Believing in Independence


If you vote “No” in a referendum on the question “Should Scotland be an independent country,” then you are voting against Scottish independence. This should not be a controversial statement. For those who do not want Scotland to become an independent country again, it is entirely logical. For those who claim to support Scottish independence, it is utterly nonsensical.

So when Jim Fairlie – an “SNP Chief” who has not been in the SNP for 36 years, and in fact stood against the SNP in Perth in the 2007 Scottish Election for the Free Scotland Party – says he will vote No in a second Scottish Independence Referendum:

By tying the second independence referendum to EU membership, it will split the national movement. It will split it right down the middle. Because there are far more SNP supporters who are just as opposed to the EU as they are to being a member of the UK.

If Nicola Sturgeon ties the EU to a second independence referendum, she will lose, because people like me, who have fought for independence since I was 15 years of age, will vote no.

By doing that she has made it impossible for a lot of nationalists to vote for independence, tied to the EU, because it’s not independence. What they’re offering is a choice between two unions, and that’s a false choice.

… I have to wonder if Mr Fairlie understands what the point of Scottish Independence actually is.

Let’s put aside Mr Fairlie’s suggestion that the EU and UK are remotely comparable as unions, a particularly mendacious British Nationalist myth which demeans all Scottish Nationalists who cite it. Let’s also put aside the fact that there would be absolutely nothing to stop an independent Scotland from leaving the European Union, should it wish to do so, at some point in the future – which it cannot do at present without the United Kingdom’s express consent, as we just saw in the EU referendum. Let’s certainly put aside the idea that there’s anything like a “split down the middle” for Scots who want independence as part of the EU, and those who want independence outside it. This is about the basic principle of Scottish independence: that the people of Scotland, and the people of Scotland alone, should decide their future.


If you want an independent Scotland to leave the European Union, then the only democratically acceptable way to do so is to convince a majority of Scots in a referendum on the subject. While the word “Scotland” appeared nowhere on the 2016 UK-wide EU referendum, both the Remain and Leave campaigns tailored their material specifically to Scots, talking of how important or otherwise the EU was to “Scottish jobs,” “Scottish farmers,” “Scottish universities,” the “Scottish economy,” “Scottish workers,” and so on. Accordingly, Scotland’s remain majority was the largest of all the counting areas in the British Isles: 62% of voters, and all 32 Council areas – and that’s without the hundreds of thousands of EU citizens and 16- and 17-year-olds excluded from the franchise, which would surely have only increased that majority.

The entire point of Scottish Independence is so that the decisions made by the people of Scotland are carried out, not ignored and rejected by the government of a phoney union where one country almost always gets its way by weight of numbers alone. What Jim Fairlie and others are suggesting in voting No in indyref2 is that the 62% mandate from Scottish voters should be ignored in favour of a 53% mandate from English voters – in other words, for the clear, democratic expression of the Sovereign Will of the Scottish people to be frustrated and denied. They are campaigning for exactly what most independence supporters campaign against.

In 2014, the Sovereign Will was accepted by the UK Parliament – after all, they got the result they wanted. In 2015, they responded to the election of 56 pro-independence MPs by voting down every single one of their amendments to the Scotland Bill. In 2016, they reacted to the 62% vote of one country in this “Equal Partnership” with disinterest, saying it was a “UK vote,” and so a “UK decision.” Scotland’s Sovereign Will only matters to them if they agree with our decision. If the Scottish people want to remain part of the European Union, then it is our democratic duty to ensure that happens. If you disagree, then campaign to change their mind in a referendum – do not advocate ignoring a clear majority in a referendum just because you don’t happen to agree with it.

Mr Fairlie seems to assume that an independent Scotland will be part of the EU, quite at odds with the story being perpetuated by the UK media. He also seems to assume that an independent Scotland will not vote to leave, or vote against rejoining, the EU – which seems to contradict his own statement on the EU question splitting the independence movement “down the middle.”If it was, then why was Edinburgh West’s motion at the SNP conference passsed overwhelmingly, with perhaps only a handful voting for either the remit back, or the direct negative?

