As the dominant SNP party faithful gather in Glasgow over the next few days, it’s becoming increasingly clear that even for the country that voted by almost two to one to remain in the European Union (EU), ‘Brexit’ has not proved a game-changer in terms of support for Scottish independence.
Today’s BMG poll results were quickly spun by the SNP media operation, highlighting that 55 per cent of those polled supported the option of a second indyref in the event of a ‘hard Brexit’, but the reality of the situation must be concerning the First Minister.
The majority of SNP members want a second referendum as soon as possible as do many of her elected representatives - but some are urging caution both privately and publicly. These cautious voices are right to be wary, because they know this is where most Scots are on the constitutional future.
It’s with good reason too. Our sluggish economy is lagging behind the rest of the UK while Scotland’s deficit has increased to nearly £15 billion, not helped at all by the slump in oil price. At the same time, dire forecasts from the respected Fraser of Allander Institute warn that Brexit could cost Scotland anything between 30,000 to 80,000 jobs.
Scots are also looking at the future of the Europe Union with concern. There is little appetite for the Euro and the concept of a ‘social Europe’ looks like it’s crumbling before our eyes. And with crucial French and German elections due next year, there is every chance ‘Article 50 negotiations’ will coincide with these countries lurching further to the right.
It’s a worrying prospect and it seems like there is danger around every corner. The country and the continent are changing and while the status quo may not be an appealing option for many Scots, it is also clear that the majority of Scots are uncomfortable at the prospect of another binary choice on their future.
So rather than steamroll into a second independence referendum it’s time for a serious examination of where we are heading in Scotland, to call all things into question and to consider all the possible options before us.
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