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When?

When? It’s the perpetual separatist question. A question that seeps from every utterance. When will our ‘independence’ come? When will we be ‘free’? When will we get a second referendum?

I was asked recently, when I believe it is the right time to hold a second referendum and I gave it some thought. I said that I didn’t believe it should be this year or, for that matter, this decade. Perhaps after then?

I was then asked, “Well, hasn’t Brexit changed everything?”, to which I replied, “Brexit changed a country, a pandemic changed the world, and neither solved what was already festering. It only made it worse.”

Look at what people are worried about today: it’s not constitutional grandstanding and divisive campaigns. People worry about whether their kids can go to school tomorrow, whether they will have a job next week, whether all their loved ones will be alive next month, and whether this strange reality we have had forced upon us for a year already will be here through 2021. It’s survival, not separation that people care about, now more than ever. 

The pandemic changed the argument for a decade or more, as we, as a planet, rebuild from an event that occurs once in a century, and a real century at that. However, even in the midst of the COVID crisis, essential day-to-day governance must still go on. And these, in Scotland, are a record of dismal failure. 

Our First Minister wants us to be a leader in the European Union. We already lead it in numbers of deaths from drugs per capita.      

Our educational system, once the pride of our nation, has dropped ever further behind other parts of the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. Our manufacturing is in ruins. Our bridges cannot stand our weather, and neither can our roads. Our healthcare system, even before the pandemic, is a shambles as flagship hospitals stand idle. Their services are cut. The Scottish ‘Government’ cannot even guarantee the delivery timeline of a vaccine already in our possession.  

Our police forces have been bankrupted by a disastrous politically-motivated unification. Our councils have been stripped of power and funding to satisfy the usual nationalist demands for centralisation and control. Our island communities are deprived of ferries that are too big for their ports and whose costs mount by the day. Soon it will be more cost-effective to raise the wrecks from Scapa Flow, and use them instead.

Her administration seems to make its objective to dabble in totalitarian legislation, and our largest city, proudly represented by the First Minister herself, is becoming more like a slum each day.

Except for herself, her whole party is void of any notable political personalities and are only known by the scandals they are embroiled in.

Despite the decades the SNP have had to formulate a viable plan for secession, we still don’t know what currency we would use, what kind of documents we would need to visit our friends and loved ones a few miles down the road, or what kind of national and international relationships we would have, let alone how we would be provided for, represented or even defended. 

There is no plan for how we would join her much-beloved European Union. If the SNP could not convince us of their fever dreams when the oil flowed like water and the economy was stable and improving, how on earth can they convince us when we are in the midst of the worst recession for 300 years and the worst pandemic for 100 years?

But then the SNP don’t need to convince us, they simply need to trick us. Their aim is to distract us from our real problems by pretending they have something better to offer.

 So, First Minister, and this band of Nationalists, when is the right time for another referendum? That is simple. When you can accurately tell us where we will be in 10 years; economically, socially and politically. When you can demonstrate to us that you can reduce drug deaths. When our education, policing, manufacturing, health care and infrastructure are secured and well provisioned for a decade. When we can go outside and see our loved ones again. 

Then, and only then, do I believe that the time is right to hold another referendum. I am afraid it will be a rather long wait. In the meantime, I do wish you would focus on the job you have and not the job you want.


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Written by Angus Robinson

I am a lecturer at a UK university. My research is focused on Central Asia where I study warfare and culture. Most of my work includes the study of nationalism and as I see the same poison take hold here I want to do all I can to counter it.

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Andrea

We know full well that the SNP and the Brexit party are really the same party, under different names. They share the same objective and the same tools to achieve it. If Brexit when through, why shouldn’t Scottish separatism follow suit? Both UKIP/Brexit party and the SNP give us an enemy we can all blame for ALL our misfortunes. Be it Brussels or London is immaterial, the important thing is that we can blame someone else for whatever goes wrong in our lives, pandemic included. This kind of rhetoric worked in England and Wales with Brexit and it is working… Read more »

Linda Hughes

I think you’re right Andrea. It has struck me that Brexit got a smaller vote in Scotland because there was already a grievance vote available (promising a ‘brighter’ future at some unknown point) and that was the SNP. The narrative that Scottish people are more enlightened, liberal, etc (because they voted Brexit in fewer numbers) is a flattering one – but why would it be true? I’m afraid it’s turned some of my friends into SNP supporters. An honest look at EU imposed deep austerity (in Greece, Ireland, etc) would help, but there’s very little discussion of this in the… Read more »

Michael Stensh-Brown

Key sentence: “The SNP don’t need to convince us, they simply need to trick us.” The dishonesty and deception practiced by the SNP increases daily. One important way of inuring yourself to the river of half-truth is to be aware of the long-term background and context. That is what I have tried to provide in my book:  “The Justice Factory: Can the Rule of Law Survive in 21st Century Scotland?” It is not a party-political screed. It has been endorsed by both ends of the political spectrum here: Ian (“Stone of Destiny”) Hamilton QC, the renegade nationalist, and Adam Tomkins,… Read more »

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