In her launch in London earlier today, 29th February, of the SNP’s campaign for the United Kingdom to stay in Europe, Scotlamd’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, delivered a contradiction that is the clearest possible signal on the fate of Indyref 2 if the UK majority votes to leave the EU and Scotland votes to remain.
The First Minister has acknowledged that in this scenario there will certainly be powerful calls for a second referemdum on Scottish independence.
However, she has carefully avoided saying that she would listen to such calls.
But the key issue came when she chose to say that naturally she believed Scotland wold be independent one day – and that, were she to be leader of an independent Scotland in the EU, she would want her nearest neighbour to be in the EU as well.
A version of this statement was in the formal script of her speech, which she delivered but she varied it in remarks afterwards, on camera, to personalise it, as reported above.
With this self declared preferred scenario, it could not be more obvious that should Britain as a whole vote to leave the EU, Ms Sturgeon will certainly not approve a second push for Scottish independence.
Were she to do so and were the infantry to drive the victory they are capable of securing, her nightmare scenario would have come into being.
Scotland flying solo outside the shelter of the British union, outside the sterling zone; a member of the EU; a member of the Eurozone – a contributor to bailouts; and a member of the Schengen agreement on open borders – both of the last inevitable conditions of membership for a small country without the clout to command the exemptions the UK has secured.
This cloth-eared situation would see Scotland voluntarily out of the free trade area of the British union – its largest trading partner; and into the free trade area of the Eurozone, its third largest market after the UK and the USA.
It would indeed see Scotland share the intelligence of the EU community -but greatly depleted by the absence of the input from GCHQ which is pretty much ahead of the rest of the world at the moment.
Nothing would persuade the ultra cautious First Minister to sanction a second indyref which just might result in so damaging a scenario for Scotland.
And incidentally, the arguments Ms Sturgeon so passionately advances for remaining members of the EU are the very same arguments for Scotland remaining a member of the British union, in or out of Europe: without the language problems, without carrying partial financial responsibility for eurozone bailouts; with the common currency of sterling; with access to the British free trade area – and, almost certainly, continuing access to the EU as a trading partner, as a member of the British union, with the advantage of all of its negotiated exemptions.