that (I can’t be bothered reading it all the way back, but it was certainly active as AOUBAlba back in July 2020 and prior to that). It has therefore nothing whatever to do with the Alba party. I doubt if it has anything to do with AUOB for that matter.

            As I stated before, AOUB has denied on several occaions that it supports any one particular party. I quote:

            “All Under One Banner does not exclusively support any one particular Pro-Independence Party, this organisation supports them all. Furthermore AOUB shall not be taking a position on how independence supporters should vote aside from asking everyone to cast their vote for Independence siupporting parties. When AOUB marches start up again after lockdown, as always, everyone who supports independence will be welcome. As such we refuse to let AOUB be subliminally hijacked, and thus divided, by any political party in the run up to the election……We trust everyone will appreciate our stance, knowing that Independence will be restored only if we work together…..We look forward to marching again soon with everyone who suppports self determination for the people of Scotland”.

            I think that’s pretty clear. AOUB is possibly the most effective grass roots movement we have and for you to suggest that they should not be supported is doing the Unionist’s work for them. In particular I would refer you to one phrase above: “We trust that everyone will appreciate our stance knowing that independence will be restored only if we work together”. So let’s do that. It doesn’t matter what party you support as long as you support independence and work towards achieving that goal.


    • Bob Lamont says:

      I’m uncomfortable with this as it makes no sense from AUOB’s perspective, but it makes perfect sense to the Smiley Mc Smiley Union Unit….

  5. Brenda Steele says:

    As I understand it, one of the reasons Sanchez gave clemency is to avoid going all the way in international courts. They get nervous at the possibility that the courts might decide that the right of self determination trumps constitutional laws forbidding secession/independence.

  6. Rob says:

    The legal challenge will presumably come from a proxy rather than the UK government itself – some group purporting to speak for “concerned Scots” but funded by the same dark money that funds the Tory party.

    • Alex Clark says:

      A proxy for the Tories cannot challenge the legality of a Bill they can only challenge the legality of an Act. So this would mean that the Tories must let the Bill receive Royal Assent and become Scottish Law before the proxy could make their move.

      Any attempt to do it this way would look much worse for Westminster in my opinion, as having failed to challenge the Bill before becoming law implies that Westminster accept that Holywood do in fact have the powers necessary to hold a referendum.

      The chances of a proxy then winning a legal battle in the Supreme Court are surely reduced if Westminster has already accepted the Bill should receive Royal Assent without objection from them.

  7. grizebard says:

    I can’t agree with Qvortup here, if only about the likely judgement. In recent decisions of a quasi-constitutional nature, the court has made it clear that the ultimate decision on such matters should be political not juridical, so I cannot see how it could possibly feel rightly able to suppress a widely-supported attempt to sound out Scottish opinion on such a fundamental issue. Despite being fully aware that the result of such a referendum, even if “purely advisory” and conducted without an S30, cannot be ignored and changes everything. (The EURef was also “advisory”, don’t forget.)

    I suspect though that opinions on what the SC might decide, if foolishly pressed to pass judgement on the matter, reflect more the attitude of the person passing the opinion than anything else. But it seems to me that if Bojo in his English Establishment exceptionalism and arrogance takes the matter that far he will be on to a loser whatever decision is reached.

    Qvartup’s expectation, as he indicates, leads to the destruction of any remaining illusion about the true nature of the Union and a serious constitutional crisis of accountability, whereas a contrary decision humiliates a disreputable Prime Minister so badly that it could bring him down, and would open the gates wide to the only outcome which can in any event settle the issue.

    Either way, the BoJo-led English Empire falters still more if it tries this latest bluff. It may be rather too slow-mo for some, but it’s very definitely “game on”.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Spot on

    • grizebard says:

      I should add that those who have taken to decrying, with no evidence whatever, that Nicola Sturgeon’s ongoing engagements with influential national leaders and the UN are merely motivated by selfish personal self-advancement, couldn’t be more misjudged. (Opinions, incidentally, which may reveal more about their own characters instead.) This effort isn’t personal, it’s establishing an insurance policy for the nation. She is building up international goodwill and support that may need to be called upon if observers like Qvartup prove correct.

  8. gavinochiltree says:

    The SC would have to rule that the UK constitution, which allows-
    A. England/UK to hold referenda when they hold a majority at Westminster.
    B. Northern Ireland being acknowledged to have the “right to self-determination” and to hold referenda (with a spacing of seven years) to uphold that right.
    Has no place in its Articles for Scotland.
    That UK constitution would require Scotland to have no right to self-determination or the ability to test that right by a plebiscite, even though that right to self-determination is a cardinal point of international law, and was one of the principles in the Atlantic Charter.

