Independence in Europe is Scotland’s best chance of a greener, fairer and more prosperous nation

I’m proudly European, and proud to stand behind my party’s strong and unequivocal stance: independence in Europe is Scotland’s best chance to realise our shared vision of a greener, fairer and more prosperous nation.

Once upon a time, this wasn’t an unusual stance in mainstream UK politics.

In fact, it was a reality taken for granted, as everyone – opposition parties or otherwise – had a stake in fostering our European partnerships.

This sadly took a turn for the worse under the premiership of Conservative David Cameron, who failed to understand European politics, thus reopening old scars within his own party on the European question.

The UK Tories have run out of road, battered and bruised from their latest scuffle with Europa’s Box and on a clear trajectory to electoral catastrophe.

While I can sympathise with those who would sooner see the back of Sunak and his colleagues, the poison has spread to other parties that seek not to replace them but emulate them.

Labour’s stance on European matters has begun to come under closer scrutiny, and rightly so. In vowing to “make Brexit work” they reveal themselves to be every bit as confused – and confusing – as the Tories are.

It’s perfectly legitimate to seek to reverse elements of the broken Brexit the Tories have inflicted on the UK, whilst respecting the central democratic mandate delivered in the 2016 referendum – to leave the European Union.

And yet, this ‘democratic mandate’ was no more fleshed out than a Truss budget.

It’s clear the day-to-day disruption from the UK’s departure from the EU has been considerable; the overall economic cost enormous.

You can’t make that work.

All of this has happened with no democratic legitimacy in Scotland. 62% of voters supported continued membership of the EU – recent polling now suggests public backing for this position has risen to the 70s.

Nevertheless, Scotland was dragged out from the European Union against our democratically expressed will, despite a majority in every local authority area in our nation voting to remain.

It’s clear the day-to-day disruption from the UK’s departure from the EU has been considerable; the overall economic cost enormous. You can’t make that work.
Alyn Smith MP
Europe and EU Accession spokesperson

So in reality, the changing of the UK Government is a swap from one Eurosceptic party to another, and that is where I hope Scotland will continue to reject both of them.

Both Labour and the Tories have split their support bases on the issue of Europe, and so both are stuck in the ridiculous mantra of promising to make good the home decorations, whilst the building remains ablaze.

The SNP remains the most prominent EU-supporting party across the UK, and our proposition is straightforward – Scotland will thrive as an independent country within the European Union.

Whilst transition will take time, in an increasingly multipolar world between the United States, China and the European Union, only EU membership will truly allow Scotland to retain a seat at the top table and influence decisions affecting the lives of Scots.

Twelve European Member states, from a total of 27, are of a similar size or smaller than Scotland – so we’d be in good company in a democratic political system geared to respect the needs and views of smaller nations.

And nothing in independence precludes a close relationship between the UK and the EU, or indeed Scotland and the UK.

We all share mutual economic and security interests, and geography – in an increasingly illiberal and authoritarian world, liberal democracies must stand firm and united to protect our shared democratic values.

An independent Scotland will be a fully productive and engaged member of the European Union, ready to put our shoulder to the wheel in tackling the great generational challenges of our time: climate change, growing economic inequality, technological transition, space exploration and scientific research.

In all of these areas, Scotland has unique strengths and experiences to bring to the table, to help foster cooperation and find 21st century solutions to 21st century problems.

As the SNP’s Europe and EU Accession Spokesperson, I want to see an independent Scotland re-join the European Union as a full member in the future.

We hope to see the UK pursue a closer relationship with our European allies too – but the Tories and Labour must first escape the political cage they’ve built around themselves.