ROBIN McALPINE ASKS THE KEY QUESTIONS.

I am very happy to share this excellent article from Robin McAlpine’s excellent blog which can be found at RobinMcAlpine.org

Opinion

Are we in a Cohen Brothers movie?

by Robin McAlpine |

The evidence suggests that the Scottish Government’s hyper-confidence that it can definitely hold an independence referendum isn’t sound. Are we reaching the bottom of a spiral?

Among my favourite filmmakers of the last 40, the Cohen Brothers rank highly – I’ve been hooked since I ‘accidentally’ wandered into a screening of Miller’s Crossing at the Glasgow Film Theatre when I was a only 18.

Cohen Brother films are filled with recurring themes and character types and one of the almost ever-present character types is the desperate figure in a downwards spiral. Think John Tutturo in Miller’s Crossing, William H Macy in FargoBarton Fink himself, Nicholas Cage in Raising Arizona.

In each case the pattern is the same. The character tells one small lie, or engages in one minor fraud, or cheats or sells out once. This propels them into their downward spiral where they have to tell a second lie or perpetrate a second fraud to cover up the first one, then a third to cover up the second, each one an escalation. Until finally they’re cornered, desperate.

William H Macy in Fargo is the great example; he starts off with a basic number plate fraud and by the time we join him he is deliberately blunting a pile of pencils so that when he faxes the license plates numbers to the insurance company they won’t be able to read them, buying him another 24 hours. He hopes…

The reason that I mention any of this is that my familiarity with Cohen Brother anti-heroes is the only thing that is currently helping me make any sense of what is going on with the Scottish Government and referendums. I can now only see them as a character in a Cohen Brother movie, painting themselves further and further into a corner from which there is no escape.

We joined this downward spiral right at the top – a foolish and undeliverable promise made one morning in June 2016 to hold a referendum in the next 24 months. When the undeliverability of this became clear the government was left having to fabricate a way out.

And then another, and another, and another. Until, so hemmed in by the strings of exaggerations, misdirects and verbal trickery, there was nothing left to do but escalate further and further and further, each time trying to buy one more month, get through one more party conference, make it to the end of one more press conference…

It seems to me like we are reaching the bottom of this particular spiral – the promises have become more brazen, the wriggle room keeps shrinking, the caveats are still there but are weaker and weaker. Frankly the corner is now really small and yet still the painting continues.

Why do I think this? As I’ve pointed out before, nothing the Scottish Government says ever lacks total self certainty and yes, I get wobbles myself when they say things that seem to contradict the evidence but say it like they know better. So perhaps I’m wrong, but until I see otherwise I’m going to stick with the available evidence.

Let’s start with what ought to be the easy question here given that a government has made a promise to take an action next year – can they definitely deliver on that action? This is the province of the constitutional lawyer and we now have quite a number of them commenting on this, none of them is to my mind being anything less than fair and balanced.

And here’s the thing – from pro-indy sympathisers like Andrew Tickell or Aileen McHarg via people who are fundamentally positive about referendums like Matt Qvorturp to people who aren’t independence supporters but favour a democratic settlement like Ciaran Martin to someone like  David Torrance who has been constitutionally neutral since leaving journalism to anti-indy experts like Adam Tompkins, not a single one thinks it likely the SNP will win a legal challenge over a referendum.

At the moment the Scottish Government says work to find a legal path is ‘ongoing’ – which to my mind means they should not be offering ‘no ifs, no buts’ guarantees to anyone

Being (mostly) lawyers they leave open the option that there might be some kind of ‘clever legal wheeze’ that might just about somehow scrape over the legal threshold, but none thinks we can hold a referendum which would be in any way comparable with 2014.

This raises the question about whether the Scottish Government has known this for a while, and I can’t see any good answer to this question. When forced to publish any legal advice on the legality of a referendum it very visibly failed to produce any legal advice on the question whatsoever. It instead is suck out a basically unrelated piece of legal advice on whether it could make preparations.

I can only come up with two possible interpretations of what that means. The first is that legal advice actually was sought but that it didn’t come back as desired – i.e. it was pessimistic about the legality. We know without doubt that the Scottish Government would have no qualms about simply concealing that evidence because it has a substantial track record of hiding documents and then lying about it.

But there is another possible explanation – that the Scottish Government deliberately didn’t ask the question. This would very strongly suggest that it knew informally that it wasn’t going to get the answer it wanted and so didn’t ask.

If either of the above are true, the implications are stark. It would mean that the Scottish Government is promising to hold a unilateral referendum it is either fully aware it cannot hold or at least strongly suspects is not legal to the extent that it would rather not ask than get knocked back.

And if that is true, the SNP membership and the wider movement have some very legitimate questions to ask about the honesty or otherwise of what we’re being promised. At the moment the Scottish Government says work to find a legal path is ‘ongoing’ – which to my mind means they should not be offering ‘no ifs, no buts’ guarantees to anyone.

Another piece of evidence may help to explain all of this. In a column in the Herald Tom Gordon spoke to an unnamed constitutional expert who raised the question of whether the Scottish Government misunderstood the ease with which it could introduce constitutionally-dicey legislation.

In his analysis there are serious questions about whether law officers and the Lord Advocate would allow a proposed piece of legislation to make it as far as being introduced if, in their view, it was not legally competent. Andrew Tickell (in the piece linked to above) suggests that it might be possible to work around this via a ‘Members Bill’ – i.e. from a backbencher rather than from government.

This is all absolutely crucial. My view has been for quite a while now that the First Minister’s strategy is to introduce legislation, invite a long court battle over its legality, lose and then grandstand about the injustice of it either to buy some more time or to create a window for a dignified exit.

That strategy falls apart completely if she is not able to introduce the legislation. Indeed that would be a very worrying development for her and the SNP leadership, leaving them going into their October conference with no prospect of a referendum and no in-built defence. It would now surely be seen as a total failure.

But what if the ‘ongoing work’ to find a legal path succeeds? What if they can introduce a piece of legislation which is either highly likely to be challenged in the Supreme Court and (most experts agree) would have a very high chance of failure or if the unionist side simply refuses to recognise it?

Show us a credible bill and get it into law before you ask the independence movement to start campaigning

Because that just about perhaps might be enough to buy the First Minister and wider SNP leadership the breathing space they desperately need – but at a very big cost. That cost is the credibility of the cause of independence.

In 2019 I wrote a paper for Common Weal called Within Our Grasp. It was written entirely from my perspective as a professional political strategist. There is a lot in it but there are two very important element which are relevant here.

The first is that achieving independence is 100 per cent a political act, not a legal one, not a constitutional one. No matter what you have been told to the contrary, there is no legal route to compel the UK to permit Scotland to become independent and no forum in which to prosecute that case even if there were. The UK is a sovereign nation and Scotland is not. That is the reality.

So even if we ‘won’ a referendum (what ‘won’ would mean in a context where only one side took part needs discussed) based on a question that went something like ‘should the Scottish Government open negotiations over independence with the UK Government’ it could presumably be met with the UK highlighting its own existing mandate not to join in.

Negotiating tables are places that you arrive at consensually which means it is a matter of politics. And the politics we have created very clearly has not compelled the UK towards that negotiating table.

Which brings me to the second point; in political campaigning it is really easy to escalate but very difficult to deescalate again. I argued in that paper that seeking to introduce a non-Section 30 Order referendum was a viable part of a strategy to increase political pressure, but that much needed to be done before that escalation. My judgement was that we needed to be confidently in the lead in the polls.

But we have escalated to that place without doing the work to earn us the right to that escalation, or at least that is my strong feeling about it. Winning elections and rattling on about mandates may be what politicians think politics is, but it is not. The Scottish Government has left it until seven years after first announcing ‘indyref 2’ before engaging with the public on independence and, if its ‘taster’ paper is anything to go by, not much effort has been put into it.

The rest of us are left marching up the hill again with a distinct possibility that we’ll be marching down for the umpteenth time. Internally that would take an enormous toll on morale and externally that will do very serious damage to our credibility.

That is all I can make of this. I cannot see any of this as anything other than a government spiralling downwards out of control, desperately trying anything it can to buy itself another 24 hours. You can imagine some junior official being asked to blunt all the pencils before faxing the legal advice out in illegible hand-written form.

There are therefore two simple tests I wish to set for the SNP leadership. First, show us a credible bill and get it into law before you ask the independence movement to start campaigning. That is surely the very least we can accept after seven years of being told it is ‘just round the corner’.