    My preference would be for Boris to be so afraid to lose face, if he loses his case, that he would simply abandon the Union. Few English Tories give a tinkers curse for Scotland, so watch this space!

    • Geraint says:

      Also worth remembering that in 2002 there was a referendum in Gibraltar and in 2013 the Falkland Islanders had a voted on on their status. I guess all these would be brought up in a Supreme Court case which would make a veto by No. 10 look very inconsistent.

  9. JMD says:

    More likely…. “in the longer term”

    Posted without comment

    • grizebard says:

      Well, we might all want “instant independence” as a handy packet to which we just had to add some water and mix.

      But real life’s a tad more awkward than that, isn’t it?

      To achieve what we all want is, above all, about persuading more of our fellow citizens who still need convincing that independence is in their own best interests. Which for the vast majority it is.

      For which we need to remain steadfast and self-confident, open to engage with the unconvinced (as Paul so effectively does) while also prepared to confront our real enemies, not each other. Wouldn’t you say…?

  10. Dr Jim says:

    You want to see Johnson waffle and splutter? @Pete Wishart Twitter, give yourselves a laugh

  11. Welsh_Siôn says:

    Is irony lost on the Tories? (Sorry, probably a rhetorical question.)

    It seems as if they are moving to a war-footing with SG in respect to the legal competence of the said Government to call for an indy ref. Their argument, I take it, is that SG would be acting outwith its powers in so doing – acting ultra vires – and that matters of the Constitution are reserved to Westminster.

    The method of establishing (or otherwise) the ultra vires act of the SG would be by way of application for judicial review (at least in England and Wales – different rules may apply in Scotland, as I only studied English [sic] Law).

    That same judicial review process Johnson and Co are trying to limit to us citizens/subjects of EnglandandWales [sic] with regard to our questioning the legality of actions of HMG at Westminster.

    You couldn’t make it up. But with this lot, you’re not surprised either.

    • James Mills says:

      ”You couldn’t make it up !” – actually they do make it up most of the time , particularly Johnson who couldn’t convey a simple health message in the last 18 months of the pandemic without muttering and gibbering nonsensically .

      Is it any wonder that the UK is in such dire straits ? And HE is the PM , First among equals ! So if they are all equally bad …hence the dire straits .
      a buffoon in No 10 ,
      A Banker in charge of Health ( in England ) ,
      a sociopath in charge of the Home Office ,
      a former ( ? ) financial speculator in charge of the money ,
      an 18th C throwback in charge of the business of Parliament ,
      an idiot in the Foreign office who didn’t know that Dover was a major import/export Port ,
      and then there is Gove ! Enough said !

    • andyfromdunning says:

      A review had been carried out already in the Court of Session. The People’s Action Clause 30 lost on legal ‘standing’. Had Scotgov not pulled out we would already have the right to hold a binding referendum.

      • Bob Lamont says:

        Please desist with the conspiracy theories.
        NONE of us yet know the reason behind SG withdrawing from the case.
        NONE of us know what the outcome would have been had they not withdrawn.
        Thereby your “Had Scotgov not pulled out we would already have the right” is complete claptrap, nobody knows nor could know, period.

        • andyfromdunning says:

          They did withdraw, the Lord Advocate a member of Scotgov fought the case against the Peoples Action. It would have won had they not withdrawn. I have listened to the court sessions and read all the updates have you?
          The SNP are not part of the Sainthood although you seem to think so. You challenge any non SNP supporting comment. Give us a break. You do not know the facts if you did you would say a different tune.

          • Bob Lamont says:

            There you go, you “listened to the court sessions and read all the updates”, point me to the part in the judgement handed down which states “It would have won had they not withdrawn”, I’ll wait…

      • Dr Jim says:

        I’m afraid that’s a nonsense story cooked up by the Qanon Bath changeling to feed the “I hate the SNP” mob
        The business of the law and legality is not in the business of right wrong or faux opinionated outrage, just because folk are lead to believe a case is just and righteous doesn’t make it legally winnable which this case turned out not to be so

        • andyfromdunning says:

          You are wrong. I was one on the 10000 and this had nothing to do with bath. It was a crowd funded legal case in Scotland to get us a referendum

  12. IzzieL says:

    I have been involved with the SNP for 60 years as a result of getting to know the McCormack family in my student days in Glasgow.

    The one thing I would like to see before I die is an independent Scotland for the benefit of generations to come.

    Personally, much as I appreciate Paul’s articles and his commitment to the cause, I feel with this particular article (and I am in agreement with his comments) it is now time to be less analytical and time to cut to the chase.

