Who do you want to represent Scotland internationally - so-called "lords" or democratic representatives?
Who do you want to represent Scotland internationally - unelected peers or democratic representatives?
Who has the right to represent Scotland’s interests abroad? Is it elected representatives such as Angus Robertson - or unelected Conservative donors such as ‘lord’ Malcolm Offord? Many will ask - what possible right does Malcolm Offord have to represent Scotland internationally? And yet he does.
The UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has said that all meetings between Scottish Government ministers and overseas governments must be organised through the UK Government and attended by its own officials. The latest move represents a step up from reports that UK officials had been asked to hold follow-up meetings with any foreign dignitaries who meet with Scottish ministers.
According to polling analysed by Professor John Curtice on “What Scotland Thinks” - more Scots say they want Holyrood to have power and responsibility over foreign policy than say Westminster (where many more members are now unelected than are elected).
A new attempt to undermine devolution
This is new. It is an attempt to delegitimize and undermine Scottish Government efforts to promote Scotland abroad. In the past, Scotland’s elected representatives have worked along with the UK’s network of embassies and consulates to promote Scottish businesses, tourism, education and so on. Before the Parliament came along, Scottish business and trade organisations did the same - because the UK has never promoted Scotland effectively internationally. This is a clear role of the devolved Parliament - which has not been questioned before.
But the UK Government is stepping in to constrain and curtail elected representatives’ work. Recently, Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee heard how at an event in Paris, the Scotland Office intervened at the last moment to disrupt the Scottish Government’s event to promote Scotland’s food and drink sector, causing embarrassment to both the Government and businesses.
Scotland has its own identity and needs its own representation internationally
Scotland has its own identity and needs separate representation on the world stage - it isn’t helpful to subsume it in UK-wide promotions. That should be done by the people Scotland elects at the ballot box. External Affairs Minister Angus Robertson, who has been undermined in his efforts to do this, is an elected MSP.
In contrast, Malcolm Offord was rejected at the ballot box when he stood for election to Holyrood in 2021. Offord believes that Scotland is too poor and its people are too incapable to survive and thrive as an independent country - hardly a positive message to send internationally.
But whatever Offord says and does when he is abroad is up to him and his Conservative cronies - he can never, ever be voted out at the ballot box. He is not democratically accountable in Scotland.
An unelected Conservative crony now represents Scotland on important trade missions
At the end of 2022, Offord represented Scotland and the UK on a trip to the Arctic Circle where he met many leading Icelandic business figures and politicians and may have taken the opportunity to brief against Scotland.
In 2021, Offord travelled to India with Liz Truss to represent Scotland at events again involving politicians, business people and leaders of civic society, where again he is likely to have briefed that Scotland is an insignificant region of the UK that could not survive as an independent country.
Offord’s propagandist past
‘Lord’ Malcolm Offord has a history as an anti-independence propagandist. He is not accountable to any voter.
Offord was the director of Acanchi, a PR firm, that set up what purported to be a “grassroots” No campaign group in 2014, called “Vote No Borders”. They made a glossy propaganda video that was shown extensively on the BBC in the run up to the 2014 referendum as a news item. Acanchi also made scare videos for the cinema using the name “Vote No Borders” - which did not exist as a real group. Grassroots campaigning groups for a “Yes” vote - such as Business for Scotland - did not get their campaigning material shown without comment on BBC News channels.
Offord also donated £147,000 to the Conservative Party and he donated to fund Michael Gove’s personal election expenses. He was then awarded a permanent seat at Westminster by scandal-hit PM Boris Johnson.
Only independence can give Scotland control of its international profile
Under devolution, Scotland should have the right to work with the UK’s embassies and consulates to promote Scottish interests. Scotland has a separate identity and its own brands.
But the UK Government is moving in to aggressively undermine that.
The Scottish electorate has no say over what “peers” like Malcolm Offord choose to do or say when abroad. He can never, ever lose his seat in the UK Parliament as long as he lives. It has been awarded to him permanently - against the direct wishes of the Scottish electorate as expressed at the ballot box.
And yet Offord is regarded by the UK Government as having more right to represent Scotland abroad than democratic representatives.
Only with independence can Scotland ensure democratic accountability for its representatives and the right to promote Scotland’s interests internationally.
Watch a video about Offord’s ‘Vote No Borders” campaign
Those who have been warning that the UK government is planning to undermine and attack the powers of the Scottish Parliament got further confirmation this week from “lord” David Frost in a column in the Daily Telegraph.
Frost is an unelected member of the Westminster Parliament who has held several ministerial posts including that of Brexit Minister. Writing in the Telegraph, he said the time has come to “reverse” the process of devolution.
Scotland cannot protect its Parliament without independence
Despite never being elected, Frost has more power as a member of the UK Government to decide Scotland’s affairs than Scotland’s democratic representatives.
There is nothing Scotland can do to protect the power of the Parliament without independence.
Some democratic mandates are more equal than others
Frost and other Westminster Parliamentarians - including members of the Labour Party - often trumpet their belief that a narrow victory in the Brexit referendum in England was a mandate for forcing a damaging hard Brexit on Scotland and the UK.
Yet, they do not acknowledge that devolution was brought into being by a huge majority at the referendum of 1997, when an astonishing 75% of voters voted “Yes” to the creation of a Scottish Parliament.
Holyrood is important to Scotland. Polling analysed by Professor John Curtice on “What Scotland Thinks” shows that a consistent 75% of Scots want Holyrood to control how Scotland is run. Only 14% think Westminster - where many more members are unelected than are elected - should control how Scotland is run.
“It’s time to reverse the process [of devolution]”
Writing in the Telegraph, Frost said that the issues facing the SNP were an opportunity to roll back devolution. He added that he believes Labour leader Keir Starmer basically agrees with him, and will likely ignore Gordon Brown’s suggestions for greater devolution for Scotland.
Frost wrote: "Not only must no more powers be devolved to Scotland, it’s time to reverse the process... Ministers should make clear that, if re-elected, they will review and roll back some currently devolved powers. In particular, Scotland does not need to be an independent actor on the world stage; it should not be able to legislate to disrupt free trade within the UK; and it does not need to have most tax-raising powers currently available to it."
Frost also praised Scottish Secretary Alister Jack for using a Section 35 order to clamp down on devolved powers - and said the UK government must be more 'assertive' in its attacks on devolution, arguing the UK Internal Markets Act "has not been used assertively as it should".
