For the past couple of months I have noticed, as have many others that some SNP MPs have stated that holding a plebiscite election in May 2021 that would allow us to be come independent is a dead end route and will actually harm our cause.
I will say, at the point I read Pete Wishart’s tweet today (6th January 2021) I didn’t know if he was being truthful, or flippant in the debate about how the Scottish people want to achieve independence in the face of constantly being told No and permission being with-held. The tweet is below:
Lets break the tweet down.
- A petition – clearly, if this gains signatures he cannot deny that there is a demand for it to occur.
- A pop up indy party that is polling at 1%. The SNP once upon a time were, I’m sure polling at 1% when it first started off so this point is irrelevant and nothing but a dig at the ISP.
- Why would anyone sign up for a dead end that cant get us indy? – I will get onto that below…
- Lack any democratic legitimacy – I will get onto that below…
- Would appal the international community – Again, I will get onto that below.
So first of all, I had to do some digging and find out how countries actually gain independence. Evey statement I transpose below will be sourced at the foot of this blog post.
When is a state recognised as independent?
“Although it’s not clearly laid out in law, a territory essentially becomes a sovereign state when its independence is recognised by the United Nations. As the largest and most inclusive multilateral organisation, its sanctioning of sovereign statehood makes sense.
But while procedures for admitting new members are clearly laid out in the Charter and in the rules of the UN, these rules pertain to new members that are already sovereign states. Yet again there is ambiguity in the process that aspiring states must go through in order to become sovereign.
Becoming an internationally recognised sovereign country is not a clear or straightforward process. In many ways, it is determined by power and the international political climate of the day. And a surprising number of entities exist as unrecognised states, many for decades, without recognition of sovereignty.
If Catalonia or Kurdistan declare their independence this autumn, they may get sovereign statehood if their host states agree. If not, though, they could choose to declare their independence, and to exist as an unrecognised state indefinitely.”
As we have seen 3 times in the past, the Scottish people are sovereign and the Claim of Right vote, that was actually endorsed by Westminster in 2018 agreed that Scots were sovereign. So the above, from my understating is stating that for the UN to recognise a states independence they must first be sovereign and that must be recognised by the UN – we have already accomplished that. Add the political climate of the day (Brexit) and the constant ignoring of Scotland, I see no reason why the UN would disagree with Scotland. Number 5 of Pete’s list above is a moot point. The international community would agree with Scotland being sovereign as the UKG has already agreed to it.
Is a Plebiscite undemocratic and a dead end?
“The right of a people to self-determination is a cardinal principle in modern international law (commonly regarded as a jus cogens rule), binding, as such, on the United Nations as authoritative interpretation of the Charter’s norms. It states that people, based on respect for the principle of equal rights and fair equality of opportunity, have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no interference.“
A referendum is not the only way to gain independence. There are multiple ways. If the SNP put a manifesto commitment in their manifesto for the upcoming General Election in Scotland in May 2021 that states a majority of votes for the SNP will be interpreted as an instruction to appeal to the UN and international community that Scotland is an independent country, and a majority actually vote for that, it is not undemocratic – in fact it is perfectly in line with how the UKGs constitutional conventions work – elections.
On top of this, the UN could not deny that Scotland is not already sovereign as the UKG have already agreed that it is and the right to self determination should not be interfered with by an third party actors.
Furthermore, “During and after World War I, the principle was encouraged by both Soviet Premier Vladimir Lenin and United States President Woodrow Wilson. Having announced his Fourteen Points on 8 January 1918, on 11 February 1918 Wilson stated: “National aspirations must be respected; people may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent. ‘Self determination’ is not a mere phrase; it is an imperative principle of action.”
There is precedent that when a people wish to obtain self-determination, that it should be respected only by their own consent. If the UKG refuse to allow a Section 30 and the Scottish people, who are sovereign decide that they wish their voice to be heard via the Ks own democratic levers and it results in the instruction in the election manifesto being fulfilled via a majority, their wishes should be respected.
“During World War II, the principle was included in the Atlantic Charter, declared on 14 August 1941, by Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States, and Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who pledged The Eight Principal points of the Charter. It was recognized as an international legal right after it was explicitly listed as a right in the UN Charter.
The principle does not state how the decision is to be made, nor what the outcome should be, whether it be independence, federation, protection, some form of autonomy or full assimilation. Neither does it state what the delimitation between peoples should be—nor what constitutes a people. There are conflicting definitions and legal criteria for determining which groups may legitimately claim the right to self-determination.“
The UK even agrees with the statement about self-determination as they signed the Atlantic Charter that outlined the principles of it. Furthermore, it is the basis for the UN charter on self determination, which the UK is a signatory too. The principle also does not state how the decision is made so a plebiscite is well within the right of Scots. Points 3 and 4 above are also moot.
So Mr Wishart, you are either being flippant about this issue, or your are not telling the whole picture to options available – or are you worried that people may actually vote for a manifesto commitment if it were laid out by the SNP for May 2021?
To me, it looks like we are very well able to become independent via a plebiscite in May 2021 – the question is, will the SNP actually allow Scots to choose or will we just keep banging on about a Plan A Section 30 that will be ignored for another 55 years or should we actually exercise our right to free choice as human beings?