Jenny Gilruth MSP has been the MSP for Mid-Fife and Glenrothes since 2016, serving in the Scottish Government’s justice and education committees. Now, she serves as our minister for Culture, Europe and International Development in Holyrood.
In 2014, the Better Together campaign infamously told Scotland that the only way to guarantee EU membership was to vote No. Many Scots who voted No cited this reason as the main reason for doing so. But, less than two years after the Independence Referendum, we had a referendum on EU membership. Fast forward a few years after that and we’re outside of the EU.
So, how exactly is this a big loss to Scotland? Many people will be aware of the single market, freedom of movement of goods and people etc. But what other examples of positive European influence can we point to? And how would rejoining benefit Scotland? Would we even be able to rejoin?
Take the ERASMUS scheme, for example. Many think of the opportunities it provided to students, both Scottish and European, but it also enriched many local communities within Scotland due to the associated immigration, argues Jenny. This, in turn, led to a more vibrant society. Sadly, the effects of Brexit mean much of this is being undone.
We’re now out of the EU and all the major Westminster parties (bar the SNP) have abandoned the campaign to rejoin. This means the only way to get our membership back is to become an independent country. But how likely is it that we’d be accepted back in? Jenny makes the point that many European diplomats have gone on the record and spoken very favourably of Scotland’s chances.
And we’re not the only ones that would benefit from Scotland rejoining. European countries stand to gain a compassionate, outward-looking ally in the event of Scotland becoming a member state in our own right.
Listen to all of the above and much more on this week’s episode of Scotland’s Choice.
For more of Jenny’s work, click here.
Listen to other Scotland’s Choice episodes here.