Congratulations Brexit, but Scotland holds the key

It would be churlish not to congratulate the Brexit campaign, especially its leaders Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and Nigel Farage on their stunning success, which amongst other things has led to

  • The ousting of Boris and Michael’s friend Dave from the office of Prime Minister. Chimes of Perfidious Albion. ‘Et tu, Brute?’ With friend like this Cameron needs no enemies. The rest of us should watch Johnson and Gove, and beware.
  • The wiping of many £billions value from UK shares
  • The wiping of $trillions value from global shares
  • The fall of about 10% in the value of the £
  • The lowering of the UK’s credit rating to negative
  • The very possible introduction of tariffs against UK imports into the EU, specifically on cars made at UK Japanese implants, leading to loss of jobs and future investment – ouch!
  • The very likely secession of Scotland from the UK
  • The less likely but possible secession of Northern Ireland if Sinn Fein saw its chance and managed to call a referendum for re-unification of Ireland which were then to succeed based on the Catholic majority in the population and the general desire to stay in the EU

All at a stroke! Johnson, Gove and Farage are clearly electoral magicians.

But perhaps herein lies a possible strategy. Scotland had more sense, and voted to stay in the EU. Many Brits might well welcome Nicola Sturgeon as Prime Minister of the UK, but unless the SNP campaigns across the UK, or Labour and SNP merge, this remains ‘in your dreams’.

However if Scotland were to hold a second referendum, perhaps three options could be on offer:

  1. Scotland to remain in the Brexit UK
  2. Complete Scottish independence
  3. Scotland to remain in a non-Brexit UK

This third option was in fact what the Scots voted for in their last referendum. If that were also the result in a second referendum, then the UK government would indeed have good reason itself for a second referendum with the options

  1. Remain in the EU with Scotland in the UK
  2. Leave the EU and lose Scotland from the UK

Is that a possible strategy, or also a measure of desperation?  Well, some of us are desperate !

Scotland to the rescue 🙂

* Geoff Crocker is a professional economist writing on technology at and on basic income at His recent book ‘Basic Income and Sovereign Money – the alternative to economic crisis and austerity policy’ was recommended by Martin Wolf in the FT 2020 summer reading list.

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  • I have just heard that the Scottish Parliament might have to give “legislative consent” to the UK leaving the EU.

  • jedibeeftrix 26th Jun '16 - 4:40pm

    “This third option was in fact what the Scots voted for in their last referendum.”

    The scots voted in the near certain knowledge that a referendum was coming. Fact, or delusion…

  • paul barker 26th Jun '16 - 5:18pm

    This seems like a possible way forward but can we imagine this Government following it ? In this time when the existence of GB/UK is under threat, should we be calling for a Government of National Unity ?

  • SCOTLAND HELD THE KEY – IN 1979. “The Scottish Devolution referendum, 1979”.

    An issue emerging is how little our expensively educated politicians – especially Cameron D.W.D. (Eton & Oxford, PPE)- seem to have learned from history. Cameron could have learned from the Scottish Referendum on devolution in 1979 and saved all a lot of trouble (he was a wee boy of 12 at the time)… Apparently Eton stuck to the Punic Wars in those days.

    The 1979 post-legislative referendum decided on whether there was sufficient support for a Scottish Assembly proposed in the Scotland Act 1978 among the Scottish electorate. This was an act to create a devolved deliberative assembly for Scotland. An amendment to the Act stipulated it would be repealed if fewer than 40% of the total electorate voted Yes in the referendum. The result was that 51.6% supported the proposal, but with a turnout of 64%, this represented only 32.9% of the registered electorate. The Act was subsequently repealed.

    The Yes vote got more votes – but lost. (the idea – it had to be a convincing result).

    1979 Scottish Devolution Result
    Votes %
    Yes 1,230,937 51.62%
    No 1,153,502 48.38%
    Valid votes 2,384,439 99.87%
    Invalid or blank votes 3,133 0.13%
    Total votes 2,387,572 100.00%
    Registered voters/turnout 3,747,112 63.72%

    Should have done your homework Cameron D.W.D. !!

    Another history illiterate is apparently Clegg N.W.P., (Westminster and Cambridge – Archaeology), who could have studied the effect of coalition on the Liberal Party in 1915, 1918 and 1931 to great effect.

    Yet another, Blair A.C.L. (Fettes and Oxford – Jurisprudence) could have studied the Afghan Wars in 1880 and 1885 to great effect.

  • “I have just heard that the Scottish Parliament might have to give “legislative consent” to the UK leaving the EU.”
    Don’t know if that is legally the case, but doesn’t Scotland need the consent of UK parliament to have a second IndRef.?
    Have we reached the absurdity of a constitutional Mexican stand-off?

  • At the moment our First Minister is still exploring diplomatic options to see if there is any way to retain membership of both unions perhaps in the same way as part of Denmark (Greenland) is outside of the EU while the rest is inside. She is also exploring all the other options that would give effect to the will of the Scottish people to remain in the EU. Scottish government legal experts will be checking to see if the Scottish Parliament can reasonably be argued to indeed have an effective veto on the UK leaving the EU.