The Scottish Government is being stripped of even its limited autonomy
The Scottish Parliament is already under attack - the Internal Markets Act strips it of powers in even minor areas. For example, Holyrood can’t ban single-use wet wipes despite their environmental damage; it can’t put a deposit on bottles; it may well be prevented from raising the minimum unit price on alcohol despite evidence that this reduces alcohol deaths.
Before Brexit, the Scottish Parliament had a great deal of say over how restructuring funds from the EU were spent. Since then, the UK government decides how to spend that money. It has also reneged on its promise to replace that money, providing less than half.
The UK government is coming in to fund projects as it sees fit without consultation - such as funding a bridge in Douglas Ross’ constituency. But how can Scotland develop a more coherent transport strategy - which is supposed to be entirely devolved - if Westminster is funding projects in Scotland based on its own, different, criteria?
The Scottish Parliament has also already been prevented from fully implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - essentially because the UK Government doesn’t want refugee children to have the same human rights as others.
The UK does not recognise any sovereignty of the Scottish Parliament or people
The Supreme Court has ruled that in the UK, all sovereignty resides at Westminster - contradicting Scotland’s long and proud tradition that sovereignty rests ultimately with the people.
They think that it does not matter that the Scottish people voted overwhelmingly to have a Scottish Parliament after long years of campaigning and struggle. It has no legal sovereignty - Westminster has only lent it powers that it can take back at any time.
Given that Frost and other members of the UK Parliament believe that unelected “peers” have the right to overrule the Scottish Parliament’s elected representatives, their commitment to democracy is questionable.
The choice is simple: independence protects Scottish democracy while remaining in this failing union will diminish our abilities to make decisions for the benefit of Scotland.
Recent polling shows support for ‘Yes’ to independence is holding steady at 48%, even as the SNP as a political party has lost some ground. It is good news for the independence movement - although it means that independence support is not as closely linked to SNP support as it used to be.
That raises questions - is this a blip or a longer-term trend? What strategic challenges does it present to the independence movement?
Independence is not the property of any party
The main conclusion has to be that we can’t leave independence to the SNP or to any political party. In the end, it is the people of Scotland who will have to roll up our sleeves and campaign for a better future.
The determination of the wider Yes movement to deliver independence should be even stronger - we have never been closer to winning independence for Scotland.
The best way for the SNP to help would be to sort out their issues quickly and fight the next Westminster General Election as a de facto referendum.
Yes supporters are looking at the bigger picture
‘Yes’ support remains strong because people are looking at the bigger picture. They wish to reject UK rule and believe that Scotland is able to rule itself in a fair and democratic way. The country is rich in resources and keen to get back into the EU to grow the economy and deliver a better standard of living.
All the publicity about the investigation into the SNP’s finances - where nobody has been charged with any offence so far - is not persuading people that they want to stay under the rule of Westminster.
Scotland’s solid Yes is a riposte to Unionist hubris
Unionist commentators have been quick to proclaim that the independence campaign is over. “The Nicola Sturgeon Fall-out and the SNP Death Spiral” - the Times Scotland reported recently; “Bickering, Infighting SNP Looks Like a Party in its Death Throes” - the Telegraph; “Sturgeon’s Independence Dream Now Dead in Water” - the Scottish Daily Express.
But the polling doesn’t bear this out. People are not moving to the Unionist camp - although they are less likely to support the SNP as a political party.
Gap between support for independence and the SNP widens
The gap between support for Scottish independence and the SNP has now widened to 9%, according to Professor John Curtice’s analysis last week [April 11] in: “What Scotland Thinks”.
Polling for Believe in Scotland earlier this year suggests that one way to narrow this gap at the next Westminster election is to fight it as a de facto referendum - doing that reduces the number of seats at risk of falling to Labour from nine to four.
Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, the founder of Believe in Scotland, said:
“Even with the chaos surrounding the SNP right now, there is still good news for the wider Yes movement. Despite SNP support wobbling - 48% public support for independence seems to be hard-wired. Given the Unionist politicians and media had been confidently predicting the end of independence the fact that almost half of Scotland is solid Yes must be absolutely terrifying.”
The SNP needs to sort out its issues
MacIntyre-Kemp said: “Humza Yousaf has a huge task on his hands and his SNP needs to do three key things better than in the Sturgeon era.
“First, he has to sort out the SNP’s structure and organisation. It needs a root and branch reengineering of the party to make it more member democratic, which means empowering a REAL National Executive Committee.
“Secondly, he needs to make the party far more transparent, financially (obviously) and far more approachable to the organisers of the wider Yes movement who are sick of being treated with disdain.
Focus on independence with a de facto referendum
“Finally, he has to set a target date for the Yes movement as a whole to motivate activists, get them campaigning and drive Yes support up. Biting that bullet will be hard in the current circumstances but he simply cannot go past the next General Election without making it a singular clarion call for independence. If he doesn’t, Believe in Scotland’s polling suggests Labour will take as many as 10 Scottish seats and if they do that, they will claim it as a mandate to block independence for a generation.
“If Humza gets this right he will be in a hugely powerful position and will have his opportunity to deliver independence. If he gets it wrong, he will find out, just as Alex and Nicola did before, that despite everything else they achieve, an SNP leader must deliver independence or their career ends in failure.
“The tactical advantage that fighting the next GE as a de facto referendum has, is that it means the SNP can target its resources into fewer high-risk seats. If they get the party issues sorted and the policies right then they can stop Labour's wave at the border and begin the process of Scotland becoming an independent nation.”
A de facto referendum will mobilise the Yes movement
A decline in support for the SNP is not the same as a rise in support for the Union. The Labour Party’s pitch that long periods of Conservative rule are a price worth paying to stay in the UK has worn thin.
The Labour Party promises to read every vote for Labour as a vote against Scottish independence. However many seats they win over the one they currently hold, they will claim that as a mandate to block independence for Scotland.
People are looking at the bigger picture. The political landscape of Scotland will change after independence. But we have to get there first.
The best way to get independence supporters out chapping on doors and campaigning for the SNP in the 2024 general election is to fight it on a single issue - independence. The data confirms the view of many in the Yes campaign that now is the time to press harder. Avoiding the issue and fighting the next general election on the usual range of UK political issues risks handing many seats to the Labour Party and allowing them to claim a mandate for blocking independence for a generation.
