As a Scottish Leave voter, few are speaking up for what I wanted. I have a Scottish Government telling me to explain how me to explain how my fellow Scots can retain EU interests, I have a First Minister saying Scotland wants to remain – but I don’t – and a prominent ‘Yes’ supporter (who lives across the pond) saying I voted alongside ‘stupid English voters’.
I voted proudly in 2014 to remain part of the United Kingdom. As our biggest trading partner – why leave? The ‘Yes’ campaign lost the economic argument, the currency argument and the argument about the EU.
At the time, it was the ‘No’ campaign who said being part of the UK was the only way to guarantee EU membership. Now, the nationalists suggest that argument was flawed.
It might have been flawed, but it doesn’t make their argument any more convincing. The then First Minister, Alex Salmond presented to the Scottish parliament a ‘letter’ about EU membership from some European bureaucrat, giving advice about joining. He was ridiculed up and down the country when we realised it was from a website.
The facts surrounding an independent Scotland joining the EU remain unchanged, however. Negotiating our way in will be just as complicated as the UK negotiating its way out. We will have to join the euro – or at least prove we have a credible currency – something the SNP refused to consider in 2014.We would have less influence in the EU than we do now, exemptions the UK enjoy would not apply to an independent country and Scotland would not be able to join on the back of the UK’s membership.
Then there are fiscal issues – Scotland’s deficit is too high to join the EU and would be dangerously out of control for the country generally.
Instead of huffing and puffing about the democratic vote, the Scottish Government should use their position to influence the negotiations constructively. Scotland exports more to the rest of the UK than anywhere else and exports to the EU are minimal in comparison. We will still be able to trade with our European Partners. The Scottish Government could have a say on immigration levels to Scotland, Scotland could benefit immensely from free trade deals being negotiated ready for our departure and Scottish fishermen could have the chance of a lifetime to have control of their fishing waters once again.
The SNP wishes to see more powers given to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh and leaving the EU will result in a huge transfer of powers in agriculture and fishing, to name but a few. No longer will the Scottish Parliament be limited to the rules and regulations directed from the European Union. This will give them more powers than ever before, while retaining the security being part of the UK brings.
Remain campaigners – including Nicola Sturgeon – said economic certainty was a good reason to vote remain. Now the First Minister thinks that Scottish independence would provide the most certainty, a laughable suggestion.
Despite bitterness in Scotland at the moment regarding the EU referendum, there will come a time when people realise that Scotland’s best interests lie with the United Kingdom – with or without the EU.