Might Scotland Vote to Leave the UK if the UK Votes to Leave the EU?

Posted on 17 January 2016 by John Curtice

One of the points of contention between the two sides of the EU referendum debate is whether a vote to leave the UK would potentially constitute a threat to the future of the Union. The former Conservative leader, Lord Hague, was accused by those in the Leave camp of peddling a scare story when over Christmas he suggested people should vote to Remain because otherwise Scotland might vote in favour of independence in a second referendum. Today, a pair of polls, conducted by Panelbase for the Sunday Times, one for Scotland and one for Great Britain as whole, shed new light on this point of dispute.

Two ‘facts’ lie behind the argument. First, polling consistently shows that support for Remain is higher in Scotland than in England, and thus the UK as a whole. It therefore seems quite possible that a narrow vote to Leave could be accompanied by a majority vote north of the border to Remain.

Second, the SNP, who, in contrast to the position the party adopted in 1975, are campaigning for a Remain vote, have indicated that they might attempt to hold a second referendum on independence should the UK indeed vote to Leave and Scotland vote to Remain (assuming they win a second majority in this May’s Scottish Parliament election). The SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, has argued that such an outcome could constitute a ‘material change in circumstances’ that would justify holding a second independence referendum.

However, what, has so far been missing is any evidence on whether those who are currently inclined to vote No to independence but to Remain in the EU would switch to backing Yes to independence in the event of a UK-wide vote to Leave. A Leave vote could only potentially represent a threat to the maintenance of the Union if that were indeed the case.

So what evidence do today’s polls bring to this issue? First of all, they reaffirm that there is a possibility that Scotland could vote quite comfortably to Remain while the rest of the UK opts to leave.

Today’s GB-wide Panelbase poll – conducted over the internet – puts Leave slightly ahead, with 52% of the vote (once Don’t Knows are left to one side). This is the first time that Panelbase have asked referendum voting intention in a GB poll, so we cannot say whether it represents a movement towards Remain or Leave. But it is in line with the results of another internet poll – by Survation for the Mail on Sunday – that has also been published today, which puts Remain on 47% and Leave on 53%. So, in short, today’s Panelbase poll is not unlike many another internet poll in suggesting that the EU referendum race is tight, and it is by no means alone in suggesting that Leave might be slightly ahead.

However, the picture in Panelbase’s Scotland poll is very different. Here just 35% say that they will vote to Leave, and thus Remain are on 65%. This represents an 18 point difference as compared with the figures for England alone in today’s GB-wide poll, not dissimilar from what has been uncovered on previous occasions when the same polling company has asked referendum vote intention at more or less the same time on both sides of the border. Indeed if we compare today’s Survation GB-wide poll, with one that the company did in Scotland for the Daily Record just a few days earlier, there is equally a 19 point difference between the figures for Scotland and those for England. Panelbase’s Scotland reading is also virtually identical to the result that it obtained when back in July they asked in a similar Scotland poll what eventually proved to be the question on the referendum ballot paper.

Second, Panelbase report that if a Scottish independence referendum were held now, slightly more (53% once Don’t Knows are left aside) would vote No rather than Yes (47%). While this represents a two point swing to No since the last occasion that Panelbase addressed the issue in November, it is identical to the result that it obtained in both July and September. In short, much like most other recent polls, Scotland emerges as almost evenly divided on the question of its constitutional future, and thus it would not take a great deal to tilt the balance in favour of Yes to independence.

Third, it appears that a Leave vote in the EU referendum could indeed tilt the balance in any second ballot on independence. For when Panelbase asked their Scottish respondents how they would vote if a majority across the UK as a whole were to vote to Leave, 52% said they would vote Yes, 48% No. In particular, whereas at the moment 49% of Remain voters would vote No to independence, that figure falls to 39% in the wake of a UK vote to Leave. So whereas a ballot held now would probably see the decision on independence made in September 2014 (narrowly) reaffirmed, a ballot held in the wake of a Leave vote might produce a majority vote for independence.

But only just. A 52% vote for independence is still well below what we were advised last autumn the SNP would be looking to see in the polls, that is 60% support for independence, before it would be willing to take the risk of holding a second independence ballot. Meanwhile, we cannot of course be sure that voters are accurate in forecasting that they might change their minds. In particular, while it is perhaps not surprising that Liberal Democrat supporters appear particularly likely in the poll to switch sides on the independence question should the UK vote to Leave – their party has, after all, long been the most Europhile – it is rather less obvious why the switch is also relatively strong amongst those who say they did not vote in last year’s general election. They, at least, might not prove the most fervent or reliable of converts.

So, in truth, Panelbase’s polling fails to provide a clear endorsement of anyone’s stance on the implications of a vote to Leave the EU. Yes, there is reason to believe that some voters might switch sides on the independence question, and given how evenly balanced Yes and No supporters currently are, that could be enough to tilt things in favour of independence. But, equally, it is not clear that sufficient numbers of voters would be moved for Nicola Sturgeon to want to take the risk of holding a second referendum in the first place. It looks as though the debate will continue!

This post also appears at whatscotlandthinks.org which provides a comprehensive collection of data and commentary on the constitutional debate within Scotland, together with the analogous debates in England and Wales.

PostScript

Today’s two GB-wide polls move our Poll of Polls from Remain 55, Leave 45 to Remain 51, Leave 49. This looks like a dramatic shift to Leave. But it should not be regarded as evidence of a significant shift in the balance of opinion. As is now a well-established pattern, telephone polls of EU referendum vote intention are consistently producing a higher vote for Remain than are those conducted over the internet. Today’s polls were both conducted over the internet and have displaced two earlier polls conducted by phone from the series on which the calculation is based. All that has happened is that the Poll of Polls has returned to the level at which it was when it was last based wholly on polls conducted over the internet (see the reading in the time series chart dated 6 December 2015).

True, today’s poll from Survation does represent a two point swing in favour of Leave, as compared with the company’s last poll at the beginning of December, but it is exactly in line with a reading the company obtained in mid-November. So even on its own it does not represent much evidence of a shift in opinion. The Mail on Sunday was perhaps not particularly helpful to its readers in comparing the results of today’s poll with one that had a Remain lead that was done (using a different question wording) as long ago as last May.

The Survation poll is otherwise of most interest because it attempts to ascertain how much impact it might have on voters if Boris Johnson and/or Theresa May were to lead the Leave campaign. The answer seems to be not a lot. When voters’ preferences are not weighted by their reported likelihood of voting and Don’t Knows are not excluded, the poll gives Leave a two point lead on the standard referendum question. Asking voters how they would vote if Mr Johnson were leading the Leave side increases that lead to six points while a Leave campaign headed by Mrs May alone is given a four point lead. These are markedly smaller effects than we have seen when polls have asked voters what they would do if Mr Cameron were to pronounce that he had secured a good deal for Britain in the current renegotiations of Britain’s terms of membership. Perhaps these Tory ‘big beasts’ are not so big after all.

 

John Curtice

By John Curtice

John Curtice is Senior Research Fellow at NatCen and at 'UK in a Changing Europe', Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, and Chief Commentator on the What UK Thinks: EU website.

61 thoughts on “Might Scotland Vote to Leave the UK if the UK Votes to Leave the EU?

  1. Scotland is already a different country to England, it always has been ! However they have to judge the two main differences now!

    REMAIN : The future always contains changes, but the remaining parts of the UK would have confirmed details of the present structure for business and individual as citizens of the whole of Europe not just a little country. Also would be part of any discussions for future changes and could help shape the future Europe.
    A future secured and together.

    LEAVE: Three options could happen.
    1. Somehow negotiate a free trade deal for UK businesses and benefits for ordinary people keeping citizen ship and benefits. May be like Norway or Switzerland, but Norway pays almost as much as we do even after our historic rebates! So we could end up paying more ! It took years to approve. So there would be little or no financial benefit to keep the trade agreements. To get this UK would have to still agree to all regulations applied in Europe to goods and services ! Accept Free movement of movement. The UK would have no say in re shaping a future Europe and be isolated.

