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Yes! Wins the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014?

Torten

Well-known member
Location
Wessex, UK
This is a fairly simple question, and one which has been fairly unexplored in AH up to this point.

If the Yes campaign had won the Scottish Independence how would the resulting negotations between the (still devolved) Scottish Government and the British government have panned out, and what kind of impact would it have had on British politics? It's pretty hard to predict what could have happened, but I've bullet pointed some ideas below.

1. Would David Cameron resign after a Yes vote? I think he would, given he had been actively supportive of the No campaign. He would probably stay on til the end of the year in order to allow the election of a new Conservative party leader. Theresa May and Michael Gove might have been strong contenders - Boris Johnson wasn't in Parliament at the time and George Osbourne would have probably been too unpopular to run.

2. Would the coalition have collapsed, and would a general election have been held in 2015? I suspect the coalition would have held together, at least until 2015. Given that pre-referendum the plan was to have Scotland leave in 2016, the Government might attempt to argue that the next general election should be held in 2016, after Scotland left. This may or may not work - Labour would likely oppose this for obivous reasons.

3. Would Shetland and Orkney demand a special status? In OTL they voted No by about 65%, and given that Crown Dependency status was being peddled before the referendum I think it is highly likely they would lobby for some form of special status. I also think there would be some form of campaign in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway to remain part of the UK, given they voted No by 65% OTL. This might be a potential flash point in negotations.

4. Would Scotland remained part of the EU? The Yes campaign and the SN[ certainly wanted to, and while the EU proved rather evasive before the Referendum and said they would need to reapply, I suspect attitudes would soften after the vote, and the EU would decide that some kind of agreement could be made, such as Scotland joining EFTA on the day of independence, or some kind of transitional arrangement where Scotland remains in the customs union for a period of time?

5. Would a second referendum have been held on the independence agreement? Depending on the attitude of the British and Scottish government and how negotations proceed this could happen.

Any thoughts? I'm of the opinion that the aftermath of a Yes! vote would be Brexit on steroids!
 
A successful Yes vote would really come from, and reflect, a different political landscape. As to how you get there, I think it's doable within the years leading up to it. The discrediting of all three parties helped it along - coalition disillusionment, Conservative austerity, and the structural decline in Scottish Labour.

Maybe David Davis becomes leader instead of Cameron, and pursues a more openly Thatcherite austerity program without the attendant slick image overhaul. A perceivably less Scottish-orientated Labour leader (D. Miliband/Burnham) who can be accused of taking the nation for granted. And the Liberal Democrats either supporting a tired Labour government or in coalition with the Tories. It wouldn't be enough, but altogether you can see different factors combining to convince sufficient Scots that going it alone is not only viable, but a worthwhile alternative to the depressing state of then UK politics.

It would change the circumstances of a "Yes" vote, but that's a matter for further research.
 

Torten

Well-known member
Location
Wessex, UK
No offense, but I think that, first, we need to know how Yes won in the first place. It lost by more than 10%. That's not easy to change.
I'm more interested in dicussing the impact of a yes vote, not how it occurred, but my first thought would be that the main three parties get complacent, particularly Cameron and don't go north in the last days of the campaign to support the No campaign and Better Together, and/or Cameron makes some gaffe of epic proportions.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
I'm fairly sure Cameron's resigning over this - he resigned over a narrow defeat on Brexit, a thing he could've gone on to shape, and this is the dissolving of the union. He's out. You probably then still get this happening:



Who actually does become the Prime Minister, I don't know. The coalition probably stays together but gets (more) toxic, as the Liberal Democrats want to dump all of this on the Tories and go for their voters.

I think Labour's likely to win next year - for one, you can't use the "ah but Ed will work for Salmond" line, and you definitely can't present Red Ed as the scary harbinger of chaos. Labour's campaign will still have issues but it's coming in able to say the Tories did such a bad job the UK went away.

And the shock to the rest of the UK is going to be immense, bigger than Leave is - a chunk of the country left. Will other parts leave? What does this mean for the state of Britain that they wanted out? What needs to change?

4. Would Scotland remained part of the EU?
This is the big question. I'm thinking they won't, because it'll be a problem if any seperatist movement - hi, Catalonia! - can say they can stay in the EU and claim member-state benefits. (The UK probably wants Scotland in the EU because it's a pain in the arse having a giant non-EU border on our soil) That means the new independent government has to swiftly adapt. Can Salmond adapt that fast to finding out a thing he wanted isn't happening?

(I doubt Scotland would have to wait very long so it'd be in the EU now)
 

neonduke

Ernst Röhm's Twink Island
There will be fireworks let off from the Felons Club in West Belfast that's for sure.

