We hear a lot about the SNP's supposed "mandate" for a second referendum to break up Britain. We don't hear so much about the British Parliament's three-fold mandate to keep it together!
The SNP and Greens will argue that it is only the Scottish mandate at Holyrood – given by the majority of pro-separation SNP and Green MSPs – which should matter. But for us, as British Unionists, we see the frame, not as Scotland alone, but as Scotland in Britain.
For us, it is the UK-wide mandate which takes precedence.
In that regard, Westminster has a perfectly constitutional, democratic, legitimate right to forbid a second referendum – a right given to it by all the voters in Scotland – as we explain!
Indeed, the British Parliament has a three-fold mandate to deny Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP a second damaging and divisive referendum on separation.
1. The SCOTTISH PEOPLE have GIVEN A MANDATE to the BRITISH PARLIAMENT to DECIDE SUCH MATTERS!
At the referendum on 18 September 2014, Scotland voted to stay in the UK as part of one Unitary British Nation-State.
We voted to keep the UK together knowing that this meant Scotland would bind itself willingly to agree with whatever the United Kingdom – which is to say, all the British people acting through their democratic Parliamentary processes – decides.
This includes, for example, electing a Parliament and Government for all of the UK at Westminster, and abiding by the decision of UK-wide referendums, and accepting whatever the British Parliament votes to do.
We also voted to stay in the UK knowing that a future referendum on membership of the EU was going to be a possibility. We knew it was likely to be coming. We voted to stay in the UK knowing that we may, or we may not, agree with whatever that referendum would produce.
Nicola Sturgeon may complain today that "Scotland voted to Remain" in 2016, but she cannot deny that Scotland also voted in 2014 to continue to allow the British Parliament to decide such matters.
2. The SNP MPs ACKNOWLEDGE the ULTIMATE AUTHORITY of the BRITISH PARLIAMENT to DECIDE SUCH MATTERS!
By standing in British General Elections, and by taking up their seats, the SNP is giving Westminster – and the Government it forms – the authority to forbid a second separation referendum. It is giving Westminster the authority to decide matters.
The SNP MPs acknowledge that authority by the simple fact of taking part in its proceedings!
Consider this: At the last General Election on 8 June 2017, the electorate in Scotland had a choice of 266 candidates; not one of whom was an abstentionist; not one of whom said he or she would refuse to take up the seat if elected.
That means that everyone who voted – even for the SNP – voted for the winning MP to play a full part in the British Parliament. By doing so, we voted to give a clear right and authority to Westminster, and to the Government it forms, to govern in Scotland.
We bestowed upon the new British Parliament perfect legitimacy in Scotland.
Regardless of who we voted for, we voted to endorse (but not necessarily to agree with) whatever Government was formed.
As a result, 59 MPs from Scotland were elected to go to Westminster to decide matters, not only for Scotland but for all of the UK, and to accept whatever decisions were made by that collective British Parliament.
That's the constitutional reality, and we've spoken about The Nature of Political Authority in the United Kingdom before at this article on our Legacy Site.
3. OVER 600 MPs have a MANIFESTO MANDATE to OPPOSE A SECOND SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM
The Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem parties all stated in their Manifestos for the 2017 General Election that they opposed a second referendum.
In the event, almost 600 MPs (of 650) elected in 2017 stood on an explicit manifesto commitment to oppose a second referendum. (It is over 600 if we include the DUP members who didn't actually have it in their manifesto, but can nevertheless be counted on to oppose the SNP.)
That means that all these MPs can all claim individually, and as a party, that they have a mandate to forbid a second Scottish independence referendum.
That's a solid British-wide mandate to oppose the SNP's nefarious plans.
They can all say: "We stood on a platform of opposing a second Scottish independence referendum for the lifetime of this Parliament, and we were elected Britain-wide on that platform. The SNP may claim a mandate to try to break up Britain. We have a mandate to hold it together. Our mandate trumps your mandate!"
In short, the British Parliament – and the Government it forms – can counter the SNP's mandate for separation, with a three-fold cast iron mandate of its own to keep the UK together and oppose a second separation referendum.
WESTMINSTER has GREATER DEMOCRATIC LEGITIMACY than HOLYROOD
Finally, measured by turnout, at the end of the day, Westminster has greater democratic legitimacy in Scotland than Holyrood! That's easily proven by the figures. For example, average turnout at the 5 General Elections in Scotland since 2001 is 64%, while the average at the 5 Holyrood elections since 1999 is a meagre 53% (Wikipedia).