It is time for Scotland to rejoin the EU - Lorna Slater
This Saturday I will be proud to join the First Minister of Scotland, Humza Yousaf, as well as Succession star Brian Cox and many more for a march and rally for an independent Scotland in the European Union.
Where better for it than Edinburgh, a thriving, iconic and cosmopolitan city that people from around the world come to and where almost three quarters of us voted to remain in the EU?
It’s no secret that Brexit has been a disaster for Scotland. It has hurt thousands of local businesses by applying unnecessary new hurdles and costs, it has increased the prices that we all pay for basic everyday items in shops, it led to staffing shortages across the economy, particularly in the NHS, care sector, and hospitality and has curbed our right to live, work and study abroad.
It was based on an inward looking and xenophobic vision that Scotland overwhelmingly rejected and has continued to reject.
We underlined that rejection at the most recent Scottish election, when we elected the largest ever pro-independence and pro-EU majority of MSPs in the history of our Parliament.
Despite this we have seen Brexit used to fuel new attacks on devolution. In the aftermath of our departure from the EU, Westminster forced through the Internal Market Act, which gave them veto powers over key policy areas in Scotland.
It is that same Act that they used to veto Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme and make progress impossible, even though these schemes are common throughout Europe and the world. If they will use those powers to stop us from recycling cans and bottles then what else will they use it for?
The pro-Brexit consensus in Westminster has only been entrenched by a leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, who has gone from leading the calls against our departure from the EU to promising to uphold it. Time and again he’s made clear that there is no route back into Europe with a Labour government.
The longer we remain outside the EU and the more entrenched that Brexit becomes, the harder it will be to reverse.
That is why EU membership is so central to the case for Scottish independence. It is only with the powers of a normal independent country that we can choose our own path and regain all of the benefits we lost. The only way we can do that is with the powers of independence.
Freedom of movement and trade in the EU were among the greatest political achievements for generations. I want us all to have those rights again and for young people to benefit for decades to come.
If you believe that Scotland should have the right to choose its own future as a European country then join me and many others this Saturday at 13:30 where we will be marching from Johnston Terrace for a rally outside our Parliament.
Lorna Slater is Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity.