Plenty of Wrong Answers to Wrong Questions

For anyone arguing that Scotland is being taken out of the EU against its will, think of the question on the ballot paper. Scotland was not mentioned. To believe that those who voted Remain would vote for independence, is naïve.
Jim Sillars, 27th June 2016

The First Minister has said that she wants to preserve Scotland’s position in the EU. That is fine, but quite what that means is also unclear. Of course, Scotland is not—and never has been—one of the EU’s member states. The vote in Scotland last week sought to preserve the UK’s status as a member state—not to insist that Scotland becomes a new member state.
Adam Tomkins, 28th June 2016

This referendum vote was conducted right across the UK, and the more than 1 million voters in Scotland who chose leave deserve representation. They do not deserve to be disenfranchised. For remain voters, it was clear that the vote was UK-wide and that the fundamental premise of the vote was the UK’s relationship with the EU. So, with regard to the motion, I cannot vote to welcome the overwhelming vote of the people of Scotland to remain, since I voted leave and since the basic premise of that is flawed and misrepresents the question that was asked in the referendum. The ballot paper did not ask, “Do you want Scotland to remain in or leave the EU?”
Elaine Smith, 28th June 2016

The proposition that I campaigned for and voted for last week—that the UK remain in the European Union—no longer exists. That was the proposition on the ballot paper. The proposition was not that I—or anyone else, for that matter—vote for Scotland to remain in the EU whatever the terms or the circumstances. I voted for Scotland to remain in an EU in which the whole UK was an influential member state.
Jackson Carlaw, 28th June 2016

The thing that I find most disreputable is that Nicola Sturgeon has spent the past two months trying to use my Remain vote and thousands of Scots like me to coop that into trying to leave the United Kingdom, and that’s not what anybody was voting on.
Ruth Davidson, 28th August 2016

When Jim Sillars is making the same point as Adam Tomkins, you know something’s a bit off, right?

No, “Scotland” did not appear on the ballot paper in the European Union Referendum. That is entirely correct: indeed, I myself have noted that salient point:

Yet the question is not “should Scotland remain a member of the European Union or Leave the European Union” – it is about the United Kingdom. When you go into the polling station, you’re not asking to vote on what a sovereign, independent Scotland should do in regards to the EU – because we are not yet a sovereign, independent nation.

We’re not being asked if Scotland should remain a member of the EU – we’re being asked if the UK should. This is far from dancing on the head of a pin – it is essential to the vote we’re being asked to make.

However, while the gentlemen cited above seem to consider this fact a point against a second referendum, I think the opposite.

Mr Tomkins says “The vote in Scotland last week sought to preserve the UK’s status as a member state.” Correct. But, yet again, the votes of the people of Scotland were completely overturned by the votes of the people of England. Just as they are in General Election after General Election. That is the problem which decades of UK Governments refuse to address. We are not being treated as a country in an equal partnership with four others: we are being treated as a region who has to accept the will of the largest country, even in a comparatively close vote.

England: 46.6% Remain, 53.4% Leave
Scotland: 62.0% Remain, 38.0% Leave
Northern Ireland: 55.8% Remain, 44.2% Leave
Wales: 47.5% Remain, 52.5% Leave

All four nations: 53% Remain, 47% Leave

The question on the ballot paper was not explicit about Scotland – but it was explicit about the United Kingdom. The referendum asked Scots if the United Kingdom should remain part of the European Union. The people of Scotland voted 62% in favour, but was overturned by a small majority of voters in England. The people of Scotland now must ask themselves if they want to remain part of a sovereign state which dismisses its will so readily, even after the assurances the establishment made not two years ago.

Elaine Smith said that the 1 million people of Scotland who voted Leave “do not deserve to be disenfranchised.” Such a grotesque distortion of the democratic process (though I suppose her party would know all about disenfranchisement) forgets that, as things stand now, those “disenfranchised” voters won this referendum on a UK level, and unless indyref2 happens and is won for Yes, they will get what they wanted. I realise the UK party representatives are used to their group getting to rule Scotland with 20-30% of the popular vote in Scotland, but I don’t recall many UK party politicians saying the 1.6 million Scots who voted for independence “do not deserve to be disenfranchised” – and unlike the 1 million Leave campaigners, they’re not getting what they voted for.

I think we can safely ignore Ms Davidson’s ramblings, since she’s doing absolutely nothing to keep Scotland in the EU – even though the EU was something she herself used in the independence campaign. Namely, that voting Yes meant Leave, and voting No meant Remain.

But hey, that’s the thing about being leader of the Scottish branch of a UK party – you can enjoy the luxuries of being in power in Westminster, pretend to be in “opposition” in Holyrood… and are completely unaccountable in both. All those fine words, with the knowledge you don’t need to take any responsibility for them whatsoever.

Surprisingly, it is Mr Carlaw who manages to get closest to the truth. “The proposition that I campaigned for and voted for last week—that the UK remain in the European Union—no longer exists.” Exactly, Mr Carlaw. And if you think Scotland remaining in the UK is more important than Scotland remaining in the EU, then by gum that’s your prerogative. But don’t be so sure that the fearmongering of a Yes vote will be that much worse than what could shape up to be the reality of a Leave vote.

And that, by the way, goes for anyone who voted Yes in 2014, but would vote No in a second indyref if it meant retaining EU membership. Call yourself pro-independence all you like, but if you choose to remain in an incorporating union which has another nation holding complete control over Scotland’s budget, borders, broadcasting, civil service, constitution, currency, defence, economy, employment law, energy, immigration, international policies, national security, oil revenues, trade, and the vast majority of welfare and taxes, over a confederal union where power ultimately lies with the sovereign state… well, by your actions shall you be defined.

I’m campaigning for independence, and the last thing I want to get in our way are people who say they support independence, but vote against it because they don’t like what they think that independence would look like.

EDIT 14th September: Jings, the hits keep coming, this time from Neil Findlay:


I don’t know, Mr Findlay. Is it right to say that “Scotland did not vote for a Tory government?” Because if you argue for one…

3 thoughts on “Plenty of Wrong Answers to Wrong Questions

  1. Bill McDermott says:

    Absolutely spot on. The Tories are now defined by their embarrassment. Every time they debate they will have to defend the indefensible.
    The hard fact of the matter that no Tory wishes to discuss is that David Cameron gambled and lost against his back benchers, with no back plan for exit and the Scottish Tories with one or two exceptions were enthusiastic remainers.

  2. bringiton says:

    As far as I know,every country in Europe is in some sort of trading/political union because it is in their self interest to do so.
    Scots who think that an independent Scotland could go it alone are delusional.
    At no point during the EU referendum did the EU interfere in the process in order to effect the desired outcome,unlike our referendum to leave the UK union where the London establishment did all it could to so do.
    I would much rather be in a union which says you are welcome to stay but it is entirely up to you if you wish to leave than one which treats it’s constituent nations as captured territory where the dominant one will do anything to prevent your leaving.
    Scots knew fine what they were voting for and Cameron was warned beforehand that Scotland would not accept being taken out of the EU against our will but in his arrogance proceeded anyway.
    Some Scots probably voted to remain because they thought that it would retain the cohesion of the UK but England’s voters have put paid to that and the political and cultural devide between Scotland and England has never been so great.

  3. […] I don’t know, Mr Findlay. I’ve argued before that there is an important distinction between asking if Scotland should remain in the EU, and if […]

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