Since Britain voted to leave the EU, Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP have continued to call for a new referendum on Scottish independence. Sturgeon, alongside many SNP members, claim that as Scotland overwhelmingly voted to stay in the EU (62% of Scottish voters voted to remain within the EU) and as such, they believe Westminster no longer represents the best interests of the Scottish people.
Sturgeon claimed after the referendum result that she would call a second independence referendum when 50% of the population were in favour of it. Recent polls by The Guardian, suggest that 45% of the voting public support a second referendum, 5% away from the 50% needed, and up ten percent from before the EU referendum.
However, one must wonder what Sturgeon and the governing SNP intend to do should they achieve independence. Findings by the Economist, show that since the first independence referendum in 2014, the price of Brent Crude oil (Scotland’s main oil export) was $110 a barrel, since the crash in oil prices, the price of Brent has decreased by half that value and stands at $55 a barrel. The original Brent rig is scheduled to be dismantled this summer, which will hit the Scottish economy hard. This especially the case as Scotland’s second biggest economic sector, finance, has lost over a tenth of its overall jobs since 2014, average pay in the industry fell by 5% last year.
These statistics are damning, and with there being no Government paper stating how the SNP would handle an independent country’s economy- unlike in 2014- one must think that Nicola Sturgeon is lurching from one prayer to the next. Scotland exports more than 40% of its goods south of the border, and whilst Sturgeon and company, ridiculed English voters for voting for Brexit, if Scotland became independent, one can be guaranteed that new trade tariffs would be smacked onto their goods, reducing the total revenue coming into the country. The issue of what currency would be used is there, Theresa May, unlike David Cameron three years ago, is in no mood to allow Sturgeon the audacious claim of using the Pound, nor is she willing to allow regiments of the British army stationed in Scotland to form a newly independent Scottish army.
At the moment, it seems that Nicola Sturgeon is blustering for independence, in the hope of gaining access to a fair deal for Scotland. There have been talks of Scotland joining the EU, after independence. Confidence in this, is pushed by the fact that Spain would resist any such move, to prevent Catalonia pushing for independence, as would Belgium and Germany.
Sturgeon and the SNP are clinging onto the hope for independence, but until they can provide a reliable economic and social solution to the issues they are faced with, this author believes they will continue to use Westminster as a scapegoat for their own failings.