And second, make it very clear to all that if you fail to get a credible referendum bill into law in time to hold a vote in 2023 you will resign. This should go without saying but I’m not sure it does.

Until then the only way I can make sense of any of what is going on is to follow the available evidence. And when I do I’m back in a Cohen Brother movie again, being promised that the cheque is in the post and that this time it won’t bounce…

MY COMMENTS

Robin expresses much the same opinions I hold in relation to the likelihood of a 2023 Referendum. Let me be clear like Robin I want to see Scottish Independence on the fastest possible timescale. It must be realistic and genuine though, not on a weak foundation designed to fail. If what Robin outlines proves to be the case then we must immediately move to a plebiscite election on the next, and every subsequent election if required. We lose support every time another “promise” evaporates. It must not be allowed to happen time after time. Lots of countries have become Independent following a General Election victory based on the clearest manifesto pledge. We can and should do the same.

I am, as always

YOURS FOR SCOTLAND.

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53 thoughts on “ROBIN McALPINE ASKS THE KEY QUESTIONS.

  1. I am confused, if the UK is sovereign, what happened to the Claim of Right passed and accepted in the UK Parliament. I am also confused as to why we , as partners and signatures to a treaty between 2 nations, we cannot dissolve said treaty. I am again in a state of confusion with regards the U.N. law on colonialism. Surely the constitution of Scotland comes into the equation somewhere and sometime?

    Liked by 14 people

    1. I believe even the Westminster MPs accept that the UK has to be a voluntary union. I can see a viable path in holding an advisory referendum – one that is more likely to get the soft NO vote in fact – and then saying to the UKG and the world:
      This is not a voluntary union.

      Liked by 7 people

  2. A thought-provoking article from Robin McAlpine, some of which I agree with and some of which I don’t. I pick out a couple of examples on each.

    Agreement:

    “Show us a credible bill and get it into law before you ask the independence movement to start campaigning”.

    1. It is totally unrealistic to ask people to campaign when you can’t confirm if there will even be a referendum, never mind when and on what basis. That is putting the cart before the horse: this is required to be established otherwise there is no framework or focus – an aimless scattergun approach will ensue without this. We need the following as a minimum before you can even begin to frame the campaign.

    1. Question posed
    2. Answer options
    3. Franchise
    4. Timetabling
    5. Vote counting inspectorate

    None of these are presently known.

    2. “My view has been for quite a while now that the First Minister’s strategy is to introduce legislation, invite a long court battle over its legality, lose and then grandstand about the injustice of it either to buy some more time or to create a window for a dignified exit.”

    That is why they are being so bashful about releasing their legal advice. That said, if the current Scottish Government had credibility on both seeking the restoration of Scotland’s statehood and on its reasons for withholding information from the public domain I would not be too worried. After all, if we were in safe hands of people serious about full self-government and were not secretive for its own sake then you could allow them some latitude – keep our cards close to our chest and away from the British’ prying eyes. Not Nicola Sturgeon’s government track-record, however.

    Disagreement:

    1. “The UK is a sovereign nation and Scotland is not. That is the reality.”

    I’m afraid that is surely incorrect. The UK is in fact a multi-nation state comprising the kingdoms of England and Scotland plus the principality of Wales and two-thirds of the province of Ulster in Ireland.

    And the UK is not ‘sovereign’ to my mind. That would be the Scottish people see Declaration of Arbroth 1320 and Claim of Right 1689 (as in endorsed unanimously by the British Parliament as recently as 2018).

    I have one further comment regarding the proposed Scottish Referendum in 2023:

    I find it difficult to enthusiastically get behind any push for Independence campaign when the de facto leadership of the Yes movement have caused such severe trouble in the last 8 years over the the open goals deliberately missed since 2014 to take us to freedom from London rule, the persecution of Salmond/Hirst/Murray/Millar etc and the legislating form GRA/Hate Crime bills (not passed by SNP Conference and without consultation with the Scottish people).

    I’ll leave it there.

    Additionally, how can we even trust that the SNP leadership even wish for Independence and the feeling that Nicola Sturgeon is herself compromised in some fashion(s) by the British state?

    Liked by 14 people

    1. Agreed – the statement “The UK is a sovereign nation and Scotland is not. That is the reality.” is only true because we accept it to be true. It is never true that a nation has no right to self determination.

      Liked by 12 people

    2. That’s my thoughts. I can’t see that I would have the passion to unfurl my saltire and pound streets for this half-hearted, bogus, dishonest bunch with their test-the-water referendum. If it were a beloved, shrewd and eternally astute general, someone who sweated blood for their country, undoubtedly – but these charlatans?
      It’s been said on many occasions, all the hard-working activists have left SNP – for all of the horrific reasons under the sun – and we’re asking these people to return to the enthusiasm of the fray from 2014?

      She’s bluffing, again – and again, and again – and I long-ago stopped believing in her tripe. I’m afraid it’s the long way round for Scots, and give ‘Lulu’ a wide-berth en-route.

      Liked by 8 people

      1. If this is an advisory referendum – a public, official poll in fact – then there can be no legal challenge and the soft NO voters are more likely to express a protest vote. It would give us the considerable leverage of saying this is not a voluntary union and would force a second, legally binding referendum within 5 years – that is what I think.

        I would not like a legally binding referendum in the authoritarian and incompetent hands of the nuSNP. I would suggest campaigning for YES with all our hearts in an advisory referendum and pointing to the single party state in this union that allows the incompetent nuSNP to remain in office as a good argument to end the union. I suggest we should campaign for an independent, international body to oversee the terms of independence, reassuring people that it will be both competent and fair. We should also focus on getting a modern constitution that would allow us to throw the nuSNP out of office for its antics and put that as a key plank of our campaigning. The advisory referendum would then let us:
        Challenge the unionist call to boycott the referendum: it is a poll. Will they boycott freedom of speech next?
        Unhook YES from the SNP
        Give other indy parties oxygen
        Highlight the misuse of public office within the UKG and its puppet nuSNP government
        Propose a constitution that ensures transparency, accountability, separation of state and justice and civil rights
        Challenge “unionists” to clarify in what way this is a union
        Project Despair: it only gets worse within this “union”

        Also – keeping this as an advisory referendum lets us hang the nuSNP out to dry if they cannot even deliver on that.

        A step in the right direction?

        Liked by 6 people

      2. need to add: as well as probably forcing a legally binding referendum within 5 years a successful advisory referendum would prepare the ground for plan B: to use the next UK GE as a plebicite on independence – if the wind was blowing in our favour.

        Liked by 5 people

  3. Robin is looking for certainties which don’t exist because we are dealing with politics not law.

    Very often history tells us the law follows the politics.

    There are various scenarios which play out if the U.K. government says No or if the Supreme Court says No. there are too many to rehearse here.

    So far the SG has worked within the Scotland Act. That’s acknowledging the practical imperative that to function as a devolved government it derives its legitimacy in the U.K. legal context from a Westminster Act of Parliament.

    However there are two other approaches which are not mutually exclusive and I’d suggest are essential if the U.K. says No.

    The first is for the SG to maximise its control of Scottish public funding and our economy to buy the electorate with a really significant Universal Citizens Income paid by AGFRR. If Westminster attempted to take real money off Scots they would react especially when people are really hurting.

    The second is create a National Convention with our parliamentarians, representatives from each council, and other leaders of Civic Scotland.

    It then elects a Provisional Government which runs concurrently with the SG . The PG is then charged with preparing the provisional constitution, seeking support internationally, etc. it is crucial during that process that the Convention concentrated on a dissolution of the Union and not Scotland just leaving it.

    All the time the SG keeps pushing the boundaries of the developed powers to ensure the pressure builds up to force the U.K. government to give way. Prestige is more important to Westminster than anything else.

    If it feared that it had to share or lose its seat on the Security Council; sell its embassies; share its armed forces; Trident; intelligence services, etc. it will negotiate.

    I’ve always challenged SNP parliamentarians to say what did they do each day to undermine the British state( legally) . I’ve received some sharp words in response even to suggest such “ unbritish” behaviour. But if we’d been doing that consciously for the last 15 years we’d probably be independent now. Anyway, better late than never.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Excellent suggestions but in order to make financial control progress the desire for independence we need a competent SG and the nuSNP are grossly incompetent.

      Liked by 6 people

    2. Simple fact is that it is Sturgeon and the Scottish Government are making no attempt whatsoever to push the boundaries of their pretend assembly. Quite the reverse in fact. Subsidiarity is their position. And of course in Westminster we have another bunch of timeservers and trough feeders, who despite their majority mandate, do nothing, absolutely nothing.

