"A Very British Transition" - A Post-Junta Britain TL

Chapter 100: The Night of Long Speeches

International NGOs condemned the UK's response to the referendum

“British police engaged in excessive force when confronting demonstrators in Scotland during a disputed referendum, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch spoke to victims and witnesses and reviewed video and medical evidence from three Scottish cities. Human Rights Watch found that Security Forces excessive force in all three locations as they sought to execute court orders. “National police without a doubt used excessive force,” said Kartik Raj, Western Europe Researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The police may well have had the law on their side to enforce a court order but it didn’t give them the right to use violence against peaceful protesters.” Across the region, the Security Forces sent in by the central government, along with local police sought to execute a court order to stop the referendum.”
- Police Used Excessive Force in Scotland, Human Rights Watch Press Release (2018)

The final total for the referendum was 802 injuries, including 130 hospitalisations and tragically five dead, the worst record of political violence during an election campaign for nearly a decade. Police action to secure Glasgow University, dubbed “The Battle of Gilbert Scott '' was responsible for almost half the deaths during the campaign, with several activists, mostly under 25, killed by accidents involving rubber bullets. Across the political spectrum almost everyone agreed the police had gone to far, with reports of officers purposefully breaking fingers and even rumours of sexual assault against women campaigners. There were also strong divisions between the federal Civil Guard and Police Scotland on one hand, and the various local police forces on the other. With Home Secretary Graham Brady telling journalists several local police forces had been “entirely taken over” by separatists.

Violence continued well after the referendum results, with three way brawls between separatists, yoons and security personnel erupting across Scotland. In protest against the violence a new campaign named “Blether” - slang for chat - would pop up in the days following the referendum. Blether organised protests wearing all white calling on all sides to engage in good-faith dialogue. This campaign would be supported by parties in the centre of the constitutional debate, including Alba and SDP. Anas Sarwar, leader of the Scottish Social Democrats in particular played a leading role in these “cross community campaigns”, calling for a grand coalition of all the major parties and citizens assemblies to decide the future of Scotland.


Several local police leaders had declared open support for either side

Unionists also saw a fresh burst of energy behind them, over 300,000 turned out in Edinburgh for the largest anti-independence demonstration since. Among the speakers included former Prime Minister Alan Johnson, scientist Steven Hawking, novelist Martin Amis and European Commissioner Gianni Pittella, as well as opposition MSPs. Both the Blether and overtly unionist protests called on Harvie not to make a unilateral declaration. Behind the scenes leading political figures were begging Harvie to step back from the edge. European Council President Helle Thorning-Schmidt even flew out personally to Edinburgh to try and talk the Scottish Government down.

“Helle Thorning-Schmidt, president of the European Council, has made an appeal to Patrick Harvie to hold off from announcing independence. On Tuesday, Brussels was accused of failing to show leadership, by calling for dialogue rather than intervening. “We called on all those concerned to get out of this confrontation and to start dialogue,” Thorning-Schmidt said. “Violence can never be a political tool.” Thorning-Schmidt added that Brussels had “confidence in the UK to manage this delicate process in full respect of the British peace process." Earlier the committee of the regions, heard a passionate speech from RISE MSP Craig Murray who said the UK had acted like the “old Junta”. The police had treated people “brutally,” Murray told the committee.” - Don't make dialogue impossible, Helle Thorning-Schmidt tells Patrick Harvie, Daniel Boffey, The Guardian (2018)

In what was a very strange speech to the Scottish Parliament Harvie said the Scottish Government had secured the “right and the mandate” to form an independent state, but he would be freezing moves towards independence to pursue a Scottish State. Whilst Harvie and other MSPs signed a symbolic document calling for an independent Scotland, no direct order was given or legislative action taken. Whilst this was welcomed by the UPA, who were internally pulling themselves apart on the unilateralist question, it infuriated the Workers Party who had been promised an independence declaration within two weeks of a Yes vote. Harvie needed some kind of win, otherwise his coalition would fall apart.


The EU hoped to be a neutral arbiter, but was distrusted by separatists

In London Hague decided Harvie was blinking and went on the offensive, after an extraordinary Cabinet meeting Hague announced he was giving the Scottish Government a week to officially confirm whether it had declared independence and if not, to withdraw any legislation implying Scottish Independence. If not, Hague confirmed he would take the “nuclear option”, invoking Article 219 of the Cardiff Accords, which - if it received two thirds support in the Senate - would allow Westminster to withdraw devolved powers from Scotland, leading to direct rule from London. Róisín McLaren also piled on the pressure on Harvie’s left, threatening to withdraw the Workers Party from his Government unless he made an official independence declaration

Harvie instead chose neither, writing to Hague in response he called for both sides to suspend “constitutional mechanisms” for a two month negotiation period. Hague refused this in his counter letter, calling on Harvie to either back down, call fresh elections or face Article 219. After Harvie refused snap elections or withdrew his claims to independence, Hague confirmed the British Government would officially seek Senate approval to invoke Article 219. The ninth of September became known as the “night of the long speeches”, as in London the Senate voted on Article 219, whilst in St Andrews House Harvie called a vote on a unilateral declaration of independence.

The Scottish vote passed by a landslide, with unionist MPs once again walking out and UPA MSPs abstaining, the ballot was issued secretly in an attempt to prevent legal action against separatist MSPs. In London RISE, SNP, Plaid and other separatist Senators walked out of the chamber, 260 Senators from National, the SDP, Unity and others voted in favour of enacting Article 219 well above the 243 Senators needed to press the big red button. Within hours of each other, the Scottish Government had declared its independence from the British State, and the British State had revoked the Scottish Government’s legal powers, it was a very boring, very British way to potentially spark a civil war.

“Any actions by the Scottish government to increase the strength of its local security forces would aggravate fears of a violent challenge to the state. Especially given the longstanding fear over violent SNLA terrorism. Scotland's president has already invoked the language of the security dilemma. He describes the latest British move to reassert control over the region as an “attack” that cannot be accepted. The response by Scottish forces will be critical in determining whether Scotland turns to an organised rebellion This piece is written in the explicit hope that it is wrong. The hope that Britain is not edging along the path to war, that cooler heads will prevail, and that peace and diplomacy carry the day. If it turns out that the past is prologue, policymakers can at least use the lessons of political science to cut the risk of serious conflict.”
-The Risk of Civil War in Britain, War on the Rocks Podcast (2018)


The British Government responded by sending even more troops to Scotland
I can't see how this ends in anything other than a return to violence by the SNLA. Catalonia didn't have an active terrorist group in OTl, in TTL Scotland does.

Also how can you have dialogue when the Unionists refuse to allow any kind of referendum or debate? The 'both sider' liberals in this TTL seems completely out of touch.
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, . . . this ain't good. (And given the Yugoslavia breakup was invoked earlier, here's hoping it's more like Slovenia's rather than the others.)

Now the pressure would be on Wales and Northern Ireland - NI because it and Scotland have strong links, and Wales due to it being the one other nation directly bordering England.
Excellent updates of a nightmare Britain. Is the indexing misbehaving? Did not seem to have the option to cycle between chapters in the last batch of updates?
Chapter 101: And like a torrent rush, Rebellious Scots to crush
Author's note: updates are likely to be spotty for the next few days as it's election week - wish me luck!


King Charles travelled personally to dissolve the Scottish Parliament

“Britain's King may have hoped warning Scotland against declaring independence would be enough. Now he has to follow through on his pledge to impose direct rule, knowing this is risky. William Hague argues that Scottish separatists have left the King no choice. He had to act, to return the region to "legality", as Westminster puts it. But actually doing that will be complex and fraught. It's why Mr Hague called for calm, after the vote for independence. He is acting with broad, cross-party support though, and public backing. Here in England many people have begun flying the Union flag from their windows, to show their support for keeping the country united. There is some sympathy down south for the Scottish cause, due to the police crackdown during the referendum. But far louder are calls to prosecute those pushing for independence.”
- King Charles dissolves Scottish Parliament, CNN News Bulletin (2018)

King Charles announced in a personal address at St Andrew's house he was dissolving both the Scottish Parliament and Executive, with Deputy Prime Minister Jeremy Clarkson appointed as “Acting Scottish Coordinator”, effectively assuming the duties of the Scottish President. Clarkson confirmed his intention to call snap Scottish elections as soon as possible to ensure an elected Scottish President. Director of Public Prosecutions Dominic Raab filed charges of treason, sedition and rebellion against the Scottish Cabinet but it was too late, Harvie and most of the Cabinet had already sought asylum in Dublin or Brussels. Still as soldiers and police rolled into Scotland and took control of key ministries there was surprisingly little civil resistance. With their leaders fleeing abroad and literal tanks on the street, shock and awe seemed to have worked.

