With Brexit delayed beyond October 31st and this month marking 6 months since the European Parliament elections earlier this year, Brig spoke to three MEP’s representing Scotland in the EU , two SNP MEP’s Aileen Mcleod and Christian Allard and Scottish Liberal Democrat MEP Sheila Ritchie about their thoughts on what should happen now with Brexit
All MEP’s were asked what their desired outcome to the Brexit process would be.
Ritchie simply replied “Stop Brexit”
Mcleod stated that “There is no Brexit outcome that will be better than the current arrangement we have with the EU27.”
She added that “we benefit overwhelmingly from being in the EU” because as a member of the EU we are “part of a powerful trading block significant political and economic heft,” as well as ” having the Court of Justice there to back up our rights as citizens”
Allard said “After 3 and a half years of total incompetence, the UK to remain in the EU.”
In the scenario of a second Brexit referendum, i asked whether there should be some type of ‘supermajority’ in favour or against any option, and why?
Ritchie responded by saying that “not if it is a confirmatory referendum”
In her answer Mcleod referenced the 2016 EU referendum campaign saying “During the run-up to the 2016 EU referendum, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, suggested to David Cameron that there be a ‘triple lock’ whereby all the four constituent nations of the UK would have to vote to leave, meaning no country could be dragged out without its will.” However she says “Cameron shrugged it off”
Allard replied “No, simple majority is the only way, the only democratic way.”
This month it will be six months since the MEP’s were first elected at this years European Parliament elections. Asked about their most significant achievement during this time, Ritchie said “Still being in the EU?” before adding “More seriously, the passing of my “urgency” on the position of child migrants in US detention camps, at my very first full Parliament.”
Mcleod ,a former Scottish Government environment minister explained that climate change is an issue which “is very close to my heart” describing it as an “honour” to “be part of the European Parliament’s delegation to the UN Climate Action Summit where I was able to speak to UN officials and highlight the actions the Scottish Government is taking to combat climate change.”.
Mcleod continued , describing Scotland as a “world leader in not only taking climate change seriously, but also putting in place concrete legislative measures to counter it.”
Allard noted that for him “Making Scotland’s voice heard across the EU, one with a French accent and sometime in French, one that proves that Scotland feels good being part of the EU like any European modern democracy should.”
When asked about what needs to be done to heal any divisions or frustrations felt about delays to Brexit and the withdrawal agreement, Ritchie said “We need to address issues of poverty and material exclusion, to create a greater sense of community. It must start at ground level, and no-one should be left behind” an approach she describes as “Absolute back to basics”
Mcleod started by saying “Enough with the dangerous and divisive ‘enemies of the people’ ‘crush the saboteurs’ ‘traitors’ rhetoric” adding “people deserve the truth” and that “of course people are going to be taken aback by delays” as “you’ve been told brexit would be easy, straightforward, and would lead to a better future” but “in reality, it’s impossible for brexit to be all the things it was promised to be.”
Allard added “Healing should only be done at the ballot box, the brexiteers who claimed it would be quick and easy for the UK to Brexit should be voted out.”
I concluded by asking the MEP’s about what Brexit can tell us about referendums, Scottish independence and political campaigning
Ritchie said “I don’t think there’s a way to answer this which is not partisan” but described referenda as “unpleasant” and added ” I want to live in a world with fewer barriers, not more.”
“We need to find a way to heal rifts, not create new ones. ”
Allard replied “it is clear that the Brexit campaign was the opposite of our yes campaign in 2014, our independence campaign was positive, international and inclusive. It proves that voting for something is not good enough if you haven’t got competent politicians to get you there. Brexiteers have been hiding or fighting one another while the independence movement is growing by the day.”
Mcleod described the difference between the Scottish independence referendum and the EU referendum as “remarkable” , exemplifying her point Mcleod said “In 2014, the Scottish Government produced a detailed White Paper making the case for independence and outlining the means by which it would be achieved.If you’re doing to advocate for dramatic change, you have to give people a reasonable, detailed, and feasible blueprint for it”.
Mcleod described the 2014 pro Scottish independence Yes campaign as ” based on a hopeful, outward-looking future for Scotland, EU nationals who’d done us the honour of making their homes here were allowed to vote.” Which Mcleod says is the “kind of campaign I want to see.”
Feature image credit: European Parliament