AFTER ALEX SPEAKS, HERE COMES MIA.

That kind of speech is what is needed and what has been missing since that tragic day when Mr Salmond stood down as leader of the SNP: clarity, focus, direction, non-nonsense approach.

Having a majority of the votes plus a majority of pro-independence MPs is ideal, but only achievable in a democratic world where a franchise that ensures self determination of the natives and where all safeguards are in place to stop vote fraud, external interference, external money pouring into the unionist parties’ coffers and a rush of people from outwith Scotland across the border to boost the unionist vote.

Can we ensure any of these things? Because if we cannot, then I am not sure how realistic, actually fair on the Scottish people, is to establish a threshold for a vote majority when we have to work in a context where our union partner will do everything in their hand (just as they did in 2014) to stop independence.

Having a high threshold to prove the world we really want independence is wonderful, but impractical and pointless if we can never reach that threshold because the proportion of the native population is low to start with and lowering per year, and because our greedy partner and those working for it within Scotland, will ensure that threshold will never be reached, at least officially.

The blood-boiling memories of how the Scots native vote was frustrated by the no vote from settlers in 2014 is still far too fresh in the mind to be cast aside, as they are the memories of the many interferences of the British state in our referendum. So at this point, we need a little bit more than just renewed enthusiasm for independence if we are to get behind this campaign. We need reassurance that this majority of the pro independence vote is in fact achievable at all in the present circumstances where Scotland has absolutely no control neither over the franchise nor the vote itself.

By control of the franchise I do not mean just 16 and 17 year olds being able to vote. I mean Scotland cannot control how many people from south of the Hadrian Wall the British establishment is going to send up to distort the result. They don’t even have to travel here, they just have to register here to cast their vote and then use the postal vote. 

The postal votes during indyref were astronomically high, and I really mean astronomically high when compared with any other election before and ever since. The registrations to vote in indyref were very high, compared with the number of registrations before (even when you discount the 16 and 17 year olds) and, bizarrely, compared with any local election that took place afterwards. Are we to expect the same distortion this time round? From where will all the new people entering the electoral roll come this time round? 

Scotland cannot control how many people from the British army will be sent casually to Scotland near the vote date, as it cannot control how many new (unnecessary) UK civil servants have been relocated/will be relocated to Scotland for, well, things, like helping the Secretary of State carrying the bags of anti-independence propaganda or perhaps helping to re-decorate the premises of the Institute for statecraft in Scotland or other pro union think tanks. Actually, how many are there now? Do we have an actual figure?

Scotland cannot control how many people from England/Wales or NI has moved/will move to Scotland to enjoy their retirements and the perks of not having a tory government, despite many of them continuing to vote tory.

In 2014 people who had second homes in Scotland, received an invitation to cast a vote in the referendum. How many of those with a holiday home in Scotland but with their main residence elsewhere in the Uk are going to cast their vote in Scotland this time round to pump up the no vote?

I am not going to say this in a racist way, but merely as an objective observation: since the EU ref vote an increasing number of people from other parts of the UK are settling in Scotland. I know this because around me (supermarkets, shops, and even at my work place), the numbers of people speaking with English accent are increasing. At my place of work, for example, less than 40% speak with an Scottish accent. Why is this important? For the obvious. People that come from elsewhere do not have an inbuilt sense of Scottish nationhood. Expecting those coming from elsewhere will vote in the same manner as those born here and living here for a long time (going native) is unrealistic. 

Articles published in the unionist press, already reported for 2014 that while Scots natives voted by 53% for independence, those coming from other parts of the UK voted against independence by 72%. That was in 2014. If the British state somewhat encourages people from elsewhere to cast their vote in Scotland, their vote against independence will not be 72%. It will be higher.

The boundaries between Scotland and England are wide open. Lots of people cross those boundaries to and from Scotland every day. This means a fraction of the native population, with a higher sense of Scottish nationhood, is being replaced each year by people who sense of nationhood from somewhere else. How many natives with a strong inclination for independence have been substituted by those coming from elsewhere with a strong inclination against independence since the last time we achieved a pro-indy majority of the vote in a general election?

After the unforgivable level of interference of the British state in 2014 and after the unionist press have been only too happy to rub in our faces that the native Scots’ vote was frustrated by the no vote from settlers, I think the people of Scotland needs far more than simple enthusiasm and encouragement to join a campaign, where the threshold imposed seems already far too high to start with, and when, with Nicola Sturgeon on the driving wheel, given her track record for the last 8 years, one does no longer know if the objective of this campaign is to deliver independence or to frustrate it.

We need reassurance. And by reassurance I mean access to data that compares the registrations in the last GE with the registrations for the new GE. We need data that shows how many of those in the final electoral roll moved their vote to Scotland in the last 8 years. We need information of Scotland’s census to compare the actual residents with the final electoral roll. We need information of how many of those in the registry are actually alive, to avoid a creepy scenario where miraculously, dead people emerge from their graves to cast a unionist vote. We also need a clear strategy of vote control. By that I mean counting the votes in situ, without moving the boxes from the table to decrease opportunity for vote rigging. We need observers – every table should nominate a few observers from the electoral roll for that table. We want trustworthy observers, not MI5 operatives sent by the British state “to carry or safeguard the votes” . The results should be reported from the polling station, and the observers should be able to sit at the table (without touching the votes) during the whole process, to observe the casting and counting of the votes, that the votes cast match the number of people approaching the table to vote and that the reporting is done accurately and the official document reporting the votes is accurate and countersigned.

What we cannot have is another repeat of 2014 where far too much control was handed over to the British state and therefore we were set to fail from day one.

It is neither fair nor democratic to impose on the Scottish people the thresholds of a referendum when this election cannot offer any at all of the guarantees that a referendum would offer, such as control over the franchise and when effectively 50 million people from England can register to vote in Scotland. It is disproportionate and unbalanced. It seems all the burden is put on the side of the pro indy supporters and none on the unionist side.

If we cannot control any of the above, frankly, until what point forcing on us a majority of the vote and not just the majority of the seats is setting us to fail? If this is meant to be an exercise in self determination for the Scottish people, then it MUST be an exercise in self-determination, not just the pretence of one that can be used as an excuse to set back Scotland’s independence for at least another decade, it MUST be fair to the people of Scotland and it MUST offer the opportunity for the natives to self-determine. It is neither fair nor democratic that only the needs and wants of the British state and unionists are met. Frustrating the vote of the natives in 2014 was neither fair nor could ever be called an exercise in self determination no matter which angle it is looked at from. What we cannot have is a repeat of the same scenario.

