We have 9 weeks of campaigning left for the Holyrood elections and I’m sure that many people were already looking forward to a well deserved rest after the last vote had been cast.  However, as suspected, that period of relaxation will have to wait a bit longer as we will be heading straight into the Euro Referendum and several more weeks of door chapping and street stalls.

Canvassing is already seeing Europe as a discussion that many people want to have with you on the doorstep; some already know their mind and are only to eager to share it with you but many more are genuinely unsure and ask our opinion on what they should do.  Others wonder which election we are out for and you can see the weariness cross their face when they realise that they will be subjected to “politics” for months on end. Of the more politically aware, thoughts are divided as to whether Westminster knew exactly what they were doing when they picked a date so close to our elections or were we so inconsequential, that the date of the Holyrood election didn’t even register with them.

The chosen date of 23 June 2016 was not particularly surprising; this was the minimum time that Westminster could give to allow a full campaign to be run, no doubt hoping that voters in Scotland would be so scunnered with the whole thing by then that they just wouldn’t bother going out to vote thereby strengthening the anticipated “out” vote of the U.K as a whole.  I don’t believe that David Cameron truly believes in his own In campaign.

It is with a wry smile that I log onto social media and see all the things which we were scoffed at and belittled for saying during the Independence Referendum being repeated back to us but as it is coming from “the other side” then it seems that these are now perfectly sensible things to claim.  ‘Why let anyone make our decisions for us? We are more than capable of running our own country.” “Let us be a sovereign state again, free from neighbouring interference.” “l am not a European, I am an Englishman.”  And of course, all the doom and gloom that was impressed upon us two years ago – the banks will leave, we’ll be forced into the Euro and we’ll soon be overrun with all these incomers taking our homes and jobs.  Of course, migration only works one way in the eyes of a Eurosceptic and so we can continue in our glorious history of colonialism.

Up here in the Highlands, we benefitted greatly from the EU over the years with millions of pounds invested in infrastructure and funding.  This is now largely curtailed due to Westminster refusing to contribute to the subsidies that were available and is one example of how an independent Scotland within the EU would have been the best outcome.  Being able to negotiate our own fishing deals and ensuring that farming subsidies made their way to the areas that they were awarded rather than being diverted elsewhere would also be an improvement.  It is frustrating when you hear the EU being dismissed as no benefit to us here simply because people do not realise that we are not being fairly represented at the moment.

The EU is not without problems of course but it is more of a help to us than a hindrance.We need the migration up here where we have a desperate shortage of working age residents.

Unfortunately, one of the myths that is frequently repeated is that these EU nationals are able to claim Child Benefit and send it “home” but surely the cost of housing, educating and providing health care to that workers family if he or she took them here to live with them would be a far greater drain on the purse of the “British” tax payer?  This form of “benefit scrounging” is reciprocated in any EU country with the U.K payment sitting firmly in the middle of the awards.

I like the SNP “In” design and look forward to seeing it become more prominent in the coming weeks.  Who knows what the result will be and whether an out vote will indeed lead to a second referendum but as David Cameron has already pledged that this vote will be counted as a UK total then it looks likely that Scotland will once again be left feeling marginalised.

1 Comment

  1. A very well thought article that provides a realistic, honest and more importantly, an accurate description of the importance of current issues that relate to every member of our community. True to form in all areas of the country no less. The EU vote will impact everyone one way or another.

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