The nationalists are using Brexit for their own endsby Willie Rennie / March 15, 2017 / Leave a comment
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is proposing a new, divisive referendum on Scottish independence. The Scottish National Party has been determined to contrive another ever since the results of the last one were announced in 2014. It is now going back on its promise that it was a “once in a generation” occurrence.
It’s time to stand up for the United Kingdom. There is an absurd gap in the SNP’s argument. Its politicians are dragging us into another referendum because the UK is to leave the European Union—yet they refuse to say whether their plan is for an independent Scotland to remain in the EU. Those that may vote for independence because they don’t wish to leave the EU could end up bitterly disappointed.
The SNP is using Remain voters for its own ends. For the party, independence comes first and everything else is second. We are now facing the disastrous prospect of an independent Scotland outside both the EU and the UK. The harm to the UK economy from leaving the single market is going to be enormous. It is almost unimaginable to think that going on to divide the market of the UK would be a good idea.
I oppose erecting a barrier, any barrier, in the heart of the United Kingdom or the European Union. Conservatives want me to choose my British family over my European family. Nationalists want me to choose my European family over my British family. My message to them both is clear: I choose my family over your division.
The economic case for Scottish independence is weaker than in 2014 and the questions that were present during the last referendum are still unanswered. The prospect of a Scotland outside the EU raises further questions as to what an independent country would look like.
Our United Kingdom is an uplifting, mutually beneficial partnership that we should cherish not trash. The responsibility on liberals is great. We must stand up and be counted for our values. This is a battle of ideas and values, not of identities and flags. We must make the positive, open, internationalist case.
So as the First Minister gambles with our country again, I want all Scots to rise up and say we stand with our neighbours and we value our partnership. Our job is to turn back the tide of division.