‘Tasteless’: SNP sparks fury as they compare Indyref2 fight with Kosovo self-determination

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The SNP has sparked fury after it compared its fight for an independence referendum to Kosovo’s battle for self-determination in their Supreme Court submission. Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC referred a prospective referendum Bill to the court in the summer, asking it to rule on whether Holyrood had the necessary powers to pass such a Bill.

Should the Court rule in favour of the Scottish Government, Nicola Sturgeon has said she hopes to hold an independence referendum to remove Scotland from the UK in October next year.

But the Scottish Nationalists were accused of being “astonishingly crass and tasteless” after they used the Kosovo war, which saw 13,000 people die, to push for their referendum. 

The SNP’s submission cited the UN charter of 1945, a court case in Canada regarding Quebec, a UK ruling involving Julian Assange and Britain’s support for Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence in 2008. 

It cited a UK statement to the UN which acknowledged that a right to self-determination could be deprived by a people’s “own countrymen” but concluded that power should be in the hands of people rather than governments in 1984. 


Nicola Sturgeon hopes to launch a referendum in October next year (Image: GETTY )


The SNP said Scotland should be seen as ‘a people’ (Image: GETTY )

It also raised ancient laws including the Claim of Right of 1689 and the Act of Union of 1707 to argue that Scottish people should be considered “a people”. 

Kosovo’s secession from Serbia came after tensions between the Albanian majority in Kosovo and Serbian authorities, which ruled the autonomous region. 

This led to an insurgency between 1998 and 1999 as ethnic Albanians rebelled against Serbian rule. 

The war saw the Kosovo Liberation Army who were Kosovan Albanian rebels fighting for control against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which had previously controlled Kosovo.

In 1999, NATO launched military action to force Serbian forces to withdraw.

Kosovo is recognised by about 100 states, including the UK, the US and most EU countries, while Serbia, China and Russia refuse to acknowledge its independence.

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SNP has submitted its request to the Supreme Court (Image: GETTY )

Donald Cameron, Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture, said it was “preposterous” to link the two. 

He said: “It is astonishingly crass and tasteless for Nationalists to pretend that the position of Scotland, where people recently and decisively rejected independence in a peaceful and democratic vote, is comparable to the situation in Kosovo.

“That was what the UN called a ‘systematic campaign of terror’ that killed many thousands and displaced more than a million people.

“The idea that a second referendum that most Scots don’t want is in the same bracket is preposterous.”

The submission stated: “A people can be constituted by reference to a State boundary, as was often the case with the independence of former colonial territories. 

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Sturgeon hopes to drag Scotland out of the UK (Image: GETTY )

“That, however, is not the only possible definition and it is entirely possible – as with Kosovo – for ‘a people’ to be represented by a smaller group within a State boundary.”

The SNP was granted the chance to intervene in the case by submitting a written submission, which the party has published on its website.

The right to self determination is key to the arguments made by the party, stating that it must inform the interpretation of the Scotland Act 1998 – which created the Scottish Parliament.

Self determination, the SNP’s lawyers said, was “of fundamental significance”, claiming that Scots should be considered “a people”, that has a right to determine “their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”, based on a UN resolution.


Nicola Sturgeon’s profile (Image: EXPRESS)

The submission concluded: “When answering the questions posed by the Lord Advocate, therefore, the submission of the intervener is that this court should find that the Scottish Parliament may legislate for a non-self-executing referendum on Scottish independence and, accordingly, the proposed Scottish independence referendum Bill does not relate to (1) the Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England, or (2) the Parliament of the United Kingdom for the purposes of the Scotland Act 1998.”

While the SNP were clear they did not want to, and were barred by the court from, repeating arguments made by the Lord Advocate, the submission expressed their agreement with Ms Bain’s written case that was previously submitted.

But it took issue with the case from the UK Government, represented in the court by the Advocate General for Scotland.

In his case, Lord Stewart KC wrote that the contents of party manifestos are “a matter of politics (and party politics) rather than of law”.


Scots campaign for independence (Image: GETTY )

The SNP response said: “The intervener rejects the suggestion that the basis on which a Government was elected by its electorate has nothing to do with the law.

“The rule of law and the trust of the electorate in its elected Government is wholly undermined by the suggestion that the mandate given to such a Government is to be regarded as nothing more than political rhetoric once that Government takes office.”

A spokeswoman for the UK Government said: “People across Scotland want both their Governments to be working together on the issues that matter to them and their families, not talking about another independence referendum.

“The UK Government’s clear view remains that a Bill legislating for a referendum on independence would be outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.”

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