Actually, Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP could help win a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal.

Nicola Sturgeon was on the Peston show today talking about various aspects of Brexit. One thing struck me when she was pressed on the issue of a People’s vote of the Brexit deal. She said that the SNP won’t be the block to that but if there was to be another EU referendum, the big question for Scotland would be what would happen if we got the same outcome, where Scotland voted to remain and Wales and England voted to leave.

To be honest, I think it would be so much better if the SNP threw their massive campaigning energy behind securing a vote that means we can all stay in the EU. I reckon we could do a lot better than the 62-38 result. To be honest, the SNP sat the last one out. Our local SNP didn’t do much because they said they were tired after the Scottish elections.  It was the Lib Dems who ran the street stalls and did all the work.

It is unlike the SNP to be tired. For three years up to the Independence referendum in 2014 they were everywhere. They campaigned their hearts out. For the last month of the campaign, you couldn’t go to the shops to buy your rolls in the morning without seeing a posse with saltires and Yes leaflets. In that referendum, there was an 84.6% turnout. In the EU referendum, only 67% of people voted.

Scotland might not make up the 1.3 million difference, but we can do more than our fair share. It would be great if Nicola Sturgeon could do more than “not block” a people’s vote, but inspire her members to take their considerable campaigning power and get out there and campaign to remain.

How about it, Nicola? Let’s work together on this, because if we do, we can save the whole UK from a disastrous Brexit which will harm us all.


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • The problem is there are a lot of Nationalists who a) know that Brexit will be devastating for the UK economy, and b) believe that it will therefore lead to a boost in support for independence. To them, a is a price well worth paying to get b. Everything is a means to that end.

  • Peter Martin 20th May '18 - 8:29pm

    So the Lib Dem/SNP is advocating a negotiating strategy of saying to the EU “Please give us a good deal to Leave or we are going to vote to stay” ??

    I’m not an expert in game theory but I can see a flaw here. It’s rather like threatening to leave your job if you don’t get a pay rise but, when you don’t get one, making it clear to your boss that if the severance package isn’t good enough you’ll end up staying after all.

  • Steven Deller 21st May '18 - 9:22am

    The SNP have significant responsibility for brexit. Firstly the attempt to abolish the United Kingdom without asking three of the four countries sent English voters into the arms of the Conservatives. That created the 2015 majority that allowed the referendum to be called in the first place. The First Minister then made a promise, some might call it a vow, to voters in England that by voting to leave the EU they would be rid of Scotland as well. As a leave campaigner I can tell you this was a massive vote winner with undecided voters in the final few days of the campaign. It may even have turned the result.

    What a totally fail to understand is why you continue to allow the First Ministers false narrative to go unchallenged. Ti be the Scottish remain party you have to stop going soft of Sturgeon.

  • Maurice Leeke 21st May '18 - 11:27am

    In reply to Peter Martin.

    The “negotiating strategy” is to say to the EU “we would like the benefits of the Customs Union, the benefits of the Single Market, the benefits of Freedom of Movement, and we would also like a full say in the running and development of the EU.” Because membership of the EU is in the best interests of Scotland and of the UK (with or without Scotland).

    We would also say to the EU “please bear with us while we have a referendum for the voters to confirm that they would prefer that to whatever nonsense the cabinet finally decide is their least damaging Leave scenario.”

  • Peter Martin 21st May '18 - 1:48pm

    @ Tony H,

    Whether Brexit is going to devastating for the UK economy remains to be seen. But I would say it clearly won’t put the SNP in a better position re independence. They will have to rejoin the EU as a new member if that is what they want to do. They will have to sign up for the euro and 3% of GDP budget deficit limits. Even in the interim they won’t be allowed to run high deficits.

    As their current deficit is something like 8 or 9% of GDP, Ms Sturgeon could well have her work cut out selling that to the Scottish electorate. She’ll have to explain where the extra taxes and/or cuts to spending will be made.

  • William Ross 21st May '18 - 1:53pm

    There are three very strong reasons why Nicola will be hesitating on supporting Euro-ref 2.

    Firstly, as she is very well aware, her supporters made up the biggest party element of the 38% Leave vote. Ordinary nationalists, unlike the smart suits in Charlotte Square, cannot understand why our party should be dedicated to a far less democratic and remote Union than the one run from London. It does not make sense, and I for one will campaign again to Leave if we have the travesty of another referendum.

    Secondly to support Euro-ref 2 sets up the deadly precedent that major constitutional change requires a second ratifying referendum. I am totally against this in principle and it is also dreadful tactics. In fact, it would doom Indy ref 2. YES campaigners and voters would have to make the massive effort to win Indyref 2 and then face the need to win Indyref 3 perhaps years later. RUK would be incentivised to offer the worst possible deal and years of total upheaval would all be for nothing. We know what the Lib Dems would be doing.

    Thirdly, Nicola would have to ally herself with parties like the Lib-Dems who bleat for another Euro ref but have set their faces against Indy ref 2. Nicola would be joining “Better Together EU”

    Not a chance


  • William Ross 24th May '18 - 1:08pm


    I think you need your head examined. Most of our international trade is with non-EU countries on WTO terms NOW, even while we are stuck in the protectionist Customs Union. Even if we do have to trade with the EU on WTO terms, average tariffs are about 4% on goods with none being charged on services. The great majority of our economic output is service based.

    Try and get a grip


  • …………………..William Ross 24th May ’18 – 1:08pm….John, I think you need your head examined. Most of our international trade is with non-EU countries on WTO terms NOW………………………………

    I’d check your own head first. In 2016, the EU1 accounted for 48% of goods exports from the UK, while goods imports from the EU were worth more than imports from the rest of the world combined.
    We do trade with many countries now but, perhaps, you’d list those countries that will make up that 48% tariff free chunk of trade?

  • William Ross 26th May '18 - 3:49pm


    No I really think you should check your own head. If 48% of our exports go to the EU now then “Most of our international trade is with non-EU countries on WTO terms NOW” I got it right the first time. And WTO trade tariffs average out at around 3 to 4% which is much less than the 2016 fall in the value of sterling. And then we will not be paying Brussels £10 billion a year. And then we will be able to collect our own customs tariffs. And of course we will eventually get a trade deal of some sort with the EU and we will do our own international trade deals free from the claws of Brussels oligarchs.

    And then it all looks rather simple

  • David Evans 26th May '18 - 3:55pm

    William Ross, Trade is exports *and imports*. Both are vital, especially those imports that feed into further higher value exports.

    It may look simple to you if you ignore imports, but there is a danger, that I would advise you to avoid, that it may be you that ends up looking simple.

  • Daniel Walker 27th May '18 - 7:18am

    @William Ross “Most of our international trade is with non-EU countries on WTO terms NOW”

    Even if slightly less than half of exports (as David Evans says, there’s also imports) go to the Single Market, much of the rest isn’t on WTO terms because we have access to the EU’s Free Trade Agreements ( 54% in 2016, and more are pending including Canada and Japan, 4% between them, possibly rising now the agreements are signed)

    And none of that includes the non-tariff barriers, which are significant.

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