No doubt in order to gain and maintain support from voters who remain timid on the constitutional question, the electioneering rhetoric of many otherwise pro-independence politicians has put great emphasis on a vote for a stronger voice in the United Kingdom. Nicola Sturgeon, on the launch of the SNP manifesto, said that it was her “vow to make Scotland stronger at Westminster,” and this certainly appears to be the party line. As a means of securing a mandate in Edinburgh for independence in the lifetime of the next Scottish government and as a political ploy this strategy does have its merits, but as an end in itself it is utter lunacy. Our First Minister knows as well as anyone else that the very idea of Scotland having any meaningful voice at Westminster is a fiction.
Indeed Scots have always shared power in London politics, and no small number of Scots have had real power in British governments, but never has the Westminster agenda been anything but an English – a London – agenda. British government priorities have never matched the priorities of Scotland, and no matter how many Scots have sat on government benches the business of Westminster has always served British (London), not Scottish, interests.
In the last UK general election the SNP sent 56 MPs to Westminster, the resounding voice of a Scotland that has grown sick and tired of a union that has now done it more harm than good. The argument then was that such an unequivocal result would give Scotland a stronger voice in the UK, but has this been the case? No it has not. At Westminster, in spite of unionist claims of a single party state, the whole of Scotland has only 59 seats out of a possible 650 – which equates to a 9% share of the state. Even if the SNP had managed to fill all of Scotland’s Westminster seats it would still be in the position of having to beg for these elusive “extra powers,” and without these extra powers the regional parliament we have in Edinburgh remains just that.
Without any realistic prospect of Downing Street ever giving Edinburgh anything approximating the constitutional framework to threaten the status quo Scotland’s voice remains right where the Westminster establishment wants it – in its pocket. As it stands Scotland’s voice in Westminster is insignificant to the life and running of the British regime. Its influence is negligible, and so long as we continue to see the externality of Westminster as the hub of power – wherein we hope to have a stronger voice – even if in May every seat is taken by SNP or others desiring independence nothing will change because we are powerless where it matters.
Instead, what must happen is that we Scots begin to think of Edinburgh as the hub of Scotland’s power – as the only place where the sovereign will of the people of Scotland is expressed. Thinking of Westminster, where by design our every stirring is frustrated, as the real centre of Scotland’s power simply betrays a colonised inferiority complex. We do not need the democratic consensus of a foreign parliament – in which our entire country is a tiny minority – in order to strengthen our voice. So long as we sit there our voice is muffled.
In Edinburgh we have the Scottish Parliament. Not an assembly or a regional council, but the parliament of the government of Scotland. We do not require the creation of a revolutionary provisional government; we have a government, and it is the job of that government to reflect the strength of the voice of the Scottish people in Scotland, and for Scotland.
With a clear majority and democratic mandate in the Scottish Parliament after the May election it is the duty of the Scottish National Party in government to deliver Scotland back to the people of Scotland; to restore power back to Edinburgh and to the people of Scotland. The government of Scotland’s first obligation is to the life, liberty, and protection of Scotland and the people of Scotland, and anything short of this reduces it to a colonised puppet. So let us be under no illusions: We are voting for independence in May. Any failure to deliver this or at least do everything practicable to meet this end will be a failure in the mandate the government of Scotland has been given by its sovereign people.
The Butterfly Rebellion