Hold Your Horses
Posted on January 19th, 2017
by Rab Bruce’s Spider
Theresa May’s Red, White and Blue vision of Brexit, and her dismissal of concerns expressed in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar, have led to a great many cries for IndyRef2 to be called sooner rather than later. Even some Tories are saying that Sturgeon’s bluff has been called and she needs to put her money where her mouth is. That’s rather a turnaround from their stance last week when they were demanding she abandon all thoughts of another IndyRef because of the uncertainty it is causing, but total reversal of previously held positions is becoming rather commonplace for the Tories, so I won’t dwell on that particular contradiction in their statements.
As for IndyRef2, it is clear that all our fears over what the Tories would do are coming true, and there is no doubt many of us feel Scotland would be far better off outside this bizarre, xenophobic and increasingly Right Wing UK, but the reality is that now is not the time for anyone to call an IndyRef.
Because, although sterling has taken a hammering on the foreign exchange markets, all we’ve really heard are a lot of pronouncements about what the UK is going to demand. Article 50 has not been triggered yet, and negotiations haven’t begun, let alone ended. Nicola Sturgeon would be walking into a Better Together trap if she called for IndyRef2 now. She needs to wait, to reach the situation where Scots will be able to clearly see that they face a very stark choice. Once the 27 EU nations dig in their heels and refuse to cave in to May’s demands, the Brexit consequences for the UK will be much clearer and more certain. That’s when IndyRef2 becomes viable. To call it while there is no clarity on what Brexit actually entails would be foolhardy in the extreme.
One other aspect which is also pertinent is the Supreme Court ruling on whether the Westminster Parliament must debate and vote on whether article 50 should be triggered at all. The question of the rights of the Devolved Legislatures is also to be decided in the supreme court. Rumours abound that the Government will lose the case and that Parliament must vote on whether to abide by the result of the EU Referendum or to vote it down. Admittedly, it seems unlikely the Government would lose such a vote, seeing as Tories always stick together and most Labour MPs will either support them or adopt their more usual stance of abstaining, but there is an outside chance that Parliament might decide Article 50 should not be invoked in light of the fact that the result of the EU Referendum was clearly influenced by flagrant lies on the part of the Leave campaign.
Until all these issues are clarified, IndyRef2 must remain on hold. Once we know what the choice really is, then we stand a much greater chance of winning, because people will be faced with taking a chance on becoming a normal country, or sticking with an isolated and dysfunctional UK. The first IndyRef proved that a great many Scots were fearful of change, but if the Brexit negotiations turn out as most non-Tories think they will, sticking with the UK will present a far greater risk than going our own way. This will hopefully mean that only the most ardent BritNats will vote against becoming a normal country, and we can then look forward to building a better nation. Until then, though, we need to bide our time and let circumstances, plus the blinkered, UKIP-motivated Tories, do our work for us.