The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland vote 51.9% to LEAVE the EU, and 48.1% to REMAIN. But as you’ll probably be aware, England and Wales voted to LEAVE with 53.4% and 52.5%, but Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to REMAIN with 55.8% and 62%. As far as England is concerned, eight of its nine regions* voted to LEAVE; London was the odd one out. (All details can be found here)
Nichola Sturgeon is now saying the Scottish Parliament will try to block Brexit. I do not believe that this is legally possible, but it would certainly be an outrageous and totally unacceptable proposition. Particularly given that Scotland voted only two years ago to remain in the UK even though everyone was perfectly well aware that the UK might vote to LEAVE the EU two years later.
However, there is a valid point here. Namely, that maybe Scotland and the rest of the UK are diverging politically, and that a second independence referendum for Scotland might need to happen.
But what would the timescale of that be?
The SNP would surely wish to strike while anger is high. However, that seems unreasonable. Indeed, a proposal for a second Indy Ref anytime soon is demonstrably wrong: immoral, yes, but also self-servingly opportunistic, demonstrative of not caring for the UK or even Scotland, but only for one’s own ideology.
Firstly, it isn’t proper to have Indy Ref 2 before we have left the EU. After all, the electorate would not be informed on what an independent UK would entail. That sets Indy Ref 2 back 2-3 years due to the two year negotiation period after Article 50 has been triggered — and it doesn’t have to be triggered immediately.
Secondly, that would take us to 2018/2019. Parliament runs till 2020. Surely it makes sense to allow Parliament to end.
Thirdly, indeed, surely it makes sense for the UK to elect its first post-EU, newly independent government. We must see how an independent UK is to be governed. That means we must allow for at least one full parliament as an independent nation. That takes us through to 2025.
Fourthly, it is probably wise to allow two or three parliaments to pass so that we can settle into a pattern. After all, the first parliament that we elect may well be reactionary. This takes us to 2030-2035.
In short, the earliest it seems reasonable to hold Indy Ref 2 is in about 15-20 years time. That’s not me, as a British Unionist, delaying. Let’s lance the boil! If we need to split, let’s split! But I just can’t see how it is reasonable, let alone constitutionally or politically sensible, to hold Indy Ref 2 anytime soon.
*The EU developed NUTS 1 statistical regions of England.
© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry