Arc of Prosperity

Scottish Independence within the EU – with a Scandinavian Slant


Launching my own lifeboat – Scotland won’t escape soon enough

lifeboat photoRegular 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.

19 thoughts on “Launching my own lifeboat – Scotland won’t escape soon enough

  • I don’t think anyone can blame you. We can thank you for coming here in the first place and for your writing and we can wish you well and we can feel jealous that you have the capacity to get your people clear of the explosion.

    You’re no awa tae bide awa? Ye’ll aye come back and see us?

    Yours aye,


  • That is very sad to hear, but I have to admit that it is going to be a hellish time soon in the UK

    • Thomas I’m so sorry to hear this. Best wishes for the future to you and your family.

  • That is a really sad, but true point you have made.
    Countless times times I have replied to tweets from SNP mps and MSPs who tweet about Westminster developments to go ahead and start firing gun on IndyRef2.
    As yet nothing.
    Maybe they just like the £150k a year plus being insulted and ridiculed, who knows, but the impetus is lost.
    As for voting Green, nope, they have opposed the SNP in some important polices suchvas OBFA and education policies etc.
    I wish you and your family all the best in your new venture and hope one day you can return to an independent and prosperous Scotland

  • Lucky you. You have the key to your own lifeboat, an EU passport.
    Most of us in Scotland do not have this priveledge, although as of today we do have EU passports, soon to be torn away from us by the tyranny of an English majority.
    We will get one more chance, by one of several means, failure to break away will mean a long time of enforced subservience to our neighbour.
    As this is an extraordinarily unpleasant prospect we had better get it right. Criticise the SNP all you want, we have no other avenue through which to pursue our release. There is no other party to support, the Greens as you say are opportunists who might well exact a very high price for their support of some radical action by Holyrood.
    Good luck to you and your family in Denmark.

  • I agree with you absolutely. Nicola Sturgeon is feart, far too feart. She also does not seem to understand that the polls will not move absent an indyref campaign. It will have to be an official one or folk will shut their doors and ears to us.

    Last time the polls were moved from 30% for Yes at the start to 51% two weeks before the 18th Sept which drew the infamous Vow. There is no reason why we cannot move them from pretty much parity to a majority. But we need a sanctioned campaign to make the busy, the apathetic and the confused pay attention.

    Last campaign we chapped a door here in Dundee and a harassed looking woman answered and asked how long till polling day and we said ‘two months’ at which she looked surprised and said she would have to pay attention then and took some literature. This just illustrates what we will have to do this time and the only reason she paid attention.

  • What about all those who cannot afford to leave. Those who have no other option. Who will fight for them?

  • I hope you guys do well in your new home.

    Obviously, holding, let alone winning a referendum in September 2018 was always a fantasy. As far as Nicola Sturgeon goes, true leadership sometimes involves making difficult decisions rather than being bounced into making short-sighted bad ones.

  • You have to do what’s you think is best for your family. Sorry you have taken the decision to leave. Nicola Sturgeon has to do what she believes best for the Independence Movement. She has a very strong team round her and I believe they act in the best interests of Scotland and Independence.

  • I agree with you, we should already have had an indyRef2, & be remaining in the EU & leaving the UK. Having failed to call a referendum so far, one should ideally be called as soon as possible, more or less immediately…I’m disappointed by the SNP’s new strategy of continuing to use Sterling for some time & then launching a Scottish currency. I don’t like the idea…it’s risky, new currencies take time to get established & find their value worldwide. Also, If Brexit goes ahead in any form it’s likely that Sterling will slide & go through a period of instability along with the rUK. Why tie Scotland to that, even temporarily? This new SNP strategy could see us tied to a falling pound sterling for some years & then launching a new Scottish currency that would initially fluctuate wildly & then take time to stabilise. This plan could potentially usher in up to a decade of currency instability for Scotland. Would it not be better to ditch Sterling immediately upon independence & simply use the Euro informally for some years, & gradually build up to joining the Eurozone? We want to be in the EU, Scotland is European & international, it is not Switzerland. We should use the Euro. I wish you & your family all the best in Denmark.

  • Gavin C Barrie

    I’m so frustrated reading this. Nicola needs to fix this issue and with haste. Saying “please stay, we value you” isn’t enough, the Scottish Gov’t needs to tell Teresa May that people living in Scotland will stay here if they choose to do so. With or without Brexit, and Scotland with or outwith the UK.

  • This is the most honest and moving critique of where we are politically both the party and the wider YES movement.
    These sentiments chime on many levels, The frustration with the SNP leadership will come to a head soon my guess is at Party Conference in April or swiftly after if nothing meaningful is announced.
    It’s a tragedy you have to leave us, one silver lining is you get to live in a small progressive independent EU Member state.
    Thank you for your contribution to our Country over the years,
    Haste ye back for we’re no awa’ tae bide awa.

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  • I am very sorry to hear this news. I suppose that, if I were you, I might well be doing exactly the same. Good Luck to you and your family and thanks for all your efforts in support of YES.

  • Sad to hear that you are leaving, but not surprised. Please make sure your Scottish family retain their right to vote in Scotland. Keeping the right to re-open your company might also be good.

    I have been watching the EU since before the Referendum, and have come to the conclusion that SNP is doing it the most legal way, a method much favoured by the EU. That means Nicola cannot make her move until the position is clear (as in all her statements). Meanwhile, TM is trying desperately to keep kicking the can down the road to the last minute, when she thinks she can hustle it through and be in the driving seat. I expect UK/WM to be in courts of all kinds – national, international and supranational for decades, literally decades – and at the same time trying to do trade deals (including with the EU).

    I must say that the EU way drives me to distraction at times. They do not do confrontation, they do not do crash and burn a la Tories. They do it by the letter of the law using lots of different world organizations. But oh my goodness it is unbelievably frustrating and maddening to those interested and watching but not in the inner circle.

  • Good luck to you and your family. As has already been said above at least you have a lifeline which the rest of us Scots do not. I to am unhappy with the progress of independence and being an Englishman who has lived in Scotland since 2005 I cannot see why any Scottish born Scot would not have taken the independence route offered in 2014. I believe they were all brain-washed by the BBC, STV, Channel 4 and Sky news coverage and the English supporting newspapers that told numerous lies to keep Scotland supporting England financially. I am 73 and do not expect to see independence in my lifetime. Good luck to you and yours.

  • In your situation this sounds like a wise move, bearing in the mind the sheer uncertainty of even having an independence referendum. Today in Westminster May said that that the SNP doesn’t have a mandate to pursue independence, hiding the fact that the Scottish Government supposedly does. So does it? If it requires Westminster to grant a Section 30 order for a legally binding independence referendum to be held, then it doesn’t seem likely that the Scottish Government on their own, can. If that’s the case, what other options are then available? I’m beginning to view the push for independence as a debate. Lots of interesting facts but it doesn’t appear to be leading to a meaningful final decision. Clearly there is a need for an independence referendum given the massive changes since the last one. But here we are seemingly treading water. Infuriating is exactly what it is. I just hope that the SNP have a workable plan to deal with this impasse before it’s too late. If not, then more of those with access to a lifeboat are likely to make an easy decision, especially if Brexit goes as badly as it looks like it will.


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