How Brexit Holed SNP's EU Lifeboat; OPINION INDY SUNK BY ECONOMICS Nicola Sturgeon Could Find Herself Trying to Sell Scots Life outside Both UK and Europe

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), January 25, 2017 | Go to article overview

How Brexit Holed SNP's EU Lifeboat; OPINION INDY SUNK BY ECONOMICS Nicola Sturgeon Could Find Herself Trying to Sell Scots Life outside Both UK and Europe


Byline: BLAIR MCDOUGALL

A SECOND referendum is either "on the table", "highly likely", "more likely", "off the table" or "all but inevitable".

Thank you for clearing that one up, First Minister.

The views of undecided voters from 2014 offer clues on why Nicola Sturgeon is, to put it kindly, hedging her bets.

When we set up the campaign to remain in the UK, our polling showed just under 40 per cent of the electorate who were firm No voters and 30 per cent of the electorate who were strong Yes voters.

The contest then was to be for the remaining 30 per cent, the undecided voters.

The undecideds were split into two groups.

Broadly speaking, the first group were lower middle-class voters who viewed the question of whether to leave the UK as a pragmatic economic choice.

It's the second group of voters who explain why Sturgeon is in no hurry to pull the trigger.

They were more likely to be working class and to have felt the impact of Tory austerity.

They felt they had too little control over their lives and were very sceptical about the value of immigration and our membership of the European Union.

The SNP appealed to these voters' well-founded anger with their economic argument - the idea independence was a social democratic lifeboat in which you could escape Tory austerity.

The SNP's campaign was pure populism. A Yes vote was a way to take out your anger at the distant elite and gain control over your life again.

Events since the referendum have made both the economic and populist arguments of nationalism useless.

It is obvious, to anyone not in complete denial, why the old economic arguments won't work.

Most obviously, the SNP don't know yet what currency they support, having given up on the idea of keeping the pound. The smart money is on Nicola Sturgeon adopting her third different currency policy.

Previously, the EU were used by the SNP to offer reassurance to voters. They have now become the source of economic doubt.

Theresa May is making a mess out of something that was already a terrible idea but the doubt over the UK's eventual relationship with the EU also makes it more difficult for the SNP to offer any sort of certainty about Scotland's relationship with the UK.

Post-Brexit, if the UK is outside the European single market then it is obvious it is impossible for Scotland to be inside the UK's single market (as promised in 2014) and inside the EU's single market.

The SNP Government's own trade figures expected to be published today will confirm that the rest of the UK is a far more important market for our goods and services than the EU.

Expect no answer from the SNP on how we could have access to the UK market after independence. …

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