A Canny Move?
Posted on November 8th, 2018
by Rab Bruce’s Spider
Quite a few Yessers are annoyed that the Scottish Parliament has voted to support a so-called People’s vote on Brexit. This is understandable since we all know that it will be England that decides the outcome of any referendum no matter how Scotland votes. Calls for the SNP to declare IndyRef2 have not gone away, and the People’s Vote campaign is regarded by many as a distraction, with the added problem that a lot of people who are calling for a second referendum on Brexit simultaneously declare that there should be no second referendum on Scottish independence. Still, that’s the sort of hypocrisy we’ve got used to, and we should be able to rise above it by now.
As for the Scottish Parliament’s vote, it is probably not worth getting upset over since the chances of there being a second EURef are very remote indeed. The UK Government is determined to forge ahead with Brexit in order to avoid the EU’s anti-tax avoidance regulations and to give themselves more sweeping powers to control the UK and remove as many workers’ rights as they can.
So why would the Scottish Government support this latest vote? I believe the main reason is that they wish the world to see that they have taken every possible step to save the UK from the calamity of Brexit. If they can demonstrate to everyone that they have repeatedly tried and repeatedly been ignored or overruled, then it will be evident to everyone except the most extreme British Nationalists that calling IndyRef2 is the last resort. If they went straight to IndyRef2 they could well face accusations of jumping the gun and not exploring every other possibility. OK, the media will accuse them anyway, but the court of world opinion will not be so blinkered. Organisations such as the UN and, most especially, the EU, will have proof positive that the Scottish Government has exhausted all avenues in its attempts to be reasonable, and they will see precisely where the blame lies.
And if, against expectation, a second vote on Brexit is allowed and results in the UK seeing sense and voting to stay, all that does is delay IndyRef2 slightly. Our EU citizens’ rights will be protected, our economy sheltered a little from the ongoing disasters it faces, but the Scottish Government will still retain a mandate to call IndyRef2. The immediate threat will have been averted, but the example of how Westminster views Scotland will be all too evident.
But, as I say, a People’s Vote probably isn’t going to happen anyway, so this vote in the Scottish Parliament is simply the Scottish Government playing canny politics. It might not be too everyone’s liking, but it does actually strengthen their case when the inevitable happens. It also had the added benefit of once again showing up Labour’s ineptitude because almost all of their MSPs abstained on the vote, highlighting their increasing irrelevance to modern Scotland.
So let’s not get too upset. IndyRef2 cannot be called until we know what is going to happen with Brexit. NO matter how inevitable a crash out of the EU seems, there is always the faint chance that Westminster will see sense. And although leaving IndyRef2 until the last possible moment is a dangerous strategy from the point of view that Brexit will cause even more severe harm to our economy, it may be that it will take the shock of post-Brexit UK to convince more Scots that becoming a normal country is the sensible option.