Dangerous SNP Hubris Over Referendum

Does the SNP really want a free, democratic, Scotland? If so they are everything they can to ensure it may, just, become independent but is unlikely to be a genuine democracy.

Consider the following scenario: the SNP Government imposes a referendum on their terms, with their question and to their timetable. No other Scottish political party agrees not just with independence, but protest that the SNP is rigging the ballot. No effort is made by the SNP to gain agreement about the process.

Assuming they won, which is highly doubtful, what would the result be?

First, most opposition parties would be a best reluctant particpants in the new polity and could quite reasonably become rather like nationalists and republicans in Northern Ireland – parties that simply do not accept the legitimacy of the state they are forced to operate in.

Second, even if they accepted the new regime, they would forever be branded as disployal because of their opposition to independence. This would likely produce a situation not unlike South Africa, where the almost unchallengeable position of the ANC is now undermining democracy.

Far-fetched? Possiblly, but unless the SNP changes tactics and seeks to gain a consensus amongst Scottish political parties and civil society about how to handle the independence referendum there is clearly a danger that might be where Scotland is headed.

Personally, I think it is entirely up to the Scottish people whether or not they remain in the Union. I hope they do, but if they don’t fair enough and good luck to them.

Instead of trying impose their will on the (current) minority parties the SNP should immediately establish some sort of independent commission of trustworthy people, agreed between all the parties, to oversee what they are clearly entitled to because of their electoral mandate – a free and fair referendum on independence. What their electoral success does not entitle them to is elective dictatorship about when, where and how such a ballot should take place.


Follow Colin Talbot on Twitter: www.twitter.com/colinrtalbot

2 thoughts on “Dangerous SNP Hubris Over Referendum

  1. Colin fears the SNP may act like an “elective dictatorship” – which sounds just like what Lord Hailsham called the Westminster government: the “Elected Dictatorship”! Personally I am just waiting until somebody begins to spell out what all the present rhetoric means in terms of taxation and expenditures. We know the Barnett formula is a dose of rubbish (as confirmed by its author Lord Barnett) and that about half the spending in Scotland has nothing to do with their expensive Scottish Parliament – just as we know and that the separate arrangements with each of our three devolved countries are just as indiosyncratic and remote from really effective scrutiny as the Westminster parliament’s own procedures for determining taxation and expenditures. So I wonder if the SNP is now going to get out their calculators and spell out just what they mean by the Scottish people governing themselves and we could begin trying something similar for the whole of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – and even for England?!

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