Today Britain voted to leave the European Union. 60% of Argyll, and 62% of Scotland voted to remain. However a lower turnout here, along in other remain areas brings into question whether a more effective campaign would have altered the result and could reduce the legitimacy of calls for a second Scottish Independence referendum. Both points are moot however. We have a result; and calls for another referendum here will now be irresistible.
Scotland now has the choice of three paths – within the EU, or the UK, or independent of both.
Nicola Sturgeon has spoken saying that Scotland’s future is as part of the EU, a position supported by the polling figures. The question is how that statement will be translated into action. The first step is to safeguard our continuing membership of the EU if that is the will of the Scottish people, the next is to call a referendum.
Given the desire of a majority of Scots to be in some form of union it would seem strange now to go on our own. There are significant risks in terms of having to negotiate trade deals with the rest of the world. Thus I believe any referendum should be a straightforward choice – for leaving the EU along with the rest of the UK, or continuing with our membership of the EU.
Given the majorities in referenda in Scotland for staying in both the UK and EU, how will people decide between the two? We have cultural, historic and trade ties with both. There are advantages, and disadvantages with either.
However what is imperative that any referendum is held as quickly as possible – ideally this year, so that we can know as a country where our future lies.
We must allow business the security to invest and stabilise our economy and finances so that we can maintain our schools, hospitals and other public services, going forward.
Kieron Green is the Independent Councillor for Oban North and Lorn and one of the five For Argyll readers who wrote on their personal views on EU membership before the Referendum.