Appendix: Poll results
In a poll which Business for Scotland commissioned from Panelbase in February, there was a striking difference in the number of seats at risk in the next Westminster General Election according to whether or not it is held as a de facto referendum. The details are below.
Panelbase for BiS: 2,006 Respondents - Feb 6th - 13th 2023.
Predicted Seat Changes- General Election
This table shows how Westminster votes and seats will change if a regular General Election were held tomorrow.
Note: Total number of Scottish Westminster seats is set to reduce from 59 to 57 in 2023 due to the redrawing of electoral boundaries.
|Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine||Andrew Bowie||CON||SNP|
|Coatbridge and Bellshill||Steven Bonnar||SNP||LAB|
|East Lothian and Lammermuirs||Kenny MacAskill||SNP||LAB|
|Glasgow North||Patrick Grady||SNP||LAB|
|Glasgow North East||Anne McLaughlin||SNP||LAB|
|Glasgow South West||Chris Stephens||SNP||LAB|
|Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath||Neale Hanvey||SNP||LAB|
Predicted Seat Changes- Defacto Independence Referendum
The table is the same as above but reflects how people surveyed would vote if the next UK General Election was run as a de facto referendum. You can see here that the SNP lose less seats than they would if the General Election was run as normal.
|East Lothian and Lammermuirs||Kenny MacAskill||SNP||LAB|
|Glasgow North East||Anne McLaughlin||SNP||LAB|
|Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath||Neale Hanvey||SNP||LAB|
It has been a good couple of weeks for Scottish sport, first the mens Football team beat Spain 2-0 and then the Scotland Men’s Curling team won a historic World Cup victory over the weekend, an event which took place at 9 pm UK time and like the football was not televised in Scotland.
It is a fair bet that if Scotland had an independent broadcasting channel, it would have been. Scotland does not regulate its own TV, which is all owned and controlled from south of the Border. It doesn't even have a government-backed channel with the same degree of independence as Wales' S4C. The Welsh language channel does a great job for Wales of showing sports events that are important to the country.
Scotland football team’s recent two-nil victory over Spain was another historic event that too many fans could not watch - in that case because it was pay-to-view on an expensive subscription channel. Some adults might have been able to see the game in a pub - but that left football-daft youngsters (and families in rural areas) unable to cheer on the national side. In contrast, England and Wales’ Euro qualifiers are guaranteed free to air on terrestrial channels.
The Scottish Affairs Select Committee has expressed concern over the way supporters in Scotland are being “disadvantaged” - but the UK Government has indicated it will not be doing anything about this. Because broadcasting is in Westminster’s hands, the Scottish Government can’t level the playing field.
With independence, Scotland could protect citizens’ rights to watch their national teams.
The Curling World Championships would have been inexpensive and easy to show
Scottish sports journalist Alison Walker who covered the event from Canada for the last 12 days said there should have been TV coverage of the team led by Captain Bruce Mouat - which she said would have been inexpensive and easy to arrange.
She told the National: "The athletes work so hard and are such great people with inspiring stories. They are hugely respected and admired in Canada and to an extent would be in Scotland - if folk knew about it. It’s not about money either. It would’ve cost broadcasters very little to show more of Bruce’s journey.
“The World Curling Federation are the host broadcaster, and the ‘feed’ is offered around the world. Every one of Bruce’s games was available - so I feel the question should be asked of BBC Scotland, BBC Network, STV, Sky Sports. It’s very frustrating.”
The Scotland game was free to watch in Spain
Similarly, the Scotland-Spain football game was free to watch in Spain - and indeed across much of Europe, where governments protect citizens' right to watch their national teams without having to shell out.
In a cost of living crisis where families are struggling to pay energy bills and put food on the table, it was a sore point that so many were left out in the cold, uniquely unable to share in what should be moments of national pride and celebration.
Scottish MPs said Scotland fans are being “let down”
“We are firmly of the view that the current lack of opportunities to watch Scottish international football on free-to-air broadcast is letting down fans in Scotland, who are at a disadvantage compared to fans in England and Wales. The UK Government must be more proactive in acknowledging and responding to the frustration this situation is causing in Scotland.”
Yet the UK government refuses to intervene
The Committee said the UK Government should:
“Establish a review to consider options to improve free-to-air access to Scottish international football – potentially including Scotland’s World Cup and European Championship qualifiers to the ‘listed events’ public service broadcasters can more easily bid for.”
But Government Minister for Sport Julia Lopez MP told the Committee that the UK Government has no intention of acting on this.
Lopez disagreed saying it was “up to Scottish rights holders to determine the best balance between ensuring events can be seen by the widest possible audience and securing money to reinvest in grassroots sport”. But the SFA has no say in how the rights to these games are bundled and sold by UEFA.
UEFA controls the rights and packages them in a way that appeals to big players
In the absence of any legal protection by the UK Government, UEFA completely controls the broadcasting rights for Scotland’s European qualifiers. The distribution is out-sourced to their partners CAA Eleven.
It is usual practice for distributors of entertainment content to package it in bundles designed to appeal to big broadcasters. These bundles are designed to get content out of the door in the limited window where the distributor has the rights to sell it. Under UEFA’s contracts, these bundles carry with them the legal obligation to show all the games. The Scottish games were auctioned as part of a bundle that would not have been affordable or attractive for a commercial UK broadcaster. No UK terrestrial broadcaster bid for the rights to show Scotland’s Euro qualifiers.
The SFA does not have a seat at the table when the rights are packaged and Scotland does not have a government-supported independent broadcaster.
Welsh fans get to see the games for free - in Welsh
The same company - Viaplay - that bought Scotland’s Euro qualifiers also bought the rights to show Wales’ games - but the Welsh games are also free to view on S4C with Welsh commnentary.
Scotland does not have any genuinely independent Scotland-based channels (BBC Scotland and BBC Alba are regional channels operated from the BBC in London), but Wales has S4C. Now paid for via the licence fee, S4C was established as an independent channel and still has an independent board.
S4C does a good job of getting sports rights for Wales. It can help in negotiations that this is a Welsh language channel, broadcasting the games with commentary in Welsh, so is not a direct competitor with an English language channel.
S4C secured exclusive UK free-to-air broadcast rights to show the Wales games in the UEFA Nations League campaign and the European Qualifiers campaign for UEFA EURO 2024, which are available free to watch live on Sgorio Rhyngwladol.
