Here is a longer than normal contribution to our 'Tell Us Your Story' campaign.
Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government have requested another Scottish independence referendum before the UK leaves the EU. So far this has been rejected by the PM, Theresa May. She will not consider another Scottish independence referendum at this time whilst Brexit is being negotiated. She rightly feels the Scottish public needs to know the outcome of Brexit before voting again on independence. However she has not ruled out an independence referendum after the UK has left the EU, so Scottish voters need to keep aware of any developments as and when they happen. It is our duty as Scots to do what is best for our country and its people. Before we can do that we need to know the facts and be fully aware of all the associated risks. Right now we are being bombarded on the news media with fiery political rhetoric from Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. For some reason opposing politicians get little or no air time on TV to challenge what she is saying. As a result there may be some Scots who take everything our First Minister says at face value. However it is essential we question the validity and motives behind her claims. In an attempt to balance the argument, this study of the situation raises some important issues which surely must be considered by Scottish voters prior to any repeat referendum. It also clarifies some of the thinking behind Nicola Sturgeon’s strategy for delaying and disrupting the Brexit negotiations. I challenge you to read this report so that you are in a better position to evaluate the need for another independence referendum and to cast an informed vote if a 2nd independence referendum does eventually take place.
The SNP mantra – “Independence at any cost”
The key objective of the SNP is Scottish independence. Always has been. Always will be. It is the sole reason for the party’s creation. Without this idealistic dream there would be no SNP. Their whole philosophy revolves around the quest for independence. As such the SNP will use every means at its disposal to support its prime reason for existing. So when you hear Nicola Sturgeon saying “I only want what is best for Scotland” what she is really saying is “I only want what is best for the SNP”, because when it comes to a choice of what’s best for Scotland or what’s best for the SNP, the latter will win every time in order to keep the SNP dream alive. It is very important to keep this uppermost in your mind every time you listen to an SNP spokesperson.
As far as the SNP are concerned their overall strategy is to achieve Scottish independence at any cost. This has become very obvious, particularly now that Scotland’s current poor financial state in the absence of significant oil revenue has been exposed. No longer will you hear the SNP using Scotland’s oil wealth or the country’s financial state to justify Scottish independence. Nicola Sturgeon has even been quoted recently as saying that Scottish independence should take priority over the economy http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/712499/Theresa-May-rips-Nicola-Sturgeon-claims-Scottish-independence-more-important-economy. This is a sure sign that the SNP’s sole objective now is independence at any cost! They imply that independence will solve everything, even without the national finances or the economy to support it. Perhaps they don’t really care if the Scottish economy goes belly up after independence, as at that point they can always exit the stage leaving the mess to somebody else, because having achieved their prime objective, there would be no real need for the SNP after that. UKIP is a prime example of having no real role in politics after succeeding in achieving their dream of leaving the EU. Nigel Farage has resigned and the party is in turmoil. It is likely a similar thing would happen to the SNP after their dream of Scottish independence was realised, particularly in light of their poor track record during their 10 years in government.
Watch carefully how Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP manipulate the facts on any subject to justify their existence and their dream of Scottish independence. You will rarely if ever hear them substantiate their claims with facts. When faced with hard facts or opposing views from industry experts, the SNP will simply say their critics are wrong. An obvious example of this occurred during the first Indy Referendum when Sir Ian Wood, Scotland’s foremost oil expert, warned that Scottish oil and gas revenue would reduce significantly by 2035 because of limited reserves and that the drop in revenue would leave a hole in an independent Scotland's budget http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scottish-independence/11046740/Sir-Ian-Wood-15-years-of-oil-left-before-independent-Scotland-spending-cuts.html. He also warned that oil prices could not be relied upon as it was a volatile market. As usual Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon simply brushed this aside by saying Sir Ian was wrong. The sudden collapse in the oil price since then and the current £15 billion deficit on the Scottish balance sheet clearly shows that the SNP leaders misled the Scottish public at the time in their quest for independence at any cost.
SNP’s current strategy for independence
The SNP’s tactics for achieving Scottish independence are blatantly obvious:
Whatever the latest Scottish problem, or in the event of having to make an unpopular decision, put the blame on the “Tory” Government at Westminster.
Disrupt the Westminster parliament at every opportunity by opposing every bill put forward by the current Government.
Make irrational requests to Westminster, knowing full well that the answer will be “No” in the hope that every rejection will rile more Scots and increase SNP support in Scotland.
Threaten Westminster with a 2nd Scottish independence referendum at every opportunity in order to gain more power and influence, whilst pacifying their core supporters.
Use whatever funds are available to buy votes in Scotland. Since they can’t do this directly they will do this indirectly by providing financial support and/or free services to selected groups of our society in order to retain and attract new supporters.
Manipulate every new piece of information to justify their quest for Scottish Independence.
Keep Scottish Independence at the top of the Scottish political agenda in order to deflect attention away from their inability to run the country effectively in spite of being in office for the last 10 years
Is Scotland ready for another Independence Referendum?
