THE colonial Governor General Alister Jack has laid down the law to us restless natives. We are to forget about this silliness of imagining that we’ve got the right to decide what’s best for Scotland, and jolly well get on with the business of doing what Alister tells us.

He’s got some grouse that need beating and some silverware to be polished. On Sunday, the Governor General proclaimed to the native message-bearer on the BBC Scotland Politics Show that even if the SNP win an absolute majority in the Holyrood elections of 2021, his party will still not permit another independence referendum.

And with that statement, representative democracy and traditional Scottish Unionism both died, killed by the Tories.

According to Alister, the Conservatives have a mandate to refuse a Section 30 order. This is based upon fighting the last election entirely on the basis of opposing another independence referendum and then losing over half their seats in Scotland and seeing their vote share drop significantly. That sort of mandate.

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It appears that democracy isn’t a thing in Scotland, what is a thing is the absolute right of the Conservative party to ride roughshod over Scottish election results based upon the votes they obtain in England.

Since not even Alister can plausibly claim that the General Election in Scotland gave the Scottish Conservatives a mandate to do anything other than go away and hide their heads in shame, he is instead trying to use the 2012 Edinburgh Agreement as the basis for his denial of democracy.

The National: The Conservatives think they have a right to run roughshod over Scotland with the power of the votes they obtain in EnglandThe Conservatives think they have a right to run roughshod over Scotland with the power of the votes they obtain in England

The Edinburgh Agreement, which set the parameters for the 2014 referendum, said that both parties would respect the result of the referendum. Alister seems to think that this means that his party is allowed to traduce all the promises and commitments that it made to the people of Scotland in order to win that referendum, and the people of Scotland just have to suck it up.

In fact there is nothing in the Edinburgh Agreement committing both sides to uphold the result for as long as it’s convenient for the Conservative party. All there is is a commitment to upholding a result that’s fair and clear enough to command respect. Since the actual outcome of that referendum was a Conservative government which has been anything but fair, and which has broken just about every promise that it made to secure the result that Alister is too desperate to see respected.

Perhaps if he’s really that keen, he could start with respecting his own party’s promises to the people of Scotland. Promises like ensuring that no changes to the devolution settlement could be made without the express consent of the Scottish Parliament. Or promises that Scotland would be an equal partner in a family of nations.

Or promises like ensuring that Scotland remained a part of the EU. Or promises like it being up to the people of Scotland to decide the form of government best suited to their needs.

The truth here is that the Conservatives are utterly desperate to avoid a referendum because they know that they’re likely to lose it. There’s been a drift in support towards independence since 2014, but polls won’t shift significantly until there’s an official campaign under way, and when they do start to shift they’ll only be shifting in one direction, towards independence.

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The Tories know that too. They know that there’s been significant churn support, and that the task for the independence movement in the next campaign will be to get back on board those independence supporters who have drifted away. That’s a far easier task than converting a confirmed no voter to yes. Together with those people who have moved over to support independence because of Brexit, Boris Johnson, and the contempt with which Westminster has treated Scotland over the past six years and its refusal to honourably fulfil its promises of 2014, there’s already a majority in favour of independence. And that’s before an official campaign even starts.

They also know that British nationalists have nothing left to offer Scotland. No one is going to believe any of their promises next time around as we can contrast their promises of 2014 with what they actually delivered. All they’ve got are threats, scare stories, and intimidation, hardly a basis upon which to defend the supposedly most successful union ever. Saying no to another referendum is the only bulwark they’ve got left against independence.

The National: Scottish Unionism always told us that we weren't a colony, but partners in conqueringScottish Unionism always told us that we weren't a colony, but partners in conquering

However the real significance of Alister Jacks’s asinine arrogance is that he’s killed off traditional Scottish Unionism, that very philosophy he claims to hold so dear. Traditional Scottish Unionism always told Scotland that it wasn’t a colony, that unlike British possessions Scotland was an equal partner in a union, a nation freely choosing to remain a part of the UK.

With the Conservatives refusing to concede to another independence referendum no matter how Scotland votes, whether in the last General Election, the next Holyrood election, or at any time during our lifetimes, there is now no longer any difference between Scotland and an unwilling possession of the British Crown.

It is no longer up to the people of Scotland to decide the form of government best suited to our needs. Indeed it is no longer up to the people of Scotland even to choose to have the debate.

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Traditional Scottish Unionism is dead in the Conservative party. All that is left is a nakedly right wing xenophobic British nationalism that hankers for the glories of lost empire. For the sake of a very short term political gain, Alister Jack and his pals in the Tory party have fatally wounded the principle that they claim to be defending.

The Conservative party will not be able to resist the popular will of the people of Scotland forever. Scotland cannot be kept indefinitely within the UK against its will. This is not Spain, Scotland doesn’t need Boris Johnson’s permission to have a referendum or to hold a plebiscite election.

If Scotland does go into a vote on independence in the teeth of Conservative opposition, British nationalists will no longer be able to tell the people of Scotland that this country is a willing and voluntary partner in a union. They will have exposed their own lie.

When that electoral reckoning does come, as it most assuredly will, it will not only result in Scottish independence, it will utterly annihilate the Scottish Conservative party as a centre-right force in Scottish politics. Be very careful what you wish for Alister, for it will destroy you.