      If parliamentary mandate after mandate in Hollyrood and Westminster is of no efficacy, why bother with a referendum which will be one other worthless. And what if the referendum is designed to fail. Job done for the Vichy brigade and off to a big job courtesy of their establishment masters.

      Liked by 4 people

    3. Graeme’s comment stands out for me in that he puts forward two approaches which recommend actions that can be taken NOW.

      “The first is for the SG to maximise its control of Scottish public funding and our economy to buy the electorate with a really significant Universal Citizens Income paid by AGFRR. If Westminster attempted to take real money off Scots they would react especially when people are really hurting.

      The second is create a National Convention with our parliamentarians, representatives from each council, and other leaders of Civic Scotland.

      It then elects a Provisional Government which runs concurrently with the SG . The PG is then charged with preparing the provisional constitution, seeking support internationally, etc. it is crucial during that process that the Convention concentrated on a dissolution of the Union and not Scotland just leaving it.”

      It seems that Graeme is almost apologetic for mentioning these approaches – and this points to recitence for which there is no call for! This is marvellous – it is a flag to follow!

      I spend a lot of time on here looking for Smeddum – signs of fire in the belly – but am mainly disappointed. We need to cultivate our anger, and throw our bodies into the fray!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have no doubt at all we are legally entitled to claim our independence. But we need Scotland to want it and we need to ensure the UKG cannot simply ignore it – that intent is expressed by the constant conflating of Scotland with Catalonia.
      So:
      “Unionists”(aka colonialists) will boycott a referendum that states it will be legally binding – they will then claim the result is invalid
      An advisory referendum to inform the UKG of Scottish public opinion cannot be boycotted with any credibility – you would need to be fairly senior in the Orange Lodge to find that credible!
      In truth of fact all referendums are advisory. As said above – the law follows the politics. The UK can only be a voluntary union – THAT is the truth.
      The public will be outraged when the UKG ignores a YES advisory – the “union” will be laid bare as the colonial arrangement it is to even the most politically unaware.

      I have read the Claim of Right and I think getting a YES in an advisory referendum opens doors … if Scotland wants independence then Scotland will have it.

      I personally suspect that the concept of legally binding/advisory is a dark state maneuver – democracy is not a gun to anyones head but we do demand it is respected. In practical terms in any democracy there is no difference in the weight of legally binding or advisory referendums – and the slightly extended timeline of the advisory referendum lets us get the nuSNP in check – something that is essential to the creation of a free, modern democracy.

      Liked by 7 people

    2. and keep in mind Wullie that when we talk about “legally binding” we are talking about the law as laid out by Westminster. The Claim of Right is our own and is not a law – rather a constitutional right. A YES vote in an advisory referendum goes to interesting places in that space – and also I believe under international law …

      We have to start storming the UKG citadel.

      Liked by 8 people

      1. We need the Scottish Government to want it and the SNP & Greens don’t seem to have it high on the agenda. The Greens, well they never promised us an independence garden, but the raison d’être of the SNP is supposed to be independence for Scotland – let’s face it, since 2015 it’s been anything but under Sturgeon

        Still, I put a YES sticker on the car today, let’s not say I’m not doing my bit for the 2023 campaign *ahem*

        Liked by 3 people

  4. I very often strongly disagree with Robin McAlpine but I largely agree with him on this article. Despite the deeply held feelings of many who follow this blog, the clear and obvious truth is the following:

    “No matter what you have been told to the contrary, there is no legal route to compel the UK to permit Scotland to become independent and no forum in which to prosecute that case even if there were. The UK is a sovereign nation and Scotland is not. That is the reality.”

    However, the advent of Scottish independence is not a purely “political” event because the British Constitution is politico-legal in nature. Since at least the time of Harold Wilson, and probably before, it has become clear by convention that Scotland has the right to secede from the Union. You can derive/support this right arguably by advancing the 1689 Claim of Right as cited in the Treaty of Union, the special protections (church, law, universities etc) provided to Scotland in said TOU, and even, in a collateral sense, the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement. (Can the people of NI really have a right to dissolve the Union as to NI, but the Scots do not have the right to secede?) This right to secede is seen as concrete in the wake of the 2014 Indyref 1. Scotland is not a sovereign state in international law, and is not an equal partner in Union ( because the Union is an incorporating Union), but it is sovereign in Union.

    As Mrs Thatcher said, Scotland has the right to secede from the Union, but it does not have the right to control the Union from within, and that is the lesson of the Brexit vote.

    Regards

    William

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Scotland is a nation; the UK is not.

      Scotland is not a state; the UK is a state (a right old state, in fact, a mess)

      The UK holds power, not sovereignty, over Scotland.

      The sovereignty of the Scottish people has to be asserted. If you cede sovereignty to the British then you are ceding our right of self-determination. And as a people we always have the right to determine our own constitutional arrangements without interference from a foreign government or overarching power.

      Liked by 10 people

  5. “… This is all absolutely crucial. My view has been for quite a while now that the First Minister’s strategy is to introduce legislation, invite a long court battle over its legality, lose and then grandstand about the injustice of it either to buy some more time or to create a window for a dignified exit… ”

    That would be my interpretation of what is happening, too. However, while I do agree that our independence must be regained via political means, it is disingenuous to suggest that the legal and constitutional routes are out. They are the back-up to the political. How can it be otherwise? Everything has to be sewn up via the legal and constitutional means. Obstructive governments can be circumvented by the people, if the people have the will. I rather think that is what must happen here because we are being conned once again by the SNP leadership which lacks the backbone, perhaps even the moral fibre, to actually do anything concrete about moving forward to independence, but does appear to intend that the Scots should languish in misery for another generation. If I’m wrong, I’ll be very happy.

    What, I think, is happening is that Alex Salmond is pushing the agenda forward by using the constitutional tools, but he is not suggesting that the political route be by-passed; not at all. He is so far from being stupid that he already knows that the referendum route is doomed, whether that’s a S30 Order one or an advisory one. he knows that any kind of referendum is now doomed and cannot be used as our escape route. Personally, I do not like referendums because, usually, unless they are to settle some fairly local division, they generally leave the situation worse than before, as we discovered after 2014, albeit that one was most certainly worth the gamble. No, there is nowhere to go now except via the legal/constitutional route in order to force the political route to the fore, and, for that, we need the very best legal and constitutional advice and case brought in the name of the people.

    The SNP is a busted flush on independence, and the more they squirm, the more we know that they have something to hide. I really do not believe that we can do anything via the Scotland Act that will not meet resistance from Westminster. However, what if the Scotland Act itself is illegal, an imposition on Scotland that should never have been either allowed or welcomed? If the Treaty has been breached irredeemably, the Scotland Act could not stand. This goes, not to the heart of the matter, but to the struts that support the Union, to the very foundation of the state of the UK of GB. If it was founded on an illegitimate interpretation of the Treaty – and, again, this is a personal opinion, I believe that it was – and a neglect of the Claim of Right to boot, a total disregard for the constitutional tools of Scotland, enshrined in Scots Law and Scots Law enshrined in the Treaty, no meaningful dialogue with Scotland as to any move on the part of the UK government and state for over 300 years, then we most certainly have a case. The Treaty requires to be ‘sound’ in Scots Law. That is the first step.

    Oh, yes, there will be shrieks and squeals from Westminster, but if they refuse to engage, we need to demand that an English devolved administration be set up forthwith in accordance with the Treaty terms, that it should have a set budget like Scotland and Wales and NI and that it should be accountable for balancing its books every year as we all are. Nowhere in the Treaty does it state that the English parliament, albeit we accepted their parliament building and many of their established practices, should continue. The Treaty makes it very, very plain that BOTH parliaments were dissolved. Furthermore, our Scottish constitution was never dissolved or set aside by any legislation before during or since the Union, and any Scottish constitutional niceties surrounding the throne and the monarch were , likewise, never dissolved or set aside, and Scotland’s monarchical constitutional principles remain, as does the separate Crown. This part of our political history has been kept from the Scots – quite deliberately – and many have little to no knowledge of our separateness at all.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. An interesting aside here is that the UKG used Scottish airports – exclusively Scottish airports – for illegal rendition. A public airing of that exercise would highlight our separate nature …

      Liked by 8 people

      1. Yes, indeed they did, Marion, which is very interesting in the whole constitutional debate. The same with the nukes: when it looks as if Scotland won’t have them, they turn to Wales. Most of the nuclear waste and weapons dumps are also in Scotland. Not a peep out of our complicit Unionist friends. There is so much we can do, but only if the will to do it is there.

