I see that Poison McDwarf is at it again. She reckons that the Scottish Parliament ought to get a say (i.e. a veto) on Brexit, owing to the fact that the Jocks voted pretty unanimously against it by a large margin, She plans to ask for the Scottish Parliament to be represented at the appeal hearing likely to reach the Supreme Court in December.
I have very mixed feelings about this.
On the one hand, it’s fairly unlikely that her intervention will be in any way successful. After all, the European Referendum Act was put through Westminster by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. By the terms of reference for Scottish Devolution, matters of Foreign Policy, Immigration and Trade & Industry are Reserved Matters, which means that they are the preserve of the UK Parliament, not devolved governments.
The Scotch will no doubt argue that withdrawal from the EU will have an impact on devolved matters (e.g. agriculture, environment, sport etc.), but I suspect they’ll be told to F.O. by the supreme court and/or the UK government.
Either way it’ll open up the divisions that are now sort of healing between England and Scotland, and it’ll give McPoison the lever she needs to call for a new Scottish independence referendum, with all the attendant pain and animus that comes with it.
And when that happens, the Scottish will, in all likelihood, vote even more resoundingly in favour of staying in the UK. This will be driven by a number of things:
- North Sea oil revenues have been hit hard by the price of a barrel of oil, to the point where Scotland could not afford to go it alone and pin its revenue hopes on oil. It’s quite possible that oil prices may never recover to levels that would make Scottish Independence viable, and even if they did, they could easily end up back in the doldrums if OPEC played more games meant to disrupt the adoption of shale America and Europe, which is in large part what lead them to overproduce and cause oil price to reduce to the point where shale prospecting and production is not economically viable.
- The EU have made it very clear that there is no option for Scotland to depart from the UK and remain an EU member without starting a new membership application process.
- In the event that Scotland went down that road, they ought to study Greece and Italy to see the way they’d be treated as a nation with ruinous national finances. All the sweeties that the Scots enjoy today would have to go and taxes would have to rise significantly to meet the EU/Eurozone rules on deficit levels.
- Independence will mean loss of support from the English taxpayer.
And the consequence of this will be that after two straight defeats for the Scotch Nationalists, the question of Scottish independence really will be settled for a generation or more. And not in the way I (and a lot of English) would like to see,
- That proportion of English who want to see the back of Scotland is only likely to rise if the Scottish government is at all successful in hampering our quest for Brexit, either by delay, compromise or outright veto. And the more successful we are in achieving a hard Brexit, the more animosity the Scottish will have for the English.It can’t end well.