Busting the last of the myths around independence. Open Minds on Independence #20

Primary Author or Creator:
Believe in Scotland
The National
Date Published:
Type of Resource:
News Media
Fast Facts

This article looks at myths about Scottish independence.

MYTH 7: Nationalism is by its very nature a bad thing

MYTH 8: An independent Scotland would be last in the queue to join the EU

Myth 9: You can’t hold a referendum without Westminster’s “permission”

Myth 10: Independence for Scotland would abandon the rest of the UK to permanent Tory rule

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The type of civic nationalism embraced by Scotland couldn’t be more different than the jingoistic nationalism Scotland is accused of. The Scottish Government wants more immigrants, not fewer. It recognises the taxes new Scots pay will grow our economy and that the different cultures they bring will make Scotland a more diverse nation. We want to reconnect with our European friends and neighbours that we didn’t want to leave.

We want to extend our trading and cultural links to other countries, we want to re-establish freedom of movement and allow our young people to live and study in other countries. Independence in the modern world doesn’t mean withdrawing into ourselves. It means extending the hand of friendship and encouraging good relations with the global community. It means co-operation rather than conflict,

Rejoining the EU:

The criteria for being considered for membership are that a ‘’European state’’ respects the “principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law”. It’s almost impossible to imagine an independent Scotland failing to those standards given it was a member for 47 years.

Scotland would have to apply to rejoin the EU because the UK left and took Scotland with it even though we voted 62% to Remain.

Holyrood has the democratic right to hold a legal referendum without Westminster’s “permission’”and there is considerable support for that position. Ciaran Martin, the top civil servant who negotiated the Edinburgh Agreement which paved the way for the 2014 referendum, says Johnson’s position fundamentally changes the Union from one based on consent to one based on the force of law. A law that many constitutional lawyers do not believe exists and can be challenged in court.

The Scottish Government can hold a referendum but without agreement from the UK Government the result would not bind the UK Government -– the 2016 Brexit referendum did not legally bind the UK government to enact Brexit either.

Tory Rule for England:

It isn’t true. In fact, in only four of the 18 elections between 1945 and 2010 would the result have been changed without Scottish votes. 

In the remaining 14 elections during the same period, the result would have been unchanged had Scotland been independent. That includes five majority Labour governments elected without needing Scottish votes to have a majority of seats.

In mathematical terms, if Scotland became independent it would still be possible for the rest of the UK to elect majority Labour governments should it chose to do so. Scotland, on the other hand, would always get the government it votes for.