In the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, the Scottish people voted to stay in the UK by a significant margin of 55.3%-44.7% from an 84.59% voter turnout. According to Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon at the time, it was supposed to be a once in a lifetime vote, the result of which would be honoured by both sides, but as the SNP cannot be trusted and can’t exist without their prime objective, they had to keep looking for another reason to renege on their promise. The result of the EU referendum is now being used by the SNP as an excuse for a 2nd referendum. They claim that the Brexit result is a “significant and material change in the circumstances in which Scotland voted against independence in 2014” and that this gives justification for having another independence referendum.
It is true that 62% of Scottish voters opted to remain in the EU from a voter turnout of 67.2% of the electorate. However the question on the ballot paper was a simple and unambiguous choice - for the UK to remain as a member of the EU or to leave. The SNP in their wisdom interpret the Scottish result as a vote for Scotland to remain in the EU even if it means leaving the UK. Where is their evidence for this? It definitely was not part of the EU referendum question. Once again it is an example of the SNP manipulating the facts to support their ultimate goal of independence.
Significantly, a Scottish poll taken immediately after result of the EU referendum asked some very relevant questions https://yougov.co.uk/news/2016/07/30/brexit-fails-boost-support-scottish-independence/
Question 1: Should Scotland be an independent country? Result: 47% yes / 53% no
When eliminating the “don’t knows” this became 45% yes / 55% no, virtually identical the result of the first Scottish independence referendum in 2014.
Question 2: Should Scotland leave the UK to stay in the EU? Result: 37% yes / 46% no / 17% don’t know
Question 3: Should Scotland leave the UK to stay in the EU single market? Result: 34% yes / 40% no / 26% don’t know
So this is just another example of the Nicoloa Sturgeon manipulating the facts and claiming to “speak for Scotland” when in fact the majority of Scots disagree with her.
Most Scots do not want another independence referendum, particularly right now when our economy is under pressure. We don’t have the finances, a competent government, a plan of action, or the will of the people to make a success of it. Most would prefer our Government to shelve their obsession with independence and focus on using their considerable devolved powers to improve the future of our country and its inhabitants. All this talk of another independence referendum does nothing but cause uncertainty in the minds of our business leaders, investors and world markets.
Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP know that if they were to have a 2nd Indy referendum right now they would lose. If they thought for a minute that they were in a good position to win, the Scottish Government would be calling for another referendum tomorrow! Sturgeon has already said many times that she will only call for a 2nd Referendum when she thinks they can win. If that is not an example of biased timing in the best interests of the SNP what is? So right now a 2nd referendum remains an idle threat. It may come to nothing, particularly if Brexit is negotiated successfully. However, no doubt Sturgeon is secretly hoping it will be a hard exit with limited or no access to the EU single market, as a successful Brexit will do little for her dream of Scottish independence.
Scottish demands re the Brexit negotiations
Our First Minister believes that, as a result of our Brexit vote, Scotland has shown it wants to stay in the EU. Based upon this typical “SNP misrepresentation of the facts” she has made 2 key demands:
Scottish representation at any Brexit negotiations with a Scottish power of veto
Scotland’s continued membership of the EU or at least continued access to the EU single market as a special case
The Prime Minister has told Sturgeon in no uncertain terms that the answer to the first demand above is a definite no. The EU Referendum result was based on the whole of the UK and as such the UK Government will negotiate the exit terms. Scotland will not be given a veto and will not be allowed to negotiate its own terms with the EU. The EU has confirmed that this indeed will be the case. Scotland will have to comply, as part of the UK, with whatever deal is struck on the Brexit negotiations. This includes access or not to the EU single market. Since the EU has also ruled out the prospects of Scotland remaining a member state of the EU if the UK leaves, it is likely that none of Sturgeon’s demands will be met. As a result of this, the Scottish Government has already started preparing legislation for a 2nd referendum so that they can call for one at the earliest opportune moment.
What are the chances of an independent Scotland becoming a member state of the EU?
Let’s get something clear at the outset. In spite of what you might hear from our First Minister, if Scotland were to gain independence it would not be allowed to retain membership of the EU. This was clearly stated by the EU at the time of the first Independence Referendum in 2014. Scotland would have to apply for EU membership. It requires all 28 member states’ approval before a country can become a member of the EU and several countries including Spain, Belgium and Italy are likely to veto Scotland’s application to join the EU in an attempt to discourage fervent independence movements within their own borders.
Even if all member states approved Scotland’s application there are financial entry restrictions to the EU which would prevent Scotland from joining at present. http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/euro/adoption/who_can_join/index_en.htm. For example, to join the EU a country’s deficit should be no more than 3% of GDP and Scotland’s annual deficit stood at 9.7% in 2014-15. Fact is our country’s balance sheet is around £15 billion in the red as a result of our government’s obsessive public spending policies. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-37167975. Without significant oil revenue and with no Barnett formula income from Westminster, an independent Scotland would be in a disastrous financial state. The only remedial action would be to raise taxation, increase national borrowing or drastically reduce public spending, bringing a new meaning to the word “austerity”. This is exactly what the EU has forced upon Greece because of their massive level of debt. The last thing the EU wants at present is another Greek bailout situation so Scotland’s financial compliance will be an essential prerequisite for EU membership. At best it could take several years for an EU application to be approved and the longer it takes the more time for our financial state to deteriorate even further.
The downside of an independent Scotland joining the EU
With no currency of its own and the UK government insisting an independent Scotland cannot use the British Pound, Scotland would be f