Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister

AT 11pm tonight, Scotland will cease to be part of the EU after almost half a century.

That is a moment of profound sadness for me, and for countless others across Scotland, and indeed the rest of the UK.

Make no mistake, Brexit threatens to make us poorer. It poses a direct risk to jobs, prosperity and investment – and, under Boris Johnson’s Government, we are poised to see a dangerous divergence from the EU on vital issues such as environmental protection, food standards and workers’ rights.

Perhaps more fundamentally, being part of the EU is an expression of shared values we hold dear – the ideas of solidarity, openness and a genuine partnership of equal nations.

Few people in Scotland could have missed the contrast with the way the EU showed solidarity with Ireland over the past three and a half years of Brexit negotiations compared with the way the Westminster Government has treated Scotland.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon looks to a brighter future for an independent Scotland in the EU

Today we are asking our friends in Europe to leave a light on for Scotland so we can find our find way home.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s insistence that we can see a comprehensive trade deal with the EU wrapped up by the end of this year is fanciful in the extreme. The reality is that, in the next few months, the UK is likely to once again be in a standoff with Brussels, which could see us crash out with a No-Deal outcome when the transition ends.

But for Scotland, of course, the reality of Brexit raises profound questions about our future as a nation.

The National:

We voted decisively to remain in the EU. But that vote has been utterly ignored by the Conservative UK Government – and Scotland has been treated with contempt by the Tories at every turn since the Brexit referendum result in 2016.

Our proposals for compromise, which could have seen a softer Brexit, still inside the single market and customs union, were dismissed out of hand. We then saw a Westminster power grab on the Scottish Parliament.

In 2014, a central plank of the No campaign was that rejecting independence was the only way to guarantee our future in the EU.

That pledge now rings utterly hollow. We now face being removed from the world’s biggest single market – one eight times the size of the UK market – against the overwhelming democratic wishes of the people of Scotland.

And Scotland faces being the only nation of the UK not to get what it voted for – England and Wales both voted to leave the EU – or a special deal like that which will keep Northern Ireland closely aligned to the European single market and customs union.

We do not grudge Northern Ireland the deal it is being given. Its special circumstances are well known and well understood, and the Scottish Government fully supports and respects the Good Friday Agreement. But it also threatens to put Scotland at a significant competitive disadvantage when it comes to our economic interests, particularly when it comes to inward investment.

Now that Brexit is almost upon us, the Tories’ contempt for Scotland is more brazen than ever. We see a UK Government which isn’t even pretending to listen to the concerns of Scotland – including those of many businesses and stakeholders.

That was clear only this week when our proposals for a bespoke Scottish visa system for the migrants we so badly need was rejected out of hand, without even apparently being read.

And yesterday it emerged that “senior figures from the UK Government” have been briefing that “it doesn’t matter one jot what the Scottish Parliament has decided” in reference to Holyrood’s vote on Wednesday to endorse the mandate for an independence referendum.

That contemptuous line may have sounded good to whoever said it. But telling the people of Scotland that the voice of their national Parliament – and by extension the way they themselves vote – “doesn’t matter one jot” is the kind of cack-handed, arrogant jibe which will only see support for independence rise even further.

Yesterday also saw the publication of a significant new poll on independence, showing majority support for a Yes vote as the reality of Brexit dawns.

That follows another poll showing that a clear majority of people believe it is for Holyrood, not Westminster, to decide whether there should be an independence referendum.

The recent General Election saw the SNP win the contest resoundingly in Scotland. We did so with a higher percentage of the popular vote and a higher share of seats than the Conservatives did across the UK as a whole. Despite this, the UK Government tries to insist that there is no mandate for a referendum.

Ultimately, the position adopted by Mr Johnson and his party – who lost half of their seats in Scotland – cannot hold. It is quite simply an unsustainable position to cling to in any democracy worthy of the name.

And in taking the position they have, I believe the Conservatives are trading short-term tactical positioning for what will ultimately be a strategic defeat for them. They are denying a referendum in the face of a democratic mandate for the simple reason that they fear they would lose. That is a sign of weakness – not strength.

But the longer they cling to that position, the more they are likely to increase support for independence when that vote comes.

