Nicola Sturgeon tells anyone that will listen that a “No” vote in the coming EU referendum may spark another poll on Scotland’s membership of the UK. Filibuster’s Sam Betley spells out the irony of this position.
The SNP and its bullish leader want independence for Scotland. Last year, they got closer than ever before ultimately falling at the final hurdle. Now, an increasingly desperate Nicola Sturgeon thinks that the rising tide of euroscepticism in Britain could work in her favour. In short, she thinks she can use a sovereign United Kingdom as an excuse to take Scotland to the polling booths once more.
However, her party’s buzzword – independence – can only be fulfilled outside of the European Union. Unless the SNP realise this, and with whom their core vote resides, they could soon face a rising tide of anger akin to what Labour faced at the general election.
On 7 May, Ukip proved the political commentators wrong by delivering a body blow to the Labour party in its traditional northern English heartlands. This happened because Ed Miliband’s quasi-campaign ignored the concerns of working class people; namely immigration, housing and social cohesion.
The SNP are currently running the risk of making the same mistake in Scotland. While immigration is less of a concern north of the border, employment is certainly high on the agenda. The example of the SSI plant in Redcar provides a stark warning for Scottish communities that depend on heavy industry. The Redcar plant was shut down because EU regulations didn’t allow the UK parliament to intervene. The fervour with which the Scottish people backed the nationalists at the general election could easily turn on Europe’s supranational governing body, if only they weren’t unaware of what “independence” really means in relation to the European Union.
What exactly is independence? The Oxford English Dictionary will tell you that it means “exemption from external control”; if this is what the people of Scotland truly want, they can only vote to leave the European Union.
Because by its very nature the monster that is the EU, with the Commission as its ugly head, is hell-bent on bringing all the nations under its control into a federation of politically united states. You may not like the prime minister, Ms Sturgeon, but you’d learn to loathe Jean-Claude Juncker and his cronies.
Evidence for this has been rife in recent weeks. European leaders have been lining up to affirm their allegiance to the seemingly unstoppable march towards “ever-closer union”. Both French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel used their recent speeches in the European Parliament to encourage Britain to quit the EU if they aren’t prepared to back the federalist agenda being pursued. Hollande, forced into a corner by comments from Ukip leader Nigel Farage and French National Front chief Marine Le Pen, confessed that “the only road for those who are not convinced of Europe is to leave Europe”. Similarly, Ms Merkel reasserted that the principle of the free movement of peoples is non-negotiable, while commission president Jean-Claude Juncker apparently said that Britain do not “need” the European Union.
What all this shows is a stubborn refusal for compromise at the very top of the European food chain. The SNP’s rhetoric is focused on freeing Scotland from the chains of being tied to what they see as an outdated Westminster bubble that doesn’t represent the views of a majority of the Scottish people. While this may be true to some extent, the attitude of the EU to today’s major issues show them to be utterly clueless to the concerns of the 500 million people they claim to represent.
For example, their reaction to the migrant crisis shows a worrying amount of naivety from Europe’s most powerful leaders. The aforementioned Mrs Merkel is particularly guilty of this. Her open invitation to Syrian refugees (and by default, many more economic migrants) spoke not only for Germany but for the whole of Europe. It is deeply concerning that the decision of one leader can speak for 28 countries, many of whom disagree and some of whom are even prepared to openly defy this injustice.
Step forward, David Cameron. In the face of popular hostility, the prime minister has made the morally correct decision to only accept genuine refugees from UN camps that already exist in the Middle East. Many have criticised this, including Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP, but in reality he has protected Britain from the threat of Isis militants who have undoubtedly been landing on the shores of Greece and Italy. It seems that Scotland has a very simple choice – a European elite determined to pursue their federalist agenda; or the possibility of real, tangible independence.
Scotland is a proud nation and that has been a key reason for the rise of the SNP. It is too late for that party to realise what true independence looks like. But the people still have time.