        Liked by 7 people

  6. All the legal mumbo jumbo keeps coming from England. When will the Scottish legal system stand up for Scotland and start enacting laws in our favour or challenging the made up on the hoof garbage that emanates from England.

    Does the Scottish legal system have any use in Scotland. There again when you think back to the 1707 union all the institutions of Scotland. law, church, education etc etc , they kept their independence while they were happy to see the people thrown to the wolves, which is probably why they don’t give a sh=t about us today.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. Good article there by Robin , at least this time we won’t have long to wait for the let-down.
    This is a bit O/T buy I was reading Quora and came across this , how many of our bright young Scots can we hope to hold on to when even the limited opportunities still here are systematically removed , as they are.

    Catarina GalhardoLives in Portugal · 2y · Why is Portugal losing people?18 year old Portuguese answering here. I’ll be straight and hide nothing in my answer. I turned 18 two weeks ago. I’ve always lived in Portugal. And not gonna lie, Portugal was an awesome country to grow up in. I will always feel grateful for having been raised with no security problems, access to school, medical care, food, good history & culture (part of it) and very good weather the biggest part of the year. But truth is, and I started confronting myself with that reality 4 years ago when I first went abroad, nowadays Portugal is really in the back compared to other countries. There’s so much things that need to be update, so many conflicts to be solved, and the government’s priorities (not only the current one, but all the governments I was alive to see working) are not well defined. In September, I will start my last year of high school. But I will also start my university application to the United Kingdom and to Denmark. And once I go, I don’t intend, right now, to go back after I conclude my studies. I don’t feel Portugal can give me a future. At least a future where I can be financially independent from my parents while I’m still working or where I’ll have a chance to get a job once I finish university. It’s sad to see my own country loosing the young people everyday to other countries, seeing the population getting older in the stats and the newborn’s stats also decaying more and more every year and seeing the government doing something useless or even nothing about it. I’m really grateful for the childhood Portugal offered me but it can’t give me a future and I have to be the one fighting for it, somewhere else. Maybe I’ll be back someday. When I’m older, have a good job, my life organized and with stability. But for now, I will belong to the stats section of young people who went to get superior formation in other country and probably will end up staying there.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This will get worse the longer we remain in this union – we have to find ways to make that clear to the soft NO vote – managed decline instead of hope and normality.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. “The evidence suggests that the Scottish Government’s hyper-confidence that it can definitely hold an independence referendum isn’t sound.”

    “The UK is a sovereign nation and Scotland is not. That is the reality.”

    I strongly disagree with both statements!

    Scotland’s people are still sovereign in their own country, and their representatives in their own parliament unquestionably wield that sovereignty on their behalf, as all political representatives must in order to function. As such given the mandate for a referendum on independence by electing a majority government to their parliament with that referendum in their manifesto the legality of such a referendum from Westminster’s perspective is irrelevant, as that sovereignty trumps domestic legislation, even Westminster’s. Westminster’s ‘unlimited sovereignty’ is only unlimited in England, it is specifically limited in Scotland by Scotland’s own constitution, the authority of which is guaranteed by the Treaty of Union. In fact it is the only constitution to have such a guarantee.

    If push comes to shove, Westminster’s authority over Scotland is Scotland’s own sovereignty anyway, embodied in Scotland’s MPs, even though England’s MPs dishonestly consider themselves to also wield our sovereignty, allowing them to overrule our MPs even on Scottish matters. But even so, a direct mandate from the sovereign Scottish electorate must trump Westminster’s second-hand delegated authority over Scotland.

    In addition,the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government”. This expressly reinforces Scotland’s own constitutional position, and has the imprimatur of international law that also trumps Westminster’s domestic legislation, and our local authorities should be holding that in mind if considering refusing a Holyrood-mandated referendum.

    I agree that achieving Scotland’s Independence is a political drama and not a legal or constitutional one, but that is only because the legal/constitutional one is already on our side, and which lets us start by identifying what the sovereign will of the Scottish people is via a referendum.

    It is the local authorities who have to run the actual referendum who need to understand that the Scottish mandate is itself a sovereign decision, and its sovereignty doesn’t evaporate from it just because it was routed via Holyrood and not Westminster, and I suggest that Westminster also needs to realise this.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. I beg to differ Scotland is a sovereign nation as described in the Claim of Rights which is fairly new to me as described by @SALVO led by Sara Salyers who has widely researched this topic .Please note I hope I have Sarah’s surname and contact correct.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. “This raises the question about whether the Scottish Government has known this for a while”

    In my personal opinion it stands to the obvious they have known this since the first day they started drafting the Referendum Bill. You just have to read the wording of the Overview for the Referendum Bill in the Scottish Parliament website to realise of this (accessible at https://www.parliament.scot/bills-and-laws/bills/referendums-scotland-bill).:

    “This Bill would give the Scottish Government power to decide that a referendum can be held in Scotland and to set the rules for the referendum. The rules include who gets to vote and how campaigns are regulated.

    THE BILL WOULD ONLY ALLOW FOR REFERENDUMS ON ISSUES WHICH THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT HAS RESPONSIBILITY FOR. These are known as a ‘DEVOLVED’ matters.” (my capitals)

    On the section “Why the bill was created” this bit is included:

    “The Scottish Government wants to create a framework for how any future referendums ON DEVOLVED MATTERS will be held” (My capitals)

    The Union is categorically classified according to the Scotland Act as a “reserved matter”. That should be reserved or not and that this is an encroachment by England MPs on what is at all effects Scotland’s right to decide under the claim of Right and our status as a co-signatory of the Treaty of Union, is a completely different matter.

    The matter here is that for Holyrood to act “lawfully” within the constrains of the Scotland Act, which is what will be immediately called in any legal challenge, unless we get that stupid S30, independence will continue to be stalled.

    This Referendum Bill also brings forward another question: are the noises from certain SNP quarters regarding a “consultative” referendum without S30 another red herring?

    In my personal opinion they are, because that Referendum Bill cannot be used for anything that is not devolved. Consultative or not, the Union is not devolved, so this bill advances us absolutely nothing – ergo, another bill will be needed, so back to square one and back to more delays.

    Let’s bear in mind that it was not England’s gov who wrote and brought to Holyrood this Referendum Bill. It was Sturgeon’s government. Because they redacted the draft themselves, it stands to the obvious they knew exactly what the limitations of that bill were from day one and therefore how much this approach would restrict Scotland’s lawful right to call a referendum on independence to exercise its legitimate right to unilaterally terminate the Treaty of Union. They cannot blame Westminster for this, this falls squarely at Sturgeon’s lap.

    In my opinion, this Bill is and has always been designed to be a cosmic size red herring with three important functions:

    1. To pretend things were moving forward for independence because yes supporters were getting restless. In reality this bill advances nothing at all.
    2. To push away from the table every other avenue that should remain open to us to pursue independence, like for example a plebiscitary election. For as long as we continue to believe a referendum is possible, we will not search for alternatives
    3. it is the ultimate gatekeeper of the Union. If Westminster cannot withhold the S30 any longer, by ensuring with this Referendum Bill that the same flawed franchise as that used in 2014 remains permanently in place, by ensuring the Electoral Commission (an UK outfit that should not be allowed anywhere near our referendum) has permanently a finger on the pie and by ensuring the campaign regulations will not exclude outfits with HQ located somewhere other than Scotland (for example England political parties, Uk gov and Secretary of State) and can therefore continue to pump money into the No campaign, they will ensure Yes will not win.

    The “Referendum in 2023” is in my opinion another red herring, this time specifically designed to distract us from demanding the next GE to become a plebiscitary election. How many here think Johnson is going to survive as PM until 2024 and a GE is not going to be called in 2023?

    “But there is another possible explanation – that the Scottish Government deliberately didn’t ask the question.”

    There is, in my personal opinion, a third possible explanation:

    Asking the question might have never crossed Nicola Sturgeon or her government’s mind because their intention was always to use Holyrood, the S30 and the Referendum bill as either the gatekeepers of the union or tools to forcefully stall independence at the point England as the UK gov is at its weakest politically, internationally and economically. This period started the moment the disparity on the results of the EU referendum between Scotland and England were shown in 2016 and will continue until:

    a. Enough laws have been written behind our backs and enough of our assets have been handed over by this political fraud so England will have sufficient control over Scotland’s assets, borders and markets to survive out of the EU and to ensure Scotland cannot return to it and risk a hard border between the two.
    b. England has rode the tsunami of its own brexit stupidity (the threat of astronomical inflation is just a sign the brexit tsunami is still in swelling phase) .