“It is key that Wales supporters can enjoy their matches on free-to-air television."
Announcing the deal, S4C Chief Executive, Sian Doyle, said:
"We are thrilled that S4C will be the exclusive free-to-air home of the Wales men's national football team, and we believe that this is fantastic news for Welsh football supporters and the Welsh language.
"This is a golden age for the Welsh national team and for the continued growth and development of the game it is key that supporters can enjoy their matches on free-to-air television."
It's a fair bet that if Wales had been competing in the Curling Wolrd Chamipomshops, S4C would have shown the games. In contrast, Simon Pitts from STV told the select committee that, for Scottish international football and other sporting events where the likely TV audience is Scotland only, a commercial channel like STV which has no government support is unable to bid.
An insider said: “The way the Scotland games for the Euro qualifiers were packaged it would not have been possible for any UK broadcaster to bid for them”.
Another insider said: “If the UK government had intervened it might have been possible for the Scotland games to be free to view. As it stands, the games will be on pay-to-view subscription TV until 2028.”
In an independent Scotland, the government could intervene
What does it say to youngsters coming up through grassroots sports in Scotland that they can’t cheer for their national teams? In football terms, the unfairness is even more marked this year as, for the first time in recent years, the England Euro qualifying games are free to view, on Channel Four. No terrestrial broadcaster in the UK bids for the rights to show Scotland’s Euro qualifiers.
Scotland does not have an independent national broadcasting company. Scotland’s broadcasting sector is much weaker than that of similar-sized independent countries. Scotland does not have a government-supported Scottish-run channel. Instead, fee money goes to the BBC in London which does not even manage to spend a population share of that in Scotland.
This is a problem the free market won't solve
The Scottish Affairs Select Committee was right to point out the “frustration” this situation causes in Scotland. They recognised that this is a problem the free market is not likely to be able to solve. Multinational pay-to-view channels that secure these rights have “no obvious commercial incentive” to relinquish exclusivity.
It will require government intervention to give Scottish sports fans the same rights to watch their national teams that citizens of independent countries take for granted, either by setting up and supporting a genuinely independent Scottish channel, or through legislation. In an independent Scotland, the Scottish government would be empowered to make sure Scots are no longer let down.
There are few countries in the world with anything like Scotland’s long history of nationhood which are NOT independent. Scotland emerged as a kingdom in the 9th century and remained as an independent sovereign state until 1707, when it entered into the Treaty of Union.
Looking at global examples is not meant to provide exact comparisons - but it can be instructive to see the ways other countries successfully - and peacefully - journeyed towards independence.
Lessons from the Slovak Republic
The Slovak Republic, now an independent country within the EU, has almost the same population size as Scotland - 5.4 million - but it is about one-third smaller. A landlocked, mountainous area of central Europe, it was a semi-autonomous duchy within the Hungarian Empire in the middle ages, but became a fully independent country for the first time when it broke with the Czech Republic (both used to be part of Czechoslovakia). It is often referred to as Slovakia, but its official title is the Slovak Republic.
Initially, nationalism was based on Slovaks’ desire to preserve their different ethnic and cultural identity, but in the 21st century, it has adopted the kind of civic nationalism that characterises the Scottish independence movement.
Since independence, the Slovak Republic’s GDP has started to reach parity with the Czech Republic, which was better off before the split. Although it is not a wealthy country, the percentage of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion is lower in Slovakia than in the UK.
The Velvet Revolution
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, demonstrations began against Communist rule in Czechoslovakia. On November 20, 1989, an estimated 500,000 protestors gathered in Prague. The entire top tier of the Czechoslovakian government resigned a few days later - they peacefully relinquished power and the one-party state came to an end. In June 1990, the first first democratic elections were held.
At that time the Czech area’s GDP was 20% higher than the Slovak area. Cash transfers to the Slovak area, which had been the norm, stopped in 1991. The two areas’ leaders decided to split into independent countries. There was no referendum.
As the dominant economic power, the Czechs were concerned about potential damage to their currency. The Slovaks agreed to introduce their own version - initially by stamping a crest on Czech banknotes.
The Velvet Divorce
At midnight on December 31, 1992, Czechoslovakia peacefully split into the Czech and Slovak Republics. On January 1, 1993, the National Bank of Slovakia was formed. Just a few weeks later on Feb 8,1993, Slovakia introduced its own currency, the koruna, which replaced the Czech koruna at the same rate. The transition was smooth. The two countries remained in a currency union and continue to cooperate closely.
Building a stronger economy post-independence
In 1995, the Slovak Republic signed an Association Agreement with the EU. In 2003, a referendum on joining the EU was held, with 93.7% voting Yes. The Slovak and Czech Republics were two of the countries that became EU members as part of the 2004 enlargement.
On January 1, 2009, Slovakia adopted the Euro as its national currency. Slovakia became a more integral part of the EU than their neighbours, because of their adoption of the Euro and their greater enthusiasm for taking part in the banking and fiscal unions. The Czech Republic still does not use the Euro.
Since joining the EU, Slovakia’s GDP per capita has risen to 95% of the Czech Republic’s. Poverty has also reduced significantly. Pensions are about the same rate in both countries.
The Slovak Republic is subdivided into 8 regions, each having a certain amount of autonomy. The capital and largest city is Bratislava. In 2019, Zuzana Čaputová, an environmental campaigner, became Slovakia's first female president (there is also a Prime Minister). The country has been very dependent on Russian gas and is now attempting to speed up a transition to renewable energy.
The rise of the Slovakian independence movement
Arguments for independence started to gain force in the 19th century when Slovakia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. At that time, Hungary started to force people to assimilate, adopting the Hungarian language and culture.
When revolution erupted in 1848, the Slovaks supported the Austrian Emperor’s side, hoping for independence from Hungary, but they failed. Thereafter relations between Slovaks and the state of Hungary deteriorated.
The rise and fall of Czechoslovakia
After the First World War, in the chaos that surrounded the break up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, several territories broke away and joined together to form Czechoslovakia.
In 1938, the Munich Agreement, which UK PM Neville Chamberlain famously signed with Hitler, allowed Germany to annexe part of Czechoslovakia - the Suddetenland. The remaining country became Czecho-Slovakia with more autonomy promised for Slovakia. In fact, Slovakia became a puppet regime of Nazi Germany. Almost all of the Jews, along with gypsies and dissidents were deported to death camps. In 1944, there was an uprising against Nazi occupation - the Slovak National Uprising. It was unsuccessful and thousands of people were put to death.
