#indyref2 was to be expected – a vote for independence will be too | The Friday Article

The Tory Government possesses a dangerous arrogance at present. It’s one that chooses to fight against the ruling of the judiciary (High Court) on Brexit, the Lords’ recommendation that they should secure the rights of EU nationals living in the UK, and now Scotland’s plans for a second independence referendum – which was announced by Nicola Sturgeon on Monday this week.

NICOLA STURGEON
Photo: First Minister of Scotland on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/.

The announcement was always to be expected – the referendum hanging over Theresa May’s shoulder ever since it was found that the Scots voted for remain – but what wasn’t predictable was when the call by the SNP would be made for ‘indyref2’. However, just as Prime Minister May was about to relax in the fact that her Brexit parade could no longer be rained upon (thanks to the Brexit Bill being passed at the start of this week), the Scottish Government decided to announce their plans for the referendum. Oh dear.

You have to be thankful that our Government possesses a different sort of stubbornness to that of Donald Trump. When the latter’s initial ‘travel ban’ was blocked by a judge, he angrily tweeted that ‘THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!’. Yet, when May’s Brexit timetable was thrown into question by the judiciary and the laws, she may not have been happy, but she showed it with professionalism. Although this implies some separation between how the two governments operate, let’s not forget that both are becoming worryingly isolationist. Trump has once again tried to reinstate a travel ban, whilst the UK has to ensure it does not shut itself off when it severs ties with the EU after Brexit.

The Tory government has a dangerous tunnel vision – one obsessed with a hard Brexit that threatens the EU with a no deal despite making no economic evaluations of said deal, and one that is willing to do this without considering the wishes of the Scottish people.

To once again compare to Trump’s administration, there’s cries of ‘fake news’ whenever the US President sees any critical articles about him in the media. Now, as Sturgeon and co. publicly declare their discontent with the UK Government on Brexit, May accuses the SNP of playing a ‘game’ – which is somewhat hypercritical coming from someone who still refuses to secure the rights of EU citizens living here as though they are some sort of bargaining chip.

However desirable a forever United Kingdom may be, one has to understand that the treatment of Scotland by the Tories is more than enough evidence to show why a ‘yes’ vote is entirely possible. David Cameron’s sweet-talking from 2014 where he said: “I speak for millions of people across England, Wales and Northern Ireland – and many in Scotland, too, who would be utterly heart-broken by the break-up of the United Kingdom” has apparently gone out of the window with May. She’s resorted to the trusty ad hominem attacks that the Conservatives know and love.

As Trump’s shouts of ‘fake news’ show weakness and do little to stifle the criticism against his administration, you have to consider what the PM’s comments about the SNP ‘playing games’ conveys. Zac Goldsmith’s disgraceful mayoral campaign remains a constant lesson to the Tories about how bad personal attacks are in politics. In that case, it led to people supporting the alternative candidate: Sadiq Khan.

If the Tories maintain their arrogance, ignorance and tunnel vision, it will only benefit the ‘Yes’ campaign even further. Scots, angry at the fact that they are being ignored and mocked by the UK Government, will vote to leave the United Kingdom – and I wouldn’t be surprised.

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If Boris is next, he must accept a vote to remain | The Friday Article

Throughout the referendum, Vote Leave has made a slow progression to the far right. In its final push to win over voters, representatives from the campaign have talked about how the EU’s freedom of movement will affect the NHS (something you’d hear from UKIP, not top Tory ministers) and this week, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have both suggested an Australian-style points-based system when it comes to immigration – again, something UKIP have mentioned in the past.

Regardless of the result, columnists are alluding to the end of David Cameron’s time as Prime Minister, backed up with the fact that there are already talks about Cameron’s replacement – with Boris Johnson being one of the top favourites.

Boris Johnson
If Boris is to succeed David Cameron following a remain vote, then he must put the result behind him. Photo by Andrew Parsons/Parsons Media on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/legalcode.

If the former Mayor of London is to replace him, then there’s no doubt that the result of the EU referendum will haunt the Conservative government. Boris Johnson leading a government dealing with Brexit wouldn’t be a problem. However, should he be forced to accept a vote to remain, then it could be a problem for his leadership – depending on how willing he is to acknowledge the public’s decision.

