WHILE still basking in the publicity generated from gaining the royal seal of approval for his campaign to prevent Scottish independence, Gordon Brown, clearly figuring that his Broonterventions were on a roll, last week announced that he would never give up on pushing the UK to rejoin the EU.

In practical terms, this is like saying you’re never going to stop pushing Ben Nevis because you think it would look more scenic sitting on the shores of Loch Ness.

Gordon Brown has no chance at all of persuading the right-wing English nationalists who are the bedrock of Brexit support of anything. They already have a lower opinion of him than do the people in Scotland who will never forget his failure to follow through on the infamous Vow he made in 2014.

The irony is, of course, that Brown is determined to frustrate the one political campaign in the UK seeking to rejoin the EU that has any realistic chance of success, and that’s the campaign for Scottish independence.

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Brown isn’t stupid. He’s aware of that, too, so what he’s really trying to do here is to peel off potential support for Scottish independence from those people who are keen to rejoin the EU as soon as possible, but who are not yet entirely sold on the idea of an independent Scotland. In effect, he’s making this section of the Scottish electorate a new Vow of their own. But it’s a Vow that’s as hollow as the original one.

So it’s worth having a look at the real prospects for the UK of rejoining the EU. There is zero chance of it happening any time soon, and indeed it’s highly unlikely that it could happen any time this decade. In his speech at an event for the Guardian newspaper, Brown stressed he was not trying to change the policy of the Labour Party on Brexit for the next Westminster General Election, due in 2024.

Labour are currently opposed to any new referendum on EU membership as their only route to re-election lies in winning votes in the pro-Brexit constituencies in the north of England which they lost to the Tories in 2019.

This means it could be 2029 before Labour contests a General Election with a manifesto commitment to offering a new EU referendum. Even by then, it’s by no means certain that Labour would change their policy. But even if they did, the path for the UK to rejoining the EU is fraught with difficulties.

The media landscape in the UK is very hostile to any party seeking a return to the EU. The print media habitually depict the EU as an enemy constantly seeking to do Britain – which for them is synonymous with England – down. That media landscape got even more hostile over the weekend with the launch of GB News, the Brextremists’ very own version of Fox News. If GB News is successful, it could very well succeed in pulling existing channels such as Sky News in an even more right-wing and pro-Brexit direction as they seek to shore up their audience share.

This will make it even more difficult than it currently is for an avowedly pro-EU political party to get its message through to the electorate. There is no guarantee that the Labour Party would be electorally successful with an offer to revisit the question of EU membership and even if it was there is no guarantee that a campaign for the UK to rejoin the EU would be successful in the referendum that would follow.

Winning that referendum would be made even more difficult because the EU would be highly unlikely to offer the UK the special treatment and opt-outs it previously enjoyed. The UK has behaved with bad faith during Brexit negotiations and displayed a willingness to renege on commitments it had already made.

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The EU will not be disposed to do the UK any favours and allow it back into the European club just so that British exceptionalism can continue to be indulged. This would make EU membership even more abhorrent to Brexit supporters than it was before, and consequently make victory for a pro-EU campaign in a future UK referendum even more difficult to achieve.

But even if all these hurdles could be successfully cleared, by this time we’d be well into the 2030s. Who knows what damage the Conservatives might have been done to our employment rights and environmental protections by then.

Following success for a pro-EU campaign, the EU would want to see evidence that a desire for EU membership was the settled will of the people of the UK. A 52% vs 48% victory in a referendum isn’t going to cut it. The EU would be highly reluctant to allow the UK back in if it thought there was a realistic prospect of having to deal with Brexit 2.0 a few years down the line.

On the other hand, there’s already a solid majority in Scotland against Brexit. Scotland has consistently demonstrated that it is sympathetic to European goals and values.

Despite the assertions of certain Unionists that Spain would veto a Scottish application for EU membership – a claim that has been debunked more often than Gordie Broon’s Vow – the EU would welcome Scottish membership with none of the fears of potential disruption and bad faith that it would have about allowing the UK to rejoin.

Scotland has consistently voted for pro-EU parties both before and since the Brexit vote. A referendum on EU membership in an independent Scotland would be highly likely to result in a convincing victory for the pro-EU campaign.

So if you are a voter in Scotland who wants EU membership and seeks the restoration of the rights of European citizenship which were stripped from us because of Brexit, by far the quickest and most realistic means of achieving that goal is by supporting Scottish independence.

Even Gordon Brown has been forced to concede that the UK will not be rejoining the EU any time soon. Scotland has a credible path back into the EU within the next few years, The UK has as much chance of rejoining as there is of Gordon Brown’s promises of federalism ever coming to pass.