The problem with referendums is that they are, by their very nature, divisive. There is a yes or no answer and with strong opinion on both sides, feelings inevitably run high.
In an ideal world, both sides would agree to differ, respect the vote and move on. In reality, however, that doesn’t happen. In Scotland, we have had two major referendums in two years. In 2014, we had the vote on Scottish independence with the majority voting no but that was not the end of it. For two years, Scotland has been led by a party who, whenever a decision does not go their way, scream that it should be the basis for a 2nd vote on independence. So much for the once in a generation promise eh?
Then this year, the U.K. voted to leave the EU, with remain voters calling straight away for a re-vote and looking at ways to block Brexit no matter what. Now a survey has been launched in Scotland to gauge opinion and appetite for a second referendum. The SNP are using the EU referendum result to persuade those who voted no in 2014 that they should now change their mind. How does the SNP hope to attract investment into Scotland with that level of constant uncertainty? Also, if the SNP don’t want to be governed by Westminster, why on earth do they want to be ruled by Brussels?
The latest GERS figures show a 9.5% deficit in the GDP ratio, a level at which Scotland would be denied entry into the EU who have set strict membership rules dictating the figure should be no more than 3%. Look what happened in Greece. Brussels told them how to run their economy. Do we really want that same situation in Scotland?
Further, Scotland remaining a member while the rest of the UK leave has been ruled out by a number of leading European country leaders.
With those two points in mind it would be worth noting that Edinburgh now has more devolved powers than ever and instead of stoking the independence debate, the SNP and the First Minister in particular should focus on the job they are paid to do – running a devolved parliament – not finding ways for independence at all costs and certainly not chasing support throughout Europe for a dream of staying a member of the EU. What part of “the U.K. is the member and not Scotland” is so difficult for our leaders to understand?
Realism and pragmatism must take precedence over the heart surely. Please Scotland – all no voters, remain no and stand up to the plans for Indy Ref 2. Let’s put this argument to bed once and for all and start healing the divisions which still exist from 2014 before the division becomes permanent.