2014 (Again)

In 2016 the Scottish elections were held with a raft of manifesto pledges within them, one key one in the SNP's being the following:

"We believe that the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people – or if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will."

There has been plenty written about the possibility of a Scottish IndyRef2 in the wake of the Brexit vote, not just from me (Politics Next - Politics Next: After the Storm - The Death of the United KingdomA Plan - The Independence of Scotland). However, the biggest argument against a second IndyRef was the phrase "that's it settled" - simply that the 2014 vote still stands because we've already had our say.

That's not true. Everything has changed.

In my three post series in 2014 about my voting intentions, I wrote If It Is a No in which I stated a simple fact: "...and then things will start all over again. Those who wanted better control for Scotland will still want better control. Those who wanted better powers will still want better powers. Those who wanted a fairer government will still want a fairer government. So it won't stop - the framing will have just changed slightly" and "The question might have been answered, but the topic is still up for discussion".

That attitude rightly pissed a lot of people off. There had been a narrow escape for those who supported the Union and they were relieved, only to find out that those who were arguing against them were still as angry and ready to put their case forward. Why? The question had been asswered! It was a No, come on everyone, let's knuckle down. The thing is that it is a belief. I believe that Scotland will serve itself better outside of the UK and on it's own, and with a slight majority of folk disagreeing with me isn't going to change that. Is that a blind bit of faith? I don't know - I am sure that I could have been convinced if the actions of the UK government had been more "equal" than dismissive following almost everything that happened from 19th of September 2014 to... the 17th February 2017.

Now, however, the question is quite different. We know that the question asked in 2014 isn't valid anymore and the contextual basis for the question was entirely wiped out when the UK government lost the EU Referendum vote. Now, I respect that vote. I live in the England, don't forget, so my fellow country-persons voted against me and went to leave. In fact, the area I live in voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU. That feeling of having lost against was hard to take, but that's not what I'm aruguing - Brexit is happening to England no matter what, it is the terms of the arrangement that is up for debate there.

Scotland, on the other hand, has no say. They voted to Remain and they're getting taken out of the EU without their consent. That's a disaster scenario for those who voted No but also voted Remain. It's the hard choice of British nationalism versus outward global reach. No longer is the Scottish Independence vote the rejection of collaboration that many painted it as in 2014. In fact, it is the exact opposite scenario now, a Yes vote being for a EU membership, not the other way round.

So no matter who says it, when they say it, or when they believe it, this is not a re-run of 2014. It isn't for a lot of reasons.

  1. Scotland voted to Remain, and is being taken out without it's consent.
  2. That's actually true, even if you say it's a UK decision - the Scottish Parliament says no overwhelmingly, yet it being disregarded. That's not a partnership of equals.
  3. The previous IndyRef was on the basis that a No guaranteedEU membership. Now, it's guaranteeing an EU exit.
  4. The powers promised have been watered down.
  5. Scotland is being ignored in a magnitude that hasn't happened in decades.

So the next step - convincing those who voted Yes but are now a No, or those who voted No but might change to a Yes.