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PostWill Scotland Secede from the UK? (Timothy Ashby, -Spain, 04/12/19 4:15 am)
John Eipper asked on April 6th: What are the real chances of Scottish secession?"
I believe that if Brexit in any form actually takes place (which seems more ambiguous with each passing week) there is high probability that Scotland will secede from the United Kingdom.
Although I have no genetic Scottish roots, we have a strong connection with that beautiful nation north of the Tweed. My daughter is a graduate of St. Andrews, Rosemary was born in Aberdeen (of English parents) and educated at Aberdeen university, and I have an MBA from Edinburgh. I have many close Scottish friends of all political persuasions, and Rosemary's niece is married to the brother of Lord Burton, who manages the 11,000-acre Dochfour estate in Inverness-shire, which is held in a family trust (photo below--taken from Loch Ness during our 2016 visit). I am therefore very much aware of the political mood in Scotland.
Scotland voted by 62 to 38 per cent to remain in the European Union in 2016. The most recent poll I've seen on this issue shows only 31 percent of Scots stating it would be right to leave the EU even if the public mood is shown to have shifted since the 2016 vote.
Various polls suggest that Brexit is radically changing Scots' views on independence. These found that of those "undecided" on independence, 63 per cent now believe Brexit will make it more likely, with just 13 per cent disagreeing. The polls also found that 45 per cent of formerly undecided voters have changed their view on independence as a result of Brexit. And while 49 per cent of those polled say they will wait to see the impact of Brexit before deciding how they would vote in any new independence referendum, that changed to 56 per cent when asked if they would be more likely to back independence in the event of a "no-deal" Brexit.
Various sources (including the UK and Scottish governments) paint a bleak picture of the economic shock a bad deal will have on Scotland--warning it will leave every Scot worse off by £2,300 a year, wipe out 80,000 jobs, and damage growth and business opportunities for decades. The farming sector would be particularly affected as EU subsidy payments are crucial for sustainable farm incomes. Over 60% of farms surveyed by the Scottish government would make a loss without subsidies. Furthermore, many of Scotland's 18,000 crofters and farmers could go broke if costly tariffs are imposed on meat exports to the EU. One close friend--a Conservative farmer in Fife--believes that the Highlands will be depopulated because people could no longer make a living there.
Quoted in the Glasgow Herald, James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink, stated that a "no-deal" scenario for the food and drink sector would be "unmitigated bad news ... a disaster and it will cost us billions." A no-deal Brexit would cost the Scottish food and drink sector £2.2bn--quite a substantial amount when you consider that it is currently worth £14bn in total.
Overall, even neutral analysts say that Brexit in any form will prove to be the "straw that breaks rural Scotland's back," exacerbating demographic issues and cutting off vital EU funding for infrastructure development.
These stark predictions are not the result of ‘Remainer Project Fear," but a genuine harbinger of what Scotland can expect. Brexit could be the catalyst leading to another independence referendum which could result in the breakup of the UK (I think that Northern Ireland could also leave, either to join the Irish Republic or Scotland).
As a footnote to all this, today's newspapers are carrying stories about Scottish frustration with shopkeepers "south of the border' who refuse to accept Scottish currency. The Times reported that Judy Murray, the tennis coach and mother of the champions Andy and Jamie, told her social media followers this week her Bank of Scotland £10 note was rejected as she tried to pay £9 for two doughnuts. She was told "we only take British ones" by the shop assistant.
JE comments: Photo below. Breathtaking and lush. And on Loch Ness no less.
I never realized how real a possibility Scottish secession is. And if we can gauge by the shopkeeper's attitude, the English aren't doing much to win over Scottish hearts and minds. But I must ask, £9 for two donuts? No wonder the Scots want out.
Dochfour House, Inverness-shire