Podcast: Alex Neil MSP and the Nationalist case for Brexit

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Alex Neil, one of the Scottish National Party’s most prominent figures, shocked some colleagues when he revealed recently that he voted for Brexit in the EU referendum last June. The Airdrie & Shotts MSP visited  Newsnet Radio studios to explain the thinking behind vote, and what he thinks the Scottish Government should be doing as it tackles the implications of the UK opting to leave the European Union.

Alex Neil MSP
Alex Neil MSP

The veteran MSP, who served as a Minister in the 2007 and 2011 administrations, says that other SNP figures took a similar position on Europe.

He told interviewer Maurice Smith why he backed Brexit, and sets out his case for an SNP independence campaign within the terms of a UK that has left the EU. He believes the very fact of Brexit demands that even with independence, Scotland would have to seek an alternative relationship with the EU.

His position challenges the assumptions behind First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s position that Scotland should remain somehow within the European single market, on the basis that the country voted 68-38 per cent in support of Remain, while the UK as a whole voted 52-48 per cent to leave.

The former SNP minister believes Scotland should be demanding that all powers to be returned from Brussels to London must be devolved to Holyrood in every area that relates to Scotland: a significant shift of emphasis from the Scottish Government’s current position.

Have a listen. And tell us what you think of Alex Neil’s position.

You can tune in by clicking on the audio file above, via your usual podcast channels including iTunes, or using our RSS feed: http://www.buzzsprout.com/57229.rss

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Yes Alex. I am very aware of the faults in the EU. But I think you have jumped the gun. The discrepancy between Scotland and the rest of the UK in the EU referendum gives us a chance to have a renewed debate about Scottish independence. let’s do that – and then think about the relationship we want to have with the EU which we will negotiate ourselves – on fishing, on trade, on movement, on NO TTIP, and the rest. The future lies in a change in globalization that eliminates the need for fierce competition. Lets have cooperation instead and a change of commercial company law. But for all that we need to be independent. Get you priorities right.

  2. The corrupt Kingpin of the North Lanarkshire McMafia, a man who has corrupted the cause of Independence by empowering some quite repellent individuals. Neil has spent recent months undermining both the Independence movement, by supporting federalism and the SNP’s most prominent Independence strategy, by supporting Brexit. It appears that having burnt his bridges with the SNP, he is going to do as much damage to them and the wider indy movement to gain publicity for the inevitable new version of Scottish Labour he plans to set up.

  3. I think that at root it’s a generational issue. Most of the politicians on the left who are anti-EU, cut their teeth at a time when the EU was viewed as simply a ‘capitalist club’ and a barrier to any possibility of socialism in Europe.
    Though that analysis may have been correct to a degree, the EU has proved to be more of a friend than foe, in the search for a more Just society.

  4. @Mark Rowntree: But it hisnae pruived that ava. Wi the EU interference in Ireland anent the water debate an in France anent the region restructurin an the labour law, the EU is exackly the capitalist club it’s thocht on as. The quisten still comes: is the UK ony better?

    @Colin MacKenzie: He haes the richt tae say whit he wants. Mair ideas the better.

  5. “The former SNP minister believes Scotland should be demanding that all powers to be returned from Brussels to London must be devolved to Holyrood” ! Aye, right.
    Where, in the run up to the Smith Commission, the gutting of the little that went into the Smith Commission., the voting down of every amendment the 56 SNP MPs put forward, the refusal to devolve any more powers to Holyrood, did Alex Neil see the possibility that everything would be devolved if the SG demanded it?
    All he did was hand easy arguments to the Unionists.
    Never mind, it got him plenty of exposure in he media, joining Alex Bell and Gordon Wilson.

  6. So he trusts a extreme right Tory Government apeing UKIP and Westminster more than he does a Scots government. Sounds unionist to me.

  7. There is no guarantee that Westminster will devolve anything – it is all within Westminster’s gift. Likewise there is no guarantee with an English Brexit that Scotland will have full access to the single market and the free movement of peoples. It is up to the Tory Westminster govt to gold plate a commitment for the devolution of EU powers well in advance of a final Brexit agreement – and for the same govt to give details on the terms of Brexit. So the FM is absolutely right to fight Scotland’s corner and ensure Scotland doesn’t suffer a hard Brexit (jobs, trade, movement of peoples) – if a hard Brexit is the only option, then, will Alex support another referendum on independence, clustered around EU membership?

  8. How can anyone who believes in an Independence think for one second westminster will freely hand over more powers to Scotland. I understand that the EU is not perfect, but I would rather work with them than the corrupt london system. Alex we are respected in the EU unlike westminster.

  9. “His position challenges the assumptions behind First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s position that Scotland should remain somehow within the European single market, on the basis that the country voted 68-38 per cent in support of Remain, while the UK as a whole voted 52-48 per cent to leave”

    This is what has completely annihilated for me any interest I could have to pay any attention to this man. On the 23rd of June 2016, the majority of the Scottish electorate voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU. It was a democratic process and as such it should be respected. When this man talks about overriding that democratic process in Scotland (ie silence the majority of the electorate in Scotland following the line of the Westminster establishment and the unionist branches) to ‘pursue other potential options in line with the UK’ he has lost any credibility, trust or respect from me.

    This is not longer the time to campaign for Brexit. The time for that was before the 23rd June 2016. On that date, a 62% of the electorate voting in Scotland did so to remain in the EU. Who is Mr Neil to undermine that?

    As for Scotland getting back any powers from Brexit, who does this man think he is going to fool? If after the con that was ‘the vow’, May and co are not even willing to allow the SGov in the negotiations for Brexit and she is prepared to offer deals to banksters and japanese car manufacturers but not Scotland, how gullible does Mr Neil think the electorate in Scotland is?

    Wasn’t ‘Getting a substantial number of powers for Scotland’ on Brexit the position of that beacon of honesty and trust that was Gove? Time for Mr Neil to jump ship onto one of the unionist branches more line with his thoughts, perhaps?

  10. Having read the rest of the comments, I think that Alex Neil MSP is not being straightforward with us.

    Why would he do that?

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