    There is an explicit mandate for an independence referendum in this particular situation, and initial polling looks favourable to it. Nonetheless, while Nicola Sturgeon is passionately pro-independence, she does not look set to call a “which union” referendum until it becomes clear that the views expressed by the Scottish people in the two referendums cannot be reconciled. You can be sure that whatever the situation she will put Scotland’s interests first and Scotland’s interests are best served by remaining part of the EU.

    See, for example,

  • Folks, I have just started a petition on the parliament petition website asking for this very thing:

    Call a referendum: “Is the break-up of the United Kingdom a price worth paying for Brexit?”

    I think it is undoubtedly a question that the English need to be asked and one which they need to answer specifically. When it goes live I will post a link to it if it’s of any interest to anybody.

  • Peter Davies 26th Jun '16 - 8:06pm

    There is no Catholic majority in Northern Ireland. Almost 20% of the population are not Christians. It is probably true however that more of the population now have strong cultural ties to the Republic than to the UK minus Scotland. For the small number with no strong loyalties, there has been a significant change in the practicalities.

  • David Raw, I wasn’t aware of the conditions of the 1979 referendum requiring 40% of the electorate. It was a little before my time, aged 11.

    This merely highlights one obvious truth: the UK is simply incapable of running rational, consistent democracy. It just makes it up as it goes along.

    1979 – a threshold required for victory
    2011 – turn the AV vote into an anti-Clegg campaign
    2014 – add 16 and 17 year olds and any resident of the Scotland to the franchise
    2016 – go back to the standard General Election franchise (UK, Irish and Commonwealth citizens).

    Marvellous, hey?

  • The ousting of Boris and Michael’s friend Dave from the office of Prime Minister.
    I think whilst Boris, Michael and Nigel contributed to David’s departure, David by his departure showed himself to not be politically astute – perhaps he had had enough of the Conservative party infighting and just wanted to spend more time with his family.

    It is obvious that David let it be known among Conservative MP’s that he would resign in the event of a Leave majority, hence why the Leaver’s sent their letter of support. David’s big mistake was not waiting for events to unfold before he publicly announced his resignation. Had he kept his cards close to his chest, he could of used the events of Friday to effectively sideline the Leaver’s, in the national interest. The Conservative Leaver’s would be stitched up because they were on public record as fully supporting the PM, so would have great difficulty in mounting a leadership challenge. As it is he has created an open field…

  • Christopher Tanner 27th Jun '16 - 12:28am

    Regarding the lessons from the 1979 Scottish Devolution vote, it is a pity we did not insist on similar conditions being placed on this one. I am kicking myself a little for not getting more stuck in on this as well, as I thought from the start it would be close and that to have such huge change on a ‘majority’ of 3-4 percent (in reality, for Leave, a minority of 38 percent of the electorate) is unacceptable. The key phrase is ‘sufficient support’ and that should be at least 50 percent of the electorate (though I would argue that for issues of this importance, a two-thirds majority is needed – and anything that goes to a referendum is in principle important enough to have this higher threshold in place). We have a fight to get back into a reformed EU, but we also have to start at home and reform our voting system, finally!

  • If Scotland remains/rejoins the EU wouldn’t we have to rebuild Hadrian’s Wall to keep out all the immigrants and tariff-free BMWs? Without a Trump-style barrier Scotland’s biggest industry would very rapidly become smuggling.

  • John Mitchell 27th Jun '16 - 4:40pm

    I believe a radical change in policy was discussed by the Scottish Liberal Democrats, or rather proposed, at a emergency meeting in Edinburgh yesterday to drop the party’s opposition to Scottish independence.

    Emotions are running high after a divisive result. I really hope that my party is not seriously considering embracing ‘bolt-on nationalism’, I joined the party to fight against it. I had my reasons to vote to leave the European Union last week but those reasons were primarily democratic and were not nationalistic. I loathe nationalism.

    It is my view that any further independence referendum should be opposed in this parliamentary term as was made clear in our manifesto.

  • @ John Mitchell “I really hope that my party is not seriously considering embracing ‘bolt-on nationalism’, I joined the party to fight against it. I had my reasons to vote to leave the European Union last week but those reasons were primarily democratic and were not nationalistic. I loathe nationalism”.

    You should have thought of that when you voted leave. It’s like when the housemaid got pregnant in Victorian times and said, “It’s only a little one”.

    It’s not bolt on nationalism to wish to be part of Europe.

  • @ CARON

    It would be helpful to have details of the Scottish meeting on Sunday.

  • John Mitchell 27th Jun '16 - 10:18pm

    @David Raw

    The referendum on the European Union was not a referendum on the United Kingdom or Scotland’s place within it and any attempt to try and construct it as otherwise is spurious. There may not be another vote on the EU. I was not prepared to base it entirely on Scottish nationalists and what they may or may not do or want to achieve.

    Britain is part of Europe. Inside or outside of the European Union.

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