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]