Hello, Scottish voters. If the pollsters are to be believed, you will return an overwhelming vote for Remain on Thursday. This means one of three things:
1) That you are even more adept at lying to pollsters than the English.
2) That most of the 9 out every 20 Scots who voted for Independence in 2014 have changed their minds.
3) That supporters of an Independent Scotland just don’t get it.
A couple of weeks ago I was in Dundee for a wedding, and saw, on the hoardings of the construction site that is the new quay-side development there, the inevitable logo of the EU, which had graciously provided a grant out of some of the money Dundee’s citizens themselves had sent to its coffers through their taxes, and thence to the UK’s gross contribution. But it was outnumbered ten to one by those of local businesses that had contributed to the project with their own money out of enlightened self-interest, for they are helping to pay for something that will benefit the whole community, including themselves and their employees. The EU mite is just a PR bribe, paid for with Dundee’s own hard-earned cash.
Then I spent a couple of days in Edinburgh, where I caught up with my mate of 30 years Kenneth Bell, a life-long working class socialist with whom I have always disagreed genially about pretty much everything except the quality of the beer – until now. Ken campaigned for Scottish Independence in 2014, and he is now campaigning for Brexit, in Scotland. Because it’s all about self-determination – the colonies of the Empire fought for it, the Scots have fought for it, and now the UK itself is having to fight for it, with not even a clear majority of its people standing up in favour. Ken’s position is informed and flawlessly logical, and I suggest you download his pamphlet, Why Scotland Should Leave the EU, from Amazon. It’s only 23 pages long, and will cost you 99p for a thumping good read.
Now, I’m well aware that an unknown but probably significant proportion of the 11 out of 20 of you who voted against Independence did so because the UK was part of the EU, and heeded the warning of Jose Manuel Barroso, then President of the European Commission, that the entry of an independent Scotland to the EU would be “difficult, if not impossible”. And that worthy gentleman was talking the talk of the EU, which is dedicated to the erosion of independent nation states in Europe, and consequently looks upon the self-determinist aspirations of Scotland, Catalonia and the Basque Country, to name but three, with extreme disfavour.
But that would all change if the UK votes Brexit. The portion of it that controls riches in fishing and oil, but with a tiny population and no global clout, would suddenly become extremely attractive to the EU, and your good taste in bringing the roster of member states back up to 28 – for an odd number at a banquet looks so untidy – would be welcomed with open arms.
In other words, if the UK as a whole votes Remain on Thursday, Scottish Independence is a dead duck for good. Whereas if the UK votes to leave the EU we can at least continue to argue between ourselves through our own parliamentary democracies, without the bullying and sanctions from the EU that would undoubtedly stymie the debate if we stayed in. It might well result in Scottish Independence. And in this very close-run thing (if you believe the pollsters, or those who respond to them) the Scottish vote will be decisive.
So here’s the deal. Vote Leave massively to strengthen your negotiating position with both Westminster and Brussels, and you will certainly have another referendum whose outcome you alone will decide. Personally, I think you should stay in a UK freed from the restrictive and anti-democratic processes of the EU, but that’s entirely your call. The most important thing is that you help to keep that power by voting Leave. Because if you tip the vote in favour of Remain, you will be small, poor, powerless and exploited forever.