Boris Johnson, who has his finger on the pulse of Scotland in the same way that a dad-dancer is dahn wit da yoot, has assured us that there’s no demand in Scotland for another independence referendum if the UK votes to leave the EU but Scotland votes to remain. Boris knows this to be true because he speaks to Scottish people like Michael Gove and Liam Fox. He knows it to be true because didn’t that wee Buffalo Rider win the last Scottish elections? It said so in all the papers.
Well when I say “assured us”, what I really mean is that Boris has been assuring Middle Englandshire that there’s no demand in Scotland for another independence referendum if Scotland ends up facing being taken out of the EU against our will. Boris doesn’t really give a toss what Scotland wants, neither does the Tory party, and neither does Middle Englandshire. That above all else is why Scotland needs independence more than it needs to be taken out of the EU as a by-product of a Tory bun fight. If Brexit wins next week Scotland will be left to the tender mercies of a resurgent Tory right with an exhultant UKIP cheering it on. They’re not going to do us any favours.
This is a Tory referendum, fought for reasons which have nothing to do with Scotland and in which Scotland’s interests and opinions are a hall of mirrors sideshow in which Scottish reality is distorted beyond recognition. That’s why Boris can blythely claim that there’s no demand for another indyref if we’re taken out of the EU against our will.
I’ve argued this before, but it’s worth restating. Even if you support an independent Scotland outside of the EU, if you live in Scotland and you support Scottish independence you still need to vote remain in this referendum. Our best chance for a second indyref comes from Scotland voting to remain in the EU but the rest of the UK voting to leave. That not only provides us with the best chance of getting another indyref, it also creates conditions which neutralise many of the scare stories and threats used the last time by the Unionists.
It’s going to be a whole lot easier for an independent Scotland to leave the EU than it is to leave the UK. The priority for independence supporters is to establish and make concrete the principle of Scottish sovereignty. The polls show that Scotland is heavily inclined towards a remain vote, supporting the exit of Scotland from the EU even though only a minority of Scots want it would be a denial and a perversion of Scottish sovereignty.
Scotland should only leave the EU if and when there’s a referendum held by a sovereign Scottish state in response to the demand for one from the people of Scotland, and the exit negotiations should be carried out by a Scottish government on behalf of the Scottish people to ensure that Scotland gets the best deal. If you want an independent Scotland that’s outside the EU, then campaign for one. But you can’t piggy back on a Tory Brexit and then complain that the Tories have no mandate to rule Scotland.
There are many things wrong with the EU. It’s imperfect. It’s infuriating at times. You might well think that the TTIP trade deal treaty being negotiated between the EU and the USA is the nearest thing to devil worship this side of a chicken sacrifice, but consider the post-Brexit alternative. Do you honestly believe that a right wing post-Brexit Tory government headed by Boris Johnson aided and abetted by Iain Duncan Smith and with Nigel Farage grinning over their shoulders is going to negotiate a trade deal with the USA which is a fluffy bunny package of respect for workers’ rights and protection for our public services? If you vote for that, you’re voting to be the chicken which is going to be sacrificed.
I have more faith in the French parliament to block TTIP than I have that Boris and his pals will negotiate something better. Just last month the French president said he’d reject TTIP, and without the approval of all 28 EU states the treaty is dead in the water. Outside the EU, a Brexit Britain will have to rely on the Tory dominated Westminster to block an unfair trade deal between the UK and the USA negotiated by the arch-Atlanticists and privatisers of the Tory party, people who want to exit the EU precisely because they want to turn the UK into a cold and damp Singapore, where business rights reign supreme and workers’ rights count for nothing. Within the EU we have 28 chances to block an unfair trade deal, outside it we are consigned to the tender mercies of an increasingly right wing and xenophobic Westminster.
Compared to Scotland’s position in the UK, the EU is a paragon of accountability. Decisions like TTIP have to be approved by the European Parliament and by national governments. Within the UK Scotland has no means at all of ensuring that the UK government is accountable to the people of Scotland. We’ve got a Tory government even though we have a single Tory MP, and that Tory government is holding this EU referendum because it wants to settle internal disputes within the Conservative party and in an effort to see off the challenge from UKIP. Scotland’s interests do not enter into the equation at any point. Yet as a sovereign member of the EU the Scottish Parliament could block TTIP.
If the UK votes to leave the EU next week but Scotland votes to remain, we have the best chance for possibly a generation in securing and winning a second indyref. Even if the UK votes very narrowly to remain, but the rest of the UK votes narrowly to leave and the decision is swung by Scotland, there will be an almighty constitutional crisis as the Tory right and UKIP fall over themselves to expel Scotland from the UK. We will still have an excellent chance of securing Scottish independence. But in order for either of these scenarios to play out, Scotland needs to vote to remain in the EU.
Voting to remain in the EU next week is not a vote for Cameron. It’s not a vote for Osborne. It’s not a vote for Westminster. It’s a vote for Scotland. It’s a vote against being the sacrificial chicken.
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