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European Left backs Scotland's right to decide

Its General Assembly is meeting this weekend in Ljubljana and has today agreed the following statement with no opposition.

Democratic Left Scotland, which was represented at the Assembly, welcomed the decision both as a boost to the campaign to highlight Scotland's right to decide, and in raising the profile of the debate on Scotland's constitutional position in other European countries.

Scotland’s Right to Decide Scotland’s Future

The European elections are important for Europe for all the reasons we are discussing, but they have a particular significance for Scotland. Over the past 7 years, since the Brexit referendum, the case for Scotland to have control of its own constitutional future has been widely debated.

The United Kingdom is a union of nations, as its name implies. The question is whether that union is voluntary or not.


The next UK election must happen in the next 12 months and is likely to see a change of government. However, it will not see a change of policy on Scotland. Both the current Conservative UK Government and the Labour opposition both maintain a position that Scotland has no right to make decisions about its own future. 


Given the extreme asymmetry of the United Kingdom, this means decisions about Scotland's future lie in the hands of the English electorate. Scotland will elect 57 MPs at the next election, England will elect 543 (Wales will elect 32 and the north of Ireland 18).


Further, the lack of a written constitution means that there is no clear way to identify how Scotland could be given a route to determining its own future. 

There is sustained support in polling for Scotland's right to hold a referendum, and the progressive movement, including the Scottish Trade Union Congress overwhelmingly supports this demand. It is important to note that the right to hold a referendum is different to the case for independence, and is part of the case for radical democratisation of the British state. 


Even Ursula von der Leyen has stated that an independent Scotland would be welcome in the European Union.


The European Parliament will be important in making the case for a referendum. This is because of likely negotiations over the Windsor Framework governing the status of the north of Ireland and a potential renegotiation of the relationship between the EU and the UK if there is a Labour government.


The European Left Party notes that Scotland has expressed its wish for a second independence referendum through the Scottish Parliament in both the current and previous parliamentary terms. It has been blocked by the British Government, which commands only minority support in Scotland.


The Party of the European Left believes that Scotland has the right to self-determination and notes that Europe and the European institutions will play a significant role in the politics of the UK over the coming term of the European Parliament. We believe that the Scottish Parliament, as the representative of the Scottish people should have the right to call a referendum and that the current situation where the right to hold a referendum on Scottish independence so that the Scottish people can decide their own future.

Published 24 February 2024.


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