MY COMMENTS

Mia speaks the truth. We must not accept conditions that are alien to Westminster elections. we are currently governed from London by a Government that is way short of 50% support in the UK and light years away from it in Scotland. Yet they govern and we let them. This is democracy in the UK terms. It is seats, not votes that determines the outcome. If London wants votes to determine Scotland’s future the solution is simple. A fair referendum, with a franchise that is in line with that operated in all the other European nations would be acceptable. Using the flawed franchise which transformed the majority of Scots voting Yes into a No victory will not be acceptable. I would gently remind the SNP they are supposed to be on Scotland’s side not creating a rulebook designed to give London a victory before the game even starts.

I am, as always

YOURS FOR SCOTLAND


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44 thoughts on “AFTER ALEX SPEAKS, HERE COMES MIA.

  1. If there is to be a referendum (rather than plebiscitary election) then the terms and conditions must be set here. It must be ‘Made in Scotland’.

    That will be hard enough to achieve given that Nicola Sturgeon’s disposition is to hand over influence and involvement to the British state in how we decide our constitutional arrangements.

    However, it is going even more difficult if there is to be a plebiscitary election where the UKGE rules like the franchise are governed by the British institutions such as the Electoral Commission.The argument used against us is that UKGEs across the multi-nation state must be the same i.e. the franchise will be 18 years old and above and resident based without any ‘time-served’ conditions.

    If it comes to it how do we circumvent that one?

    Liked by 5 people

    1. “If it comes to it how do we circumvent that one?”

      The UK is a parliamentary democracy. It is a majority of MPs what counts for every political decision, and not the vote of a majority of the people.

      Successive England as the UK governments since 2015 have governed Scotland on less than 30% of the vote. The tories invoked A50 dragging Scotland out of the treaty of union with the EU even after Scotland voted to remain on in by 62%. The tories invoked A50 when they held less than 15% of Scotland’s vote and only one MP. Yes, you read it right. Scotland was dragged out of the Treaty of union with the EU on the “super-democracy standards” of just ONE tory MP and the UK government party holding the mandate of just 14.9% of the Scottish vote. That is why now foisting on us the demands over 50% of the vote for pro-indy parties in Scotland in a UK general election to exit the Treaty of union with England feels so unfair, so hypocritical, so wrong and comes across as the new obstacle Sturgeon has found to continue frustrating independence.

      It could be circumvented for example by demanding from the pro-indy parties, with the threat of denying them the vote, to re-establish as threshold in a GE what has always been historically the threshold since 1707: a majority of anti-union MPs. The expectation would be for those MPs to run on a manifesto that EXPLICITLY establishes that a majority of pro-indy MPs is a mandate for independence (to declare independence within a deadline, not to “start negotiating” it) , and therefore a mandate to terminate the treaty of union and initiate separation and division of common assets with our partner.

      So how could we proceed after this? Well, that is what the clever people within the pro-indy parties in Scotland (if they really care about Scotland and are serious about delivering independence) would have to decide. Hell, the SNP has had time to think about this from the moment it was conceived as a pro-independence party. If it was down to me, I would think in something down the lines of the following but much more thoroughly and carefully thought out and planned, polished and legalised. When I say “legalised” I mean under the context of Scots and international law, not English law or English “as UK” law. This is how I think the process could look like:

      a) Before the new UK parliament is called, our partner voluntarily accepts our legitimate right to declare independence after after a majority of pro independence MPs, sent on a manifesto to terminate the union, are elected by the people of Scotland. After the election where Scotland sent a majority of pro independence MPs standing on that mandate has taken place, our partner sits at the negotiating table to start, in good faith, the negotiation of the division of common assets.

      b) if our partner refuses to accept Scotland’s mandate, then Scotland pro-indy MPs would refuse to swear allegiance in the uK parliament and refuse to take their seats in that parliament. Those pro-indy Mps would then reconvene the old Scottish parliament in Edinburgh by swearing allegiance to Scotland and invite the other Scottish MPs to join the reconvened parliament. If they don’t wish to join, with a majority of pro-indy MPs, they would proceed to repeal the Act of Union with England on the basis of:

      1. Unlawful ratification of the Treaty of Union instigated by bribes and duress
      2. Sustained breaches of the treaty of union for the last 300 years
      3. Abuse by our partner of its position of power, by proceeding to unlawfully force on Scotland conventions that belonged in the old Parliament of England but had not counterpart in Scotland’s constitutional tradition.
      4. Abuse by our partner of its position of power by proceeding, in bad faith and for its own advantage, to force on Scotland its own wrongful interpretation of the treaty of union as a capitulation of Scotland’s sovereignty and rights and as a right to exploit Scotland as a colony rather than as a voluntary union for the common benefit.
      5. Abuse of position of power from our partner and indirectly the monarch by ratifying laws, who proceeded to impose absolute rule over Scotland against its will in the form of policies, unilaterally re-writing of laws, unilaterally dragging Scotland out and into treaties without our consent, in direct contravention of Scotland’s Claim of Right, a fundamental condition for the treaty of union to remain in force.
      6. A change in fundamental circumstances – that of Scotland no longer giving its consent for this union to continue in its present form.

      The reconvened Scottish Parliament would file with the UN its intention to revoke the treaty of union and would communicate this to its partner

      In the meantime, it would be debatable that in the context of a parliamentary democracy and the treaty of union, without a majority of Scotland’s MPs present in the so called UK parliament, this would be able to function any longer as such. It would become the de facto Kingdom of England’s parliament. While there is no explicit exit clause in the Treaty of Union, it is evident Scotland’s MPs cannot be in two parliaments at once. So one could argue that Scotland recalling its MPs on a mandate for independence would be an implicit exit clause that would remove legitimacy from Westminster to continue acting on behalf of Scotland.

      c) Any threat of violence or military intervention from our partner to stop the reconvening of our MPs or the progress of the repealing of the Act of Union with England should be immediately publicly denounced to the UN as an imperialistic and unlawful and unconsented attempt to subsume Scotland as a colony. At that point, Scotland can formally request its right to decolonisation under the UN charter of decolonisation. Needless to say that all this documentation and communication statements should be prepared well before hand and ready to go on the spot.