No-one, whatever their personal views on the issue, seriously doubts that the question will have to be put to the test again, and I firmly believe that when it is the people of Scotland will vote for independence.

The National:

Professor Sir Tom Devine, historian

It will be Black Friday for me: a sad and utterly irrational farewell to the European Union, a decision which is fundamentally opposed by a very large majority of this ancient nation.

Nonetheless, I am hopeful that our country will once again be united with our European friends before too long. The Brexit battle is over, the struggle to return to the EU has just begun.

For over six hundred years between the twelfth and early eighteenth century, Scotland’s most intimate external relations were with Europe. That can be so again.

Denise Mina, author

I feel we are taking a step backwards. I grew up in Paris, also I lived in Holland and Norway and it feels like a fearful decision. I am European. I had a very European childhood. I feel very sad. But I feel we need to be moderate in our responses. I think in ten years time we will be crawling back with a lesser deal.

Annabelle Ewing SNP MSP

Scotland has been part of the EU for 46 years, but today we are to be dragged out though 62% of us voted to stay. I feel very sad but determined to ensure that Scotland reclaims the powers of a normal independent country so that we get to choose our future.

The National:

Sheena Wellington, singer

On Friday at 5pm I’ll be in the City Square in Dundee holding a light to mourn the forcible removal of my EU citizenship and show my hope that soon an independent Scotland will be making its own decisions about its foreign affairs.

I am angry that the children of my family will be robbed of opportunities to freely travel, study, work, live and love in whichever EU country they choose.

I am angry that performing and touring in Europe will be much more difficult, bureaucratic and expensive for our current fine crop of musicians and other artists than it has been for nearly 50 years.

I am angry that the interests of the people of Scotland have been ignored by a Government in thrall to its right wing and its big money backers. And I am angry that when we had the opportunity to leave this dysfunctional union we didn’t.

Angela Constance, SNP MSP
Scotland is an ancient European nation that voted decisively to remain within the European community to work with other forward-looking nations on the challenges we face. While today is a sad day for democracy, now more than ever we need to increase our resolve to decide our own future. The campaign for independence has turned a new corner.

Deidre Brock, SNP MP
Brexit will damage Scotland. It’s a stupidity we will all regret for many years to come – however we voted in that referendum. I’m heartbroken by the loss we’ll suffer and I’m devastated that people who have come from other European nations to settle in Scotland, to build lives, families and businesses here, might feel less welcome.

Scotland’s on a journey to self-determination but we are and will remain a European nation, outward-looking and inclusive. Our European allies should know that Scotland hasn’t gone away, we’ve just popped out for a while.

Lin Anderson, writer
A sad and bad day for all the countries of the UK. We at least have a choice. This is Scotland’s time.

Pauline McNeil, Labour MSP
Sadly, I think we are out of Europe for a long time. It may not be goodbye forever, as I am sure there will be attempts to re-enter given the strength of feeling.

It is a lesson for politicians across the UK that you cannot take support for such a remote institution for granted. Even though we know the benefits of being in the EU, it should never have been assumed that ordinary people would see that. 

Aileen McLeod, SNP MEP
Being a member of Europe’s parliament has been one of the greatest honours of my life, and we have friends and allies within the parliament and across the EU. They are heartbroken we are leaving. But I give you my word, Scotland will continue to protect the interests of EU citizens who have made Scotland their home. The UK may be leaving the EU, but Scotland is not abandoning you. I look forward to an independent Scotland rejoining the EU in the near future, playing a positive role and promoting Europe’s values, international solidarity and co-operation as an equal partner.

Tenzing Scott Brown, playwright
No Spare Tyre is a forty second play by Tenzing Scott Brown

It is 6.48 on a Thursday morning.
It is the day before the UK leaves the EU.
Bill Drummond is attempting to change a tyre on a car.
He is approached by The Woman.
The Woman: Do you mind me asking?
Bill Drummond: Depends.
The Woman: I just wanted to know if you thought …
Bill Drummond: Look – I’m for less borders, not more.
The Woman: Aren’t we all, but …
Bill Drummond: I know, it is more complicated than that, but …
The Woman: But what?
Bill Drummond: I’ve always had an issue with identity politics.
The Woman: What about the “The Combahee River Collective Statement”?
Bill Drummond: I better go and read it then.
The Woman: You better had. Hope you get your wheel changed before you get run down.
The Woman moves on.
Bill Drummond realises the car has no spare tyre.
The End
Post Script: Tenzing Scott Brown is one of Bill Drummond’s other selves

Jenny Gilruth, SNP MSP
Brexit Day will be a sad day for Scotland, and in particular for our EU citizens. But it is not goodbye forever; Scotland voted emphatically to remain in 2016 and our voice has been consistently ignored by the UK Government since. It’s clear the United Kingdom is past its sell-by date and the need for independence has never been greater.

