by Rab Bruce’s Spider

The confirmation that Spain has never had any intentions of blocking an independent Scotland from joining the EU is, at long last, beginning to filter through to the UK’s mainstream media, despite being well known via alternative media sources for ages. There is, however, a potential problem for the Indie movement in Spain’s attitude which has, so far, received very little attention.

Spain insists it will not have an issue if Scotland gains its independence through legal and constitutional channels. That’s great, and hopefully Scotland will be able to achieve that goal. However, we cannot ignore the possibility that Theresa May will absolutely rule out another IndyRef. It would be a political clanger of epic proportions but, technically, she is perfectly within her constitutional rights to do so. This is, of course, one of the problems which lies at the very heart of the Indie movement, that Scotland is not allowed to do anything if Westminster says, “No", but that doesn’t remove the problem.

So, if May is dictatorial enough to show the entire world that Scottish democracy counts for nothing, and is prepared to put up with the inevitable backlash from thrawn scots who might just see that as the last straw preventing them from switching to Yes, Nicola Sturgeon has a real problem.

There are those who believe Scotland should make a Unilateral Declaration of Independence, but UDI is dangerous for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that it puts a Spanish veto back on the agenda because it would clearly be unconstitutional and illegal, just as Spain does not recognise Kossovo for precisely the same reasons.

So, it was pleasing to hear Mike Russell, the Scottish Government’s Brexit Minister, repeat his assertion that the Scottish Government intended to work for independence in an entirely legal and constitutional way. That will definitely keep the likes of Spain onside, but it raises the question of what alternatives the SNP has if May sticks to her guns. There is no doubt they will have worked out some sort of strategy, but what that might be is anyone’s guess. There has been some speculation that it might involve a referendum incorporating some different wording which would make an assertion of independence legally acceptable, but we’ll need to wait and see.

The ball is very much in Theresa May’s court now, and she’s going to have a hard job justifying an absolute refusal to agree to another ScotRef when this past weekend has been all about recognising Gibraltar’s right to self-determination.

As for all the nonsense about war with Spain, the most alarming thing about this is the fact that Downing Street did not quickly move to distance itself from the comments by Michael Howard and others. This suggests he was acting as an unofficial spokesman to lay the groundwork for an official stance, and to test the waters. The speed with which The Telegraph produced its pro-war articles also suggests they were briefed beforehand. All of which shows that the imperialist attitudes of the Westminster Establishment are alive and well. The fact that such Gunboat diplomacy is still the default reaction of some members of the establishment is really very worrying. The only glimmer of hope is that such idiocy might be enough to persuade undecided Scots that our best hope for the future is to let England go its own way and to vote for Scottish independence if and when Nicola Sturgeon manages to arrange a legally and constitutionally valid Referendum.