ANGUS Robertson, the Constitution Secretary, has said that the Scottish Government intends to hold a second independence referendum in October 2023. The Scottish Government intends that the vote will be held with or without a Section 30 order from the British Government and – contrary to the frequent assertions of the Conservatives and the anti-independence parties – a lawful referendum is indeed possible without one.

The First Minister revealed on Tuesday that in the coming weeks she will make an announcement to the Scottish Parliament about a route map towards a referendum, a route that is not necessarily dependent upon Boris Johnson deigning to recognise the democratic will of the people of Scotland.

Naturally, the Tories are determined to push their narrative that a referendum without a Section 30 order would be illegal. However, it is telling that neither the Conservatives nor the overwhelmingly anti-independence media follow through with the consequences of what this would mean.

READ MORE: SNP MP says there is a 'different route' to indyref2 without Section 30

The Scottish people have clearly and unequivocally expressed their desire to have another independence referendum via the only democratic means available to them – by voting for a Scottish Parliament in which there is a majority of MSPs from parties which stood on a manifesto commitment to deliver another independence referendum.

However, given that Labour and the Conservatives reject that there is a legitimate mandate for another independence referendum, what the anti-independence parties fail to do is to set out precisely how the people of Scotland can assert their wish for another referendum and how the British state will be compelled to respect that wish.

Whenever this question is put to Anas Sarwar or Douglas Ross (below respectively) all we get from them is rehashed arguments from their 2021 Holyrood election campaigns. We already know that they don't want another independence referendum, we do not need them to repeat their arguments from an election which they fought and lost. They keep repeating their mantra that “now is not the time”, but that is not their decision to make.

The National:

In last year's Holyrood elections the voters of Scotland decided that they wanted to elect a Government which promised a referendum within a five-year term. The people have already decided both that they want another referendum and the timetable for that referendum. It's not up to politicians who lost that election to lecture us on timing.

Equally, what the anti-independence parties are keen to avoid is answering questions on what it means for the character and nature of their beloved Union if indeed it is the case that the only way for Scotland to make a democratic decision about its own future is if a British Prime Minister allows it.

If that is true, then it means that the parliamentary union between the kingdoms of Scotland and England is not after all the voluntary arrangement that traditional Scottish Unionism has always maintained it to be. It means that Scotland is trapped in a Union without any means of deciding for itself whether or not to continue. Rather, we are subject to the whims of a Prime Minister from a party which has a mere six MPs in Scotland, four of whom very recently voted that they have no confidence in him.

A refusal from Johnson to recognise the democratic will of the people of Scotland is not the “get out of a referendum free” card that the anti-independence parties believe it to be. It is an admission that the entire understanding of the nature of the Union taught to us by Scottish Unionism for decades is in fact a lie.

It is an admission that there is no Union, there is only the incorporation of Scotland into a unitary Anglo-British state. It merely teaches us that the Union is dead and that the only way that democracy in Scotland can be respected is through 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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