The Three Tasks

scotland-can-bannerYou may not like the result. You might be scared of what may come next. But on the other hand, can’t you feel a bit of the ‘thrill of possibility’? Can you imagine where we’d be if Remain had won, Cameron and Osborne were endorsed, Scottish independence was back in the filing cabinet and our collective agency was back to collecting signatures for anti-TTIP petitions.

And isn’t there something energising about having real, achievable tasks to hand? Yes, I’m as worried as many of you about where things go next. But then, at least we’re not dealing with a slap in the face for the angry dispossessed, an act which really could have sown the seeds of future conflict and fear.

I was really not going to write anything today until Mike asked me. It’s all questions, no answers right now. I’d have liked to see things settle down a bit. But there are three big tasks ahead and I suppose now’s the time to start thinking about them.

The three tasks are to get ready for an independence referendum, to explore what this all means for the domestic agenda and to fight the fight along with fellow travellers across the UK to do what we can to make Britain a better place – for as long as we are part of it and beyond that as a good, positive neighbour.

So first to independence. I’m a little unsettled by the speed with which we’re committing ourselves to a timescale here. Today is a mad day. Senior figures from the British establishment and arch unionists may be talking about reevaluating their opposition to Scottish independence. But don’t kid yourself on that that’s the new normal. Things will settle back down and the fight against Scottish independence will become as focussed as before – if not more so.

We’ve not even seen a single opinion poll post-Brexit vote and have no idea exactly what impact it will have on short-term attitudes. It’s never clear what will settle down to be the long term ‘settled will’. There is a real chance of hard times ahead with financial markets punishing Britain and there could be a recession. That can play different ways for Scottish independence.

I don’t for a second believe that Boris et al will willingly give us a second referendum. If Britain’s economic position gets shaky, making it worse by letting Scotland escape will become increasingly unattractive to the City of London. The EU may be scunnered with Britain. I’ve already spoken to people who thinks this means they’ll allow Scotland to join to undermine the UK as a kind of revenge. But the Catalan/Basque position hasn’t changed. I’m pretty sure Spain will still not countenance a situation where Scotland is allowed to gain EU membership without joining the queue. I’m not sure how keen they would be even to hint that membership is possible after reapplying from outside. I suspect the chances of getting a firm position on this are slim.

By next week we’ll have started to hear the anti-independence lines as they are prepared by our opponents. As this settles down, I expect a backlash of some sort. We should not kid ourselves on that this is going to be easy.

And another thing we should absolutely not kid ourselves on about is that we’re ready. We’re not. Again, I’ve had contact with people today who think that last night’s events mean that we no longer have to worry about all the things we were worrying about before – fiscal deficit, currency doubt and so on. Getting that idea in our head would be suicidal. This has opened up a host of weaknesses on the ‘Better Together’ side (indeed, today their fortress looks pretty much like a ruin). But that does not mean that our weaknesses have disappeared.

Let me outline one question – what currency now? It seems economically inconceivable that we could use Sterling if Scotland is to be in the EU and England is to be out. Our economies would inevitably be moving in different directions. It’s not even clear to me that we’d be allowed to use a currency which was controlled from outside the EU. Are we ready to jump for the Euro? Do we have even a fraction of the work done to set up a Scottish currency? ‘Britain will allow us a Sterling Union’ isn’t very persuasive today. That the EU would accept that as a basis for EU entry looks even more doubtful. There is much to do.

And if there is a recession, anything that makes Scotland’s finances look risky becomes an enhanced risk. Diving into another referendum without resolving these issues might work OK. We might get away with it. We might not.

I don’t want to pour cold water on this moment – now is the time to get us to a second referendum. But today’s flush of excitement must be followed by a much more sober assessment not only of how to get a referendum but how to win one convincingly. As you probably know, I’ve got a book out on the subject. I still think the key is hard work and not good luck.

All that said – I now really do believe we’ll be independent in the next five years. I have a couple of good friends in their 90s who want this fast because they want to see a Yes vote in their lifetimes. I love them very much and wish it for them too – but for the rest of us, we need to be a little patient. Just a year or two of better preparation might make all the difference. There’s no third chance.

So I think I can reveal (without breaking any confidences) that there is a renewed push on today to get a cross-party forum to discuss these issues together. The SNP has bounced this issue forward substantially today. I’d urge them to start bringing everyone else along with them. Now is not the time for closing in and shutting out. None of us – none of us – will win this alone.

I was standing in Lidl buying someone a bouquet of flowers when someone phoned me and told me about Nicola’s announcement. My immediate reaction was ‘OK, deep breath – that’s another two years without sleep ahead…’. It’s exciting. Of course it is. Let’s get this won. But let’s not get carried away. There are many obstacles ahead and we can’t wish ourselves over them. Always fight like you’re behind. And remind yourself that, until we see some new polls, some new data that suggests otherwise, we still are behind.

Then task two. The Common Weal Board met at the beginning of June. We picked as one of of three policy and campaigning priorities developing and winning the case for a Scottish National Investment Bank. We think this more than anything else could transform Scotland in the immediate future. So Ben Wray (our head of policy) and I immediately arranged a meeting with the New Economics Foundation who are our partners in this work. We talked over all the issues of which there are many. We had solutions to all of them except one – would the EU try to prevent it on the basis of state aid rules?

To explain, the EU position on banking is (don’t laugh) that nation states should absolutely not be allowed to do anything which might challenge the market position of the big, private banks. You can bail out those banks with as much public money as you want, but you can’t necessarily put the same public money into setting up a public bank. That would interfere with private profit. We had a long chat about how to get round this – and if it was possible.