    Sturgeon’s behaviour of deliberatly cutting our potential exits for the sake of some virtue signalling are either the pinnacle of stupidity and incompetence or a disgusting act of betrayal where, for the sake of our neighbour, she is deliberately forcing Scotland to suffer untold damage by forcing Scotland to follow the slowliest and most damaging exit route so the other country can reap the biggest cut of the shared benefits at our expense.

    Every single loophole used in Indyref2014 by England as the UK establishment to frustrate independence remains today, EIGHT YEARS after, as open as it was on 18 September 2014 and ready to be used again. Actually, that Referendum Bill ensures they remain open in law. That Referendum bill appears to be just an invitation for our right to self-determination to be frustrated and abused all over again. This time with the backing of the law.

    I challenge any of the SNP leadership to prove Sturgeon actually has had during the last 8 years any intention for Scotland to terminate this political union. I challenge any of them to prove the Scotland Referendum Bill is anything else other than a sly attempt to force Scotland into a cul de sac, and I challenge them to prove the combination of the S30, the Referendum bill and this new claim of a “consultative referendum” are anything other than tools designed to deprive Scotland’ from its legitimate right as an equal partner in this union of unilaterally terminate the treaty of union forcing England to the negotiating table.

    I challenge them to prove the S30, the Referendum Bill and this “consultative referendum” are anything other than tools aiming to demote Scotland from its status of equal partner to that of a region of Greater England to ensure England will remain as the UK continuator state after Scotland’s independence and therefore in control of all the goodies that Scotland has been contributing to for the last 300 years and in control of the government structures Scotland will exit this union with.

    For as long as a political fraud remains in control of the SNP and our executive in Scotland, a referendum is the secure way to ensure Scotland continues to prop England and remain welded to it in this toxic union. If we want Scotland to become independent, the route to that starts not by asking permission to hold a referendum but by repealing the treaty of union. For this we need REAL pro-independence MPs who are willing to stand on a manifesto of refusing to swear allegiance and take the seats , in a manifesto to relocate to Scotland and re-open Scotland’s ancient parliament and on a manifesto that will initiate straight away the repealing of the Treaty of Union. The successors of the old Scottish parliament are not the amoebas sitting in Holyrood, busy voting to cancel freedom of speech freedom of demonstration and thought and voting to suppress women’s rights. The successor of our old parliament are our 56 MPs plus the self-serving 16 Scottish peer lords who have, of course, a vested interest in the union to continue to preserve their juicy sinecures and privileges.

    There is only one way to terminate this union and that way is by repealing the treaty of Union. Only by terminating the union Scotland will regain its statehood. Anything else is just either a distraction or creating a status of permanent subservience to England’s interests.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. “Consultative or not, the Union is not devolved”

      It doesn’t need to be, because its reservation isn’t legitimate. The Union and the UK Parliament are both children of the Treaty and thereby of the two states that created them via that treaty. Both the treaty and the Union with its UK parliament are subsidiary to their creators, and either of them can revoke the Treaty and dissolve the Union along with its parliament. That power all by itself means that Westminster cannot own the authority to keep the Union/Treaty out of the hands of its creators, and Scotland is one of those creators, and, unlike England, Scotland’s sovereignty is intact and its authority ‘ratified, approved and for ever confirmed’ in that treaty.

      In effect then, Westminster is reserving Scotland’s sovereignty to itself in spite of a treaty guarantee, and given that Westminster has already conceded that Scotland has the power to end the Union, that reservation is obviously unlawful.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. “It doesn’t need to be, because its reservation isn’t legitimate”

        While I agree with you 100% that the reservation of the union to Westminster (and at all practical effects to England MPs because they represent over 80% of the seats) is unlawful, a blatant example of abuse of power, and a violation of the Claim of Right, I disagree with you when you say “it doesn’t need to be”.

        It does need to be if that Referendum Bill to hold a referendum on independence is to be applied without the risk of a legal challenge and if that referendum is to be taking place within the boundaries of Holyrood power. It need to be because it has been done so by design: that Referendum Bill is fundamentally flawed in that it appears to be a mechanism designed to force the matter of terminating the union within the constrains of devolution. In other words, it is attempting to make it part of “domestic” law, when it should be part of international law – which is what the Treaty of Union is part of.

        A very different matter would be if a majority of Scotland’s MPs and some of the Scottish Peers suddenly grew a backbone and resolved to leave the comforts of the green and red seats and come back to Scotland to reconvene the old Parliament of Scotland and pass a bill in that parliament to call a referendum. That would be a referendum on Scotland’s terms, not Westminster’s because such parliament would not be restricted by the constrains of devolution.

        But this is not going to happen because we have cowards instead of MPs and because we are being deliberately pushed into a cul de Sac, from which the only exit is via a pretend referendum called by the pretend parliament of Holyrood. This is a pretend referendum where Scotland is demoted to the status of region of the UK rather than acting as what it legitimately is: an equal partner in an international union exercising its legitimate right to unilaterally terminate an international treaty which has been breached right, left and centre by its self-serving partner.

        The reality is, we like it or not and we agree with its legitimacy or not, the Scotland Act stipulates the matter of the union is reserved to Westminster. Sturgeon did not give a toss when England MPs unilaterally disembowelled that Scotland Act to steal from us the powers of agriculture and fishing, to mention some, on their way back from Brussels.

        At that point, if this woman had an ounce of respect for the job as FM of Scotland, an ounce of respect for her country (I am referring to Scotland), and an ounce of respect for the Claim of Right, she would have declared that Scotland Act void and null because one of its fundamental conditions had been breached. But she didn’t. She kept silent and we all know silence is consent. Instead, she fell over herself to embrace the crumbs of what was left of the Scotland Act and proceeded to push us without the right to do so, towards England convention.

        So, if given the opportunity to declare that Act of Scotland null and void and setting Holyrood free from the clutches of Westminster Sturgeon chose instead to glue the remaining pieces of the Act together to keep abiding by it, then it stands to the obvious that she will never grow the backbone to push the boundaries of devolution, or, heaven forbid, go beyond devolved powers.

        Unless our MPs bypass Sturgeon and reconvene the old Scottish Parliament ,or the power to hold a referendum on independence is devolved by Westminster to Holyrood, considering that Referendum Bill Sturgeon pushed through parliament, a referendum will never take place. They will stall it while pretending to debate on it until they get blue in the face. Meanwhile the colonial parties and chosen unionist professors, self-appointed experts in statistics and other disciplines, will do their part of the performance to give the route of the referendum credibility and more importantly, to keep it looking possible to distract us from the real route to terminate the union, which is to call back our MPs and repeal the treaty, something which should have already been done on the 8th May 2015.

        We will see that referendum happening only when Westminster fears the threat of an unstoppable worse alternative. There is only one worse alternative for them, and that is Scotland unilaterally repealing the treaty forcing England to the negotiating table from a very weak position. If Scotland unilaterally repeals the treaty, then who will be the UK continuator state will have to be negotiated between the two partners, unless our representatives agree for England to be the continuator state. If we follow the path that Sturgeon is forcing us through, England will be automatically the continuator state and Scotland will be in a very weak negotiating position. We will leave with nothing. This is very unfair.

        In my opinion this has all been by design to stall independence while pretending to move towards it to keep us on a leash. I am of the opinion this pretend game will continue until another political party calls their bluff by offering a direct route to terminate the union. 8 years delay and counting has not been just Westminster’s design. It has been the design of Sturgeon and whoever is pulling her strings, north or south of the Hadrian Wall and East or West of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

        This political fraud has wasted us 3 General Elections that could have been plebiscitary elections on a manifesto to repeal the treaty of union. Therefore this union is still standing it is not because Westminster has not given a S30 or devolved the power to hold a referendum. It is because we are being deliberately distracted from the real path to exit the union.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. “It does need to be if that Referendum Bill to hold a referendum on independence is to be applied without the risk of a legal challenge and if that referendum is to be taking place within the boundaries of Holyrood power.”

        I understand that stance, but I don’t agree with it, as it will never happen. We cannot avoid that risk, Westminster being Westminster, and we shouldn’t fear a legal challenge because it must fail anyway on constitutional grounds, making any domestic legislative grounds moot, because the mandate given to Holyrood isn’t just any old English style mandate, it is one from a sovereign people to their own parliament in their own country and it carries the imprimatur of their sovereignty, and Westminster has already conceded that we have the authority to end the Union.

