Sir Geoff Palmer likens Scottish Independence to the independence of British Empire colonies

The expert in the slave trade was speaking to Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Channel 4 News.

Sir Geoff Palmer, professor Emeritus in the School of Life Sciences at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, and a human rights activist.
Sir Geoff Palmer, professor Emeritus in the School of Life Sciences at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, and a human rights activist.

Human rights activist and emeritus professor at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University Sir Geoff Palmer has likened the independence campaign in Scotland to how former British Empire colonies gained their independence from the United Kingdom.

Sir Geoff Palmer made the comments while being interviewed on Channel 4 News by Krishnan Guru-Murthy, and said seeking independence or control of a country’s affairs was part of a state’s “natural progressions”.

He said: “I’m from Jamaica and Jamaica has had a long history with Britain, we joined in 1655 and Jamaica got her independence in 1962 and Jamaica still has a link with Britain.

Sir Geoff Palmer made the comments while on Channel 4 News

"So I see one of the natural progressions of all nations, of all nations of people, that eventually one day they will start to think about ‘well, we want to manage our own affairs’.

"It’s a union, yes, from about 1707, but Scotland goes back a lot longer than that. Therefore it is about not just from 1707, it’s beyond that and therefore it is about a group of people of which I am a part.

"Scotland is a diverse society, we regard ourselves as one Scotland and I think this is the debate and I think the public should decide.

"I think where we have a thing called public opinion, and when that in fact indicates that the public wants something, I think we should do it.”

When asked whether he saw Scottish independence as an inevitability rather than a choice, Sir Geoff said he was “sure” Scotland would decide one way or another.

He said: “I think inevitability doesn’t come into politics. Politics is about what seems best at the time and I think just as Jamaica got independence after 300 years, I’m sure Scotland will decide one way or another when the time comes and when the public wants it and I think Scotland will do what the public wants.”

Asked about Scotland’s history with the slave trade, Sir Geoff said it is "critical” that Scots are informed about their country’s history.

He said: "I think it is critical. I’ve done a lot of research on Scottish history and therefore I think I’m entitled to a view.

"When Scotland looks at its past and we’ve just been doing a lot of work on that, and a lot of Scottish people when I have spoken around Scotland giving lectures on Scotland’s links with, for example, slavery in the Caribbean, the general view of the public all over Scotland is why hasn’t anybody told us that before?

"And I think that will change the future.”

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