Well, today this isn’t a problem. Again, I know many of you didn’t want to be out of the EU. I have very big concerns myself (my partner lives in Britain on an EU passport and she’s definitely a bit scared). But by compensation, just say the following to yourself a few times – ‘no more compulsory competitive tendering’. Want to run a wholly public ferry service to the Scottish islands? No problem. Want to nationalise the rail network? Nothing stopping you. Want to get public procurement rules in place so that small businesses get a fair crack of the whip? Well Scottish public procurement professionals, no EU rules to hide behind now as gargantuan contracts are handed straight to powerful multinationals.

What was possible yesterday and what is possible today are substantially different. Yes, there may be some serious fights ahead on issues such as human rights and immigration – but don’t miss the opportunities as well. If Scotland wants to be bold, it has just been given a whole set of new tools.

And as well as that, we should be thinking immediately about which powers we want repatriated from Europe to Holyrood and not to Westminster. Certainly we should be making a stance on aspects of immigration, probably some of the economic regulation, certainly agriculture and fishing. I’ll admit that I’ve not really spent any time yet thinking all of this through – but we really should get on with that task immediately.

And finally, Britain. I have been pretty explicit about my mixed feelings on almost every aspect of this campaign. There is a liberal-left elite south of the border who are really, genuinely scared. There are a lot of Brexit voters in the north of England who are in no way the ‘little England’ racists and xenophobes they’re painted to be. The Tories are splintered (though thanks to Blairites, so is the Labour Party). This is as propitious a moment as there has been to see a real realignment of politics across the UK.

Now some of you might think ‘who cares – we’re on our way out’. Well, I care – and care quite deeply. I don’t want this to be a false dawn for the English working classes. In a few weeks time I’m going down to London for a big weekend meeting of some of the leading figures across the British left. The aim is to try and come up with some kind of plan, a strategy for reclaiming Britain for its citizens and not for its banks. There is not a jot of contradiction in both supporting Scottish independence and also wanting to do anything we can to help make a better Britain (or indeed England).

Crowing or sneering is not the way forward. England – working class, dispossessed, angry England – needs help and support to find its way forward from here. Mostly it is going to have to answer its many questions on its own. But we can still play a positive part from Scotland, helping from our experience to show how change can become a positive experience, not a negative one. I remain committed to dedicating any of my time I can to help make English and UK politics as positive as possible in this moment of utter confusion – for everyone.

Things will look different tomorrow. They will look different again next week. Indeed, things are going to keep looking different for quite a while to come. Scotland needs to be clever, prepared, patient and decisive. And, as per my book title, determined.

We’ve been handed an incredible opportunity here (along with many risks). Let’s get it right this time.

Comments (82)

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  1. Interpolar says:

    An interesting article – and a very mixed message. I think Nicola Sturgeon has been clearer: The Scottish people voted to stay in the EU, and that is a mandate to be pursued by the Scottish Government.

    We have to decide what we want and go for it. I don’t think we can do both: Work for a better position for Scotland in an isolated UK and work for a Scotland in the EU. We’ve got to make a choice and make it soon.

    And as for the English working classes? It’s honourable to want to help reclaim powers for the good people of England rather than for their banks. However, they will have themselves to look to in order to achieve that. They are numerous enough to not need support from their northern neighbour. Our mandate is Scotland and her interests. Anything else from now on is a distraction.

    1. Mairi Haggerty says:

      Completely agree the English are more than capable of helping themselves!

      Observation was made that the Northern English voted out and immigration was at the forefront of that decision, the complete opposite to Scotland. Not much in common there.

      Prof Tom Devine had some serious and interesting things to add to the general discussion re independence, this evening – see STV Scotland Tonight which also included Henry McLeish and Ming Campbell. Very much worth a watch.

      1. Allan McLellan says:

        It’s worthwhile expanding on your point regards the STV and extending that to the state broadcaster and press.

        As of the EU result, the starting gun has been fired for an independence referendum. Let’s not get caught out like in 2014, when the bbc and others were allowed to peddle lies and misinformation.

        Newsnet Scotland monitor the press, but it is difficult to see what they can do isolation.

        Just a thought, but how can Bella, Newsnet Scotland and the likes of Wings, take a co-ordinated approach into ensuring as far as practicable that there is a level playing field? We all want the same outcome, how can this be achieved through mutual co-operation between sites?

        Thoughts anyone?

        1. beth cross says:

          A digital literacy campaign for 50 plus needs to be developed quickly, accessibly and appealingly to offer folks a two way street and respectful hearing as well as information. And other bridges. From on line to off line. Working on it, anyone else with ideas?

          1. Allan McLellan says:

            How is this best developed to ensure the independence referendum is a fair contest and not David against Goliath plus the state broadcaster?

          2. Chik Duncan says:

            How can I find out more about what you’re working on, Beth? Among other things I’ve been an IT tutor helping adult returners.

          3. baronesssamedi says:

            Good idea in principle, but computers have been in the workplace since the 1980s. I am 56, have a smartphone as do all my friends and think the issues are more nuanced than just AGE.

        2. Kenneth Docherty says:

          Yours are the very thoughts that got me online this morning. After playing nice with a manifesto-free Leave campaign, I’ve already seen a return to cold steel when it comes to Scotland. I’ll happily join any group prepared to call foul, particularly on the BBC.

  2. Crubag says:

    I think the lesson from this referendum is to ignore the statistical guesses of market research companies – go from principle. If you wait for the stars to align you will never be ready.

    And please, anyone who is writing these articles, read the rules for admission. We need our own currency BEFORE we can appky to join tge eurozone!

    1. Interpolar says:

      But we have our own currency: sterling. So tick that box. The question is what we use afterwards. On current market trends it would not be inconceivable that most Scots would want out of the £ anyhow.

      But the point now would be to see if Scotland could inherit successor status for EU treaties should independence come in the next year or so. If Indyref2 were to consist of such a package, it could be very compelling.

      1. Crubag says:

        The clock is ticking om UK exit. Maybe within 2 years.