The National:

Lorna Slater, co-leader, the Scottish Greens
I remember being so excited as a teenager when I found out that my British passport would allow me to live, work or study in any country in Europe. I am very sad for our young people that they won’t have this same opportunity.
I am scared for our EU citizens who will now be exposed to the hostile environment immigration policies of Westminster, instead of feeling like valued members of our communities.

I am pinning my hopes on Scotland being able to chart a different path and will be working with the Scottish Greens toward an independent Scotland rejoining the European family of nations. Although this is a sad day for the UK, it isn’t the end for Scotland; we can still work toward a better future.

Alex Neil, SNP MSP
The Remain/Leave debate is now history. We need to recognise the reality that Brexit is happening tonight and adapt to the new situation. It is time to move on and stop fighting the battles of yesteryear.

Over the next few months, that means doing all we can as a Scottish Government to promote and protect Scotland’s vital interests in the UK/EU Brexit negotiations, especially in relation to key sectors of the Scottish economy like fishing, financial services, agriculture, manufacturing, Scotland’s share of the Brexit money etc.

We then must campaign like never before to persuade the Scottish people that independence is the best way forward for Scotland, and hold the referendum when we have the best chance of winning it.

Christine Grahame, SNP MSP
B Day should focus the people of Scotland on the urgency to regain our independence. The UK leaving the EU demonstrates that constitutional changes affect everyday life: the cost of living, jobs, the provision of medicines for the sick. Independence is that constitutional change which gives Scotland the Government it elects to be equal part partners with its European neighbours, to cut free from UK austerity and have the power to deliver social justice for all its people.

Lau, band
Watching the farewell scenes from the European parliament on Wednesday, it feels more important than ever that Scotland remains dignified and composed through the next stages, whatever they bring. The warmth and compassion shown towards the UK by European MEPs was heartbreaking and inspiring. It’s crucial that we keep the European ethos alive: the cultural connections, the spirit of internationalism. As for what becomes of Scotland? We believe Brexit is the “significant constitutional change” that validates another independence referendum. Here’s to hope.

Matthew Fitt, writer
A dark and drumlie day for Scotland but the siller lining is surely that oor independence will come sooner because o it. The deefer the UK Government gets tae Scotland’s democratic will, the less the majority o Scots will be able tae thole it.

Every time Boris Johnson open his mooth aboot Scotland brings us closer tae becoming an independent country again and I hope, mibbe efter oor ain in/oot referendum, re-jinin the EU.

Gerard M Burns, artist

The National:

My emotions swing between anger and deep, deep sadness. That I should be losing something as precious as my European citizenship because of a decision made by the English electorate speaks more directly to the profound democratic deficit which currently exists in the UK than anything which has gone before.
Maybe a wee bit like the Scottish Unionists finding they’re being taken out of the UK because of the wishes of the Welsh electorate. If only we had done the right thing in 2014!

AL Kennedy, writer
Brexit is being revealed ever more clearly as an English project, with an increasingly laser-focused definition of what is permitted to be English. The idea that countries could unite on equal terms in any kind of collegiate organisation is incomprehensible. There can only be colonies and colonisers. This betrays England and Englishness and leaves only the worst of any nation – the freakish, the frightened, the racist and bigoted.

The way ahead for Scotland will be difficult – as it will for all areas of the UK. Breaking away from a Government with a desperately colonial mindset will be complex and no doubt fraught with setbacks and betrayals. But Brexit has turned Scottish independence within the EU into both a necessity and a real possibility.

Val McDermid, writer
Today is a day of deep mourning. Membership of the EU has improved our quality of life in so many areas, from human rights to the vastly higher standard of roads in the Highlands and Islands.

