A serious thought about the EU Referendum and the possibility of a second Scottish Independence referendum.
I was, and am, in favour of Scottish Independence within the EU.
I was, and am, in favour of the UK remaining part of the EU.
I wish I could have both. If we can not have both I think we should pick the EU over the UK.
Ideally, for me, Scotland would become independent from the UK whilst both were in the EU. There would be a natural and pre-existing trading arrangement. We (Scotland) would have to ride out a few years adjusting to running our own country, getting a workable currency and setting our tax rates right. It would be difficult in the short term but I think, on balance, probably, better economically and politically in the medium term. This is a guess not a promise and I might be wrong. Other people thought so and I respect their thought processes and their right to their own values and risk preferences.
But we don't live in an ideal world. There appears to be no sweet spot where we can have easy trading relationships with both the rest of the UK and the other 27 members of the EU. The next few years are going to be economically challenging in exactly the same way as Scottish Indepdence was always going to be. Avoiding the sunk cost fallacy we have to make the best of the situation we are in today, not the best of the situation we thought we were in a week ago. We have to go forward from where we are. Where we are, today, is in flux, with both peril and opportunity on all sides.
And so, it might now be the case that Scottish Indepedence as part of the EU is the best option for my country even if it wasn't when the rest of the UK was an EU member state.
If that is the case I think we should do it quickly. To quote the first and greatest British playwright
"Thereis a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of theirlife is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures."
"If it were donewhen 'tis done, then 'twere well It were done quickly"
The position of the SNP before the EU referendum as I saw it was a) to reserve the right to hold a second referendum to Scottish people, and b) to actually wait until there was a pent up demand for independence. Fair and resonable under the circumstances in my view. But slow, so slow, so flat footed.
I think those circumstances have changed. We have a very strong vote for Remain in Scotland. Is that a proxy for a vote for Independence? Maybes Aye, Maybes Nay. There's only one way to find out soon. And find out soon we must. There is an opportunity for Scotland to profit from England's error. If we move quickly, quickly to establish a firm invitation to remain in the EU, quickly to hold and win an independence referendum and then quickly to set our trade and taxation policy so as to predate on England's uncertain future by encouraging international businesses currently located in England who want an Anglophone location in the EU to relocate to Scotland rather than Ireland. Which if they are going to do, they will do sooner rather than later.
Are the people of Scotland up for this? Only one way to find out. If we wait until we are certain the opportunity to walk away from the implosion of the UK with at least our own country and economy and people intact will be gone.
So I think Sturgon should get on a plane and fly round every European capital and ask them to jointly and severally invite Scotland to stay in the EU. If successful she should announce a referendum to be held before Christmas. If that is for independence then we negotiate SExit alongside Brexit and stay in the EU.
If unsuccessful we are not any worse off. If we wait to see how damaging Brexit will be and how that actually affects public opinion the damage to us will be done and the opportunity to ameliorate that damage with some prudent, sharp business will be lost.
To be clear - I am absolutely advocating that we (Scotland) conspire to stab our closest ally and dearest friend in the back. Et tu Scotus. We should not stand with them whilst they try to work out how to be a non-European nation. We should take advantage of their distress to prosper ourselves. What choice have they left us? What choice have we left ourselves.
I vote for #IndyRef2 within six months.