Podcast: Ex-MP Eric Joyce on Scotland, England, Labour and independence


Eric Joyce, once one of the rising stars of an ascendant Labour Party, could be a man haunted by his own failings and his remarkable fall from grace and departure from politics after a serious of drink related incidents.

Eric Joyce 1Joyce, a former Army officer and MP for Falkirk West for 15 years, has been rebuilding his life after a long-expected exit from parliament last year. His time of reflection, and the Brexit vote, has led to a  developing support for an independent Scotland.

The former MP visited the Newsnet studios to meet podcast host Derek Bateman for a free ranging discussion of Brexit and Scottish independence, covering issues such as the future structure of the military, the role of Scotland as a continuing EU member, and the “new norm” that favours independence over other constitutional solutions.

He points out: “I literally do not know any of my friends who don’t think that Scotland should be looking very seriously at independence, and most of them are Labour people. People in England are thinking why should Scotland want to go along with a Brexit under the Tories, when they could stay in Europe?”

He believes an independence referendum must happen before Theresa May presents a fait accompli to the electorate in 2020. Joyce described Labour in Scotland as “headless chickens” and believes leader Kezia Dugdale has taken on the job too soon. It is another fascinating listen, so click on the audio file above or download in the usual way.

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  1. Good for you sir, I support Scottish Independence, as I don’t want all the ‘main choices’ made miles away in London, England, somewhere I have never lived or know anybody there.

    Choices made in Scotland, should stay in Scotland.

  2. Eric Joyce talks about the “cultural gulf” between Scotland and England/ruk. Culture is essentially language. The reason so many Scots deny their own nation rests in their confused “Anglicised” state of mind. This state of mind is fed by an Anglicised menu of school education, the BBC/msm, and instruction on how to speak ‘properly’. The SNP contribute (unwittingly?) it seems to this cultural malaise. The SNP should instead seek to further extend this “cultural gulf”. The best way to begin to do this, and within Holyrood’s powers, is to bring forward a Scots Language Act, and to some extent to mirror what the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 delivered, i.e.:

    – Scots Language TV station
    – Scots language teaching is schools
    – Scots Language Degree Course
    – Scots Language Board to fund and implement the above and related inititiatives.

    Surely the best way to secure independence is to ensure mair Scots fowk unnerstand thair ain leid.

  3. Took me all day to listen to that. Interrupted constantly, but …. I kept coming back.

    After a twitter spat of the usual “100% of oil tax is better than 9%” where the mad British Nationalist failed to understand, I still fail to understand why people think Scotland will struggle – even in the short term.

    As a City worker (London), I have oft heard the statement that its success rests on an oil reserve that is the keel that keeps it steady. Its not the ‘current’ price or the ‘high or low’ one. Its the actual presence and its overall weight in the world married to the (can you believe) market heft of EU status.

    Scotland, on Brexit would get hammered and dragged under. Scotland on ‘sexit’ would bob to the top rather quickly, companies would move there rapidly I can assure you.

  4. surprisingly thoughtful, intelligent and liberated views. joyce should be enlisted for indy2 by YES as he will be listened to by many right of centre traditional NO voters, tories and ex-army scottish county and coutryside alliance types

  5. Imagine if we could hear these kind of interviews of opinions on the TV media in Scotland.

    To hear a LABOUR man voice his own opinion, without fear of Party or media biased influence, just goes to prove that in Scotland we can do better, we can have better, and we most certainly need better.

    A media with Derek Bateman at the helm could only be a good thing.

  6. A very interesting interview, so thanks to Newsnet for undertaking it.

    When someone has undergone personal immolation as Mr Joyce has done, to survive and recover, one has to be very honest with oneself. if he has undergone redemption (and I do not mean that in any religious or cynical sense) and recovered a measure of self-respect then that has to be applauded.

    Politicians are a much maligned group of people and many of them bring contempt upon themselves, but most go into politics with a sense of mission and often have to make a number of sacrifices, frequently of family life. Most have a pretty nuanced understanding of issues, much more insightful than the soundbites which are often traded and I think Mr Joyce has demonstrated that in relation to defence, the oil industry and relationships within politics.

    He has been pretty frank about the antipathy within the Scottish Labour Party towards the SNP (and, many within the latter have a reciprocal antipathy) and how this has created an inertia, a rigidity which, under pressure, will cause it to fracture. His analogy about earthquakes and housing was a good one. The Labour Party in England is moving on and, with the recruitment, there is a much better understanding of why so many in Scotland wish to end the United Kingdom. His description of the purpose of Jeremy Corbyn and his associates in refashioning ‘the left’ is very interesting.

    To someone who was a Labour voter for decades he gives a glimmer of hope that there are some figures within the party who understand how things have changed in Scotland and in the rest of the UK and who might move towards independence. They are the kind of people who might be able to persuade some hesitant NOs to change, in the same way that Mr Michael Fry might be influential with another group.

    The EU vote has made a change, but what that change actually will be is too early to tell. For some people who were more hostile to independence than not, the solidity they once perceived within the UK is cracked and crumbling. But, it might still provide some kind of certainty as against the further uncertainty, as they see it, of an independent Scotland.

  7. Thanks all for comments received. Our podcast interviews are aimed at giving guests the space to develop and explain their ideas and thinking. It’s really important to get a wide range of voices on Scottish and international affairs and we hope to continue to build on that.

    If you have suggestions for people or subjects drop us a line: editor [at] newsnet.scot

    The Editors

  8. Why I liked EJ even when he was a LP party career MP is, generally speaking, he is always unashamedly honest.


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