Boris Johnson’s devolution in Scotland outburst must place civil disobedience on the table in the fight for independence

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If words could be transmuted into gauntlets, Boris Johnson mightily threw one down at the feet of the SNP leadership with his claim that devolution in Scotland had been a “disaster in Scotland” and was “Tony Blair’s biggest mistake” while in office.

Aside from the fact that one million dead Iraqis would no doubt take issue with the fatuous claim that devolution constituted Blair’s biggest ‘mistake’, from Johnson’s mouth has just spilled the truths which hitherto dared not speak their name.

Those truths are that in the eyes of the British Tory establishment Scotland’s rightful status is more that of a province of Britain (North Britain), and less that of a partner nation in the UK. The disdain for Scotland in Tory circles has ancient roots in Scottish intransigence when it comes to the untiring attempts to exercise suzerainty over it from London. In its modern incarnation this intransigence, devolution, has been of a political character.

It would be folly now, however, to continue to believe that it’s guaranteed to remain so. At least that’s if the current SNP leadership is sincerely wedded to the goal of Scottish independence. Because any idea that the Johnson government will be minded to accept the democratic will of people in Scotland, should the SNP win the huge mandate that most believe it will in the Scottish elections next May, and grant a section 30 order agreeing to a second independence referendum — this now comes into the category of a fairy tale.

The result last time, in 2014, was far too close for comfort in the minds of the British establishment, and with the most recent round of opinion polls leaving no doubt that independence is currently viewed north of the border as an idea whose time has come, it will take more than appeals to democracy and reason on the part of the SNP government to win Johnson and company round.

Further still, the huge loss of prestige internationally in the event of Scottish independence, the threat to Trident, which is a critical factor in Britain’s credibility in the eyes of Washington, makes clear that no Tory prime minister, especially one that worships at the feet of Winston Churchill, will want his political legacy defined by presiding over the break-up of the UK.

A mass campaign of non-violent civil disobedience must be on the table, as should a unilaterally organised referendum in defiance of Westminster, as should the petitioning of the UN General Assembly for international support, and as should the refusal to co-operate with the current government on matters pertaining to the ongoing administration of UK affairs at the same time as it continues to block the right of the people of Scotland to participate in a referendum on their future.

Anything less reduces the cause of Scottish independence to a parlour game.

In the midst of Covid19 the social, national and political fissures that run right across these have burst wide open, revealing that bringing to an end this prolonged experiment in colonialism abroad and semi-feudalism at home is long overdue. In this regard, a dignified people does not ask for their independence or the right to self-determination, it demands and takes it.

Nothing worthwhile is ever achieved without a struggle, and neither will an independent Scotland.

This particular struggle starts now.


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