        Assume a Scottish referendum is fought and won within a year, the SNP previously assumed – optimistically I think – that a new nation state with its institutions could be created in 2 years.

        THEN we get to appply for EU membership which usually takes a few years to complete the assessments. THEN the other member states have to amend their treaties which can include referenda.

        On sterling, we lose that when we exit the UK. The central bank and the Treasury are in London. That kind of is the point of independence.

        1. tartanfever says:

          I don’t think your timetable is accurate as the position with the EU has surely changed. We will not be going in from cold, we will be looking to use our current membership to lay the foundation for a new agreement which would surely take less time.

          1. Crubag says:

            We’re not yet a member state. Only member states are eligible to apply.

  3. Crubag says:

    Apologies for phone typing.

    A decision to join the EU/euro will need another referendum in Scotland, and whatever is needed to amend the Treaty in tge EU states. It takes a few years to go through the aquis so we have plrnty of time.

    My vote is for an EFTA arrangement rather than EU membership, but the EU may be very different by that point anyway.

  4. Douglas says:

    Embarrassing, patronising X, that is what you are, Robin. On Monday, I’m applying for Spanish nationality…..have you read Leclau? Have you read him? What are you fckin waiting for instead of prattling on? Se puede saber?

    What a bunch you lot are…you couldnay make it up.

  5. jwm007 says:

    I agree with much of the article. If you examine the history of American and Irish Independence you will find that events are much more important than intellectual argument. Support for independence in both of these countries prior to 1773 and 1916 was no-where near the level of support in Scotland. Our Government must exploit the Brexit vote and offer Scotland hope. I take Crubag’s point about the currency. However if we do win the next referendum we must be at the centre of Europe. I suspect many in Europe are happy to see England leave because in the 21st century no-one wants the negativity and dreams of a long lost empire. We must also neutralise the propaganda from the BBC’s branch office at Pathetic Quay.

    1. Allan McLellan says:

      ‘Our government must exploit…..and offer hope’.

      Too true, and our opponents, the tories have no low they wouldn’t stoop, to knife an opponent.

      You see it already, Corbyn is getting the blame for the loss of the EU result, and focus is falling back on infighting inthe labour party, pure genius, you have to hand it to the tories. Where is Osborne, in hiding!

      labour, stupid, tried these same tactics on the SNP over the result, but……..the result speaks for itself in Scotland and just makes labour look stupid.

      I think the SNP must take a very tough, open and honest stance in the. Future wheeling and dealings, keeping scots informed and onboard as they go.

      We have been given a miracle second chance, let’s unite behind the SNP and go for the prize!

      1. jwm007 says:

        Couldn’t agree more. How do we take out the London based state broadcaster? I am tempted as an SNP member to call for the party to expose the BBC for what it is – a propaganda machine for London. You are probably not aware that during the night of the count they were calling Dumfries and Galloway for ‘leave’ thanks to a UKIP supporter.

  6. drew sword says:

    EU membership without joining the queue…what queue now?
    I’m with Douglas – ye’re a great guy for the talkfest like all your leading figures across the British left .
    Direct action is needed by and for the working classes….not the establishment elite. I leave the definition of Direct Action to Special Branch to work out.

  7. Onwards says:

    We are seeing potential support for independence from previous No voters on the basis of retaining EU membership. And perhaps a referendum in 2 years before Britain leaves could involve seamless continued membership.

    But would that alienate many potential YES voters who voted to leave the EU. Around a third maybe? How many would still put Scottish independence first, rather than London rule? That will be how it is portrayed. A union with London or Brussels. Britain or Europe.

    Perhaps its best to leave the question of rejoining the EU for the future, if Scottish independence is to be won first. A new referendum campaign has to be on a similar basis of taking back control. That message was hammered home relentlessly by the Brexit campaign.

    1. Interpolar says:

      Yes, Onwards, but remember only 1/3 of Scottish voters bought into the taking-back-control narrative at best. I am not sure what the economic premise is for promoting Scottish independence as a small, isolated nation on the edge of Europe.

      Ultimately, an immanent IndyRef2 is built on the premise that Scotland wants to stay in Europe more than in the UK. This is exactly the choice that an IndyRef2 at this point in time must present. If not, we are best to kick the can down the road for another five years or more (which would passing up a golden opportunity, if you ask me).

      1. Josef O Luain says:

        Many of those Scottish Leave voters, I think we’ll find, are totally committed to Scottish Independence and for that reason consciously voted to destroy the constipated, constitutional status-quo which existed up until yesterday morning.

        A win for Remain, they might argue, would only have endorsed that status quo and consolidated the position of Cameron and Osborne, making the FM’s momentous statement concerning Indyref 2, inconceivable.

        Given the slim margin between between both sides, whether or not those Scottish Leave votes helped Brexit clear the line must be an interesting question for the number-crunchers amongst us.

    2. John B Dick says:

      That’s a disingenuous NewLabour sort of argument.

      You voted Leave didn’t you?

      1. Jim Bennett says:

        I did. Precisely for the reasons outlined above.

        I was a bit surprised the tactic worked.

  8. Kevin Williamson says:

    One point Robin. To suggest there is a window of opportunity where Scotland can ignore EU directives and law is misleading given the political context. Nicola Sturgeon & SNP have made it clear they will do everything they can to keep Scotland in the EU. There isnt a snowballs chance in hell this will include breaking EU laws and directives.

    1. Crubag says:

      It’s a fair point. Part of the accession process is about committing legally and politically to the EU principles, including things like procurement. It’s a progressive assessment: are you moving in the right direction for membership?

      And EFTA membership requires similar though slightly more flexible commitments

  9. John Fullerton says:

    Sorting out plans now for a Scottish central bank and Sovereign Money are crucial – fiscal and monetary policy was the weak spot – well, the weakest spot – in the 2014 referendum.
    This may be a stupid question, or at least an uninformed one: do we really have to have a 2nd referendum, given that there’s a majority at Holyrood in favour of independence?