    The time has come for Scots to spend more time on emphasising our assets and asking the big question over and over again until we get an answer.

    The question? Why does England want to hold on to Scotland? I use the words hold on advisedly, because that is what the English view is.

  13. Gregory R Nunn says:

    Lawyers, the intelligentsia, and the politicians do not decide the will of the people.
    We already effectively have a democratic tyranny, whereby the voters of Scotland in sum total cannot enact anything unless the vastly larger population of England supports it.
    Let’s not confuse right and wrong with legal and illegal. When those things agree (right and legal), it is typically a lucky coincidence.
    If the people of Scotland want out, declare it and leave.
    Sure, the UK may park some Challengers about the place, especially on the Clyde, but then we all know where we stand then, don’t we?

    • Alex Clark says:

      How to determine “If the people of Scotland want out” is the issue, not what we do after establishing that.

      • James Mills says:

        In any ‘normal ‘ democracy a majority vote for an Independence Party would suffice to get the ball rolling .

        However in this Ruritanian throwback called the UK , who the f*ck knows ?

        We were told by Thatcher that a simple majority of SNP MPs would suffice – that happened – move the goalposts .

        Put Independence/referendum in your manifesto – that happened – move the goalposts .

        Gain a majority of Independence MSPs in the Scottish Parliament – that happened – move the goalposts .

        Win every election in Scotland since 2007 – not really proof of anything !

        Independence Party gain a bigger vote share than the ruling UK Government – Hmmm- doesn’t count .

        Maybe if every Scot ex-pat ( except Andrew Neil and Michael Gove ) registered their support of independence – dearie me , we can’t have ”foreigners ” voting in our sacred elections ( unless they guaranteed to vote against Indy ! )

        What if we allowed every No vote to count double in the referendum – ( hang on while we do the sums with Jackie Baillie’s calculator …)

        • Alex Clark says:

          None of those examples are evidence that a majority of “the people of Scotland want out”. Only a fairly held referendum can answer that question.

        • grizebard says:

          You seem to be falling for English Government bluff. I choose to believe that the bluff will be called, and soon enough there will be an indyref2, with or without “permission” from anybody, and it will well-and-truly sink the Union. The English Government give every impression that they agree with me on that.

    • grizebard says:

      “Challengers”, eh? {roll eyes}

      You seem somewhat conflicted, both proclaiming the power of the people yet apparently expecting it won’t make any actual difference! {laugh}

      Oh, and a small detail that (like some others) you seem to miss: how do you propose to determine what everyone wants? Do you decide? Does it have to be every single person or what? What if the people of Scotland seem to be fairly divided, as now? Could be slightly inconvenient, no? Do you want to copy Catalonia?

      I fear you are currently getting way ahead of yourself. Chill.

    • Alec Lomax says:

      Intelligentsia? Preferable to unintelligentsia, I presume?

    • arayner1936 says:

      I have thought for a while now that declaring the Union of 1707 is over is the way to go.
      If we were granted a referendum by Westminster, it would be under their rules and they would cheat as in 2014.
      There have been enough breaches of the Treaty by our southern neighbours, including the recent N I Protocol and the imposed UK Single Market to give us grounds.
      We would get support from the UN and advice on the franchise, how to avoid outside interference and how to negotiate with England, the only other signatory.
      Once we knew the terms, we could hold a confirmatory referendum if it was felt necessary. By then I would hope it would be a formality.
      Only problem is to persuade the current Holyrood government to fire the first shot, metaphorically!

  14. andyfromdunning says:

    The recent Peoples Action Clause 30 run by Martin Keatings and supported by 10,000 of us lost on one issue. That us, the proposers did not have legal standing. In other words we were not in the social elite, an MP or an MSP.

    The Scottish Government pulled out of the action early on and via the Lord Advocate fought against the action.

    Had they supported it the case would have had standing. This means that it would have won and that Scotland would have had the right to hold a referendum binding on Westminster even without their consent.

    Had we not been letdown by Scotgov you would not have had to write this good article of yours Paul as the Professor you refer to would have had nothing to write about.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      “This means that it would have won” – Claptrap, nobody knows.

      • andyfromdunning says:

        The ruling by the Court of Session stated in writing that it lost because of the legal issue of Standing. Read the ruling and please do not give an of the shoulder opinion based on no knowledge

    • Dr Jim says:

      I’m afraid that was one giant leap from the legal expert Lord Justice Stuart Campbell of Bath right there, he was wrong then and he’s wrong now and what makes it worse he knew it just like he knew he’d lose the Kezia Dugdale case because he was advised by his own lawyers that he would lose but nonetheless proceeded to fleece his readers of the cash to pay for his hubris to make his political point about being victimised by *the man*

      Righteousness self or otherwise has no bearing on the law

      • andyfromdunning says:

        Wrong, please read above, nothing to do with Wings. Your statement is misinformed and wrong. The case is published line read it.

