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Well now, another Scottish referendum comes into view… March 13, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Finely balanced, but I think that Sturgeon may be correct to go for it now. So much is up in the air – not least in relation to a second referendum, whether London will permit it (they may not want to but if they don’t that will appear undemocratic and if they do then they implicitly accept the argument something has changed to justify it) and whether it would occur before or after Brexit (I wonder if the UK government can resist it being held sometime in the next few years?). So a lot of uncertainty here. Not sure it will pass but it will, at the least, put it up to London. Depressing to see the mixed messages coming out of the Labour Party – surely Corbyn accepts that Brexit has changed everything since the previous vote on independence? And there’s clearly a lack of communication:

Q: Have you just been playing along with the idea of accepting Brexit?
No, says Sturgeon. She says she was genuine when she called for compromise.
She told Theresa May that, she says.
But the UK government has not been willing to meet Scotland half way, she says. In fact, they have been moving further away, she says.
She says she does not even know when May will trigger article 50.
She says she spoke to May the morning of her Lancaster House speech. She asked if May would rule out staying in the single market and May told her it was not a binary choice. But two hours later May announced that the UK was leaving the single market.

May tailoring her rhetoric to her audiences…

Of course there’s another question or two. What if it fails? Then how does the SNP reconcile itself to a lack of independence, isolation from the EU and so on? Difficult not to see this as a permanent irritation for London. But difficult too for the SNP given they’ll have to wait another decade for a vote.

And what if it succeeds? It is striking to me how the rhetoric of ‘surprises in politics’ only seems to work for right-wing enterprises – so Farage et al were able to wax lyric about Brexit and Trump. But why not for a Scottish vote for independence? Yet note how the media, and others are so much more cautious over that. I think that tells us something about the nature of these dynamics.


1. ivorthorne - March 13, 2017

The SNP have played this well. If May refuses the referendum during/after the Brexit negotiations and doesn’t compromise with regard to Scotland, then independence is probably in the bag when the Scots do get to vote. There’s nothing more likely to convince Scots that they need independence bar passing some new version of the penal laws for Scots.

Even if May – after initially defying the SNP – gives in, it will get the Scots backs up. And let’s face it, we know that the British press are going to be at their worst during Brexit negotiations. It’s going to be very divisive and if that results in a bout of Little Englander BS filling column inches and airwaves, it’s going to be messy.

Thing is, I’m not sure May could have given the Scots a special deal even if she wanted to. The British barely have enough people for their negotiating team as things stand. A special deal for Scotland would have doubled the workload in some cases.


2. irishmarxism - March 13, 2017

“And what if it succeeds?” Indeed so. How will the SNP bridge the £15 billion budget deficit? How will it continue to trade so much with the rest of the UK if it is part of the EU (and that is certainly not a given) when there is a hard Brexit? The latter is the proclaimed reason for the referendum but actually given reliance on trade with the rest of the UK it’s as big a reason to stay in the union.

Given that one third of SNP voters wanted Brexit this is by no means a shoo in for the SNP. All the questions from the first referendum they couldn’t answer will still be there plus some newer ones.

Rather than oppose Brexit through further national division it would be more progressive to seek to play a leading role in opposing Brexit for the whole of the UK. But I suppose the N in SNP wouldn’t allow that.


WorldbyStorm - March 13, 2017

In fairness according to the Guardian from earlier in the year… https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jan/06/nicola-sturgeon-offers-shelve-independence-vote-for-soft-brexit-eu

“[Sturgeon] would take a quick Scottish independence referendum off the table if the UK wins a favourable, soft Brexit deal with the EU.”

But May wasn’t in compromising mode… and given the disparity in numbers at Westminster, underscored by today’s votes where the government won with significant majorities, it made sense once that was apparent for Sturgeon to refocus on Scotland.


irishmarxism - March 13, 2017

Sturgeon’s problem is that the last referendum saw a big increase in support for independence and she has a big section of SNP support that believes its own hype that this increase can happen again upon a higher starting point. She’s caught between placating this base and picking a fight when the economics of independence looks dire. She knows that this lost the SNP the last vote and nationalist figures have admitted that independence was over-sold in the last referendum campaign. She will have to sell it with something else and without a credible positive economic case the vacuum might be filled with some less appealing stratagems. We shall see.


WorldbyStorm - March 13, 2017

As I was suggesting in the OP I share your caveats. I can’t see how it is easy for her to get a YES. On the other hand the British state is in some flux and while Brexit is a disastrous mess there’s perhaps a slight chance that this plus pressure from NI may impel the Tories to soften their approach. Slight and chance being the operative terms.


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