    1. John B Dick says:

      From the 1949 plebicite till the failed 40% first devolution referendum, the nationalist objective was to elect 50%+1 MPs and secede to reconvene in Edinburgh.

      Is there any mileage in that now that we have had 5 referenda with diminishing intervals between them?

  10. Mike Fenwick says:

    I invite those reading Robin’s comments, and indeed Robin himself, to visit the Independence Live site and view two videos, the first of the second meeting of the Scottish Independence Movement, where a steering group on “currency” was established, and where with the help of Ben Wray and the Friends of the Earth, every person at the meeting was given a copy of the Common Weal/NEF summary leaflet on “Banking for the Common Good”.

    Then go to the second live stream and start at about 2.40, and watch a discussion on the faults that can easily be found in banking and its regulation. Any thoughts on currency which do not address, for example – why we had a banking crash are starting from the wrong point, we need to get the basics right.

    Since that meeting, letters have been delivered to all 129 MSPs, and 4 of the SNP MPs, outlining what is proposed. A committment was given by two of those in the steering group to visit any part of Scotland to encourage further discussion, and meetings have already been held (with more outstanding), discussion not just for those who voted YES, but inclusive of any who voted NO in the last referendum.

    Last week saw the date for the final submissions to a panel set up by the Competition and Markets Authority who are to report on competition in the Retail Banking Market. A series of reports have been submitted to that panel (with copies going to Scottish Government Ministers and SNP MPs), reports which are critical of the work of the panel to date, and where the second video mentioned above has been submitted as part of the analysis involved.

    Two short details of the reports submitted, as examples:

    The reports submitted include reference to Carr V Carr 1811, where it was first legally established that every pound deposited in a bank, whether salary or wages, pensions or tax credits immediately becomes the legal property of the bank. How many of us know that, let alone understand that? Long before we discuss currency perhaps we should take back ownership of “our” money!

    Reference is also made to Safari(dot)com and the introduction of M-Pesa in Kenya, where banks are not the means of money transmission, but the mobile phone. Maybe we have much to learn about alternatives to what we have grown up with and accepted without question?

    At the meeting where the steering group was established, a video of a 12 year old Canadian girl was shown, in 6 minutes she outlines what any discussion on currency should understand, who controls money – that video can be watched via this link:

    A Scottish National Bank? Yes!

    A Scottish Investment Bank? Yes!

    Scottish Regulation of the Banking Sector? – Yes!

    A Scottish Currency – perhaps digital and for use in Scotland only? – Yes!

    A Currency adopted for external trade? The Pound? The Euro? The Dollar? A basket of Currencies under a currency board? Those are much bigger questions which require detailed discussion and analysis.

    But first, let’s please look at, and start with, the basics, where does money come from – debt!

    How do we innovate our way out of and beyond the shackles that bind us when it comes to a neo-liberal banking construct, that we have no control over – yes, indeed, take back control does seem to fit.

    It is said by the panel I mention above that there is no chance of any competition over what are known as “basic bank accounts”, because they are run by the banks at a loss. But those are the very accounts used to pay pensions and welfare benefits – some £200bn is involved UK wide – all immediately passed into the ownership of the banks who hold the basic bank accounts.

    With new welfare powers coming to Scotland – will we agree to just pass the monies involved over to the ownership of the Banks – or might we innovate, does the introduction of those welfare powers augur in a new system or just more of the same old?

    We can innovate, we can compete, we can seek and introduce systems and arrangements that prove to be the very best for Scotland and its people.

    “Banking for the Common Good”? – Yes!


    1. John Page says:

      Thank you for this really helpful post
      John Page

      1. Justin Kenrick says:

        I second that

    2. ScotsEngineer says:

      Some exciting ideas there. I had thought that the SG and councils could create and operate their own banks or credit unions and then perform all transactions; business payments, social security, savings and loans via them co-ordinated via a COSLA type body. If EU regulation looked difficult then a SG & council sponsored co-op where the registered voters (democratic control) are the the members could adopt a model a bit like the Airdrie Savings Bank in Lanarkshire.

      the key is to move as much of LA and SG business out of the existing banks controlled outside of Scotland and into ones where there is democratic control.

      For example my wife, a staff member at a prominent “Scottish” bank must have an account there and all of her salary must be paid into that account. With these local authority co-op banks insisting that staff and suppliers had accounts in them then that would make a huge difference to the degree of responsibility and accountability for the Scottish economy. All other normal banking rules would apply, it would only be the ownership that would be different.

      1. c rober says:


        I have had the same thoughts regarding banking for years , and with that creation of a state bank at the local level means cheaper and more affordable housing , if we use the Council coop model , where councils can in times of need for loans get credit on thier assets , ie mortgage books.

        Its been known for a long time the argument on economy , on euro or pound was not won , this is the way to win it.

  11. Mike Fenwick says:

    … continued. Meant to conclude …

    Robin, when you make reference to the EU, state aid, EU Directives etc etc – may I suggest you are still firmly “in the box” we need to think outside of – and I am surprised by that.

  12. David Allan says:

    As always a sensible and reflective article, Nicola should have waited and taken stock of events before making yesterday’s media statement.

    I voted Leave as I am not in favour of the European Project and recognise it’s future direction of travel. I work in Rail Industry and favour the option of re-nationalisation. An option removed by the EU. Nor am I in favour of the EU/US TTiP prososals and threat to SNHS.

    I want an Independent Scotland to take it’s place on the world stage. That was my aim in 2014 and it hasn’t altered.

    EFTA and WTO are the options we should be considering not potential Euro or cross border issues with England.

    Might England look more favourable on sharing the pound were we both out of EU?

    The SNP need to look long and hard at EU Policy obsession.

