The time is now

The Yes movement never went away and yet there is a feeling in the air that a resurgence is on-going. It might be that recent events have further strengthened the case for independence or that our opponents have weakened or a combination of both factors. The biggest influencing event is, of course, Brexit, which at a stroke demolished one of the pillars supporting the union between Scotland and England. During the previous IndieRef Better Together, and their supporters, argued that an independent Scotland would, at best, take years to get back into the EU. Those of us on the Yes side countered that the real threat to Scotland's membership was an impending in-out EU referendum. The Chris Cairns' Bull Bridge cartoon, published in January 2013, neatly encapsulated both of those arguments.

 Bull Bridge by Chris Cairns

However, as usual, the Yes campaign message was drowned out by a cavalcade of partisan commentators, job seekers and chancers paraded by a media with an agenda. Now, only a few short years later we could say "we told you so" but there is little point, it is better that we get on with fixing a problem which wasn't of Scotland's making. Scotland voted comprehensively to Remain in the EU but the slim majority to Leave from the much more populous England & Wales will pull us out. A real world example of the democratic deficit in action.

Online petitions demanding another EU referendum are very newsworthy but will not be successful as they don't carry the same weight as democratic plebiscites. The Tory Government regardless of who wins the leadership contest will proceed with Brexit as to do otherwise would cause a civil war within the party far worse than anything before. Even if the Labour party wasn't busy ripping itself apart there isn't anything they could do outwith government. However, there won't be any appetite from either Labour or Tories for a general election as they both know that it would be a golden opportunity for UKIP to clean-up at the polls. Labour would possibly be even more susceptible to a UKIP surge in the Leave friendly north of England, particularly as Farage & Co. now position themselves as a populist anti-establishment alternative. Brexit for the UK is guaranteed, the remaining question is what we can do about it in Scotland.

The likelihood of a working solution where Scotland remains both in the UK and the EU seems vanishingly low. It would be unworkable having Westminster, a non-EU government, legislating for Scotland in the EU. The EU Council, depending on the topic being discussed, would sometimes require to have a minister from Holyrood and sometimes from Westminster, invariably from different political parties. That kind of arrangement just wouldn't work and besides the EU is an organisation whose members are independent nation states.

Scotland leaving the EU and then re-joining some time later would be detrimental for: individuals currently living in Scotland, Scottish citizens living in the EU and for the economy. The optimum solution would be for Scotland to have continuous membership of the EU, firstly as part of the UK but then as an independent nation state. This is where our old friend time comes back into the equation.

If the next Prime Minister invokes Article 50 in October, the rUK would be leaving the EU at the latest 24 months later. However, for Scotland to have an unbroken EU membership we need to achieve our independence within that 2 years time-frame. From the white paper, Scotland's Future, the process of Scotland achieving independence was expected to take 18 months. Taking these two dates together we see that we have, at most, 6 months spare to reach an agreement with the EU and organise an independence referendum (although some wise heads are probably working on both already).

If Article 50 were invoked in October, an independence referendum couldn't be held much later than May, 2017.

It would be completely undesirable to go into a independence campaign without a clear commitment from the EU confirming Scotland's membership, for exactly the same reasons as the last time. Furthermore, the ideal solution would be for Scotland to stay in the EU as the successor state which means we would assume the same agreements as the UK has now. That would minimise the amount of disruption for businesses and individuals both in the EU and in Scotland. If we knew well in advance that we were to be the successor state it would also be extremely good for attracting businesses wanting an English speaking base to sell into the EU.

Whatever the factors are contributing to the Yes resurgence, the timing for a new website couldn't be better. More importantly, the timing for a new independence referendum couldn't be tighter or more pressing. Brexit is our "material change" and now, more than ever, we need to be bold and decisive. To safeguard our membership of one union we need to loosen our bonds with the other and we need to be quick about it. The time is now.

We even have the prospect of the self-proclaimed new Thatcher heading the UK government to give us extra impetus.

