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Are British Euroskeptics Pushing Scotland Toward Independence?


With an independence referendum fast approaching, Scotland’s decision whether to stay in the UK may depend on the UK’s relationship with Europe. Although current polling suggests that the measure to dissolve the union will not pass, the FT warns that this could change if Britain continues distancing itself from the EU:

Received wisdom has it that Mr Salmond’s Scottish National party will fail in its first bid for separation. A pro-union alliance of Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats has notched up successes in challenging the SNP’s prospectus. Alistair Darling, the former chancellor leading the unionist side, has proved a formidable interrogator of the nationalists’ claims….

Were England to cut itself off from its own continent the intelligent response of Scots would be to swap union with a diminished England for independent membership of the EU. There lies an irony. Eurosceptics say they are marching in defence of a sovereign UK. Nothing could be more calculated to shatter the union of England with Scotland than Britain’s withdrawal from Europe.

We’ve noted before that an independent Scotland could face difficulties, most notably in negotiating its membership with the EU. Yet Britain itself has been drifting from its neighbors across the Channel, and if the UK does ultimately secede from the EU, it could very well drive Scotland from the union. Neither is a particularly rosy scenario.

[Scottish flag photo courtesy of Shutterstock]

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  • Fat_Man

    The Scots will never vote for independence, because they cannot afford to keep themselves on the dole.

    • bigfire

      Or rather, they’e addicted to the dole, and England is currently paying the bill. Independant minus the North Sea oil revenue (which you can bet England will NOT relinquish) is a non-starter.

  • gabrielsyme

    I rather think both courses are fairly reasonable scenarios. For some of us, Scottish independence – a return to the relationship Scotland had with England under the united crown of the Stuart monarchy – redresses a historic injustice and places Scotland in an appropriately collegial though not subordinate position to its southern neighbour. The real drawback is not so much difficulty in accession to the EU, which is truly a mixed bag, but the fact that Scotland’s political elites are fairly far leftward and aren’t likely to help make an independent Scotland a success.

    I also see no real reason to believe the UK will be worse off outside the EU, and a fair number of reasons to think it will prosper – as have Switzerland and Norway.

  • tarentius

    For some reason the FT is considered by US academic elites and the liberal establishment media as a quality newspaper with sound reporting and sound instincts. In fact it is a left of center, mushily anti-American newspaper that is usually off target. There is no poll reported by any British newspaper that shows a pro vote for Scottish independence above 35%. The FT has invested its entire intellectual capital in a rabid pro-EU stance and quite frequently runs stories to scare the British political establishment from any thought of separation from the EU. And the liberal elite here in the US falls for it.

  • charlesrwilliams

    Why should the English and Welsh care if Scotland leaves the UK? Why should anglophone Canada care if Quebec leaves Canada? These regions are liabilities to the nations they are trying to leave. For that matter, what reasons do Americans have to oppose the independence of Puerto Rico?

  • JohnOfEnfield

    The FT under Marjorie Scardino became very pro Labour & very pro Europe. Her husband Albert is also to the left of centre even in UK terms. It is not a politically conservative paper by any stretch of the imagination. Strange, given the throttling of the UK capitalist system being achieved by the EU Commissariat.

    Most Englishmen couldn’t give two hoots if Salmond leads his socialist republic of Scotland out of the United Kingdom. We just hope for their sake that all the fantastic assumptions he makes to justify their economic forecasts are achievable – membership of a Sterling Currency Zone, the EU & Nato. It will be a lot cheaper & we will be able to slough off the thousands of useless windmills he has dotted round the once beautiful landscape at zero cost to ourselves. What a result!

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