After the Second World War, Czechoslovakia was taken over by the Soviet Union. It became a puppet regime of the USSR, behind the Iron Curtain. In 1968, armed tanks rolled into Prague to put down an uprising called the Prague Spring. In 1969, Czechoslovakia became a federation of the Czech and Slovak Republics but it remained under Soviet control, with only limited autonomy, until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Conclusion - it is possible to build a better future with independence in Europe
There are of course many differences between Scotland’s story and that of the Slovak Republic. But when Unionists pour scorn on Scotland’s plans, it is useful to look at what Slovakia managed to accomplish in a relatively short time.
Since gaining independence, the Slovak Republic has managed to increase the prosperity of its citizens and to reduce relative poverty. They have seized the opportunity of joining the EU to improve trade and cooperation.
Scots have every reason to feel confident that Scotland can also accomplish the task of building an independent nation. Scotland is significantly more prepared, and has a wealthier more advanced economy that the Slovak Republic had when it became independent.
More independence lessons
Too wee, too poor for independence? Malta didn’t think so - read more here
Why Norway Chose to Become an Independent Country – read more here
Why Quebec’s independence dream went wrong - read more here
New Zealand’s century-long journey to independence - read more here
As Jamaica proudly celebrates 60 years of independence - read more here
The UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has decided to extend the current cap on energy prices for another three months - but that is not enough to help Scottish families who have to pay over the odds to heat their homes.
The headline figure says that this will keep average bills at £2,500 a year instead of pushing them up to £3,000. But people living in Scotland, especially in rural areas, pay more while average incomes are lower - leading to soaring levels of fuel poverty. Energy Action Scotland calculates that the Scottish average bill is £1,000 more than England.
An analysis from February 2022, before the bulk of the fuel bill rises, showed that the levels of fuel poverty range were already running at 57% in Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, 47% in Highland and 46% in Argyll and Bute.
The irony is that these are the very areas which produce energy, from oil and gas to wind and tidal power. When Scotland becomes independent, its elected government will be empowered to regulate and tax energy producers in a way that puts Scotland’s people at the heart of energy policy.
Too little too late
The gesture by the UK Government to freeze prices comes as falling energy prices on the global market has meant the cap has cost them less than predicted. The wholesale price of gas fell by 75% since its peak in Summer 2022. Given this drop in prices, the UK Government should have the capacity to reduce bills instead of freezing them, perhaps by extending the £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme payments which come to an end this month.
The freeze is obviously better than an egregious rise. But the people of Scotland are frustrated about how Westminster has seen fit to manage Scotland’s energy resources and want to take the levers of power into their own hands.
Scotland produces around as much energy as it uses from renewable sources that cost 9 times less than gas- we should pay less for energy, not more.
Scottish people are angry about energy rip off
The people of Scotland are increasingly angry that they have to dance to Westminster’s tune on energy. They live in an energy rich country but don’t see the benefits. They have seen how the UK Government’s pursuit of ideological privatisation has impacted the lives of ordinary people.
British Gas was once in public ownership. Under the Centrica name, in February it announced that last year, profits had tripled to a record £3.3 billion as energy prices and production soared, paving the way for a £300 million share buy-back - at the same time as it was sending debt collectors to forcibly install prepayment meters.
Why Scots are unfairly burdened when it comes to energy costs
- The much-quoted “average” of £2,500 a year hides the fact that, in much of Scotland, bills are higher.
- Many people living in Scotland outside of the Central Belt don’t have access to gas, which is still priced lower than electricity - despite the fact it is much cheaper to produce.
- Scotland pays higher standing charges than most of England.
- Temperatures tend to be lower in Scotland, so people need to use more energy.
- The UK is the only European country (except Portugal which was forced to do so after a financial crisis) to have privatised the national grid. This has led to additional problems with lack of investment and planning for the transition to renewables.
- The privatised National Grid operates across the UK as a whole - there is no opportunity for Scotland to make greater use of its own renewable energy or charge to export it to England.
- The National Grid also does not allow Scotland to set its own demand signals - for example making energy cheaper at weekends as some countries do.
- The amount that is charged in the fixed portion of bills includes clawing back money lost when 30 energy supply firms went bust due to regulatory failure that can be laid at the door of the UK Government.
- Household energy bills also include a levy for expensive nuclear power that Scotland doesn’t want or need.
- Scottish households pay the highest energy bills in Europe - where many governments have nationally-owned power companies.
Cheapskate gesture won’t buy off demands for independence
The UK Government’s cheapskate gesture is too little too late for Scotland. Falling gas and electricity prices mean the government has already made a saving – the scheme was forecast to cost £37bn in January. It does nothing to recognise that Scotland is suffering from higher levels of fuel poverty while its natural resources are plundered for profit.
Scotland is at the mercy of the UK government when it comes to regulating the energy market. It has become obvious that the pursuit of ideological privatisation has led to a situation where ordinary people pay much higher bills and that money ends up in the profits of energy companies, who have used it to fund share buybacks and dividends.
While the overall UK energy policy comes under question, an independent Scotland could consider whether to build back some public ownership and how to regulate the private sector in a way that puts people at the heart of energy policy. It could certainly charge less if it controlled its own renewable energy supply.
Scotland is sick of seeing successive Westminster governments exploit Scotland’s energy resources for profit without protecting the interests of Scotland’s people. It is time for independence.
A poll conducted by Panelbase for Believe in Scotland of over 2,000 Scottish residents, aged 16+ conducted has shown that 56% of Scottish voters would support Scottish independence if the Scottish Government put a Wellbeing Economic Approach at the heart of its economic plans for an independent Scotland. A plan that recognises that quality of life, equality, fairness, sustainability, happiness, and health are all outcomes that should be given equal weight as it does to traditional measures such as GDP.
The same poll asked the standard Yes/No question on independence, Yes support came in at 48%. This means that a Wellbeing Economic Approach increases independence support to 56% an 8% increase. You can learn more about the Wellbeing economics approach here. This poll demonstrates that there is a route to independence if the Scottish Government is willing to adopt the Wellbeing Economic Approach and drop its outdated Sustainable Growth Commission.
The impact of a Wellbeing Pension on independence support.
Believe in Scotland has also been campaigning for a Wellbeing Pension. The UK basic state pension is the second worst in the developed world and is a direct cause of pensioner poverty. The Wellbeing Pension has been calculated by Scotianomics, the research arm of Business for Scotland, as the minimum amount required by pensioners to live with basic dignity. That amount is £225.00 per week.
When asked “If the Scottish Government’s Wellbeing Economic approach included a commitment to increasing the basic state pension from £141.85 to a Wellbeing Pension of £225.00 per week in an independent Scotland - how would you vote in a Scottish independence independence referendum?” Support for independence skyrockets to 60%. That is a full 12% increase just by clarifying the message and doing the right thing.
The Scottish Independence Congress Supports Wellbeing
When a similar question was asked of delegates at the recent Scottish Independence Congress hosted by Believe in Scotland and attended by 241 delegates selected from 126 local Yes Groups - 97% of delegates agreed that a core focus of Scotland’s campaign to become independent should centre around introducing and pursuing a Wellbeing Economic Approach.
97% also supported the adoption of a Wellbeing Pension as a core manifesto commitment of pro-Yes parties. The message from the Yes movement is clear - they want Scotland to be a country which places the welfare and happiness of its citizens on par with economic prosperity.
Sustainable Growth Commission published in 2017 is now outdated and irrelevant to the new reality. It has been overtaken by events such as the economic damage done by Brexit, the health crises, the cost of living crises and disastrous economic management from the UK Government. There is no place for outdated conservatism in the economic plan for an independent Scotland. The next First Minister of Scotland must continue and in fact, accelerate, the Scottish Governments adoption the Wellbeing Economic Approach in their campaign for independence.
How the Wellbeing Economic Approach changes minds on independence
It is clear that a focus on wellbeing economics increases support for independence, but where is that increase felt? In short, the difference is felt across almost every age group, sex and party affiliation. The commitment to a wellbeing economic approach by the government of a newly independent Scotland increases the support for independence across the board. The most stark demographic jump is among females aged 18-34 where support for independence increases 11% to 75-25 in favour.
The next most interesting change comes from those who intend to vote Labour in the next Westminster election. When asked about their support for independence with the wellbeing commitment, Labour voter support jumps by 11% and LibDem support for independence increases by 12%.
Across all regions of Scotland there are also significant increases in support for Yes. The largest increases are felt in the West and South of Scotland, where opposition to independence is traditionally strongest. In these areas a Wellbeing Economic Approach increases support for independence by 9% and 8% respectively, taking both areas above majority support for independence.
How the addition of the Wellbeing Pension changes minds on independence
Committing to a Wellbeing Pension as part of the Wellbeing Economic Approach increases support for independence even more strongly across the board. The increases across demographics are felt more strongly among females, with the most consequential increase being Females 55+. This demographic was most opposed to independence in 2014, due to fears over pensions, this result shows there is a path to winning them to the cause of independence.
Looking at the results across party lines we can see support for independence once again increases significantly for Labour and LibDem voters. The key here is that the adoption of the Wellbeing Economic Approach with the Wellbeing Pension of £225.00 per week wins over large swathes of Labour voters, these voters are the key to Scotland winning its independence as they are most likely soft No voters or undecideds who voted to remain in the EU and are disheartened by the path the UK is on, if we can show them that an independent Scotland can offer a brighter future, we can win them over.
These results show that a key way to increase support for independence is to offer a vision of a fairer, more equal and happier nation that prioritises more than just economic growth but also the happiness for its citizens.
Believe in Scotland and its parent organisation Business for Scotland have, since 2011, championed the introduction of wellbeing economics as the dominant economic model of an independent Scotland. The current and past failures of the UK Government highlight, even more starkly, that now is the time to move to this model. The old economic and political dogmas of the left and right are dead, they offer us no solutions to the current state of the UK. The world economy has teetered on the brink of collapse twice in just over a decade, with the UK economy never fully recovering from the first. We need new answers and wellbeing economics provides them.
Wellbeing economics provides answers to the big questions, such as how do we combat climate change, reduce inequality, improve health outcomes and quality of life? The solution is simple: we must give these outcomes the equal weight we currently give to traditional economic indicators such as GDP growth or trade statistics, incorporating them into official government publications and policies. Scotland’s aim should be to become a world leader in all the areas listed above by building a strong society and a strong economy - as one cannot exist without the other.
Through independence, Scotland can make strides to become a world leader in the other wellbeing indicators and the results of this poll shows that the Scottish people want that future. One where their quality of life and happiness is prioritised as much as economic growth.
The mainstream news media is reporting that fresh vegetable shortages in British supermarkets are caused by “bad weather in Spain and Morocco”. But Brexit is a big factor - it has disrupted Britain’s supply chains and is reducing food production in the UK.
Social media is awash with photos of groaning shelves in European supermarkets with arrays of tomatoes, red peppers, cucumbers and even cauliflowers - all largely absent from many UK shops. European newspapers such as the authoritative Der Spiegel are reporting on this as purely a British issue, confirming that this is not happening in EU countries.
10 reasons why Brexit is behind the UK’s food shortages
#1 It is harder and less attractive to trade with the UK
There has been bad weather in Spain and Morocco - but Brexit has played a part in disrupting supply chains, increasing the time and expense of importing fresh produce and making the UK a less attractive place to trade.
#2 When there isn’t enough to go around - the UK is at the back of the queue
After Brexit, Britain increased its dependence on imports from Morocco - which is not in the EU - especially for crops like winter tomatoes. The government trumpeted the roll-over trade deal it managed to sign with Morocco. But when there isn’t enough to go around, it is easier and more profitable for those suppliers to sell to the EU.
With no direct freight ferry, UK importers have to manage direct logistics from Morocco to UK retailers, crossing two EU borders en route. Moroccan farmers can sell produce to EU-wide wholesalers, rather than small, unprofitable UK export firms.
#3 The pound has lost ground against the Euro, making it harder to compete on price
The pound has lost 19% of its value against the Euro since the Brexit vote, making it harder for UK buyers to compete on price. Before the 2016 vote, one pound was worth €1.40. It is now worth €1.14. That means British buyers have to pay Brexit around 19% more just to stand still. Brexit has already been blamed for putting up the price of food bills in the UK significantly.