    1. Douglas says:

      No pal, Nicola did EXACTLY what was in her party manifesto and what she was obliged to do. If there is a brighter and more serious politician in the world than Nicola, I want to meet her. Nicola Sturgeon is one of the few great things about Scotland these days.

      You hedgers, you “Scotland on the world stage” crowd – completely inflates sense of importance- who at the same time harbour doubts about the Euro, you should reform and invent a party called the North British Independence Party. You are indistinguishable from the English…

      1. David Allan says:

        Typical tone of reply from a “nat” there are other opinions and options to be explored during the UK out negotiations.
        The wider Independence movement has a voice as well. You would do well to consider all opinions in favour of Scottish Independence.

        In my humble opinion Nicola should have addressed the issue of Indy2 in a more reflective manner,

        1. Douglas says:

          In your “humble opinion”…in my self-assured opinion, Nicola did exactly what she had to do. She came out fighting. She is headline news in Spain. Thank Christ for Nicola…if it was left to wishy-washy Scots like you, the nation of Scotland would have ceased to exist centuries ago…

      2. Frank says:

        How can you be so servile towards someone who at the end of the day is a politician?

        1. Douglas says:

          I don’t really know how to answer that, though the last time I checked, politicians are also people. I’m not in the SNP, I doubt I could take the group think, but I have enormous respect for Nicola and also Alec Salmond, despite his notorious gaffe about “she’s our queen too”. They have done a huge amount for Scotland and its profile internationally, they are both stars in my opinion….in a certain sense they have saved the nation. Nicola is great, and she’s a woman, also eh? And women need to be given a wee bit more respect, just a wee bit, eh?

          Nicola is a star. And she will have the EU eating out her hand. We are very, very lucky to have Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister.

          1. muttley79 says:

            Nicola is a star. And she will have the EU eating out her hand. We are very, very lucky to have Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister.

            Sometimes the most obvious things are not stated enough. NS has handled the aftermath of the EU referendum brilliantly.

          2. Jim Bennett says:

            Nicola IS a star. An excellent, intelligent political operator of international class. She has played the EU debate/debacle brilliantly.

            Don’t actually agree with her non-independence policy basis but I’m willing to accept that I can put my tippence worth on hold for the next couple of years if it means destroying he British state.

  13. Cobby cob cob says:

    “working class, dispossessed, angry England – A bit of middle class pomp here- I am British from England, working class. I could have told anyone the result of the referendum- Absoloutley every one I work with, socialized with voted out- The middle class all voted remain- it became clear that the same effect was happening as with the Scottish referendum it evolved- and I can asssure you it was not all about immigration.
    As I said I am an ordinary worker so no fancy way of writing this reply- cheers

  14. Cobby cob cob says:

    * working class, dispossessed, angry England – needs help and support to find its way forward from here. -( Looks like I need help using teh computer thingey)

  15. Douglas says:

    We Scots who live abroad are the de facto ambassadors and spokespeople for Scotland. We do our country proud, we fight, always for our corner and we go to great lengths to defend Scotland. Hours and hours and weeks and weeks of conversations. What you guys do on holiday, we do every single day….eh? Every single day, and talking to people who couldnay locate Scotland on a map.

    And here we have a glib analysis of a result, of very serious implications – England has never been more sick – and we get feel good Robin.

    Well, maybe that is the mood in Scotland, but it is not the mood in Spain. I am gutted as a European by this result. It is a very bad result for everybody.

  16. Justin Kenrick says:

    Excellent article as ever.

    Here comes another couple of no-sleep years is what rang most true. It’s been great having a bit of a break (not much of one, but a bit of one) so we can be ready for the longer haul.

    If you can get yourself to the SGP Policy Day next Saturday, which includes a strong focus on currency, I think they would benefit hugely from your input.

    1. Douglas says:

      Look Justin — you’re frae Porty like me – let’s get real on currency. The Euro is there. What is the fckin problem of Scotland adopting the Euro? It’s good enough for the French, the Germans the Spanish and the Italians, so why not the Scots?. It’s a no-brainer, and Salmond is wrong to rule it out. There is no serious political force in the south of Europe which wants to return to the old currencies, despite all the havoc of “la crisis”…

      We have a massive day in Spain on Sunday, the re-run of the General Election. Unidos Podemos are on 25% of the vote. We, in Spain, are very, very close, tantalizingly close to changing the EU. It’s happening… and Scotland has to burn its bridges with London and be European, to embrace Europe, embrace the Euro and all our common problems….because after all that has happened in the last few weeks, my sense of being European and believing in a common European home has never been stronger…

      By the way, the English are more or less despised in Madrid these days….and the Scots, loved. The result of the other day is a platform, and we have act now, we have to seize the moment…

      1. David Allan says:

        So all future cross border trade conducted with our friends in an Independent rUK would require an exchange rate ? that would be a hard sell on the doorstep.

        And the Catalonia factor will always influence the Spanish Govt re Scotland in EU ! No matter how much we are loved.

        1. Douglas says:

          I am for borders with England…once you get your mind around it, it’s not such a big deal…and didn’t Ed Milliband, that haverer, not back it? And let’s remember, it is ENGLAND which doesn’t want to be in Schengen, it is ENGLAND which doesn’t to be in the EU. It’s ENGLAND who will have to man the border and pay for it, not us. We, in Scotland, are Europeans….Edinburgh voted 74% remain, which makes it every single bit as European as Madrid.

          I am totally up for the Euro. Let the Pound sink. It dropped 10% the other day, and it will drop another 10% when Scotland goes…let them have their splendid isolation…they deserve it…

        2. Douglas says:

          As for “the Spanish Govt”…well, there is no such thing as a permanent Spanish govt. A right wing Spanish govt you mean. But between Unidos Podemos and the PSOE, the left is on 45 per cent of the vote here. Unidos Podemos have a referendum for Catalonia and the right to self -determination in their manifesto. Why would they block an indie Scotland in Europe?

