by Rab Bruce’s Spider

It seems Project Fear has found a new angle thanks to Brexit. They’ve been pushing the "We can’t stop trading with our biggest partner" line for a while now, but one thing you can rely on is that Unionists will always find an angle, even when staring a calamity like Brexit in the face.

So what is this new line of attack? Well, it plays on people’s fear of change. What they are doing is pointing to the absolute chaos of Brexit, highlighting all the problems that it is going to cause and then saying, "So you see how difficult it would be for Scotland to break away from our precious Union?"

It’s an interesting scare tactic, since it relies on people accepting that they should stick with Brexit UK and all the shortages of food, medicine and jobs that will bring, rather than risk the possible downsides of Scottish independence.

Now, nobody is saying becoming a normal country will be plain sailing. Many parts of Scotland’s society are deeply intertwined with the rest of the UK, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that disentangling those aspects will be as difficult as Brexit.

This is because Scotland already has several of the attributes of a normal, independent country. We have our own legal and education systems, our own emergency services and our own Parliament to name a few.

Where work would be required is in establishing organisations to cover things like collection of taxes and social security, but we are already part way there. And there would be such things as setting up a Scottish equivalent of DVLA and other similar organisations. But the important thing to note is that, while these may take some time, there is no absolute cut-off point whereby the UK would stop providing these services as there is with exiting the Single Market and Customs Union. An independent Scotland could easily pay the UK to continue to run these operations until such time as Scottish equivalent organisations are set up.

Of course, we all know the UK will try to be uncooperative since its default position is to be spiteful and vindictive, but we should not forget that, in any negotiations about secession from the UK, Scotland has a lot of strong cards to play. England will continue to rely on Scottish power generation and on Scottish water, not to mention the important fact that the UK’s nuclear submarine base is in Scotland. If they want to maintain their status as a nuclear power, they are going to want to keep that going until they have built an alternative base. So there is incentive on both sides to negotiate in good faith.

And the really important bit is that Scotland could remain in the EU, thus entirely removing the need to set up agencies to monitor such things as approval of new medicines. Our laws already comply with EU regulations, and we wouldn’t need to negotiate any trade deals at all since the EU takes care of that. Our airports could continue to have planes flying, our truck drivers would find that their licences will allow them to continue to operate within the EU, and a whole host of Brexit issues vanish, especially those which will negatively impact the Scottish economy.

There will, of course, still be a great deal of work to be done. Our ports need to be upgraded because we need more direct transport links to Europe; we would need to establish our own armed forces and a network of embassies and consulates. Then there is the question of a Central Bank and which currency to use.

but all of these things, and others, are quite normal for a newly independent nation, and every other country that has become independent has had to face them. Are we really saying that Scots, who have given the world so many inventors and philosophical thinkers, are incapable of achieving what other nations have already shown can be done?

So let’s not be afraid of this new scare tactic. As usual, the Unionists are trying to compare two things which, while ostensibly similar, are actually quite different in many respects.