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Sunday, 3 July 2016

Will Project Fear II work again?

In trying to make sense of where Scotland stands with the #Brexit issue I've found myself revisiting a lot of the old arguments from 2 years ago. It seems to me, that the premise of #indyref has now been utterly flipped on its head & a lot of the central pillars of the #BetterTogether campaign simply don't exist anymore. Lets take a look at them;

1. Scotland will be out of the EU if it votes to leave the UK

This is self-explanatory, we now face the prospect of being taken out of Europe by the majority of people in England voting to leave. If staying in the EU was a strong reason for people to vote no in 2014 - it's now an even bigger reason for people to vote yes in any future referendum.

2. There will need to be a border between England and Scotland.

Already we have Westminster  & Irish politicians dismissing the very notion that #Brexit will require construction of a hard-border between Northern Ireland and The Republic. If they see no reason for a border in that instance, it becomes highly hypocritical to insist that Scotland leaving the UK to remain in the EU would require a similar type of Border. The practicalities of preventing migration into England is the lookout of the very people who WANT to implement a hard border (namely racists and UKIP politicians) & they risk ridicule & scorn if they don't apply their logic equally across home nations.

3. AAA credit rating

The UK has lost its much vaunted "credit rating" after making the disastrous decision to leave the EU. This has now become an embarrasing irony & won't make a feature in any future referendum.

There are of course NEW arguments against Scotland leaving the UK to stay in the EU some of these are below;

4. What will Scotland's Currency be

Forgetting the fact that Mervyn King, the former Governer of the Bank of England said a currency union was "perfectly feasible" and it was just the childish machinations of the Unionists that poo-poo'd it

The ERM2 mechanism that formally enrolls a candidate nation for adoption of the Euro is entirely voluntary, indeed Sweden has avoided using the Euro by simply not choosing to enroll in ERM2. It has been confirmed that Scotland can do the same. Therefore, the Euro will not be forced on Scotland, neither will we be rejected because we don't adopt a voluntary exchange mechanism. Instead I see a Scottish pound being used, much like the Norwegian, Danish & Swedish Crown.

5. Scotland will lose 60% of trade with England if it leaves the EU.

Now this is interesting and the first proper "scare tactic" of what I assume will be the new "better together" campaign. Lets consider that for a moment. The rUK have promised that they will negotiate access to the EU single market during the 2 year intevention triggered by article 50. If Scotland votes to remain/stay/join the EU - then how can it possibly "not trade" with England? The only way England & Scotland couldn't trade in that instance would be if England CHOSE not to trade, i.e. enforced an embargo. They'd embargo an EU member country. Yes, I can see that trade relationship lasting.

6. Scotland won't get into Europe

Now this is where it gets laughable. Activists and politicians who were Pro-EU and warned of the calamity Brexit would bring will be FORCED to argue that Scotland won't get EU membership. They would rather completely about-face on their "Love" for the EU and insist that the EU wouldn't want us, that we're too wee, too poor, too stupid to be any use to the EU. Except we are. We already are in the EU & we more than pay our own way in terms of economic, social & cultural contributions. How many world class universities host EU students in Scotland? How many talented researchers in the field of biotechnology & medicine does Scotland host on a permanant basis? How much employment & wealth has the burgeoning North Sea oil & gas industry provided the European Community in the last 40 years? How many livelihoods of European fishermen have depended on unhindered access to the best fishing grounds in Europe which are located in Scotlands geographical waters? Yes, we pay our way and then some, We know it & the EU know it - continued membership upon a Yes is practically guaranteed.

So thats pretty much how I see the new #BetterTogether campaign going, but shouldn't we also be asking them some questions of our own? How about;

1. Brexit will cause the last 40 years of international treaties & trade agreements we've accrued within the EU to cease to exist - how do you plan on negotiating new treaties with every nation & trading bloc in the world within 2 years when you were already warned that it would take you 10 years to get an audience with the largest economies in the world?

2. Where do you plan on cutting spending / increasing taxes to shore up the £280bn per year that #Brexit is estimated take out of our economy.

3. How is it possible, that before Brexit you (Pro-EU Unionists of whichever political hue) said that the UK leaving the EU would be disastrous for our economy & a monumental mistake, yet NOW you insist that Scotland following the rUK out of the door is our best option?

If the answer to question 3 is that there has a been a fundamental change to the material circumstances of the UK - it's only polite to point out that the Scottish government were elected with a mandate to hold a 2nd independence referendum precisely on the criteria they have specified.

They therefore have NO reason to oppose a second referendum, but they are not off the hook.

They STILL need to explain why Scotland would be better off facing a £280bn black hole in its economy, a drop of 6% in GDP over the next 10 years, immediate restrictions in living, travelling & studying for its citizens & 40 years worth of complex trade & international legislation with the whole world to negotiate & re-draft.

I care about the good people of England & Wales - I truly do. I wish the majority of them had never voted for #Brexit & as a soft lefty, I believe in the concept of solidarity, but let me finish with this.

Solidarity with economic incompetence is not solidarity, it is financial suicide. By staying with the UK on the path it has chosen, we give up any pretense of being a country & consign ourselves to live with the decisions England makes forever.

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