THE worst fears of Boris Johnson and his Conservative mini-mes are coming to pass, despite – or more plausibly because of – their efforts to prevent them. Scottish independence is becoming an issue at the COP26 conference. 

As far as awareness of Scottish independence at the climate conference is concerned, the Conservatives are like Basil Fawlty in that episode when a group of German tourists come to stay at his hotel, and in increasingly manic tones he pleads with everyone "Don't mention the War!" thus guaranteeing that the War was all that anyone could think about. 

With their desperate efforts to entreat delegates to COP26’s "Don't mention Scottish independence!", Scottish independence is very much forefront in the minds of many of them.

Irrespective of what country you come from, you'd have to have been living in a cave not to know that Scotland has an active and vital independence movement which is politically very powerful within Scotland, and that this country resoundingly rejected and continues to reject the Brexit which is the defining policy of the British Government. 

So, naturally, the representatives of the international press who have descended on Glasgow to cover the COP26 conference are going to be interested in the issue of Scottish independence. Their interest is only going to be further piqued by the peculiar fact that the British Government has denied the country which is the location of the conference any official representation at the conference in its own right and even any recognition of Scotland as the host. 

One delegate from the Pacific islands, Joseph Sikulu, speaking on BBC Scotland's Debate Night, said that climate justice is about self-determination and agency. However, he had learned from his time in Glasgow that as part of the UK, Scotland lacks that agency. He said "Climate justice is about our ability to decide what happens to our people in our country. And I've learned this a lot being in Glasgow because I have felt the frustration of the people here about COP being here but they have no representation." 

He went on to draw a parallel between the struggles for decolonisation in the Pacific and modern Scotland, saying: "You have this broader relationship with colonisation, which is what we have, what we carry. And so justice isn't just about shifting the fossil fuel industry. It's about shifting the structures of oppression so that we can continue to build our lives in a way that makes sense to us, and I know the people of Scotland understand that."

It seems that no less a person than Joe Biden, the President of the USA, a country which has had its own issues with British rule, also understands the need for Scotland to have its own voice and representation. That's why he went out of his way to meet with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Glasgow, giving her her due as the head of the Scottish Government, and the leader of the nation where COP26 is taking place – a courtesy that the British Prime Minister was too churlish to extend.

Biden presented the First Minister with a symbolic gift for the people of Scotland from the United States of America, a bowl from which we can all eat the popcorn during the next independence referendum campaign as we watch the despair of Boris Johnson and the Conservatives when international leaders across Europe and the world refuse to do the British Government the favours they did for it in 2014 and decline to speak out against Scottish independence.

The British Government's slight against Scotland comes across as a desperate and pathetic attempt at censorship by a British Government that has no confidence in the strength of its own case against Scottish independence. Moreover, it deprives the British Government of the argument that thanks to the UK, Scotland enjoys a prominence and influence it would lack as an independent state. You cannot plausibly make that argument when the British Government has refused to give Scotland and the Scottish Government and Parliament any official role at all. 

Indeed, all that the Conservatives have done is strengthen the argument that it's only as an independent nation that Scotland can have any international influence at all. The UK deprives Scotland of a voice in international forums even when they actually take place in Scotland. The UK gives Scotland no seat at the table even when the table is in Scotland. A conference held in Scotland, and Scotland has as much of a say as the furniture in the conference room. 

Representatives from other nations have noted Johnson's attempts to exclude the Scottish Government and any Scottish voice from COP, and they understand exactly why Scotland needs independence.

This piece is an extract from today's REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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