It wasn’t a good look for the Government abroad, tanks in the streets and elected leaders fleeing to Europe had a distinctly 1960s feel to it, “the Brits are up to their old tricks” as one Irish diplomat joked. The Supreme Court summoned the eleven members of the Scottish Cabinet to stand trial, although only two were in British custody, SNP leader Keith Brown had refused to flee, and poor Tommy Sheppard had been in London for negotiations when the warrant for his arrest was put out. The British Government put out a European Arrest Warrant for the remaining Ministers, especially Patrick Harvie, who turned himself into Irish authorities and instructed his colleagues to do the same.


Apart from sporadic SNLA attacks, there was no armed uprising

In Edinburgh, Scotland and other cities across Europe protests on both sides erupted, with separatists demanding the release of Harvie, Brown and Sheppard calling them “political prisoners”. Speaking to crowds in Dublin Harvie said he would cooperate fully with the Irish authorities, but added the Supreme Court ruling spat in the face of democracy. He called on the nations of Europe to “take a stand” against Britain's “slide back into authoritarianism”. Meanwhile in London, Brown and Sheppard were both sentenced to up to thirteen years in prison for “high treason”, making them the first people to be tried under the Treason Act since the fall of the Junta.

“The dark shadow of the descent into dictatorship looms so large over this family dispute. The scars of Mountbatten run deep, especially among older generations who seem most fearful about this current crisis. One woman whose father was jailed by Mountbatten told me that she fears they will suffer again. She switched to supporting separatism after seeing police attack elderly voters. Even younger Scots talk about “fascists” in Westminster while street nationalism remains potent. It seems strange to discuss such issues in a modern European city, especially one as alluring and wealthy as Edinburgh. Yet these disruptive events show again the scale of dissent and unrest confronting Western societies.” - The shadow of the Junta hangs over Scotland, The Irish Times (2018)

The Irish confirmed they would be declining the UK’s warrant, releasing the imprisoned ministers, with the Belgians shortly following, transferring their imprisoned Ministers over to Dublin. The Scottish Separatists would be given full freedom in Ireland but were instructed not to leave the country and to update the Irish Government of their accommodations. Harvie told journalists he would not be returning to the UK as his safety and right to a fair trial could not be guaranteed. In a virtual call to RISE party members Harvie said he would lead the party into the next Scottish election from his exiled Dublin apartment if needed, and if reelected as President he would continue to serve the Scottish people.


For most people life went on as normal, with a few more troops around

Whilst London had hoped to have Harvie in irons before elections were called, the Irish Government’s decision knocked the ball back into their court. Clarkson decided to press ahead with snap elections, hopeful Scotland’s silent majority would rebuke RISE and put the issue to bed. In his address Clarkson said “the people of Scotland can now choose whether they want to push further into chaos, or elect a government that respects the rights of all Scots and the rule of law.” The Government would later confirm this election would be overseen centrally by the Federal Electoral Commission, and that security for the election would be provided by the Civil Guard, rather than local police forces.

Snap elections were risky for both sides, Harvie’s separatist coalition was on the brink of collapse. The Workers Party were still enraged that Harvie had held off on declaring independence directly after the referendum result, and the federalist UPA were uneasy at supporting a RISE Government that was seemingly becoming more and more radical on the constitutional question, especially as they hoped to show themselves as a party of Government nationally. The elections was also fraught with danger for Hague, with his control over the National Party increasingly slipping away, a poor result for National in Scotland could destroy any political authority he had left, some polls showed National getting wiped out, with one poll reducing National to just two MSPs, behind Alba and the Workers Party. Whatever happened, the Cardiff Accords and the Scottish peace process were about to be pushed to their limits.

“In an Edinburgh apartment, Rosie Campbell debates her son over Scotland's bid for independence. The 67-year-old lived through the dictatorship of Louisa Mountbatten who oppressed her people with an iron fist. After all the turbulence she has seen in Britain, Campbell doesn't care for the current standoff between over independence. "It feels like a Civil War but without the bombs," she said with a laugh. In Mountbatten's time we had no freedom of expression, but now this is all too much. We need to find something in the middle." The Scottish people will go to the polls next month to choose a new regional government. But many voters will be casting their ballots as if it were an official referendum on independence. There are few options for that "something in the middle." - Scotland’s Messy Vote, James Badcock, Foreign Policy (2018)


Scotland was divided between three flags
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While part of me thinks the Irish government is playing a dangerous game, they probably just secured their own reelection so I don't see them budging or silencing their criticisms any time soon.
And good luck in the local elections, I will personally be taking next week to process the NI Assembly election.