‘The Prime Minister has no right to deny democracy to the people of Scotland.’

— Ian Blackford, Former Leader of the SNP

Since the passing of the first Reform Act in 1832 the UK has prided itself on being a democracy. And yet, 189 years later citizens of the UK are having to fight to defend their right to fair elections. Democracy is a benchmark of being British. Yet the national failure to recognise the democratic rights of the Scottish people threatens to delegitimise our democratic process.

Like it or lump it.

On November 23, the Supreme Court ruled that the Scottish government had lost the Indyref2 court case.

The ruling means that Scotland cannot hold a second referendum on independence without the consent of Westminster. This decision comes following Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement to call a Scottish independence referendum in October 2023.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has ‘dismissed the call for Indyref2,’ asking the Scottish National Party to respect ‘the clear and definitive ruling of the supreme court.

The SNP has won eight elections since 2014 while the Scottish Conservative Party has failed to gain a majority since 1955. Despite this, the Scottish people have been lumped with an unelected Conservative government for twelve consecutive years.

Unless an independence referendum is granted, the demands of the Scottish people will continue to be overshadowed by a democratic system that clearly works against them. It is undemocratic to deny the people of Scotland a chance at democracy. Gone is the time when bigger countries can bully smaller countries into submission.

It is time for Britain to accept the uncomfortable truth: Scotland wants no part of the United Kingdom. Now the UK must make the right and fair decision by granting Scotland the democracy it deserves.

‘What democratic right does this government have to deny democracy, (…) and keep us shackled and imprisoned in this involuntary and inequal union?’

— Allan Dorras, member of the SNP.

The only way up is to get out

Brexit was the final straw for the Scottish people.

In the 2016 referendum, ‘62% of Scottish nationals voted to remain in the European Union.’ Yet in January 2020, the UK formally ceased to be a member state of the EU. While the Conservatives make up barely 10 per cent of Scottish representation, they have torn Scotland from the EU against their will.

In post-Brexit life, restrictions on freedom of movement have had a direct effect on young people’s opportunities and have left businesses and public services struggling for staff.

The Conservatives have crashed the British economy and created the worst cost-of-living crises in the G7 block. Their policies fundamentally lack the tools or initiative needed to revive and grow the country’s wealth.

It is no wonder then that Scotland wants to become independent. In this year alone, the UK has had three different prime ministers, an ever-changing cabinet, resignations from senior and junior ministers as well as bullying scandals and allegations of sexual assault in Westminster. This Parliament has become incompetent, and the world knows it.

Scotland cannot be appeased by the empty promises of a fresh start in the next election. Therefore, even the justifiable ousting of the Conservative Party will not derail Scotland’s fight for independence. The truth is that neither Labour, the Liberal Democrats, nor any other political party can take Scotland back into the EU or even the single market. As a result, it seems that the only way up for Scotland is to head out.

Doing the right thing

Scotland’s imprisonment by the UK Parliament is undemocratic. The UK should grant Scotland a legal independence referendum and aid its journey to self-governance — preferably sooner rather than later.

The UK is desperate to cling to a fleeting ideal of a united nation. However, the ship has sailed. Enough is enough. It is time to respect Scotland’s Constitutional Claim of Right to:

‘(…) determine the form of government best suited to their needs.’

Otherwise, Ian Blackford’s bleak statement that ‘the very idea that the UK is a voluntary union of nations is now dead and buried,’ will become true.

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