Joe Biden: Would the US President-elect make a state visit to an independent Scotland? – Angus Robertson
Celebrations for the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been held across the US and much of the rest of the world besides, including Edinburgh.
Scotland’s capital had the highest level of public support for the former vice-president of any UK city with one survey suggesting more than 81 per cent of its population backed the Democratic candidate while only 19 per cent supported Donald Trump.
The victory of Joe Biden is of immediate importance for people in the United States but it will impact on us all internationally. One of the first acts we can expect from the new Biden administration will be the USA rejoining the Paris Climate Change agreement, which is critical in confronting the climate emergency.
Unlike Trump, there will be no more climate change denial, or ignoring the science on coronavirus. We can also expect the new President to resolutely support the Good Friday Agreement, protect peace in Ireland and opposition to the UK’s threat to break international law with the Internal Market Bill.
Amongst the first international leaders to congratulate president-elect Biden was Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. US broadcaster NBC reported her messages, together with other European and world heads of government: “Congratulations from Scotland to President-Elect Joe Biden and to history-making Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.”
Her words, broadcast across the United States, stressed the importance of democracy: “As we’re seeing across the Atlantic just now, politicians who rage against democracy don’t prevail. Let’s not dignify this rubbish. Instead, let’s keep making and winning the case for independence. Power doesn’t belong to politicians – it belongs to the people. #indyref2.”
Scotland’s First Minister was, of course, highlighting the democracy denial we hear from Tories, who are threatening to ignore democratic demands for an independence referendum. According to the latest barometer of Scottish public opinion, people support holding a second referendum if pro-independence MSPs win a majority in next year’s Holyrood election by a margin of two to one.
In Scotland, we remember that Joe Biden was not tempted to influence the 2014 referendum saying: “I learned from Scottish friends, the last thing to do is to suggest to a Scot what he should do. So I’m going to stay out of that.” This, after all, is an incoming president who when he was asked by the BBC for comment replied “I’m Irish.”
All of a sudden Little Brexit Britain is looking even more isolated and out of step. Boris Johnson is seen the world over as one of Donald Trump’s closest allies. Top Democrat advisor Tommy Vietor blasted BoJo, describing him as a “shapeshifting creep” and warning “we will never forget your racist comments about Obama and slavish devotion to Trump”.
In contrast to the embarrassment in Downing Street, the US will soon have a respected president in office, elected with a positive vision, who wants to heal internal divisions and re-engage positively with the international community.
Joe Biden may well be the US President when Scotland finally becomes independent. As nations with close and enduring historic ties, we can look forward to positive relations between Scotland and the USA.
The United States has had a consulate in Scotland since 1798. Wouldn’t it be great to welcome President Joe Biden to Scotland after we vote for our independence?
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