Baseless Fears about the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP)

Sometimes it seems as if the current crop of British politicians is afraid of their own shadows. Fearful of what the EU might do to us has been a background to the long saga over triggering Article 50 and is certain to continue during the forthcoming negotiations for Brexit.

Now there is a new fear entangled with the first – that the Scot Nats will cause endless trouble unless they get their way and stage a second referendum on separating from the United Kingdom at a time of their choosing.

What is the Law on Scottish Separation?

Issues around the constitution of the United Kingdom are NOT devolved to the Scottish or any other assembly in the United Kingdom. They are exclusively a matter for the United Kingdom Parliament to approve or disapprove. The SNP government does not have any power to decide if, still less when, a binding referendum on the separation of Scotland can be called. It is a thousand pities that the Prime Minister did not immediately say that she and her government would not allow it before the EU negotiations were finalised and Britain had legally left the EU, if then.

Impossibility of Negotiating with the EU if one part of the UK could decide to separate itself before the UK has actually left the EU

How could the EU and UK governments reach any agreement if one part of the UK proclaimed that the agreement would not apply to them? All the more if an SNP government said that it wanted Scotland to stay in the EU accepting free movement of EU nationals into Scotland, with an unknown currency, continued fishing by EU fishermen in Scottish waters, customs and immigration checks along the England-Scotland land border while Scottish citizens with their newly minted Scottish passports would have to go through the foreigners’ channels at all airports in England, Scotland and Wales. Have those saying to polling organisations that they would vote for a Scotland separated from the UK even begun to imagine this?

Who should Vote

And then there is the little matter of the electoral register. In 2014, the SNP insisted that EU nationals and 16 year-olds should be allowed to vote on Scotland’s and in effect the UK’s future. British Prime Minister Cameron tamely agreed to this, in the same way as he allowed the SNP to dictate the timing. The vote, if it should come, should be by British citizens only, and careful consideration given to British passport holders over 18 years-old with a 15 year-old former residence in Scotland being included on their previous electoral roll (as is now the rule for British general elections).

How long would it take for a Scottish Separation to be negotiated?

Given the well-known SNP aptitude for grievance mongering, about everything from arguing about Scotland’s share of cultural assets like the British Museum and the National Gallery, the millions of Scots living in England (perhaps a majority who will retain their British citizenship), Scotland’s share of the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Airforce, the future of the Trident base at Faslane, the split of oil, gas, and fishing assets (the latter to be surrendered back to the EU on SNP current plans), arguments over diplomatic and scientific assets such as embassies and laboratories none of which will be part of the EU-UK negotiations, plus all the matters of trade, customs, job permits which will be part of the EU-UK negotiations – one could hazard a guess at 10 years minimum.

EU membership not an option for Scotland

The idea in the SNP leader’s mind that a referendum could be called, won and implemented before Article 50 negotiations are completed in two years’ time, so that Scotland could have the opportunity of staying in the EU as Britain leaves is just fantasy. The EU has repeatedly said it will not let Scotland do this. When Britain leaves, Scotland will go with it. If Scotland should subsequently set itself up as a separate state, recognised in International Law as such, then it could conceivably apply to join the EU – but it would have first to (1) adopt the euro, (2) adhere to the euro financial stability pact (i.e. financial deficit less than 3% of GDP – currently it is 12%), (3) accept free movement (which will automatically cause passport checks to be put in place along Scotland-UK entry points).

The EU is absolutely determined not to have another Greece on its hands, and who can blame them. Britain will be likewise determined not to let Scotland become a backdoor for illegal immigration.

What a patriotic Scottish government should do

All the above is entirely factual, well-known to some of the Scot Nat leadership, but who keep quiet to keep on the right side of its leader with her increasingly shrill bombast about the rights of the Scottish people[1].

With expectations of life for men and women in Scotland now 3 years less than for the UK as a whole, and its schools’ educational performance at or near the bottom of the international performance indicators (PISA), already spending £127 for every £100 spent elsewhere in the UK, surely the overwhelming right of (Scottish) British citizens is to get to somewhere near the health and education standards obtained elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

Certainly I and others I know that (English) British citizens would be more than willing to help them if they would let us. This would however require them to whole-heartedly reject the SNP, and especially its present leader, in her fixation on strutting the world stage as Prime Minister.

When Nicola Sturgeon talks about Scotland’s place in Europe, she means Nicola Sturgeon’s place – red carpets, bowing and scraping to the budget masters in Brussels, a minnow among minnows. Thin gruel for the Scottish people back home.

End Note

[1] Her official deputy leader actually said on the BBC News on 14th March that the “independence referendum has absolutely nothing to do with anybody except the Scottish people”, when separation would tear families and businesses apart all over the UK.4

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