Referendum never ends


Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text

Scotland wants to return to the issue of independence again.

There is already a date – October 19, 2023. Although, it would seem, the referendum on the separation of Scotland was held in 2014 and ended with a disappointing result for supporters of independence: 55 percent against separation, 45 in favor. But the Scots are not giving up. Ayatollah Khamenei said:

"The revolution never ends." Kim Il Sung, by the way, too. It's not that they study their works with a pencil in Scotland, but the idea of a referendum before victory is hovering here. Experts, in fact, see two ways out:

1. Independence wins.

2. The public once gets tired of political parties that endlessly promote this idea.

After the lost referendum, it was decided to wait until the vote on leaving the EU was held in the UK and then go on the attack again. The fact is that if the majority of Britons voted for Brexit in 2016, then the Scots, with a majority of 62 percent, were just in favor of staying in a United Europe. Their votes were smeared in the general mass, but these figures became another reason to initiate a new referendum on independence.

The ruling coalition – the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Scottish Greens –, which emerged as a result of local elections, considered that their success, plus the Brexit figures, give them, as they say here, a "cast-iron mandate" to hold a new expression of will and have already called it "Indiref2". But this requires the consent of Westminster.

The First Minister of Scotland, she is also the head of the SNP, Nicola Sergen, wrote a letter to the then Prime Minister Johnson. "Neither you nor I," it said, "will ever come to a common opinion on Scottish independence. But I expect that a Democrat will find it unacceptable that the people of Scotland are not given the right to choose, given that a clear majority wants this referendum."

Johnson answered in his usual manner. They say the referendum took place, but you yourself said that such an opportunity is given once in a generation, so wait for, say, 40 years, and every 8-10 years we will not return to this issue. Liz Truss, who replaced him, confirmed this decision.

The claims of the British government to the referendum are mainly reduced to the fact that it did not receive clear and clear concepts: how an independent Scotland is going to solve issues with the currency or, for example, the pension provision of citizens who have worked for the Crown all their lives, how health care and education will be built, the system of combating the pandemic. In addition, if there is a sudden desire – and it will arise – to return to the EU, then the English-Scottish border will be as "rigid" as possible, London warned.

It is clear that it will not be possible to approach the referendum directly, without the permission of the British government, so Scotland filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court of the country. It met on October 11 and 12 to decide whether Scotland could hold its "Indyref2" without government permission.

On one side of the scales lay the argument that Holyrood (the castle in Edinburgh, which is considered the seat of the local parliament) nothing stops inviting the people to express their will, while the vote for independence will not be binding. On the other hand, if the Scots vote "yes" in the referendum, that is, Scotland will hypothetically be able to gain independence, it will mean that the unwritten constitution of Britain will need to be amended. It will turn out that the issues that have hitherto been in the exclusive competence of Westminster will have to be given up.

Now the Scottish Parliament, created only in 1999, has no special leverage over Westminster. He has at his disposal only the "30th section" of the Scotland Act, which is built on the principle of "everything that is not prohibited is allowed". But Holyrood cannot interfere with the competence of the UK government. Throughout its existence, it has applied the "30th section" 16 times - when issues related to the construction of railways or the reduction of the voting age in local elections.

Nicola Sergen said that if the Supreme Court does not allow a new referendum, the coalition government will go the other way. The "30th section" will be forgotten and they will go to the next UK general election in 2024 only under the slogan: "Should Scotland become an independent state"? Thus, the vote will become a "de facto referendum". Approximately in the Catalan style.

A representative of Westminster before the hearing in the Supreme Court said: "It would be better for the Scottish and British governments to work on solving joint tasks, rather than be puzzled by the issues of a new referendum." That is, it is clear that the Scottish approach to the issue is not acceptable for London, at least for today. Not only are the contours of a possible future compromise unclear, but even the circumstances under which such a bargain will be possible at all.

By the way, the British election expert Professor John Curtis, after analyzing a dozen recent polls, revealed that if you remove the abstainers, then 49 percent are for independence now, and 51 percent are against.

The hearing is over and the court has retired for a meeting that may take several weeks. "It is unlikely," says Akash Paun of the analytical group of the government Institute of Public Administration, "that the court will satisfy the claim of the SNP, but those who want Scotland to remain part of the Kingdom should not consider this a final victory."

So it's natural. After all, the referendum never ends.