          1. David Allan says:

            A left wing Spanish Govt – would they feel any different on Catalonia issue – you being more familiar with Spanish Politics than I. You being a local obviously have a broader insight.

            Trying to win over NO VOTERS with a proposal that introduces a Euro north of border and Pound South is not a game changer and that’s what is needed to get the right result . With Agriculture and Fisheries non reserved to Westminster we could concentrate on increasing Devolved powers and winning people over by displaying statesmanlike qualities and wisely using our new welfare controls we can continue to prove our competence in Government.

            “Using” not talking about our powers for the common good is the game changer.

          2. Justin Kenrick says:

            Douglas – Only just seen your replies . . .

            Well if you put it like that . . .

            if we can be part of a move to transform and take back Europe (as Varoufakis, Caroline Lucas [despite her unhelpful seemingly uncritical pro pro EU stance] and McDonnel [despite Labour looking likely to crash, and England desperately needing the Greens to be part of a broader left alliance that usurps Labour] have all been arguing for)

            . . . then your on!!

            p.s. good luck today Spain –
            vote with your heart, vote with your brain,
            don’t let them catch you with that old fear refrain

            p.p.s. though I do have a very different currency option I’d prefer but have to go so can’t say more now

        3. jwm007 says:

          Not convinced by your argument. The current Irish border poses no problem for those who cross it and trade is booming. Ulster Unionists are applying for an Irish passport after Thursday – lucky people! The devil in me likes the idea of the English and Welsh being treated as non-EU migrants into Scotland. We need a points based system!

  17. Peter Piper says:

    I agree all possible outcomes should be considered. Scotland voted to remain in the EU as it has been (the rebate, outside Schengen, not in the Euro), but who knows what deal we’ll be looking at down the line? Who knows what shape the EU will be in? What the EUref has confirmed is the intolerable continuance of Scotland’s political will being thwarted within the UK. Whatever the issue, Scotland should live by its own decisions. If that means losing EU status to govern as it sees fit, so be it – perhaps we’ll finally recognise our North Atlantic status and work more with Norway, Iceland, Greater Denmark, the Canadians and of course our English neighbours (I wouldn’t rule out currency union too soon). A loose alliance of those countries would be custodians of a significant part of the globe and could offer a diplomatic counterweight to current neoliberal politics in the EU and the US, pursuing enlightened policies that aid social and economic development in the best interests of their citizens and the planet. Interesting times.

  18. MBC says:

    As you say, Robin, a lot is up in the air. That we can’t control.

    The Scottish Government should take immediate soundings in the EU and open a dialogue. That’s up to them, but we could nudge them to be proactive on this.

    We, the people, need to initiate a fresh National Conversation with our No-voting friends about where they stand now. They were promised that we were ‘Better Together’ ‘pooling and sharing’ and they bought into that. It was a principle of wider solidarity that prompted most of them to vote No. Now many are saying, ‘Where are we now?’.

    1. David Allan says:

      Give NO VOTERS a choice London or Brussels and we will lose again.

      1. John Page says:

        I suggest you wait till you get polling or other data to back your view…..not my anecdotal impression since yesterday morning……..

        John Page

        1. David Allan says:

          We move in different circles the feedback from known NO Voters I have encountered voted for the UK to remain.

          Its the UK to Remain not Scotland to Remain factor that troubles me.

  19. Habib Steele says:

    I appreciate this article. It’s unclear to me whether the immediate reaction to the Brexit vote will become a growing vote for independence. I want independence, and the sooner the better. I wonder, however, if it would be wiser to wait until NO voters, and the still UNDECIDEDS experience just how bad it will be for Scotland in the isolated UK, and they embrace independence before we have another referendum.

    1. John Page says:

      I don’t think the wait will be long.
      Johnson and Gove are a pair of ex journo chancers with no economic credibility……..the UK economy will tank and residents of Scotland with an alternative option will want it. Residents here who don’t want the anti human rights, anti workers protection, anti climate change rational of the new Westminster govt founded on the propaganda of Murdoch, Desmond, the Barclays and Rothermere will also want out. No matter how they voted in 2014.

  20. w.b.robertson says:

    by the time Scotland applies for membership there might not be an EC. at least not in the way we visualise!..

    1. Interpolar says:

      The pwhole oint of going for IndyRef2 now is that Scotland is in the EU and does not want to leave. If we have to leave then reapply, the whole rationale for a second referendum collapses.

      So an early IndyRef2 means leave GB & remain EU, not leave GB and maybe reapply for EU.

      I also think this is the only receipe by which IndyRef2 can seek to dispel most of the uncertainties that many people felt in IndyRef1 and present a really compelling case for Scotland’s economic and political future. Of course, to some degree the EU will have to play along. But maybe they will, as they’re pretty browned off by the UK.

  21. Colin McKerron says:

    I’m all for Independence, but I REALLY worry about entering another undemocratic Union should we finally escape the clutches of Westminster. Are we really convinced that we should jump from the fire into the frying pan? Remember Greece!

  22. peterarnott says:

    Well done for writing anything yesterday. That’s the difference between the pros and the amateurs…

  23. David Allan says:

    The UK Tory Govt failed on many occasions to influence the EU Commission, surprising both being elitist self interest factions with austerity in common . EU is Corporate led afterall.

    Scotland will have little or no influence in the EU or it’s institutions after INDY if we Scots wish to pursue that direction then give us that option at a separate later ballot.

    To argue independence from London rule yet accept Brussels rule is a flawed and doomed argument. I don’t want the Euro I don’t want any version of TTiP I’d prefer option to renationalise Rail Transport I’d prefer CalMac and Scottish Water to remain public. I want fisheries and agriculture policy delivered by Holyrood, I want to experience new devolved powers being used wisely and competently.

    I don’t want endless debate about currency or cross border issues. That’s what will occur if we are in EU and rUK are out.

