Saturday, December 26, 2015

Seven things that will happen if Britain votes to leave the EU in 2016

1) The cause of a united Ireland will be back with a vengeance.  We've become used to polls showing that a large chunk of the nominally 'nationalist' community in Northern Ireland are content to remain in the UK for the time being.  That may change rapidly if the Irish border becomes the frontier of the EU.

2) The centre of gravity in what remains of the EU will shift a little to the left.  That's simply a question of basic arithmetic - the bulk of British members of the European Parliament are right-wing (more UKIP than Tory), and Britain casts a right-wing vote in the Council of Ministers, which is effectively the second chamber of the EU legislature.  (It used to be said that even New Labour was the most right-wing government in the EU, although admittedly that was before the admission of the former Eastern Bloc states.) Our representative on the European Commission is also a Tory.

3) Much of Labour will become totally disorientated, because a belief in Britain's European destiny is part of their DNA.  Their instincts will be screaming at them to campaign to get back into the EU as soon as possible, but they won't want to be seen to overturn the referendum result straight away.  They may settle on a compromise position of going all out to keep Britain in the European Economic Area, on the same basis as Norway and Iceland.  That would at least make it easier to return to the EU in future decades.

4) David Cameron will resign as Prime Minister.  I was never entirely convinced by the claim of John "the Gardener" McTernan that Cameron's position would have been untenable if there had been a Yes in the indyref - but this vote is one of his own choosing.

5) The Tory party will not split.  Ironically, there's much more likely to be a schism if Remain wins by a narrow margin.  Most Tories who vote to Remain will be easily reconciled to a Leave outcome, because they're mild Eurosceptics anyway.  The handful of genuine pro-Europeans in the party will probably feel that Cameron did his level best.

6) The powers of the Scottish Parliament will effectively increase.  There may be a Sewel Convention preventing Westminster legislating on devolved matters, but that doesn't apply to the EU - and indeed EU law always has primacy.  The Scottish Government's freedom to act on devolved matters will therefore be much less constrained if Britain is outside the EU.

7)  There will be a second independence referendum in Scotland.  I make no prediction about the outcome of that referendum, and clearly there are one or two people in the SNP (such as Kevin Pringle) who think it will be harder to make the case for independence if Britain has decided to withdraw from Europe.  But as long as Scotland votes to Remain and finds itself outside the EU against its will, the case for a referendum will be unanswerable, because we were endlessly told last year that a No vote was a vote to stay in the EU.

39 comments:

  1. That all sounds about right. Regarding Labour, I wouldn't go quite as far as to say that a belief in the EU is part of our DNA. Obviously we're considerably more Europhile than Eurosceptic, but while many members are pro-EU (Some of them very passionately so), there are also plenty who are ambivalent. The compromise option sounds quite plausible.

    I think that Northern Ireland could be kept on board if the government had the foresight to stuff them with more cash to make up for any shortfalls from lost EU funding. Of course, that's quite a big "If".

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    1. "I think that Northern Ireland could be kept on board if the government had the foresight to stuff them with more cash to make up for any shortfalls from lost EU funding. Of course, that's quite a big "If"."

      Sorry Stoat, but that's wishful thinking at an extreme level. The amount of money that would be required would run into tens of billions per annum. Neither a Tory government nor a Labour government would be able to find that amount of money, even if it were inclined to do so. Secondly, a border with checkpoints between NI and ROI would isolate Co. Donegal (in the ROI), which is connected by road to Dublin via roads in Northern Ireland. It would also deal a huge blow to cross-border activities of all kinds and bring back the resentments that road closures and security checkpoints caused during the Troubles. Even at the height of the Troubles there were never any passport checks when travelling between ROI and NI because of the Common Travel Area between Irelanda and the UK. The Common Travel Area could not survive under EU law if the UK withdrew from the EU, unless the and Ireland both joined Schengen. The chances of the UK joining Schengen after withdrawal from the EU (non-EU states can join Schengen, e.g. Norway, Iceland, Switzerland) are nil, so there would have to be full border controls between ROI and NI after a Brexit. There is no way in hell that nationalist people living in border areas would accept the re-introduction of border checkpoints (and the new introduction of passport checks) quietly and without fuss, and no way in hell that people in Co. Donegal wouldn't resent the extra travel time (especially for goods in transit) that customs and passport checks on the border would bring. Even many unionists in NI would have doubts about the wisdom of cutting off NI from easy access to markets in ROI, an action which would effectively put many NI SMEs out of business and cause severe damage to its already underperforming economy.

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    2. Is it not theoretically possible (if doubtful) that the Common Travel Area could remain in place even if the UK leaves the EU? After all, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are outside the EU but inside the Common Travel Area?

