IS it time for the pro-independence, anti-EU, non-immigrant-scapegoating left to get organised, in the interests of democracy, in the interests of freedom of action for an independent Scotland, and in the interests of preventing the SNP-lurve-the-EU brigade losing us independence?

Most folk, like myself, would rather be organising for independence solely, I’m sure, but some seem to insist that Scottish independence be conflated with rejoining the EU, risking potential Yes votes (Scotland’s pro-EU campaigns merge, Jan 6).

Despite the fact that one in three Yes voters in 2014 subsequently voted Leave in 2016, and many Scots voted Remain in 2016 because they were told by Nicola that it would lead to a second indy poll, many of our Yes colleagues in the SNP and Greens continue to link the indy question with rejoining the EU, an attitude that has kept the Yes vote from reaching its natural apogee of 55-60% in the polls consistently.

The EU, in their narrative – and they are entitled to take a position – is a cosy sort of Star Trek Federation in miniature, regulating capitalism on behalf of sovereign states, a progressive social liberalism with a decent dose of social democracy. Everything the comfortable middle classes should want.

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It is nonsense, of course. The EU is essentially a capitalist free-market organisation with a neoliberal agenda, and just enough social democracy to pull the wool over the eyes of some lefts and progressives. It does not regulate capitalism on behalf of sovereign states, it regulates sovereign states on behalf of capitalism.

An independent Scotland joining the EU would be tying its hands in relation to what it could do in terms of driving the profiteers out of the NHS and public services, nationalising affordably the things we choose to bring into public ownership, and providing state investment on a direct return and common weal basis in the new technologies we must use and develop to build a healthy, mass democratic, free, equal, and diverse post-scarcity society in our independent Scotland.

Given that the EU obsessives are clearly organising, have been for the last few years and are prepared to conflate the indy campaign with a pro-EU agenda, it is time for the pro-indy anti-EU left to get organised.

It could, and should, provide an alternative view on the EU which is currently not being heard. EU fans will point to the 2016 result in Scotland, and polls showing a majority of Scots in favour of rejoining the EU at some point. That can only be expected with the majority of Scotland’s parties – both Unionist and Yes – and a majority of journos, papers and commentators supporting re-entry into the EU.

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So far, the alternate, progressive and pro-indy case against joining the EU post-independence is simply not being heard in wider society. It needs to be made, and it needs to be heard.

Such a united campaign would argue for a democratic three-way referendum post-independence with the following choices: rejoin the EU/ join EFTA (like Norway, Switzerland and Iceland) but not the EU/stay out of any European arrangements to plough our own path while remaining on good, friendly terms with all our European neighbours.

Prior to and during such a referendum, it would make the arguments for an independent Scotland staying out of the EU on a left, progressive and anti-xenophobic basis.

Of course, ultimately it will be for the Scottish people to decide post-independence whether they want to join the EU or not. That is the democratic way. But we should not be shoehorned into it by SNP or Green EU enthusiasts who seem to want to confuse support for Scottish independence with support for the EU. They are not the same thing.

Steve Arnott