Thursday , June 20 2024

Back soon in 2055

Nicola Sturgeon said that Scotland will be back soon in Europe. Where does she think we are now? Does she think that somehow Scotland has sped up the process of plate tectonics so that we are somewhere near Jamaica now. If so, why isn’t it warmer? Worse if Scotland is no longer part of Europe we wouldn’t be allowed to apply for membership of the EU because only European nation states can apply. The concept of having left Europe logically implies the inability to rejoin the EU ever.

Like so many Remainers, now Rejoiners and in Sturgeon’s case applier from scratchers, she conflates Europe with the EU. But there are now 23 European nation states that are not in the EU and only 27 that are.

If we added up the population of Europe that was not in the EU it would come close to the population that was. It is both offensive and false to conflate Europe with the EU. Not every European country wants to be in the EU and Europe has been Europe for thousands of years before the EU came into existence.

Sturgeon thinks that Scotland is more European than other parts of Britain, but what European values does Scotland have that England lacks? Does Sturgeon think that Iceland and Switzerland are less European than Scotland because they are not EU member states? But if she is not again merely conflating the desire for EU membership with being European, she has to point out some value that Scotland has that others don’t.

If being European amounts to merely adhering to values such as democracy, free markets and the rule or law, then it is hard to see how Scotland adheres to these more than anyone else in Western Europe. If being European on the other hand amounts to supporting European federalism and EU monetary and political union, then Scotland and indeed Sturgeon herself is rather less European than say Belgium.

Does Sturgeon want an independent Scotland to join Schengen, the Euro or to take part fully in the process of European integration that will lead to a federal United Europe? If she does, she has never expressed this. SNP members always talk of Scotland being able to opt out of those parts of the EU that they don’t like. Scotland may have voted for Remain, but vanishingly few Scots want Scotland to be a state in a United States of Europe with the Euro as our currency. So, an independent Scotland in the EU would be just another opt outer dragging its heals and trying to prevent the other member states from achieving the integration that is their goal. If that’s being European, I can imagine some in the EU would prefer that Scotland was indeed located next to Jamaica.

How many European languages does Sturgeon speak fluently? How many does the average Scot? If we are so desperate to be European, why don’t we do something about it?  But of course, we are no more European either in values or geography than anywhere else. Scottish history has no more involvement with the continent than British history as a whole.

Scotland is bit more left-wing than England due to industrialisation, but so are the post-industrial parts of England. I can think of no value that is not shared equally across Britain, no personality trait that is more predominant in Scotland than elsewhere. We are so similar to our fellow British citizens that we can live and work anywhere in Britain with no difficulty whatsoever. Try going instead to Slovenia, Armenia or Russia. Compared to the difference between Lithuania and Spain the difference between Scotland and England amounts to a mere accent.

But this shows the perversity of Sturgeon’s argument. She would assert a shared identity with people we are dissimilar to, but at the same time deny that shared identity with people with whom we have almost everything in common.

Sturgeon maintains that she wants to maintain ties of friendship with the other parts of the UK, but I’ve never heard her express about Britain what she expresses about Europe.

While the independent states of Scandinavia have a common identity, Scottish nationalists never speak of sharing an identity with people with whom we have been in a nation state for over three hundred years. Our shared past is rejected by the SNP as is our shared future. The idea that we would maintain a shared British identity after independence is not even considered.

But if Sturgeon wants to join the EU because of her friendly feelings for people in Estonia because of the identity they share, how can she maintain that she wants to maintain friendly relations with British people whose identity she rejects.

The very name of the two largish islands in the North Sea, the British Isles is rejected by the Irish nationalists. They want no shared identity with the United Kingdom they left.  Somehow it is irredentist to use the British Isles to refer even geographically to both islands, yet it is not irredentist for Ireland to use the name of the whole island for itself.   Sturgeon like all Scottish nationalist sees Ireland as an inspiration and similarly rejects and hates Britain and the British.

But logically if Sturgeon is so desperate for Scotland to be part of Europe, because of shared values, shared geography and a shared identity that means she wants Scotland to take part in an act of European political union, why does she reject the exact same things about Britain. We have greater shared values with our fellow citizens in Britain. We share an island not merely a continent. We have shared citizenship not merely a shared identity. We don’t need to create a political union, for we have it already.

But Sturgeon just like those across the Irish sea hates Britain so much that she cannot even bear to share the least shreds of a common identity. Yet demands the maintenance of a Common Travel Area to take advantage of those she cannot bear to live with. No wonder British people in Northern Ireland fear a state that hates even their identity. It would be no better for British people left behind in Scotland.

Brussels and Europe good, London and Britain bad is the foundation of Scottish nationalism. It is a rejection of what we are and share for what we are not and don’t fully want to be a part of. Sturgeon would be a reluctant European at best because the arguments that she uses against Westminster, that Scotland is outvoted would apply just the same to Qualified Majority Voting in the EU. If its OK to be outvoted by Brussels, why not London? If you can be Scottish and European, why can’t you be Scottish and British? If you can’t, your grievance is mere prejudice, if you can what are you complaining about.

But nothing will stop Sturgeon complaining. She will be 85 in 2055, but she’ll still be angry about something.

This post was originally published by the author on her personal blog:


About Effie Deans

Effie Deans is a pro UK blogger. She spent many years living in Russia and the Soviet Union, but came home to Scotland so as to enjoy living in a multi-party democracy! When not occupied with Scottish politics she writes fiction and thinks about theology, philosophy and Russian literature.

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