The European Union has been an enormous force for positive change in Scotland. We’ve benefited from investment in our infrastructure and communities.
We’ve benefited from increased trade. Before Brexit, 62% of our manufactured goods were exported beyond the nations of the UK to Europe and other international trading partners.
We’ve seen our neighbourhoods grow, and the population drain reversed. Our communities have been enriched by EU families making our home their home. They enhanced our hospitals and social care services by becoming part of our dedicated public sector workforce. With the support of EU seasonal workers, our hospitality, tourism and farming businesses flourished.
Then came Brexit –
Remember when we were explicitly told that voting no in the 2014 Independence referendum was the only way to remain in the European Union.
Another broken promise.
In Scotland, we voted 62% to reject Brexit – all 32 Local authority areas. Yet, we found ourselves dragged out against our will.
The UK Government didn’t even read, let alone consider, the Scottish Government’s pleas to protect Scottish interest in the process. Now, to serve their interests, all UK Westminster parties have jumped on the Brexit bandwagon.
The Lib Dems, who infamously try to be everything to everyone and nobody at the same time, have the Brexit-friendly line that “the UK’s bonds with its European friends can only be built back gradually over time”.
The Tories own this mess and aren’t going to change, but this week, Labour joined their ranks with their leader Sir Kier Starmer, laying Labour’s position bare.
They are all in on the Brexit ideology.
In that speech, called “A Plan to make Brexit work” he said: “So let me be very clear: With Labour, Britain will not go back into the EU. We will not be joining the single market. We will not be joining a Customs Union.”
He, who famously and rightly said that Brexit was “catastrophic”. Remember when he resigned from Jeremy Corbyn’s front bench because he felt strongly about the Brexit catastrophe. In delivering this speech, he completed his and the Labour party’s Brexit conversion despite all the evidence of his original prediction playing out.
Families across all nations of the UK are living through a cost of living crisis that has at best been exacerbated by Brexit.
Disappointingly, this leaves people living in England with no political choices and no route back to the European Union.
Here, we do have a different choice and a clear route out of this mess – Independence.
Contributor: Drew Hendry, SNP MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey
Listen to Drew on Scotland’s Choice Podcast or catch up with him over on his website