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Yes! Wins the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014?

Gary Oswald

Old and Foolish now
Sea Lion Press staff
Published by SLP
Pronouns
he/him
If Scotland vote Yes, I can't see the tory party including a promise on an in-out eu referendum in their 2015 manifesto at all. There'll still be huge pressure for it but there's both 'deal with Scotland first' and 'what if we lose' which will tip the balance away from it in the minds of the certain major mps.

Which would make the political landscape unrecognisable. I tend to be quite deterministic about the eu referendum, which happened due to huge popular demand within and without the tory party which Cameron had to respond to, but Scotland voting for independence changes the formula on that massively.
 

Elektronaut

Opinions from the Student Union
If Scotland vote Yes, I can't see the tory party including a promise on an in-out eu referendum in their 2015 manifesto at all. There'll still be huge pressure for it but there's both 'deal with Scotland first' and 'what if we lose' which will tip the balance away from it in the minds of the certain major mps.

Which would make the political landscape unrecognisable. I tend to be quite deterministic about the eu referendum, which happened due to huge popular demand within and without the tory party which Cameron had to respond to, but Scotland voting for independence changes the formula on that massively.
I think in 2014 there was still ambiguity about when the referendum would be held. I'm sure it would still be in the manifesto, Cameron (Or whoever takes over) can't walk back from it - with UKIP very much at large in 2014 it would be outright dangerous to do so - but I think everyone would agree that independence had to be dealt with first.
 
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Nomad

Well-known member
If Scotland vote Yes, I can't see the tory party including a promise on an in-out eu referendum in their 2015 manifesto at all. There'll still be huge pressure for it but there's both 'deal with Scotland first' and 'what if we lose' which will tip the balance away from it in the minds of the certain major mps.
I disagree. Cameron had already pledged a referendum by this point, and he had not done so out of the kindness of his own heart, but because of the twin threats that Tory voters would flood to UKIP, and the huge clamour for it among his backbenchers. 'Deal with Scotland first' sentiment might be enough to delay it, but hundreds of Conservative MPs would be actively hoping for a leave vote, so 'what if we lose' doesn't enter into it for them.

And if Cameron goes, there will be a leadership contest of some sort, and its highly unlikely that someone who isn't at least as willing to go as far as Cameron could win over the membership. There could be a procession that ensures a candidate wins without needing the run off, but like I said, there is a huge constituency of Tory MPs who would resist any attempt to backtrack from a referendum, so they wouldn't permit that if the person they were being asked to support intended to do that.

Basically, once the Tories have pledged an EU referendum, there is almost zero chance they would u-turn on it. Any leader who did it would be pissing away any chance of governing effectively, as well as quite a lot of support in the country too.
 
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ChrisNuttall

Active member
I’ve given the question a lot of thought. For YES to win, the UK Government would have to be majorly discredited (have the expenses scandal delayed a few years?) or the Scottish Government - the SNP - do much better at governing. One of the reasons the SNP is spinning its wheels right now is because it can’t do better or lunge towards INDYREF2: THE RETURN OF THE REF.



Assuming there was a YES vote, it would be a nightmare. Think of the worst divorce in human history, on a national scale. India and Pakistan had all sorts of problems and they were far less integrated, despite Pakistan not really existing prior to 1947. There would be so many problems that BREXIT would look like a bump in the road.



Take the military, for example. Lots of bases in Scotland. Who gets them? Who gets military units? The Scots Guard is Scottish, but what about other units? The Navy? The RAF? Scotland doesn’t have the budget to operate big ships, let alone fast-jet fighters. There would be a steady and serious - perhaps irrevestable - decline in capability. What about the nukes? And then there would be the knock-on effects. The Navy has a policy of buying as little as possible from overseas. Would Scotland get contracts to build ships for England’s navy? Probably not. English MPs would throw a fit and insist they should be built in England. In short, it would be a major headache.



What about politics? The EU isn’t likely to accept an independent Scotland, certainly not on good terms. (And worse still now.) There’s no guarantee the EU would agree to allow Scotland to join, because it would encourage all the other separatist movements. NATO won’t be happy either. And nor will England.



