James MacEachern alerted me to Mr Fairlie’s clarifications on the subject of my recent post regarding No-voting independence “supporters”:

fairlie1 fairlie2

I’m delighted to see that Mr Fairlie will indeed vote Yes if the question in indyref2 remains the same, but I don’t understand why he thinks the question would change.

I presume Mr Fairlie is referring to Motion 16 at this year’s conference (though it’s possible he was referring to Nicola Sturgeon’s commitment in last year’s conference to campaign for the UK to remain in the EU):

Conference welcomes the overwhelming vote of the people of Scotland on 23 June to remain in the European Union (EU); notes that 62 per cent of voters chose to remain, as did a majority of voters in every local authority across the country.

The SNP reaffirms that citizens from other EU countries living here are welcome, that Scotland is their home, and that their significant contribution to Scotland’s economy, culture and society is valued.

Conference believes that it would be democratically unacceptable if Scotland were to be dragged out of Europe against its will.

Conference expresses its disappointment that the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU but reaffirms that the democratic will of the people of Scotland must be respected.

The SNP values our access to the single market and the investment and jobs it brings; our European citizenship and the freedom to live, work, study and retire in any EU country, the legal safeguards for workers, women and parents, and our place as an outward looking nation, willing to work constructively with our neighbours across the continent.

Conference believes that every avenue must be explored to keep Scotland in the EU. If no viable solution to safeguard our membership as part of the UK exists, Scotland should prepare for a second independence referendum and seek to remain in Europe as an independent country.

There is nothing in the wording of the motion which suggests any change to the wording of a future referendum question, and nothing that changes the SNP’s decades-long party-political position in regards to an independent Scotland seeking to remain in the EU. The motion was discussed and debated at length, with multiple speakers for and against the remit back and the motion. The only “controversy” is that final paragraph – again, if by “controversy” you mean perhaps two dozen or so at most voted for the remit back, and a handful voting against the resolution entirely.

Mr Fairlie and others are obviously concerned by the phrasing “Scotland should prepare for a second independence referendum and seek to remain in Europe as an independent country,” which they perceive to mean a conflation of the two issues of Scottish independence and Scottish EU membership. Well, to be perfectly frank, for all the reasons I’ve stated in my previous post, they are already inextricably linked – because it’s about the Sovereign Will of the Scottish People. The Sovereign Will of Scots in the 2016 EU Referendum was for the UK (of which Scotland is currently a member) to remain in the EU. That Sovereign Will was denied. Again. That’s what this is all about – the people of Scotland voted for something, and had it rejected.

If the people of Scotland don’t want an independent Scotland to be in the EU, then they’ll vote for a party offering a referendum on the subject, and vote to Leave in that referendum. That’s what the people of England & Wales did. That is not what is happening right now in Scotland.

Mr Fairlie bringing up Alex Neil voting to Leave is telling: combined with his sincere belief that an indyref2 campaign focusing on keeping Scotland in the EU would “split the independence movement down the middle,” it seems that he is buying into the idea that the SNP are far more Eurosceptic than they are letting on. This is something the opposition parties & UK media are absolutely desperate to capitalise upon, casting the SNP as sleekit and manipulative, as if they don’t really believe in the EU, but just want to use a grievance, any grievance, to get one up over hated Westminster. As ever, I must ask: Cui Bono? Who does this benefit? Does it benefit the movement for Scottish Independence which Mr Fairlie still supports (with qualifications?) I fail to see how. Does it benefit those against Scottish Independence to portray the party whose very existence is dedicated to that cause as “incoherent,” sending “mixed messages,” “confusing,” and “barely lifting a finger” to other causes they back?

My support for Scottish Independence is not conditional on agreeing with what that independence looks like, or whether it fits with my personal interpretation of what independence “is.” If I disagree with any issue, be it EU membership, NATO, anything, then it will be on those merits – and only at the point where we as Scots are in a position to decide for ourselves. As long as we’re part of the UK, we do whatever the UK wants regardless of our wishes. I’m sure Mr Fairlie understands that.


4 thoughts on “Clarifications

  1. Red Squirrel says:

    Independence is the primary objective – after that, we have the luxury of time and sovereignty to decide on other issues but not before. Keeping the indyref question clear is crucial if Yes is to succeed next time around. Let’s not lose sight of the first building block we need to start changing our land for the better.

  2. sandra says:

    Yes I agree, some discussions are becoming very complicated. For me its independence first and foremost, we are then in a position to make decisions on other issues at a later date.

  3. Euan Whazermy says:

    We all met people in indyref1 who would say things like “Ah wid vote fur independence but…(sucks teeth, shakes head sadly) ..but ye cannae trust that Alex Salmond.” It was a socially acceptable “get off the hook” which could be presented as a principled stance.
    This time round we have … “Ah wid vote fur independence…but ye cannae trust that E.U.”
    The argument that if we were an E.U. member it would not be “proper” independence is beyond ludicrous. By that reasoning Germany is not an independent country, nether is France , Portugal , Sweden…

  4. Douglas says:

    I agree.

    Getting too tied up with important but secondary issues (Monarchy, EU, Currency, NATO…) is likely to sow confusion and that is what the unionists want. For this reason, I disagree with the suggestion on Wings (The Gambit) that we explicitly promise a second EU vote to calm those Independence supporters with doubts about the EU.

    We need to get the power to decide repatriated to Scotland first -and avoid the classic ‘divide and rule’ that has been the hallmark of the Empire.

    I do think that a draft constitution should be part of the offering for IndyRef2. This should make it clear that all of the above topics can be addressed with referenda and I would suggest a reasonably low threshold to trigger them.

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