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Election letters 2019 / British in the same way that Scandinavians are Scandinavian

It’s easy to forget that Scandinavia was once unified in much the same way as the UK. They are now four separate countries that get along very well and still call themselves Scandinavian.

An independent Scotland would still be in the British Isles and we could still call ourselves British.

Scotland clearly has different political tastes, social desires and economic needs from the rest of the UK.

Jo Grimond recognised this as far back as 3 February 1975, when he said: “It is worth stating the fundamental reasons why Liberals want self-Government for Scotland. Our proposals stem from our basic reasons. It is because Scotland has certain qualities and attributes of her own. She has certain needs. She has a distinctive personality. She has a very distinctive contribution to make to the world at large. It is also because there is much wrong with the system of government in the United Kingdom. It is too centralised. It is too rigid. It is too bureaucratic. Above all, it is too remote from individuals and from the communities in which they live.”

Of course, much has changed since the 1970s – we do now have a Scottish Parliament and power is closer to the people than it was – but Westminster continues to take its political and legal dominance of Scotland for granted in this so-called “union of equals”.

We were told, in order to stay in the EU, we had to stay in the UK but that has changed. Our views and our values have been consistently ignored throughout the Brexit process.

For me, it is no longer tolerable to have consistently left-of-centre and progressive Scottish governments that are continually undermined by right-wing reactionaries in the Westminster parliament.

Whilst I understand that some folk are nervous about more constitutional change, gaining our independence does not have to be chaotic like the Brexit process.

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Unlike Tory Brexiteers, during the EU referendum, we have a detailed plan for what we’ll do when we win. Unlike Boris Johnson, we do not suffer from delusions of imperial grandeur: we just want to be a normal European country like our Nordic neighbours. Unlike the Tories are on Brexit, the SNP are not divided about independence. On the contrary, we are often accused of being too unified!

More than 60 other countries have already gained their independence from the UK. Just ask yourself, how many of them want to re-join?

Angela Sutherland
Shetland SNP Branch Secretary

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