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What's the best way of doing an independence referendum?

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peters

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There was a report on the news the other night where they spoke to one farmer on the English side of the Scottish border and another on the Scottish side and one thing the English farmer stressed was that people like him could be affected significantly if Scotland becomes independent but wouldn't get to vote in any independence referendum. If there was a Welsh independence referendum even more people would be affected who wouldn't get a vote, due to the longer land border with England.

Elsewhere in Europe there's been illegal independence referendums - Catalonia and Crimea. In the case of the latter it was reported Ukrainian law prevented an independence referendum unless all of Ukraine got to vote. That would solve the problem of people living the wrong side of the border, who don't get to vote on a decision which affects them. However, it could mean people who aren't affect vote, in the case of Crimea, possibly some Ukrainians would have voted against Crimea getting independence in an official referendum because they are anti-Russian.

Is there a better way of doing referendums?
 
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HSTEd

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This problem is inherent in secessionist movements.

There isn't a way to escape this problem.

It's worth noting that at least one major democracy (the US) just flat out rules secession illegal. The union is perfect and eternal
 

adrock1976

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This is one of the various reasons I argue for progressive federalism for Great Britain, with all elections having a proportional representation voting system so as to avoid as much disenfranchisement as possible.

For England in particular, regional governments could be based on the former European Parliament constituencies, also with the former two tier local district (or met) councils and their respective county councils too.

Referendum questions/topics that affect the whole of the UK should only be revisited after a minimum of 20 years has passed ("Once in a lifetime" as was the case for the Scottish independence referendum in 2014).
 

Sad Sprinter

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There was a report on the news the other night where they spoke to one farmer on the English side of the Scottish border and another on the Scottish side and one thing the English farmer stressed was that people like him could be affected significantly if Scotland becomes independent but wouldn't get to vote in any independence referendum. If there was a Welsh independence referendum even more people would be affected who wouldn't get a vote, due to the longer land border with England.

Elsewhere in Europe there's been illegal independence referendums - Catalonia and Crimea. In the case of the latter it was reported Ukrainian law prevented an independence referendum unless all of Ukraine got to vote. That would solve the problem of people living the wrong side of the border, who don't get to vote on a decision which affects them. However, it could mean people who aren't affect vote, in the case of Crimea, possibly some Ukrainians would have voted against Crimea getting independence in an official referendum because they are anti-Russian.

Is there a better way of doing referendums?

I think independence referendums are gargantuan notions that are incredibly over-simplified.

I would say, if you have an independence movement in a democratic, Western nation, its roots would largely be from a cultural historical perspective that has always and will always be there, but likely come to the fore due to short term issues. Therefore, the best thing in my opinion to do before even considering holding a referendum, is to see if all reasonable accommodations could be given before a referendum. In Britain and Spain, the answer is undoubtedly a federal philosophy based on the United States I.e, “we are individual states with our own cultures, laws and traditions, but cede overall sovereignty for a ‘greater good’. This greater good is usually defence or economic clout, but the central government must be no more than a linchpin rather than the overall culture.

It would be more tricky in states, like Canada, Australia or America that are already federalised. So there I would say the State should treat the independence movement on a case by case basis on how it effects the rump state. For instance, Californian independence would gut the US of critical tech infrastructure and create a foreign country on its doorstep with massive cyber infrastructure. So In the big picture, perhaps it’s not worth Washington even entertaining a Californian independence movement. Quebec independence would split rump Canada in two which which is of no interest to any nation-state. In these situations, whilst constitutional reform would most likely be ineffective, perhaps a greater cultural emphasis might pacify the independence movement. If it does not, it’s probably best just to resist demands for a referendum into perpetuity. Because the euphoria of self-determination from the succeeded nation is offset by incredible and largely unnecessary uncertainty for the rump-nation.

Britain and Spain has more cards to play. Particularly Britain; constitutional reform, cultural celebration or economic balancing are all effective solutions against Scottish independence. I’d say, until all possible and reasonable steps to accommodate the succeeding country have been exhausted and Nationalist sentiment still hasn’t subsided, then a referendum shouldn’t be considered. Particularly in the social media age, where support for new and possibly unattractive (to the UK government), ideas like Scottish nationalism and the status-quo has a much harder chance to defend itself against a seemingly inexhaustible supply of emotive nationalist campaigning, support for succession movements (and Brexit) can increase to high levels in the absence of a radical solution from the status-quo.

So to answer your question, I don’t think there is a best way to approach holding an independence referendum and the government’s energy shouldn’t be focused on that question, but more so how to quell the independence movement instead.
 

yorksrob

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Yes, I would definitely agree with the "try federalism first" approach.
 

Berliner

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This problem is inherent in secessionist movements.

There isn't a way to escape this problem.

It's worth noting that at least one major democracy (the US) just flat out rules secession illegal. The union is perfect and eternal

People and circumstances change though, you can't keep people in a union they simply don't want to be in. If enough people form a perfectly legitimate movement to promote the idea of their territory being independent and that becomes a party and then a government and that government then continuously win elections then at some point you have to face the fact that what was once a "perfect and eternal union" may need looked at again.

