For those interested in, or connected to, the Scottish energy sector, who are now wondering how their industry will be affected by a Yes Vote in a prospective second Scottish Independence referendum, much of the answers can be found a book published three years ago.
The SNP-led Scottish Government published its ‘independence blue-print’ – ‘Scotland’s Future: Your Guide To An Independent Scotland’ – 12 months in advance of the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum.
Much has changed since then; the price of oil (in the N. Sea, in the UK and around the world) fell by nearly 70% (and has risen by 50% since Dec 2015) and more than 100,000 jobs have been lost in the (UK) supply chain, while the UK government has slashed subsidies to the renewable energy sector. (Today, oil prices bubbled around the $47-48-barrel mark – ie little changed from before the British Independence vote.)
But Scotland and the Scottish Government played no part in these unwelcome external events and the oil price fall was – and remains – outside the control of the UK government.
But what has changed is that the UK as voted for British Independence from the EU-bloc.
While Scotland has voted to remain part of the EU.
In her party’s manifesto for the Holyrood general election last month, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said that a second referendum in Scotland on Independence from the UK was unlikely unless there were significant material changes.
By any definition of ‘significant changes’, if one partner to a contract says YES and another partner says NO, this is it.
Not surprisingly, Sturgeon has now said that a second Scottish Independence (from the UK) referendum is now ‘on the table’.
Just 24 hours later, the latest Panelbase survey for Sunday Times found 52% of Scots wanted to break with the rest of Britain, while 48% were opposed, while in a separate poll for the Sunday Post by research firm Scotpulse, 59% of people said they would vote for Scottish Independence in a second referendum.
Of those interviewed, 59% of Scots stated that they would vote for independence tomorrow, a figure that increases to 65% if undecided voters are excluded, with around 50% of all voters saying that the Brexit result has made them more likely to vote for Scottish independence.
The survey found that six out of 10, around 62%, of those asked agreed that the Scottish First Minister is right to prepare for a possible second Scottish independence referendum, with a majority also agreeing that legal powers to call for a new referendum should be transferred from Westminster to Holyrood.
Voting trends showed that those in the younger age gap were increasingly leaning towards independence, with 73% of under-25’s saying they would vote Yes if there was a vote tomorrow.
Meanwhile, another new poll by Survation and published in a local newspaper in Glasgow shows support for Scottish Independence from UK/ in EU has grown to 54%.
Sturgeon will make a statement Holyrood to MPs tomorrow (28 Jun) on the British Independence vote in the EU referendum, which will be followed by a debate on the implications of the result for Scotland.
The proposed motion for the SNP-led debate in the Scottish Parliament ‘welcomes the overwhelming vote of the people of Scotland to remain in the European Union”.
And it mandates the Scottish government to have discussions with the British government, other devolved administrations, EU institutions and individual member states to try and secure Scotland’s relationship with the EU and its place in the single market
The SNP manifesto on which the SNP was elected pledged that the Scottish Parliament should have the right to table another referendum on Scottish independence should there be a material change in circumstances, including Scotland being pulled out of the EU against its collective will.
MP Angus Robertson, the SNP Westminster Leader, said today it would be “totally democratically unacceptable” for Scotland to be taken out of the EU, and added:
“We are a European country and we will stay a European country. If that means we have to have an Independence referendum to protect Scotland’s place then so be it.”
One swallow doesn’t make a summer. And one (or three) opinion polls, don’t make a Yes result in a second Scottish Independence referendum inevitable…
But – as a reminder – here’s what the SNP said about Scottish energy in ‘Scotland’s Future: Your Guide To An Independent Scotland’ (Page 293:)
“If we form the government of an Independent Scotland, we will:
- “Seek to enshrine environmental protection in the Constitution.
- “Show international leadership in tackling climate-change.
- “Negotiate increased European funding for environmental protection
Scotland’s energy market: Why we need a new approach
“The operation of our energy market and its regulation is currently the responsibility of Westminster. Over many years, successive Westminster governments have lacked a coherent approach to energy.
“In a country of Scotland’s energy wealth, it is unacceptable that consumers face rising prices, increased fuel poverty and the risk that our renewable energy ambitions are now fulfilled.
“A well-functioning energy market, delivering the best outcome for consumers in the long-term, is a prerequisite for a flourishing economy and society.
“By this standard Westminster has failed.”
COMMENT: Scottish Independence will keep us with the EU IN-crowd
If a second referendum on Scotland’s Independence is held and results in a YES Vote, will we see major oil companies (and banks and other transnational companies) ‘threatening’ to leave London and re-locate to Edinburgh – as they conversely did in the first Scottish Independence referendum?
This would certainly provide ‘stability within the EU’ – in sharp contrast to the highly volatile stock and currency markets reaction in UK and around the world on the British vote for Independence from the EU-bloc.
Certainly, the campaigning for – against Scottish Independence in the EU in a second referendum would be entirely different (for good) and would be conducted without wholesale ‘Project Fear’ scare stories lobbed in from a country (England/UK) that has already voted in favour of separatism from the EU.
Politically, a second Scottish Independence to Leave the UK but REMAIN in the EU leaves the Scottish branches of the UK political parties stranded on an electoral desert island.
The (Scottish) Tories, Liberals and Labour parties all officially campaigned for Scotland (and the UK) to reject British Independence and remain in the EU.
Now that the UK/Britain/England has voted decisively in favour of (their) Independence from the EU, how can these Scottish parties logically campaign against Scottish Independence IN the EU?
The same paradox applies to the mainstream/ consumer print and terrestrial broadcast media in Scotland (whether locally owned or not).
Over to EU.