    • Golfnut says:

      Are you the Andyfromsomewhere that used to come on to wings when any constitutional issue was being discussed and tell us you don’t visit independence sites to read this rubbish and anyway you were a lawyer, not constitutional, and Westminster do what they like because they were sovereign.

      • andyfromdunning says:

        No. I have not been on Wings since about 2016. Why do you and others above have difficulty on this. It is a matter of public record. Search the web for Court of Session rulings, 10000 Scots funded this and a team of Scots legal beavers brought the case.
        Note that the lawyer heading the case is being persued by Scotgov for costs which will bankrupt him. The English are not looking for costs.

        • Hamish100 says:

          Andy from…you chose to fund a court case. That is you right. Others didn’t. That is their right. Don’t blame others that you didn’t get the result you wanted.
          As for the lawyer concerned being perused for costs. Good old England aren’t pursuing costs?
          So what.

          Set up a crowdfunder for him.

          Too many rash actions in my mind.

  15. Dr Jim says:

    Here’s a wee scenario to think about, *Crown Dependencies*
    Scotland is offered an Independence referendum because Westminster knows this time they will lose, but in return for that referendum the Liberal Democrats get their sneaky plan that they’ve been prodding their Tory bosses on for years of the Shetland Islands becoming a Crown Dependency with all oil revenues accruing to it within it’s new found territorial waters, remembering of course that Shetland lands almost as much fish on its own as the whole of England put together as well, so owning that little piece of Scotland in perpetuity and the sea and overfly passage area it would be entitled to would be a deal England would love to have

    I know this is something that the Tories have been seriously looking at because yet again at business questions in the House of Commons Jacob Rees Mogg slipped up and opened his mouth on such a plan this very morning in a reply to the SNP, of course Nicola Sturgeon would never in a thousand years accede to such a dastardly plot but it does show how England is thinking about how much they can steal from Scotland before they lose ownership, and how much value they actually place on Scotlands so called doomed rubbish economy that has no future according to them

    The very suggestion of this tells us all we need to know about how much England knows Scotland is worth and what they might be prepared to do to hold on to our cash and assets
    One also wonders if the people of Shetland know and understand what the Liberal Democrats get up to behind their backs with a plan to sell their Islands to England in either a grubby deal or a rigged referendum, and if they realised what would happen to the Shetland Islands if they even considered such a thing, Shetland would sink under the weight of a million new *residents* within a year, do they want that? I doubt it

    The machinations of the Unionists eh

    • Iain says:

      Westminster have intervened/interfered in Shetland before (in the 70s) and they will do it again in the hope that sufficient numbers of Shetlanders will feel flattered by the attention London is heaping on them. On cue, up will pop some local worthy or Liberal to remind the Shetlanders how bad the Scottish state was historically for Shetland, and hey presto Michael Gove will agree.
      Then Shetland will find itself fleeced to help finance a new railway line between London and Wootton Bassett, a new airport for Chipping Wotsit and a new international tiddlywinks stadium in Taunton.

      • Capella says:

        This was well aired in the run up to Indyref1. According to polls, Shetlanders have no desire to break away from Scotland.
        But even if they did, their maritime boundary would only be 12 miles because they would be an enclave within Scotland’s 200 mile boundary. Craig Murray said this was the case IIRC.

        • Golfnut says:

          I have no problem with Shetlanders deciding to rejoin England, but they are within the constitutional legal jurisdiction of Scots law and therefore must wait until Scotland as a country withdraws from the Union with England.
          I’m fairly confident that the rumblings from Westminster on this issue are more a propaganda threat than a realistic attempt to remove territory from Scotland.

        • Petra says:

          I reckon that the Island Medics programme is another wee establishment ploy being used to encourage individuals to relocate to Shetland from elsewhere. Hoping of course that the vast majority who do relocate will support remaining in the Union.

  16. andyfromdunning says:

    I am an SNP supporter and have been since 2007.

    Over the last few weeks there had been a good few snide comments about Alba. I am unsure about Alba personally but they do support Yes, as do the Greens. This blog is for all Yessers as I understand it. The SNP are a political party as are the others. Reflect on comments and articles from them by all means but I fear this blog runs the risk of becoming and SNP party page that attacks any perceived non party opinion be that opinion factual or not.

    Many Yessers are cheesed of at lots of pre election promises over years. If the SNP do not deliver documentation and a referendum soon I fear many of us will move to Alba. At present I wait and see.

    I am sure that this note will be attract negative comment had I say things about the SNP without kneeling whilst typing it,

    • Bob Agassi says:

      Many Yessers are cheesed of at lots of pre election promises over years

      Can you provide some examples of these promises ?

      • arayner1936 says:

        For the record, I am a Yesser who is unhappy about the lack of progress on Scottish Independence from out government, which specifically promised in its manifesto to work towards it.
        I am not an SNP member but I want to see some real action. If there is nothing definite announced in September, I will have to consider whether or not to support them further, eg in the next local elections.

    • Golfnut says:

      Classic poor me. Anyway I’m sticking with who I think you are.

    • grizebard says:

      “I have been a supporter since…” – that’s not a good start already. (Never a member though – some ideological purity getting in the way, perhaps?)

      Alas though we’re all out of “instant indy mix”, so we each have to deal with that somehow, which has to start by thinking positively, not woefully whinging in public about our own side’s imaginary failings.

  17. Hamish100 says:

    Your choice to join the 1.6% When’s the democratic elections for selecting candidates? Does this include people living abroad?

    Remember this simple fact. Just because we want Independence does not mean others do. Another failure as in 2014 is not acceptable. You would have thought Salmond would realise that.

  18. Hamish100 says:

    SNP member since mid 70’s. No extra brownie points.

    I will agree with this though. Sitting, not kneeling -silly comment by the way, the SNP will have to deliver a referendum ( consultative or otherwise) this parliamentary session.

  19. Dr Jim says:

    In 2012 Alex Salmond wanted a three option referendum including YES NO and Devo Max, David Cameron knew Devo Max would likely command more votes so refused that option because the Tories have and had no intention of ever handing Scotland more powers and he was sure he could win the referendum with a NO vote, and he did

    Here we are in 2021 where Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to hold an Independence referendum with no deviations from YES or NO in this term of parliament, yet we have the ABLA party still chuntering on about Nicola Sturgeon getting on with *getting* Independence but all the while Alex Salmonds position on this has been and still is Devo Max until such time as maybe later whenever in the future sometime maybe never he’d get round to it if the electorate ever decide to trust him again, which they won’t because he’s even more unpopular than Boris Johnson now, and that takes some doing

    1.7% of the vote should tell anybody exactly what they need to know about the future of the Alex Salmond party and what the Scottish electorate think of it, him, and their end game

    People think they were close to Independence in 2014 but didn’t know they really weren’t as close as they thought they were, now in this moment Scotland has never been closer to the real deal and if they vote for it it’ll happen, that was never certain in 2014

    • grizebard says:

      I have no insight into what AS was thinking back when, but I suggest it’s possibly more correct to say he “offered” a Devo Max option rather than he “wanted” one, since it was very likely – as you say – enhanced devolution would have won majority support over his (presumable) personal preference for full indy. Possibly even he secretly thought that the unexpectedly early opportunity for an indyref was premature, but in the event had to take the opportunity anyway. His then No.2 may well have learnt something useful from that experience.

      Those currently chafing for an instant IR2 might well usefully reflect on that situation also. The elephant in the room that the uber-impatient continually miss, both then and still, is a reliable appreciation of the degree of support for indy that currently exists – and perhaps more importantly, is likely to be garnered during a decent full-on campaign. It’s fair to argue that the SNP have to show willing, which some of its representatives clearly have not, but we must give the leadership fair due for not wanting to crash-and-burn with another premature indyref.

  20. Golfnut says:

    Coming home, no it’s not.

    Somebody needs send this to the English.

  21. Petra says:

    Good find Golfnut however it’s just been reported on BBC new (5 minutes ago) that the English invented football.

    ”Kasper Schmeichel was asked what it would mean to stop football from ‘coming home’ … 😅.”


    ‘Uefa opens disciplinary proceedings against England following Denmark semi-final.’

  22. Petra says:

    Joanna Cherry:- ”The Prime Minister & his UK Govt have shown us they have no respect for democracy or the rule of law. No wonder they fear a judge-led inquiry into their handling of COVID-19 contracts.”


    ‘The SNP’s insistence that Trident be removed should be a total non-starter.’

    ..T”his would be a mammoth undertaking with no alternative area.”..

    • grizebard says:

      Another piece of empty posturing from a Labour member of the Great House of the People (Ermine-clad) and former MP for the nuclear sub-building corner of England. (So another perfectly unbiased opinion then.)

