Mike Small: Project Fear returns but now Europe is for Scotland

With less than a week to vote in Holyrood, the media was inundated with nostalgia as all platforms and media broadcast Project Fear 2.

Nicola Sturgeon was hunted down from studio to studio and a sort of binge eating emerged as newspapers and programs tried to outbid each other in the war on a referendum: “Nicola Sturgeon struggles to answer key questions about independence from Scotland, ”the Telegraph attempted; “Independence would result in a hard border,” said The Scotsman; “Nicola Sturgeon struck a hammer as RBS warns he will move to London under independence,” shouted the Daily Express … and so on.

The Herald focused on the fact that the FM did not claim that it would withdraw Trident immediately and that banks and businesses lined up to say they would leave if people voted to govern themselves.

It was like summer 2014 again.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: Why a new Fear project is good for Scottish independence

The phenomenon was revealing – not because the media shouldn’t question politicians, they absolutely should, but because nothing focused on the actual content of the SNP manifesto, policies or agenda for the government, everything was about a future event which most of the media simultaneously claims will never happen.

The salvos had two main areas of focus, economics and “borders.”

It was a little strange because, as intelligent readers will recall what was said in 2014, it was: ‘You cannot be independent because you will not be in the EU’ – now in 2021, the message became: “You cannot be independent because you will be in the EU”.

The obsession with borders is strong for people who just cannot conceive that Britain is not a unitary state, it triggers a kind of shock in the minds of some people for reasons that are not everything. absolutely clear. I never really understood what it was. People travel, people cross borders every day in the world. It’s not a big deal. I suspect this is something that will be used to denigrate the indy movement and then quickly forgotten afterwards.

Of course, the question would be market access, and here again the question of Scotland’s relationship to Europe arises. Unlike the frenzy of Project Fear 2, this week saw old-fashioned “love bombings” from allies across Europe. More than 200 leading European writers, artists and cultural figures are calling on Europeans around the world to join them and tell the people of Scotland that they would be welcome back to the EU, if they so choose. More than 200 leading writers, artists and thinkers from all EU member states have signed a letter to EU leaders calling for Scotland to be unilaterally offered generous conditions to re-enter the EU .

READ MORE: Europe for Scotland: Sign up and show your support for an independent Scotland in the EU

The Europe Letter to Scotland is online for citizens of each country to co-sign in 19 European languages, including Scottish and Gaelic on the website. www.europeforscotland.com.

Among the signatories are world-renowned thinkers such as economic historian Adam Tooze, Dutch sociologist and globalization expert Saskia Sassen, English Holberg Prize winner Black Atlantic and Black Studies theorist Paul Gilroy, winner of the German Peace Prize and cultural historian Jan Assmann, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, Belgian political economist Philippe Van Parijs, famous investigative journalist and writer Roberto Saviano, British historian David Edgerton, French political philosopher Etienne Balibar and the famous Norwegian anthropologist Thomas Hylland Eriksen.

Signatories come from every EU member state and every country in the UK. Among them are some of the world’s greatest philosophers and political thinkers and renowned European novelists, actors and musicians.

They are joined by actors, filmmakers, artists and cultural figures from all European nations. They include Golden Globe winner Brian Cox, Oscar winner Cristopher Hampton and Grammy Award winner Brian Eno. Among them, the authors nominated by Booker, Elena Ferrante (Italy), Colm Tóibín (Ireland), Daniel Kehlmann (Germany), Philip Pullman, Ian McEwan, James Robertson, the winners of the European Book Prize Sofi Oksanen (Finland / Estonia) and Englishman Jonathan Coe, award-winning novelist Carsten Jensen (Denmark), William Boyd, fantasy writer Neal Gaiman, detective writer Val McDermid. poet Nese Yasın (Cyprus), rising star playwright Borna Vujcic (Croatia), award-winning composer Nigel Osborne, composers Alexander Vella Gregory (Malta) and Oscar-nominated Patrick Doyle.

READ MORE: Neighbors coming to Scotland’s rescue in the EU

A large number of prominent democracy scholars support the call, including political philosophers such as Srecko Horvat (Croatia) Daniel Innerarity (Spain) GM Tamás (Hungary) Philip Pettit (Ireland) Axel Honneth (Germany), political scientists such as Mary Kaldor Nadia Urbinati (Italy) Brigid Laffan (Ireland) Kalypso Nicolaïdis (Greece) Ulrike Guerot (Germany) Albena Azmanova (Bulgaria) Olivier Costa (France) Leif Lewin (Sweden) Sławomir Sierakowski (Poland) Miklós Haraszti (Hungary) Claus Offe (Germany) Rainer Baubock (Austria) Yves Many (France) Willem Schinkel (Netherlands) Tom Nairn, Vladimir Tismaneanu (Romania) Jan Sowa (Poland) and Brendan O’Leary (Ireland), European law scholars Sionaidh Douglas -Scott, Alberto Alemanno (Italy) and Anne Weyembergh (Belgium), criminologist Federico Varese (Italy), human rights lawyers Katrin Oddsdottir (Iceland) and Debora Kayembe. Finally, leading political figures and activists such as the former Portuguese presidential candidate Ana Gomes (Portugal) and the architect of the Good Friday agreement journalist and former head of the European Commission in Northern Ireland, Jane Morrice.

In Scotland, the letter was signed by Scottish Makar Jackie Kay, actor Sam Heughan, writers such as Val McDermid, William Boyd, Neal Ascherson and James Robertson, broadcaster Lesley Riddoch, Scottish writer Billy Kay, the investigative journalist Duncan Campbell, singer, young musician Janis Šipkevics (Latvia), famous documentary filmmaker Apolena Rychlíková (Czech) and Jure Ivanušic (Slovenia).

In solidarity with Scotland and in frustration with Westminster, many well-known cultural and academic figures in England and Wales have joined Europe for Scotland, including: Misha Glenny, George Monbiot, Richard Eyre, Carman Calill , Vron Ware, Gary Younge, Stuart White, Hilary Wainwright, Laura McAllister, John Osmond, David and Judith Marquand.

It was an impressive list of individuals and a gesture of democracy and solidarity.

As you might expect, he has been mocked by people who don’t want Scotland to be part of the EU – from left to right.

But the question was not in my mind about the EU, it was (and is) about democracy.

Someone wrote “just because you broke up with someone doesn’t mean you want to get back with them”.

But that doesn’t describe what happened.

Scotland was taken out of the EU against our will, we did not choose to leave.

Scotland’s decision to join the EU or other institutions will be decided once we regain independence, but the ‘Europe for Scotland’ project is an impressive display of international solidarity. Scotland has accumulated karma.

But if the hand of friendship contrasted sharply with the hostility of the British media, it also begs the question: Does Project Fear have more of the same reach?

I have a feeling that most fear and bullying tactics have been overused and are now having diminishing returns.

FINALLY, the economic case is not the slam-dunk trade unionists like to think of. How do we know this? Because two of their top advisers told us. Remember the hastily pulled paper from Richard Mackenzie-Gray Scott and Geoffrey Chapman?

Analysis by Mackenzie-Gray Scott, researcher at the Bingham Center for the Rule of Law, and Geoffrey Chapman, economic adviser to the Department for International Trade, used the break-up of Czechoslovakia as a model for the United Kingdom at the event of ‘independence. The document had been posted on the website of the London School of Economics and Political Science. A UK government official issued a statement saying: “This is not the opinion of the Department for International Trade or the UK government, and the matter is under investigation.”

I bet that’s it.

Mackenzie-Gray Scott and Geoffrey Chapman concluded: “Given that Scotland has all the necessary mechanisms to become an independent state, we see no obvious reason why Scotland would not be economically successful if it did.”

They write: “While becoming self-employed would have immediate economic costs, the long-term view suggests that there are benefits. By pitting Scotland and England against the ‘velvet divorce’ of the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic, our research suggests that an independent Scotland will continue to grow its real GDP per capita despite higher trade costs. ”

READ MORE: Censorship of blog post ‘proves conservatives terrified of independence’

Basically, they advocate cessation through the rule of law as the key to international support, but also: “In light of economic growth and long-term stability, it might be worthwhile for Scotland to try to establish foreign relations with other states and international organizations. if there was no cooperation from the UK to advance another referendum result in favor of independence. A key factor is that if the UK did not respect any future outcome of the independence referendum, the unilateral Scottish secession would become more legitimate, meaning that international recognition of Scotland as an independent state would be probably more likely.

This is interesting because it suggests that the Europe for Scotland project is not only an indicator of international recognition and support, it is not just ‘soft power’, but a way out. Scotland again being ‘in the world’ not only in a political or metaphorical sense, but in the sense of having strategic partnerships, alliances, trade routes and pan-European standards as it leaves Britain for real.

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