Polls are showing a turn in the tide of EU membership opinion across Britain, but the outcome remains still on a knife edge. In Scotland we have to consider first what is best for Scotland and the cause of Scottish independence. We are a house divided.
Today’s Survation poll offers tentative hope to the Remain campaign that the tide is turning in Britain’s opinion. Perhaps a bittersweet consequence of Jo Cox’s murder is that more people have woken to the narrow-mindedness that has taken hold on the hard right of the Leave debate, yet even this must be considered too great a cost. Polls are now showing a three point lead to Remain with thirteen percent of those polled still undecided. Whatever the outcome of the referendum it is clear that the decision will be made by the people who are still to make up their minds, promising that the next five days will be a time of intense campaigning on both sides.
Oor Patt (@ARTofPatt) June 22, 2016
Scotland and the winning of Scotland’s independence are and have always been the priority of this blog, and as a result the decision processes over membership of the European Union have become a special kind of mental torture. Both sides of the discussion have acknowledged, as we have been saying for some time, that the EU is deeply problematic. Unlike the United Kingdom and even the United States, neoliberal, free market dogma is engraved constitutionally into the European Union – ensuring that privatisation, public spending cuts, and tax cuts for the superrich continue to perpetuate the capitalist strangulation of ordinary working people. Europe’s commissioners are invariably women and men who have been rejected by the electorate in their home countries. Democracy in the EU is shady to say the least. On balance, and without serious reform, we cannot say in good conscience that the European Union is a good thing for Scotland or Britain.
Having said this, however, the problem that we face in the Scottish independence movement is that in the midst of our struggle we have to choose between two masters. Will the interests and the aspirations of national self-determination of Scotland be served better with Westminster or Brussels? This question makes the EU referendum decision a fair bit more complicated. Given that we are not voting for Scottish independence on Thursday, we are faced with the prospect of continuing our independence campaign outside the EU in a Scotland over which Westminster will have even more control. An ideal reality would have us members of a reformed, more transparent, more equitable European Union and completely unshackled from London, but that is not where we are right now.
We have to box clever on Thursday. Regardless of how the people of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland vote, the smart vote for Scotland is a vote to Remain. Of course, for those independentistas who’d rather see us under no empire, this is a less than perfect solution. On this at least we are agreed, but this the Realpolitik in action. We are no longer David against Goliath. We are David against Goliath and Goliath’s Goliath. Sure, we can use our one shot to take out Goliath’s Goliath, but that leaves us weaker and stuck with an emboldened Goliath. If England decides to Remain then we preserve the status quo, and at the present moment that is no bad thing. If England leaves then we have a fresh opportunity with a democratic mandate in Scotland for a break with Westminster. Goliath’s Goliath will have to wait for another day.