      A pathetic attempt to resurrect Labour’s hoary old “NATO won’t accept an independent Scotland” line, oh, and leave a vast swathe of the North Atlantic outside its strategic operating area then, fine. (Oh, where is indyref2 these days when you need him?)

      But anyway, when you take an ever-so-brief moment to think about it, this kind of bleating emphatically signals that in the eventual negotiations over the dissolution agreement, we will have imperious England over a barrel with that one.

      No wonder they’re getting nervous. They can see what’s coming and realise that the BoJo Big Bluff is sailing down the Swannee. (If some supposed independence supporters could only see it too.)

  23. Petra says:

    ”United Kingdom has worst Covid in Europe. WHO rely on statistics from UKgov which are always several days behind, latest average is to July 3rd. UK populates most top 20 worst places in WHO chart, 13 entries. Scotland worst with 8 of those, other 5 are from other areas UK.”


    ‘WHO European Region COVID19 Subnational Explorer.’

  24. Dr Jim says:

    BBC Reporting Scotland just regaled us all to a Union political broadcast on behalf of Tory MP Ben Wallace the defence secretary who advised us that no longer would the warships of England be built in Scotland and oh what a sorry mess we’d be in if Scotland voted for the Independence Boris Johnson says we’re not allowed to vote for

    • Petra says:

      Deja vu, Dr Jim. Do you remember Jim Murphy warning us that with independence Scotland would become a foreign country and would no longer be building ”their” ships. I searched for the relevant YouTube video but it seems to have disappeared.


      ‘UK ministers get easy ride from ‘softball’ BBC News At Six, research finds.’

      • Welsh_Siôn says:

        No video, Petra, but this from The Scotsman, 12 Feb 2012.

        Jim Murphy warns that independence could cost ‘thousands’ of defence jobs

        SCOTTISH Labour warned today that there are “significant unanswered questions” about the impact of independence on defence.

        Jim Murphy, the Shadow Defence Secretary, said separation could cost “thousands” of jobs in Scotland’s shipyards as a result of lost contract.

        Murphy said: “The Clyde is a working river. It has to stay open for business for generations to come, but separation would wipe it out because we’d lose the biggest order book going.”

        Mr Murphy was speaking following comments made in a Scottish Sunday newspaper by ex-Royal Navy head Admiral Lord West.

        The former First Sea Lord told the Sunday Mail: “If Scotland became completely independent, there is no way that what would be left of the UK would build its warships in another country.

        “The Clyde yards would be entirely reliant on foreign orders from countries who don’t have their own shipbuilding industries.

        “If I was on the board of BAE, I would be questioning whether there should be more investment there until we know if Scotland is going to become a separate country”.

        Mr Murphy said: “Defence is a crucial industry in Scotland and we are strongest when we work together. For decades we have benefited from contracts to build Royal Navy ships. It’s the size of the Navy order book that sustains our yards.

        “In good times and in bad, thousands of Scots workers including my own dad have worked on those famous ships. The aircraft carriers being built on the Clyde and Rosyth right now are the biggest in our history and almost three times the length of a football pitch.

        “It’s crystal clear that if we leave Britain then we leave the Royal Navy. If we lose the Navy we lose the work in the yards. That would cost thousands of skilled jobs and many more in small companies in the supply chain.

        “I don’t want Scotland to be a foreign country to the rest of the UK and the Royal Navy hasn’t built a warship in a foreign country in living memory.

        “It’s time for the Nationalists to come clean. Pretending this isn’t a real and pressing risk is deeply irresponsible and treating people like fools. Instead of their games and gimmicks on a multiple question referendum they need to provide answers on how many of the jobs will be lost”.

        • Petra says:

          Thanks for that WS. Looks as though they’ve got a wee list of scaremongering stories that they pull out and refer to every time that they think that they’re losing one of their cash cows.

          If they can do it, we can do it.

        • Dr Jim says:

          Isn’t it funny how all the other countries that became Independent manage to build ships for their own defence and coastal requirements, and planes, and tanks, and warry stuff they might need, and military services and personnel to go with them

          The other thing the English government never mention is the fact that when Scotland becomes Independent they cannae sail their wee boats or fly their wee planes in or around Scotland without permission from the Scottish government so if they want to pretend to play silly buggers threatening peoples jobs they might want to think on a wee bit about the word co operation, y’know that thing they forgot about with the EU that’s now biting them in the bum and will continue to do so until they climb doon off their gunboat turret and stop being big weans stamping their wee feet

  25. Petra says:

    ‘For the RNLI to save the life of an asylum seeker at peril at sea could be a criminal offence carrying a life sentence in the future.’


    ‘Lesley Riddoch: A second independence referendum must be held in 2022.’

