England’s xenophobia is Scotland’s opportunity

Well, that’s another referendum out of the road, and yet another on the horizon.

As a movement we now have some serious thinking to do before the starting gun s fired for #indyref2 and we will need to come up with pretty good answers to win.

One question which we did not convince the electorate about last time round was currency and it will be much harder this time to argue for a shared currency. A rUK which comprises, or at least faces being only England & Wales, will be much harder to convince on the merits of a shared currency. It may well also be much harder to argue that the convergence of economies will remain if for example companies like Nissan pull out of Sunderland, the City of London loses its “passport” to freely transfer money across Europe, and Frankfurt begins to replace the London as the main stock exchange.

The problems relatively weak economies in the south of Europe cause for the stronger north, may well be replicated on this small Island.

England seems to think that the world will beat a path to their door to continue trading, something which European leaders do not seem to be convinced of. While there does appear to be a willingness to accommodate from Merkel and to a lesser degree Hollande, there are major questions about whether the Eastern block countries will take the same line, or that either will be in power to finish the negotiations. Convincing Hungary, Poland etc to give favourable treatment to someone who has just walked out may well be a very difficult and expensive negotiation.

At the same time the resistance to the idea of joining the Euro will, I expect, not have dissipated too much, so we have a job on our hands to square that circle.

A second major problem will be that if England is out of the EU, and Scotland is in, do we need to have a “hard border”? Much may depend here on the arrangements which come into place between Northern Ireland and the Republic. The situation will be very similar but given the levels of xenophobia currently on display in parts of England, a “common travel area” arrangement will not be an easy sell.

Much of England seems to be so determined to shut itself off from any real agreement to immigration that the idea of a “common travel area” might be acceptable in Ireland, simply because they think even less about that part of the current UK than they do about Scotland. Having what will be seen as an open door through Scotland will however be a very different proposition I suspect.

Lastly on this list but by no means least, is the fall in the price of oil. While we know that oil is the icing on the cake, many, perhaps most, people do not buy it. We need a strong, convincing and consistent answer.

We do however also have some strong cards in our hand.

Scotland has shown itself to be very strongly European minded, when every Council area votes to remain, it’s hard to argue otherwise. This will be warmly welcomed across Europe and I was delighted to hear the FM announce that talks are to open with our partners in Europe. The rules however only allow States to join. Until we win Independence, Scotland is a country but still not a state. The willingness of Europe to welcome Scotland will however be a very strong card and may well prove to be an ace!

Another strong card is that in our Government, we have the only group who have done any advanced thinking on this topic at all. On the Friday, Saturday and Sunday after the referendum, Nicola was demonstrating a calm and steely determination to put that planning into effect and drive the agenda in Scotland’s best interests. This stood in utter and stark contrast to the shambles and deafening silence of London’s “elite”. The idea that the outers were blaming number 10 for not having a “plan B” in place was just one illustration of how much this was merely a Tory civil war which had gone badly wrong. Boris and co. obviously never believed they would win but were preparing for the day when Cameron stood down. The xenophobia and racism which had been stirred relentlessly for years by the right wing press across England had not been understood by the Tories any more than by Labour. The example of England football chanting about “all hate Muslims, clap your hands” will chill the blood of any sensible person.

The preparation which the SNP Leadership had put in to planning the summer campaign on Independence will now take on a new and vital importance. The work will start to re-energise the YES coalition into the YES2 coalition and with a real timescale to work to.

However, we must do the hard thinking now. We must have convincing answers to give to the people. Answers which will convince not just those who want independence but answers which will be compelling to those who are sceptical. Including those 38% of Scots who voted to leave!

That will mean a lot of hard work and hard thinking but the prize is worth the effort! We cannot let future generations down again. We will not let future generations down again!


  1. The shambles Stephen refers to can now be referred to as “In Out -shake us all about :-)”

    Ill thought out, ill prepared, ill planned – anyone one see any similarities with the Chilcot Report?

  2. “The preparation which the SNP Leadership had put in to planning the summer campaign on Independence will now take on a new and vital importance. The work will start to re-energise the YES coalition into the YES2 coalition and with a real timescale to work to.” Don’t know if you have noticed folks but we are now into July.

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