31 May 2016

Brexit - what if?

The Independent indulges itself in some rather wild speculation on the outcome of a vote in favour of Brexit:
Nicola Sturgeon has made no secret of her desire for another referendum should Britain choose to leave the EU. She has already argued, rightly, that the last independence referendum in Scotland was based on a background of Britain remaining a part of the EU. 
With the backdrop changed so dramatically, based largely on English votes, the calls for another independence vote will be deafening. And this time the Scottish Nationalists know they will win. 
Given a choice between leaping into the unknown handcuffed to England and remaining as part of a stable (if risky) European Union, Scots will take their chances with Europe. More than just avoiding a leap into the unknown, remaining as part of the EU while England leaves represents a once-in-a-lifetime economic opportunity for Scotland. 
Every business that might consider leaving England for mainland Europe following a Brexit might instead consider moving to Scotland. Scotland will probably adopt the Euro as currency, is more conveniently situated for mainland Europe than Ireland and has a highly advanced renewable energy sector. 
The numbers don’t even need to be huge for Scotland to emerge as a big economic winner. If 5 per cent of American companies in the UK moved their European HQ north it would be a major economic windfall for the country. 
Plenty of Brexit campaigners want Britain to remain whole; they argue that Scotland wouldn’t become an automatic member of the EU and may not achieve favorable membership terms. But alternatively – and just as likely – the EU desperately, wanting to stick it to England, might fast track Scottish membership, granting the country very favorable terms indeed. Independence is tantalisingly within reach; Sturgeon must be willing the English to do their part.
Aye, well.  There are several unprovable assumptions underlying such an argument.  First, that Scotland votes Remain, while England votes Leave; neither of these propositions may turn out to be valid.  Secondly, that such a situation would necessarily lead to another IndyRef and that Scotland would vote for independence; again, neither of these may prove to be the case.  And thirdly, that - even if Scotland were to adopt the euro - the EU would be prepared to do Scotland any favours in order to stick it to England.

It all might just happen, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

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