No EU clause on indyref ballot paper
I was pleased to see Tommy Sheppard, one of the candidates for the SNP depute leadership, pouring cold water on an attempt to include membership of the EU on the ballot paper in any future independence referendum (SNP depute leader candidate: put EU in indyref2 question, News, July 31).
Mr Sheppard correctly states it would cloud the issue; the proposal is being made by some because Scotland voted 62 per cent for Remain and 38 per cent for Leave in the EU referendum and the inclusion of the EU name on the ballot paper would be an unnecessary slap down to the 38 per cent.
The SNP supported Remain and I voted for that but it is important that we do not conflate the two issues; I know long-term nationalists who voted Leave, and I know Better Together supporters who voted Remain, so it is very much a mixed bag. That referendum was a lacklustre attempt to heal splits in the Tory Party – it has not done that, but this and the collapse of the Labour vote have left us facing at least 20 years of right-wing Tory rule.
In the 1960s I remember Winnie Ewing giving the most succinct summary of independence: “Full control of the purse and the policies.” I have not heard it better expressed. We should say simply, “I believe Scotland should be an independent country”, and not attempt to limit us from considering any other associations – our fishing grounds, vast reserves of oil and gas (still there in the North Sea) and a strategic geographical position in the North Atlantic make us a valuable addition to other bodies – the European Free Trade Association for one.
I never anticipated any material gain from independence, and at the age of 81 I no longer have any personal political ambition.