It all seemed so perfect Monday morning.
As the British House of Commons prepared to consider whether or not to agree with the House of Lords and give Parliament a chance to veto Brexit, Nicola Sturgeon – chief propagandist for Scottish independence (and, a distant second in her mind, the person responsible for actually governing Scotland) – stepped forward to demand a second referendum on independence (three years after 55% of Scots vetoed the idea) on the premise that it could be the only way for the Scots to stay in the European Union for which they so desperately pined.
It took less than 48 hours for the plan to be blown sky high.
First, of course, the Commons rejected the idea that it should be allowed to block Brexit. Truth be told, that didn’t slow Sturgeon down at all.
However, if the Telegraph is to be believed, this was part of the problem:
Ms Sturgeon fears that the SNP’s long-standing policy of an independent Scotland joining the EU would put off the 400,000 voters who backed independence in 2014 and also voted Leave in last year’s EU referendum. They represent one quarter of all those who voted for independence.
Of course, being that the EU is the status quo, protecting that should be easier (indeed, the UK’s vote to Leave the EU was considered to be the only dramatic change in events that would both justify a new referendum and convince risk-averse Scots to take the plunge and vote to secede from the UK).
Except that the status quo is not on offer (Guardian, emphasis added)…
Kirsty Hughes, an expert on EU policy based in Edinburgh and a former European commission official, said she and other colleagues believed it would take until about 2022 or 2023 for an independent Scotland to join the EU, even if a referendum was staged before Brexit. Scotland would also have to commit to joining the euro at a later stage.
…and that’s where the wheels come off. Whatever one thinks about the European Union, the idea of joining the eurozone would give most Scots pause. Indeed, the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (first link) found less than 1 in 3 Scots were willing to give Brussels more power over Scotland, which is exactly what Sturgeon would do…
…at least, until tonight (first link again):
Nicola Sturgeon’s referendum plans were rapidly unravelling tonight as it emerged she is to abandon the SNP’s policy of rejoining the EU immediately amid record Euroscepticism in Scotland.
Just a day after the Scottish First Minister demanded a second vote on independence, senior Nationalist sources told The Daily Telegraph that Ms Sturgeon would instead try to join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), whose members include Norway and Iceland.
In other words, the very arrangement that Sturgeon, her party (the Scottish Nationalist Party) and Scotland independence lovers throughout the political class insisted was terrible for Britain (access to the European Union single market but no influence inside it) is now just peachy keen for Scotland.
No wonder Sturgeon went into full panic when others pointed out she did not have a majority in the Scottish Parliament. Instead of noting that the Greens also supported both independence and a second referendum (indeed, they do – and they have enough MSPs to give Sturgeon a majority for “indyref2”), she resorted to comparing vote percentages and mandates leading the Scottish Tory leader to accuse her of having “gone the full Donald Trump” (first link).
The entire episode is yet another reminder that, Remain votes aside, staying in the EU as part of the UK is not the same thing as joining the eurozone as a different country. The Scottish Nationalists are learning this to their peril. Their cousins in Northern Ireland might want to make note and take heed.