Continuing our short articles de-bunking the oft-heard, and very tiresome SNP Themes. Here we address the notion that "Westminster has no right to block a 2nd IndyRef".
The Scottish Nationalist frame – their way of looking at things – is that Westminster is essentially a "Colonial/Imperial Master" which long ago captured poor little old Scotland and has been abusing it ever since.
For Scottish nationalists, the bottom line is that Westminster is illegitimate.
All complete rubbish, of course. But that is how they see things.
In that view of things the British Parliament has no moral authority to do anything...at all!
So it is important to establish the legitimacy of the British Government in Scotland from the get-go.
It is the British Parliament, and the Government it forms, which is the collective Parliament and Government which represents us all, wherever we are from in our Islands.
We elect people to represent us, not primarily on the basis of our Scottish, English, Welsh or Northern Irish identity (although some of us do that) but upon the basis of our different ideologies.
Everyone goes to Westminster and they trash it all out, publicly.
Despite it often appearing a bit of a muddle, it actually works. It holds us together...relatively peacefully. It is not perfect, but it works. No doubt it can be improved.
In any case, we participate in this British-wide democracy, both voluntarily and keenly!
1. WESTMINSTER HAS GREATER DEMOCRATIC LEGITIMACY THAN HOLYROOD
Indeed, the British Parliament enjoys far greater democratic legitimacy in Scotland in terms of turnout than does Holyrood.
Here's the figures>
Westminster General Election Turnout in Scotland
2001 - 58.2%
2005 - 60.6%
2010 - 63.8%
2015 - 71.1%
2017 - 66.4%
AVERAGE = 64.02%
1999 - 59% (the first-ever)
2003 - 49.4%
2007 - 51.8%
2011 - 50.4%
2016 - 55.6%
AVERAGE = 53.24%
Let that sink in. Westminster enjoys greater democratic legitimacy in Scotland than Holyrood! You don't hear that said very often, but you should.
So firstly, on that basis alone – on the basis that more people vote for Westminster than for Holyrood – the British Parliament and Government has the right to forbid a second separation referendum.
2. IT IS THE DUTY OF THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT TO MAINTAIN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Secondly, the Parliament of the United Kingdom is the primary body tasked with holding the United Kingdom together in the first place.
That's its job.
The British Parliament is the national Institution which has the responsibility and duty, on behalf of us all, to keep the UK together.
It must "defend the Realm". That is, it must defend it against outside aggression, but also against internal threats which seek to break it.
Westminster's first priority is to hold the UK together in the first place. It has a perfect right, duty and responsibility to hold the United Kingdom together!
We utterly depend upon it to do so. If it does not do that, then what else will do that?
It should not be shy in doing its job.
3. WE VOTED TO KEEP WESTMINSTER AS THE SUPREME PARLIAMENT
Thirdly, the 2014 referendum delivered a Mandate whereby a majority of Scottish voters demonstrated that we are happy to stay part of the UK; meaning that we acknowledge Westminster as the supreme Parliament with the right to make these ultimate decisions.
4. HOLYROOD DOES NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO DEMAND A REFERENDUM
Fourthly, Holyrood is a devolved Parliament in a vertical, not horizontal, relationship with the British Parliament.
Devolution is British State Power exercised by Subsidiary Bodies. Holyrood is a subsidiary arm of the British State. Our graphic, above, explains it well!
It is not a "government" in equal standing with Westminster. It is an arm of Westminster. Westminster is the overall body.
Of course, that constitutional fact will not be admitted by the SNP, or the federalists who came up with the ploy of referring to the Holyrood Executive as a "government"; but it cannot be denied.
Powers flow down from the British Parliament, vertically. Subsidiary bodies exercise certain powers but must defer to the wider and greater British centre when necessary.
5. VIRTUALLY ALL THE MPs HAVE A MANDATE TO PREVENT A 2nd REF
Fifthly, at the 2017 General Election, almost 600 MPs (out of 650) stood on Manifestos explicitly opposing a second Scottish 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.)
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 attempt for a second referendum.
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!"
6. THE SNP ACKNOWLEDGES WESTMINSTER'S SUPREMACY
Sixthly, the British Parliament is morally and political legitimate in Scotland even if the area of North Britain known as Scotland elected all 59 MPs from the SNP.
This is because:
a) The presence of SNP MPs in Westminster is a democratic acknowledgement that the UK Parliament is supreme. If they don't like that fact then why are they there? By taking part in Westminster proceedings, the SNP has given Westminster the authority to make the final decision on all matters.
b) Hundreds of thousands of people in Scotland do not vote for the SNP. Any SNP domination of Westminster is merely a factor of the first-past-the-post system which tends to nullify the votes and voices of the substantial element of the electorate which did not vote for those MPs. Such voters risk being ignored, but they continue to exist! Such voters depend upon the MPs who were elected from other parts of the UK to give voice to their concerns.
WHAT WE MUST DO
The United Kingdom should not be held together by a mere thread which can be broken at a referendum won by a simple majority of a small percentage of the UK electorate voting on one day in one part of the country.
Our centuries-old Nation-State must be tied more tightly than that!
For this bond, we look ultimately to our Representative Parliamentary Democracy, where we elect MPs to our Collective British Parliament to make decisions on our behalf; and in whom we imbue an absolute moral and democratic responsibility and duty – acting collectively on behalf of all British citizens – to stand for the integrity, cohesion, stability and security of the UK.
At future Elections, Parties should remember that there are a lot of votes to be won by seeking a cast-iron mandate to keep the UK together.
Instead of another Scottish separation referendum, let us concentrate on our established tradition of Representative Democracy.
Let us encourage the British Parliament to represent all parts of the UK, and to build Ever Closer Union between all our people.
Once the perfect legitimacy of the British Parliament in Scotland is understood and accepted, then we can move on to how best we can strengthen the Union.
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4 Reasons Why We Oppose a 2nd Referendum (Our Legacy Site, 31-10-17)
4 Reasons Why Sturgeon has No Legal Right to "Call" Referendum (Our Legacy Site, 1-2-17)
Parliament Overrides Holyrood HOORAY! (16-5-18)