Nicola Sturgeon is pushing for Scotland to hold a second referendum on membership of the United Kingdom. She says this is called for because the UK has voted for Brexit.
The UK Parliament decides whether such a referendum will be held and indeed if the result will be given effect to. The Scots Parliament is devolved. Which means that Westminster could shut it down any time.
Theresa May says there will be no referendum in Caledonia for 6 years. May is probably hoping that by then the appetite for such a poll in Scotland will dissipate. In 6 years the SNP may well be out of office. After 10 years in office its popularity is sagging. Already only 1 in 3 Scots wants another referendum. Of those who want one not all will vote to leave the UK.
Scotland will not vote to leave the UK for several reasons.
The SNP’s oxymoronic slogan has been independence in Europe. However, lately they have mused about not joining the EU if North Britian leaves the UK. This repudiation of a decades old policy has worried some people who would otherwise vote to leave the UK.
If Scotland left the UK it would have to apply to join the European Union. It takes years or even decades to get in. Look at Turkey. Turkey does not even have candidate status. All members states of the EU have to approve a new state joining. Spain is pledged to blackball Scotland’s application if one were ever made. This is because Madrid wishes to discourage Catalan separatism. Catalan separatists wants Catalonia to leave Spain and join the EU. Scotch separatism would be a precedent for the Catalan splittits.
The EU is about to lose its second biggest net contributor. The EUropean Union is bankrolling many poorer states. The EU can ill afford Scotland as a separate member. There is a 15 billion pound black hole in the Scottish budget. This is plugged by Westminster. The EU would not give such a subvention.
Oil and gas prices have been low for a few years. With tar sands, shale oil, fracking and green energy it seems like the price for hydrocarbons will remain low for decades. The SNP’s whole economic plan was based on these prices being high. If Scotland had left the UK in 2014 she would not be bankrupt.
Scotland is greying. The demographic timebomb there is even worse than in the UK as a whole.
Things will also improve for the pro Union side. The SNP has peaked. Labour cannot go any lower in Scotland. They will pick up a few more seats in Westminster there.
The SNP is no longer new and radical. It has been in office for a decade. It has not been able to fulfill all its manifesto pledges. Sturgeon’s personal ratings will dip. The Liberal Democrats will also come back up/.
Labour’s UK leader – Corbyn – will be booted out. He will be replaced by someone who is younger and more appealing. This will be a man or woman who will campaign with zeal to save the Union. Corbyn likes the far left who favour Scots separatism. Labour also know that without Scotland they stand no chance of winning at Westminster.
The Liberal Democrats will soon kick out Tim Farron who has no stage presence.
There may be a Labour Government at Westminster again. The Tories are deeply unpopular in Scotland. They are a boon to the SNP.
UKIP has reached its zenith. It is decline. Once its goal of Brexit is completed the party will probably fold. UKIP is very unpopular in Scotland and it is a fillip to the SNP. With UKIP gone the SNP will lose its bugbear.
The idea of separation has had its day. Its moment has passed. People are bored with that fad. Among the young it might be more fashionable to be pro Union.
The SNP has still not figured out what to do about a currency or about NATO membership.
Many factors therefore militate in favour of Scotland remaining within the UK.
The SNP might split between those who accept waiting 6 years and those who insist on non co-operation to force a poll now. They would refuse to help Westminster. The SNP already refuses to subsidise the royal family which it says that it wishes to keep. The SNP could split into pragmatists and absolutists. The Scottish Socialist Party might be re founded.
In 6 years Brexit will have been accomplished. The initial jitters will be over. The United Kingdom will be out of austerity.
However, there are some factors that tend the other way. The elderly are very pro Union and they are dying. Teenagers are mostly pro separation and they are mostly anti Union.
People might be angry that Westminster has blocked a poll now. Brexit might go badly and damage the economy.
As for a currency the Scots would simply carry on using the pound sterling unilaterally if they left the UK. Some countries have abolished their currency and use the Euro without permission. The same is true of using the US Dollar.
In terms of defence they might not be allowed into NATO at least not immediately. They could simply be neutral like Switzerland. The Republic of Ireland was neutral for 100 years and was never attacked. The trouble is if such a country is invaded it is helpless and no one will come to its aid. On the other hand if such a country joins an alliance it may be dragged int wars it would otherwise avoid.