      My guess is that in such scenario, the immediate reaction of the powers that be would be to call another general election, ramp up the smearing of pro indy MPs with sex-scandals or of the sort galore, and abuse their power and access to the UK purse and security services to revert the result what come may. The people of Scotland must be prepared before hand to expect all this as to rxpect to be force-fed countless levels of anti-independence propaganda and to watch every dirty trick the establishment will attempt to deter both, the population of Scotland from voting pro independence parties running on such manifesto and any candidates to stand on such manifesto. In that event, the pro-independence political parties in Scotland must stand firm (I am aware this is a bigger than huge ask) on the same manifesto as before. Information is power, therefore informing the people of Scotland of what is expected before it happens would be a crucial step of the process.

      Clearly this situation would sink the UK into a huge constitutional crisis with huge economic repercussions. It would be in the hands of our partner to make this painful period long or short. The sooner they would be prepared to agree to Scotland’s demands to terminate the treaty, the shorter and less painful this period of instability for everybody would be. As per Scotland, nothing other but Scotland’s independence and a fair share of the common assets (while retaining IN FULL our natural assets, that is) should be accepted.

      Alternatively, our partner may find its “generous” and “persuasive” side and could choose to attempt to stop the process by opening negotiation with offers for federalisation of the UK or goodness knows what other labour-like pie in the sky. At that point, actually before that, pro-indy MPs should be clear that such an outcome would be unacceptable. The chance for federalism was immediately after indyref2014. The British state failed to deliver at that time, so time for this option to be acceptable has run out. Only independence in its full sense should be acceptable.

      I think there is a minimum period of 3 months (?), in line with the Vienna Convention, that we would have to give our partner to respond. Independently of the grievances of our partner would present during that period (and will be a mile-long list of them), this would drag them to the negotiating table.

      After independence has been declared, Scottish citizenship status must be defined and established, together with the conditions to be eligible for that citizenship, in a way that only citizens with Scotland’s citizenship are eligible to vote in a referendum. Being born in Scotland or being born to parents born in Scotland as a way to get automatically Scottish citizenship would be in line with the conditions currently present in every other country in Europe. In addition, in line with the rules of every other country in Europe, being born elsewhere and to parents born elsewhere but having lived continuously in Scotland for a certain number of years, or being married to a Scottish citizen and lived in Scotland for a certain number of years AND a ceremony where allegiance to the country/people of Scotland, could make somebody eligible to apply for Scottish citizenship. Those are rules currently applicable to citizenship in every country in Europe.

      Once all that has been established, a referendum to decide if Scotland establishes a new treaty of cooperation with the kingdom of England (we are in the same island after all) could be discussed. A draft can be prepared and negotiations with the Kingdom of England start for the draft. The final draft must be agreed by parliament (that not ratified) before it can be presented to the people of Scotland. It would be only ratified AFTER the people of Scotland voted for it in the referendum. But once the people of Scotland voted for it, this can no longer be modified by parliament, only ratified.

      The treaty must have a clear, achievable on Scotland’s own will and explicit exit clause. This treaty would not require for Scotland to give up neither its parliament, government or administrative structures NOR sovereignty.

      The people of Scotland would be presented to alternatives to vote for or against:

      a) A formal union treaty which will lead to an EXTRA (not instead of Scotland’s parliament) union parliament where the representation would be 1:1, in other words, Scotland retains its right to veto EVERY decision made in that parliament. This parliament of the Union would be of course a completely separated one from that of England. The government of the union would be in turns, on term will be England/Wales/NI (whatever arrangement they wish to have between themselves), and the next term would be Scotland.

      Needless to say that the treaty I have in mind would give this new union government and parliament power to control a VERY LIMITED number of areas (I am thinking only in defence cooperation, trade, environmental issues, free mobility between countries, regulations for corporations operating in both countries, cooperation in scientific research, regulation of telecommunications, financial agreements, mobility of students, and inland security (that not immigration), to cite some) but, AT ALL TIMES those areas would be still reserved to Scotland’s own parliament. Immigration and the forming of international trade agreements or other treaties remains under the exclusive control of Scotland at all times. If this new union considers to join other countries with agreements related to security, environment or defence, for example, it will be ONLY under expressed agreement from Scotland.

      Needless to say that such treaty could not in any way or form, restrict Scotland’s legitimate right to form other alliances/treaties with other countries or union of countries.

      b) a simple trade agreement that would cover a series of areas that would be managed simultaneously by Scotland’s and the kingdom of England’s parliament without the need to establish a formal union nor a union parliament nor a union government. Pretty much an agreement like the one the UK has with other countries at present.

      Of course such treaty/agreements could only be presented to the people of Scotland as alternatives in a referendum if the kingdom of England agrees to them too. If England/Wales/NI (in whichever form they wish to present themselves) did not agree with such conditions within a new treaty or with a more simple state to state agreement, then well ce la vie. England’s loss. We could at least say we tried. Stick a hard border between both and look elsewhere for alternative, more willing partners, which I am convinced could be found.

      Before that referendum takes place, there has to be a registry of Scottish citizens. Individuals born in Scotland get automatic citizenship – they only have to present their birth certificate/current passport for this. Those born from parents born in Scotland would also get automatic citizenship, presenting the corresponding documents. There could be an extra period of grace (for example 2 years) to allow for those eligible for Scottish citizenship on the basis of residency to enter the registry after presenting documentation that demonstrates continuous residence in Scotland for whatever the period established is. In my personal opinion, considering Scotland’s small population, it should not be any less than 10 years.

      Scottish citizens who live abroad (and by abroad I include England, Wales or NI), would be classified as “non residents” and therefore limits to the vote will also apply in line with the rules in every other country in Europe.
      Citizens from other countries living in Scotland could be given a residence card that would entitle them to vote in local elections and EFTA/EU elections should Scotland join any of those. As far as I know, this is common practice in many countries of Europe too.

