With the UK Supreme Court determining that the Scottish parliament does not have the right to legislate independence in November, it is now an issue that has been legally relegated to a matter of party politics. It indeed continues to be a point of contention among the party faithful and their fervent detractors, but does the ruling now mean the debate lacks the potency that it has had so far? What does this rule mean for the treatment of the discussion within the operations of government and the civil service?
Formerly, the call for independence had been forced upon Scots by the government itself – despite polls often indeterminably erring from one side to another so frequently – with £20 million of taxpayer’s money being committed to a second referendum in the Scottish government budget. Now having to scrap this commitment to the cause, the legal ruling against Scottish independence has restored a sense of security for those of us convinced that an independent Scotland is an ideologue’s dream, as the SNP will now have to finance their crusade for a false sense of political freedom out of their pocket.
On the one hand, what we can expect from this legal ruling is for there to be efforts discouraging this party-political matter among the civil service to restore public confidence in their impartiality. It is now deemed illegal for this matter to affect the public finances or the structure of operations in government. If the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and her party are so convinced that Scots want separation, then the SNP should throw all their money toward this end themselves instead of dipping into the tax pot.
On the other hand, in response to this ruling, the SNP intends to turn the next election into a de facto referendum on the issue of independence. ‘Quite what that will mean remains to be seen’ says Holyroodmagazine, as the SNP intends to hold a conference that ‘will allow setting out a “clear pathway” on Scotland’s constitutional future.’ However, we can expect them to reignite the debate with the old nationalist mantra that Westminster denies the Scottish people the right to self-determination.
Admittedly, this will likely move the polls slightly in their favour since people do not like being told what they can and cannot do. But we must understand that this does not have any detrimental meaning; it is simply a method of political expediency as we approach this de facto referendum, as the SNP can then claim majority support from Scots. The polls would merely reach just a little over 50%, and we know the votes are quick to change the following day with a different piece of rhetoric by supporters of the union. We see from these methods that there is no change in how the SNP tries to gain independence.
'Let’s be blunt,’ says Sturgeon in response to the ruling, ‘a so-called partnership in which one partner is denied the right to choose a different future... cannot be described in any way as voluntary or even a partnership at all.’ But let us be even more explicit about how the British union operates. Both countries work as one united parliamentary democracy. While the polls are volatile on Scottish independence, the SNP separatists are a much smaller band of ideologues in the grand scheme.
Which side can indeed be said to be fighting for Scotland’s interests? If we look at the SNP vision for a divorced Scotland post-UK, they are banking on re-entering the EU. It is ridiculously reckless of this party to make such a grand assumption, and it just goes to show that the country is in the wrong hands. They are out of touch with political reality, their mistaken belief that they can jump back into the single market is wishful thinking.
They would be too weak a country to accept into the union, having been stripped bare by a nasty divorce with England. With nothing to offer their continental lifeline but dependence, an independent Scotland would indeedprove to be an unsuccessful investment for our old European partners after their own experience with having to keep the likes of Greece and Ireland afloat in the past twelve years.
Finally, in the future, with seeking independence, the SNP must prove its case by building a sustained majority support for freedom and not try to tip the scale of popular opinion, which is already famously flighty. ‘The party must spend less time preaching to the converted and more time setting out a compelling case for separation – something it has so far failed to do.’
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