Eric Joyce: Scots ‘can now vote Yes with heart and brain in indyref2’

Former Labour MP Eric Joyce is now in favour of Scottish independence. Picture: Michael Gillen/JP
Former Labour MP Eric Joyce is now in favour of Scottish independence. Picture: Michael Gillen/JP
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A former Labour MP has predicted Scotland’s “instinctual social democratic values” will be squeezed by a Conservative Westminster Government emboldened by Brexit.

Eric Joyce, who represented the Falkirk constituency until the 2015 General Election, said the kinds of anti-independence arguments regularly made by Labour politicians and activists in the run-up to the 2014 referendum no longer applied following Theresa May’s decision to take the UK out of the European single market.

The former army major previously backed the continuation of the union between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

In a blog posted on his personal website, Joyce said Scots could now vote Yes in any future referendum “with heart and brain”.

“If you decide that, first and foremost, the union is what your heart desires, then you should certainly vote No at the now-inevitable second referendum,” he said.

“But what if your heart yearns most for social democratic values, human dignity, being in control of your own destiny, or the best near and long term future of your family?

“Well, on the basis that the conditions which existed in 2014 are so irrevocably changed now it would be surely be irrational to vote No again without a genuine re-appraisal or the merits of No and Yes?

“Maybe a lot of former No voters of the centre/left will look again, and seriously, at the rival social and economic arguments for and against independence, but still reluctantly choose years of Tory ascendancy. In which case, that’s their democratic call and fair play to them. But a lot of former No voters will conclude the opposite. As will folk who voted Yes and have since moved to No on the understandable but mistaken assumption that it was all over for another generation.

“This terrible, hard English Brexit, day is the time for folk who are neither instinctual Tories nor SNP supporters to look above the old party enmities and finally choose what’s truly in our hearts and brains.”

In a 2014 blog post, Joyce explained he was “a unionist in broad terms, but I’m finding the dishonesty and negativity of the ‘No’ campaign – the way it treats Scots like dummies – increasingly offensive.”

Joyce resigned from the Labour party in 2012 after being found guilty of common assault following an incident in a House of Commons bar, in which he was alleged to have headbutted a Conservative campaigner.