Thursday, 13 October 2016

SNP Going for Independence... Again

Nicola Sturgeon has once more demonstrated that her petty, nationalistic separatist party is nothing more than that, by declaring her intention to consult on a second referendum on Scottish independence. The implied threat is that, if the UK leaves the single market, the SNP will press ahead with Referendum 2: The Revenge. The media are duly spinning this as a choice between 'Hard Brexit' and 'preserving the Union'.

This is a false premise, for several reasons:
  • Neither the Scottish Government, nor the Scottish Parliament, has sufficient power to authorise a referendum. Only the Westminster Parliament can grant one. If the SNP do try to hold one, it will be unlawful and can be ignored;
  • The Westminster Parliament has no political or moral reason to authorise such a referendum. The SNP do not hold a majority in the Scottish Parliament, the referendum was not in their manifesto, and the recency of the last plebiscite are all good reasons to deny one;
  • Most opinion polls in Scotland indicate that the Scots don't want another referendum, which is unsurprising, given that the last one on this subject was held only 2 years ago, and was the most divisive event in Scottish political history;
  • Most opinion polls in Scotland indicate that the majority of Scots would vote to remain in the UK, which is unsurprising, given that an independent Scotland post-Brexit still wouldn't be in the EU, would have a higher public deficit & cut off from its largest trading partner (England);
  • It's highly likely that the Brexit negotiations will result in, if not continued membership of the single market, preferential access to it. EU ministers are making noises about it, but at the end of the day, there will be concessions on both sides and a deal will be done.

In other words, the premise for the referendum is on shaky ground, it's outside the SNP's authority to call a referendum, there's no advantage to Westminster in permitting one, and even if they did, the SNP would probably lose.