    2. Loose all free trade deals, ( Why would Europe suddenly give all the benefits for free because the UK slated Europe). Gain power for politians, possibly the only main gain, may possibly be able to control some immigration, but we have more immigration from non EU counties than we do from the Europe! Loose all benefits of being citizens of a large group. Pay more for all goods from Europe including food and services. Maybe get fruit and vegetable’s from India at the same cost as Europe next door???

    So why are we not looking to the future for our younger generation, so they can create a successful future for themselves along with their colleague in Europe

    UK charges Australia fees to be part of the commonwealth! Australia does not like that and wants to leave, but UK is trying to make them stay !!! Funny how we want to take money from previous associates, but not be part of the new future!

    The Future together in Europe, the same as Canada has with its neighbours and other countries working together. In Isolation we are lost.
    Report

  2. THIS DEBATE HAS BECOME OBTUSE MAKING IT DIFFICULT FOR US ORDINARY MORTALS TO DECIDE. I HAVE COME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT I HAVE TO DECIDE WHAT WILL BRING THE THE BEST OUTCOME FOR MY QUALITY OF LIFE. A COUNTRY THAT WILL CONTINUE TO BECOME INCREASINGLY OVERCROWDED WITH ALL PUBLIC SERVICES, TRANSPORT AND HOUSING CONTINUING TO FALL BEHIND THE NEEDS OF THE POPULATION OR RISKING MY FINANCIAL FUTURE TO THE SPIRIT OF THE BRITISH PEOPLE AND THEIR ABILITY TO MANAGE ADVERSITY. I THINK THE LATTER!Report

  3. !) David Cameron is under no obligation to permit another Scottish independence referendum
    2) were the UK to leave the EU, the Brussels commission would lose the UK contribution money that is currently recycled back to Scotland. UK membership would allow Scotland fiscal support from Britain that the EU would no longer be able to afford
    3) Scotland would then have no real alternative to ongoing union with the rest of Britain (and given that we share a national identity: Britain, that would be a positive outcome)Report

    1. Point 1: David Cameron has no right to either allow or nix a second referendum as a UK PM, as International Law as laid down in UN Charter allows nation states – i.e. Scotland – the Right to Self-Determination as to who should rule it.
      The last so-called Edinburgh Agreement had likewise no legal leg to stand on.Report

      1. D Gagel. Scotland having the right to self determination rubbish. If the UK government refused the referendum how do you propose Scotland can overturn that decision? It would have to take civil unrest for outside powers I.e. USA to intervene. Conditions in Scotland are not so desperate to incite that kind of thing. The international law card is less than useless.Report

  4. Scotland does 65per cent of its trade with England and only 18 percent with the rest of the E.U. seemingly, so on that basis, they would be mad to leave the Union!Report

  5. There is a natural tendency for human societies to divide into two roughly equal groups – as with local football teams, religious schisms etc. etc. It would seem that in this type of referendum this tendency simply asserts itself, but with the proviso that the status quo will prevail in the end by a reasonably safe margin. Report

  6. The income tax in UK is low because of the contribution of high skilled techno immigrant coming from EU to work in US company based in UK (or Ireland).

    If England leave EU, those company and employees will lease England to Ireland or Scotland.Report

  7. No one above has mentioned the referendum betting odds offered by the leading bookmaking companies. Today these offer better than 2 to1 for a Leave result, and just 1 to 3 on for a Stay outcome. These figures are strikingly different from the very close Stay/Leave poll data of recent days. The gambling firms have a high vested interest in making a profit from their odds. What do they know that the pollsters are missing ?
    AlexReport

    1. Alex Orr
      Absolutely correct. Brexit is a very likely outcome. The bookmakers do their homework, their money is involved.Report

      1. Eh? I’m not a betting man but I believe 2 to 1 means bet £1 and win 2 if Leave is the outcome (i.e. unlikely) and 1 to 3 on means bet £3 and win only 1 if Stay is the outcome (i.e. likely).Report

        1. The bookies figures have moved somewhat since March and April when Alex Orr and I commented.

          But the vote does look like a close run thing.

          What looks like 55% of betting favouring the IN result, and say 45% of betting looking for the OUT result. Having talked to a lot of folks about it over the past 3 months, I reckon it will be Brexit.

