Scotland's ideological unionist parties rule out fulfilling the will of the people | Autonomy Scotland

Scotland’s ideological unionist parties rule out fulfilling the will of the people

willie-kez

Both Labour and LibDems rule out independence as an option

Yesterday in the Scottish parliament, the Scottish opposition parties (not the Greens), refused to support a simple motion stating that Scotland’s position in the EU referendum should be respected. In doing so they proved they are nothing but ideological unionists.

Here is the text of the motion that was debated. It seems uncontroversial except for the last line which may have been interpreted as giving a green light to a second independence referendum if the UK government failed to keep Scotland in the single market:

That the Parliament recognises the overwhelming vote of the people of Scotland to remain in the EU; supports calls for clarity from the UK Government on its proposals to leave the EU, including whether it will seek continued membership of the single market; notes the reports of the Fraser of Allander Institute and the National Institute of Social and Economic Research regarding the negative impact that leaving the single market would have on the UK and Scottish economies; recognises the opportunities for business and citizens that come from a Europe-wide approach to trade, regulation and free movement and the importance of ensuring that the benefits of this are shared fairly across society; supports the Scottish Government’s efforts to assist businesses in Scotland to secure new international opportunities; believes that the UK Government should seek to maintain Scotland’s place in the single market, and, in the event that the UK Government cannot or will not secure that option, calls for Scotland’s place in the single market to be fully protected.

It is no surprise the Conservative party voted against this motion as they don’t try to hide the fact that they are ideological unionists.

Their amendments to the bill were all about how Scotland staying in the single market could damage Scotland’s more important relationship with the UK. They believe that the UK voted to leave the EU and that this is what the UK should do. Scotland for them is a mere region of the UK and should be treated as such. It is not a position I agree with but it is a consistent and logical one.

What is increasingly clear, however, is that the Liberal Democrats and Labour are also ideological unionists.

The reason that they don’t want to support this motion is because it has dawned on them that they may have to support a second Scottish independence referendum. This is because Scottish independence may be the only way to keep Scotland in the single market if all other avenues are exhausted.

Jackie admits only independence can keep us in the EU.

Jackie admits only independence can keep us in the EU

Yesterday Jackie Baillie, in a massive u-turn, admitted that independence may be the only option to remain in the single market:

I believe we should get the very best deal possible for Scotland – and I support the Scottish Government in so doing. But the SNP want continuing membership of the single market, but don’t tell us how this would be achieved. Scotland would need to be an independent country and would then need to apply to join the EU as a new member state. In truth, membership of the single market requires membership of the European Union.

During the first independence referendum, Labour and the Lib Dems gave us the impression that they were backing the union for practical purposes.

Their position was that the nations that make up the UK were better together. A lot has changed since then. Most obviously the UK populace has voted for a position that every expert believes will damage Scotland. Moreover, we have seen the rise in England and in many other countries of an authoritarian right wing politics that isn’t reflected in Scotland.

Still, Scottish Labour and the Lib Dems are standing by the 2014 referendum result and ignoring the Scottish results of the more recent EU vote.

The only way that this makes sense is that they are driven by a blood and soil unionism. They don’t care what the people of Scotland think and they would rather Scotland were worse off than to even entertain the notion of a second independence plebiscite. The Lib Dems at the weekend went as far as to rule out even looking into independence as a possible option.

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If you look at the Labour and Lib Dem amendments to the motion (see below), what they are really doing is saying the Single Market is really important, but we are ruling out any way of staying in the single market that doesn’t include staying in the UK. They are saying that the narrow result of the 2014 referendum held in a completely different political climate, trumps the strong Scottish vote to remain in the EU, held a few months ago. They showed that they are unwilling to even investigate any alternative course regardless of its merits. Their plan is to wait and hope for the best.

These amendments are important as they could have proposed amendments that allowed them to support the motion, not commit to an independence referendum, but still keep an open mind in the future.

Not ruling out an independence referendum would actually be in their interest as it would put pressure on the UK government to deliver the kind of Brexit they want. Except they didn’t, their amendments showed that they will fight to keep the UK together at all costs regardless of how Scotland voted in June and what the best option would be. They showed that they are nothing more than ideological supporters of the union.

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Lib Dem Amendment:

That the Parliament recognises the overwhelming vote of the people of Scotland to remain in the EU; supports calls for clarity from the UK Government on its proposals to leave the EU, including whether it will seek continued membership of the single market; notes the reports of the Fraser of Allander Institute and the National Institute of Social and Economic Research regarding the negative impact that leaving the single market would have on the UK and Scottish economies; recognises the opportunities for business and citizens that come from a Europe-wide approach to trade, regulation and free movement and the importance of ensuring that the benefits of this are shared fairly across society; supports the Scottish Government’s efforts to assist businesses in Scotland to secure new international opportunities; believes that the UK Government should seek to maintain the UK and Scotland’s place in the single market; considers that voting for a departure is not the same as voting for a destination, and, with the ongoing contradictions and absence of any certainty within the Brexit Conservative administration over issues, including the single market, calls on the UK Government to agree to a referendum on the final terms of the deal that it negotiates and for all Scottish MPs in the House of Commons to vote against the triggering of Article 50 unless this is guaranteed.

Labour Amendment:

That the Parliament recognises the overwhelming vote of the people of Scotland to remain in the EU; supports calls for clarity from the UK Government on its proposals to leave the EU, including whether it will seek continued membership of the single market; notes the reports of the Fraser of Allander Institute and the National Institute of Social and Economic Research regarding the negative impact that leaving the single market would have on the UK and Scottish economies; recognises the opportunities for business and citizens that come from a Europe-wide approach to trade, regulation and free movement and the importance of ensuring that the benefits of this are shared fairly across society; further recognises the importance of Scotland’s place in the UK single market and the opportunities for business and citizens; notes the Scottish Government’s efforts to assist business in Scotland to secure new international opportunities; calls on the Scottish Government to expand opportunities for business in Scotland to the rest of the UK, and believes that the UK Government should seek to maintain Scotland’s access to the single market and to retain the benefits that it currently derives from the EU customs union.

Conservative Amendment:

That the Parliament recognises the vote of the people of the UK to leave the EU; supports the UK Government in its efforts to secure a positive trading relationship with the EU for the benefit of the UK economy; notes that exports to the rest of the UK from Scotland are at four times the level of exports to the EU, and considers that access to the UK single market should not be put at risk; welcomes the opportunities that leaving the EU presents in relation to developing Scotland’s growing trade with the rest of the world, and calls on the Scottish Government to specify its proposals for the future trading relationship with the EU, and for it to work positively with the UK Government to deliver the best outcome for Scottish businesses and consumers.

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