Keeping a light on for Scotland

Scotland now has two Unions to choose from - isolation and economic crisis with the UK run by Boris Johnson, or independence in Europe with the solidarity of a global A-Team, argues former MEP Alyn Smith.
David N. Anderson

By Alyn Smith

Alyn Smith is a Scottish National Party MP and former MEP

12 May 2021

As foreign affairs lead at Westminster for the Scottish National Party (SNP), I have launched ‘Project No Surprises’ to explain to people outside of Scotland what is happening in our dynamic and exciting politics.

There are plenty people trying to misrepresent what is happening, I want our European friends especially to know the truth.

We had elections in Scotland last Thursday and Scotland uses the same electoral system as the Deutsche Bundestag so we have a fairer system than Westminster.

Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP won. Scotland has, yet again, proven our European spirit. With the Scottish Greens it is an unarguable fact that there is a fair and square majority for independence in the Scottish Parliament.

Had we only used the (rubbish) Westminster first-past-the-post system, the SNP winning 85 percent of the seats would translate to 552 out of 650 seats at Westminster. As it is the two pro-independence, pro-EU parties have 72 seats of 129.

So what now? We get back to fighting the pandemic and the economic crisis it has caused. The SNP can form a minority administration as we did before, or in coalition with the Greens, that is not for me to speculate upon.

"There will, in due course, be a referendum on independence. The UK government is opposed to this but I hardly need tell people in Brussels that Boris Johnson is hardly known for his ideological consistency"

We have plenty to do, the Climate Crisis has not gone away and needs urgent action, and of course Scotland hosts COP26 later this year in Glasgow.

But there will, in due course, be a referendum on independence. The UK government is opposed to this but I hardly need tell people in Brussels that Boris Johnson is hardly known for his ideological consistency.

The referendum will not be tomorrow, but it is when, not if, no amount of Tory bluster can disguise that.

If the UK has become a state where democratically elected parties are prevented from implementing their manifesto, then the UK is in a worse place than we feared, and it underlines even more strongly why we want to choose a different, European path.

The arguments of the 2014 independence referendum have changed because the circumstances have changed, sometimes in ways that help the pro-independence side, sometimes in ways that need to be explained to a public still reeling from COVID and its consequences.

In my district, Stirling, an area the same size as Luxembourg, we are massing the pro-independence parties and organising ourselves to have discussions in every community we represent, because this is the big shot, independence has never been closer.

"If the UK has become a state where democratically elected parties are prevented from implementing their manifesto, then the UK is in a worse place than we feared, and it underlines even more strongly why we want to choose a different, European path"

Having been thrown out my first Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg, I’m working really hard to be thrown out of my second!

We did of course have that referendum on independence in 2014, and 55 percent of voters said no, preferring to stick with the UK on the basis it guaranteed EU membership, economic prosperity and respect within the UK Union.

Brexit has changed everything, Scotland now has two Unions to choose from - isolation and economic crisis with the UK run by Mr Johnson, or independence in Europe with the solidarity of a global A-Team.

We don’t ask anyone outside of Scotland to solve our problems, I’d ask only that you keep a light on for Scotland to find our way home.

Read the most recent articles written by Alyn Smith - Fighting the good fight for Scotland

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