          Then maybe Scotland would vote to leave the UK and join the EUReport

  8. People who think that Scotland would vote for independence in a future vote post Brexit are not taking into account two extremely important points.

    Point one is that whereas people are seriously divided on whether the UK would be better off in or out of the EU, there is absolutely no doubt on either side, or even within the EU itself that Brexit would seriously damage the EU. The euro that has been teetering on the brink of collapse for several years would be massively undermined. Add that to the continuing migrant crisis from the middle east and the rise of far right parties on the continent and the UK could well be seen as a safe haven in Europe for jobs, business and investment.

    Point two is that any second referendum on Scottish Independence would not be held for several years in order to allow things to settle. By then, the EU could well be on the way to total collapse, in which case the SNP may not even bother to call for one.Report

  9. It would be good to see more surveys on how people would like to see the UK leave the EU post a Brexit vote. This is because most practical plans I have seen, require UK to remain closely tied to the EU for an extended period of time – so little will change for 2-7 years, except that the UK has no say in the rules. Eventually we will be able to carve our own way into the future and I have no doubt we would do fine. But it is a 10+ year journey – I speak as one who has negotiated with the Indians and Chinese – they will be very tough on us and we will be in a queue with others. I have read a very useful (and long) document by Dr Richard North, entitled Flexit, Dr North seems to be a long time EU opponent. What was great was to see a practical and realistic analysis of how we may need to leave. Those of us looking for instant changes on EU laws, migration and the return of Eastern European workers to their homes will be in for a disappointment. Of course, his analysis could be wrong and I’d be keen to see alternatives.Report

  10. There is no union in the UK, let us be clear about that. There is also no union within England. It is a class-ridden country where people live totally different lives just a few miles apart. Look at poverty-stricken areas of south east London and just a few miles away, leafy millionaire-infested parts of Kent.
    In schooling, housing, health etc there are huge inequalities and the country is run by a bunch of privately-educated toffs who don’t give a damn about the public NHS or the state school system because they or their offspring do not use it. Two nations.
    In Scotland we find that we have more in common with folks living in more egalitarian and prosperous parts of the continent, especially in the north of Europe: many people in England feel the same way. You know, the kind of place where royalty queues at the supermarket.Report

  11. What nonsense talked by ‘Old Traveller’.

    We currently pay £55 million per day to be in the EU ‘club’. We get back from it about half of that ie £27.5 million. Not what one would call a good deal. No one knows where the other £27.5 million goes.

    There will be no trade war when Britain leaves the EU because they sell more things to us than we sell to them. Obviously their car industries and wine producers are hardly likely to stab themselves in the back. Britain has a lot of practice in trade, and as I have personally worked around the World for British and Foreign companies, I can see no opposition to British trade in most countries. We can do fine trading on our own. Countries with tiny populations trade well, ie Iceland, Norway, Australia, etc. We have a big population, (65 million) and are number 5 country in World trade terms, so we can certainly throw off the EU trade shackles, and get the wheels spinning again. Report

    1. And you believe taxes are one-way road? All you see is what you are giving away, but no one sees what they get. Just talking about Brexit knocked Pound down by 8%. About 1.6 million EU nationals live in UK, 1.4 million Brits live in EU. Numbers seem to match closely, what are you all crying about when your grannies spend their pension time under the Spanish sun? Britain has literally nothing to offer for EU, while EU seems to hold everything. If it wasn’t for EU, today we would see more failed banks because of British greed and lobbying, we would be taxed extra for everything: food we import, cars, heavy machinery, aircraft? and why is that? “… because they sell more things to us than we sell to them.(Clarke, A.B., 2016)” You would like to leave and close the borders and still enjoy the benefits while paying nothing? Well, France didn’t want us to join, now majority countries would be happy if we left. And why is this then? “Because Britain is the EU’s teenager still struggling with its hormone-affected moods”. Since the 1973 UK changed its mind about leaving/staying more than 10 times. Just decide and vote, but once you vote, don’t forget, nobody wants England there, while Scottish seems to be more welcome because of their mind stability. Everybody talks about facilitated trading with other economies, but what stops you from trading now? Oh wait, I know what! It is the facts that we have nothing to trade!!! All we do is consume… And let’s see, if we leave I am getting ready for the fact we will face a big face slap from EU. UK was powerful centuries ago, now we have nothing, we had nothing in 1973 while kneeling in front of EU’s doors asking for acceptance. And they surely will make a joke of us and our imaginary “power” when we will be running back. And please, don’t talk about all the historic **** of nazis…. Some “nazis of UK” for your knowledge: Boxer Rebellion, Anglo-Boer war, WW1, Irish War of Independence, Iraq War, Afgan War etc. at each of these UK committed crimes against humanity and people’s free will. If you still believe you have anything in your hands, leave,but our children will surely be asking acceptance for re-joining. Report

      1. Jane Standell,
        You present a very garbled view of the world and the EU.

        Britain is the fifth biggest economy in the world, at about Euros 2,218 billion and it is a major trading nation. Outside the EU those countries who signed the trade deals with the EU would surely want to continue mutually beneficial trading arrangements with the UK. Similarly, EU countries would want to continue trade, especially as we buy more of their products than they buy of ours, so a trade war is most unlikely!

        Some folks in Britain are feeling swamped by the massive arrival of Eastern Europeans (especially certain Romanians with anti-social behaviour). We definitely need the ability to filter folks, letting in those who would be an asset to our country, and preventing entry to those who dont have the skills we want, or who are convicted criminals in their own country, or anywhere else, or who are terrorists.

        However, getting back to the main subject, looking at whether Scotland might vote to rejoin the EU if the UK votes to leave, I would think the odds are very strong indeed for the UK voting to leave the EU. Scotland would be poorly placed to rejoin the EU as an independent country with only its struggling oil industry to prop it up. Plus of course if they want to break free from the UK, they must shoulder their part of the colossal debt that our government has run up of £1.56 trillion. Scotland would be much worse off to break free from us, regardless, and it won’t happen.

        Report

  12. I don’t know how many pensioners live in the EU, but I hope people realise that state pensions are frozen if you live outside the EU. So if the UK leaves i assume they will be in a foreign country and index linking will stopped. I personally live in Australia where I had to move for family reasons and although fully paid up contributions and still a UK taxpayer I have recieved no increase in my pension for seven yearsReport

    1. All those right-wing, anti-EU pensioners in Spain will be screwing themselves if they vote to leave the EU. Once they discover the consequences that Britain leaving the EU has for them, it’ll be too late!Report

  13. Old Traveller seems to have limited understanding of the prime issues. His comments about “the right wing press” are out of date and out of rational thinking, while the bit about “independent Tory Britain bring about Victorian squalor and disease etc.” are risible. We have moved on 70 years in one case and well over 100 in the other. Unlike the current Labour movement (and I am not a Tory!), I believe that we have learnt valuable lessons over these periods and the old dogma has been replaced by much more rational, realistic and effective thinking. We ought to look at the modern situation through informed eyes then consider all the ramifications in some detail: worn-out theory cannot compete with pragmatism. His illiterate failing to write grammatically – or even use correct punctuation – reveal his lack of ability to judge any situation logically: subjective emotions, in his case, seem to over-rule objective analysis. Report

  14. Unfortunately the comments of the pro leavers can be read every day in the right wing press who to a man supported the rise of Hitler enthusiastically before WW2. These people cannot think for themselves never check the facts believe the straight banana stories etc. Pathetic Good Luck independent Tory Britain bring on Victorian squalor and disease etc.Report

    1. Significant portions of the left wing press and left wing commentators supported Stalin’s Soviet Union, and also opposed those like Churchill who called for Hitler’s Germany to be stopped as ‘warmongers’.

      That was until ‘Uncle Joe’ was invaded when they cynically did a u-turn.

      Victorian Britain (which was mostly governed by the Liberal Party not the Tories by the way) invented the early welfare state, through the Poor Laws and other schemes. Not perfect, granted, but not uncaring as you seem to suggest.Report

  15. The £15 million per day, is in fact £55 million per day. Relieved of this burden, Britain could afford not only a good NHS but also an effective military and decent road surfaces that didn’t wreck our cars. We could re-institute the 12 Mile Limit thereby reviving our fisheries that would make fish cheaper to buy. We might even have to re-open coal mines to keep remaining coal-fired power stations in operation. Both latter factors would create considerable employment. Also there would be enough funds to subsidise our farming industry and bring about a rebirth in that industry. That in turn would make for cheaper food. Our salespersons could then set about the task of rejuvenating our markets in Commonwealth countries and all other places in between. Let’s LEAVE immediately.
    opening up new ones with Scandinavia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and all other places in between.Report

    1. Your figures are wrong and we would face 30 – 35 bn in tariffs for aver 50% of our trade . Pipe dreams are what you promise the Commonwealth is busy with other trading blocks we can still trade with all those you mention with better terms than we could negotiate outside the EU.
      We closed down our coal mines not the EU to buy Russian coal. We could finance all those things by not building nuclear submarines and rockets we will never use far better concentrate on that waste of money we could even increase our pathetic armed forces with decent armour etc. Our Prime minister is a banker and most his colleagues probably they voted against bank reform and then we have the crash caused by their greed using our pensions etc. and the gall to use more of our hard earned money to finance the rescue whilst giving the rich a 5% tax bonus.
      That why we cannot finance the NHS etc properly nothing to do with the EU but I for as an expat hope you get your independence.Report

    2. You could also spend the money on better submarines, or even free beans for everyone. Money can always be used for something else. Nicer suits for Boris or ?Report

    1. For you. For me, it is the severe economic damage which leaving would do, plus the greatly increased likelihood of the country breaking apart. Far too high a price to pay for the pleasure of putting two fingers up to Brussels, much though I would like to do so!Report

      1. “severe economic damage”

        We have a psychic in our mists

        New Zealand,Canadan,Austrlia, all small countries population wise that is, do they need the EU to make them a success.

        thats a NO then!!!

        I’m sure if Hitler had invaded the UK and made sure your bank account was full, you’d support that!

        Report

        1. No, countries such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand don’t need the EU. But Britain does.
          Australia, Canada and New Zealand have much stronger, and more successful, economies than Britain, so cannot be used as a comparison.
          Australia and Canada, but not the UK, have massive mineral resources, which are devoured by China. And New Zealand produces large amounts of food products that China wants.
          Britain produces virtually nothing. We have hardly any manufacturing industry. We need the EU’s support.Report

        2. New Zealand, Canada and Australia are not in Europe.
          If they were – with a huge single market right on their doorstep they would wish to be part of it. As Australia is doing via its ASEAN Asia free trade dealReport

    2. I cannot eat sovereinty and I owe the Royals nothing I cannot even vote for an acceptable candidate with the hope that they would form part of a government in this 2 party dictatorship.
      Report

    3. Whats better sharing a limited amount of sovereignty and participating in a decision being in the UNION or having to accept a decision in order to trade but having no say ? Where’s the sovereignty?Report

  16. What if the opposite happened?

    The other 3 countries in the UK vote to leave the EU, but Scotland swung the aggregated remain proposition by a deciding factor. I realise its unlikely but the poll of polls indicates a tight contest. Could England decide it wants a constitutional future without Scotland to continue with Brexit?Report

  17. Scotland would be markedly worse off if it left the UK. What a strange thing it would be if they did that! However, the UK would be markedly better off if it left the EU.

    So instead of the UK being the EUs propup banker pouring billions of pounds into a comfy EU assembly of retired and some failed politicians, we could dedicate the money spent instead to our own country. So £15 million a day could be redirected to our very own UK.

    We could ensure for instance that our steel industry is protected against cynical Chinese dumping of steel products here, their attempt to destroy part of our industry.

    We could write our own Laws again, instead of being buried in a welter of EU directives and Laws, many of which are against common sense. We could ensure that convicted lawbreakers from other countries would not be allowed to remain here in the UK, and that those that break our criminal Law could be returned to their country of origin.

    We would also be able to ensure that anyone wanting to work here in the UK would have to pass a strict ‘points’ test (like that applied in Australia) thus making sure we have the people we want here and not just a flood of economic migrants, as was mentioned by Cameron in his last speech in Davos mentioning the undesirable and continuing strain placed on the UK by the arrival over a few years of an extra one million Polish immigrants. Report

    1. Why is it exactly that opponents of EU membership only see Britain as a recipient of migrants from the EU. There are currently 200,000 UK citizens working (and some not working!) in Germany, around a million combined living in Spain and France, Even in a country like Ireland there is currently a larger number of UK migrants to that country than Irish migrants working in the UK as a proportion of the two countries populations.

      Various studies have shown that whilst EU migrants in the UK contribute more to the UK than they take out, migrants from outside the EU are an overwhelming burden. Having worked with many Poles in this country this is something which rings true in my experience. Another point if the UK votes to leave the EU the thousands of economic migrants camping out and causing such problems for the long suffering inhabitants of Calais will almost certainly be put on a train or boat to Dover – the UK border is not Calais, it is Dover!

      Report

      1. Irish migration to the UK, and vice versa is irrelevant as it is not a factor in the UK (or RoI’s) membership of the EU.

        Migration between these two states is open and free and long predates entry to the Common Market.

        The Common Travel Area grants passport free travel on journeys within the British Isles for British or Irish citizens, and the immigration & alien laws in both states effectively treat the other’s citizens as nationals.

        The issue for most with migration is not professional class workers or retirees on pensions, it is the ‘Polish plumber’ undercutting his British (or Irish) counterpart and keeping wages/earnings down.

        In addition pressure on schools & hospitals is usually ignored in crude studies of ‘contribution’.

        If the number of EU migrants mean, for example, that one waits an extra two hours to be seen in a GP surgery, that will not be recorded in any tax return but it is a very real downside nonetheless.Report

    2. I find the arguement that Britain would be better off outside the Union Pie in the Sky.
      People forget we went into the EU because we were running further and further behind the rest of Western Europe.
      We are rubbish at international trade because we think if we make it , it is the best in the world exactly why there is no car or motorcycle industry, no ship industry, no coal industry a lame duck steel industry etc.. How does this add up to us all of sudden out thye EU becoming a force in international markets. David Cameron said it all when he asks for deals to protect the only market were we are still competeing the finacial market.Report

    3. It’s nice to see the unionists go on about a Indy Scotland with no mates when there are planned rally’s in the Netherlands and Germany to support Indy 2, it’s not that scotland hates the English but they have a more equal outlook to the way to live and treat people.Report

  18. Brexit will strengthen the union of the UK, not weaken it.

    Were the Scots to leave the UK and join the EU, then as a new member they would would not benefit from UK opt- outs or rebate. They would have to adopt Schengen, the Euro and all 100,000 pages of the acquis communautaire.

    The first problem that Scotland would face would be non compliance with the convergence requirements to join the Euro. Scotland is forecast to have debts of £50 billion against their total annual budget of £30 billion. They would need to introduce severe austerity to meet borrowing limits against the background of vanishing oil revenues and the loss of £1,700 per head Barnett Formula payments.

    In the Euro-zone they would have to accept the one president, one parliament, one tax and benefits system, single State of Europe which is to brought in by Juncker’s proposed 2017 treaty change to implement the “Five Presidents Report”. They would have lost their “independence” at a stroke.

    Should the Scots stay in the UK after Brexit then they would share the benefits of retaining full access to the Single Market together with new UK free trade agreements to be negotiated with the US, China, India and other world leading economies. For example a trade deal with India would open up an immense market for whiskey.

    Then there would be a return to the Scots of their 200 nautical mile Economic Zone of minerals and fish.

    The Scots have already voted decisively in favour of remaining in the UK. After Brexit they will realise that although Westminster is a long way from Scotland, Brussels is a lot further.Report

    1. The UK would only retain full access to the Single Market if it remained a part of the EEA, which would depend on whether such an offer was on the table. That is not a given. The EU would have an interest in making life as difficult as possible for the UK outside the EU as a warning to other members not to follow down the same path. However if for arguments sake the EU did allow the UK to retain full access to the Single Market the UK would almost certainly have to continue paying into the EU budget and accept EU commercial regulations (without having any say in agreeing them).

