“So, what is next?”

Monday January 16th 2023

Colin Beattie MSP
Colin Beattie MSP, Midlothian North & Musselburgh, writes his monthly column for Midlothian View

Last year the UK Supreme Court ruled that the Scottish Parliament does not have the powers to legislate for a referendum on independence without the agreement of the UK government. I respect the ruling of the Supreme Court albeit disappointing.

However, it is time to look forward. It is very clear that the Union is not working for its devolved nations. The continued Tory rule and London-centric views have let Scotland and its communities down for decades. Yet, Westminster continues to block a referendum.

Scotland voted 62% in favour of remaining in the EU in the 2016 referendum, and recent polls have put support for Scotland re-joining as high as 72%. A harsh Brexit against Scotland’s will followed by a Tory-made cost-of-living crisis has seen us face the worse economic hardship since the late 2000s.

The UK Supreme Court ruling left many wondering what is next. Following the ruling, polling consistently showed increased support for Scottish independence. There is no doubt that the ruling has galvanised support for independence. The recent troubles and challenges we have faced as a country and as individuals has led more and more people to realise that independence is vital for Scotland’s future.

So, what is next? In March, the SNP will hold a Special Democracy Conference putting forward a motion outlining our next steps towards a de facto referendum. SNP members will debate this motion which gives members two options – the SNP would contest the next Westminster General Election or Holyrood General Election on the issue of independence effectively meaning any vote for the SNP is a vote to leave the Union.

It is unfortunate that it has come to this, and we are left exploring options because Westminster continues to deny Scotland a say over its own future. The denial can only be out of fear.

People in Scotland have the sovereign right to determine the form of government best suited to their needs. It is not for the UK Government to decide. The UK Government must respect the right of people in Scotland to choose their constitutional future. Democracy demands it.

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