The Scottish Prime Minister is very good at her job.
Nicola Sturgeon’s speech at this morning’s SNP conference was delivered online to a virtual rally, making the independence referendum inevitable. But under rhetoric, she is in constitutional headlock, and London and Holilud are upset with each other without an agreed mechanism to resolve it.
The surgeon’s discussion was effective. Brexit has withdrawn Scotland from the European Union against its will, she said. The decision to carry out a hard Brexit in the midst of a pandemic has hit many Scottish industries. “We’re already running out of some food,” Sturgeon said. “Yes, yes. Food shortages in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.”
As usual, the Boris Johnson government did most of her work for her. If the SNPs tried to invent a prime minister that better confirmed its political prejudice, they would have had a hard time coming up with someone better than their current position. His refugee policy “fails that basic test of humanity,” Sturgeon said. His increase in national insurance contributions will “hit the most for young people and low-income earners.” The next reduction to Universal Credit would be “literally remove food from the child’s mouth.”
Last spring, Scottish voters gave a majority to the party that promised another referendum in the manifesto. “Judging by democratic standards, our victory in May represents an indisputable mission to implement the manifesto we put in front of the country,” said Sturgeon. .. “And that’s what we’re trying to do. It’s called democracy.”
Therefore, the Scottish people will be offered a “by the end of 2023, a statutory referendum within the term of this parliament, approved by Covid.”
But that’s where things got stuck. In reality, sturgeon suffers serious constitutional disadvantages that can make it impossible to fulfill its promises.
If the Scottish Parliament passes the referendum bill, Westminster rejects it. The discrepancy will almost certainly reach the Supreme Court, which will almost certainly be in Westminster’s favor. Any action by the Scottish Parliament “related” to the Union is outside the legislative boundaries of Holyrood. Westminster needs to change the functioning of Scottish law.
Constitutionally, the referendum is a gift of Westminster. In 2014, we offered gifts based on SNP election orders. This time I’m ignoring mandate. Instead, Scottish secretary Alister Jack set up a new test. Polls show consistent 60 percent support for another vote. It’s unclear if he really intends to stick to the test or simply change the terms when he reaches it.
Meanwhile, Downing Street is about to change the independence controversy. The government once had two views on how to do this. One, represented by Michael Gove, wanted to kindly kill SNP, for example, by having the delegated government leaders attend the cabinet. Another, represented by the so-called voting leave group Oliver Lewis, wanted to punish and kill them, for example by refusing to accept referendum election orders.
For some time, the latter view seemed to be a victory. Lewis was brought in to lead a so-called union unit, which was established in February last year to avoid independence, demonstrating that this approach was predominant. Two weeks later, rumors spread that he resigned after one of the government’s regular briefing wars and fouled Carrie Simmons. The coalition unit has been replaced by two Cabinet Committees specializing in bringing the United Kingdom together. The United Cabinet Strategy Committee, led by Johnson, and the United Policy Implementation Committee, led by Gove.
So what is the current coalition policy? No one knows. It is neither kind nor punishment. Perhaps it’s a combination of the two. Or maybe there is no strategy and you just fly desperately. After all, it’s the standard operating mechanism by which current management works.
Still, every time Johnson interferes with an election mission, he helps to confirm the story of the SNP-a coalition as a prison rather than an equal partnership. “Britain is, after all, a voluntary coalition of nations,” Sturgeon said today. “Until recently, no one seriously challenged the Scottish people’s right to choose whether they wanted to be independent.”
It’s a toxic situation. The only reason we can’t feel it completely right now is because Covid sucked all the oxygen out of the political debate. But once it passes, we will be in an unacceptable situation-a situation where the parties can ensure delegation of changes without the ability to implement them.
A sound political system can solve constitutional issues and bring discussions back to tax, medical, education, and other issues that people are interested in. However, the Scottish debate has been frozen on the spot and is becoming more toxic day by day.
The referendum has become a major new currency of democratic legitimacy. However, we have not developed a constitutional foundation that can accommodate them in the system. They are a type of alien infection that disrupts the functioning of the body politic.
The end result is bad for sturgeon. It prevents her from conducting a referendum that has won the obligation she holds. It’s bad for Westminster because it looks more like a prison officer than a Scottish partner. And it’s a disaster for Britain because it can’t answer system-level constitutional questions in either direction. Instead, we are being forced into an increasingly fierce debate about the legitimacy of democracy and are incapable of resolving it.
However, this stalemate can last very long. The decision to block the referendum with a clear electoral mission may hold during a pandemic, but it turns out to be impossible to sustain once normal life resumes. Ultimately, it should be held. And when that happens, Johnson’s prejudice makes it harder to win.
Sturgeon is currently in a vulnerable position. But in the medium to long term, politics is on her side.
Ian Dunt is an i-columnist and author of How To Be A Liberal.