Regular readers of this blog will already be aware that I think the SNP has been far too passive with regard to launching a Brexit lifeboat for Scotland by calling a new independence referendum.
I was so happy when Nicola Sturgeon found the right response the morning after the Brexit referendum (see for instance my article on Bella Caledonia), and for nearly a year she was perfect. Sadly, however, when Theresa May said that “now is not the time” for a new independence referendum, she seemed to lose her mojo, and in the subsequent General Election, the SNP adopted a cautious and defensive strategy that caused a loss of many MPs, which again caused the SNP to get even more cautious.
Nicola Sturgeon seemed to think that time was on her side – that events would somehow cause the opinion polls to show a huge lead for Yes and that this would make Theresa May change her mind – but nothing ever changed, and as a result we’re still waiting for her to tell us what the plan is.
Like many other people, I think the best time for an independence referendum was no later than September 2018, because it would have meant that Scotland after a Yes vote wouldn’t have needed to Brexit together with the rUK. We’ve missed that boat, however, and it’s now looking increasingly likely that Scotland will be dragged out of the EU and will be suffering a lot as a result.
The SNP are clearly hoping that this suffering will create a large pro-independence majority, and that this in return will make the Tories grant a Section 30 order. Of course, it could backfire majorly. The recession caused by Brexit will most likely cause the Scottish block grant to get cut dramatically, and the SNP will have to administer these cuts (or increase income tax drastically). If people then start blaming the SNP for this, and for not having prevented Brexit in the first instance, the party could easily find itself out of power for a long time. And that would seriously endanger the hopes of gaining independence any time soon.
I’ve been writing this blog for seven years – I started it when it became clear that an independence referendum was going to happen. I really believe independence will be good for Scotland. I also abhor Brexit, but I thought it could provide Scotland with a second chance to gain independence. Instead, the SNP has not managed to get anything out of it: Scotland will be dragged out of the EU, the Tories are clawing back powers, and a precedent has now been set that Scotland won’t proceed with an independence referendum unless Westminster grants a Section 30 order. It’s a complete clusterbourach.
I’m an EU citizen, and I’m not willing to be left to the mercy of the UK Home Office. All Nicola Sturgeon’s sweet statements saying that “Scotland is your home, we want you to stay” are just that without independence: words. To protect New Scots, Scotland needs independence, and it doesn’t seem to be happening soon enough. If Sturgeon doesn’t feel she can help us, she should say so instead wringing her hands helplessly – it’s infuriating.
So I’m leaving, together with my Scottish wife and our children (aged 9, 11 and 13). We’re moving to Funen in Denmark (I’ve found myself a job in Bogense). We have our own company here in Scotland, but we don’t feel confident it can survive the recession caused by Brexit, so we’re shutting it down.
After 17 years in Scotland, I will always feel partly Scottish. I’ll always support Scottish independence, and I hope we’ll be back for an independence march from time to time. But we’re not willing to expose ourselves to Brexit Britain, complete with chlorinated chickens, a privatised health service, rising university fees, getting hounded by the Home Office, and potential no prospects of an independence referendum for decades.
It’s devastating to leave, but we don’t believe remaining here is an option.
PS: If we were remaining in Scotland, I’d be getting very close to tearing up my SNP membership card and joining the Greens instead – I’m getting that frustrated with the SNP, even though it’s full of people I agree with 100%. Perhaps now is not the time, but I think there might soon come a point when independence supporters have to vote with their feet to make the party understand that independence isn’t some kind of optional extra that can always wait another five or ten years. Hopefully I’m wrong, and the SNP will soon come out firing on all cylinders for independence again. We’ll see.