      This is of course only my own romantic vision of the process as a pro-independence citizen who has had 8 years of despair and continuous disappointment to think in what alternatives to the non-existent strategy of Sturgeon’s SNP to deliver independence there would be. I have zero political power/clout to see any of that implemented or even listened to. That does not mean I would be prepared to accept as a voter a plan that I consider a non-starter nor get behind a campaign that I see designed more to frustrate independence rather than facilitate it.

      As a voter I consider unacceptable for Nicola Sturgeon to impose on us all the inconveniences of an actual referendum and absolutely none of the advantages. I cannot accept her continuous moving the goalposts for the benefit of no voters and a union which at this moment a large section of the population in Scotland does not support and when it has already been demonstrated that the native population of Scotland’s vote against the union was frustrated 2014. That is neither fair, nor democratic, nor an expression of self-determination. That is setting us to fail.

      This is a union of equals. Scotland never asked for, never voted for and never gave consent for brexit. Brexit is our partner’s own making, therefore it is for them to suffer its consequences in full and it is not for Scotland to serve as their life-raft to stand on while they sink us and drawn us in a sea of their own stupidity.

      It is not acceptable for our partner (and their useful idiots in Scotland) to continue to force Scotland to remain in this union against its will for the sole purpose of the economic benefit and geopolitical interests of our partner, while Scotland’s natural resources and chances to stand alone are exhausted, and its economy, prospects of growth, social values, longstanding links to Europe and Scotland’s demographics are destroyed.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Thanks for taking the time to respond in such detail Mia, the great majority of which I agree with.

        The only bit that I would take issue with is the possibility of setting up some kind of ‘post-Union Union’ with Eng, Wal & NI – that really just gives England, as the dominant ‘partner’, the chance to dominate again … it’s in their nature. Federalism, or some approximation to it, is really not on. The English will fudge it … and in such a way as it leaves the agreement open to interpretation – theirs.

        A trading agreement is fine, by mutual consent, but if we gain EFTA membership that gives us that trade agreement anyway. The border – there will have to be negotiation over that but, as you say, this is not insurmountable. The common travel area has existed with the Republic of Ireland/Irish Free State since 1922 and it is in everyone’s interests to reach a settlement here.

        More pressingly I think we need to look at the options coming from last week’s FM statement. The more you look at it the more it is totally fraught with risk. In fact, I really can’t see how Scotland can win:

        Scenario 1: Section 30 Referendum:

        Terms and conditions will be agreed with the British Government. That is a third party government with a vested interest in achieving a particular outcome being permitted influence and interference in the decision-making of Scotland’s constitutional arrangements. The question set, answer options, franchise, timetabling and vote count inspectorate will be compromised by British involvement, the process undermined and the outcome gerrymandered.

        Scenario 2: Consultative Referendum:

        If a ‘Yes’ vote is achieved this will not be implemented as the plebiscite is not, to quote Nicola Sturgeon, “self-executing” and the British will say ‘It doesn’t count – ya boo sucks!’. If a ‘No’ vote is returned the British will say ‘you’ve had your referendum – you lost, get over it!’

        Scenario 3: Plebiscitary Election:

        The dual hurdle of a 50% threshold of seats and votes by a single party must be achieved in order to declare a majority in favour of Independence. Given that even in the ‘tsunami election’ of 2015 the SNP achieved only 50% of votes cast – it was 36.9% in 2017 and 45.0% in 2019 – that is a phenomenally high bar, especially when 16-17 year olds will be excluded. Some might say it is impossible to overcome.

        So whilst we can’t ‘win’, we dare not lose.

        It is imperative that a Yes Alliance is formed in a pleb. election. Never bending Westminster to our will in order to obtain a S30 (Alex Salmond) we need to bend Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP to our will.

        If we cannot do this we must make it be known loud and clear that Nicola Sturgeon, knowingly or unwittingly, is leading us into a trap from which there may be no escape for generations (plural) or ever.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. You make an excellent observation, duncanio. How GEs are run is a reserved matter, albeit the introduction of 16 and 17 year old might not be so set in stone. I would be using the Brexit vote as a bargaining chip, when EU and foreign residents were not allowed to vote. It might not wash with Westminster if we narrow the vote to those living in Scotland for a certain period of time as a compromise, but we should try. That is why the SALVO initiative in utilizing the Scottish constitutional tools is so vital. The SNP should have done this vital work years ago after we lost the referendum in 2014. We must go back to basics to answer the UKG intransigence and recalcitrance, otherwise, as Mia says, we will lose again. I agree with Mia that domestic observers are essential, but I would have foreign ones, too, for every part of the process, preferably from UN countries that are not wedded to America and the UK.

      Frankly, I have never been in favour of referendums to settle national problems because they inevitably throw up deep divisions for the future, as we see from Brexit. However, a plebiscitary election is similar, broadly speaking, although a departure from the primary source of democracy, a straightforward election. In those, we are invited to vote for parties, not a single issue, and this is where we might trip up, too, because, unless every independence-supporting party/group/movement in Scotland puts independence, in its manifesto, as its immediately-triggered priority in the event of election success, we are in trouble. It has to be a wide coalition/alliance of independence interests or it cannot possibly be achieved. That means that other issues can be added to the manifesto, but that a declaration of independence will take place immediately.

      To be absolutely fair to Nicola Sturgeon, she may have had little choice in proposing votes as opposed to seats because a referendum and a plebiscite are similar and both require a majority of the populace to support the principal issue, independence, in our case. What we have to show the world is that we have other tools on our constitutional belt, and that will mean that all the constitutional groups will have to have these ready in case we are knocked back. It is vital that, for instance, the Crawford and Boyle Report is completely demolished as the false narrative it is: if we were subsumed as part of a Greater England in 1707, why do we, the northernmost part of that Greater England have devolution but no part of England does? Many, many questions need to be anticipated, with answers at the ready. The Treaty has been misread and misinterpreted many times over, and the C & B Report is part of that misinterpretation. Every time they throw out an objection or some illegitimate ruling, we have to be able to counter it with evidence – powerful, well-researched evidence.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Sinn Fein declared independence for Ireland in 1918 after receiving 46.9% of the vote and 73 of the 115 seats, though tbf the Irish Parliamentary party got additional 21.7% (6 seats). Whilst we would not wish to follow in Ireland’s footsteps of civil war and later partition, if 43.9% of the vote and a majority of 80 gave Boris Johnson’s Tories a “Get Brexit Done” mandate, well sauce for the goose and all that.

