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Catch 2022

Posted on July 02, 2022 by

A few days have now passed since Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement of the supposed routemap to an independence referendum, and we’ve had time to analyse it properly.

You’re not going to like it much.

As yet, nobody knows why the Lord Advocate referred the matter directly to the Supreme Court before the passing of the referendum bill. There has been speculation, though, that this was a result of the Lord Advocate, whose assertion of belief that the bill was within Parliament’s powers – intra vires, in the jargon – would be required in order to present the bill to Parliament, refusing to do so.

We have no way of knowing whether that’s true or not, but it’s certainly a plausible explanation. Because as noted by the Telegraph yesterday, doing it this way creates a very major problem which would otherwise have been avoided by passing the bill first.

The problem is that just last year, the Scottish Government itself – while it was inexplicably opposing Martin Keatings’ private attempt to establish whether Holyrood could run an indyref without Westminster permission – successfully argued that the matter couldn’t possibly be settled until a bill was passed, because the bill could be amended during the Parliamentary process and therefore the court wouldn’t actually know what bill it was making a ruling on.

So immediately we’re locked in an unbreakable loop – the Supreme Court refuses to make a ruling because there’s no final bill to make a ruling on, but there can’t be a bill for the Supreme Court to rule on, because the Lord Advocate won’t grant permission for it until the Supreme Court has ruled on its legality.

Nice work, Scottish Government lawyers.

Now, we could stop the article there. But just for fun, let’s say the Telegraph is wrong. Let’s be super-optimistic and assume the Supreme Court DOES accept the reference and make a judgement. Joanna Cherry told us this week that if that happened, the issue would be heard in the autumn and we’d get the ruling before Christmas.

But even in that extremely rose-tinted version of the future, the idea of an indyref in 2023 is stone cold dead. To understand why we need to look at the process of passing a bill, as detailed on the Scottish Government website.

Let’s imagine we get really lucky and the Supreme Court rules in the Scottish Government’s favour (something almost nobody thinks will actually happen), just before Holyrood shuts down for the festive period.

To be as generous to Nicola Sturgeon as humanly possible, let’s make the assumption that because of the SNP/Green majority, everything then happens at the maximum speed, with no sort of interruptions or disruptions or delays. We’ll assume there’s no public consultation, that all committee steps take in effect no time at all (ie they’re all rushed through during the statutory minimum wait periods), and that each stage of the bill begins on the first available day after the previous one.

(Obviously all of these assumptions are complete nonsense, but we’re bending over backwards here so let’s just pretend.)

These are the MINIMUM time periods laid down by law for various stages, so let’s just quickly do some arithmetic:

Three weeks.

Plus one week.

Plus two weeks.

Plus two weeks.

Plus four weeks.

That’s a total of 12 weeks (three months), starting from the 8th of January next year when Holyrood reopens for business after the Christmas recess.

But there are 23 further recess days inside that timeframe (in February and April), which takes us almost into May – 10 months from now. So even with no hold-ups of any kind, next spring is the earliest a referendum bill can now possibly be passed. And in reality there are some really big flies in that ointment.

One of them lives in Buckingham Palace.

We’re not Parliamentary-procedure experts, but Crown consent (which comes between Stage 1 and Stage 2) seems a pretty significant hurdle on a straight reading of the law. One would imagine that the Queen would consider the potential break-up of her kingdom by the devolved administration of 8% of it as a matter which affected her “prerogative, private interests or hereditary revenues”, particularly as she’ll have been advised to that effect by her government in Westminster, and if she does then that’s the whole thing buggered and stabbed and dead in a ditch there and then.

But again, let’s assume an optimal scenario where the Crown elects not to interfere in politics. Even with the Queen and the Supreme Court now on board we still have to get past the UK government, because at the “Reconsideration Stage” we bump into this:

We can pretty safely assume that the (UK) Secretary of State will have objections on some or all of those grounds, and so a Section 35 order will be filed, preventing Royal Assent, and everyone’s off to court again.

(Because this is a separate matter to whether the bill is within devolved competence at all – the Secretary of State would still be empowered to block an otherwise-lawful bill on the grounds of “international obligations or defence or security interests”, most obviously involving the location of the UK’s nuclear deterrent.)

Joanna Cherry’s case against the UK government’s attempt to prorogue Parliament in 2019 was filed at the end of July, and thanks to an extremely expedited Supreme Court appeal timetable judgement was delivered two months later.

It seems highly unlikely that the Supreme Court would be willing to expedite an indyref case so quickly, since no matter what WE might think to the contrary, there’s no actual material emergency here as far as the court is concerned.

(Note that we’ve also assumed the UK government doesn’t amend the Scotland Act at any point in this process to explicitly outlaw any indyref legislation. In reality it is entirely possible, even probable, that it would do so, as it did with the Brexit power grab and children’s rights.)

So realistically that would be at least a few more months from (at best) May. Which, even in our wildly, delusionally optimistic best-case scenario takes us easily into the 2023 summer recess around the start of July, which will run up to next September.

And remember, we have to have an actual campaign period of several months after all this, not to mention all the administrative preparation necessary to actually run the referendum, which means that even without a Section 35 challenge we’ll have completely run out of 2023.

That takes us into spring, because you can’t sensibly have a referendum in January or February, and – if there hadn’t been one already – we’d be looking at an imminent UK general election by then (while there doesn’t HAVE to be one until December 2024, the government will want to pick a favourable time before that). So the indyref would be kaput and it’d have to be a plebiscite election or nothing.

(You can’t have the campaign during a general election campaign, for reasons we hopefully don’t have to make this article several hundred words longer by detailing.)

So: it is manifestly obvious to anyone remotely sane that even if everything goes as favourably as possible there’s absolutely no chance of delivering a second indyref by next October, or indeed even in 2024. The First Minister is not serious.

This “routemap” is aimed only at the hyper-gullible and blindly faithful (sadly still plentiful in the Yes movement), and those entities who make a cynical profit out of trying to sustain the fantasy. It’s a plan which – by the Scottish Government’s own actions – is both designed and guaranteed to fail.

(If you assume that its intention is to bring about an indyref at all.)

Back down the mountain again, folks. Put your flags and your marching boots away. There’s nothing to see here.

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    529 to “Catch 2022”

    1. Ruby says:

      It looks as if this thread has turned into ‘a bin fire’

    2. Andy Ellis says:

      @Scott 8.40 am (1)

      Where their births were registered will take legal precedence, post independence.

      Says who, Scott? You and the small minority of nativists? Self determination referendums are almost invariably held on residence criteria, not birth registration criteria. You and others who favour a politically and socially regressive independent Scotland might like to exclude all New Scots like Mark Frankland, but you don’t have the support of the movement and you’d be making the Scottish self determination referendum an outlier with respect to all the other referendums held since 1945.

      You’re entitled to argue for that of course, but those opposed are entitled to point out why we think it’s a bad idea, and why it might negatively impact the chances of any vote using such a franchise being accepted by the international community. So far all those arguing in favour of a nativist franchise have been able to come up with is that we are being swamped by incomers and/or the only way we can win is to move the goalposts from the 2014 precedent.

    3. Geri says:

      Yes, my apologies to all.
      It’s the Andy show.

      It appears my *use other countries best practices* quickly descended into me being a *staunch nativie blood & soil type*

      When pointed out the natives of a country, in important matters like constitutional matters, is recognised by Int law (by the UN) for very reasons to protect small countries from invasion, I’m a racist Farage type.

      Then has the audacity to summon Wings for help on personal abuse *to him*

      Soon BoJo with revert to Victorian times & reppeal The People’s Act. Has anyone seen him of Yoon forums battering his keyboards in disgust??
      Or is it the usual Yoon shite *Scotland IS different* because Andy Yellis says so.

      BTW great example Scott.

    4. Andy Ellis says:

      @Scott 8.40 am (2)

      Voting in Govt. elections is a different game entirely, as seen with the difference in rights from the example above.

      You’re doing that thing nativists do again, comparing two different things and insisting they are the same. The franchise used for self determination referendums, and that used for referendums or elections by independent states, are two completely different things.

      By definition a country or region claiming self determination does not have citizenship criteria of its own: that only happens after independence. Once independent Scotland will have its own citizenship criteria just like all other countries: it might allow dual citizenship and it might not. Doubtless it will have residence criteria for people before they can become citizens and vote. Excluding hundreds of thousands of existing Scottish residents from voting in a self determination referendum would however be the only example of it happening anywhere in the world.

    5. Andy Ellis says:

      @Scott 8.40 am (3)

      Also, some people are already legally excluded from voting, it wouldn’t be unlawful to add a few more just for one day.

