Jim Fairlie: Why I Have Joined sovereignty

I am a hardline, uncompromising Scottish Nationalist and have been all my life.

I joined the SNP in Perth when I was 15 years old in 1955 and I have never wavered in my belief in Scottish Independence, by which I mean independent of both Westminster and the EU. I have absolutely no qualms about calling myself a Nationalist as what else would someone who believes in the independence of his country be called?

Having joined the SNP approximately 20 years after it was formed, I was what was called a Traditional Nationalist. We believed that from independence all else flowed and our aim was to unite the Scottish people, whatever place on the political spectrum they occupied, in the belief that unless they broke away from the stultifying Union with England, they would never be likely to see the kind of Scotland they sought, unless of course England agreed.

With the drive towards a United Europe and the formation of the Common Market, the European Economic Community and finally the European Union, the position of the SNP moved in tandem with that development. I wrote my first article opposing the Common Market in the Scots Independent in 1968 and I was one of the very few inside the SNP who had actually read the Treaty of Rome, where the European Statesmen of the time, like Schuman and Halstein, made no secret of their aim of creating a United States of Europe. I have often said if Stalin’s advisers had read and understood Mein Kampf, the Soviet Union would have expected Hitler’s invasion of the soviet Union and been better prepared.

I became more and more disillusioned with the SNP throughout the 1980s despite holding the post of Deputy Leader to Gordon Wilson from 1980 to 1984, when I demitted office; although I remained a member of the National Executive until I resigned the party in December 1990, a mere two months after Alex Salmond won the Leadership on Gordon Wilson’s retirement. Salmond’s election and my resignation are not unconnected.

There followed short connections with the Sovereignty Movement and The Free Scotland Party, neither of which lasted more than a few months. For the best part of 30 years I have had no political party affiliations because no electorally effective political party shared my views on Scottish Independence – independent of both Westminster and the European Union. More importantly no other electorally effective political party believed that sovereignty lies with the Scottish people and not with the Crown in Parliament… We have now reached the stage where the majority in the Independence Movement find it difficult to tell the difference between independence and interdependence. I believe that Sovereignty now occupies the political ground I share. I want to play a part in its development.

Jim Fairlie