Delaying the new independence referendum will help the Unionists

Delayed Departure
Delayed Departure.
There are two groups of people who want to postpone a new Scottish independence referendum till after Brexit: Yes–Leave voters and Unionists.

Many Yes–Leave voters (the Yellow Tribe, as I’ve described them in the past), such as Jim Sillars, want to postpone it because they hate the EU at least as much as the UK, and they hope Scottish EU membership can be averted by waiting till Scotland has fully left the EU together with the rest of the UK.

They might sing a siren song about needing more time to prepare a Yes majority, but when you dig a bit deeper, their main focus is clearly to prevent Scottish membership of the EU, and they dismiss any concerns that Independence Outwith Europe will attract much fewer voters than Independence In Europe

I’m finding it curious why they had no problems voting Yes last time, given that there clearly was an expectation that Scotland would apply for continued EU membership immediately. I guess they might have been hoping Project Fear were right that Spain would veto it.

It’s clear this group will do everything they can to delay the next independence referendum. What is less clear is whether they’ll actually vote No or abstain if it does happen sooner rather than later.

On the other hand, the Unionists clearly want to postpone the referendum because they think they will lose if there’s any prospect of uninterrupted EU membership for Scotland, but that their chances of keeping Scotland on board are much better once Brexit has happened. I tend to agree with them. It’ll be much easier to organise Project Fear II if Scotland has to spend years after independence re-harmonising its laws with the EU before membership becomes an option. Let’s face it – if Theresa May wants Indyref2 after Brexit, it’s not because she wants to help us

What is clear is that the two groups can’t both be right. Either holding Indyref2 after Brexit will increase the chances of a Yes, or it’ll do the opposite. My money would be on the Unionists here; after all, they just want to prevent Scotland from leaving, whereas the Yes–Leave crowd have two conflicting priorities: Obtaining independence and staying out of the EU.

We therefore have to dismiss the Leave–Yes plea for postponing next new independence referendum. Our best chance is to hold it before Brexit becomes a reality, for instance in the autumn of 2018.

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