      The franchise for the 2014 referendum was widely agreed and accepted by both sides. It’s incumbent on the nativists proposing to change it to justify why. So far they’re coming up empty. There is no international precedent for the kind of restricted franchise they are proposing in ANY self determination referendum. they’ve all used residence criteria, not “future citizenship” criteria.

      I actually used Mr Frankland’s excellent open letter as an example thinking that surely nobody would seriously argue that a resident of 25 years, active in the pro independence movement, and a pillar of his community, should be disenfranchised because he wasn’t born here.

      Looks like I was wrong. There’s nothing abusive in pointing out that those supporting such franchise restriction measures are, in my view and that of many others, supporting a profoundly illiberal, regressive and unattractive form of ethnic nationalism which is profoundly out of step with the values of the movement as a whole, nor does it render the discussion a “bin fire” unless those responding do their usual thing and start abusing people, or mischaracterising criticism of their position as abuse.

    6. Andy Ellis says:

      @Ruby 8.45 am

      It looks as if this thread has turned into ‘a bin fire’

      Only if you resort to your usual MO Ruby. Rev Stu seems to have given Geri a free pass up thread, but I wouldn’t risk going back to your usual persona if I were you?

    7. Scott says:

      Andy Ellis says:
      5 July, 2022 at 9:08 am

      Excluding hundreds of thousands of existing Scottish residents from voting in a self determination referendum would however be the only example of it happening anywhere in the world.

      Would it, aye?

      New Caledonia referendum of 2018

      In New Caledonia, there are three electoral rolls:

      one general roll for the Congress, French president and French Parliament consisting of all French citizens;

      one special roll for elections to the provincial assemblies;

      one liste électorale spéciale (LESC, a special electoral roll for referendums).

      To be registered on the LESC, voters had to fulfill at least one of the following conditions:

      1. Registration on the special electoral roll for the 1998 New Caledonian Nouméa Accord referendum (or fulfilled its requirements but not registered)

      2. Born in New Caledonia and registered in the special electoral list for the provinces (LESP)

      3. Residence in New Caledonia for a continuous period of 20 years

      4. Born before 1 January 1989 and lived in New Caledonia from 1988 to 1998

      5. Born after 1 January 1989 with a parent who was on the special electoral roll for the 1998 Nouméa Accord referendum (or who fulfilled its requirements but was not registered)

      6. Born in New Caledonia with three years’ continuous residence (prior to 31 August 2018).

      A total of 35,948 registered voters on the general list were thus excluded from the vote, equating to 17.11% out of a total of 210,105 registered voters on the general electoral roll.

      There’s been two further referendums in New Caledonia, which also placed restrictions on the franchise – 2020 & 2021.

      France saw no issue with ‘New New Caledonians’ being denied the vote in a self-determination referendum.

      You can apologise to the group for being wrong on this matter all along, if you choose to.

      Bonne journée à tous!

    8. Andy Ellis says:

      @Geri 8.59 am

      It appears my *use other countries best practices* quickly descended into me being a *staunch nativie blood & soil type*

      Na mate, your misuse of the term and apparent inability to understand the difference between the franchises used in self determination referendums, and the franchises used by already independent countries for constitutional changes and/or elections was pointed out. Like other nativists, you have persisted in confusing the two, either because you’re unaware of the distinction, or because you’re being disingenuous. Which is it in your case?

      It is factually inaccurate to say you are advocating “other countries best practices” by promoting nativist franchise restriction. It is certainly arguable – indeed I’d say unarguable – that those promoting franchise restriction are promoting a nativist policy, particularly when they’re twinning it with a narrative that we’re being swamped with incomers and second home owners.

      Then has the audacity to summon Wings for help on personal abuse *to him*

      I pointed out to you up thread that your comments in response to mine were in danger of falling foul of Rev Stu’s strictures up thread. You admitted you were unaware and said it was a fair cop. Don’t try to play the victim now, it just won’t wash!

      Or is it the usual Yoon shite *Scotland IS different* because Andy Yellis says so.

      DING! DING! (as Ruby would say). Case in point. Lashing out at those who disagree with you and calling them yoons is the very definition of what Stu was warning folk about up thread. Well done!

    9. Andy Ellis says:

      @Scott 9.37 am

      Scotland =/= New Caledonia.

      Unless you’re an adherent of the “Scotland is a colony” schtick.

    10. Scott says:

      Andy Ellis says:
      5 July, 2022 at 9:55 am

      Scotland =/= New Caledonia.

      Unless you’re an adherent of the “Scotland is a colony” schtick.

      —-

      We’re talking about self-determination referendums here.

      You were wrong to state that nobody places restrictions on who can vote in those.

      There is precedent (one of your go-to phrases) to lawfully restrict the vote.

      Stop crying when you’re wrong and just accept that you are.

    11. Geri says:

      Scott 😀

      *Check mate*
      Dang, your good!

      I look forward to his apology to you but I fear a trilogy will be forthcoming instead of why the French are WRONG to protect their territory on super important matters.

      Fecking French! If only they had Yellis as resident he’d be firing off his green ink diatribes about the injustice of it all.
      Cue, *We’re better than that* on the bingo shout out.

    12. Scott says:

      Geri says:
      5 July, 2022 at 10:36 am

      Scott ?

      *Check mate*
      Dang, your good!

      Merci beaucoup.

    13. Muscleguy says:

      @Breeks
      The other countries of the world who we need to recognise our independence. The criteria are high and we have to hit them. Such as demonstrating a plebiscite is our only option.

      Don’t think we are not being watched. The Scandis want us in the Nordic Council. The French remember the Auld Alliance. The Irish are pissed big time with WM, would love us in the EU with them.

      Look at what happened to Catalunya when they declared. While still occupied by the Guardia Civil. Nothing. We must avoid that situation.

    14. Andy Ellis says:

      @Scott & Geri

      Decolonisation is not the same as self determination referendums in our situation.

      It’s a category error just like trying to compare the franchise used in self determination referendums with the franchise used by already independent states.

      Not so much check mate as playing chess with pigeons, where you’d be the pigeons. 🙂

    15. Scott says:

      Andy Ellis says:
      5 July, 2022 at 11:11 am

      @Scott & Geri

      Decolonisation is not the same as self determination referendums in our situation.

      It’s a category error just like trying to compare the franchise used in self determination referendums with the franchise used by already independent states.

      If it walks like a self-determination referendum etc…

      It is perfectly lawful to restrict the franchise – you wrongly stated that no self-determination referendums imposed restrictions on who can vote that excluded ‘non-natives’

      Stop talking out yer hole after being proven wrong, and try to be positive for a change.

    16. Breastplate says:

      Muscleguy,
      The reason people believe we need to raise the bar so high is that we presumably need to court the international community.
      We seem to want to cover every single argument for an independent Scotland from every single perspective.

      We’re Schrödinger’s Scotland again.
      Are we a country?
      Are we a colony?
      Are we a region?
      Are we something else?

      How are we viewed now by the international community?

      How do we want the international community to view us right now before any referendums, plebiscitary elections or UDIs?

      If the journey to independence with satisfactory international recognition is about getting from A to B.
      Each perspective or starting point has a different route from A to B that needs a different set of tools or equipment.

      If we believe ourselves to be a country, shouldn’t that be our starting point.

      I understand that we aren’t actually in charge of what route we take but we can still discuss it.

    17. Andy Ellis says:

      @Scott 11.29 am

      Stop talking out yer hole after being proven wrong, and try to be positive for a change.

      I see you and your mates can’t resist the atavistic need to abuse those who best you in debate. the Rev Stu may not be watching, but those without the sundry verbal tics and personality defects which inspire such abuse probably are.

      DING, DING! as Ruby is won’t to say.

      As to your argument, such as it is, it is still wrong and not comparable with the other cases being discussed for one very important reason: the UN regards New Caledonia as a Non-Self-Governing Territory, indeed it adopt on an annual basis a resolution on New Caledonia.

      Equating the case of Scotland (or other non-colonial self determination struggles and votes) with New Caledonia just won’t wash.

    18. Scott says:

      Andy Ellis says:
      5 July, 2022 at 1:16 pm

      As to your argument, such as it is, it is still wrong and not comparable with the other cases being discussed for one very important reason: the UN regards New Caledonia as a Non-Self-Governing Territory, indeed it adopt on an annual basis a resolution on New Caledonia.

      Equating the case of Scotland (or other non-colonial self determination struggles and votes) with New Caledonia just won’t wash.

      —-

      We’re talking about franchise restriction in self-determination referendums, not the status of the affected part of the world.

      The ‘why’ might be different, but the ‘how’ isn’t.

      Voulez-vous que la Nouvelle-Calédonie accède à la pleine souveraineté et devienne indépendante??”

      ou

      Voulez-vous que l’Ecosse accède à la pleine souveraineté et devienne indépendante??