        Based on that sovereign mandate an indy referendum will be taking place outside the boundaries of Holyrood power as set by Westminster, agreed, but inside the boundaries as set by Scotland’s constitution, being an instruction to Holyrood acting on behalf of Scotland’s sovereign electorate as their representatives to give effect to their democratically determined mandate. Our MSPs are our representatives, not Westminster’s, and our Parliament is ours, not Westminster’s. We called it into being, not Westminster, and our sovereign instructions must be followed. The UK’s supreme court has previously agreed that it has no power to block a democratically determined decision (mandate) being exercised by Holyrood on behalf of Scotland’s electorate. Our indy referendum is no different.

        Additionally, in the matter of the exercise of Scotland’s right to self-determination, Westminster has literally no legitimate power to block it because its sovereignty is not superior in any sense to Scotland’s, nor is it superior to international law, it is subsidiary to it, and the UN Charter’s explanatory notes make it crystal clear that no domestic law or constitution can block the expression of that right, and Scotland’s constitution essentially says the same, but for all of our rights. Further, those explanatory notes make it crystal clear that governments of larger territories that contain a people who own that right are obligated to actively facilitate the expression of that right, so again, any legal challenge must fail on that ground, too. Westminster is not allowed to get in our way in this matter, nor is it allowed to interfere in any way at all; it is required to help, not hinder.

        As you say, our MPs at Westminster could cut through the whole sorry mess of litigation and directly declare independence via the revocation of the Treaty and the Union, but the mandate as it stands is a mandate for a referendum, not for independence itself, so that step doesn’t yet have the backing of Scottish sovereignty, so it will have to keep for now. But if the courts uphold the challenge, that revocation may be a legitimate response to the fresh abuse of Scotland’s sovereign and Charter rights.

        Liked by 6 people

  11. Yes, Jerry (William h Macy) is finally intercepted trying to climb out of a toilet window to evade capture! Quite appropriate!

    I listened today to the interview of Jeremy Corbyn by declassified UK. It’s a stark reminder for many of us and hopefully a wake up call to those who still believe that there is no ‘outside’ interference in the quest for Scottish independence. Perhaps the SNP have put independence on the ‘too difficult’ pile, or maybe they’ve simply been overrun by the British establishment..
    Worth a watch..

    Liked by 3 people

  12. TBQH I am so sick of this interminable argument of whether we can hold a referendum , whether WM is sovereign over Scotland , whether we can apply to the UN or the Vienna convention of treaties , whether we can invoke the COR , whether Scotland’s parliament was dissolved or paused , whether england’s parliament was dissolved whether we can dissolve the treaty of union due to continuous breaches by england WM and ALL the other unknowns and guesses from various commenters that amount to their opinions and interpretations only
    I like Robin McAlpine’s blog and mostly agree with his views but to imply that David Torrance is constitutionally neutral stretches credibility

    The problems we have had and are currently having is that we have been governed by UNIONIST parties in Scotland who have had and still don’t have ANY INTEREST in clarifying or challenging ANY of the aforementioned issues , as far as they’re concerned their word is gospel and Scotland has been subsumed end of story

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “as far as they’re concerned their word is gospel”

      It does not matter that they consider their word gospel. What matters is that we don’t and we should make it known at every opportunity. The worse we can do is giving up.

      The most important factor here, in my view, is time. Nicola Sturgeon has already wasted us 8 years with a flawed approach. That time wasting exercise has not benefitted Scotland at all.

      It seems to me that now she is determined to continue wasting our time with a rehashed version of the flawed approach – this time is not called a “legal” referendum, but a “consultative” referendum instead. Same unicorn, different horn.

      This approach is pretty much inviting a legal challenge from Westminster that will delay and delay the process, potentially beyond the end of Sturgeon’s current government mandate. When finally this goes ahead, the Referendum Bill will ensure it goes ahead with a flawed franchise and every possible loophole wide open for the British state to get in to interfere and gerrymander the whole process against yes.

      From where I am standing, it sounds like a dead end, just like every referendum announcement Sturgeon has issued for the last 8 years.

      There is a much better alternative, a practical one that would invite no legal challenge, so why not using it? This alternative is using the next (and every one after) GE as a plebiscite to gain a mandate to terminate the union. A majority of pro indy MPs is a mandate to repeal the treaty of union. It is time bound (a GE cannot expand beyond 2024) and it tells you what the final aim is: to end the union. What is the aim of a referendum? A yes vote. What does that lead us to? Independence can be interpreted in many ways.

      With this approach we will not have to wait 8 years for a date, we will have a clear objective and we will have a fair franchise. With that franchise, in 2015, when people still thought the SNP and Greens were pro indy, they got together over 50% of the vote and over 90% of Scotland’s seats. It is doable. It is achievable in a reasonable timeframe.

      If this feasible option has been available to us three times already, why has Sturgeon been chasing unicorns instead?

      There is only a possible explanation: to bite time. Sadly she is not biting time for Scotland. She is biting time for somebody else. If she was biting time for Scotland, she would have terminated the union in 2015.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Mia I can assure you I am NOT giving up , you commented frequently on WOS and were rounded on constantly by the resident Scot butt civic nationalist franchise defender , you were also present when I was pushing the demand declaration to sturgeon , of do as we demand or NO VOTES , yet no support for that , instead she gets voted for again and we are further away from indy than we were

        Liked by 2 people

  13. One small but important clarification. Both England and Scotland remain separate nations within the U.K. state though neither is any longer sovereign. Constitutional provisions are therefore different from what would normally apply to a nation state. The ‘interpretation’ of this position, one that has been consistently applied in Westminster policy, is that – obviously! – England continued as a sovereign entity while Scotland did not. Thus the U.K. constitution prior to 1707 is simply the English constitution and the provisions of that constitution are applied across the whole state as if – and this is an important point – the U.K. were a nation state. It’s not but Westminster behaves as if it were and we are so lamentably ignorant of treaty law and international law with respect to constitutional rights and arrangements that we do not question the ‘nation state’ behaviour of what is, in fact, a collective state. And in such a state there must be either separate national constitutions or a constitution that incorporates the provisions of the co-operating nations. Scottish and English provisions are irreconcilable where in one nation a monarch was sovereign and that sovereignty was transferred to parliament where in the other the people were sovereign as acknowledged by the parliament in its acts and provisions. So a common constitution is a non starter. The actual provision made was for the two separate constitutions to continue with executive power over both nations residing with Westminster. This is largely what Lord Cooper was getting at in his famous obiter in 1953. At the time when he made his obiter, however, Scottish popular sovereignty was a disused principle and, in the words of Lord Keith (I think), no longer ‘live’. In 1989 the Scottish Constitutional Convention presented its modern ‘Claim of Right’ asserting Scottish popular sovereignty. It had no legal force but it was nonetheless accepted unanimously. It was reasserted in 2012 and again in 2018. In other words, the foundational principle of the Scottish constitution as expressed in the 1689 statute, the Claim of Right Act, ceased to be a disused principle in 1989 and its legal basis (as a judicable, constitutional precondition of the international Treaty on which the state of Britain is founded), was re -established. Which fact, to our shame, has been better championed by Carey’s Jones than any serving Scottish politician.
    https://equalitynation.org/2020/01/18/uk-parliament-is-sovereign/
    Listen from about 1hr 21’ and particularly to the legal opinion that this is, now, judicable.
    This is why it is so vital to understand the difference between a collective state and a nation state and the utterly wrong and unconstitutional application of nation state provisions within the U.K. So long as we do not fall Westminster’s bluff on the national and international stage, they will get away with it. Let’s not help them by asserting their bluff as legal or political ‘reality’, please. Thus emperor has no clothes and all it really takes is saying so as loudly as possible.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. THIS is what I meant with my comment at 2.18am that one side (theirs) claim such and such and the other (ours) claim the opposite , there has been NO RATIFICATION of the legal standpoint , even Robin quoting Andrew Tickell and Aileen McHarg on constitutional matters it is ONLY their opinion or belief nothing has been ratified in law , and until THAT happens we are at an impasse , BUT we all know sturgeon has been frantically avoiding that ratification for 8 years and anyone who thinks she will do that now is DELUDED
      WE DESPERATELY NEED to get this whole constitutional maze ratified through the international courts and we need the funding to do it

      THAT is why I commented previously that the ONLY way we can secure adequate funding is by declared sovereign Scots taking the SG to court for FAILURE to protect our citizens by ALLOWING the VICHY colonial government of a foreign country to overule and ignore the INSTRUCTIONS of the 62% sovereign citizens of Scotland

      Liked by 2 people

  14. twathater: the Treaty requires to be ‘sound’ in Scots Law as a first step towards re-establishing our constitutional status. I believe that the reason this has not been done by any Scottish government, including the SNP/SGP one, is that it would lead to revelations that neither could stomach and a situation that Scotland has colluded in for over 300 years. I don’t mean Scotland’s people, I mean her elected and previously unelected representatives. Basically, we have been betrayed and cheated out of our proper constitutional status because our Scottish Unionist and NuSNP/SGP governments simply did/do not wish to upset the apple cart and their own power bases – which are each totally illegitimate.

