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At 11.45 this morning Prime Minister Theresa May made the position of the British government on the terms of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union crystal clear. While a concession was made allowing for a vote in both the Commons and the Lords once the Article 50 negotiations with the EU were concluded, she stressed that the devolved parliaments of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland would be completely side-lined in both the negotiations and the decision making process. This may be constitutionally legal, but it flies in the face of the spirit of devolution and, in ignoring the democratic will of Scotland, profoundly threatens the social and economic interests of our country.
Regardless of whether or not the “inexperienced” British negotiators are able to reach a workable agreement with Europe on trade and migration in the twenty-four months allowed for the finalisation of these talks, Mrs May has said in no uncertain terms that the UK will be leaving the EU. This departure, which is to be forced on Scotland against our will, will mean our complete withdrawal from the European single market, and our severance from the protections of the European Court of Justice and European Convention on Human Rights.
Even in the midst of this political train wreck we welcome the Prime Minister’s intentions to work for a new set of trade agreements with the EU, but we have to conclude that these words are mere rhetoric and ultimately delusional. Every reliable authority inside the European Commission has insisted that the four freedoms of goods, capital, services, and people are sacrosanct to the European project, and the British government’s position on migration and border controls makes any such accommodation impossible. Theresa May’s “Brexit means Brexit” approach translates into only one political and economic reality – a catastrophic and dangerous out is out.
As yet the British government has not given an answer to the sensible proposals put to it by the Scottish government that would facilitate the respective decisions of Scotland and England, but today’s statement from Lancaster House also rubbishes this attempt at compromise. In sum, Mrs. May has made known her intention to ignore the will of Scotland and in so doing force Scotland to follow a rightist English Tory agenda that will economically damage Scotland, reduce us to total dependence on the English economy, and hurt Scottish people who have suffered too much and for too long under London rule.
Already our First Minister has responded that unless this hard line position is altered, and “in short order,” there can be no “confidence that Scotland’s interests can be met within the UK.” It is now unlikely in the extreme that the position of the British government will be changed, and this is wholly unacceptable to us. The Butterfly Rebellion understands the Prime Minister’s diktat today to be the line we cannot cross and so we appeal to the First Minister and to the Scottish government to call another referendum on the question of our independence. In the event that the British government refuses to allow us to exercise our democratic freedom on this matter we urge the Scottish government to put a declaration of independence to our own parliament in Edinburgh.
Furthermore, and in consideration of the danger Westminster has now put us in, we are prepared to reconsider our support for the First Minster and the Scottish National Party in government if they fail to do everything in their power – at this most critical time – to ensure the safety and security of Scotland and uphold the sovereign will of the people of Scotland. Yet we have every confidence at this time that these same concerns are the concerns of the political representatives we have elected to Westminster and Holyrood. It is our firm belief that the time has come to press ahead with all haste on the question of Scotland’s national self-determination, and that the longer we hesitate to act decisively the more danger we will face. Our Union with England must be ended and the time to act on this is already upon us.