Pete Wishart

SNP MP FOR PERTH & PERTHSHIRE NORTH Scot­land’s at home in the EU

Blairgowrie Advertiser - - NEWS -

Last week saw the third an­niver­sary of Scot­land’s in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum and the op­por­tu­nity to com­pare where we might have been with where we are now.

One of the ar­gu­ments made for a‘no’vote three years ago was the claim that it was only by re­main­ing as part of the UK that we could guar­an­tee re­main­ing part of the EU.

Well that claim has cer­tainly been ex­posed to the re­veal­ing light of ex­pe­ri­ence.

Not only does con­tin­u­ing as part of the UK mean that Scot­land is to be dragged out of the EU against the wishes of the Scot­tish peo­ple, but the re­sponse from our Euro­pean neigh­bours has made it clear that there would have been no ques­tion that an in­de­pen­dent Scot­land would have been a warmly wel­comed mem­ber of the EU fam­ily.

Wher­ever you stood on the ques­tion of in­de­pen­dence for Scot­land, there can be no doubt that there was a sig­nif­i­cant amount of in­for­ma­tion pro­vided about process, about timescale and about what the Scot­tish Govern­ment’s plans were.

In stark con­trast, we have spent the 15 months since the Brexit ref­er­en­dum in a state of chaotic limbo. Hard Brexit, soft Brexit, cliff-edge Brexit. It is all still up in the air. Al­most as if the peo­ple‘in charge’haven’t a clue what they are do­ing. Or, in­deed, what they ac­tu­ally want.

Bri­tain still thinks that it is big­ger than it is, this big im­pe­rial power. But the re­al­ity was em­bar­rass­ingly clear when Theresa May ad­dressed the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly and she was pretty much speak­ing to an empty room. Af­ter that it was off to Florence for a pretty empty speech to a col­lec­tion of Bri­tish jour­nal­ists she could just as eas­ily have spo­ken to from her own front door.

Ms May re­ferred in that speech to the prospect of more pow­ers for Scot­land but it has been clear for some time that her in­ten­tion is to do quite the op­po­site.

This is a fear shared by the Welsh Govern­ment who can also see a West­min­ster power grab on the de­volved ad­min­is­tra­tions com­ing down the line. It was re­ally good, there­fore, to see the Scot­tish and Welsh First Min­is­ters, shoul­der to shoul­der, jointly pub­lish­ing amend­ments to the Euro­pean Union (With­drawal Bill), to pre­vent the UK Govern­ment tak­ing con­trol of de­volved pol­icy areas.

That speech re­ally un­der­lined the dif­fer­ence be­tween the Prime Min­is­ter and my­self – and I sus­pect count­less oth­ers – on the is­sue of Europe.

Theresa May claimed that “The UK never felt truly at home in the EU”. I en­tirely dis­agree. De­spite decades of mis­in­for­ma­tion, a Euroscep­tic or dis­in­ter­ested me­dia, and a mostly lack­lus­tre re­main cam­paign, Scot­land voted to re­main in the EU – and did so more em­phat­i­cally than when we first voted to join the Com­mon Mar­ket.

Scot­land has found a home in the EU – and we don’t want to be evicted!

World stage Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May ad­dresses the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly at the UN head­quar­ters in New York City last week. Photo by Drew An­gerer/Getty Im­ages

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