I’ve learned to distrust opinion polling because I don’t think it is remotely scientific. For this reason, I haven’t been concerned about a few polls that have shown support for Scottish independence to be rising. Support also rose after the EU referendum as disappointed Scottish Remainers flirted with Scottish nationalism. But it is one thing to tell someone over the phone that you support independence it is another to go into a polling booth when the decision means something.
Still certain SNP politicians have become excited and a debate has developed between those, like Nicola Sturgeon, who think the way forward is to have a legal referendum after receiving permission from the British Government (Plan A), and those who, like Joanna Cherry, who think next year’s election to the Scottish Parliament should be used as proxy referendum leading to a unilateral declaration of independence and negotiations with the British Government (Plan B).
There are many historical examples of places achieving independence other than by a legal referendum, but this usually happens when there is an overwhelming majority for secession. The problem for the SNP is that support for Scottish independence is at best marginal. Each side of the debate needs the other in order to succeed with its goals. If a small majority of Scots favoured independence either during an illegal referendum or a Scottish Parliamentary election used illegally to obtain secession, there is no guarantee that the rest of us would cooperate.
If it became clear for instance that the SNP intended to use a Scottish Parliament election to try to achieve secession, the British parties could decide not to take part. The SNP might win 100% of the seats but this would damage the credibility of the Scottish Parliament beyond repair.
Alternatively, when it became clear that the SNP were proposing to use the Scottish Parliament election for something illegal, the Electoral Commission could decide that the election would not take place with its sanction.
As a last resort a majority in the House of Commons could decide that the 2016 Scotland Act which said that a referendum was required to disband the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government did not in fact bind Parliament, because an Act of one Parliament cannot bind a successor. It could therefore simply abolish the Scottish Parliament bulldoze it and leave Joanna Cherry and co. to plot treason in a hole in the ground.
But all of this is very silly indeed and none of it will happen for the simple reason that no part of a European sovereign nation states has the legal right to secession.
South Tyrol was made a part of Italy after the First World War although the majority of people living there were German speakers. But it remains a part of Italy even if these German speakers vote for secession and later reunification with Austria. The same of course goes for Catalonia, Crimea and the Donbass in Ukraine. If these places do not have a legal right to secession, then neither does Scotland. Any sovereign nation state has the right to protect its territorial integrity.
Of course, lots of places in the world have achieved de facto independence, but their independence remains unrecognised by anyone else. But in Scotland’s case this would preclude our membership of the EU, which is one of Ms. Cherry’s goals. The Copenhagen Criteria require “institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law”. But you cannot fulfil these by breaking the law. I would have thought a lawyer knew this.
The biggest problem faced with Plan B however is that for Scotland to achieve independence it requires the cooperation of the British Government. Scotland does not have the necessary structures of an independent nation state now. It is for this reason in 2014 the SNP proposed a transition period and the British Government agreed to cooperate in the implementation of independence if the SNP had won.
But what if the SNP declared independence after winning a majority in the Scottish Parliament and the British Government refused to help and refused to negotiate? We can assume that the Scottish economy will face a major hit from Covid. We can assume that the process of rebuilding will still be going on next May. There may even still be more outbreaks of Covid. What if the British Government decided to withdraw all cooperation immediately from the rebellious province of SNPland? What if no more money was sent from the Treasury? What if the British Government refused to recognise SNPland and told all its allies to refuse also? What if Labour, the Lib Dems and Conservatives in Scotland also refused to cooperate with the SNP and if all British Scots refused to help also? If you want to wreck Scotland, this is about the best way possible that I can imagine. If the SNP succeeded in seceding from Britain, they might find the rest of us seceding from SNPland.
The truth is that a unilateral declaration of independence by the SNP would lead to a complete collapse of the Scottish economy. Neither wages nor benefits would be paid. Taxes would be uncollected. SNPland would have no electricity, no currency, and rapidly no food deliveries from England. Not only capital would flee, people would too.
Some SNP supporters are clearly feverish and should get themselves tested quickly. Covid is a life changing historical event. Our task is to get Britain back to where we were in February. We need to get schools open and help children to get back the education they have lost. We need to find work for all those who will have lost their jobs. We will need to spend the next generations paying back the Covid debt that has kept us going these past few months. We don’t need Plan A and we most certainly don’t need the Madness of Queen Cherry’s SNPland especially with King Alex coming back from o’er the water.
This post was originally published by the author on her personal blog: https://www.effiedeans.com/2020/06/the-madness-of-queen-cherrys-snpland.html