    The Scotland Act is illegitimate according to the Treaty, the trade agreements before, after and during Brexit, are illegitimate without Scotland’s formal consent, as is Brexit itself. There should never have been devolution at all without England’s being devolved, too, if that is what all parts of the UK wanted. Everything that has emanated from Westminster for the past 300+ years is illegitimate if it has been done without explicit consent of the Scottish people – which most of it hasn’t.

    I believe that both Westminster and Holyrood know perfectly well that the Treaty is an international agreement that has been irretrievably breached and that the Claim of Right holds water. Devolution still grants the elites in Scotland at least a modicum of power while expecting them to not exert themselves on our behalf, while it enables England as the UK to ride roughshod over us by asserting a sovereignty over us that they have no right to assert. Both know this and always have known it.

    Frankly, it is all too much for elected representatives to bother, for either to separate, so the referendum is undoubtedly a dud, and was always intended to be a dud. If we do hold one, we will lose again. There simply is no way out of this Union that does not involve facing down the British State – none. Two top constitutionalists have already come to the conclusion, from close study of the legal terms, that the Treaty has been misinterpreted. They wrote their conclusions in the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland and, largely, were not challenged.

    Yet, no Scottish government has ever tried to make headway, knowing the legal conclusions; no Scottish government has ever tried to have the Treaty ‘sound’ in Scots Law, let alone international law. Even David Cameron, in the event of a YES vote, had no answer except: “We [England] subsumed you” [Crawford and Boyle] which could have been challenged and defeated easily as a monumental misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the Treaty. EVEL was never challenged, yet, it, too is blatantly illegal according to the Treaty. You are right, twathater, nobody has bothered to challenge anything much and it is becoming very evident why not: they might actually win – and there is the underlying belief that it must be done through political means, solely, when that will be impossible without addressing the issue of the Treaty, Claim of Right etc. in negotiations. If you are going to have to deal with it, anyway, do it in good time.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes, indeed, Sara. They have done, to my mind, what no one else has ever done: they have pinned down the truth about the illegitimacy of the Union as it stands, as it has stood for over 300 years. To even imagine that both governments have not always known that truth is to stretch credulity to breaking point. They know, all right. Thy just don’t want the rest of us, the ones who vote, to know. A few years back, before having read David Walker and Ian Campbell’s meticulously legal conclusions about the Treaty, the Union, etc., I approached the same subject from a political viewpoint and came to the same conclusions as the two eminent professors, and when, a little later, I read their essays in the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland, I saw that the political and the legal/constitutional run parallel.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. “You are right, twathater, nobody has bothered to challenge anything much and it is becoming very evident why not: they might actually win”

      I think there might be more, Lorna. It is my personal opinion that what really is at play here is that an immediate consequence of such win in the courts would be the unilateral dissolution of the United Kingdom of Great Britain by Scotland. There is no way Sturgeon would be able to keep fooling yes voters into keeping the UK going after it is ruled by the courts that the treaty has been breached and therefore it is at all effects void.

      The obvious unintended consequence of dissolving the UK of Great Britain after such win would be the invalidating of every single agreement/treaty/trade agreement etc signed by the United Kingdom of Great Britain since its conception, and of course losing every seat (UN, NATO, etc) the UK currently holds.

      It would be for England like having to start from scratch, which, if I am not mistaken, will be precisely the position Scotland is expected to start from no matter if we follow this flawed referendum and S30 route, or if we follow the route of unilaterally terminating the treaty.

      It seems therefore that this referendum route might be designed far more to appease England (and USA?) than to benefit Scotland, because terminating the treaty would put Scotland and England on the same footing.

      When you look at it from this perspective, you also start to understand why the USA and other foreign third parties may have a huge vested interest in blocking this route. Perhaps this may explain the continuous traveling to and from USA of SNP people and their participation in these “leadership” exchanges. It might also explain why Sturgeon and others in Scotland’s politics, appear to be more worried about USA’s politics than Scotland’s. This might also explain the strange change in foreign policy tendencies among the SNP leadership, or the sudden amnesia regarding Israel’s foreign policy towards Palestine.

      You also get a vibe that this might be the case from the way in which Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are so desperately trying to inculcate on us that the only path to independence is the route of a referendum effected by Holyrood and therefore requiring consent from “the Uk”. Turns out that this referendum route is the only one I can see where you actually need consent “from the UK” to exit it. If you are pursuing legitimate unilateral termination of the treaty on the basis of breaches of fundamental conditions in the treaty and/or change of circumstances, you don’t need permission from the UK.

      You can see this also in the way she is desperately running away from a plebiscite election, which is the obvious alternative, and one that has been available to us already 3 times if you only count GE, 5 if you include Holyrood elections too.

      You can also see this from how quickly she run away from the “change of circumstances” that would have made easy to seek a termination of the treaty under international law. Since 2014 there have been not one, but many changes in circumstances that would warrant the termination of the treaty. Yet, all of them seem to have been forgotten by Nicola Sturgeon. In fact, she let the 2016 mandate expire. The previous Holyrood government was the point when the change in circumstances could have been used to their best effect. Since 31 January 2020, brexit is no longer a change in circumstances. It is the status quo. Is that why she let our 2016 mandate expire, so brexit could not be used as a change in circumstances?

      From where I am sitting, it seems this referendum route where the question is simply “Should Scotland be an independent country” rather than the obvious one “Should Scotland terminate the treaty of union”, means Scotland is giving up its legitimate right as an equal signatory to terminate that treaty at any time of its choosing.

      By preserving the UK of Great Britain after departing from it, in my opinion Scotland will also be renouncing to its legitimate right to a fair share of ALL the goodies it helped to pay for and create during the last 300 years. That route implies Scotland behaving as a region of Greater England. It is like demoting Scotland to the status of Wales. I fail to see how this is the best route for Scotland unless negotiations that ensure Scotland gets its fair share of the assets have already been conducted and the exact outcome is already known. Have those negotiations already been conducted or this woman is trying to take us into a blind alley?

      In my personal opinion, the last 8 years have not been at all about fighting to get a referendum. A referendum was never needed in the first place. The carrot dangling has been part of a game of smoke and mirrors, a game whose main aim has been to ensure the Kingdom of England remains as the continuator state of the UK and inherits, of course all those seats and all the main assets.

      It is my personal opinion that there might be some kind of agreement or understanding already in place whereby the referendum will not be called until the Kingdom of England is left in a position where it can survive on its own as the continuator state of the UK.

      The way Sturgeon quickly back-peddled in 2016/17 from independence suggests this too. This is included as Sturgeon’s foreword to the “Scotland’s place in Europe” document released in December 2016:

      “Following the Brexit vote both the Scottish and UK Governments made a number of commitments.
      The Prime Minister said that Article 50 would not be triggered until there was a UK approach, that Scotland would be “fully engaged” in the process and that she was willing to listen to “options”.
      For the Scottish Government, I said I would seek to bring people in Scotland together in common cause and to build as much consensus as possible.
      I said I would explore – not just my preferred option of independence – but all options to protect Scotland’s place in, and relationship with, Europe.
      And I said the Scottish Government would – in good faith and a spirit of compromise – seek to identify a solution that might enable Scotland’s voice to be heard, and mitigate the risks that Brexit poses to our interests within the UK.”

      Please note the part where it says “Article 50 would not be triggered until there was a UK approach”. Well, was there ever a “UK (4-nations) approach” we were not told about? Did Sturgeon and the SNP agreed something with England’s government so brexit would go ahead against our will? Seems that way, doesn’t it? Brexit certainly went ahead changing completely the circumstances, yet the treaty remains intact.

      Please also note the part where she says “the Scottish gov would in good faith and spirit of compromise seek to identify a solution that might enable Scotland’s voice to be heard, and mitigate the risks that Brexit poses to our interests within the UK”

      The only “solution” that might enable Scotland’s voice to be heard somewhat while mitigating the risks of Brexit, and the only way to preserve Scotland’s interests within the Uk (whatever those are) is if Scotland remains in the UK and has more autonomy. This woman appears to be asking for FFA here, not demanding independence if A50 is triggered. This foreword was published in December 2016. A50 was not triggered until 29 March 2017, so what happened between 20 December 2016 and 29 March 2017? What happened between 6 May 2016 when we issued the referendum mandate if circumstances changed and the day this foreword was published in December 2016?

