The popular writer and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch will be in Stromness on Saturday afternoon to speak about her new book McSmorgasbord co-written with the late Paddy Bort.
“Would an independent Scotland be better off in the “halfway house” of the EEA – like Iceland and Norway — or full EU membership like Sweden, Denmark and Finland? Our Nordic neighbours offer us a Smorgasbord of options and experience in Europe — shouldn’t we pay some attention? “
The event in Stromness Library has been arranged by Luath Press and starts at 2:30pm. There is an eventbrite page for the free event: An Afternoon with Lesley Riddoch to which all are welcome.
The Nordic countries have a veritable smörgåsbord of relationships with the European Union, from in to out to somewhere in between.
So, what does that mean for Scotland?
Well, somewhere in this incredible diversity of relationships with Europe is an arrangement that’s likely to be good for Scotland too – strangely enough, maybe more than one. Inside or outside the UK, Scotland wants to keep trade and cultural links with Europe – that much is clear. But is the EU really the best club in town for an independent Scotland?
Or would Scots benefit from ‘doing a Norway’ – joining the halfway house of the EEA and keeping the Single Market but losing the troublesome Common Fisheries and Agriculture Policies?
Would an independent Scotland need the support and shelter of another union – or could the nation stand alone like the tiny Faroes or Iceland?
These tough questions have already been faced and resolved by five Nordic nations and their autonomous territories within the last 40 years. Perhaps there’s something for Scotland to learn?
The unique combination of personal experience and experts’ insights give this book its hands-on character: pragmatic and thought-provoking, challenging and instructive, full of amazing stories and useful comparisons, enriching the debates about Scotland’s post-Brexit future as a Nordic neighbour.
Lesley Riddoch commented:
“Scotland’s response to Britain’s divided Brexit vote has been positively Nordic – Scots expect diversity and empowerment to be entirely possible – whilst Westminster’s reaction has been decidedly British. One singer – one song. One deal for everyone – end of.”
A quote from Paddy Bort states:
“Of course, the majority of Nordic nations are EU members. But perhaps the EEA is a closer fit for Scotland? Perhaps, too, a viable halfway house option would boost support for Scottish independence? Especially since Holyrood may not automatically retrieve powers from Europe post Brexit.”
Lesley Riddoch is a weekly columnist for The Scotsman and a regular commentator in other papers. In 2006 she was shortlisted for the Orwell prize for political writing. During the 1990s, she was founder of the feminist magazine Harpies and Quines, assistant editor of The Scotsman (where she edited a special edition known as The Scotswoman written by its female staff in 1995), and contributing editor of the Sunday Herald. Her last book is the popular Blossom: What Scotland Needs to Flourish.