Labour and the Conservatives have already abandoned the 1.6 million remain voters in Scotland but it looks like the SNP are secretly jilting them at the alter too.
Before, during and after the June 23rd vote the SNP told us membership of the EU was the defining issue that would trigger another shot at independence. The EU membership for Scots was so important it would justify breaking the promise that another independence referendum would only be held after a lifetime had passed, according to our First Minister
Yet something curious is happening. The nationalists’ language is changing. It is no longer about the EU but the grievance generated from being ignored by the “wicked” Westminster on the self-proclaimed reasonable suggestions contained in the SNP Government’s paper on options for the Scotland in the EU.
Then there are the reports that full membership of the European Union would not be the policy of the SNP in any independence referendum. That an alliance with Norway through EFTA may be preferable.
And the opportunity to deny this shift was refused by Brexit Minister Mike Russell when I challenged him in the Parliament just last week. The usually self-confident and exuberant Mr Russell sat meekly in his seat instead. Even “game on” Alex Salmond ducked the chance to put right Gary Robertson on the BBC when quizzed. Even yesterday Alex Salmond was talking in vague terms rather firm commitment to membership of the EU. An unusual event.
And SNP campaign material is silent on full EU membership too. Something is up.
So a shift is happening I have little doubt. Yet why, when 62% of Scots backed full membership of the European Union? The clue is on the streets all over Scotland as I have witnessed. For instance, just last week in Leven I encountered several people who were traditional SNP supporters, who had loyally backed independence in 2014 but now were no longer sure. The reason: they voted Brexit. One gentleman told me that Nicola wanted him to vote for independence to get back into the EU and he was not going to be doing that in a hurry. Support for independence may be sitting in the 40s but it is softer than it appears in the polls.
The SNP are desperate to bring back the Brexiteers to the fold and are prepared to sneakily sell out everyone else without telling them first. True to form the SNP are putting independence first. All other issues are subservient. In nationalist thinking they only exist to be used to advance independence.
The SNP will use the Remainers to seek another independence vote but sell them out for the support of independence supporting Brexiteers to break up the UK.
Liberal Democrats are open and frank about our position on the EU. We are for Scotland in the UK and the UK in the EU. We will oppose the Conservative’s hard brexit and the SNPs hard independence. We support a Brexit Deal referendum so that the British people can have the final say on the Brexit deal so they can reject it if is damaging to our country. It is based on our internationalist outlook. Conservatives and Labour are open about abandoning full membership of the EU too. Let us now hear the SNP speak with such clarity.