After the SNP lost the 2014 vote, many in Scotland joined the SNP. In England too, many joined the Labour party and the Lib Dems after both lost the vote in the EU referendum. These are reactionary currents, a huddling together of opposition to Britain’s unity and independence. There is no progress without upholding Britain’s sovereignty as a united independent nation.
The SNP is at least consistent – it is always negative. It says no to Britain’s national unity, and it says no to our national independence from the EU. Effectively, it called for the British people to allow Brussels to determine such matters.
Now its leader, Nicola Sturgeon, is calling for another “once-in-a-lifetime” referendum. She seems to agree with ex-prime minister Tony Blair, when he warned us, “If the UK votes to leave Europe, Scotland will vote to leave the UK.”
But all the signs are that they are both wrong. Polls conducted after our vote to leave the EU show no increase in Scottish support for leaving Britain. Whichever poll you pick – YouGov’s Scotland survey of 29-31 August, Kantar TNS on 13 September, BMG held between 29 September and 3 October – Scots don’t want separation.
Commenting on the poll results, BMG research director Dr Michael Turner told The Herald: “The vast majority of people who think there shouldn’t be an independence referendum are not going to be swayed by whether or not we leave the EU. This group are more bothered about UK identity and break-up of the UK than any perceived European identity.”
Indeed, for Scots to vote to leave Britain would be a true act of self-harm. The Scottish government’s North Sea oil revenues fell by 97 per cent in 2015-16 to just £60 million, down from £1.8 billion the year before. Scotland’s fiscal deficit soared to £14.8 billion, 9.5 per cent of Scotland’s GDP, a greater deficit than every EU member. The UK’s is 4 per cent. Scotland would have to double the basic rate of income tax in order to balance the books.
The Treasury estimates that Scotland’s spending per person in 2014-15 was £10,374, a fifth higher than England’s £8,638. Without the UK contribution, Scotland would not be able to sustain this level of public spending.
A secessionist Scotland would have to join the euro and it would have no currency or banking union with the rest of Britain. It would be a very small country with a very big deficit, with no control of the currency in which it issued its debt.
‘When it comes to referendums, the SNP is a serial loser.’
The SNP claims it is not bound by our decision to leave the EU. It seems to forget that it lost the 2014 referendum (when it comes to referendums, the SNP is a serial loser – the alternative vote, Scottish “independence”, the EU). So Prime Minister May was quite right when she told the Conservative Party Conference on 2 October, “Because we voted in the referendum as one UK, we will negotiate as one UK, and we will leave the EU as one UK. There is no opt-out from Brexit.”
Should there be another vote now on Scottish separation, the results would probably be about the same as last time. Of course, there won’t be another Scottish referendum any time soon, and Sturgeon knows it. She’s only calling for one because she needs to keep in the headlines. She knows a referendum now would be a disaster for the SNP.
As with all those in Britain who, regretting the vote to Leave, are busy trying to undermine the result or even to call for another vote, Sturgeon should stop living in the past and concentrate on the future for the whole country.