#4 Club members come first
Spain obviously prefers to trade within the single market “club”. Expat Euro TV journalist Alex Taylor who teaches journalism at the Sorbonne shared pictures from his local French supermarket and wrote on Twitter:
“When you're in a club and there are difficulties (of tomatoes, in winter, hello !) club members first help each other out before shipping off somewhat rarer tomatoes to a country which has been ranting about how it's priding itself on making it much harder to do trade with them ! So yes ! It IS a Brexit issue, despite what media and even Waitrose may be telling their customers"
Later, Alex Taylor tweeted this map to illustrate the point:
#5 Even in Kyiv in Ukraine, it is easier to get tomatoes
The veteran reporter John Sweeney shared on his war diary a video of a Kyiv supermarket amply supplied with tomatoes. In the clip he suggests that the Brexit campaign was partly funded by donations from Russia - donations that have never been adequately investigated.
Twitter users shared a clip from Talk TV Breakfast News incident where a reporter from Kyiv in Ukraine tried to say that it is easier to get tomatoes there than in London and that this is because of Brexit, but the presenter drowned him out by repeating "It's nothing to do with Brexit".
#6 Trade imbalance means many lorries return to the EU empty
The UK doesn't have import controls yet - they have been postponed (again) until the 1st of January 2024. But it has export controls and that has led to a slump in exports to the EU. The growing imbalance between imports and exports mean a lot of lorries go back to the EU empty - and that makes the journey less commercially attractive.
#7 Ireland is suffering too - because it is still partly supplied via the UK
Ireland is also affected by the shortage because a significant amount of its retailers are still supplied by UK wholesalers and a big percentage of exports still come across the UK ‘landbridge’. They are increasing ferry capacity direct from Europe but it takes longer and costs more than when both countries were in the EU.
#8 The UK wasn't part of an EU agreement to protect food producers from rising energy costs
Farmers are struggling with massive energy costs,
The New Statesman reported: "Had Brexit not happened, the British government would have been forced to go along with European Union decisions on how to help farmers through this situation, meaning that British growers might have had more support. The UK has decided not to include horticulturalists in its energy support scheme; in the EU a €500m support package has helped farmers to grow fruit and vegetables on fallow land.
Former Sainsbury's CEO Justin King said UK food production has been "hurt horribly by Brexit". He told Nick Ferrari At Breakfast on LBC that UK greenhouses, previously known to grow tomatoes, have suffered in recent years.
"These are products that we do produce, or in the past have produced year round in the UK. North Kent, in Thanet, [had] the largest greenhouses in Europe, which used to be full of peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes. But those greenhouses have suffered, really, from two big things. I hate to say it, Nick, but it's a sector that's been hurt horribly by Brexit."
#9 Production in the UK is down, partly due to the end of free movement
Production of fresh produce in the UK is down for several reasons - one of them being the lack of seasonal workers. Many growers have had to let crops rot in the ground due to labour shortages in recent harvests, and have planted less since. The shortage of cauliflowers and other brassicas is set to worsen. The number of seasonal visas granted by the UK government is far short of what is needed - and when these workers are in short supply, small Scottish farms that can't afford to pay the highest wages lose out.
Save British Farming chair Liz Webster said:
“The reason that we have food shortages in Britain, and that we don’t have food shortages in Spain – or anywhere else in the European Union – is because of Brexit, and also because of this disastrous Conservative Government that has no interest in food production, farming or even food supply.”
#10 The situation could worsen as the UK moves away from CAP and Brexit continues to bite
It looks unlikely that PM Rishi Sunak will be able to break the impasse over the Northern Ireland protocol which is worsening relations with the EU. Even the Labour party wants to continue with Brexit.
UK farming is being hit hard by energy bills, and by coming out of the Common Agricultural Policy. That is designed so that much of the cost of food production is borne by taxpayers not those who pay at the till. But the UK government is not likely to allocate the same degree of funding - and therefore Scotland will be short-changed through the "block grant".
Businesses face a “cliff edge” in support next month. They have to pay far higher energy costs than competitors in many EU countries. The NFUS wants to see food producers pay lower energy costs, as they are a critical industry.
The NFUS annual survey of farmers shows many Scottish farmers are affected by the disruption and lack of certainty caused by leaving the Common Agricultural Policy, which gives long-range stability and food security for countries within the European Union. Scottish farmers also feel betrayed by deals the UK has struck with Australia and New Zealand which threaten the commercial viability of their farms in the long term.
Yes, bad weather has reduced the supply of fresh produce. But the UK is losing out from not being part of the EU's single market which has always prioritised food security. Food production at home is also been damaged.
An independent Scotland back in the EU would be able to build a country where nutritious food is affordable and available to all, as it is across the European Union.
A Panelbase poll conducted on behalf of Believe in Scotland has found 48% of respondents in support of Yes, the same as polls in October 2022, despite alleged ‘setbacks’ for the independence campaign. These results show that with a concentrated effort by the independence movement and the Scottish Government to put the focus back on independence, the results can be even higher and put us in a good position to hold a referendum campaign.
This poll was conducted by PanelBase, surveying more than 2,000 respondents across Scotland weighted for age, social class etc. It finds that, when those who responded ‘Don’t Know’ are removed, 48% are in support of independence, compared to 52% who are opposed. This is a 4% decrease from a previous PanelBase poll conducted for The Times in December 2022 but is identical to another poll conducted in October 2022. Despite reported ‘setbacks’ in other polls, overall support for independence remains strong. The poll also measures how individuals would vote in a UK General and Scottish Parliamentary Election, which is particularly important given the Scottish Government’s proposal to run the next General Election as a de facto independence referendum. When these votes are translated into seats, we can see that the SNP would maintain a majority of seats both in Westminster and Holyrood. However, as things stand they do not have a majority of votes, even when this is combined with support from other pro-indy parties like the Scottish Greens and Alba. This shows that the use of such a strategy would have to be carefully considered in order to achieve a Yes vote that eventually grants us independence.
While these results do not yet display an overall majority for Yes, voters have also shown they believe that Scottish independence is not only likely but inevitable. 65% of those polled believe that Scotland will become independent in the future, with over 50% believing that it will become independent in the next 10 years. This reinforces what Believe in Scotland has been saying for years- independence is normal and it is a likely prospect in the minds of many people across Scotland.