I actually can't begin what to imagine what happens in Norn, Sinn Féin will be loudly crowing about a border poll while the psychological shock for Unionists will be immense. Behind all the Union Jack waving Ulster Unionism has its closest cultural ties with Scotland, this will not be a shot across the bows, it's a shot under the waterline.
 
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neonduke

Ernst Röhm's Twink Island
That would be interesting, cos I don't think Northern Ireland is at the point where reunification would win - so what happens if Sinn Fein pressure for a poll and Remain wins? How do they react to failing at their big reason for being when the SNP pulled it off?
I can't remember the exact wording but it states in the Good Friday Agreement (or maybe St. Andrews) that the Secretary of State can only call a Unification referendum if there is a realistic chance of it passing. So that's the get off for Sinn Féin to crow as loud as they like knowing they won't have to put their money where their mouth is.

This won't be like the Brexit vote where soft Unionists start to waver a little, a seismic threat like this is going to harden the Unionist bloc immensely.

To address your point, I think it would depend on the size of the defeat. If there is only a few percentage points in it Sinn Fein will take their lumps and get ready for round 2. If it's a resounding No that's more difficult to call, you may see a growing resentment in the grassroots that the democratic route has failed and maybe the armed struggle was the correct idea after all.
 

Elektronaut

Opinions from the Student Union
I'm fairly sure Cameron's resigning over this - he resigned over a narrow defeat on Brexit, a thing he could've gone on to shape, and this is the dissolving of the union. He's out. You probably then still get this happening:
Cameron couldn't have gone on to shape Brexit in any way, shape, or form. As the de facto leader of Remain, him trying to chart the course for a Leave world would have been totally untenable with Leave. He recognised this commendably immediately with his resignation.

It's not the same on Scotland, where Cameron certainly wasn't front and centre of the campaign. In that sense his position would be more ambiguous. OTOH Salmond basically wanted Devo Max as his preferred option, it was Cameron who pressed for it being a straight indy ref. That would presumably be seen as a massive miscalculation.

If there's a general election on schedule, then all the same arguments apply, times four. 'Do you want Labour propped up by SNP MPs who are going to be part of a foreign government within eighteen months?' Labour being potentially beholden for its existence as a government to the same people it would be negotiating with would... not go down well.
 
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Yokai Man

Well-known member
I'm fairly sure Cameron's resigning over this - he resigned over a narrow defeat on Brexit, a thing he could've gone on to shape, and this is the dissolving of the union. He's out. You probably then still get this happening:



Who actually does become the Prime Minister, I don't know. The coalition probably stays together but gets (more) toxic, as the Liberal Democrats want to dump all of this on the Tories and go for their voters.

I think Labour's likely to win next year - for one, you can't use the "ah but Ed will work for Salmond" line, and you definitely can't present Red Ed as the scary harbinger of chaos. Labour's campaign will still have issues but it's coming in able to say the Tories did such a bad job the UK went away.

And the shock to the rest of the UK is going to be immense, bigger than Leave is - a chunk of the country left. Will other parts leave? What does this mean for the state of Britain that they wanted out? What needs to change?



This is the big question. I'm thinking they won't, because it'll be a problem if any seperatist movement - hi, Catalonia! - can say they can stay in the EU and claim member-state benefits. (The UK probably wants Scotland in the EU because it's a pain in the arse having a giant non-EU border on our soil) That means the new independent government has to swiftly adapt. Can Salmond adapt that fast to finding out a thing he wanted isn't happening?

(I doubt Scotland would have to wait very long so it'd be in the EU now)
Cameron couldn't have gone on to shape Brexit in any way, shape, or form. As the de facto leader of Remain, him trying to chart the course for a Leave world would have been totally untenable with Leave. He recognised this commendably immediately with his resignation.

It's not the same on Scotland, where Cameron certainly wasn't front and centre of the campaign. In that sense his position would be more ambiguous. OTOH Salmond basically wanted Devo Max as his preferred option, it was Cameron who pressed for it being a straight indy ref. That would presumably be seen as a massive miscalculation.

If there's a general election on schedule, then all the same arguments apply, times four. 'Do you want Labour propped up by SNP MPs who are going to be part of a foreign government within eighteen months?' Labour being potentially beholden for its existence as a government to the same people it would be negotiating with would... not go down well.
The end result is probably Theresa May replacing Cameron as PM and getting a majority in 2015,which would be interesting.
 

