So, the election is over. Immediately after which, the Tories began saying exactly what we thought they would with regards to section 30. The SNP said exactly what we thought they would say, with regards to section 30, none of it comes close to the reality of the situation and the SNP’s bill is definitely going to be challenged by the UK Government. The puffing of the chest from Westminster, clearly quite eager that the Prime Minister will get to stroke his ego and pretend to be a Chinese knockoff of the love child of Margaret Thatcher and Churchill. Boris is a man who makes choices based on his own survival. The electorate is secondary to that aim. Faced with going down in history as the last PM of the UK, or if he does enough of the illegal crap that seems to have been normalised with the press, and it would seem our neighbours down south; he sees it as an opportunity to potentially go down in history as the man that fought off those dastardly “nationalists”.
Simultaneously the SNP trumpet a bill that they don’t know is competent to pass while promising that it’s competent, but let’s not find out whether it is or it isn’t. “Everything will be alright” they proclaim, Boris will follow the law, he’ll follow precedents of the past, he’ll give us a section 30 order. The problem is that this Prime Minister doesn’t follow precedents, he considers himself above the law – throw in the fact that Scotland becoming independent and would end not just the UK, but also his political career. He’d go down in history as what an irn-bru commercial would likely describe as that “fanny” who broke the UK.
The SNP have probably royally screwed us (he says praying that he’s wrong). What comes next in this little saga, is that the UK Government are going to use the time it takes to challenge the SNP’s bill (if they ever get around to actually putting it to Holyrood because they’re already starting to do what they did at the last election – namely quoting longer and longer timescales) and will seek to modify legislation at Westminster to remove certain aspects of that bill from the competency of Holyrood. At which point the court will have no choice but to rule on the law as it stands at that time, declaring the bill to be incompetent.
If that sounds familiar, it should be, because it is exactly the trap the SNP walked into with the continuity bill. They said the legislation was competent (and at that time it was), they put it forward, the UK Government challenged it which immediately meant it could not gain royal assent and become law; and while the case wheeled through court, the bastards changed laws at Westminster which removed parts of that bill from the competency of the Scottish Parliament. Next stop, the court had no choice but to read the bill inline with the legislation passed at Westminster.
What I am trying to say is THIS IS THE GOVERNMENT CHALLENGING THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT ON LAWS TO PROTECT CHILDREN! DO YOU REALLY THINK THEY WILL GRANT A SECTION 30?
On the people’s action, conversations with counsel are such that we see no reason to appeal to the UK supreme court in this case and on that front you only have the Scottish National Party to blame. Although we reserve the right to revisit that if the climate becomes more conducive.
The constitutionality of the Scottish Parliament legislating for indyref 2 and the constitutionality of the SNP’s own bill being ruled competent have been scuttled by the SNP themselves. They could have had both confirmed if they’d merely joined this case and fought for the powers of the Scottish Parliament – but because the paperwork didn’t have an SNP logo on the top, instead the same fight will have to be had again, potentially at a cost of millions to the taxpayer. The UK Government are no better, they too fought against it. But that was expected, obviously.
Make no mistake, this case has not been wasted, arguments have been crafted and researched, which I am sure that the Scottish Government will be able to use when they have the same fight again and Westminster cuts their knees out from under them.
With respect to the current status of this case, what happens next is quite simple. The funds raised will go to pay all of the legal counsel we hired. The UK and Scottish Government will seek expenses over and above that, and for daring to ask a very simple legal question which politicians have failed to answer for 22 years, I am now likely to be sequestered (made bankrupt). But not to worry, because with nothing to lose, I’m now free to stop walking on eggshells and say exactly what I would like to say.
Be under no illusion. The UK Government was not the stumbling block in this case. And before the SNP fanboys jump on and start yelling in the threads. Pfffff shoosh! I’m not interested! Make your choice – either you want independence or you don’t. If the answer is that you want independence, then you need to wake the hell up and understand that the current leadership are about to drive that dream right off a cliff! Only you as an SNP member, as an SNP voter can light a fire under their ass. Because those of us who merely lend our vote to the SNP will not be doing so at the next election if you don’t get your party leadership to get their crap together on the independence question.
Let’s talk about some of what the Scottish Government has done in this case (that’s the SNP to ensure no mistake). First, they tried to have the case struck out saying it was filed under the wrong process. When that didn’t work, they tried to have it moved to a different process so it could be struck out, which counsel classified as an abuse of process. They also filed motions which we had to prepare for and draft a response, only for them to drop it at the last minute. In terms of their view of the ordinary electorate, it can be summarised in their own words “It’s not for the pursuer to stand in the shoes of parliamentarians” (the pursuer, in this case, was 10,000 ordinary members of the electorate seeking a simple answer to a simple question) – yet they’ll happily tell you that you’re sovereign, that power is derived from you, especially if it wins votes.
Every motion they made came with the same request that “both sides should assume their own expenses”. Simply put, the Scottish Government used your tax money to deliberately delay and deliberately undermine this case. They deliberately went out of their way to cause more and more expense, but that’s easy when you have unlimited access to the public purse!
The irony is that this case has yielded one victory, the Lord President and two other judges were so concerned with the cost of the litigation that they have called into question the Gill Review which was horrid for public law in this country and effectively cut off access to certain courts for the ordinary person, making them exclusive to who can afford them. In their opinion in the last paragraph, the Lord President and the other judges opine that Gill should be revisited – a win for public law in Scotland. But the point is, it should never have gotten this expensive. The Scottish Government could have declined to join the proceedings, rather than join, cause havoc and leave, like a kid throwing a temper tantrum in aisle 12 next to the buy one get one free offer on dental floss.
