“Sillarton Hill”, a nom-de-plume for a long-standing supporter known to us and who is giving his personal views, not expressing a collective EMiS view, writes:
“The small event on 22 February was the EMiS members’ forum in Edinburgh, convened to talk through how EMiS ‘should proceed from here’. The given is that the UK will leave the EU, maybe in the good books, maybe not. There is no point wailing that Brexit shouldn’t have happened. In Scotland we are where we are; poised to step outside at the end of the year and look back with a mix of emotions. That mix was much in evidence.
From the discussion and the activists’ reports and the surveys, what struck me was the relatively weak and lacklustre support for ‘Pursue Indy and pursue EU membership straightaway’. That’s not to say a good number of EMiS supporters don’t feel that way. It just doesn’t feature as the stand-out strategic objective. What did feature was the ‘softer’ stuff like ‘championing the rights of EU 27 residents’, ‘advocating the closest possible relations with the EU’, ‘informing the wider public about the EU’, and so on.
Ok, EMiS has a cross-party pedigree and a long ‘contemplative heritage’, and isn’t prone to radical gesture. But I thought I’d detect a sharper edge at this point. What I picked up was a more sentimental tone of ‘what we are about to lose’. Sure, there are the trade and the job issues, but it’s the reciprocated fondness and friendships, the emotional experience of Europe, the ‘amity’, almost the cosmopolitanism of it all, that is felt to be in jeopardy. I think the idea of ‘Europe’ for many is a comfort blanket. It certainly didn’t seem that a hard quest for political union and cession of sovereignty to Brussels had been ripped from our grasp.
And this, right here and now, is a good thing. First Minister Sturgeon is ‘in play’, little doubt of that. Rumours are rife. A changing of the SNP guard is coming and the new regime (if returned) must surely buck up a tired administration that has left the the country’s architecture (financial, social welfare, educational) woefully under-prepared to take on the realities of European Union membership. You want to join the EU in good-to-robust health, not as a supplicant on the rebound from Scexit.
Anthony Salamone of European Merchants (www.merchants.scot/) has mapped the pathway to EU membership. Consult his work (a flavour is available on these pages). The road must be carefully laid down, at no little expense, with a patient horizon of five to seven years to fruition. This begs the massive question as to how IndyScot conducts itself in the meantime!
If Scintro it is to be, then let’s get it right first time rather than rush to make it happen. Let’s put aside this hubristic ambition to be ‘front and centre’ and ‘world leaders’ and ‘pioneers’ in every national undertaking and let’s just get on with simply putting in place for Scintro the many nuts and bolts needed to ensure we make a decent fist of it and can really carry the role on the EU stage. In the event, Brussels will look for that.
Until then, let’s stick with the core EMiS objective of supporting European unity, that sense of integration, shared values, affiliation, exchange and amity; and let’s not get caught out by a shotgun wedding into a premature union.
(We’d welcome well-argued commentaries/rejoinders to this two-parter…)