So, here’s the thing. When you don’t have to make a decision – don’t make one – simple; and that was the SNP’s big mistake.
In terms of democracy, the simple fact is that Scotland’s voice in the EU referendum was so minuscule it did not matter. The EU referendum, just like General Elections are fought and decided in England – the cuckoo in the nest.
When the SNP came out on the side of remain that reinforced the opposition from within their ranks and supporter to the question of the EU. I believe this naivety cost them 21 MP at Westminster and put Self Determination back several years or perhaps on the back burner where it will smolder away for who knows how long.
My view, for what it is worth, is to avoid the ‘trichotomy’ on independence. Don’t pursue independence from one lot (the UK) yet get into bed with the others. This is not ‘the auld alliance’. If Scotland is truly independent as a nation we should be determining our future by ourselves and not leaving that up to the powers that be in Brussels and New York. There is a strong argument that the EU and the US have far more power of Scotland yet far less responsibility.
Let’s take the US. The control they have on Scotland is almost beyond belief. Three things immediately jump out at me. Products we consider almost homegrown turn out to be American; especially computing which is arguably the most invasive. Switch on the TV and take a step back – almost every channel presents aspects of life, comedy and violence in the US and virtually every film is American. You may be forgiven for believing that everything from alien invasion to romance happens in LA? Will we ever learn? And take a trip doon the ‘watter’ to Faslane. There is a big fence there and behind it the nuclear defense for the Western world. So ask yourself this, who is threatening Scotland? Is this to protect the UK? not a chance. Work back from the barrel of the gun and you will find the trigger 5 thousand miles away in Washington. Does anybody feel like a decoy – we in Helensburgh do!
But back to the EU. Expressing a view in the EU referendum was foolish in the extreme. Siding with the Remainers immediately isolated the YES Leavers. So why do it.
Bearing in mind it did not make a blind bit of difference, the SNP should have said it was clear Scotland’s view was almost immaterial. However, they should have made some clear statements about the EU.
For example, immigration is a very serious issue in England which was already one of the densest populated countries on the planet. But for Scotland this was not the case – Scotland is one of the most sparse. We should have said we have a different view on immigration and welcome it. We should have stated that many jobs in Scotland depend on the EU so it was imperative this was protected. We should have said we recognised the issues with wholesale uncontrolled immigration and felt the Schengen Agreement went too far. We should have welcomed the continuance of the ECHR but felt that Full Fiscal Union goes far too far. We should have said that a small country such as Scotland with such huge resources in oil, gas and fishing etc meant we needed a better and more balanced agreement on Resource Management. The list goes on, but is summary, Scotland and the SNP should have said they felt the EU needed a massive reform and rethink before it disintegrated. AND LEFT IT AT THAT.
Who can argue with the above? In Europe the powers that be would probably have felt Scotland had resurrected the Scottish Enlightenment of the 1800’s.
More importantly, in Westminster they would have realised that Scotland had just beaten them at their own game!!
But we would not have 21 more MPs now – oh! no, that number would probably have been 24 more!
Scotland has great thinkers, great strategists, great intellectuals – but …..