The UK has at long last left the European Union. After innumerable political and constitutional crises, no less than three Prime Ministers, two elections and what was quite frankly a stupid amount of time, this ordeal is finally over. The supreme leader, true to his words, ‘got Brexit done’… Except he didn’t. It’s not over and won’t be for years. By December alone we are relying upon Johnson to negotiate the trade deals we will need post-Brexit… What could possibly go wrong?
Amid all this nonsense Donald Tusk, former President of the European Council (one of the highest positions any European politician can hold) appeared on the Andrew Marr show where he appeared to announce that an independent Scotland would be welcomed into the European Union. This is just one in a long line of suggestions that the EU is favourable to Scotland’s position and our blatantly pro-EU disposition.
We have seen indications of potential support from countries across Europe for an independent Scotland. MEPs sang Auld Lang Syne to wave the UKs MEPs off and Alyn Smith’s famous ‘leave a light on’ speech has been referenced over and over again, by both ordinary European citizens (by the way, that’s not us anymore- thanks UK) and senior politicians from across the continent.
Only days after the UK officially left the EU, the town of Leeuwarden in the Netherlands hoisted the Scottish saltire in place of the Union flag outside its train station and signs like these are evident across the EU. So, would an independent Scotland be welcomed into the EU with open arms?
There are a number of key points most often raised by British Nationalists: most commonly cited are the example of Catalonia (and the EU’s reticence to comment or get involved); Scotland has a deficit too high to join the EU as a member state; and the ever present question of the Euro. These remain valid questions, so let me address them one by one.
It will come as no surprise that I support Catalonia’s right to self-determination, however, Scotland is in a starkly different constitutional position. There is nothing in Spain’s constitution which says that any region is permitted to secede. All political, constitutional and legal power in Spain resides with the Spanish government – whether it is right or not.
Scotland is a distinct country with its own, separate political and legal systems from the UK, furthermore the Declaration of Arbroath from 1320 (700th anniversary this year) states that: “so long as but a hundred of us remain alive never will we be brought under English rule”.
This document enshrines the legally binding principle that the people of Scotland are sovereign, not parliament, nor any monarch. The very idea of parliamentary sovereignty that Supreme Leader Johnson predicated this entire Brexit debacle upon does not exist within Scottish constitutional law.
Scotland does not actually have a deficit for one simple reason – we have to balance our books. The Scottish budget is built on the amount of money allocated to Scotland under the Barnett formula (under which we get less back than we pay in- England does not subsidise Scotland).
Only in recent years has the Scottish government been allowed to have borrowing powers, meanwhile the UK government remains trillions of pounds in debt. As for the EU’s infamous currency: joining the Euro is indeed a requirement of being an EU member state – but there is no time scale for such a process. A country can be in the process of converting to the Euro for as long as it wants- such as the UK.
The UK is determined to crash face first into the sea after jumping off the Brexit cliff edge, why should we have to go with them?
This extraordinary act of self-harm was entirely voluntary. We don’t need to be part of this stupid project, let us instead be part of an inclusive, progressive, European project. At a time when the EU is witnessing one member leave and there are rumblings about similar moves from other countries, the last thing they are going to do is reject a country which puts social justice first, is pro-immigration, which is resource-rich, which is innovative, which holds European values dear and which is eager to be a part of the European project. We have so much to offer, why should we waste it on Westminster? We deserve better.
Image: European People’s Party via Flickr