Will the UK leaving the EU result in Scotland leaving the UK?
BBC1 Question Time last night (Thursday 12 May 2016) was broadcast from Aberdeen. If you believe what you read, you might expect Scotland to be a redoubt of pro-EU sentiment. It did not turn out that way. The referendum was the most hotly debated topic, and while opinion was divided, I was encouraged by the number of eurosceptic Scots voices, and not only from UK-Unionists but from the Nats side too.
It should not be a surprise that those who can see the logic of Scottish independence from the UK can also see the argument for UK independence from the EU. Indeed it is the other position – that Scotland, the 43rd largest economy in the world, is big enough to go it alone but the UK, the fifth largest, is not – that seems to make little sense. And what is the point of Scotland gaining independence from the UK if everything of importance is decided in Brussels?
While this logic may be denied by the SNP many in the audience clearly appreciated it. In Aberdeen the sorry plight of the UK fishing industry under EU rule was a major issue. And it had not gone unnoticed that after Brexit control over agriculture and fisheries would go to Holyrood. A Scotland that left the UK and joined the EU would of course have to give that back to Brussels.
One of the reasons the Nats lost last year’s referendum was their inability to give a plausible account of what currency an independent Scotland would use. This time there would be no doubt. Scotland would be leaving the pound to join the euro. The recent fall in the price of oil makes the Nats prospectus for an independent Scotland with Scandinavian levels of prosperity and welfare even less convincing.
Sturgeon is bluffing. There will be no second Scottish independence referendum following Brexit. And if there was, the Nats would lose again.