When UK defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon the other day pointed out that there should not be am immediate second Scottish independence referendum, or that it is down to Westminster to grant one or not, there was the predictable meltdown of much of the Scottish media and the SNP. They were so angry… so angry. This is the default position of contemporary Scottish nationalism. They’re angry about everything… so angry.
That applies particularly to the impotent SNP group (the feeble 54, or is it 52?) at Westminster. They are so incessantly angry that I’m starting to wonder whether their behaviour, a general joylessness characterised by the emission of a constant high-pitched whining sound, has deep Calvinist roots. Their questions in the Commons are so consistently miserable and unforgiving about absolutely everything that they put one in mind of John Knox.
As Brian Wilson pointed out, in his magisterial column for my old paper The Scotsman, the SNP’s arrogance in demanding a second referendum is really quite breathtaking.
As Wilson says:
“Fallon performed a useful service by pointing out that holding a second Scottish referendum requires the agreement of the United Kingdom government and that such acquiescence is not a foregone conclusion.”
“For the past 28 months, the opposite assertion has been relentlessly promoted – that the electorate would be asked to revise its opinion sooner rather than later, on a date best suited to the Nationalist interest. Since the UK-wide vote to leave the EU, the volume and regularity of this assertion have intensified. Every day brings a fresh piece of manoeuvring, all based on the premise that Scotland’s future is the property of Nicola Sturgeon, with an unbridled right to hold another referendum on the date best suited to her cause.”
As Wilson says, Fallon’s corrective is long overdue.
“The UK Government’s role in agreeing to referendums is not the product of inadvertence. It was a well-debated retained power under the original devolution settlement. The division of responsibilities has been regularly revisited in the past 17 years and there has been no change in that respect.”
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He is right. Everyone, stop playing the whinging SNP’s game. Their record on the devolved stuff they’ve been running for a decade – education, health – is extraordinarily dire. Their leadership is engaged in displacement activity, fearing losing a referendum but wanting to blame someone else – England, Westminster – for not calling it.
There almost certainly will be another Scottish referendum in the next few years, although there is no reason a UK government extracting Britain from the EU should allow a secessionist referendum until Brexit is done, especially when less than a third of Scots want such a vote now.
But there will almost certainly be a referendum eventually. No-one on these islands on either side of the border can put up for much longer with the incessant moaning and pompous prattling from the SNP. This question must be settled one way or the other so we can all get on with minor stuff such as the future of Western security, the dramatic next phase of the tech revolution, Donald Trump, and so on.
But Brian Wilson is right. The referendum is reserved and the big fearties in SNP leadership cannot dictate to the rest of us.