It is no surprise to read that Theresa May is planning for the SNP to demand a second divisive “once in a lifetime” independence referendum.
If I were in her shoes, I’d prepare for the SNP’s demand by placing the onus on them to make the case for independence. I would start this at the forthcoming budget. As part of that process, I’d make it clear to the SNP that Scotland absolutely relies on £15 Billion of funding from the rest of the UK (£2500 per person per year), and ask that the SNP Government draws up a parallel budget to show how it would deal with losing that money.
Of course, independent countries can borrow money to feed their deficit. I’d ask the Scottish Government to speak to the international money markets in advance of any second referendum to see what terms they’d get. Given that Scotland has the biggest deficit in the EU, I would not expect particularly good news.
Having allowed the SNP to establish the extent of Scotland’s borrowing needs, I would then encourage them to conduct negotiations with the EU on our terms or re-joining. Even optimists predict that we’d be out of the EU & UK until 2023, but there is uncertainty about whether or not we’d have to accept the Euro and Schengen, or what level of payment we’d have to make to the EU.
All this would mean Scotland would be going to the ballot with its eyes wide open this time. How could the SNP oppose that? Oh, wait…