Nicola Sturgeon announces a “possible” timeline and actions that “might” trigger a second referendum and everyone goes mad. The Separatists go mad because it’s another opportunity to see their dreams come to fruition, and the Unionists go mad because the last referendum cost 13.3Million, fully occupied the Scottish Government (SNP) for 4 years, when they should have been focused on running the country and, well… it’s not even been a year since we had the last one.
Barely a month ago the SNP came in for sharp criticism because they refused to debate a second referendum at their conference then, just last week, Sturgeon was targeted by her own Cybernats after welcoming the Queen to Scotland to open the new Borders rail line. The SNP know that they have a powerful weapon in the form of the Cybernats, but they are fundamentalists when it comes to the question of independence and they will turn on anyone who they see as standing in their way, including the SNP leadership.
This is the context for the announcement regarding the timetable for a second referendum. Sturgeon has to settle her own troops before they openly rebel. Of course we’ll have to wait for the actual wording of the manifesto to she what she has to say, but it very much looks like a sop to the Cybernats – the wording of announcement is couched very much in terms of “possible”, “might” and “maybe”. The fact that this announcement came the same weekend as the new Labour leader was announced, shows us that it’s also a show of strength to Labour, than it is a series commitment to a second referendum.
So why should we calm down? Well, for the simple reason that the SNP were defeated on the fundamentals of independence and those have not changed; namely:
- The breath and depth of the defeat. The SNP lost in every demographic except one, including the youngest voters, which put the lie to the fact the SNP were “doing for the next generation”. The next generation spoke, and they said we’re happy with the Union thanks very much. On top of that, they lost in every constituency bar four. The SNP know these numbers and they know that they have a lot of work to do in order to win a second referendum.
- The European Question. The SNP want to claim that an “out” vote in the forthcoming UK wide EU referendum would trigger another independence referendum, as Scotland should not be dragged out the EU against the will of it’s citizens. However, the SNP must then deal with the issue that Scotland becoming independent would result in her falling out of the EU with no guarantee of an an early re-entry or that it would be on such favourable terms as the UK negotiated.
- The Currency. Salmond famously asserted that there would be a currency union with the rest of the UK. The Westminster Government stated, categorically, that this would not be the case. The voters didn’t believe Salmond’s assertions and the lack of a, credible, “plan B” caused some to vote “no”. The question of what will an independent Scotland use for a currency still has to be answered.
- The Economy. The SNP, famously, asserted that Scotland pays in more to the UK than it gets out and that oil would be $130 a barrel. Well the SNP’s own figures subsequently showed that we only paid in more than we got out 3 times in the last 15 years, and the price of oil crashed. The SNP will have to come up with a new, credible, economic plan for an independent Scotland now that the voters have seen what would have happened under the old one.
The SNP leadership will have access to this information, and a lot more besides, and they’ll be in no hurry to have another referendum, so we should all just calm down about it and see it for what it is, an announcement designed as a show of strength to the new Labour leadership and an attempt to whip the Cybernats back into line.