The budget would be a major headache too. It’s been proven the SNP’s case for Scotland financing itself was ... shall we say ... a tad optimistic. There would be massive budget shortfalls everywhere in Scotland, made worse by the need to replace institutions based in England. There would need to be massive budget cuts or tax hikes, probably both. That would trigger a capital flight, in turn requiring capital controls (thus damaging the economy and limiting investment), which would probably go to England. Wrangling over the EU would make that worse, if Scotland crashed out of the EU as well as the UK. Legally, that’s what would have happened.



In short, it would be a nightmare.



Chris
 

Nomad

Well-known member
Wrangling over the EU would make that worse, if Scotland crashed out of the EU as well as the UK. Legally, that’s what would have happened.
A good point that I hadn't previously considered. I wonder what the structure of negotiations over the immediate post-independence EU-Scotland economic relationship would be. The UK's trade policy is effectively governed by the EU at this point, so it seems likely that Holyrood would be negotiating with Brussels, albeit with significant input from Westminster. That dynamic could plausibly weaken euroscepticism by showing how the EU looks after its own, or strengthen it by highlighting just how little control the UK has over something that is an issue of major national significance.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
I'd assume most Scottish bases get shut down because it won't want the same military capabilities (it would probably emulate Ireland here), maybe we'd wrangle one or two key ones to remain British 'overseas bases'.
 

ChrisNuttall

Active member
A good point that I hadn't previously considered. I wonder what the structure of negotiations over the immediate post-independence EU-Scotland economic relationship would be. The UK's trade policy is effectively governed by the EU at this point, so it seems likely that Holyrood would be negotiating with Brussels, albeit with significant input from Westminster. That dynamic could plausibly weaken euroscepticism by showing how the EU looks after its own, or strengthen it by highlighting just how little control the UK has over something that is an issue of major national significance.
It would be very difficult to do it - there's a bunch of nations in the EU that have their own seperatist movements. They'll probably veto things unless Scotland makes a whole bunch of concessions.

Chris
 

Fletch

A deviant for attacking Nazis apparently.
Since division of assets are being discussed, I have read up a bit on independence negotiations and how they would have gone. They actually go for any future negotiations.

First things first, there would have to have been a division of assets. There are a list of fixed assets which wouldn't be under debate. Buckingham Palace wouldn't end up controlled by the Scottish State and Edinburgh Castle wouldn't be under the control of the UK. These would be relatively straight forward.

But if you dive into this further, there would be questions. Embassies would, I assume come under the control of the UK, but this being the case there would have to be a payment to any Scottish government for loss of fixed assets. This would be an area of negotiation.

In terms of milirary, although the number of Scots in the UK military is over-represented (8.6% of the population, 10% of the military), the number of bases actually located in Scotland is less than average. And this raises the question of Faslane. Again, what would happen to the Nuclear Submarines is important. The Scottish regiments would be straight forward. The personnel in other areas not so much. I can't see a prospective Scottish Defence Force being that large so this should, Faslane aside be relatively straight forward.

North Sea Oil is also an area where there would be debate. Would the maritime border be the one historically agreed or the one signed into law when devolution was rolled out in the 90s? This is the difference between Scotland getting around 86% of the oil and gas and 96%. It is a major area of debate. I can see a trade of happening here between the border and debt.

The Bank of England is also a major asset of the state. Would Scotland get a share of the Gold Reserves. Would currency come into the negotiations? This could be a real sticking point. Based on the Velvet Divorce, I could easily see a flight of Capital from Edinburgh to London if a currency union was established. Jim Sillars was probably right in saying you would likely end up with the return of the Pound Scots within short order pegged to Sterling.

Then Pensions come into the equation. like the Bank of England, this could be a real sticking point. The UK would have to make some sort of agreement on pensions, but I could easily see Scotland ending up worse off albeit with an agreement in place. Pensioners would end up with pensions, but less than they are getting at present.

Would debt be calculated on terms fo population, GDP or even by calculating what the debt was spent on? Note that this goes down to the level of spending on the 2008 crash. If this is the case, Scotland wouldn't be as badly off as people think. Although both HBoS and RBS were registered in Scotland, most of the debt was accumulated outside Scotland so it would minimise the actual debt that lands under the Scottish government.

Of course, the Irish Free State scenario could occur where no variable assets are handed over but the Scottish state starts off debt-free. I can't see this happening though.

This leads onto the land border. Ironically, in 2014, this would likely have been one of the easiest issues. Although Scotland would be out the EU, EEA membership would have been a stick on and it would likely have remained open until such time as a Brexit vote happened. If it happened given there would be no guarantee a government which lost Scotland would have won the next election. This is actually one of the biggest changes between now and then.

There would, however be supply chain issues as internal regulations change. This is a major reason why Scotland would be worse off for a period after Independence as companies which covered the British market would change their model to the two states.

Independence would have happened in 2016 but negotiations over the minutia would have been going on for over a decade after, again as with the Velvet Divorce.

During this time there would be a lot of chaos and uncertainty. It is a major reason I voted no. It would have worked. Whether it would have been better or not is debatable.

Most likely not, barring some major change.
 

Juan Vogel

Strong on middle initials, weak on ship detail
Yeah I agree that on balance, despite losing a pro Remain area, Indy probably makes Euroscepticism less of a powerful force in rUK in the short to medium term. If just because everyone's distracted.

Also recall that pre EuRef most people didn't have a strong view, even if many had a weak view on the Question. Lots of people did have a strong view but they were a minority.

Then post separation it is just too different a world to really be sure in what form it returns.
 

Fletch

A deviant for attacking Nazis apparently.
Part Two to my post above as areas missed out.

One major area of instability caused by independence would be in the supply chain and in the service sector.

Take Sky, HBoS or RBS. Three large companies which all operate large operations on a UK or GB wide basis. Their service centres will be interlinked so that someone in Kent could easily call through to someone in Livingston or Dunfermline (large Sky or HBoS call centres). All three companies I mention employed and I believe still employ disproportionately in Scotland.

After the Union ends, there would likely be a reorganisation whereby jobs would move south to ensure the UK market is covered by UK based employees. A number of employees would remain but I can't see jobs not being lost here.

On the other hand, regional Scottish headquarters would likely be established, albeit with a small number of employees, so there could be some gains. Principally around Edinburgh.

There would also be a plethora of embassies, high commissions and missions being set up in Edinburgh alongside new government departments and Quangos. There would likely be associated jobs and hidden benefits there. The benefits of this would almost all be in Edinburgh though, so wouldn't help much outside the capital although some could be based in Glasgow.

Initially being outside the EU wouldn't be good either. Although in terms of trade, we would be covered by EEA membership, CAP payments and the like would cease and would have to be taken up by the Scottish Government, with money having to be diverted from elsewhere.

Shipbuilding on the Clyde would be utterly fucked. There is no two ways about this. Likewise BAe establishments would either move or wound down gradually as jobs move south. I strongly suspect defence-related jobs wouldn't be as easy to come by in an independent Scotland.

But on the other hand, smaller economies have generally shown to be easier to manoeuvre than larger ones.

Under the assumption that the SNP would form the first independent Scottish Government since 1707, the policy they heralded of slashing Company taxation would put the Scots in direct competition with Ireland. Promoting inward investment would be important.

The idea of a large scale investment fund would also be a sound idea for long-term growth but given the circumstances, it would mean far harsher austerity than we were experiencing in 2014.

In short, I think we would have seen job losses as the economy adjusts, there would however be winners out of independence and we shouldn't pretend otherwise.

All of the above went into why I voted No.
 

Juan Vogel

Strong on middle initials, weak on ship detail
I reckon a YES win might be a driver to get JOHNSON to run for a 3rd term as mayor - as it could be assumed in 2014 by a liberal London pro European mayor that 2015-20 would be both 1) a mess and 2) the Cons might lose. So why not stay for a 3rd and strengthen his hold on London?

The counter of course is that he would also be pole position for cabinet if he returned in 15 and maybe leadership if things were unstable, or Cameron soldiered on for a year or two.
 
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