It is fairly well established now that Britain has a second cowardly Prime Minister in a row, as provided by the appalling Tory Party. David Cameron dumped ‘brexit’ on the nation and waltzed away to his tax avoided assets released from his blind trust and Theresa May was presented the laurels by Rupert Murdoch to see the job through. Only the most retrogressively Euro-skeptic Tory actually still wants to leave the European Union and it is unclear if even they believe it is in Britain’s best interests now that they are no longer faced with just the product of their rabid frothing but an actual, honest-to-goodness, reality.
Theresa May is afraid of acting against the Murdochs and Rothermeres and is afraid of what will happen to the Leave vote at the next general election. Much as pre-Corbyn Labour was cowed by its fear of standing up to the Tories on their Austerity program, much as Labour feared standing against benefits cuts and sanctions that have targeted our society’s most vulnerable people, much as Labour feared standing against disastrous decisions to go to war, much as Labour has feared taking a grown-up position on the folly of a Trident replacement, the Tories, Theresa May in particular, are a government governed by fear.
Well, now May has something else to be afeart of, the Scots are coming.
Triggering Article 50 is all the legitimisation that Scotland’s First Minister needs to decide to call a second Scottish Independence Referendum. Scotland marched on Westminster in 2015 and are the third largest party in Parliament. Scotland could not have sent a more decisive message, their voices will be heard. It’s a simple demand but it would be foolish to make. Scotland’s independence should not be tied to whether Westminster triggers Article 50, Scotland should be deciding on independence for independence’s sake. In the wake of Copeland voters who turned out to vote Conservative, even despite the appalling Tory government that has vandalised the British economy and decimated the NHS and social care, and prisons, and schools, and housing, and tripled the national debt while doubling the wealth of the richest 5%, pursuing its idolatry of privatisation and transferring public wealth to privateers, Scotland should free itself of the Tory burden. And that’s before you take into account the Tories’ irresponsible referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU and their complete lack of a plan for when people voted to Leave. England has political problems, Scotland divorced itself from them in 2015.
But, unless Theresa May is an imbecile like her predecessor, if Sturgeon uses a threat of a second IndyRef if Article 50 is triggered, May could use it as the excuse to step back from the brink. Just as May hid behind the Queen’s skirts over the invitation for Donald Trump to have a state visit to Britain; exchanging a legitimising of him as a ‘world leader’ for the chance at a ‘brexit’ saving trade deal, May could hide behind Sturgeon’s skirts and claim she has forsaken ‘brexit’ to maintain the greater Union of the Kingdoms. May could choose what coward she is, one that is cowed by Murdoch and the unknown action of the ‘brexit’ block or one that is cowed by Scotland. Either will cost her her position as Prime Minister but cowing to Scotland’s demands will briefly hide the fact that her masters reside in the media and not in the electorate.
For Sturgeon, I understand her reticence. Does she use a threat of a second IndyRef to pressure May into remaining within the EU, essentially giving up on independence in our lifetime, or does she declare Independence, Leave or Remain, subsequently giving May more incentive to Leave? It’s a tough call. Scotland should take leave of the UK, as it currently exists, that much is obvious. The very notion of a United Kingdom, in its current form, is arcane and has run its course. It really has little to do with the English and everything to do with Westminster and Scotland governing itself. The EU membership is just a small part of that, Copeland, as an example, is another.
In the first IndyRef, Scotland should have voted Yes, in the second, it will.