Welcome to Scotland in Europe, a resource which I hope will inform the discussion over Scotland’s current and future relationship with our wider continent.
It has never been more important to be well informed about matters European.
In the star-crossed UK referendum on EU membership on 23 June 2016, the people of Scotland voted emphatically by 62% to 38% to remain within the European Union, across every counting area from Shetland to Stranraer, the Western Isles to the Borders. By a narrow majority of 52% to 48%, the UK population voted to leave. Since that point there has been a blizzard of facts, opinion and counter-opinion, pseudo-facts and outright fake news over Scotland, the UK and the EU. I hope that this resource will be an antidote to some of the misinformation that has been circulated, myths that have gone unchallenged and counter a general lack of familiarity with the EU that could hinder an informed debate and informed choice over our future path.
Where we won the referendum in Scotland, I believe that there remains an argument to be won over EU membership, and a dearth of accessible resources giving reliable facts to inform that discussion.
This is an unusual political publication in that, where possible, every fact is referenced, and opinion is stated as such. I am, for my part, a proud nationalist and a proud European, firm in my view that Scotland’s best future will be as an independent state within the EU. However, this book is less about that, and aims more to inform a discussion about how we got to where we are now, what is at stake in the ongoing negotiations, and Scotland’s possible future paths.
I hope, though it is perhaps for others to judge, that I am not partisan in my thinking. On my election to the European Parliament in 2004, I sought membership of the Parliament’s Switzerland, Iceland and Norway Delegation specifically to familiarise myself with the realities of EFTA or EEA membership, as well as to get to know better some of our nearest neighbours. I served on the Delegation for ten years, so can claim to have spent many years getting to know Scotland’s other options, and am happy to debate all of them on their respective merits. Scotland has several options available to us as, indeed, does the UK.
We do not know what is in Scotland’s, nor indeed the UK’s, future. However, whatever twists and turns the brexit rollercoaster has yet to travel, I hope that a reliable source of information will allow people to make an informed choice. This site and the book of the same name (launching on October 9th) aim to be one such source. Being a virtual resource we will keep this site updated with developments. We also produce a weekly email update on significant developments: you can keep up to date by registering here.
I’m grateful to my co-author Dr Adam Marks and my team, especially Laura Rayner, Clyn Gallagher, Schams El Ghoneimi, Patrick Robertshaw and Scott McCulloch for all their hard work on this book, but any errors are my responsibility.
- Alyn Smith MEP