18:24 GMT04 December 2020
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    With Boris Johnson's Conservative party holding a majority in the UK Parliament, and Nicola Sturgeon's Nationalists dominating seats in Scotland, an unstoppable force has seemingly hit an immovable object. Getting Scotland a second referendum on independence from the UK is now the order of the day for the SNP.

    Scottish MP Joanna Cherry of the National Party (SNP) outlined her vision for the nation's future at an event held at Edinburgh University's Old College on Sunday, detailing Scotland's independence to a packed audience at Playfair Library Hall as a means of returning to the European Union.

    "The Brexit process has illuminated the limits of devolution", she said, adding, "all possible roots of the United Kingdom remaining in the European Union have been exhausted and the only root back to EU membership for Scotland is independence".

    Attempting to calm criticism that Scotland could find its entrance to the EU delayed by other nations - notably Albania and Serbia - seeking the same, she cited former European Council President Donald Tusk.

    Tusk said, at the beginning of February, that Scotland would be "enthusiastically welcome" to return to the EU and that the accession process would be relatively speedy and straightforward.

    "Clearly we have some work to make sure that when we become independent we are not running a deficit of more than 3 percent, similar to the way Croatia joined with a deficit of 5 percent before they entered into measures to try and reduce it", she said, addressing concerns over EU membership deficit rules.
    "It is simply not accurate to say," she stated, "that Scotland would not be able to join the European Union as the result of our existing deficit. It is true to say that everyone who joins now must commit to working towards membership of the Euro and decreasing their budget deficit to 2 percent or less".

    "What currency we have would be a matter for the Scottish Parliament. My party has said that we intend to continue using sterling".

    Cherry's comments follow an assertion made by Scottish Labour party's Ian Murray in Parliament, who claimed that Scotland would not be able to join the EU due to its national deficit.

    ​When asked about the economic impact of independence and the possibility of a hard-border with the remnants of the United Kingdom, she implied that Scotland's trading future lies beyond Britain.

    "At present, Scotland is facing a border on either side of our country as a result of Brexit - a border with the island of Ireland and a border with the rest of Europe", Cherry explained. "It is correct that at present 60 percent of Scotland's trade goes to England, before Ireland joined the EEC, the majority of their trade was with England but that has very much changed and most of Ireland's trade is now with the European Union".

    "Ultimately the question was this; Does Scotland remain, in the current situation that it's in, in something akin to a hostage situation in the UK, where its future is always dependent on the votes and desires of the country next door?", she said to energetic applause.

    Cherry lauded the "negotiating power" of the European Union and pointed to the ability to get malt whisky into South Korea under zero tariffs, which she described as "a great benefit for the Scottish economy".

    The Edinburgh South West MP recalled having taken the government in London to court over Boris Johnson's 2019 proroguing of Parliament, as well as the legal basis for holding a referendum in spite of the UK PM's rejection of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's request in January of this year.

    Cherry intends to take the case for independence to the supreme court and determine its legality, calling for "optimism" in the face of the UK Conservative majority, based on opinion polling, showing increased support for independence by a small but rising majority, and Scots considering the vote an escape from Brexit-shackled Britain.

    Joanna Cherry at Edinburgh People's Vote
    © Sputnik / Jason Dunn
    Joanna Cherry at Edinburgh People's Vote

    Obstacles Into Opportunities

    Despite claims to have worked for a "soft Brexit" that would have seen the UK remain in the EU Customs Union, the SNP voted against a Labour-proposed amendment in 2018.

    Not only would it have resulted in a withdrawal agreement under a hung Parliament, stopping Boris Johnson's deal, it would have prevented a free trade agreement with the United States, something over which the SNP have expressed concern.

    Sturgeon said, following the votes, that her preferred option was "not on the ballots" and their aim was to stop Brexit altogether.

    Nevertheless, the decision led to repeated accusations that the SNP are more interested in fermenting the conditions within which they can make a case for independence.

    Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw said the SNP had "refused to back the very option they have been demanding" and its leadership "faux outrage" over Brexit.

    Brexit under a Boris Johnson Conservative majority government and the SNP's garnering of 47 out of 59 of Scotland's seats in Westminster appears, according to reports, to have produced fertile ground within the Scottish electorate for independence.

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    Tags:
    UK Conservative Party, Boris Johnson, indyref 2.0, Scottish independence, Scottish National Party
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