      It is clearly both lawful and right to restrict the franchise in self-determination referendums (something you’ve apparently only found out today).

      PS Telling someone to stop talking out their hole isn’t abuse, it’s how we Scots communicate every day of the week.

    19. Gregory Beekman says:

      I have a PhD in Astrophysics. I like the Moon. Viewing it as a kid was what made me take up astronomy. Sometimes, I’ve even howled in delight at the Moon because it looks so majestic. It’s a beautiful sight. Nothing wrong with being a Moonhowler – all the best scientists are!

    20. Merganser says:

      The cat is out of the bag. The Lord Advocate has said she does not have enough confidence to sign off the proposed bill. See the Scottish Government site.

    21. Scott says:

      Gregory Beekman says:
      5 July, 2022 at 3:18 pm

      I have a PhD in Astrophysics.

      Black holes don’t exist in reality, only theory.

      What ‘black’ represents is merely the point light hasn’t reached yet, as the ‘heavenly body’ expands at the ‘speed of light’.

      Any ‘photos’ of black holes aren’t.

      Astrophysics is akin to a religion, whose devotees are axiom fetishists. String theory, and ‘the 4th dimension’ have far too much money spent on them. There is no 4th dimension – where spherical shadows would exist.

    22. Gregory Beekman says:

      My PhD was to identify black hole candidates in Low Mass X-ray Binary star systems, which I did successfully. I’d annoy friends by correcting them by adding the word candidate, much to their annoyance.

      There may be quantum effects that create a pressure that stops the collapse to black hole. We haven’t experimented on matter states at that density, so still an unknown.

      Gravitational wave results now suggest black holes do exist, given the close match with theory.

      String theory is a waste of time; don’t know what the 4th dimension work is.

      But none of that changes the fact that the Moon is still a great object to howl at!

    23. Andy Ellis says:

      @Scott 1.52 pm

      PS Telling someone to stop talking out their hole isn’t abuse, it’s how we Scots communicate every day of the week.

      I suspect Rev Stu will decide for himself what qualifies.

      From memory he likes people telling him what he should do on his site about as much as he likes clypes.

    24. McDuff says:

      Here is the thing Andy i am a Scot and i want independence for
      my country and to be free of a domineering military obsessed England. I don`t want to be governed by a prime minister who thinks that Scots are “VERMIN AND SHOULD BE EXTERMINATED“, think about these words. Everything in this UK is English from the MSM to dominance at Westminster. The average English person is a decent egg but they don`t give a turd for Scotland because the UK is England and they enjoy that status quo.
      Now the vast majority of English newcomers voted NO at the referendum and will do so again because their ultimate allegiance is to England and to its control of the UK. Their NO vote had a serious impact on the result in`14 and will again if there is ever another referendum , so don`t expect me to be happy with that. And they are not NEW Scots they are English people living in Scotland. Do Scots moving to England regard themselves as NEW English, its ludicrous.
      And stop calling posters NATIVISTS, that colonial term gives you away, why not try Jocks or even Vermin.

    25. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Andy Ellis, Ruby: if either of you ever mentions the other by name (including any “clever” ways of doing so indirectly) again in any context whatsoever you’re banned. Clear? Not comment deleted, not pre-moderation, banned.

      I have HAD ENOUGH of this fucking playground shit.

    26. Dave Llewellyn says:

      “Put down your flags and your matching boots. Nothing to see here. ”
      Alternatively go to Salvo.scot and sign up with the 1000 + members who have joined in the past 6 weeks.
      Non party movement who aim to force the UK to accept Scotlands millennium old constitution and do what sovereign people do . And to tell with anyone who stand in our way .

    27. osakisushi says:

      Perhaps the most important facet of this discussion is “Stu is really back”, making us all think again.

    28. David Hannah says:

      SNP high heidyins have stalled on Independence. Dorothy Bain’s Supreme Court soverinty sell out proves as such. Nicola’s trying to erase Scotland’s Claim of Right. She wants us to believe we’re subjects of King Charles that require permission. She’s full of it.

      Not a chance in hell.

      Wings has set the truth free for 10 years. I hope Nicola shivers and scurry in the halls of power, trainted with corruption.

      You’re on the side of public opinion and the essence of democracy. Always thinking about the cause bigger than yourself. The cause of Independence and self determination – the conversation of our lives.

      Bring it home for Scotland. Play it again for Scotland. Hail Alba!



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