Let’s get back to basics on Scottish independence and Europe


Commentary by Derek Bateman

The SNP favour the Norway option which I can’t stop thinking of as a Monty Python sketch in a pet shop involving a dead parrot. ‘That’s a Norwegian Blue, sir.’

Alex Neil thinks we should embrace Brexit along with UKIP, the Tories and, now I see, the Labour Party. So it’s about taking back control. You know, like the lunatics taking over the asylum. There are side dishes of EFTA and EEA to complete the whole dog’s breakfast. I have no idea how we expect the public to sift through this and make sense of it without clear leadership.

Derek Bateman
Derek Bateman

We need to go back to basics and remember that if we’d voted to become a proper country we wouldn’t be in this mess at all. Oh sure, we’d be in a different mess of a post-vote new order with currency questions and deficit problems – except of course that’s exactly what we’ve got anyway by ducking out of making the big decision. Almost every one of Better Together’s predictions of doom after a Yes vote are coming true after a No vote. Caveat emptor.

We could now be safely inside the EU club as an aspiring member state waiting to take the rUK’s place instead of watching helplessly from the sidelines pleading to be heard. This is our reward for being good British citizens and depending on the experience of the UK to do the right thing. Vote No to stay in the EU – except when we change our mind in which case you’re out along with us. And, by the way, this is going to hurt.

There was always a risk in designing the Yes case as a silver bullet. Voters know life isn’t like that and, as I keep saying, we should have given a more realistic picture of post-referendum Scotland. Because even with forging new partnerships, seeking funding and rebalancing our commitments, we would still look at today’s Brexit mess and feel a sense of relief that it didn’t apply to us. Indeed Brexit without Scotland would have added impetus to the process of entering us on to the Brussels club membership. There would be urgency to settle our case before EU talks started with London. It would also have turbo charged the discussions between Edinburgh and London paving the way for Scotland leaving the Union. Downing Street would be under pressure to settle the Scottish issue quickly before moving on. Meanwhile we would have the support of friends in Brussels where we would be on the front line of maintaining the European ideal in the face of the separatists.


Too late now, of course. Except it is a reminder of what our case is and has always been – independence. It has become the word that dare not speak its name as we wrestle with accommodations, trade deals and customs unions. We need to remember the cause is greater than the compromises. I am a committed European but if you ask me to vote for independence outside the EU, I vote Yes. Equally I expect anti Europeans to back independence in the EU if that’s the option.

It’s hard to think of anything worse than being an afterthought in a xenophobic Tory Little England outside the European mainstream, begging for deals with Trump while the national debt balloons and the deficit grows. I can’t see how remaining locked in to London and a political system in which even the opposition has given up, is beneficial. It surely is the unyielding Unionists who are cult-like in adherence to the suicidal incompetence of Johnson, Fox and Davis who are making the UK a laughing stock. For many of us the British government failed to speak our language a long time ago but we still heard echoes of our view in the Labour Party. Yet the meandering contradictions and sophistry of Corbyn’s regime denies us even that.

Revealing, I thought, that the never previously shown Better Together film appearing on the internet through Buzzfeed doesn’t reference Scotland at all. It is entirely focussed on Britain with a commentary making absolutely clear that the UK is the Unionists’ country, not Scotland. It is about retaining the UK hegemony in which it implies Scots only play a part for the charity available. There is no attempt to portray any difference or variation or native distinctiveness – just Our Britain. It shows how Scotland continues to be enveloped in the maw of collective British identity and in their mind deserves no distinct recognition.


We didn’t want to press too hard for indyref2 because the SNP wanted to go forward with the other parties arguing for our place in the single market. That was a wasted idea with pygmy politicians voting down anything the SNP propose and to hell with public interest.

Whatever you think of our railways, the current Ruritanian row demanding a resignation as if it would change anything, signifies an opposition bereft of realism let alone ideas. When the country faces the looming implosion of Brexit, wouldn’t a real politician apply his energy to finding a unified resolution before it’s too late?

It’s hard not to conclude that even after a Yes vote the same Lego legislators would spend their time on diversions and fail to do their duty to the voters and the nation.

From now on I’d like to hear independence again used as the ultimate option whenever an aspect of the Brexit business is raised. Yes, we could possibly have a different deal with the EU inside the UK. Or…we could take what is ours and work directly with European neighbours to deliver the goals of a united Europe. We’re in danger of combing through the minutiae looking for morsels when by lifting our eyes we can see the whole horizon.