As if there weren’t more pressing issues, Nicola Sturgeon has been in the news again to remind us all of the Scottish Question. According to Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Constitution Secretary, a referendum will go ahead in October of next year.
But as with the first, a second referendum raises as many questions as it answers according to Fraser Nelson in today’s Telegraph. On the question of borders:
“Most of Scotland’s imports and exports cross over the border with England, so what impact would it have subjecting all of them to checks, tariffs and customs controls? The SNP often talks about the harm inflicted by Brexit, but Scotland’s trade with England vastly outweighs its dealings with Europe. So “Scexit”, as some Unionists have taken to calling it, would be “Brexit times 10”.
And that's not the half of it.
Even suppose Scotland did win a second referendum, the entry criteria for accession to the EU are truly eye-watering. State spending in Scotland is currently 61% of GDP.
“Under the Maastricht rules, it would need to get the deficit down to 3 per cent of GDP (from 22 per cent last year). This would be possible, but devastating.
The cuts required would be bigger than the post-crash austerity visited upon Greece, Ireland or Iceland. An independent Scotland could close every school, free every prisoner, disband the police force and still not come close to balancing its books.”
It's not even as if the SNP have a track record to boast of. In those areas where they already have full autonomy, their legacy post-devolution has been dismal:
“We’ve seen indefensible decay in schools with a widening attainment gap between rich and poor (closing this was supposed to be the “defining mission” of her government). Drug deaths have surged to the highest in Europe.”
And the Party itself is as contaminated by sleaze as any other in Western Europe:
In which country, anywhere in the Western world, has the head of government been accused by a predecessor of conspiring to have him imprisoned by framing him so as to remove him as a political threat? Alex Salmond’s full case against Sturgeon is still unpublishable, owing to censorship edicts issued by Edinburgh courts.
He was acquitted of attempted rape but what he did admit to in his time as First Minister makes Boris Johnson’s birthday cake session look like a nun’s tea party. A striking proportion of the SNP’s MPs have faced charges of embezzlement, anti-Semitism, sexual harassment and more.”
All of which points to one thing: the referendum demand is a bluff, a tactic to keep the Party's name in lights with periodic appeals to national unity.
The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it: