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The Dinwoodie Interview

DAVID Martin is Labour to his bootstraps. He was a councillor at 27 and just two years later was catapulted to Europe as an MEP, where he remains almost 34 years later.

He admits he arrived in Brussels and Strasbourg in 1984 knowing precious little about the then European Community and its institutions and yet within three years he was writing a political tract which was to have a profound influence on turning Neil Kinnock’s Labour Party from a hostile to a pro- European stance.

He is intensely loyal to his party but has watched with dismay as under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership it has acquiesced in Brexit, which is driving him towards a change of heart on the Scottish question. A life-long opponent of independence, he voted No in 2014, not least because that seemed to be the best guarantor of Scotland’s place in Europe.

But with the increasing prospect of a hard Brexit with dire economic consequence the ground is shiting. He said: “I take the view that no-one voted for that. No-one voted to make ourselves poor, and of course in Scotland we didn’t vote to leave the EU at all. In that context, if Scotland was tied to a disastrous UK exit, Scotland should have a right to a say in its own future and how it might chart a different course.”

That was in response to a question on whether he accepted Nicola Sturgeon’s mandate for a second referendum in the event of “significant and material” change in circumstances. He does, which flatly contradicts the party line. So, how would he vote in IndyRef2? “I used to be positively against independence. For now, I would say I am agnostic. But to quote Keynes ‘when the facts change, I change my mind’ so I would have to see what the facts were come the time.”

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iScot Magazine February 2017 100 jam packed pages of the best craic in Scotland from the only truly independent pro Scottish magazine.