A conversation about a future which has already been decided from the top won’t encourage people to talk. Genuine consensus must emerge from the bottom up.
Whether or not Scotland can legally hold a referendum without the consent of Westminster has provoked much debate. Ciaran Martin argues that the answer to this question does not really matter: regardless of the legality of any referendum, it is unrealistic to think that Scotland will leave the Union without the consent of Westminster. This makes the key question a political one, which the courts cannot resolve.
“Opportunities for Labour arise from an SNP that excels in performative politics but fails in policy performance. The respective and competing nationalisms of Edinburgh and London governments are shrill and limited in their understanding of self-government. You cannot ‘take back control’ by focusing on empowering London or Edinburgh at the cost to all else. Labour has some way to go but with an independence referendum unlikely any time soon it does have some time.”
Germany’s Social Democrats are emerging as the surprising potential winners in the general election of September 26 under Olaf Scholz. Is the EU’s most important member about to opt for seismic change?
‘If the 2021 Holyrood election is remembered as a turning point it will be because it was the catalyst for a referendum. The manifesto and style of politics adopted by the SNP do not suggest that Scotland is about to be transformed in any way comparable to critical elections of the past in terms of public policy.’
‘In the aftermath of an election that was largely framed in terms of independence and the union, now is the time for wider debates and discussions over what recovery from the pandemic might look like, for women of colour, for unpaid carers, for lone parents, for disabled women…”
‘The message for and from Scotland is that the trends in society and the economy favour outward-looking, social democratic, culturally progressive, green (in the widest sense) political movements and this was reaffirmed by last week’s results in Holyrood. Now, more than ever, is the time for these Scottish political forces to reach out to their fellows across the EU and Europe as a whole.’
‘It is perhaps under-recognised by many in the independence camp just how much support there was for the Union in 1707 among middle-class Scots. That support was based on a hunger for opportunity. But Brexit has reversed that – it means a big reduction in the degree of opportunity that Union with the rest of the UK once offered.’
“If the polls have been consistent on anything, it is that the next Parliament will consist of an overall majority supporting a referendum. The absence of clear, agreed rules on what constitutes a mandate for a referendum means that the battle of the mandates will prove at least as contentious as the election itself.”
“The manifestos have fallen short on the level of financial detail behind their plans.” And so has the debate. Parties need to be more transparent about their fiscal options…