    No Voters voted for UK TO REMAIN despite of outcome many are still No Voters.

    Rush into an INDY2 and get it wrong the chance is over forever!

    WE all know Nicola thrives on every campaign it’s time to concentrate on proving evidence that she can govern well using new devolved powers whilst remaining involved in the exit discussions.

    A version of Independence in Europe subject to Brussels rather than London rule has never been my preference.

    1. Colin McKerron says:

      David Your bang on the money and I suspect there are many, including a lot of SNP stalwarts!

  24. David Allan says:

    Here’s a thought maybe SLAB will get on the Independence bandwagon and articulate another version of Independence.

    With council elections to come (another campaign for Nicola) SLAB are fast running out of options.

  25. tartanfever says:

    ‘Today is a mad day. Senior figures from the British establishment and arch unionists may be talking about reevaluating their opposition to Scottish independence.’

    Really ?

    I’ve read that Boris is off playing cricket, don’t know what Farage is up to but most likely lying low after his ‘bullet’ comment. Cameron is off, he doesn’t care, he’s outta here and Osbourne has been posted AWOL. Thinking about Osbourne, it was incredible that yesterday’s statement to settle market jitters was made by Mark Carney of the Bank of England. That’s Osbourne’s job, it’s a complete dereliction of duty. And now we read that the UK economic adviser to the EU, Lord Hill, has also resigned.

    North of the Border Ruth tells us that we cannot have a 2nd indy referendum because it undemocratically ignores the 2m ‘No’ votes of 2014 – yet she declines to take questions on even explaining to her constituents, 76% of whom voted Remain, what the heck is going on and she makes a hasty exit. Not even a word on her own party and the utter chaos it is now engulfed in.

    Kezia Dugdale just tells us she will oppose a 2nd indyref and her No2. Neil Findlay goes on twitter and tells us how many Scots didn’t support Remain by counting those who didn’t vote as somehow supporting Leave.

    Is there an emergency cabinet meeting in Westminster today dealing with the ensuing crisis and market uncertainty ? – No

    Is there a meeting of the Scottish Cabinet to discuss the next steps and where the vote leaves us ? Yes there is.

    Sorry Robin, but I don’t see much evidence of any of the British establishment doing any rethinking to Scottish Independence.

    1. Valerie says:

      Completely agree with this. Osborne still posted missing, it’s unbelievable, and zip on the state broadcaster about it, in fact, they are short of news on anything, as they are repeating Nicolas speech every hour, along with happy pensioners from down south, who ‘dont like being told what to do’.

      Whilst I wish the Remain voters luck, we can’t afford to expend any energy in that direction, and pretty sure we didn’t benefit from their support in 2014.

      I know rank and file SNP members like me, will just square their shoulders, and get out there and work.

      We already have those down south saying we have to ask permission for indyref2. I don’t see how dissipating efforts helps our cause.

  26. tartanfever says:

    ‘But the Catalan/Basque position hasn’t changed. I’m pretty sure Spain will still not countenance a situation where Scotland is allowed to gain EU membership without joining the queue. I’m not sure how keen they would be even to hint that membership is possible after reapplying from outside. I suspect the chances of getting a firm position on this are slim.’

    No Robin, their position has not changed, but by God, ours has.

    Have/ Are the Spanish holding a referendum on EU membership ? No, therefore our situation is no longer similar to Spain/Catalan, it’s completely different.

  27. kimberley says:

    A few thoughts – I think since the whole basis for indyref2 within two years now is to continue our membership of the EU since we just voted overwhelmingly to remain, there are no arguments to be made for what we can do outwith the EU, not in this scenario anyway. The SNP know what they are doing here, and they clearly think there is every possibility of remaining in the EU and negotiating terms before holding a referendum, so at this point I am very much inclined to think if we do hold another referendum within two years, that it will be on a very firm basis of *continued* EU membership.

    I think indyref2 has to *also* be about the benefits of EU membership, and I don’t think the supposed one third of SNPers who voted for leave (according to polls not fact remember) would vote no in this circumstance. I know people who voted to leave the EU and want Scottish independence, and they view independence rightly as permanent and much more important than being outwith the EU and say they would still vote yes. Also I think in the chaos since the Brexit vote many who voted Leave wouldn’t vote for it again anyway….so yep I think any switches from yes would be negligible, but the fact that large no voting areas during indyref tended to be large remain voting areas in euref (like Edinburgh) shows the potential for converting no’s to yes, and reaffirms the need to focus on reassurance re risks and highlighting the benefits of getting the government you vote for without making it a solid left wing argument – i.e. there are all sorts of possibilities, especially now for business if remaining in the EU, and I think the Yes Campaign should not be about any kind of alienation – we can argue about positive for things like social justice and markets….

    My view regarding winning indy this time is to have a clear case based on keeping the £ pegged to Stirling (having to create a lender of last resort), so no currency union (and this would be fine as part of the EU). The idea we could have different currencies including digital ones would just lose us votes, I have no doubt about that. People need the arguments to be clear, simple, and as risk-free as possible. We should also take over the debate regarding the deficit by being clear that as a wealthy nation, comparable to Norway in terms of size and resources, the fact we have a large deficit is a symptom of mismanagment by the UK government which controls the UK’s economic levers (badly), and the fact that Scotland has unique needs that aren’t being met, and are nowhere near the top of the list of priorities for WM. We need to be clear on where the blame lies and make the argument we need to indy to reduce our deficit to better levels (we don’t need to eradicate it and shouldn’t focus on that kind of right wing argument) and be clear on the kinds of steps we would take to do this to undermine the inherently neoliberal arguments coming from Labour and the Tories that the only way to deal with a deficit is austerity – highlighting the *whole* point in independence is to do things differently, so we will not continue the deficit the UK has left us with and we will reduce it progressively. We need to also be clear that we are not subsidised by rUK and stay away from subsidy arguments altogether (they confuse people and are ultimately useless); instead we should be arguing that as all parts of the UK we bring in less than is spent on us, but we still bring in more than UK average and *crucially* the difference isn’t made up by any taxpayer money (this is what many understand as pooling and sharing) but rather through borrowing – so again this feeds into argument that we have an unnecessary level of deficit that we need independence to deal with, but also highlights we get no financial benefit from being part of the UK, quite to the contrary.

