ON ST ANDREW’S Day, Saltires fly celebrating Scotland’s historical identity and nationhood.

Yet, within a week of our national day, our distinctive nationhood was shown to be legally and politically curtailed by a 300-year old decision about a United Kingdom that, as a modern democracy, Scotland is powerless to challenge.

The Supreme Court considered the case for a second independence referendum. Analysing the outcome, David Allen Green wrote: “It could have gone either way [and] the Scottish Government can be proud [of getting the case heard]”. It was “ingenious” and “not frivolous or contrived... the case could not have been put better”: not an SNP view, but that of an editor of the Financial Times.

The Scottish Government accepts the court’s ruling but everyone in East Lothian will understand the implications. Children benefit from parents’ support and their guidance when needed. At school, children learn within boundaries set by teachers; younger teenagers search for new experiences and are able to vote from age 16. As grown-ups, we all make our own decisions, but Scotland’s democracy is trapped in what the Supreme Court shows is not a voluntary partnership of equals but an unequal relationship where one part of the democracy, Westminster, tells another part, Holyrood, how it can and cannot act in considering its future.

The legal judgment reveals an irony. Scotland has rejected Tory rule since 1955; in 1997, Scotland voted by 74 per cent for devolution and has increasingly rejected Unionist-supporting parties since 2007. Scotland rejected Brexit in 2016 and rejected Tory governments in 2015, 2017, and 2019. Yet Scotland remains handcuffed to Westminster, to Brexit and to successive Tory Prime Ministers.

Scotland’s grown-up electorate votes for the governments the people choose, but the Supreme Court tells us that we don’t, in fact, have a grown-up democracy and we do not have the legal right to ask questions about our own future. We’re not allowed to ask ourselves if we want to be a normal independent European country: full democratic choice is denied.

Now is the time to redefine what our democracy is actually for and decide: what sort of country do we want to be?