FromNotoYes.Scot is unambiguously all about Scottish independence. This is because the ‘equal’ union with England is already dead. The UK government, made up entirely of English nationalist politicians*, is simply forcing Scotland to accept its right wing populism, ideological direction towards reduced public services, removal of the protection of the ECJ and ECHR, alienation from European neighbours and even the downgrading of the Scottish Parliament.

In all of this, there is no scope for an anti-Conservative coalition to win power in England, and therefore the UK. This means that without independence, for many years to come English neoliberal imperatives will wear down Scottish social democracy: English nationalists will seek to turn Scotland into North Britain again.

We’ve said here before that independence is not at root about economics; it’s about agency, values and self-respect. We’ve also already said that we believe Brexit will, as its full horrors become clear during 2017, move some people who voted No in 2014 across to Yes.

But of course, there are many people who support independence and who oppose EU membership for Scotland. So here’s a thought for readers here to mull over in the 8-week period the Scottish government has given the UK prime minister to take Scotland’s parliament seriously: Reasonable minds can reach the same conclusion by different routes.

Some people’s vision of an independent Scotland is one outside the EU because they feel that is the best way of preserving jobs and working conditions in Scotland. Others want to preserve Scotland’s social culture by binding us tightly into the EU, and don’t see the sense of paying for membership of the free trade area without having the say on policy which full EU membership brings. A lot of SNP supporters – perhaps as much as a quarter – belong in the former camp; a lot of people who have already moved from No to Yes since the Brexit vote, mainly not SNP supporters, are in the latter.

Pro-independence Scots have to be careful not to let the EU question, nor party loyalties, divide us. The present 46% (or so) who say they’ll vote Yes includes a sizeable chunk, well over 10%, of folk who voted No last time. But  a similar number of folk have gone the other way.  Some of these latter, ‘Yes to No’, folk changed their position because they saw the vote as once in a lifetime and now just want to get on with their lives. As Brexit proves a stunning game-changer and as a referendum date is set, though, there’s a good chance that many of them will come back to Yes.

But other Yes to No folk have changed their minds because they support Brexit and would prefer to live in a UK outside the EU than an independent Scotland inside it. Some of these people may be immovable now. But others will be prepared to vote Yes provided they are allowed to fight for an independent Scotland outside the EU.

Creating a modern sovereign nation will require the founders of modern Scotland – i.e. all of us – to take momentous decisions together. Will we have a written constitution? Will we remain within/join the EU? Will we retain our own currency in the long term?  These founding principles must be determined democratically by way of referenda. People who oppose membership of the EU, or are concerned that written constitutions lead to rule-by-judge, must  have their chance to fight for their own vision of an independent Scotland. The essential thing for now is that we all agree that all our visions of a future Scotland now rest upon the same thing – independence.

With independence secured, Scots can decide for ourselves the values and structures of the new sovereign state. That’s why Scots who support full EU membership, those who support the Norway Option and those who want neither; why Scots of the further left and those of the centre and even the centre-right, must stick together on the same side when it counts most.

And roll on Indyref 2.


* There’s a legal UK legal requirement that there exist Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland offices. In Scotland and Wales, ministers in these offices have minor residual roles only. There are no Scottish ministers in any spending UK Department of State. There is 1 Welsh MP serving as a junior minister in such a government department. A Welsh peer serving as a junior minister for Wales spends half of his time in such a department. 

9 Responses to Scottish independence first – then Scots must decide for ourselves about the EU
  1. If there is an IndyRef2 and you vote No because of the EU issue then you should take a good look at yourself. As far as I am concerned you’d be as well as having voted No in 2014. Independence is what we all want, first and foremost. Are you really willing to scupper our aspirations for independence, not to mention your own, because of the EU issue? The SNP said another referendum would be on the cards if there was a change in circumstances. That change came with the Brexit vote. Now we’ve got to take this chance and vote Yes even if it means remaining in the EU (as Scotland clearly voted to Remain). I know some of you will say that it was a UK vote, and this is precisely why we need to take such a decision and any major decisions as an independent country. Scotland is politically, socially and morally different so any vote taken as a UK vote will always be overruled by a voting majority in England as long as we remain in the UK. It’s a mathematical certainty, they have 10 x the population.
    The EU is not perfect, but there is absolutely no way in hell I’d vote No and be stuck with Westminster for ever more. That’s right, we’ll be stuck, and Westminster will make darn sure we never, ever, get another chance to choose independence. Unlike being part of the UK, the EU is by membership, it’s a club we can join and leave if the will of the people, the Scottish people, deems it so. If anything, the Brexit result has clearly shown how easy it is to do this.
    My own wish would be for Scotland to vote Yes, gain independence within the EU, then put the question of EU membership to the Scottish people again as a means to see if opinion changes. If it doesn’t, then it would only cement Scotland’s commitment to the EU. If opinion does shift and Scotland decides to leave, then we look for other ways, other partnerships on our own terms. Either way, WE would still be an independent nation, forging our own path, like we should be doing, like all other independent nations in the world.
    The 2014 No vote was devastating for me, and for others voting for independence. I would hate to think that anyone, especially Yes voters, would want to scupper any chance we get at independence, and relive that disappointment, just because of an issue we can decide on ourselves once we ARE independent.
    The EU does need reform, but I don’t swallow all the lies about how controlling it is. Westminster has far more control over Scotland than the EU ever will and that’s a fact. Westminster treats Scotland and its people with disdain, as a blood-sucking useless region of the U.K., and it always will. I for one don’t want any future No vote to shackle Scotland to Westminster, and would take the EU over the UK any day. Start getting your priorities right people! The EU is not pissing all over us, the UK is, and will continue to do so unless we get out of their grasp first.

  2. I’m in the “Scotland in the EU” group but agree that the most important thing is an independent Scotland.
    I can understand, though disagree, with those who would prefer to have a independent Scotland outside the EU.
    What I find incomprehensible are former Yes supporters who would rather tie themselves to long term English nationalist extreme right Tory governments out of the EU than agree to an independent Scotland in The EU.

    • Yeah, couldn’t agree more. I guess some of those folk may have believed the unionist line that a Yes vote meant leaving the EU? In which case, those folk will be lost to Yes next time. I think they’re a small-ish group, though?

  3. I was very proud of our SNP MP’s in this Brexit debate. They were eloquent,passionate and fierce.The hard work for Scotland starts now. I agree we must have a debate about Scotland’s place in the EU, I feel that when we have Independence ,then Scotland can decide for herself whether we remain in the EU or not, for that debate to happen ,we must be Independent first. We must have the right to decide for ourselves where our future lies ,and we should absolutely have a written constitution .
    I say all this as someone who firmly believes our place is to remain in the EU , but I most definitely recognise the rights of those who feel otherwise…and they should have their say in an Independent Scotland.

    • I think we’re in exactly the same place, Sheena. Happy to have the EU debate after the independence one and keen not to let unionists set an agenda which conflates the two. e

  4. Excellent article Eric.
    Keep them coming.
    Scotland will have Independence will come when Scots bond instead of fracturing.
    Not long now.

  5. People from Scotland can go over to European Union for a job if they wish.


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