by Rab Bruce’s Spider

Whether an independent Scotland would remain or be allowed to join the EU is a hot topic at the moment, but we shouldn’t get too excited about it yet. There is a tendency for people to believe any comment which supports their own view and there is no shortage of European politicians prepared to make comments.

For what it is worth, I think it is inconceivable that the EU would not permit Scotland to remain a member, especially as Scottish citizens currently hold EU citizenship. Whether the membership would be immediate, delayed, fast-tracked or involve some sort of transitional stage is, at the moment, little more than speculation. We won’t know what the actual state of play is until it happens.

Which suggests that, as the Brexit negotiations are going to be complex and probably drag on for some time unless both parties dig their heels in and talks collapse at an early stage, then Scots are likely to be required to vote on independence before we know precisely what our EU status is going to be. Hopefully, some sort of definitive answer will be available, but we shouldn’t count on it.

Which leads to another point we are in danger of forgetting; namely that independence is about far more than whether we are members of the EU. Brexit may be the trigger for a second IndieRef and may well be a deciding factor (one way or the other) for many voters, but it is far from being the only issue. Independence, we must not forget, is, at its core, about becoming a normal country responsible for our own future. The details of that future will be determined by a Scottish Government elected by the people of Scotland and will cover every aspect of our lives, from regulation, through taxes, border controls, defence, EU membership, trade, foreign aid, social Security, and a host of other things right through to our Old Age Pensions.

So let’s not get too hung up on what some Spanish or German politician has said, either on or off the record, about Scotland’s EU membership until we know what it might actually look like. Even then, let’s not view the EU as the sole reason for wanting independence. It is a big reason for many people, but the driving force behind independence remains the right of a nation to democratic self-determination.