To be fair, this is what Scotland voted for. Those who voted No in the first independence referendum may not have realised it at the time, and may be understandably reluctant to admit it now, but they were voting to be treated with contempt by the British establishment. That is the fate that they chose for Scotland. It may be what most No voters intended – although some certainly did – but it was the clear and inevitable implication of a No vote.
On Thursday 18 September 2014, between 7am and 10pm, the people of Scotland held total political power in their hands. The people of Scotland are always sovereign… in principle. For those 15 precious hours, we were actually and effectively sovereign. Those who voted No chose to take that power and hand it back to the British state. They gave the British state a mandate to treat Scotland as its property. They granted Westminster unrestrained power to define what a No vote meant.
Did they really think this would win respect for the needs, priorities and aspirations of Scotland’s people?
What did No voters expect? They sent a clear message that Scotland wasn’t worthy of being a normal nation. They openly declared that they were perfectly content for Scotland’s interests always to be subsidiary to the interests of the British state. By voting No, they were saying that the needs, priorities and aspirations of Scotland’s people were not important. How can they now complain if the ruling elites of the British state now treat Scotland with the kind of sneering, sniggering disdain that has been exposed by the Brexit fiasco?
It’s not as if these No voters weren’t warned. They were advised of what a No vote really meant. But they chose to put their trust in the Westminster elite rather than seize the opportunity to bring Scotland’s government home.
As we gear up for #indyref2, it would be good to think that hard lessons have been learned. Within the next two years, those who voted No in 2014 will be afforded a chance to rectify their tragic mistake.
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