Indy supporting Brexiteers should vote yes in Indyref 2
We have been banging on about the dilemma faced by people who voted against Scottish independence but who also voted to remain in the EU.
Sooner or later this group of people will need to choose between the EU or the UK and their decision will be crucial to the outcome of any potential second independence referendum. However, there is a second group that we have neglected who are in a similar situation of having to reconcile two different referendum votes. They are the those who voted for independence in 2014 but also voted to leave the EU and their future choice may be equally decisive to the destiny of Scotland.
From the Ashcroft polling data we can see that 36 percent of people who voted SNP in 2015 also voted to leave the EU. While a small number may have done so for dubious tactical reasons (trying to secure a leave vote in order to initiate a second indyref), it is clear that many did so because they believed that Scotland, even within the UK, is better off outwith the EU. Certainly some of the EU powers will default to Scotland and many see the EU as an undemocratic, bullying, corporation loving, power hungry monstrosity that we are better off distancing ourselves from.
Anecdotally, I have spoken to several people who previously supported Scottish independence who are over the moon we are leaving the EU. I have asked them how they would vote in a second indyref and none of them have been able to commit to a second yes vote. This makes sense because a second yes vote would possibly result in Scotland remaining in the EU and hence reverse the perceived gains of Brexit.
Personally, I think that anyone who is in the category of being a Scottish nationalist Brexiteer should vote yes in the second indyref even if it means reversing the Brexit vote.
The first reason for this is relating to sovereignty which was a much discussed, but not very well understood, aspect of the first referendum. The basic principle of the argument is that an independent Scotland within the EU is sovereign, whereas Scotland within the UK is not. The EU is a supranational organisation. An independent Scotland, could choose to cede some power to the EU in return for greater overall strength, safety and opportunity. An independent Scotland could easily choose to leave the EU, and the EU does not have the power to shut down the government of an independent Scotland.
Contrast this with the situation of Scotland within the UK. Scotland does not have any power to cede to the UK. Power is given to Scotland by the UK and any power can be taken away by the UK as Westminster holds ultimate sovereignty. Scotland cannot easily leave the UK, first Scotland needs to be granted permission by the UK to have a vote on leaving. From the prospective of Scottish sovereignty both unions are totally different. Scotland would willingly give some of its power to the EU whereas the UK reluctantly gives some of its power to Scotland.
Whilst I can see why Brexiteers may be reluctant to reverse the leave vote by voting to leave the UK, they would in doing so ensure that a future independent Scotland will gain the power to decisively choose whether to remain in the EU or not. Unlike what just happened in June, when the sovereign view of our nation was ignored. So, Brexiteers voting yes would be voting to honour the will of the Scottish people even though it goes against their views on the EU.
However, this should not stop them from campaigning to convince us to leave the EU post independence.
While the sovereignty aspect is important it may be a bit dry for some readers. What is probably more important to leave voters is how much control Scotland will have over its own affairs in each version of events. Would an independent Scotland within the EU have more control than a post-Brexit Scotland within the UK? I would say that Scotland would have infinitely more control if independent from the UK.
You can look at this from a few different perspectives. The most obvious is that most decisions that affect Scotland are currently reserved to Westminster and in an independent Scotland they would be controlled by Scotland. The list is pretty extensive but among other things independence would secure Scottish control over the following:
- benefits and social security
- foreign policy
- trade and industry
- nuclear energy, oil, coal, gas and electricity
- consumer rights
- data protection
- the Constitution
Now it is true that European law has an influence on all of these things. However, the bulk of EU law concerns bureaucratic regulations that are related to the common market.
The percentage of UK only laws that are controlled by Brussels is not nearly as high as the Brexiteer propaganda suggests. There are thousands of laws which differ in each EU country. If the EU was so restrictive this would not be the case. Just think about all of the draconian laws the Tory government have implemented that would not even be considered in a country such as Germany to understand how much freedom EU states have. Certainly an independent Scotland within the EU with control over currently reserved matters would have a multitude of new controls (I can see the argument that an independent Scotland outwith the EU would have even more control over its own affairs but this option is unlikely to be on the table at the time of the second referendum).
Yesterdays Trident vote in Westminster is a prime example to add to the endless list of examples where the will of the Scottish people was ignored. Only one Scottish MP voted for the renewal of a weapons system based in Scotland, however parliament decided it will go ahead anyway. Now, like most decisions made at Westminster, EU law did not interfere with the UK sovereign right to make this decision. It didn’t interfere with the bedroom tax, nor with benefit cuts nor did it interfere with austerity budgets. However, in all of these votes and hundreds more, the will of the Scottish people has been overridden.
So, while I respect the decision of those nationalists who voted leave as I can see many problems with the EU, I think it makes sense for them to vote Yes in a second independence referendum as the key question for them should be which situation will give Scotland the most control over its destiny. As an independent Scotland outwith the EU will not be on the ballot paper, it is clear to me the tough but sensible choice would be to vote for Scottish independence and reverse the leave vote.
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