      In hindsight, and looking at that foreword, it seems crystal clear that her short term objective was never independence but rather just mitigating the impact of Brexit. That is, in my opinion, a gross misinterpretation of the mandate we gave her in 2016 and acting against our will. We did not give a mandate to mitigate brexit. We gave her a mandate to call a referendum if circumstances changed and Scotland was taken out of the EU against our will. That mandate was activated the minute A50 was triggered. So either this woman has been fooling us and lying to us since November 2014 and that mandate for a 2016 referendum was part of the game of smoke and mirrors, or she reached some sort of agreement with Westminster before she handed to Westminster consent on behalf of Scotland to trigger A50. She had no right to do such thing. Even less to let our 2016 mandate expire and let the “change of circumstances” massive opportunity to terminate the treaty to be missed.

      That some kind of understanding might have been in place would explain hers and the SNP allowing the A50 vote to take place and A50 to be triggered without Scotland’s consent. It would explain her capitulation speech in January 2020. It would explain the sumisive way in which she stood aside and left England’s representatives to negotiate all trade agreements with Australia, New Zealand etc, no matter how damaging for Scotland, and the way she stood aside when the Withdrawal agreement from the EU was negotiated, despite it stomping all over our popular sovereignty.

      It would also explain her non real opposition to our laws to be rewritten to accommodate the new “Internal Market” legislation.

      Mr Salmond and ALBA are pursuing a more aggressive route out of the UK. Something that does not fit with the narrative of a submissive referendum where Scotland acts as a region of Greater England and seeks consent. Some kind of prior understanding with the Uk gov (and perhaps USA’s) would also explain the way the actions of the civil service in Scotland, Sturgeon’s government, the COPFS, the UK press and the UK government colluding to push Mr Salmond out of politics and to silence Alba. Every time Sturgeon, an SNP MP/MSP, counsellor or apparatchik starts blabbering against Alba and Mr Salmond, the immediate question that comes to my mind is “what kind of understandings with the UK (and USA’s) gov might Sturgeon’s SNP already have that makes them turn round and attack so viciously their own troops and pro-indy colleagues?

      I read a couple of days ago an article where it was mentioned that Stuart Hosie said that the route of the referendum is “the cleanest one”. Well, in my view that very much depends on the perspective you look at it from. It is the cleanest and hassle free only when you look at it from the perspective of England’s and USa’s interests. It is the cleanest for them because in that way it is ensured England will remain as the continuator state so all those treaties, seats and agreements remain valid. It is the cleanest for them because Scotland would never be in a position to contest any of those seats or main goods. It is the cleanest for England because it has all the administrative, government and militar infrastructure it needs to continue acting as an independent state from day one. Scotland has not even half.

      But when you look at it from the perspective of Scotland, frankly I do not see it as a “clean” option at all. The only two advantages I see for Scotland are that it will not need to inherit any of the UK debt and the UK will have to ensure Scotland is equipped with the government and administrative infrastructure to operate as an independent country from day one. But when you look at those “advantages” more carefully, they are not that great advantages either. Firstly, if we do not take any of the debt, then we may have to renounce too to any of the shared assets. And if we depend on the UK gov to ensure our infrastructure is in place, we may be waiting for decades until that happens and worse, they will be done not in the way we want them to be but in the way they suit the Kingdom of England (and USA) as the continuator state and its interests.

      Needless to say that under Hosie’s “cleanest” option, Scotland walks away with no trade agreement apart from one with one with the Kingdom of England as the continuator state. You can imagine how dependent that would make us of England and how little leverage that would leave us with. Say bye bye to joining back the EU.

      The cleanest way is, in my view, to unilaterally terminate the treaty and forcing England to the negotiating table because it is put at the exact same footing as Scotland: with no treaties and no trade agreements. And then negotiating from there. But I can see how that would upset USA and others.

      I think Mr Hosie was not meaning “the cleanest option” in the strict sense of the word. I think what he might have been meaning is that this would be the “easier” option for them and the path with less resistance from USA and other international powers with a vested interest in England retaining the seats and agreements. From where I am standing, it might be easier for them because they are handing all control to the UK government (and perhaps also USa’s) over the process and over the timeframe. But this might well be to the detriment of the Scottish people’s interests.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Many are wondering if the UK gov/MI5 might have some big dirt on the SNP leadership which could explain their apathy for independence, their continuous excuses and delays, Mr Salmond’s case and how COPFS, the Civil service, the press and Sturgeon’s gov colluded to suppress evidence. Such kompromat could explain why Sturgeon remains in power despite her performance, because it would made her and the SnP the perfect innocuous puppets.

        But I wonder if we might have been focussing on the wrong type of dirt. Let’s Imagine for a second the dirt has nothing to do with sex, incompetence or political conspiracies. Let’s imagine that the “dirt” is a signed document or a recording result of some sort of inter-government agreement behind doors and behind our backs to give Scotland’s consent for brexit to happen and take Scotland out of the EU for the foreseeable future and with no chance to return.

        Can you imagine the backlash of the 62% in Scotland if we were to find out?

        Evidently, the danger of such backlash would be at its peak while we were still in the EU and with a chance to do something about it, such as forcing the SNP to hold that referendum BEFORE brexit day. The critical point for that backlash would have been around 2016/2017. By 2017 Mr Salmond was already complaining that Sturgeon was taking too long to call the referendum. If I remember correctly, Mr Salmond was saying publicly that the referendum had to be held BEFORE the UK left the EU. Soon after the case against Mr Salmond started in earnest.

        You can easily see why USA was happy for Scotland to be in the EU as part of the UK, which was not part of the euro and therefore with the freedom to sell Scotland’s oil in dollars, not euros. The UK NATO seat and its foreign policy would ensure USA would still retain indirect control over Scotland’s strategic position.

        But you can easily see why USA will no be that keen on Scotland’s independence and even less keen for an independent Scotland, with socialist leanings, no longer reined in by England’s conservative (red or blue) governments, “UK” foreign policy and USA-UK agreements (for example extradition agreements), nor any reason to stop them selling Scotland’s oil in euros, to join back the EU once independent. You can also see how they would not be too keen in seeing Scotland joining a EU wide military force which may make Scotland’s joining of NATO seem redundant.

        It would be interesting to find answers to the following questions:

        Did an agreement between Sturgeon’s gov and party to trigger A50, to remove Scotland out of the EU behind our backs and to stop Scotland returning to the EU for the foreseeable future, ever take place?

        If such agreement ever took place, was it the reason why Mr Salmond had to be removed from politics, the reason why the union did not end on the 8th May 2015 nor on the day A50 was triggered, the reason why our 2016 referendum mandate was left to expire, why Sturgeon and her SNP has been forcing us to wait for 6 years, and perhaps forever, for some movement to independence to ever happen?

        Liked by 2 people

  15. Lorncal THAT is exactly what I have been going on about for ages , I say ratification you say sound , tomatoes tomatoes

    Again I agree wholeheartedly that the unionist parties including the new snp unionist party have avoided the (ratification ,sound argument) like the plague because they don’t want the question answered , they are ALL comfortable selling Scotch mist whilst feeding at the public trough

    I previously commented and do so again that taking the constitutional question to any UK court is not only a waste of time but a waste of finances and energy as was evidenced by Martin Keatings and our the people legal challenge , THAT challenge will have to be done in the international courts , the ECJ and the UN

    What I would like to see is citizens who have taken up Mike Fenwick”s ” DECLARATION OF A SOVEREIGN SCOT” take sturgeon and holyrood to OUR supreme Court to FINANCE a challenge to their failure to utilise the CoR in advancing our claim to independence

    My thoughts are that if the DECLARATION OF A SOVEREIGN SCOTS CoR 100 were to put together a voluntary donation of £100 each that figure could be used initially to legally challenge the SG to legally finance a CoR challenge and a TOU breech to the UN and ECJ

    Using 100 Scots men and women who have signed the DECLARATION OF A SOVEREIGN SCOT would SYMBOLISE the TRUE meaning of the DECLARATION OF ARBROATH and would educate and highlight to ordinary Scots the power that they have in determining their own FUTURE and expose the lies and misinformation being constantly fed to them that politicians have the power over them

    Like

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