INCREASING numbers of people I know, who voted enthusiastically for No in 2014, have either changed their minds or are thinking about it. Other, still confirmed Unionists, are despairing of the position that Britain is in and running headlong towards.

Serving politicians see little future for themselves and what they believe in within their own parties and the politics of the country they voted and worked to maintain.

I can understand why. Britain is changing rapidly, fundamentally and for the worse. Its standing in the world is diminishing at the same pace as its influence and impact. At home its politics are of the playground and farce. Its society among the most unequal in the industrialised world and its economy tepid.

Confirming the country’s descent, the 29 MEPs of the Brexit party turned their backs in the European Parliament this week as the European Union’s anthem was sung. Rude. Embarrassing. Demeaning. Completely unlike the British standards and conduct many grew up to believe in and admire.

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Meanwhile the rest of the world has scoffed enough at this island nation and is already moving on. Two prominent women were selected to lead the European Commission and Central Bank. Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen and France’s Christine Lagarde respectively.

Real power being deployed in the European bloc that will, along with the United States and China, be the key determinant of the course of the next stage of world leadership and history.

Meanwhile, as Britain’s polity implodes in self harm, our image is not just one of being by-standers but of having our backs turned as well. Pathetic.

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Attitudes in European capitals are hardening towards the antics of the UK, meaning the risks of a No Deal exit at the end of October are increasing by the minute.

And do note that it is European capitals that determine the course of Europe. The Union is an association of independent states that pool and share their sovereignty and responsibilities over joint endeavours. It is from this stage of co-operation between countries that the UK is now walking away.

And yet never before in peacetime have our challenges been more multi-national and international. From the climate crisis to the fourth industrial revolution, for trade and global markets co-operation between countries is critical. And unless we combine as Europe our voice will be a whisper in the wind in comparison to the power of the United States and China. This is the reality.

With the lamest of ducks Prime Minister, and a juvenile battle to succeed her, the prospects for Britain are drear. Rest assured then, that another review of devolution will see us through. It – we are told – will examine the UK departments of state to see how they are working for the countries of the union.

Well they should start with the Treasury and DEXU, the department for exiting the European Union. Because both can confirm, as the Chancellor did to Parliament this week, that the cost to the exchequer of a No Deal Exit from the EU with peak at £95 billion per year.

That means some combination of taxes will have to rise, spending be cut or borrowing increased adding to debt, to the tune of £95 thousand million pounds, every year!

You cannot say we were not warned.

Incidentally, the breathless campaigners from the “Union at all Costs” brigade will think that this reality only strengthens the case for the Union. After all Scotland’s public finance’s share of that Brexit price is over £8 billion every year.

But this, you must understand, will add to Scotland’s notional deficit, and therefore the “transfer” from the UK to Scotland, underlining the benefits of the Union. Clever eh? On their calculation the worse things get the stronger the case for the Union.

All of which increasingly highlights the reality that Scotland will have to face sooner rather than later. The cost of standing still in this storm is desperately high. Two future course face us and we owe it to ourselves and future generations to make a conscious and active choice.

Do we allow ourselves to be marched out of the European Union against our will and at a cost to public finances of potentially over £8 billion per year? Or do we choose to re-join the European Union as a newly independent member as soon as is practicable?

Of course, there will be a transition to be managed if we choose the independence route. It will be an effort, hard work and challenging. But not choosing this alternative consigns us to cost, risk, decline and marginalisation.

Worse still, our politics is increasingly dominated by jingoistic extremism as witnessed in the European Parliament this week when there are generationally important matters that require to be addressed.

Some still argue that no matter how bad things get, Britain’s governing system is as good as it will ever get. We need more ambition than that. Urgently.

Independence is normal

TODAY marks the anniversary of the declaration of the independence of the United States in 1776.

Having been told by the UK that they couldn’t afford such an error of judgement they have gone on to make something of a success of it.

Meanwhile this week Finland took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

They declared their independence from Russia in 1917 and joined the EU in 1995.

Announcing their third presidency of the Council under the slogan “Sustainable Europe Sustainable Future”.

They said their priorities were; the EU’s global leadership on climate action, strengthening the rule of law and making the EU more competitive and socially inclusive.

Finland has a population around the same as Scotland. They live in a tough climate at the very north of Europe. A quarter of the people in the world who live above the arctic circle live in Finland. They speak a language understood by themselves, Hungarians and Estonians. And yet they have made a roaring success of their country through many challenges and difficult times. They haven’t looked back.

Just imagine a Europe where Scotland got the opportunity to lead in the same spotlight that Finland now enjoys. With the ability to lead, make a difference and a contribution to the betterment of our shared environment, economy and society.

That anyone still considers that we are better placed as a reluctant fringe of Brexit Britain beggars belief.