Linking Independence and EU Membership could be decreasing support for independence and making it unlikely we will achieve either
|Pro EU NO voters and Anti EY Yessers have switched sides in equal numbers|
There is some evidence and a growing concern that pushing for continued membership of an Independent Scotland in the EU – a faulty organisation with laudable ideals – is causing support for Independence to stall or even go into reverse. Admittedly the only semi hard evidence we have as yet is a YouGov and a Times Poll, the first of which can be criticised on the basis of its methodology, but given the current state of politics and the surprises of 2914, 2015 and 2016 plus the fact the SNP lost their majority despite facing clueless opposition from Labour and slightly less clueless opposition from the Tories suggests the YES movement should take this risk seriously
The figure above shows how Scotland is divided on the Issues of Independence and EU membership together with the shifts in support for independence since the EU referendum(figures from Wings over Scotland). An initial surge in support for Independence has subsided because of almost balanced migration between NO and YES.
Scotland split in 2014 with 45% for independence and 55% against Independence. In 2016 the vote was 62% for EU membership and 38% against. The problem is we do not know how many Independence supporters wanted to be out of the EU but voted, with a heavy heart to remain thinking this would speed up independence and we do not know how many Independence supporters voted to Leave because they felt remaining in the EU would delay independence or simply felt the EU to be the greater of the two evils. All we have is snapshots of a popular will that may have changed.
Wings Across Scotland have (http://wingsoverscotland.com/the-gambit/), however, done some research and say that a lot of Unionist Remain voters want to remain in the EU and would back independence in order to do so, but are balanced by an equal number of YES Leave Voters who think staying with the UK is the only way to get out of Europe.
We should not consider Anti-EU Yessers who would vote NO as not really wanting independence. It simply means they consider the UK an apple with a small worm in it and the EU an apple with a large worm in it and want to go with the lesser of two weevils.
The Point also note that the recent National Survey is not being published, suggesting it backs up this anti-Independence trend.
In other words, the UK-EU issue is ripping apart Unionists and Independence supporters in about equal numbers leaving the most likely result of a second Independence referendum the same as the first.
This is, in Orwell’s Newspeak, which seems appropriate to these times, double plus ungood.
Worse, a number of staunch Yessers seem to be in denial about this risk
What can be done
Since linking these two issues is threatening independence the answer is to decouple them in such a way that both Pro-EU unionists can vote for Independence as a way of staying in the EU and Anti-EU YESsers can vote for independence as a way of getting out of the EU without having to stay with the UK. One suggestion is that the Scottish parliament should commit to a EU membership referendum within a few months of a YES vote in a second Independence referendum. This would doubtless be met with a groan by most of Scotland but would settle the matter as decisively as a NO vote in a second Independence referendum. More importantly it would decouple the two issues allowing Pro-EU unionists and Anti-EU Yessers to vote for independence knowing they would have their say and a chance of achieving their goals later.
If the Scottish Government committed to an election after Independence on the basis of EU membership they could be accused of running away from the mess they created with Independence. They would also incur the wrath of impatient anti-EU voters and possibly give a UKIP clone party (SIP?) an entry into Scottish politics. I think hardly anyone in Scotland wants that,
To avoid doubt my position is that I want to be in the EU in an independent Scotland.
However I want an Independent Scotland more than I want to be in the EU and, despite a touch of referendum fatigue I want EU membership to be decided after independence when we will have a government that can afford to be honest about the pros and cons. If the result is Scotland leaves the EU and I perceive the debate to have been fair and comprehensive I will accept the result even if I dislike it.
Denial will lose the next independence referendum.
I would rather be considered paranoid or overly pessimistic than see Independence lost by being in denial about electoral trends such as these. At present it looks like Brexit has lost us the gains made since 2014 and things are getting worse. In evidence I cite the failure to publish the National survey and a sudden pause in the Unionist ranting against a second Independence referendum, almost as if they now believe they might be abot to win one.
Once Article 50 is triggered the only way this amateur political strategist can see to boost the chance of independence is to commit to an EU referendum in Scotland soon after a YES vote. To make such a commitment before Article 50 is triggered would be a bad, possibly fatal move. Right now everything depends on the Pry Minister who has said it will be triggered in March 2017.
Unless of course Westminster decides to eject Scotland from the UK but that is currently very unlikely
Lets ensure that Leave and Remain YES voters can unite and that Independence is not seen as owned purely by the SNP
Notes and Further Reading
About the author:
A keen supporter of Independence who believes the Pen is as mighty as the March and has a wide range of interests other than Politics, from Technology, through history from a Political Perspective to the Paranormal and Anomalous Phenomena such as Poltergeists, UFOs and time slips to which they attempt to keep an open but skeptical mind while being amazed by human behaviour which makes poltergeists, UFOs, Timeslips and fairies look like child's play