Our Right to Self-Determination within the UK

Scotland already has self-determination. But when the SNP use the phrase they really just mean "independence" says Alistair McConnachie of pro-UK Scottish unionist campaign group and think tank A Force For Good (AFFG). Pic: One of the fantastic members of our Thin Red Line, in Argyle Street on Saturday 6 August 2022 when we counted 108 passing Scottish nationalist marchers.

The SNP has made a submission to the Supreme Court regarding the authority of Holyrood to hold a second referendum on separation. The argument focuses entirely on the concept of "self-determination", and is summarised in its conclusion at 8.1.4:

Regardless of the outcome of any subsequent general election to the UK Parliament, the people of Scotland's right to self-determination cannot be advanced through that legislature.

"The SNP's Supreme Court submission on the independence referendum", 26-9-22.


The idea is that regardless of how "the people of Scotland" vote at a Westminster election, they will never acquire "self-determination".

That is blatantly wrong on several levels.

What is Self-Determination?

According to Chambers 20th Century, the phrase means "the power of a population to decide its own government and political relations or of an individual to live his own life."

In a modern democracy, political "self-determination" for the individual is practiced by using your vote as you want to use it, in any ballot that you choose to participate in.

To the extent that "a population", or "a people" or "a nation" – however those phrases are defined – has "self-determination", then it is exercised by all the individuals making up that group who bother to use their vote, and it is measured by the way that the votes fall.

1. It is through participation in elections and referendums, that the "people of Scotland" are engaged in exercising our "right to self-determination".