Fletch

A deviant for attacking Nazis apparently.
@Torten

1) Yes, he would have to resign. No Prime Minister could realistically survive the end of the Union. I would rule Michael Gove out of succeeding him though. A Scot as Prime Minister negotiating with Scotland would be a bit much if funny.
2) The coalition would likely survive. That said, I disgagree about 2016. The Irish precedent is that Scotland would still send MPs to the Commons until Independence is settled, although they would be akin the British MEPs in 2019.
3) Not happening.
4) No, Scotland would not have remained part of the EU which would create massive ripples in Scotland given Alex Salmond blatantly lying on this issue. There would be re-entry talks though.
5) No, the Edinburgh Agreement was clear on this.
 
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Ricardolindo

Well-known member
Location
Portugal
@Torten

1) Yes, he would have to resign. No Prime Minister could realistically survive the end of the Union. I would rule Michael Gove out of succeeding him though. A Scot as Prime Minister negotiating with Scotland would be a bit much if funny.
2) The coalition would likely survive. That said, I disgagree about 2016. The Irish precedent is that Scotland would still send MPs to the Commons until Independence is settled, although they would be akin the British MEPs in 2019.
3) Not happening.
4) No, Scotland would not have remained part of the EU which would create massive ripples in Scotland given Alex Salmond blatantly lying on this issue. There would be re-entry talks though.
5) No, the Edinburgh Agreement was clear on this.
3) How can be you so sure? As noted in
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Const...Shetland_and_the_Western_Isles#Proposals_for_"counter-independence"_referendum, in 2012, a SNP spokesman said the Orkney and Shetland Islands could remain part of the UK if they truly wanted so.
 
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Fletch

A deviant for attacking Nazis apparently.
3) How can be you so sure? As noted in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Const...Shetland_and_the_Western_Isles#Proposals_for_"counter-independence"_referendum, in 2012, a SNP spokesman said the Orkney and Shetland Islands could remain part of the UK if they truly wanted so.
For a whole number of reasons, not least of which being there is no organised movement for it and they would be screwed over in terms of oil if they did so.

Saying they could opt out if they want is different from saying it either will or is likely to hapoen. Further, in a poll cited in the web page you linked to, 82% of them consider themselves Scottish. Bear in mind the number of Oil Workers there, many of whom will be from outwith Scotland reside in the Islands.

Are you telling me that over a third of the Islanders have dropped their identity inside the last few years? Really?1600480877520.png
 
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Alex Richards

A musical Hubble Space Telescope
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Derbyshire
For a whole number of reasons, not least of which being there is no organised movement for it and they would be screwed over in terms of oil if they did so.

Saying they could opt out if they want is different from saying it either will or is likely to hapoen. Further, in a poll cited in the web page you linked to, 82% of them consider themselves Scottish. Bear in mind the number of Oil Workers there, many of whom will be from outwith Scotland reside in the Islands.

Are you telling me that over a third of the Islanders have dropped their identity inside the last few years? Really?
I agree it's almost certainly not going to happen, but I'd also say that polling Orkney and Shetland as one unit is not particularly representative of the dynamics.

Orkney's close enough to the mainland that, theoretically, a constituency of Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney would probably be acceptable. Shetland is most definitely not.
 

The Red

Well-known member
Published by SLP
I agree it's almost certainly not going to happen, but I'd also say that polling Orkney and Shetland as one unit is not particularly representative of the dynamics.

Orkney's close enough to the mainland that, theoretically, a constituency of Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney would probably be acceptable. Shetland is most definitely not.
Shetland was actually more receptive to (Scottish) independence than Orkney, the SNP have done better there as well.
 

rfmcdonald

Active member
I do think that, if someone got the Union discredited as thoroughly as it has post-Brexit, you could get a majority for independence. How you would get this is another way, though the precedents of OTL leave me to suspect that you would need to see the British government fail disastrously as some key task in ways that Scots fundamentally disagreed over.
 

Nomad

Well-known member
The 'Project Fear'-type campaign would be discredited so in any subsequent Brexit referendum the Remain campaign would be less likely to rely on that type of argument but instead be forced to focus on positives, imo. Ironically, a successful Yes in 2014 could lead to a Remain vote in a Brexit referendum.
Perhaps, but you would also lose one of the major remain strongholds, so I doubt that would be enough. What might swing things is having an identifiable example of just how much time and effort the process of separation will take, and how it will limit the government's ability to focus on everyday issues. That was probably the biggest thing that was not appreciated by the public in 2016, but having to deal with the fallout of a Yes vote in the IndyRef might change things.

Plus we may get the EU referendum delayed till later on in the parliament, to give Whitehall the bandwidth to sort out Scottish independence first.

And obviously, losing the IndyRef would mean Cameron's resignation. If Labour wind up in government after 2015, then there probably is no EU referendum. Its more likely the new Tory PM wins the GE in my view, but how they approach things obviously has the potential to alter the outcome. I could see them being less inclined to campaign energetically one way or the other, given that that would have cost Cameron his job.
 
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