In my best Game of Thrones voice: INDYREF2 IS COMING
I have been staying out the year of the next Indyref betting markets because it could get messier than the blocked waste pipes in the toilets of a large and busy Indian restaurant because the terms of the bet and whether the referendum was lawful could complicate things, however that might change because of the recent story in The Sunday Times.
Senior Tories, including cabinet ministers, believe this position [saying no to Indyref2] will be difficult to sustain, and that Johnson would be better off forcing a vote amid pandemic job losses and economic turmoil to emphasise the downsides of Scotland going it alone.
One senior minister said: “I don’t see how we keep saying no forever. The time to do it would be in the middle of economic chaos, not when it’s all looking rosy.”…
…Some senior Tories are discussing whether the government could legally resist Nicola Sturgeon calling a referendum of her own. They expect a challenge at the Supreme Court, and are contemplating whether to amend the Scotland Act to make clearer that a vote could only be legal if it is approved in Westminster.
An influential Conservative said: “No 10 thinks they would win a Supreme Court case, but one idea being looked at is whether to amend the Scotland Act to make it totally unambiguous.”
But another senior Tory said: “Boris has said a lot about honouring democratic votes after the EU referendum. If people vote for a referendum in Scotland, ultimately they’ll have to have one.”
Ministers are privately critical of the government’s planning for saving the Union. Michael Gove’s approach is to emphasise the benefits of remaining, such as the vaccination programme, and conspicuously dole out money to Scotland that would once have been sent there by Brussels.
I can see Boris Johnson agreeing to hold Indyref2 because he thinks he can win it, it will make Douglas Ross and others who say voting Tory is the only way top stop Indyref2 look like utter chumps*, almost as gullible as the DUP who fell for Boris Johnson’s charms.
I can see a situation where Boris Johnson, intoxicated from the crapulence of winning the EU referendum and an 80 seat majority thinking he’s quite good at this winning elections and plebiscites malarkey and he can win Indyref2 on is watch. I also think the Boris Johnson is denying democracy argument will be irresistible.
Another issue for Boris Johnson is that the Supreme Court effectively authorises Indyref2 and if he tries to ignore the voters of Scotland and the courts with new legislation to circumvent the courts then he should get used to be people chanting sic semper tyrannis at him.
A recent Ipsos MORI poll shows voters in England, Wales. and Northern Ireland say if the SNP win a majority next month the Scots should be allowed to have a referendum. It would be the will of the people of all four constituent members of the United Kingdom.
Amending the Scotland Act after the Scots elect a party or parties into Government at Holyrood who want Indyref2 will be a constitutional outrage. It would be like David Cameron on June 24th 2016 announcing he was passing legislation that would stop Brexit because over 60% of people hadn’t voted for it.
Since he left university Boris Johnson has won every election he has been on the ballot paper, all except two, first when he decided to spend six weeks in isolation by standing as a Tory candidate in Wales in 1997 and then in 2006 when he lost the election to be Rector of the University of Edinburgh. Perhaps the Celts are immune to the charms of Boris Johnson?
Boris Johnson and Michael Gove might seem themselves as Malleus ScotNatorum but there’s a significant risk that they are Malleus Societas Britannica.
Back to the betting on the year of Indyref2, this is something I’m still going to avoid as it has the potential to be a bigger shambles than the Theresa May exit date Betfair market. Betfair’s terms are slightly ambiguous as they state ‘When will a legally authorised referendum next take place on Scottish independence?’ I much prefer the terms of Ladbrokes which state ‘Year Of Next Official Referendum (Sanctioned by UK and Scottish Governments).’
If I had to choose, I’d go for the 5/1 on 2023. Deep down Boris Johnson doesn’t want to lose Scotland on his watch, if he thinks he can win it and before democratic outrage and/or the Supreme Court forces one on him, he might want to get ahead of the game.
*Well even more chumpier.
PS – Thanks to BluestBlue for his assistance on the Latin front.