We bid you a warm welcome to our new website and look forward to receiving your comments.



Comments

David Ashford 5 years, 4 months ago

There is no doubt in my mind that Scotland must achieve its independence from the weirdos in Westminster within the time frames mentioned. The First Minister’s caution is wise but any prevarication would leave Yes folk exposed to still more of the skulduggery that the Tory party will inflict upon us. It is therefore essential that support from all EU Member States is harnessed as a matter of urgency and a massive campaign for Indyref2 starts now!

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Editor 5 years, 4 months ago

@david

Yup!

If the next IndieRef is predicated on EU membership for Scotland then unambiguous support from the other states and Commission is essential. Otherwise we get back into the old "doubt and uncertainty" trap as last time. Voters don't read treaties they rely on newspaper front pages.

As I understand it, if we achieve successor state then we assume current EU/UK treaties and no votes from member states are required. However, I might need to refresh my memory by reading the opinions of Scheffer, Crawford and Boyle again.

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Brian Smith 5 years, 4 months ago

The 'material change' is not merely the Brexit vote, it is the realisation that all the warnings for a Yes vote is exactly what has been done to Scotland since the result was a No. All of the doom and gloom warnings from 'Better Together' have come to pass. London continues to receive £bn's in infrastructure upgrades whilst we all enjoy austerity. The first strike in the 'Better Together' punitive regime was EVEL. At a stroke all Scottish MP's were second class citizens, you will vote on matters that we say you can vote on, nothing more.... so much for 'a valued and trusted equal in the Union'. Enough. The recent political mayhem shows just how inept the Westminster party machines are, personal pride and advancement rules above all. We need out of there as fast as possible before they destroy everything we hold dear. My hope is that the litany of deceit that will flow from the media and whatever emerges as a No campaign is faced down head-on. Let's attack the lies as and when they are issued, we know roughly what they will say and do, past experience has shown this, let's just destroy their scares as they appear and not let them fester in the minds of the electorate.

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gordimhor 5 years, 4 months ago

I voted Remain despite that I am a somewhat reluctant supporter of the EU . I think caution should be the order of the day there's no guarantee that we will get the support of the EU to become a succession state. There is a considerable chance that Westminster will block another binding referendum. That leaves us holding an advisory referendum which the Unionists will attack as an" expensive time wasting exercise " , why aren't the snp getting on with running the country they'll say, without even a hint of irony. Yet for all that independence does feel closer again and the SNP government has shown leadership and good governance post Brexit when all the Westminster leaders vanished like snow off a dyke

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Editor 5 years, 4 months ago

@Brian

I think some people that voted No in the IndieRef will look at the scaremongering that went on in the EURef and think that all looks rather familiar.

We on the Yes side will have a much easier time discrediting the scare stories this time. We might even have some of the press on side this time.

I also think that EVEL by Cameron on the 19th will in the long-term will be considered a big mistake by the unionists. DC might have gained a short-term popularity boost in England but it was another nail in the UK coffin.

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Editor 5 years, 4 months ago

@gordimhor

There is plenty of things to fix about the EU and I'm sure there will be plenty of people like you who "reluctantly" voted Remain. Ashcroft polls did some post EURef research and found that 36% SNP voters voted Leave.

If we make Brexit the material change then we *have* to get support from the EU or the games a bogey.

However, we always have a referendum the year after Andy Murray wins Wimbledon ;-)

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Andy 5 years, 4 months ago

As an EU citizen who has been living in Scotland for 7 years I welcome the fact that through another independence referendum I actually get to vote if I want this country to be part of the EU. EU citizens in Scotland might have been ambivalent about independence before but I take it they are not anymore.

