Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Scottish Problem - and a solution

I referred last week to the issue of whether an "Out" vote in the EU referendum would be sufficient grounds for a fresh Scottish referendum on Independence from the UK

Some SNP figures have argued that a "Leave" vote in the EU referendum wold change the terms of membership of the UK and would therefore justify a fresh Scottish vote.

They have a case, but there would be a serious problem of perverse voting incentives were it conceded in advance of the EU poll that Brexit would automatically mean a second Scottish Indyref.

Conceding this could potentially prejudice the EU referendum by creating a moral hazard for Scots who support independence but oppose leaving the EU, which appears to be nearly half the Scottish electorate.

An interesting worldview to object to being governed from London but want to be governed from Brussels but I suppose that must be partly down to how unpopular Whitehall is in the Northern UK - and as a resident of Cumbria I can tell you that applies in Northern England too.

However, there clearly are a lot of Scots who feel that way, and if it were agreed that British exit from the EU means a second Scottish independence referendum, those electors would be put in a difficult position in that voting for something they don't want - leaving the EU - might get them something they do - an earlier vote on Scottish independence.

There may, however be a solution.

Suppose it were made clear in advance of the EU referendum, that there would be no requirement for a new Scottish independence vote following Brexit if a majority of Scots had also voted for exit from the EU.

This makes sense for two reasons: first of all, it would be particularly unreasonable for supporters of Scottish Independence to complain about a decision which Scots themselves had also voted for.

Secondly, it would reduce the perverse incentive referred to above. A Scot who supports both EU membership and Scottish Independence is less likely to cast a tactical vote for Brexit if that might get them the result they don't want on Europe without getting the one they want on Scottish Independence.

3 comments:

Jim said...

Its an odd issue this, as a Yes to Scottish independence would have meant that an indepedent Scotland would have had to apply for EU membership under Article 49 TEU, then whats the difference?

There are many different scenarios, these are the the possible outcomes of the indy ref (in terms of scottish eu membership)


INDY REF 1:
Scots vote leave (which they did not) - They would have left the EU by default, meaning they would have to apply to join under art 49.

Scots vote Stay - they remain part of a member state, so they remain part of the EU (this is what happened)

EU REF:

We vote Leave - the UK is no longer a member state, so if any part of it wishes to rejoin, it would do so under artice 49 TEU

We vote to stay - UK is still a member state, so all parts remain in the EU

INDY REF 2 In case of IN result in EU REF

Scots vote for independence - they leave the member state so have to apply to join the EU under article 49 TEU

Scots vote to stay part of UK - The scots remain part of the member state and part of the EU as a result.

INDY REF 2 In case of OUT result in EU REF

Scots vote to leave none EU UK - scots would gain independence from UK, but to join EU they would have to apply under article 49 TEU

Scots vote to stay in UK - Scots remain part of UK, and if they wanted to join the EU they would have to apply and convince the UK to Rejoin under Article 49 TEU.


You see no matter how you do it, in the Case of Scots independence it always means they have to apply to join the EU, if that is what they want to do.

Though It has always confused me as to why any nation would fight so hard for their own independence and then cant wait to hand that to Brussels (I always did have a problem with that bit) if they wanted to leave the eu than LEAVE in an INDY ref would have been a pretty sure fire way to do it quick smart, that bit I could have grasped.

But the bit about wanting to be part of the EU is quite contradictory to me.


Jim said...

But the point i make is If the scots vote for independence then it is CERTAIN THEY WOULD LEAVE THE EU.

so why would the UK voting to leave the EU Trigger ANOTHER Indy ref? I can't figure that bit out.

The only case you could make for it (and i dont think this is a strong case) but the only case is this:

Scotland does not want to leave the EU, that is why they did not vote for independence last time, so they would not be forced to leave the EU and have to apply to rejoin, if the UK leave the EU then Scotland would by default leave the EU as well. In order to Rejoin the EU it would have to Leave the UK to stand a chance of convincing its citizens that to JOIN the EU is a good idea. if it were to remain a part of the UK, then there is little to no chance its citizens could convince a state that just left the EU to rejoin.


Jim said...

Or to put it in another light, so a person from my era "gets" it

The black sheep won't get black mailed again, you forgot to put on the Zip code