    The only advantage of a plebiscite election is that is rules out a number of second home owners. They can’t vote twice and they’d need to decide which seat to vote in. Which would they choose?

    As for the influx of rUK voters, the UN administered New Caledonia independence referendum of 2018 excluded 17% of the registered vote to ensure that the wishes of the “natives” were not drowned out. They still voted no, but the point is is was THEIR no, not incomers.

    Liked by 10 people

      1. I would insist. If you were born in Scotland of Scottish born parents and you have lived in Scotland most of your life, then and only then should an individual be allowed to vote on ANYTHING in Scotland
        The Scottish Parliament before 1707 stipulated born in Scotland of Scottish born GRANDPARENTS only then could you be considered Scottish.
        I came across the above statement about Scottish identity many years ago and just thought how interesting. Can’t find the damn thing now.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It would be very difficult and time-consuming to change the basis of the franchise now. Since the vote became universal, it has been a matter of domicile. You cannot be domiciled in two places and vote in both places. You have to choose where you want to vote. People in England with second homes must register to vote according to their domicile status: anyone trying to register two addresses would – or should – be caught out by the system. Temporary homes cannot be ‘the domicile’. If it is right that people voted in Scotland who were not domiciled here, then that was fraudulent and the authorities should have been notified. Students from England can change their domicile if they wish, but they cannot then vote in England, except fraudulently. Passing-through residents are in the same boat: not domiciled, cannot vote. If they do register and vote, that is also fraudulent behaviour. Neither can you vote if you are not on the Electoral Register, and, if you are on the Register fraudulently, that carries a penalty. In my opinion, and it is just an opinion, the postal vote is where real fraud could take place, and that is where we should insist on our chosen observers to oversee any opening of envelopes and sampling. Above all, the law must act appropriately. Both Ruth Davidson and John McTernan, the latter more so, should have been at least fined and made examples of so that people can feel confident in the efficacy of the voting system. I know some commentators went to great lengths to tell us there had been no jiggery-pokery, and they might well be right, but the relative silence around that massive postal vote, the highest in any advanced economy country, is odd, to say the least. Personally, I believe it was very badly handled, away from public scrutiny, and it is part and parcel of the franchise that it should be a secret ballot whose process is open to scrutiny. Nobody should be able to tell the outcome of such a vitally important referendum/election four whole days in advance, as John McTernan did. That was utterly disgraceful.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. I don’t believe Sturgeon wants to win this – she wants to tick a box and exit to the UN with the approval of the UK PM. If she wanted to win this then steps to validate the postal votes would be well advanced:
    if you vote elsewhere in the UK in your primary residence you don’t get a second/third vote through your holiday home
    If you are dead you don’t get to use your postal vote
    If you left the country decades ago you don’t get to use your postal vote
    If you are vulnerable someone else does not get to use your postal vote (tricky to close out but we all know the stories of Tories loading buses with confused old folk and punting them round to the polling station – postal voting makes in so much easier)

    But nothing is being done.

    Liked by 13 people

    1. Mia says what I have been thinking for some time and puts the argument more eloquently, though I have expressed some of the same thoughts previously on this forum and others.
      I Iike marion99’s idea of using the tax code and also her reference to the New Caledonia referendum conducted under UN supervision. We really need to enlist the aid of the UN in our battle for self-determination, otherwise the exercise will be a sham and Scotland will be failed yet again.
      Finally, I will point out that not only are the number of people from the south with no loyalty to Scotland coming to live here in increasing number, but they are actually replacing, in many cases, local Scottish families and young people who cannot affotd to live in their own area because of the high cost of housing which these newcomers create. If they have to move south for housing and work, they can no longer vote in a referendum, a double whammy!

      Liked by 11 people

    2. Mia is right, Marion: the postal vote in 2014 was the highest ever recorded for a postal vote in the history of the planet. No other country, as far as I can discover, has ever recorded such a massive postal vote. That is why John McTernan, of Labour, and Ruth Davidson, of the Tories, were able to tell the UK public in advance of the polling station count, that YES had lost. I have tried and tried to find out: a) where those votes were counted; b) who counted them; c) why the parties, including the SNP, were able to see the second envelopes when they should not have been opened until they were taken to the polling stations to be counted with the polling station ballot papers. That is the SEC rule and it is illegal to breach that rule. I’m not talking of a sample; I’m talking of knowing precisely what people had voted by the opening of the second envelopes because that is the only way they could have counted them in advance. The Scottish Electoral Commission kept no separate record of the postal votes so that it was impossible to compare them with the polling station votes. The votes of the elderly with dementia should be re assigned to their closest family members in accordance with what they knew of the relatives’ wishes or voting pattern.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Marquis of Queensbury rules for US and Street Fighter “no rules” for THEM.

    When will the Scots wake up to the error of letting London dictate the Rules? (Rules for US)

    Panda paws laid it out above. London/Whitehall has Centuries of experience in dirty tricks. They will fight to hold you because every day they keep hold they drain your assets. Every day they hold you allows the placement of long term alternative controls of OUR society.in their interest.

    They will use the MSM, Large Companies, Banks, The Bank of England The Army, The Civil Service etc,etc

    Meanwhile we have Sturgeon deluding herself that it is a political debate.

    Sturgeon has been paid to make the match look good and to take a dive in the 2nd Round.

    Liked by 13 people

    1. Spot on. Scotland should be using its own rules. Scotland needs to change the board as it is crap at Go. As I keep pointing out Scotland is a sovereign nation state in an international Agreement. It needs to start acting and recognising itself as such. Too many folk lessen Scotland and its people and do the English establishment job by constantly referring to Scotland as a colony. The English establishment can and does recognise Scots sovereignty because the psychological damage to Scots has for generations taken its toll and the Scots themselves fail to recognise their own power and status as a sovereign nation state. That right there is Scotland’s Achilles heel. Where England assets its status as a sovereign nation state, Scots don’t. They are under the false impression that numbers matter, whether MP or population. It doesn’t what matters is the true status of Scotland and its people. That is what is recognised globally. Even by the English establishment despite their psychological games. Once Scots accept their true status there will be no stopping Scotland and THAT terrifies them

      Liked by 7 people

  5. Well said, Mia. I would also point out that the electoral roll is now officially an English government department and that the English government are seeking to bar voters if they do not have photo ID such as license and or passport. That automatically reduces the numbers especially from the most deprived households.