We’ve had peaceful relations with our neighbours, which few would have predicted with confidence in the 1950s. And we’ve enjoyed a freedom of movement and exposure to other cultures that we’ve embraced and learned from. Let’s hope we can soon return to the EU as an independent nation.

Christopher Brookmyre, writer
I feel that a massive con has been perpetrated upon us, and I am angry about that. However, I am deriving a degree of equanimity from the thought of how the Brexiteers will feel some years from now; not when they realise how worthless is their prize, but when their own children and their grandchildren vote the UK back in.

Henry McLeish, former Labour first minister
Today represents the darkest day in my 50 years of public service and elected office. I have never celebrated a bereavement or an act of collective suicide! I do not intend to start now.

Brexit has made the Scotland question more complex and has put at even more risk the integrity and stability of the UK.
This is reinforced by London, Westminster and the two main political parties still refusing to waken up to a Union in peril.

Their complacency is breathtaking.

Scotland’s Parliament, politicians and people have to think long and hard as to how this constitutional impasse can be resolved.
One thing is clear, status quo Unionism or further tinkering on the edges, will not suffice. The Union needs a radical shake up. If not, the Union won’t survive. Brexit will be a slow but decisive burn.

Jim Sillars, former deputy leader of the SNP
The EU, which in 2014 was on Westminster’s side in sowing uncertainty to help defeat independence, is now out of the equation. A bonus for the independence movement.

Dr Kirsty Hughes, director and founder of the Scottish Centre on European Relations
The UK leaving the EU is an enormous and extraordinary rupture in its political, economic, security, and social relationships in Europe – and will impact on the UK’s relationships around the world too. It is an act of deep political folly.
Scotland cannot avoid, for now, the damaging rupture that Brexit will bring. But there is much that can be done to protect and continue to develop Scotland’s relationships across the EU – from the economic and political to the social and cultural. Scotland is and will remain a European country.

Where British politics may go in the next decade is hard to predict, but Brexit will cast a long shadow. It’s hard to imagine the UK rejoining the EU in the next decade. If Scotland goes down the independence route in the coming years, it is, in contrast, certainly possible to imagine Scotland back in the EU before the decade is out.

Andrew O’Hagan, author
Today is a shocking day for the many people in Scotland who believed Gordon Brown and his friends in 2014 when they promised that a vote against independence was a vote in favour of staying in the European Union.

They will offer excuses, but there is no excuse: we were duped. And yet I strongly believe that the lies of Brexit – pressed into action by Boris Johnson – will soon sound as hollow as a foghorn on the Firth of Forth. And at that moment, Scotland will think again.

I believe the disaster of Brexit, and the isolating of Britain, will be the founding stone upon which Scotland will build its future self-governance.

Asif Khan, director, Scottish Poetry Library
Brexit is a fool’s paradise. The referendum was played out to xenophobia and racism. Hate crime has risen markedly as a result of the toxic environment enabled by the policies and rhetoric of the UK Government.

It was heartwarming to see the First Minister advocate a positive case for migration. I have been fortunate to attend cultural events across Europe where it was palpable that Scotland would be welcomed back as an independent member despite the exhaustive political gaming from Westminster.

Scotland’s reputation as a progressive and inclusive nation is supported by the marvellous work of the Scottish Government hubs, to whom I give salute. Let’s hope that Europe leaves a light on for Scotland and cultural institutions can continue to promote platforms for Scottish artists to perform across Europe and to also host European and global artists in this great nation of ours.

Monica Lennon, Labour MSP
Like the majority of Scots, I wanted to remain in the European Union and view Brexit as a matter of deep regret. As a socialist and an internationalist, I believe that we achieve so much more by working together across national boundaries – more than we can ever do in isolation.

Now that we are officially leaving the EU, the main priority has to be agreeing a deal that ensures a successful continuing relationship with our European neighbours and avoiding the catastrophe of a no-deal exit at the end of this transition period.

Alex Orr, the European Movement in Scotland
For me, as a pro-EU campaigner, Brexit Day marks a really sad occasion. The loss of the many economic, social and environmental benefits that membership of the largest single market in the world brings will leave us all the poorer in so many ways. Our exiting makes me so angry as this is such a stupid and needless act of self-destruction. It is a move I am convinced we will bitterly regret.