    • grizebard says:

      I can’t access the article itself behind its paywall, but it keeps having to be said for every impatient random Tweeterist insisting on a premature fixed date: if your itch was scratched right now, what makes you so damn sure that an actual majority of the people of Scotland are as ready as you are to make the Big Break…?

      • Alex Clark says:

        Lesley Riddoch article

        • Petra says:

          Is the Lesley Riddoch article that I posted behind a paywall?

          • Alex Clark says:

            It’s for subscribers only, many of the National links are.

            • Petra says:

              I am a subscriber Alex and can read it in full on here. Can nobody else see it?

              • Alex Clark says:

                I don’t subscribe and can only read articles available to subscribers by archiving them. Most often they have already been archived by someone else but if not then archiving it makes the full article available.

                • Petra says:

                  Thanks for that explanation Alex, however I still can’t understand how I can see that article on full on here but others are having problems. Duh!

                  • Alex Clark says:

                    I think you are likely “permanently” logged in as a subscriber, if you delete your cookies or if it’s possible to log out of the National then you will see what non-subscribers see.

          • grizebard says:

            Yes, tout court. Even Alex’s previously effective nostrum of accessing via a private window doesn’t work with some, like this one. You get the headline and the first sentence or so, then an offer to subscribe, and that’s yer lot.

            • Alex Clark says:

              Accessing via a private window doesn’t give you the full article, but archiving by pasting the article address into the website does.

              • grizebard says:

                Alas, no. (Not for me anyway.) The whole article flashed up briefly, then the “subscribe block” popped-up again, both with a “normal” window and with a “private” one.

                But thanks anyway for the try!

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Interestingly just listening to the Lesley Riddoch Podcast where she and Pat touch on the logic behind her article which makes perfect sense. Several good points discussed as always…

  26. Petra says:

    ‘The ten pillars of fascist politics.’


    John Bruton: ‘UK ministers need to read the NI protocol they signed.’

    ..”Brexit was a British idea. Brexit means border controls. They should deal with the logical consequences of their own freely chosen policies.”..

  27. Petra says:

    ‘Tory government betraying pensioners.’

    ..”The SNP has warned the Tory government against betraying pensioners across the UK by scrapping the triple lock on pensions and breaking yet another manifesto commitment.”..


    ‘MOD employment in Scotland: facts based on the official data – falling in total and falling as a percentage of UK deployment.’

  28. Petra says:

    Here we go again!

    ‘Patients face 15-hour wait in (English) hospital A&E as summer crisis grips NHS.’

    ..”Dr Katherine Henderson, president of the college said: “We have a serious problem in urgent and emergency care. We are deeply concerned. We are facing record-breaking figures in the high summer. We can only begin to imagine what this winter may bring. Busy departments are a threat to patient safety, it increases the chance of crowding and corridor care, this risk is significantly increased if covid and non-covid patients are sharing the space for long periods of time.”..


    Check out Ann’s latest links on the Indyref2 site.

    • Legerwood says:

      The most recent weekly A&E figures for Scotland published by Public Health Scotland. They are almost back to their pre-Covid levels which were generally between 25,000 to 30,000 per week usually towards the higher end of that range..

      “”Attendances at A&E services in NHSScotland has seen a large drop since the week ending 22 March 2020, this will be due to the measures put in place to respond to COVID-19.

      During week ending 27 June 2021:

      There were 26,406 attendances at A&E services in NHSScotland.
      84.1% of attendances at A&E services were seen and resulted in a subsequent admission, transfer or discharge within 4 hours.
      529 patients spent more than 8 hours in an A&E department.
      122 patients spent more than 12 hours in an A&E department.””

  29. Tormod says:

    Re paywalls. If you delete your history you can access some sites a lot easier until you use up your freebies however few they may be. Alternatively on chrome just hit the refresh button and the moment it refreshes hit the cross button which is the same to stop the paywall thing but you have got to be fast, very fast. It’s a bit sneaky but it works for me. Practice makes perfect as they say.

    • Valkyrie says:

      On Firefox, or some of its variants, if you hit the F12 key, you open up the built in editor tools.
      If you know the code well enough, you can use this to manipulate the source code of the page downloaded into your browser. If it’s the kind that just covers up the rest of the page or blurs out the text, you can remove it there and read what’s under it. (Doesn’t actually affect the site itself, only what your browser has downloaded and rendered, if you reload the page, any changes revert as the page is re-downloaded).

      The coding for most sites nowadays is a lot more overcomplicated than it needs to be, with designers caring more about flashy looks and marketing beacons than actual functionality ‘cos that’s how they’re trained, more theory less practice. And this can introduce weak points that can be exploited if you know how.