    What the Scottish government should do is first and foremost suspend the treaty. This takes it out of the hands of their treaty partner who seeks to frustrate Scotland and is renowned for breaching not just the treaty but international law. The Scottish government and ALL parties can then decide on the method to use while banning all English media during the suspension stage in order to limit external interference. Any ballot and count should take place in clear perspex boxes and at the table they were cast with impartial observers.

    While this is going on Salvo and an approach to the UN can be made. There is no need to drag things out when this could all happen swiftly if the will to do so is there.

    I have no faith in a referendum by itself nor under the guise of a fake plebiscite which waived Scots sovereignty in favour of the English government and its establishment.

    As Christine Graham once said, the Scots need assert their authority in a manner that says “they did it their way”.

    Liked by 16 people

    1. Boxes of votes were sent south to be counted in 2014.

      I think it was Stalin who said ‘It’s not the voters that matter – it’s the ones who count the votes’. I very much like the perspex idea and UN observers.

      Liked by 7 people

  6. Unfortunately there is no evidence that Mr Salmond has veered from the local government franchise used in 2014 which took no account of Scotland’s de facto colonial status and failed to utilise the UN De-Colonisation Committee’s options for referenda. These options recognise the specific situation of colonised (disempowered and ransacked) countries — such as Scotland — and allow a variety of choices, such as birth country of voter, to evidenced length of primary residence.

    As an Alba member, I fail to see any interest in my Party pursuing the U.N. options available. Indeed I see the opposite. Neither Alba nor the SNP openly acknowledge our colonised status. I suspect that, ironically, this is due to worries of accusations of racism if ethnic Scots assert their colonised status. Basically a manifestation of Scots ‘Cringe’ that we dare not assert ourselves.

    In Alba, there might also be concerns about alienating supporters (and funders) of independence among members of Black and Asian ethnic minorities. I would argue that an independent Scotland can offer citizenship (with full voting rights) to immigrants from other countries. But it is not normal for a country colonised by its larger neighbour to allow unconditional voting rights (other than alleged current residence) on whether it should be de-colonised or not.

    Chris McEleny, General Secretary of Alba, has stated (with some passion) that he supports the 2014 franchise where anyone over 16 claiming Scotland to be his/her principal home (without refinements or caveats) has a right to vote in a referendum to determine whether Scotland should rule itself. I suggest that Chris improve his understanding of the wretchedness in which this position places Scotland. And that he familiarise himself with research on this issue, particularly Professor Alfred Baird’s ‘The Socio-Political Determinants of Scottish Independence.’ Joan Hutcheson/ Savage.

    Liked by 9 people

      1. Gayle – the very fact that we are governed by Tories who have almost no support in Scotland shows we are an administered country. Johnson has no democratic authority here – none – and yet his muscular unionism has deprived us of both the opportunities of freedom of movement and the sorely needed people who helped Scotland to work. Brexit is an economic and social disaster and Scotland overwhelmingly rejected it – for all the good it did us. If we are not a colonised country then how should we describe ourselves? This is not a union.

        Liked by 6 people

      2. Marionl99, Scotland is governed by the English government because Scotland refuses to assert its authority, to act as an equal and as the sovereign nation state that it is. There is a fundamental difference between not having the authority and statehood and not exercising it. In Scotland’s case it is the latter. Scots greatest export is its inferiority complex. Its own nation sees itself as inferior rather than the sovereign nation state that it actually is. It is why England rip the proverbial on a daily basis. Scotland refuses to behave as England’s equal. It refuses to act as the sovereign nation state that entered into an international Agreement. It refuses to stand up for itself. Preferring to be the victim. If Scots do not respect themselves and their statehood why should anyone else?

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Yes, Gayle, because it is TREATED as a colony does not mean that it is such, in international law. Again, that is why the Scottish constitutional tools must be validated and utilized. Have been saying that since 2014. It is the Treaty we are going to have to off-load, and, to do that, we must negotiate with England as the other signatory. The truth is that England misinterpreted and misappropriated the Treaty for its own ends. We can bring evidence in to prove that, and it is that evidence that must be placed before the UKG so that their objections fall at the first hurdle. Legally-speaking, if the Treaty has been breached illegally, there is no Union, and England as the UK will want to take that on board. Don’t play along. Present them with a fait accompli and force them, if they so choose, to fight us in the international arena, in front of the world. So long as we play their game, they will cheat. We must present our case to the world very soon, even before we present it to our own people. We need to go to the heart of the matter, and that comprises, the Treaty, the Claim of Right, the Declaration of Arbroath, et al, but, principally, the misinterpretation of the Treaty that placed England in pole position. If it appears that we will win a referendum or a plebiscitary election, we still present our case as back-up. The Scotland Act will do us no favours, which is why it must be undermined: Treaty misinterpreted, no Union, no Scotland Act, no devolution because these would, then, all be illegitimate on the grounds that the UK parliament never had the authority to bring in devolution. If it didn’t have the authority in the first instance, there could be no acquiescence in our own subjugation as a region of the UK as opposed to a sovereign nation state – which we are by dint of the proper interpretation of the Treaty.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said Joan this existing franchise would not be tolerated in any other European nation for good reason. Virtue signalling while at the same time your pockets are being picked in a nonsense. Freedom requires fairness!

      Liked by 4 people

  7. Numerous concerns raised about the voting franchise (and I agree wholeheartedly).

    I’m going to suggest it is not one that Alex can touch personally – they would go to town on him once more. So, the pressure has to be such that it is out of his hands.

    Numerous concerns re the security of the count/vote. While we are in danger of looking silly if we spout unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, we are absolutely responsible and statesmanlike, by highlighting ‘reasonable cause for concern’ and demanding Best Practice in the procedure. Especially with regards calling in the UN observers.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Salmond is the capable, true independence leader. I still feel he should unload whatever he has on Sturgeon and bring her down now – the dark state will know at least as much and will deploy it closer to the date. If Sturgeon thinks that stitching up the franchise will get her off the hook with Westminster she does not know her masters very well. Once she has finished wrecking the franchise her public disgrace will be the final thing required of her.