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Alan Gerrish 5 years, 4 months ago

Despite the "carrot" of Federalism now being grown in desperate haste by the Unionists (and one which all the BBC gardening experts will tell us is the mostest, bestest solution ever to meet Scotland's nutritional needs), along comes Cameron with yet another Material Change in the form of a vote on Trident renewal within the next two weeks. Yet again, Scotland will be forced to accept a decision on an issue it has voted time and again to oppose, and I really begin to wonder if David Cameron is actually on our side!

This issue must be considered by the 36% SNP "leave" voters and indeed the many Unionist voters who voted Leave whilst opposing Trident.
And also on the plus side we see a positive shift in voting intentions by Academia, business leaders, EU nationals who will have a vote in Indyre2 as well as other previous No voters who realise the incompetence and duplicitous nature of Westminster politicians.

So many decisions, so much work to do, but so many positives coming together within a relatively short space of time which were unimaginable a few short weeks ago.

Let us keep positive, whilst taking nothing for granted until we get to our destination; it has never been closer.

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Editor 5 years, 4 months ago

@Andy

During the last IndieRef campaign I met a Lithuanian lady when I was leafleting in Lochaber. She was worried that should Scotland vote Yes that her job and residency would be at risk. I explained to her that the EU was expansionist in nature, that Scotland already complied with EU law, we were already EU citizens and that we would be accepted as a successor state. I think I managed to persuade her 99% but the 1% was still a nagging doubt about her future, particularly as she had a young family too. That is what the No campaign scaremongering did to real people.

Probably around 50% of EU nationals voted No last time. I can't think why any of those people wouldn't vote Yes in a future referendum when considering the implications of Brexit.

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Editor 5 years, 4 months ago

@Alan

It is the BBC cooking (things up ) experts I would be worried about.

There will be plenty of people like you, and me, who are appalled at the thought of a new Trident coming along but I'm not sure a sufficient number of No voters (previously) would view it as a material change. There was some polling on Trident and the independence question but I don't have it to hand at the moment.

I haven't seen any justification for spending £200Bn+ on weapons of mass destruction. Do they kill another few million people a little more efficiently? Are they designed to kill people nice and quickly rather than slowly and painfully? I have seen some assessments that by the time the new Trident is ready they will be obsolete due to the deployment of ocean going drones.

A Brexit would have a transformational effect on support for independence assuming, this time, we get vocal support from the other EU states.

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Alan Gerrish 5 years, 4 months ago

Yes, I agree calling the (anticipated) Trident result isn't quite a "Material Change" as such, however it will certainly underscore the difference in political views between the 57 of 59 MPs ( I include I. Murray who opposes Trident) representing Scotland in Westminster, and those held by the rest of the Unionists. Each instance of a significant divergence of views will help demonstrate that Scotland is powerless in achieving the wishes democratically expressed by its people within the current constitutional set-up.

I don't think there will be a magic lightbulb moment for No voters (although Brexit must surely come close), but over time and with mounting evidence to support independence , surely some of them will realise that the ability to make your own mistakes is far preferable to always paying for the mistakes of those you did not vote for. But as we all agree, without the BBC being challenged at every turn, including by our politicians, we will forever be peeing into the wind trying to get an unbiased presentation of the facts.

On a more cheerful note, I contacted a lovely Polish family who have been living and working in Scotland for 10 years, to offer some moral support in this time of uncertainty. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that they had complete faith in Scotland , recognised that we were on a different path from England, and did not view the future too bleakly at all. Yes!

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julie 5 years, 4 months ago

As I understand, YES HIGHLAND has re-launched their Blog in preparation for a future IndyRef.
The current political Mayhem (no pun intended) in Westminster should waken up some of the NO voters here in Scotland and be more willing listeners - I say some, because there will always be those who support UK.
However, this site should be used to gather together YES voters & to share their ideas on how best to promote a positive visible campaign this time round.

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Editor 5 years, 4 months ago

@Julie

"Mayhem" - oh, that's good, I'll be using that in the future.

It doesn't matter if you are making a cake or tiling the bathroom you can always improve the second time you do something. Let's hope that is true for IndieRefs too.

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