I’ve been following the sovereignty debate on social media and the simple fact is it is a good idea but it’s just not the case anymore. It is just a theory really; it doesn’t mean all that much when we give it away every few years to a set of complete assholes and incompetents. We probably don’t even deserve the implication that the people are sovereign. In the globalised world we now live in, with politicians answerable to large corporations and vested interests then the idea of the people being sovereign is an illusion on a grand scale.
The Harrowgate Agenda are not wrong are they. Yes, we vote every now and again, 60% of us wander along to the polling station and make an informed choice for some, but mostly it is an ignorant ill-informed choice that we usually come to regret, at the end of the day the problem is really us for electing these assholes who in most cases don’t ever think they are answerable to us, we are a soundbite in a game.
I understand the theory that the people are sovereign, I get that, it really is a nice idea isn’t it. Many even believe it, especially so in Scotland where we talk about it endlessly like it is some magic wand that gives us the illusion that we will someday exercise it and vote for the return of our independence.
“Persons who are sovereign must not be subject in any way to the commands of someone else” (Jean Bodin)
The simple fact I think is that sovereignty is either found in a single person, in the people, or in a fraction of the people. I would say we have to accept that by giving it away we see it lay with a minority of people. These people are the unelected King’s, the politicians, the owners of business and industry. The people who loan us money, be it to a country or to an individual, they exert sovereignty over nations and people, the state of the UK the last few weeks have shown us that in all of its glory. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the ultimate so called democratic authority, made to back track on every decision she made because of invisible people in the financial markets decided that her plans were not acceptable, these people mostly reside in the USA banks and financial markets.
So how much sovereignty do we have as individuals? I would say very little, so the debate is a moot point and a distraction from the state we find ourselves in. Claim of Right, Sovereignty, Courts, Strategy, or lack of one, is doing nothing to bring us one step closer to independence. Until more people get informed, politically educated, and get their heads out of their ass we are screwed. We can believe we are in control; we can think we can force the politicians to do our bidding, but the reality is we can’t because we are not willing to or don’t have the guts too.
In theory the people are sovereign, in reality we are not, we give it away willingly to the extent that we might as well be slaves. Freedom of choice is an illusion that we pretend we have but the reality of our individual circumstances, our level of ignorance, and the influence of other people dictate most of the choices we are forced to make. While we are responsible for our own beliefs, our words, our own emotions, our own actions, I believe they are limited to our circumstances and our experiences. Those circumstances and experiences are dictated to the extent that fear stops us from exercising the individual sovereignty we believe we have.
It takes a fair bit to surprise me these days about the UK (or Scotland), but the news about the current leader of the TUC managed to, at least slightly. Frances O’Grady, who has been the leader of the TUC since 2013 and who will stand down at the end of this year, will then become a peer in the house of lords, along with Tom Watson, the former deputy leader of the Labour Party. Sovereignty/democracy? The powers that be in the UK are just openly taking the piss now. They must be delighted to have got another ‘enemy’, the SNP, on their side now as well, for what must be for them, a pittance.
I knew about Watson but O’Grady, the UK just buys off everyone with our money don’t they. I can’t stand Gordon Brown but at least he has repeatedly refused to accept any gongs, that is something in some small way. We don’t live in a democracy though do we, we never have, and the English Parliament just corrupts virtually everyone who goes there. It is a sad state of affairs, I despise them all now I really do, they are all at it. It’s dishonest in that they give up everything they stand for pretty much to grab the crumbs that fall from the table. Wonder how long it will be before the SNP change their policy of not sending anyone to the House of the Dead.
