IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SECEDE, TRY AGAIN –
Scotland’s leader delivered a shock twist to Britain’s EU exit drama on Monday, announcing that she will seek authority to hold a new independence referendum in the next two years because Britain is dragging Scotland out of the EU against its will.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would move quickly to give voters a new chance to leave the United Kingdom because Scotland was being forced into a “hard Brexit” that it didn’t support. Britons decided in a June 23 referendum to leave the EU, but Scots voted by 62 to 38 percent to remain.
The Scottish referendum two years ago was going to be a “once in a generation” political event; if that’s the case, Scots must have recently turned into gerbils. Not so, says Sturgeon (if you are a socialist and a nationalist, does that make you a national socialist? asking for a friend); Brexit presents a “material change of circumstances.” Either way, Scottish nationalists will always prefer a leftie Brussels over an occasionally Tory London. Those with long historical memories will recall that for long centuries pre-Union (as in the Kingdom, not Europe), Scotland was reliably allied with France against England. The Middle Ages are so hip again.
But will the EU embrace the pro-EU Scotland?
Former European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso has set out the legal view that if one part of an EU country becomes an independent state, it would have to apply for its own EU membership.
On Monday, commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said “the Barrosso doctrine … would apply, obviously” to Scotland.
This is because many other EU members struggle with their own restive regions, which would prefer the subordination to the distant Union rather than their own national government. Spain, in particular, with her independence-minded Basques and Catalonians, would have kittens should the EU be seen as even tacitly encouraging the nation state disintegration via a carrot of easy membership.
Asked whether she would resign if she lost the referendum, Sturgeon said she wasn’t planning to lose.
“Sometimes you’ve got to do what you think it right in politics,” she said. “And I think it’s right for Scotland to have a choice.”
True profiles in courage here: do what you like, refuse to suffer any political consequences.