In 2014, voters in Scotland were promised that a No vote to independence was the only way to ensure a more powerful, yet stable, Scottish Parliament which remained within the United Kingdom. Voters were told that voting No would protect Scotland’s continued membership of the European Union, with all of the social, environmental and economic benefits it creates. Neither of these promises has proven to be true.
The UK Supreme Court has recently ruled against the Scottish Government's ability to hold its own consultative independence referendum without the approval of the UK Government. We respect the decision of the UK Supreme Court. But this ruling does not alter the principle that Scotland’s future must be determined by the people of Scotland.
This judgement underlines the huge shortcomings of the devolution settlement, and highlights the importance of allowing the people of Scotland to choose their own path, be it within or outwith the UK. It is hard to ignore the irony that those politicians who would rightly have been outraged if the UK had needed the EU’s permission to hold the Brexit referendum are now the ones who refuse Scotland the permission to ask the people to decide.
The Court’s decision has placed this matter firmly in the political arena.
Scottish voters have repeatedly elected clear parliamentary majorities in favour of a new referendum, including the largest such majority in the Scottish Parliament’s history elected in 2021. A fair and democratic referendum during the current term of the Scottish Parliament (2021-26) was promised in the election manifestos of both the SNP and the Scottish Greens. Not only were a majority of MSPs from those parties elected, but it was by a majority of votes cast for all parties in Parliament.
The UK Government must not be allowed to hide from the democratic mandate of the Scottish Government. It must not disregard Scotland’s democratic right to hold a legal referendum on independence.
The urgency felt by many people in Scotland on this issue is increasing, in light of the escalating damage of a Brexit that was overwhelmingly rejected by Scotland.
The United Kingdom describes itself as a voluntary partnership; yet the UK Government has provided no method with which Scotland is able to exercise its democratic right to self-determination. As a result, the Union is being imposed upon the people of Scotland without any means of expressing their democratic consent.
The EGP supports the position of the Scottish Green Party, and together we call on the UK government to respect Scotland's right to self-determination and agree on a timeframe with the Scottish Government for granting a Section 30 order and enabling the Scottish Parliament to legislate for a legal referendum in which the people of Scotland can democratically express their opinion on whether or not Scotland should become an independent country or remain part of the United Kingdom.
Mélanie Vogel and Thomas Waitz, co-chairs of European Green Party
Ute Michel and Mina Jack Tolu, Committee members of the European Green Party
Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie, co-leaders of the Scottish Green Party