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.