Saturday, 13 February 2016

Why a delay in Indyref 2 may be unwise

Many people who wavered during the 2014 referendum and subsequently plumped for No did so on the basis of assurances and promises made by the British. The line of "safer and faster change" with a No vote was an effective one - it satiated the desire for change in Scotland's constitutional relationship with the British, whilst simultaneously avoiding the "risks" associated with sepurrayshun.

We were told that remaining in the union would save the steel industry (it's gone), the oil industry (it's been destroyed) and our place in the EU (we are heading for a knife-edge referendum in which Scotland will vote overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, but the British will wrench us out regardless). 

The promises of faster, safer extension of powers with a No vote has so far amounted to the power for the Scottish Parliament to design road signs, while the Tories - supported enthusiastically by Scottish Labour - slash Scotland's "pooled and shared" block grant and demand the Scottish government raises taxes on the poor to pay for British austerity.

"Faster and safer" change with a No vote echoed the 1979 promises made by British opposition leader Margaret Thatcher that a No vote would deliver "better" devolution. In the event, of course, we voted Yes, the British unilaterally overturned the result, and instead of "better devolution" we had 18 years of vicious Tory rule.

The "faster and safer" change that people fell for has, of course, been followed by devolution of the design of road signs as we enter the seventh year of a Conservative government we comprehensively rejected at the polls.

While the Scottish media - almost all of which is British-owned and operated and none of which is owned by Scots - are doubtless to blame by their abandonment of all journalistic ethics, unquestioningly and uncritically parroting every pronouncement and promise made by the British regime to Scots, another reason why so many fell for the empty promises of the British of their intentions following a No vote was the lack of a collective folk memory of the 1979 stab in the back.

The youngest possible person to have voted No based on British promises and media support in 1979 and witnesses the subsequent betrayal would have been 53 during the Independence referendum. The vast majority of those who experienced the betrayal of 79 will be dead now, and the majority of the Indyref electorate would not have been around in 1979. Many, indeed, would not have been aware.

The British, in the Good Friday Agreement, have conceded the principle that when one of its constituent nations holds a constitutional referendum and chooses to remain in the United Kingdom, the issue may be revisited after a gap of seven years. A political generation which will see at least one full Parliament and, depending on the point in the life of parliament in whcih the referendum was held, parts of three Parliaments. 

For instance, if one applies the 7-year rule to Scotland, the referendum would be held some time after September 2021. This means that since the first referendum, Scots would have experienced government by the 2010-2015 British parliament, the 2015-2020 British parliament, the 2020-2025 British parliament, and the IV, V and VI Scottish Parliaments.

This gives us more than enough time to ascertain for ourselves the good faithand intentioms of the British in relation to Scotland. A delay of more than three decades between the Devolution Referendum and the Independence Referendum robbed the electorate of the folk memory of British betrayal of promises.

We must not allow the same to happen again. 


  1. Excellent point puts to bed the once in a generation pish. I will be up for a 2021 referendum it will give us time to have the answer to the currency and EU questions that harmed us so much. Also god forgive but a load of NAwsayers will not be here to vote.

  2. The way events are currently unfolding, suspect we'll be out of this British dystopia as pronto as possible.