Many people are now clamoring for another independence referendum, and as quickly as possible. They believe that the UK’s vote to leave the EU virtually guarantees that YES will win an indy2 Referendum, and that Scotland can become an independent country and member of the EU before the 2 year divorce period is completed for the UK to leave the EU.
1,617,989 people voted yes in 2014 (44.7%) and 2,001,926 people voted no in 2014 (55.3%). In the EU Referendum 1,661,191 voted to remain a member of the EU (62%) and 1,018,322 voted to leave the EU (38%). Various polls since the EU referendum this week have indicated that up to 500,000 no voters would now vote yes in a future referendum so an Independent Scotland can remain a member of the European Union, yes would have maybe 54% of the vote. All good news if you are a supporter of the SNP, and a supporter of Scottish Independence. But is it enough!
My opinion is that many YES voters voted to leave the EU, for a lot of different reasons, but one reason that comes up is that while they remain YES voters to Scottish Independence, why would they then want to vote to join another union while leaving the one they are currently in. For many YES voters it just doesn’t make sense, I tend to agree with them even where my leave vote has different reasons attached to it.
I appreciate that we are only a week on from the historic EU vote and emotions remain very high, our politics within the UK are pretty much in the toilet, the Tories and the Labour Party are having internal civil wars and the SNP are pretty much fighting hard to garner support for Scotland in the EU. The issue here though is that there is no guarantee that all Yes and Leave voters will vote Yes and join the EU if that is what is on the offer in another referendum. I have read enough comments on social media, on Facebook and some comments on this blog to indicate that any rush into indy2 could be a big mistake.
It is not so long ago that the SNP were against EU membership, only adopting the policy in 1988. As many as between 30 to 40% of SNP members don’t support membership of the EU, do the previous no voters bring enough votes to provide a safe margin in another indy ref? I’m really not so sure. For many within the SNP it remains inconsistent to leave one union for another as I noted. Some argue that Scotland would have more influence in the UK parliament than they would the parliament in Brussels, for some there is a fear that the EU will move ever closer to a more federal United States of Europe run by the same vested interests that run it now.
This makes another referendum too soon a very risky proposition in my opinion; the stakes are maybe just too high to rush into another right now and we have too much to lose. I remain a passionate YES voter and will seriously need to be convinced about an independent Scotland joining the EU but if we lose another independence referendum so soon after 2014 then it is off the table for the foreseeable future, probably my lifetime and that I feel means we have to take it a little slower, the SNP have to take it a little slower.
Let’s see how it pans out. Will the EU survive the Brexit? Will the UK and therefore Scotland flourish outside the EU? Will the Remain No voters really come over to Yes? There are a lot of questions needing a bit more evidence to convince me that a quick referendum is the way. I also think that any decision on an independent Scotland joining the EU has to be by referendum and not on the basis of a yes vote only.
However, a quick referendum might just be taking the Yes vote for granted.