    • Capella says:

      Thx Tormod – hitting the refresh button quickly just worked for me on Opera. Unfortunately, it is a Telegraph article on Incels. I think I’ll leave it till tomorrow as it’s a bit grim.

  30. Statgeek says:

    Elephant in the room…why is a court in England deciding the fate of Scotland’s governance?

  31. Petra says:

    The Lancet: ‘Mass infection is not an option: we must do more to protect our young.’

    ..”In light of these grave risks, and given that vaccination offers the prospect of quickly reaching the same goal of population immunity without incurring them, we consider any strategy that tolerates high levels of infection to be both unethical and illogical. The UK Government must reconsider its current strategy and take urgent steps to protect the public, including children. We believe the government is embarking on a dangerous and unethical experiment, and we call on it to pause plans to abandon mitigations on July 19, 2021.”..


    ‘How Britain Became the First Country in the World to Surrender to Covid: This is What it Means to Be the Dumbest Country in the World.’

  32. Dr Jim says:

    Every day this week BBC Scotland has reported Scotland as being the Covid capital of Europe but oddly today they said nothing about it, why was that I wondered? well because last night new figures revealed that in fact England had overtaken Scotland in the blame game of high Covid cases, so the media do what the media do and remain silent on the issue because well they’re not in the business of reporting on Englands figures are they……… except when it suits them and when they look better than Scotlands

    In Scotland we’re pretty peaceful folk, in some other countries the BBC would have no building left over what they do

    • Bob Lamont says:

      The propaganda angle was to be fair, blatantly obvious, how do folks relate to Khazakhstan or a Moscow commune in their sense of the world in which the “He said nothing” Nick Robinson failure haunts ?
      It was fascinating to read the Times article which ran in parallel looking at major UK conurbations, while HMS Sarah Smith and all political opposition to SG doggedly stuck to their “Scotland is Shite” story of the day for political not factual reasons.
      That PQ attempted to further exploit this nonsense to compare England’s “Freedom Day”, was extremely foolish, little wonder Smirky McSmirk never made it beyond Sub Lt.
      For propaganda see BBC Scotland, for facts look anywhere else… Public Service Broadcaster was never intended to mean roger-ing the public, yet that’s what it’s become…

  33. Petra says:

    ‘The blind spot of real nationalism.’

    ..”You just have to look at the way our democratically elected representatives are treated on any given day in the Commons chamber, or the way they, or any other advocates of an independent Scotland, are treated by the heavily unionist-weighted media in their reporting, or whilst being interviewed, to see that there is no respect given to anyone in public life not wanting to be British and proud. These attitudes will not change.”..


    ‘Three new voices add to support for indyref2.’

  34. Petra says:

    Excellent article from stewartb.

    ‘When does a ‘Right Honourable’ man’s scaremongering cross a line to dishonour?’


    More facts.

    ‘Powerhouse Scotland subject to highest grid charges in Europe.’

    ..”For decades, Scotland has been shafted by Westminster mismanagement, but their ignorance to the disparity on electricity grid charges is staggering. While companies in the south of England are paid to connect to the grid, those in Scotland have to pay for this service – making the energy a staggering 20% more expensive.”..

  35. Petra says:

    How many more ”Boris Johnson” issues will the Standards Committee have to scrutinise? The list could be endless.


    They should all be getting done for lying too.

    Peter Stefanovic:- ”This is absolutely shocking. On @BBCBreakfast
    today Rishi Sunak told viewers twice, completely unchallenged. “The number of people in poverty has fallen as a result of the actions the Gov’t has taken over last several years.” I think we need to put the record straight on that!

  36. Dr Jim says:

    It never ceases to amaze me at times how dense some folk are, Nicola Sturgeon hires an economist who used to work for the UK government and folk claim she’s betraying the cause, it’s not Rangers hiring an ex Celtic player to play football. oh wait, they did that and he played fine for the club that paid him, can’t folk tell the difference between policy makers and folk who work for the policy makers

  37. Hamish100 says:

    Dr Jim,

    They don’t care. They wish to undermine the FM which is more important to them than independence. After all she won the election. How dare she.

    After all they are the purists on their 1% vote.

    In their dreams they would hold the balance of power over the snp. What they couldn’t achiev from the inside they would gang up with others on the outside. What they didn’t realise that they were talking to themselves.

    They join the unionists in that respect.

  38. Tam the Bam says:


  39. malkymcblain says:

    Breaking news! New proof that there is a supreme deity watching over us emerged in North London overnight.

Comments are closed.