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    3. When Sweden joined the EU in 1995 there was a bit of an outcry, especially in the British press, that several border crossing points with Norway were only manned by Norwegian officials. Effectively the claim was that entry to the EU was being controlled by the officials of a non-member state. Functionally nothing at all changed from the status quo of the Nordic Passport Union which had been effective from 1958.

      Of course times change and there are new challenges to freedom of movement within and into the EU but, in principal, a continuation of the Common Travel Area in some form would seem to be not too illogical from most points of view. Furthermore, the UK would probably aspire to EFTA and consequently EEA membership anyway.

      It could be argued that the terms of future of freedom of movement across the internal Irish border could come down to attitudes that present themselves in the the actual referendum campaign. How will the DUP align themselves? There seems to be uncertainty on that issue but Sammy Wilson and Nigel Farage have cozied up in recent months so let’s see. The UUP is traditionally eurosceptic as well and they are keeping their options well and truly open until the terms of Cameron’s “deal” are known.

      There’s a lot of water remaining to flow under this and many other bridges but we can be sure that, with it being Ireland, the seemingly logical and obvious path will be that least likely to be trodden.

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    4. "with it being Ireland, the seemingly logical and obvious path will be that least likely to be trodden" Shove your anti-Irish bigotry up your arse pal.

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  2. If the present Government in Westminster stuffs any more cash into that money-absorbing sponge across the Irish Sea,Osborne can watch his National deficit go through the roof.

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    1. Nothing wrong with a little pooling and sharing. It's the British way!

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  3. Everything above is moot. The owners of the UK will never allow Cameron to get anywhere near a referendum, if there is the slightest chance of an "out" vote. Cameron will come back from Europe, waving his "peace in our time treaty" like his predecessor from the thirties, and the MSM shitstorm of praise will start. If this doesn't move the polls far enough into the "in" safe zone, then some form of excuse for kicking the referendum into the long grass will be concocted. Or has my cynicism finally bottomed out? :)

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    1. Short of a major war or other national emergency, how is he going to get out of a referendum? It's already been legislated for.

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    2. It's been legislated for, but it's enabling legislation, and isn't it interesting that they haven't announced the date yet? I'm not going to do a "Paddy Ashdown", but if the MSM shitstorm doesn't work, and the polls are "hovering", then "National Emergency" it is. We are talking about a TORY PM here, folks - they don't "do" shame....

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    3. I thought we were already involved in a major war?

      Only involved by 6(?) planes, but it's a very major war.

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    4. "The referendum

      (1)A referendum is to be held on whether the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union.

      (2)The Secretary of State must, by regulations, appoint the day on which the referendum is to be held.

      (3)The day appointed under subsection (2)—

      (a)must be no later than 31 December 2017,

      (b)must not be 5 May 2016, and

      (c)must not be 4 May 2017."


      Doesn't seem to leave much of an escape route - the Act would have to be repealed to avoid a referendum.

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  4. With regards to backing out, whilst I am sure that precedents exist, the reality is that not holding a referendum now would result in a major, temporary, tory split. This is particularly the case because it is a case of when and not if one happens. The impact of having out because of, say, a failure in Cameron's negotiations, will only lead to a further clamour to have a vote. This could be caused by right wingers and sceptics shifting to ukip. In effect, the man is backed into a corner and it is this which will be hus defining moment and legacy. So its time to start taking genuine bets on the tory leader who will preside over indyref2, coz it won't be our dave.....unless he wins and conditions are ripe before 2020.

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  5. I'm sure Glasgow Working Class will have all the answers.

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    1. He'll blame it on the "Nat sis" as usual

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    2. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 27, 2015 at 11:04 PM

      The Nat sis are so incompetant that there is no blame. The English are tae blame fur everything. Even in an independent Scotland England will be tae blame for Nat si incompetence. Such is nationalism. The English are tae blame for Scottish foodbanks. A mean dae ye expect us Jokes tae put our hauns in oor pockets tae help oor ain. Naw they English owe us says Anonymous peeling an orange in his pocket.

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    3. It's "incompetent".

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    4. I'll second that ;-)

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    5. It's a UKIP thing. Polling shows that UKIP voters in Scotland dislike English people the most. English Times (panelbase July 2015) found they look unfavourably on the English around twice as much as voters of other parties.

      I've always found that odd given they profess to love the UK, but there you go.

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    6. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 28, 2015 at 5:31 PM

      Thank goodness fur spell checkers. So you agree with my comment.

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    7. I thought Keaton was referring to you, fool. By the way, the Labour man wants you to take his dinner jacket to the dry cleaners. He spilt subsidised champagne down it again.

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    8. "He'll blame it on the "Nat sis" as usual"

      So sad that he has such a difficult relationship with his sister.

