Brexit is real-life politics that will hurt millions of people – but pro-EU rallies in Scotland are only the beginning

WHEN your friend is on a drunken rampage, at what point do you step in? When they start being careless? When they’re going to hurt themselves? Or when they’re going to hurt someone else?

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First published in The Scottish Sun, 29 March 2017.

At the time of writing, Brexit-supporting MPs have walked out of the Commons Brexit Select Committee – sources claim that Chair Hilary Benn’s 155-page report was “so gloomy it couldn’t be allowed to stand.”

When it comes to ignoring news you don’t want to hear, my niece has a similar tactic, except hers involves covering her ears and singing the My Little Pony theme tune for good measure.

So, when it comes to Hopes and Fears, I’m afraid the former is pretty light.

Brexit is not some interesting academic exercise – it’s real-life politics that will hurt millions of people as the economy suffers and our rights are lost.

Businesses still have wages to pay but no idea whether they’ll still have access to the markets. We’re already seeing close to one in ten German firms reportedly planning to withdraw from the UK and relocate.

Academics and researchers won’t want to come here, not with the UK barring the gates.

The UK Government has made no guarantee to continue subsidies for our farmers at their current level past 2020, so farmers are facing the prospect of selling up.

Every passing day makes it clearer and clearer that the Brexit faction didn’t even spare a thought for Remain-voting Northern Ireland.

Now David Davis has floated the idea that the North could vote to leave the UK and re-join Ireland.

The Great Repeal Bill is shaping up to be a Tory power grab on an unprecedented scale, with Scotland all but powerless to stop it.

Unless we see a dramatic change of attitude from the UK Government, things are going to go badly.

Not because it has to, but because too many people are failing to challenge those in charge.

Nobody is stepping in. The UK Labour party is MIA. The Scottish Government put forward a set of serious, credible proposals to keep Scotland in the Single Market but Westminster wasn’t interested.

We can’t cross our fingers and hope for the best.

Instead, this significant and material change is grounds for Scotland to be given a choice – to stay in the UK and be dragged along by a Tory Government we didn’t even vote for, or to extend the hand of friendship to our friends in Europe and vote for independence.

Right now, Malta has the EU Presidency, with a population of around 430,000.

Imagine what an independent Scotland, with our population of five million, could achieve.

Imagine the possibilities – we have the infrastructure, skills and location to attract businesses to set up shop in Scotland and create jobs.

Our universities would be home to world-class research teams of EU nationals and Scots alike.

We would be global players, part of the world’s largest and most successful soft-power mechanism.

Article 50 doesn’t only fire the starting pistol on the UK’s exit, but also Scotland’s race to leave this sinking ship.

Scotland voted to Remain and there’s plenty of goodwill for us from the EU.

As the reality of Brexit begins to bite, it’s likely we’ll see Scotland become ever more vocal and informed about the benefits of EU membership.

Last weekend’s good-natured pro-EU rally in Edinburgh was only the beginning.