2:19:30 – debate begins
3:11:38 – voting begins

The only logical conclusion to me is that the people of Scotland having control over their nation’s constitution, economy, budget, civil service, industry, trade, currency, defence, foreign policy, energy, employment law, oil revenues, broadcasting, and more, is simply not worth it to Mr Fairlie if it means we are still part of the EU – even if it means all those things staying in the grasp of Westminster. It also means Mr Fairlie is fine with frustrating the clear democratic mandate of the people of Scotland if he happens to disagree with them.

If you vote No in a second Scottish Independence Referendum on the basis that Scotland will remain part of the EU, then you are voting against Scottish independence, regardless of whatever sophistry about “choosing between two unions” you employ. If Scotland being out of the EU is more important to you than Scotland being out of the UK, then that’s one thing. Just don’t pretend you support Scottish independence.

8 thoughts on “Believing in Independence

  1. I have concerns that a large number (albeit still a minority in the overall view) of purported pro Independence supporters will shortly need to harden up on their choice with respect to our membership of the EU.
    Scotland will need a helping hand from existing EU members, either overtly or by political slight of hand, if it is going to achieve Independence within the EU (or as is more likely with a promise of fast track membership).
    Given the quite reasonable wish of the EU to protect their ongoing development no one should be under any illusion that EU support will be anything less than a two way affair. Any suggestion that an independent Scotland would be “free” to hold a referendum on our EU membership within a period of less than 10 – 15 years of obtaining independence is wholly naive.
    Why on earth should the EU suffer a re-run of the upheaval they are anticipating with Brexit simply to keep a reluctant Scotland in the fold?
    So for those who have issues with the EU, of any sort, the time is now to make a decision – do your reservations about the EU mean more to you than your desire for Scotland to break free from London rule?
    If the answer to that question is yes then please set your stall out openly, away from the SNP and outwith the existing pro independence framework.
    Whenever Indyref2 is held it is likely to be our last shot for a significantly long number of years and I for one don’t want to see that chance wasted by “purists” who will not recognise this chance for what it is.

  2. Pam McMahon says:

    Thank you for this. Agree with everything you have said. Have supported the re-establishment of our independent status for half a century- ie: since before the EU was even established and will continue to support it until it is achieved.
    There has always been an unending stream of dim chancers lurking in the decaying state woodwork waiting for the chance to nip out and chew the naïve and unenlightened. Fortunately, there fewer targets for their wee champing jaws than ever before.

  3. David says:

    Have to assume Mr Fairly missed the news that changes to EU laws and treaties require’s concent from all members. UK subjects have been mislead by MSM for decades about this. Recent trade deal with Canada a case in point.

  4. Macart says:

    Well said Taranaich.

    Independence for me isn’t a choice about unions. Its about the people of Scotland making decisions for themselves. Its not conditional. Its not a case of I’ll vote for self determination, but only if…

    Its about the Scottish electorate getting the government they vote for. A government which reflects the will of the population and who are solely concerned with administering to the particular needs and aspirations of that population. A government which answers directly to the people.

    Not a complicated premise I’ll grant you, but then I’m not a complicated kinda guy. 🙂

  5. […] MacEachern alerted me to Mr Fairlie’s clarifications on the subject of my recent post regarding No-voting independence […]

  6. Independence first. Independence is the route by which other decisions concerning Scotland and her people may then be made. Our voices, our choices. There will be agreement and dissent on all manner of things but the decisions will be ours. For good or bad. That cannot happen while our voices are overruled at WM. Independence first.

  7. […] December – Believing in Independence. If you believe an independent Scotland should be out of the EU, then you have to believe in an […]

  8. […] didn’t control the UK’s media coverage through the entirety of the campaign. Stop trying to pretend the UK and the EU are the same – otherwise, why would you favour one and not the […]

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