Following the ‘Brexit’ vote, Nicola Sturgeon rushed out to try and conscript EUref remainer voters into her ‘movement’ for separation. But in so doing, she has exposed her fundamental misunderstanding of her audience.
I am one among many who voted ‘no’ to independence, and ‘remain’ in the EUref. I did so because I believe (and continue to believe) that Scotland is stronger and has her capacities enhanced when it is apart of something bigger. The Union with England has provided Scotland with access to markets, financial underwriting and investment which has substantially enhanced our country. Likewise, our membership of the European Union did likewise, adding substantive benefits in a whole range of areas from the internal market to europol.
To someone like myself, it was a matter of obvious consistency to support both ‘better together’ and ‘remain’.
Yet I was, alongside the majority of my fellow Scots, on the losing side of the EUref. It was a hard thing to bare, emotionally scarring moment for a pro-EU 27 year old like myself. For most members of my millennial generation ‘Europe’ was a fact of social, economic and political life.
Enter Sturgeon and the SNP. They positioned themselves to take advantage of such a Brexit outcome. They did this on the – deeply naive – assumption that people in my position could be cajoled into joining her separatist march. It is vital that people like myself stand up and say in no uncertain terms to the Nat government: not in my name.
The problem with the SNP prospectus is that it offers no logical pathway for someone in my position to follow. And let me remind you, the majority of Scots are in my position; no voting remainers.
“There is no such logical, political or, for many of us, personal read-across” –Brian Wilson
It takes a unique mix of self-regard and brass-neck to assume that just because I was on the losing side of the EUref that I’ll simply toss my hat into a ‘united front’ against Brexit.
Firstly, I am in no rush to toss away the one union I did succeed in keeping intact; that is to say the British union; just because I can’t keep my other valued union. How does it make any logical or rational sense? We can’t keep our membership of the EU that I believed in, so I need to also abandon the other union I believe in – which I did succeed in retaining. A bit of a non sequitur surely? Voted for the British union, and the EU union. Won one and lost one. The logical response isn’t to turn round and overturn the first victory that I fought for.
Secondly, as a democratic minded person I’d be guilty of a total hypocrisy if I threw my toys out of the pram because the second of our two crucial referendums didn’t go my way.
That is the thing about referendums when you’re a democrat. You need to take a deep breath and accept the result if you lose it. I celebrated the ‘bettertogether’ victory, and mourned the ‘brexit’ victory. But as a democrat I accept the result: brexit means brexit.
And this is at the heart of Nicola Sturgeon’s increasing woes over her long march to separation: her current strategy relies on a fundamental non-sequitur for people in my position. People in my position are the majority of Scottish voters on this particular question. The SNP shall soon discover that we won’t be changing our minds on the indyref. We believed the British union was important then, and continue to believe it is now. The loss of the EUref does not alter this core reality. It most certainly is not a ‘fundamental change of circumstances’ justifying reopening the independence question against the wishes of the Scottish people.