It’s a problem which lingers over the Scottish National Party today. Despite the people of Scotland voting against independence last year, the SNP are still desperate to push for independence where possible. At the moment, the next opportunity for the party is if Scotland leave the European Union against their wishes. As much as Johnson may dislike the remain vote, Boris should sever ties with the Vote Leave campaign as Prime Minister and learn to accept the result. By doing that, he would break free from a problem which currently affects the SNP, where they are waiting for every possible opportunity to get their desired result.

Even if the thought of a second referendum is off the cards, there’s a more immediate method which Boris Johnson could exercise as a possible Prime Minister. In his role, he could invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty at any time, without a referendum. Obviously, members of the public who voted remain would object to this decision – as would many parties within the Houses of Commons – but it is a possibility, even if it is rather extreme.

At the end of the day, the public voted in the Conservatives for other policies, so it would be wrong for the next four years of Tory rule – possibly under Boris Johnson – to be dominated by a push for Brexit. Not only should the opinions of the British public be respected after the referendum, but Boris’ desire to leave the EU – along with Vote Leave’s ideas – should be left with UKIP. If we want to leave, there will be a time where it will happen.

Liam

The EU Referendum: Why I’m voting to stay | The Friday Article

With Britain Stronger In Europe, Vote Leave and other groups beginning their campaigns from today, now is a good time to explain why I’ll be voting for Britain to remain in the European Union.

EU Building
Photo: ’50 European Union’ by annarouse on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/legalcode.

My reason for this comes down to a simple question:

At a time of a deficit and threats from numerous countries, is it really wise for us to leave a single market and risk damaging our union with other countries?

Granted, some voting to leave have argued that we could still access the single market through the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), but the loss of EU’s single market would impact many jobs which rely on our relationship with the union.

It would also be a matter of negotiating with the EU and EFTA in order to still access this market. What is not to say that us leaving the EFTA in 1972 has tainted our relationships with the association? Similarly, leaving the EU would surely damage our ties with EU member states.

Whilst the UK will have to renegotiate certain laws and regulations regardless of June’s result, surely it’s best to renegotiate whilst we’re in the EU, rather than attempt to reach agreements on our own? What if we leave and don’t get everything we wanted? If we stay in the EU – even if we don’t achieve new deals – we still have this ‘special status’, the rebate, less issues with travel and many other benefits.

Another reason for voting to stay in is extra devolution of power that the EU brings us. The ‘leave’ campaign thinks this is restrictive, but that is the point – it holds our government to account. If you were unhappy with the government’s decision on a matter which affects you, you would want a body like the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to fight our corner. A recent example of this is the Investigatory Powers Bill, which the ECJ is looking into. If we leave the European Union, we are stuck with our country’s decisions – what if we don’t like that? We need that extra level which the ECJ provides. On top of that, the European Arrest Warrant has given us more police powers in the UK. The ECJ, EU rulings and laws all hold our country to account whilst also granting us the UK new freedoms in law enforcement.

Aside from law and the devolution of powers, unity is another issue. There’s no doubt that leaving the EU would taint relationships at a time where we must remain together in order to fight numerous world threats.

Speaking in February, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said that a ‘leave’ vote could lead to another independence referendum. Is a vote to leave a great idea, when it can affect our unity not just in Europe, but the United Kingdom?

Lastly, I think the new EU agreement on immigration is fair, where EU migrants only gain access to specific benefits after 4 years. However, there have been talks that these reforms are not ‘legally binding’, but I can only hope that they do become bound by law once a remain vote is confirmed.

On a more general point about immigration, leaving the EU would mean the UK as a nation would have to deal with a European problem on its own. We need to work together to solve the refugee and migrant crises, not as one nation on our own.
For these reasons above and – admittedly – the opportunity to annoy UKIP leader Nigel Farage, I am voting for us to remain in the European Union on June 23.

How are you voting in June? Are you voting for us to remain in or leave the EU? What are your reasins? Comment below!

Liam