Sputnik: What do you think about Theresa May's Brexit proposal in relation to Scotland?
Colin Fox: Theresa May has come forward with a terrible deal which satisfies nobody, which is often the case in high stakes negotiations, and yet all the other alternatives are worse. And it reminds you of that quote from Winston Churchill that democracy is a bad political system but all the others are even worse.
So it's fascinating, and the choice in front of Scotland and the whole of Britain is it will be Theresa May's terrible deal or no deal at all and we'll leave the EU without a deal. That's the only choice that's going to happen here. So in these circumstances, it's perhaps not surprising that she didn't mention Scotland at all because it's almost like the highest possible stakes for the British ruling class and the British ruling establishment — they're conflicted and they don't know what to do.
Sputnik: How problematic is it that in the 600-page document, Scotland was not mentioned at all, when Scotland didn't vote for Brexit in the first place?
Colin Fox: I'm not sure, to be honest; the 600-page document apparently reads like a telephone directory so I'm not sure if I'd want Scotland listed there amongst the other things. Northern Ireland of course — it's the backstop — Northern Ireland is at the centre of this. They're trying not to have a hard border because that the EU said if you don't want to have a hard border then you have to apply by our rules of the customs union and the single market.
So in many ways, that's what the crux of the conflict has come down to. With all due respect to Ian Blackford Scotland's not at the centre of that crux. You can't go talking about Scotland when it's irrelevant to the backstop position. And I'm not sure that the debate on Scottish independence has got anything to do with this. These are two separate issues.
I'm not persuaded of the case that calling IndyRef2 just because there's chaos in front of us now…I'm no great big fan of the EU; I'm in favour of self-determination for Scotland and Scotland as a member of the EU would enjoy no more ability to determine its own decisions, its own laws etc inside the EU as inside the British United Kingdom just now so to me they're two separate issues.
So I don't think the people of Scotland would welcome a second referendum being pitched into the middle of this maelstrom. I don't want a second referendum we'd lose and we'd lose a second referendum on independence in these circumstances. If Scotland wants to be inside the EU then we'll have a referendum on that in Scotland on that after we're independent.
Sputnik: If now is not the best time with all this Brexit uncertainty then when is the best time?
Colin Fox: I have to say I've criticized Nicola Sturgeon frequently, I think she overplayed her hand on the vote in 2016. Yes it was the case Scotland voted to Remain and the UK voted to leave — yes that was a clear divide — but that's not all there is in the case for independence and promoting one issue above others…People today in Scotland, the vast majority of people that I contact, way beyond the chattering classes, the people that I talk to in the schemes of Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Motherwell that I move in; people are far more concerned with the fall in their living standards, deteriorating public services, the case for public ownership which incidentally the EU rules out.
The EU says you can't have public ownership of our railways, you can't have public ownership of our ferries, you can't have public ownership of our gas and oil industry, you can't have public ownership of our electricity generation — so they're the issues that people are more focused on.
In a way I suspect those same people where the Scottish socialist mingles easily within them, these same people, they're sitting back today on Friday and laughing at the state of Theresa May and her Tories and laughing about the chaos and the divisions and the hatred for each other that they feel for them — perhaps reflecting the hatred working people have for the Tories — the whole lot of them! That's much more salient to what is going on just now.
The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.