Michael Gove’s latest pontification on the subject of indyref 2 shows that he has failed to grasp that Scotland no longer cares what Westminster thinks.
At the weekend the Cabinet Secretary once again tried to make the timing of the referendum the main issue in the independence debate. His arrogance was on full display when he said that Westminster would ‘’allow’’ indyref2 to go ahead once it was the ‘’settled will’’ of the Scottish people.
Mr Gove has expressed so many different opinions on the timing of the poll that it’s now a waste of time even trying to work out where he stands.
In June he said it was a foolish to talk about a referendum and it was ‘’unlikely’’ to happen before 2024.
In May he refused to be clear about whether Westminster would go to court to block Scottish government plans for a referendum.
The truth is Scotland has given its politicians a series of mandates to hold indyref 2 where it matters … at the ballot box
In March he said talk of indyref2 was a ‘’distraction’’. In November 2020 he said it could not be held until a generation had passed.
The truth is Scotland has given its politicians a series of mandates to hold indyref 2 where it matters … at the ballot box.
The most recent was at the Scottish election in May, when voters returned a significant majority of independence supporting MSPs to the Scottish parliament.
That is a clear indication of the settled will of the Scottish people and any suggestion otherwise is a simple denial of democracy.
If Michael Gove does not accept now that Scotland has already expressed its settled will he is never going to accept it.
Mr Gove’s most recent comments have two aims. The first is to underline Westminster’s claim that it has the power to approve or to block a referendum on Scotland’s independence. The second is to focus on the timing of the referendum in a bid to deflect discussion on independence itself and why it is so essential.
The fact is that the vote will be held when the Scottish government considers the pandemic has receded sufficiently to allow a proper campaign to secure independence.
Of course there is some frustration within the Yes movement that we do not yet have a date for that referendum but we are moving ever closer to that date being set.
Covid restrictions are easing and a return to something like normality is within our grasp if the vaccination programme continues and the number of serious cases continues to fall.
The drop-in vaccination centres I’ve passed recently have had long lines of mainly young people outside all day. The message is getting through.
The message that Westminster doesn’t seem to be getting is that it has no democratic role in the timing of the referendum and Scotland is now turning its attention instead to the independence campaign itself.
Evidence of Westminster’s unwillingness to act in Scotland’s best interests is growing every day.
What don’t need to go cap in hand to Westminster asking for ‘’permission’’ to hold a referendum. We need instead to articulate and build the case for independence
The reasons why Scotland needs to be in charge of our own economic recovery from Covid become more obvious every day.
We don’t need to go cap in hand to Westminster asking for ‘’permission’’ to hold a referendum. We need instead to articulate and build the case for independence, portray the kind of country independence will help us create and plan an inspiring campaign to win majority support for that case.
We need to start that work now and start campaigning whenever it is safe to do so. One of the first steps in that campaign will be the huge day of action for independence being held by Believe in Scotland. Details of how and when you can take part will be revealed as soon as possible. It’s going to be an inspirational day.