      There is absolutely no guarantee that any free trade agreements with the US, China or India would be on offer – and if they were they would be far less advantageous to the UK than ones negotiated by the EU and its market of 600 million consumers.

      Why exactly do people keep talking about these massive markets (China, India etc) which will suddenly become open to the UK if were only to leave the EU? They are already there for us to trade in yet Germany, France and Italy export more to China (for instance) than the UK does. The truth is that outside of the EU, the UK would have to impoverish its population by destroying our social and welfare safety net and reducing wages. But that is something which the mass media has carefully omitted from the argument about the advantages and drawbacks of EU membership.

      With regard to China, someone elsewhere in this forum asserted that outside the EU we would be free to erect barriers to Chinese steel imports! If we are intending to view China as a new El Dorado for British exports we will be able to do no such thing ! And the US foreign secretary has said that the US does look favourably on negotiating free trade agreements with individual countries – it prefers to do it with regional groups. Report

      1. Well I don’t think you should be so negative about the issue, at the end of the day making trading hard for us will hurt their economy to. There is no sense of ‘revenge’ in politics, the EU would be interested in still being able to trade with the 5th largest economy in the world.

        And heck, at the end of the day, Mexico was able to make a free trade deal with the EU (Without them needing to pay anything to the EU) so why can’t we?

        I think that we should leave the EU before we have no choice but to stay later on, what if it keeps getting worse later on? We would have no choice to leave again.

        I say we take the chance, consequences be damned.Report

    2. If the UK Brexits – Scotland should and will go its own way. The good folk of Scotland seem to recognise the economic downsides of leaving a major neighbouring market better than the English. Good luck to them.
      The Scots Whiskey market is worth almost £5bn in exports – that would be seriously impacted by trade tariffs if we exit the single market – and this is what Gove wantsReport

  19. Interesting post. The one thing I would add is that the Scottish voters who now say they would vote Yes to independence in the event of Brexit have not been faced with the likely economic consequences of voting for independence with the UK out of the EU.

    At the moment, Scotland enjoys several benefits because the UK is semi-detached from the EU. They use Sterling rather than the euro. They still get defence contracts and UK bases. Their finance sector is backed by the whole UK. They don’t have to get their fiscal deficit down to the 3% Solidarity Pact level.

    If the UK voted for Brexit and then Scotland voted for independence and EU membership, all this would reverse. No defence contracts or basing, no Sterling Union, harsh austerity to meet the Solidarity Pact limits, the Scottish budget being supervised at the EU level, a possibility of bail-in for Scottish Banks and the removal of UK support for the Scottish finance sector.

    Of course, it is still possible that Scotland would vote for independence despite these factors, but so far they haven’t even been discussed. FWIW I think Scotland should have this discussion, because one thing I think we can be sure of is that voters in the rest of the UK won’t have Scotland as their primary concern when they vote for or against Brexit. It would be a worst case if Brexit took Scotland by surprise with no discussion and no contingency plan.Report

    1. Just one remark,
      Staying in Europe does not mean that Scotland will have to give up with UK sterling for euro. UK is not the only country that is out of Euro Area.
      Euro area is something, Europe is something else.Report

      1. Technically, you are right, but in practice it wouldn’t work; you can’t have a currency union between 2 countries that wouldn’t have a fiscal or banking union that would have a different central bank and very different economies and fiscal policies; it would create economic imbalance and the monetary policies would be set by the bank of england to suit the UK not an indy Scotland; that would simply not work as the Euro didn’t work properly and the euro countries had to start uniting to make it work, not separating.Report

          1. I thought Scotland had a company script, underwritten by the Scottish banks.

            Who is it envisaged would underwrite their liabilities?

            Greece has already demonstrated that the Central European Bank does not underwrite banks in the Eurozone that run into difficulties.

            The results are plain to see.Report

    2. But that is to highlight one problem over another. There is a cost to leaving the UK but there is also a cost to leaving the EU. Scotland doesn’t want to pay either but, forced to choose, it might choose the economic security of the bigger block, plus that way they’d be ruled by the Party they’d voted for.Report

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