      Liked by 9 people

      1. yes ngataki5 – those in a position to bring her down need to consider:
        This is coming out – either it comes out at a time of our choosing or it will come out at the worst possible time for the YES campaign.

        Liked by 5 people

    2. Yes, Daisy, that is the way to go, although I would add in observers from nations that are not affiliated to the EU/UK/US. There is no point in promulgating conspiracy theories we can’t prove, so we have to have ‘best practice’ and openness with regards to the postal vote, so that it is scrutinized at every stage, does not leave Scotland and that local people, even if they are Unionists, are the counters. We, the public, see every step of the polling station franchise, but not the postal vote franchise, which we know from 2014, is the crucial one and which the elderly and rUK voters favoured last time. I’m afraid to say it, but I doubt the SNP will take any of this on board. It is becoming harder not to believe that they want to lose. Either that, or they lack the imagination to see any other way but Westminster’s and the British State’s way, in accordance with a one-sided devolution.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. We should treat Westminster to it’s own “Brexit”.

    We don’t announce any referendum. We skip that, and jump to an Article 50 style notification that the 1707 Treaty of Union is breached and at an end, but Scotland graciously extends the former UK, now English, Parliament a two year long “Transition Period” to stare into the Abyss and get over the shock, then “tender” their proposals for a new 2024 Treaty of “Union” and / or Free Trade Agreement with Scotland, to go before the Scottish and English electorates.

    By the way, that “Tender” is more or less gonna be your “Better Together” option in the separate ratification plebiscites to be held in Scotland and England. You’ll finally have you chance to articulate the positive case for a UK Union we’ve all been waiting ten years to hear.

    If nothing can be agreed by the 2024 Deadline, the end of Union is deemed final. Scotland has taken back it’s Sovereignty, and if nothing else, we know you’ll fully understand that bit.

    We don’t need a Referendum to end the Union by “democratic volition”. We already have the outrage of Brexit breaching the Articles of Union giving us due cause to end the Union; a rational answer to Scotland’s unlawful colonial subjugation and direct violation of the Articles of Union Treaty.

    Scotland will not be removed from Europe against it’s will. Weren’t you listening? You’ve already trashed the Union; back when you arrogantly subjugated Scotland’s sovereign people. You were warned. We’re taking you to the cleaners now. Better buckle up Sunshine.

    Liked by 8 people

  9. The clamour for independence should be coming from the people in the street because we’re the best wee whatever anywhere. But it’s not. Why not? And, don’t say media and all those other spurious excuses. Because, despite what we might think, the message and the leadership is not strong enough!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. In spite of all the opportunities offered by Brexit the SG never highlighted:
      Scotland has no meaningful democratic franchise in the UK.
      There is no respect agenda
      The Treaty of Union is violated
      Westminster regards Scotland as a region, not a country, and is working hard to make that the reality
      There is no valid reason Scotland could not retain freedom of movement – we are in a free travel area with ROI so where is the problem? Is it the two main roads between England and Scotland that will teem with hordes heading south? There are no passport checks on flights from Dublin or ferries from Ireland. It is muscular unionism at its worst.
      Scotland could have had a bilateral trade deal and the NI border problems resolved at the Scottish border. US states have their own trade deals. Muscular unionism at its worst.

      Even now I hear nothing on the UKG putting up NI for all of the UK and now proposing to cut taxes for England. So much that was said to be the purpose of the higher Scottish tax rate has been swept away by Tory austerity – though I admit it is hard for the money wasting SG to raise that one! Weak indeed. And these pretendy leaders have done all they can to deny Salmond and Alba any oxygen.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. I do understand where Alec Salmond is coming from, but I wish that he would back fully the Scottish constitutional route because I cannot see either a referendum or even a plebiscitary election under the SNP working – especially now that we have been told it must be by votes rather than seats. This is just a referendum by any other name. We have a majority of independence-supporting MSPs in Holyrood now, but the SNP will not take the risk of calling for UDI, in effect, and backing it with the constitutional tools.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I see The Guardian says this with respect to the SNP using the UK GE as a referendum:
    Sturgeon’s opponents believe her proposal to hang the SNP’s entire election campaign on independence is a gift. It will energise Tory voters who oppose independence, and allow Labour, the Lib Dems and Tories to focus on domestic issues that she would sideline.

    Do they not realise our representation in Westminster is meaningless? What does 8% do for domestic issues? This arrogant ignorance is a gift to YES.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Marion: that is why it should be a broad alliance/coalition of independence-supporting parties, groups, movements, and the parties having other issues. Independence at the top of the manifest promises, to take effect immediately on a successful election. Nothing else would be any use. Oh, yes, they do realize just how useless our representation at Westminster is, and that is how they want to keep it. We always make the mistake of thinking that all these British-invested institutions don’t get it, but they do get it. They have always known. Our own Vichy Scots enable them to keep up the pretence.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Another great article Mia and I agree with 99% of it. How we prevent the subversion of our democracy by voter fraud or manipulation is a really important issue which we must address. I really fear the threat is not only from the UK Government but also that the SNP will agree a set of criteria deliberately set up and designed to fail. I simply don’t trust them.

    I am some what uncomfortable in one area though for the following reasons. Here is an English settlers perspective.

    I was born in England and I moved to Scotland 42 years ago at the age of 26. My children are born in Scotland and for 35+ years I have truly considered myself Scottish.

    I am as you stated a settler and therefore I think you are saying you would prefer I didn’t have the opportunity to vote. I apologise if that interpretation is not your intention.
    I cannot imagine that would actually be allowed but I do think some minimum time of residence and controls must be in place and surely warranted like other countries.

    Logically, if I make a cold clinical decision I thought we would have a better chance of Independence if settlers were note allowed to vote. Then I thought so many settlers do want Independence. It would be very hard emotionaly for me, as I want to vote and am passionate about my Country.

    I openly wept when we didn’t win in 2014 I was totally distraught. That surly is not the emotions of someone who didn’t love Scotland. Settlers can I assure you love there country of residence then!

    I know many born and bred Scots who will to my dismay vote No. For all my life I have been unable to understand that and probably never will. How, I wonder, how can a settler be more passionate and want Independence and a divorce out of this clearly abusive marriage more than a borne and bred Scot?
    I have friends in England who want to move to Scotland when it’s Independent and would vote yes if they lived here.

    Do people reading this excellent blog think settlers have the right to vote and what controls are respectful to their democratic wish should be in place to entitle like me to do so?
    I would be interested to hear and thankyou for anyone if you managed to get to the bottom of my ramble.

    Thanks Mia for another excellent article.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “I am as you stated a settler and therefore I think you are saying you would prefer I didn’t have the opportunity to vote”

      I am sorry if I did not make myself clear, but no, that is not my interpretation at all.

      My interpretation of what rules Scotland should have (taking as a starting point those in other countries in Europe) is as follows:

      FOR ANY REFERENDUM TAKING PLACE AFTER SCOTLAND DECLARES INDEPENDENCE

      Settlers (of whatever origin) are eligible to apply for Scottish citizenship and after achieving this vote in constitutional matters when they have lived in Scotland for a continuous and defined period of time. As I mentioned above in my response to Duncanio, in my personal opinion, considering the small population that Scotland has, that period should not be less than 10 years, but that is my opinion. Others would be happy with just 5 years. In my view, the smaller the population a country has, the easier is for the constitutional decisions of this population to be diluted by people coming from elsewhere unless you restrict the amount of people that could come into the country per year, but restrictions in the access to the country from abroad is something I do not support.

      Again, taking as base the conditions imposed by other countries in Europe, I am of the opinion that presenting documentation to prove having lived continuously in Scotland as the main address for the stipulated period of time and a ceremony of allegiance to Scotland should be part of the process to become a citizen. These are things most states in Europe, and I include here the UK union, already have as part of their process to grant citizenship.

      If a person who has lived in Scotland for that stipulated period of time or more, but they do not feel they can swear allegiance to Scotland or the option of applying for Scottish citizenship is incompatible with them keeping the citizenship of the country where they originally come from, then it would be up to themselves to decide which citizenship to choose. But without Scottish citizenship I would not agree for them to have a vote in constitutional matters or even general elections.

      For every person born elsewhere, not eligible for Scottish citizenship, but who entered legally the country, I would advocate for a residence card to give them full rights of access to all public services, full rights to request a NI number, full rights to find a job, buy property, opening bank accounts, vote in local elections and enter/exit the country to cite some examples. Again, I don’t think this is much different to the stipulations of other countries among which there is no freedom of movement.

      FOR A REFERENDUM ON INDEPENDENCE WHILE SCOTLAND IS STILL PART OF THE UK

      Ideally, and the current FM has had 8 years to do this, I would create a registry of residents to which new information is added each year. From this registry, it would be easy to establish what people, not born in Scotland, would have lived in Scotland above the stipulated period of time that would give them rights to apply for citizenship if Scotland was independent.

      In absence of such registry, for a quick referendum, the first thing I would advocate for is to set a threshold of length of residence in Scotland to be able to vote. This threshold must be reasonable, and in line with what other countries in Europe stipulate. I do not accept that a person who has just arrived to Scotland or has lived here for one or two years has automatically the right to vote in general elections and constitutional matters.

      Again, if it was down to me I would establish that period to be 10 years. How do you go about this? By looking at the old electoral registries for local elections. People who was in the electoral registries OF SCOTLAND for the last 10 years before the deadline of registration for the referendum, should automatically be given the right to vote. If some of those who were not in the older registry (for example because they never registered to vote or because they were too young) they would have to demonstrate they were living in Scotland at the time. For children it would be easy – for example with records of School for example. For others, they could for example request confirmation from their GPs they were registered for over 10 years, confirmation from place of work, or confirmation from their city-councils. I appreciate this may be a bit more complex for those who have often changed address, but it could be helped with a record of where they paid their taxes.

      You have been for over 40 years living in and voting in Scotland. In my view you should be granted automatic right to vote.

      FOR USING A UK GENERAL ELECTION AS A PLEBISCITE ON INDEPENDENCE (Scotland is still part of the UK at this point)

      In this instance, and because Scotland has zero control over the franchise, the counting of the vote and the electoral rules like where the funding comes from, everybody elegible to vote under UK rules can and will do so, no matter where they were born or if they have lived in Scotland uninterruptedly all their lives, for 10 years or for 10 minutes. Under such circumstance, and as I said above, I do not consider fair to force on us the demands a proper referendum of a majority of the vote because those disadvantages cannot be balanced out by the benefits of holding a proper referendum. Examples of those benefits are controlling the franchise, controlling/approving new registrations to vote, setting rules to stop voting fraud and setting the rules of how/where the vote will be counted, to cite some.

      I hope this helps to clarify a little better how I would consider a fair system to work. This is my own vision of it and therefore it is meant to be just the starting point of a debate where not only my perspective, but that of all others reading this blog should be included too so we could all reach a common agreement and perhaps help design a better and more reliable system for Scotland.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Mia,
        Thanks for your detailed reply and sorry I misinterpreted your view. I should have read it twice. Particularly, I like your idea of 10 years residency given the size of Scotland.

        Perhaps, I still feel sometimes like a settler because I rarely have it confirmed that I am a citizen of Scotland. I surpose in my lifetime I haven’t really appreciated the endorsement. I think I only seriously recognised that identity meant so much to me when I felt so angry in 2014 and then having my European citizenship removed unilaterally.
        Life goes on and sometimes these things seem unimportant until they are removed and I am guilty of taking them for granted.

        Let’s all pressurise the SNP into considering all this electorial issues and hold their feet to the fire so we can limit the inevitable attempts to circumvent democracy.

        Liked by 4 people

    2. Scottish Native competition rules for waterski:
      two of the following three:
      Scottish born
      Scottish Grandparents
      Lived in Scotland for over 7 years

      I’d say if you have lived here for over 20 years you are a naturalised Scot and that would count equal to Scottish born, immediately giving you two of the three criteria – just a wee thought.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes, 20 years should be more than enough time to become assimilated (without losing your English heritage, of which you should be proud, Dave).

        The Census just gone was a farce.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. The Lord Advocate is not sufficiently confident that the proposed Act is within the competence of the Scottish Government so won’t let it proceed. What hope then of the court deciding it can proceed? After reading the papers lodged with the court, a summary could be ‘ I think it’s a bogey, but please please tell me I am wrong’.

    Liked by 4 people

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