THE new SNP Westminster leadership is to attempt to get the Scotland Act amended in order to give Holyrood the right to legislate for another independence referendum – in line with the mandate given to it by the electorate in the Scottish Parliament elections of May 2021.

A change in the Scotland Act is required as the UK Supreme Court ruled in November that the current iteration of the Scotland Act does not give the Scottish Parliament the legal authority to hold another referendum. This ruling meant that there is no internal Scottish democratic route to another independence referendum, giving lie to the decades-long claim of British politicians that the United Kingdom is “voluntary”.

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This is a claim that British politicians cling to even now, even as they refuse to specify what the democratic route to another referendum might be. We now know it's not through the voters of Scotland electing a Scottish Parliament committed to bringing one about.

Both Douglas Ross and Keir Starmer have recently made intelligence-insulting claims that the UK is still a voluntary Union, citing various spurious reasons which supposedly back up their blatantly counterfactual assertions.

Ross (below) refused to say what the democratic route to another referendum might be, because he doesn't want Scotland to take it, which is like cutting up someone's bank card because you don't want them to spend any of their own money. He went on to claim that the proof that the UK is a voluntary Union is the independence referendum of 2014, which he said took place because all the parties agreed to it.

The National: Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, attends a Scottish Conservative Fringe event at the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. Picture date: Monday October 3, 2022. PA Photo. See PA

The implication is that another independence referendum can only take place with the agreement of the parties which just lost a Holyrood election – in which the issue of another referendum was the defining issue. In effect, Ross’s position is that the parties which lost an election have a veto over the implementation of the manifesto commitments of the parties which won.

For his part Labour leader Keir Starmer loftily brushed aside questions about what the democratic route to another referendum might be, saying it was for those who wanted a referendum to say what it was. This conveniently ignores the fact that Scotland had always been led to believe that the democratic route to another referendum was through electing a Scottish Parliament with a majority in favour of delivering one.

Once that actually happened, Keir Starmer and his British nationalist colleagues went: "Ha ha! No that's not it. Try again. No clues will be given."

They’re behaving like an annoying child who proffers a sweetie only to wheech it away as soon as you reach for it. That is the exact level of maturity of Starmer's position.

Of course we all know what the real answer is. There is no internal Scottish democratic route to another referendum and the claim that the UK is a voluntary Union is a lie. Scottish democracy is meaningless within the UK, but Ross and Starmer both know that it would be politically highly damaging for them to admit the truth about the nature of the British state.

SNP Westminster group’s gamble on an attempt to change the Scotland Act There is almost no chance of the SNP Westminster group’s attempt to change the Scotland Act being a success, both Labour and the Conservatives will vote it down. The SNP group at Westminster are of course well aware of that, but the point of the exercise is to ensure that the spotlight remains on the undemocratic refusal of the British parties to recognise what the people of Scotland voted for in 2021.

The issue remains in the public eye despite the best efforts of the anti-independence media in Scotland not to draw attention to the way in which democracy in Scotland can be so easily dismissed by British parties which for generations have lied about the UK as a supposedly voluntary Union.