Will the Conservatives crush SNP’s ‘second referendum’ threat?

Nicola Sturgeon speaking at the SNP conference [Image: The Guardian].

Nicola Sturgeon speaking at the SNP conference [Image: The Guardian].

This could be interesting.

The SNP-run government in Holyrood has made it clear since the EU referendum result in June that Brexit creates a change in UK politics sufficient to justify another referendum on whether Scotland remains part of the nation.

But the noises from Number 10 suggest Nicola Sturgeon will not be offered the opportunity.

Theresa May, it seems, will not allow another independence referendum; as far as she is concerned, the matter has been settled.

For once, it seems unlikely she’ll change her mind; the Scottish government is unlikely to be able to offer a financial threat to Mrs May or her fellow Tories.

Nicola Sturgeon warned that she was prepared to stage a second Scottish independence referendum before the UK quits the European Union as she attacked the Tories for their “xenophobic” rhetoric on the EU.

In a clear challenge to Theresa May’s government in London, the first minister told the Scottish National party conference in Glasgow she would unveil draft legislation next week to prepare for a rerun of the 2014 referendum within the next two years.

Sturgeon said the UK government’s recent rhetoric on capping immigration and on quitting the EU single market made it clear that the Tory party had been taken over by its “rampant and xenophobic” right wing. To applause from delegates, Sturgeon singled out the prime minister and declared: “Hear this: if you think for one single second that I’m not serious about doing what it takes to protect Scotland’s interests, then think again.”

Her official spokesman cautioned that this was designed to give the Scottish government the full range of options. Sturgeon had a dual-track strategy and her immediate goal was to get the strongest powers possible for Holyrood in the Brexit deal.

A UK government source said that strategy was “bizarre” because the Brexit bill was designed to protect Holyrood’s existing powers by embedding all existing EU legislation into UK law. It may also weaken Sturgeon’s hand in future Brexit talks: negotiations are due to start in late October, when the prime minister meets Sturgeon and the leaders of the Welsh and Northern Irish governments to agree on joint plans to prepare for Brexit.

Responding to Sturgeon’s speech, Downing Street said the government would continue to engage with Sturgeon and the people of Scotland but would not support another referendum. “We believe this issue was addressed in 2014. We want to engage different stakeholders around the UK, but we will be delivering on the will of the British people, and that is to leave the EU,” a spokesperson for Theresa May said.

Source: Nicola Sturgeon challenges May with second referendum bill | Politics | The Guardian


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16 thoughts on “Will the Conservatives crush SNP’s ‘second referendum’ threat?

  1. rockingbass

    “Brexit bill was designed to protect Holyrood’s existing powers by embedding all existing EU legislation into UK law”..As proposed it dose not do that…It reserves all EU legislation to the respective Westminster government departments which will enable those ministers of the crown to change the legislation by an “Order in Council”….thereby circumnavigating Holyrood,&The Westminster Parliament …It is the biggest grab of power by the executive.

  2. Joan Edington

    I think May would be stupid to “crush” a referendum if Scotland really wanted one. Scots dislike being bullied, especially by Tories, and a total block would simply turn more people towards independence.

    Sturgeon will not attempt another indyref unless she is sure we will win. She isn’t one to slit her own throat. May must know that and is merely posturing to the BritNats.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Based on what I’ve seen, I reckon you’re right.
      Sturgeon is after the best possible deal; she’ll stick with the UK if that’s what works best.

  3. NMac

    The Nasty Party has opened a can of worms and they really are floundering around hoping something will turn up.

  4. Hairyloon

    I am curious to know how May thinks she can stop a referendum. There is nothing she can do to stop Scotland from setting up its polling stations and getting out its ballot boxes.

    She can of course ignore any result: it is not as if we are in a democracy or that the will of the people must be obeyed.

    And since we are on the subject of ballots without the consent of Number 10, I’m going to suggest again that we hold a vote of no confidence in the entire administration…

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Oh, she can certainly stop Scotland having a referendum – with the police and, if necessary, the military.
      If Holyrood went ahead with an illegal referendum (as it would be seen by everybody else) then the ruling SNP would have crossed a very dangerous line and would probably face criminal charges (although I’m not sure what those would be; treason, perhaps).

      1. Hairyloon

        You’re suggesting military force to prevent a legitimate democratic process and suggest the SNP would be crossing a line…
        That *is* meant as satire?

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        It wouldn’t be a legitimate democratic process, because the UK government would have ruled it illegal.

      3. Hairyloon

        How can you rule a democratic vote illegal without first making fundamental changes to the constitution?
        And how do you suggest they get around the protections in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights?

        It goes without saying that they could of course ignore the result: there is nobody anywhere suggesting that the will of the people should be obeyed.

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        No changes needed; it would not be a democratic vote because the government of the land would have ruled that it wasn’t.
        And if it wasn’t, then it must be an act of rebellion against that government.
        See how it goes?

  5. Barry Davies

    Well Sturgeon could always declare unilateral independence form the UK not many english people would object, but of course that will get exactly what the original referendum would have achieved, instant freedom from the eu, Sturgeon is under the misguided idea that Scotland is in the eu, when it is actually great britain and northern ireland that is in the eu, no individual nation called Scotland is a member and an independent Scotland would have to go through all the hoops to join that any other nation would, with the added problems that Spain would be against it because of the basques and catalans wanting independence and it would set a precedent that breakaway nations could join, indeed Belgium could suffer a similar fate.

  6. wildswimmerpete

    I like it – UDI! May doesn’t get it, Scotland wants to remain in the EU, as does Northern Ireland. Two Conservative and UNIONIST Party prime ministers acting to break up the UK. You really couldn’t make it up.

  7. jeffrey davies

    are they now going to open up traitors gate so that the traitors can be rowwed up river again heads hanged outside oh dear then alot of our mps and ministers could be hanging there indeed

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