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    9. Actually, I always though GWC had a very easy relationship with his sister. A very, very easy relationship...

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  6. looks like Cameron's legacy could be as

    The bumbling fool who painted himself into corner and ended up hoist on his own EU petard.

    The man who ended the United Kingdom

    The man who created an England based on the Spivland of the City.

    God help the Welsh if they don't get their act together quickly.

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  7. I have always thought that London's trading pre-eminence was based on its geographic proximity to the continent of Europe.
    If England votes to leave, then watch EU trade barriers rise up against London's financial interests.
    There seems to be a belief that London/England/UK can exist as a kind of western Hong Kong or Singapore. This is dangerous nonsense.

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  8. I do not think we will be allowed to know whether Scotland votes in or out of the EU. This will be considered a UK wide vote and therefore Scotlands voice will not be considered independently of the UK.
    Anyway basing a possible 2nd indy ref on the outcome of the EU ref is in my opinion pathetic. Westminster will sit back and laugh if thats all we have
    wullie

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    1. Erm, how on earth could you hold an EUref in Scotland and not know how Scotland voted. The results are to be counted in Scotland as they are for every vote. You can only hold any sort of vote in Scotland with the permission of the Scottish government / local authorities. Unless you sent up tanks or something and then people could e.g. not vote, nullifying the result due to too low a turnout.

      Westminster can laugh all it wants. As per the above, there is nothing to stop Scotland holding another iref, again short of Westminster sending in tanks.

      Anyway, the Tories have already made clear an 'out' vote by the rUK could lead to another Scottish iref and breakup of the UK. This message will be repeated over and over again during the EUref campaign, just to make sure everyone understands it / there is no doubt the Scottish government can hold another iref under these circumstances. Will be an integral part of the English pro-EU project fear. After all, those most supportive of leaving the EU are also often the most solidly British / pro-UK. Hence it's too good a weapon for the pro-EU camp not to use, even though it helps the SNP should the rUK actually vote to leave the EU.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35165720

      EU exit could lead to break up of UK, says Lord Hague

      n Mr Hague's article he warned that if the UK did vote to leave the EU he believed Scottish nationalists would "jump at the chance" to re-open the independence debate, and "the result of it could well be too close to call"

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    2. Scottish Skier
      Thank you for the above info. I had always presumed that Westminster held all the cards and could do as it liked.
      Wullie

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    3. No, Westminster holds all the tanks.

      Other than that, they only have control because people believe that they have control.

      They also know bloody well that if they try to refuse to let Holyrood hold another referendum, then that will flip a lot of the soft 'no's over to hardline yes, and they'd have a potential repeat of the Irish Troubles on their hands, except that we'd have their nuclear base, all their nukes, and all their oil in our land.

      A rebellious Scotland, with all their nukes? They'll negotiate long before they let that happen. Or they'll move Faslane down into England somewhere, so win-win for us.

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    4. If there's to be no indyref2 until YES is strong favourite to win,I think the London government will enter negotiations before a referendum is ever held.

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  9. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 27, 2015 at 10:49 PM

    I think too many off you have been watching River City. It is only fiction, honest. The Scots will only vote Yes when they have credible people with honest proposals that can be trusted. Wee Kim Jung Eck strutting around Iran kissing Eye a tollie hug manays ring!.
    Are we going to sell whisky and mini skirts to Iran?

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  10. Welcome back GWC!!! Did the boozers close early?

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    1. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 28, 2015 at 1:08 AM

      I left the bozzer at 9 pm with a kerry oot fae ra wee snug. Just listening tae U tae oan ra telly.

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    2. Unintelligible as usual.Plus ca change

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  11. James, why don't you balance the topic and provide seven important things you think may happen if Britain opts to remain in Europe? Now that would be really interesting!

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  12. We will not know if Scotland votes to stay in as result will not be broken down by nation / region

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  13. As regards NI I think it matters not what happens with the EU referendum because a day will come when the demographics of NI are such that there will be a demand to join the rest of Ireland. Then it will either happen peacefully or we will be back to the "Troubles", but from the other side.

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  14. I have come late to this discussion but I was just thinking that things that will happen should Britain vote to stay in the EU should perhaps concern nationalists more. After all, this is the more likely outcome and will certainly put nationalists on the back foot as the door slams shut on the prospect of an early indy rerun. Majorities for the EU in rUK and Scotland would demonstrate similarity where the SNP has tried to push the idea of us being totally different from each other - and a pro EU majority in England would prevent their own right wing making the claim that it was only the celtic nations that kept them in.

    I expect big pro EU majorities in Scotland and Wales, a smaller but still sizeable pro EU majority in England. Northern Ireland is a different matter but is unlikely to affect the final outcome or attempt to make trouble from it.

    Happy New Year!

    Aldo

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