When the results are considered in detail, we can also see some variations in support with different demographic groups. Young people aged 16-34 years old consistently support independence at a higher rate (67%) compared to those who are older, particularly in the 55+ age group (35%). Interestingly, more women aged 35-54 support independence at 57% compared to men at the same age at 46%. Another significant group that supports independence at a higher than average rate is 2016 Remain voters (55%), as well as people who did not vote in that referendum (68%). People can see that Brexit continues to be an unmitigated disaster and are reacting accordingly. Conversely, 2016 Leave voters are one of the largest groups opposing independence at 71%. Campaigning to appease Leave voters to win a campaign like the rest of the UK political parties will not work. The independence campaign must promise closer ties with the EU or at least to address Remain and those who did not vote fears.
The poll does not paint a good picture of public opinion on the Westminster government. Over 90% of those polled argue that UK Government policy was a factor in causing the current cost of living crisis. The Scottish public can see the impact of Westminster mismanagement in the form of increased heating bills, the cost of essentials and potentially not being able to afford food. They deserve better than what they have been given.
These results are critical following the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister of Scotland last week. The independence movement is currently at an impasse in terms of how to approach the independence vote following the UK Government’s blocking of a Section 30 request for a second independence referendum in October 2023. The 2014 independence referendum campaign began with support for independence in the mid-30s, rising to 45% in the actual result. With a concentrated campaigning effort, which puts the focus back on winning independence, the EU and the Wellbeing Economic Approach, we are almost guaranteed to push support even higher than where it is now. Despite Westminster and the UK media establishment’s best attempts to divide and undermine us, we can further consolidate support.
Fortunately, we at Believe in Scotland believe we have the solution. Believe in Scotland, along with its parent organisation Business for Scotland, have been championing the adoption of the Wellbeing Economic approach in an independent Scotland, with the idea eventually being endorsed by the Scottish Government. This approach puts social development on equal footing with economic development, believing that you cannot have one without the other. Our poll found that support for independence with the adoption of a Wellbeing approach increases to 55% and this approach with the inclusion of an increase in the current state pension to at least £225 a month, support increases to a supermajority of 60%. These results are telling- we can achieve independence if we put wellbeing at the heart of our campaign.
A large scale poll by Believe in Scotland conducted by Panelbase has found a two thirds majority of support amongst Scottish voters for an independent Scotland to rejoin the EU.
The poll of 2,006 people also found independence support to be at 48%. This is an increase from a similar sized recent Lord Ashcroft poll which had Yes at 44%. It's worth noting that Ashscroft is not a British Polling Council member and does not need to use the standard methodology and sampling processes of more credible polling operations. 48% Yes is in the ballpark of where independence support has been for months.
What about 16 and 17 year olds and EU nationals
Given the prospect of a Westminster General Election (UKGE) being used as a defacto referendum, we recalculated independence support by removing 16 and 17 year olds and EU nationals (as they would not be able to vote in a UKGE) and this gave the same 48% result. The only difference was that the poll rounded up to 48% rather than down to 48%, meaning that this cohort of voters represents a less than 1% loss to the Yes vote.
Rejoining the EU
The poll also showed that 68% of voters would want an independent Scotland to rejoin the EU.
On Saturday 18th February, Believe in Scotland hosted the first Scottish Independence Congress. This online event was attended by more than 300 individuals, with 241 voting delegates from 126 local and national Yes groups. Delegates were asked to vote on a series of measures, including whether or not an independent Scotland should rejoin the EU. 80% said Yes- only 1.5% said No, while 3.5% were undecided. The second most popular option at 15% was for an independent Scotland to join EFTA (the European Free Trade Area). Removing the undecided, that's a massive 98% in favour of undoing the damage of Brexit, with full EU membership securing a supermajority amongst the organisers of the Yes movement.
The demographic breakdown of the data shows that support for an independent Scotland rejoining the EU holds a majority in every age range surveyed, with significant majorities in favour in the under-55 age group. Those in the youngest demographics lead the charge, with 85% of females and 81% of males aged 16-34 years old in favour of rejoining.
Regret over Brexit is beginning to surface throughout the UK. A poll conducted by Focaldata for Unherd Britain found that only one Westminster constituency in the UK has a majority that thinks the UK was right to leave the EU. As the fog of COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine lifts, the true economic fallout of Brexit is coming to light.
This sentiment is shared by many in Scotland, with 61% of people saying that Brexit is a major factor in causing the current cost of living crisis and 29% saying they think it is a minor factor. With 65% of respondents putting the onus on UK government policies for the crisis, it is clear that the Scottish electorate is putting the blame squarely on the UK Government, either for its failed attempts at making Brexit work, or for the failure of its economic policies in dampening the crisis for households across the country.
An independent Scotland’s economy back in the EU
Independence is the only route to Scotland rejoining the EU and to rebuilding our economy after the damage caused by Brexit Britain- and the people of Scotland agree. 45% of those surveyed think our economy would perform better if Scotland was to rejoin the EU, with 16% thinking it would perform the same. So, 61% of respondents think that Scotland's economy would perform better or the same if we rejoined the EU and were an independent country. The 39% who think it would be worse matches closely the percentage of voters who still support Brexit.
This result shows there is a clear appetite in Scotland to reconnect with our European partners. Previous polling by Believe in Scotland showed that 97% of those who moved from No in 2014 to Yes did so because of Brexit and that they believe an independent Scotland should rejoin the EU. This is a clear pathway to increase support for independence and the Yes movement must grab the opportunity with both hands. Brexit regret is rife across the UK as the economic fallout from Brexit is coming to light and with Scotland having been torn from the EU against our will, it is only right that the desire of Scots to be back inside the EU is felt more strongly now than ever before.
So, how do we get there?
Current Scottish Government policy is that when independence is won an independent Scotland will seek to rejoin the EU from day one. This will put Scotland back into the single largest trading bloc in the world and give us access to a talent pool of 500 million people, filling the labour shortages felt across industries such as healthcare, hospitality and construction. We must convince the electorate that rejoining the EU is essential to growing an independent Scotland’s economy and that access to the single market will mean Scottish exports can flourish. Scotland will once again become a hub for inward investment as Scotland breaks free from Brexit Britain and the downward trending UK economy.
The message to undecided voters must be this; Britain is broken and its economy is in ruin. We cannot let Brexit-obsessed-Westminster drag Scotland down with it. The only way for Scotland to flourish is by gaining its independence and rejoining the European Union.