    There’s a lot more that comes into convincing people but these are some thoughts on the key areas of EU membership and the economy….

    1. tartanfever says:


      I voted Yes in the Indyref and SNP in the 2015GE. I voted ‘Leave’ because of TTIP and the treatment of Greece and Italy plus concerns over the European Central Bank/Mario Draghi/ ex-Goldman Sachs chief.

      Now given a second indyref and having to make a choice between EU membership or sticking with a Westminster of Gove/Farage/Johnson etc it’s a no brainer, I’m voting for an independent Scotland.

      My deep concerns with the EU remain, but I’d rather have a voice in those challenges with fellow Europeans rather than a new Westminster/UK that I frankly don’t recognise and cannot relate to.

      1. Jim Bennett says:

        Tartan Fever – that makes two of us!

  28. Douglas says:

    Ven-ga mi Escocia
    Ven-ga campeón!!!

    Let’s go for it guys!!! Let’s go let’s go let’s go! Now is the time!!! What are we waiting for exactly?

  29. Douglas says:

    Cheers Mutley….Nicola should declare us in for the Euro tomorrow… them panic in London….we have the upper hand again…the stock market will crash, it will be mayhem…

    …go Nicola, go…todos con Nicola, siempre….

  30. Elaine Fraser says:

    One lawyer saying’ Article 50 notification was not sent yesterday and there is a strong chance it will never be sent. As long as it is not sent UK remains part of EU. Uk govt must notify and EU has no obligation to negotiate anything beforehand . Stalemate .
    No evidence regardless of result the notification will be sent at all'( Jack of Kent blogger)

    Any thoughts?

  31. c rober says:

    May i inject something about the whole Spain rejection of Scotland in the EU as an independent nation mentioned.

    While that was argued during the Indy ref , since then there has been many EU member states declaring , through their own ministers , that Barroso was WRONG to state it and that they werent consulted regarding it. I do read many sources , in a couple of languages , so cannot find where exactly I read it in the last two days.

    Those same ministers have also in the last 24 hours stated that the SNP view that Scotland in the even of the UK referendum deciding leaving the EU , that they would not be cast aside.

    The internal war of England , and lets face it thats what it is becoming , is the best time to reduce the lies and project fear. FIghting a war on two fronts is costly , so even though Nic might have preferred a longer time , now is the time to Strike.

    At the very least its time to claim back our soverignty , now where the fk did I read and hear that recently?

    So nic , I know yer a busy wummin hen , but ye need tae get your arse and address Brussels , noo.

    1. tartanfever says:

      Paul Kavanagh has been writing about Spain over on his website and it reminded me of that Marr interview with Barosso that did so much damage to the Indy cause.

      Of course he was leaving his EU presidency shortly afterwards and looking for the job as secretary general of NATO. Cameron was meant to put in a good word for him but in the end the job was given to Stoltenberg.

      1. MBC says:

        …And Barrosso was offering a personal view, he had no authority to speak for the EU itself which took a neutral view on the Scottish referendum.

  32. Cath says:

    “I’m a little unsettled by the speed with which we’re committing ourselves to a timescale here. ”

    I share that worry. If nothing else there’s something fairly unseemly about appearing to leap on indyref2 with any kind of glee, when it’s come on the back of something which is a disaster and tragedy for many of our friends in England, and also for many in Scotland who were pro-UK but also pro-EU. I know how utterly gutted I felt on Friday and that was with the “silver lining” of independence being back on the table for me. If that was never a silver lining for you (or for some in England, something you really fear) and you’ve just had an awful wake-up call about the UK on top of how I felt, I can’t even imagine that.

    So firstly, there should be no glee about an indyref2 held like this. If we’d voted positively it would have been great – this isn’t that; this is an escape pod many will leap aboard now but didn’t want to and would prefer to find another way even now. That has to be respected.

    However, that said, I also trust Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish government. Nothing about her reaction has felt hasty or on the back foot. And nothing so far commits us to any timescale (beyond one that may be enforced on us by Article 50 and the UK/EU negotiations anyway). I trust her to be talking not only to EU partners but also to opposition leaders. At this point it’s not just about polls (we know how unreliable they can be!) but gauging where the leaderships and memberships of pro-union AND pro-EU parties are. This campaign shouldn’t, imo, be about “Brilliant, lets get all the badges back out and have a grassroots Yes party”. This time it needs to be sombre, respectful, grown up – everything the UKs EU wasn’t. And the Scottish government taking leaders with them will be key. What we need is good, strong and respectful leadership, far more than another referendum campaign.

    My hope is that over the next 2 years that’s what happens – quiet, behind the scenes, persuasion and talking on the ground but not another “referendum campaign” as such – the very thought of that right now is off-putting, even for someone who enjoys politics. And at some point we have a relatively united Scottish parliament (in as much as it can be) putting the question:, “We, negotiated with the EU and UK, propose this as the best way forward – are you with us?” By that time we would already look like an independent country within the EU and it would just be signing off on that as the status quo, with the alternative Brexit under Boris or whoever/whatever else has happened in London.

  33. Ian Kirkwood says:

    The strategy for reclaiming Britain for its citizens is simple and littoral:

    Raise revenue from the rents of land like Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Then cancel or dramatically reduce income taxes, VAT and other harmful taxes. Once downward pressure on enterprise is gone, UK growth will leave the EU in its economic wake. Just as the above countries left Britain in their economic wakes.


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