If this were not bad enough – when it was leaked (we presume by the UK Government) that the Scottish Government had said exactly what it thought about all of you supporting this claim, namely “it is not for the pursuer to stand in the shoes of parliamentarians” (bearing in mind the pursuers are you 10,000). They withdrew from the case, knowing that all of their arguments would take a month to remove from the record, adding further cost and further delay to proceedings. But those arguments did not disappear. Instead, the Lord Advocate (who I see resigned yesterday, and I hope the door hits him in the ass on the way out), who was called to represent the Scottish Parliament (and who is a member of the Scottish Government) adopted those same pretentious and arrogant arguments of the Scottish Government. The fact that it was the Scottish Government Legal Directorate who was arguing on his behalf tells you all you need to know. The Lord Advocate was arguing for the Scottish Government, not the Scottish Parliament.
Indeed, we repeatedly called on him to state who exactly he was representing. We only ever got one response in one hearing which never actually answered the question. That response was “the Lord Advocate is not a member of the SNP”. This was a political spin because we did not ask him if he was a member of the SNP, we called on him to say who he was representing, the Scottish Parliament or the Scottish Government. They made out it was the Scottish Parliament, but having adopted all of the arguments of the Scottish Government, and the fact that the legal counsel was the Scottish Government Legal Directorate, well, you can wrap a turd in coconut but you still can’t call it a snowball.
What it boils down to is that it’s not for we mere plebs to ask questions of Government.
Of course, before the election we warned that the SNP’s bill was not, in fact, a bill, and I am now free to say this quite publicly – they’re using that bill and promising to pass it was a lie – it was a fraud perpetrated on the electorate. The SNP don’t know if they can pass that bill or not, because they have never tested whether it would be legitimate or not. How do we know this? Because it’s literally the point of the people’s action.
The Scottish National Party has lied to the movement. They have presented a “draft” bill and claimed that they can pass it. The irony is that because it was a draft bill and not a bill, this is the reason the court has refused to opine.
On the day we filed the court summons, Nicola Sturgeon was on TV making the statement “if the court says it is lawful, it is lawful”. On the day that the details of the Scottish Governments view of the ordinary electorate were published “not for the pursuer to stand in the shoes of parliamentarians”, miraculously an announcement of a “draft bill” was made. What you did not see was the panicked emails popping up all over the place just before it. It was no coincidence that the “draft bill” coming “before the end of the parliamentary term” popped up on the day it did. It’s also no co-incidence that the “11 point plan” released by Mike Russell was published the day after the court hearings so the judge couldn’t see it. Now considering the Lord Advocate is the senior law officer, and the Scottish Government Legal Directorate were in full knowledge of the proceedings in our case, you’re not telling me that at least one of those staff did not see or hear about an 11 point plan which would have to go through the standard advice process with such things. You’re not telling me that Mike did not seek guidance from the same department which was representing them in these proceedings. Or maybe he didn’t seek such advice, in which case that would be yet another example of something unconfirmed and untested being sold to the movement as fact.
Let’s be clear. The SNP could have easily tested the question in our case and passed that bill through parliament with a clause talking about the circumstances it would be used/activated. A clause stating a majority vote of parliament for instance. It did not need to be a draft bill, it did not need to stay a draft bill; and the electorate did not need to be lied to in the run up to an election being told that the Scottish Government could pass it, when they know damn well they might not be able to.
When they do attempt to pass it (if they ever do), and the UK Government challenges it, removing competencies from the Scottish Parliament and preventing that bill from becoming law, I have no doubt that the new Yes Men in Nicola’s cabinet will stomp their feet and shake their fists – but remember one simply inescapable fact – they had the opportunity to confirm their own bill and that the Scottish Parliament had the power to pass it. Only now, another legal battle will be required, it will likely cost millions between the UK Government and the Scottish Government dooking it out, and in the long run, the Scottish Government will likely lose because they will get hit in the face with the same metaphorical 2×4 that they did with the continuity bill.
The question for the people’s action is – is it finished? The answer to that is no. There is a plan B, but it will not be implemented for quite a while. However, we will not be proceeding to the supreme court. Had the Scottish National Party, the supposed party of independence, actually stood shoulder to shoulder with the grassroots on this, we’d know that the bill was likely to pass, all that would have been required is the SNP to pass it in short order. They could have then said to Westminster, mutually agree the terms of indyref2 or we’ll do it ourselves. But no, the SNP putting their party before the movement, choice to torpedo a case and blow their own toes off in the process – the blame for what comes next lies squarely on their shoulders, and while I am sure that their media team will have 20 meme’s and one line quotes for their elected representatives by tomorrow, no political spin is going to wash the stain that they actively blocked the electorate from asking a reasonable question about their own constitutional future, blew their own toes off, laid the groundwork for their own bill to fail and the UK Government to screw all of us.
On another note, and this one goes out to all the organisers of events around the country – there’s nothing more offensive than the SNP leadership consistently saying on one hand that we need to convince the other side to vote yes, but yet their own records show that absolutely zero resources have been allocated to that task for years. The other thing that should be called out is the constant comment about being out and campaigning. Apart from the pandemic, the movement has been consistently campaigning since 2014. AUOB, SIM, Forward as One and others around the country holding rallies on a regular basis. What was absent was support from the upper echelons of the SNP.
We’re fast approaching a situation that is going to become intolerable for most of us in the movement. We’ve desperately tried to stop it, but for the arrogance of a select few in the upper echelons of Government, the worst-case scenario is unfolding before our eyes.
Mark my words, the people’s action on Section 30 is not over. It merely has to morph into something different and change direction. Pressure now needs to be applied to the SNP and as for legal matters, I will not disclose what happens next until the time is right (I hope you understand), suffice to say, if the SNP are annoyed take issue at the minute, just wait for what comes next.