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It makes me laugh when people go on about “the Scottish people are sovereign “. It’s as if the Scottish people are one homogeneous mass who will act in concert without any outside influences. Capitalism and the establishment have been managing this for years, it has its propaganda down to a fine art and influences every aspect of the individual’s life almost from birth. Even in revolutionary situations eventually the “system “ reasserts control. Do the proponents of using the sovereignty of the people route honestly believe they can co-ordinate the masses to follow their advice? FFS the majority of people just want to live a life that gives them enough money to feed and cloth their families, warm their homes and maybe have enough left over for a few little luxuries. We are brainwashed to believe that our “leaders” will work to provide this and if they don’t then in our “democracy “ we can replace them with someone who will. What people don’t want is the uncertainty of not even getting the basics and the establishment will use this to destroy any campaign that can’t answer these fears. http://robinmcalpine.org/this-paper-answers-nothing-this-government-has-no-answers/
Spot on, most people don’t ask for much other than what you have intimated and surely it is not a lot to ask the state to try to provide it but no, they would rather fight wars, allow big business to steal our money and the bond markets to really run the government, sovereignty is an illusion and like you I have a chuckle at the debate now. I applaud the actions of Salvo etc, but I just don’t believe their hard work will lead to anything that gets us independence, that won’t happen until England decides it wants its independence and as long as Scotland has oil, gas, and water it isn’t happening. They play games while ordinary people suffer, the SNP just play the same games but have stronger carrots.
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I don’t think sovereignty of the people can exist in the current environment. To change that you’d need a system where the local population, not just the people who voted for them, can recall the member of parliament, that they temporarily delegated their sovereignty to. Then, if a sufficient number of members were recalled, the parliament is dissolved. That might go a long way to enshrine the idea that members of parliament are there to represent the interests of the people and not simply the political parties they are members of. That’s likely to be an uphill struggle.
In a global neo-liberal world sovereignty is an illusion now, like the idea of democracy. We are sold a pup by being allowed to vote every few years but like you say we have no real power to actually recall etc. The appointment of unelected PMs in the UK should tell everyone what they need to know about democracy in the UK, but they still refuse to see. Money and the people who control it tell the politicians what they can and can’t do, we need a total reorganisation of society and our thinking, but it isn’t happening in my lifetime that is for sure. Until people understand that they do have power if they have the will to exercise it collectively, we are screwed. I am as big a part of the problem as anyone, I don’t know what it will take for enough of us to wake up.
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Your article made me think of Iceland following the bank crisis. The politicians all insisting the banks must be bailed out. It was the women of the country who downed tools and insisted that the bankers involved should be jailed for their part in it. Seems we’ve lost our backbone – too many years under England’s yoke?
I think the whole UK has to a degree, through in English exceptionalism and ignorance and we have the perfect conditions for what has happened. I get that other countries are in the same place in the cost-of-living crisis, but their governments wouldn’t dare would they for fear of the people, not this shit hole. We are weak and kept well and truly in our place. I despair now I really do; I just don’t see where we go anymore, I have zero faith in the way we get indy and even less in the people. I can’t remember a time where I have felt so lost politically.
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To coin a phrase ‘if voting made any difference they wouldn’t allow you to do it.
The illusion of sovereignty of the people was laid bare this week when the markets brought the UK government to heel. They will approve-direct who Truss’s successor must be. The power to set the rate of Britain’s borrowing is sovereign.Those same markets would be setting Scotland’s under the SNP plan to retain the £ for years.. That must now be obvious to everyone. Politicians are not the solution. They are a big part of the problem.
Imo, coordinated campaigns and strikes amongst the wider workforce is one of the very few ways in which the ordinary working class (the majority of the population)can have an immediate impact on focusing politicians minds on who they ACTUALLY work for. The people (allegedly) and that can have a galvanizing effect. I agree though Bruce it will take something that is beyond party politics.
I agree but I don’t think enough people would go on say a national strike for fear of not being able to pay what they can or do what they can to look after their families, we would need to be pushed further to get to that. It will take people on the streets though, and it will take people from all generations, but I do think it is coming. I just can’t see how people can keep going the way we are going now in the UK, and Scotland. The politicians we can strike out at, and we need to, it is time for change. Indy is dead as far as I am concerned now so we need to bring in PR, we need rid of these people, we need some of the union leaders in parliament. We need to do what the previous poster said, we need to do an Iceland. We need a constitution, I am going to think about blogging along those lines next, I also invite guest blogs so if you want to express yourself via a blog feel free to email me and I would be happy to post a blog you write, that goes for anyone.
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