The farmer on the English side of the border may be affected but then why should that matter when others have been so badly affected by something his industry so strongly supported? Why is it that because they are fine now and don't like change, that nothing should change? The fact is that things have changed in the UK and it is nothing like an equal union. The fact that the Scottish have realised this and want to do something about it or the fact the Welsh are increasingly becoming aware of this isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's only a bad thing of its ignored, belittled or tramped down upon, which, sadly, is all the UK government knows how to do these days. Refuse to engage and just let people who disagree get angry.

Referendums of this nature should only be asked to the territory which will is instigating it. Afterall the EU wasn't asked about brexit, ever. The precedent in the UK was firmly set with that one and there is no turning back or changing the goal posts now.
 

HSTEd

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People and circumstances change though, you can't keep people in a union they simply don't want to be in. If enough people form a perfectly legitimate movement to promote the idea of their territory being independent and that becomes a party and then a government and that government then continuously win elections then at some point you have to face the fact that what was once a "perfect and eternal union" may need looked at again.
The accepted US constitutional response to this is total war against the secessionists.

In Spain the response is to send in the riot police.

I am not aware of a single major state in the world that allows subunits secession-on-demand.
Indeed even the nominal confederations in Canada and Switzerland do not permit it.
 
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peters

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The farmer on the English side of the border may be affected but then why should that matter when others have been so badly affected by something his industry so strongly supported?

In the case of the person the news reporter spoke to, he was a farmer but if Wales became independent and a hard border was created then restricting movement between Deeside and Cheshire alone would affect financial services, food production, mechanical engineering, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and many more. The reason I'm talking about the Welsh border is because I don't live that far from it so I'm familiar with the businesses operating on both sides of the border, whereas with the Scottish border I'm not so familiar with the businesses on either side.

Referendums of this nature should only be asked to the territory which will is instigating it. Afterall the EU wasn't asked about brexit, ever. The precedent in the UK was firmly set with that one and there is no turning back or changing the goal posts now.

EU members had agreed to article 50 specifying how a member country could go about leaving the EU. As far as I'm aware the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish politicians have not agreed to an act which specifies how the country of the United Kingdom can be broken up. In fact it's been well reported that a Scotland wide referendum on independence can't be held unless Westminster passes an act permitting it, never mind Scotland actually being a separate independent country.
 

Butts

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The accepted US constitutional response to this is total war against the secessionists.

In Spain the response is to send in the riot police.

I am not aware of a single major state in the world that allows subunits secession-on-demand.
Indeed even the nominal confederations in Canada and Switzerland do not permit it.

The big difference between the examples that you quote are the fact that Scotland was a Sovereign State long before any of them existed, centuries in fact.

It entered into a voluntary Union with England in 1707 after copious amounts of gold wound their way North into the pockets of those entrusted with it's acquiescence to such a proposal - The Scottish Parliament (Nobility).

If they wish to withdraw then surely that is their prerogative through some democratic mechanism that appropriately endorses this.
 

yorksrob

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The big difference between the examples that you quote are the fact that Scotland was a Sovereign State long before any of them existed, centuries in fact.

It entered into a voluntary Union with England in 1707 after copious amounts of gold wound their way North into the pockets of those entrusted with it's acquiescence to such a proposal - The Scottish Parliament (Nobility).

If they wish to withdraw then surely that is their prerogative through some democratic mechanism that appropriately endorses this.

I feel it necessary to point out that Texas was also an independant state that voluntarily joined it's Union !
 

HSTEd

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The big difference between the examples that you quote are the fact that Scotland was a Sovereign State long before any of them existed, centuries in fact.
And ceased to exist long before them.

It entered into a voluntary Union with England in 1707 after copious amounts of gold wound their way North into the pockets of those entrusted with it's acquiescence to such a proposal - The Scottish Parliament (Nobility).
And the thirteen colonies, Texas and California all voluntarily entered a permanent union, because in the case of the first thirteen the ruling class didn't want to pay taxes to contribute towards defending them.

If they wish to withdraw then surely that is their prerogative through some democratic mechanism that appropriately endorses this.
The precedent set by other states, and by the progression to independence of the Dominions, is that the appropriate democratic mechanism would be a majority in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.
 

chorleyjeff

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The big difference between the examples that you quote are the fact that Scotland was a Sovereign State long before any of them existed, centuries in fact.

It entered into a voluntary Union with England in 1707 after copious amounts of gold wound their way North into the pockets of those entrusted with it's acquiescence to such a proposal - The Scottish Parliament (Nobility).

If they wish to withdraw then surely that is their prerogative through some democratic mechanism that appropriately endorses this.
The gold was needed because Scotland was bankrupt. Why else join England and Wales ?The Scottish Govt. simply made a bad atempt at empire building and suffered the consequences.
From an English perspective I can see only positives if Scotland leaves us - we will still trade and visit - but possibly having a failed state next door would be a problem.
 

peters

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From an English perspective I can see only positives if Scotland leaves us - we will still trade and visit - but possibly having a failed state next door would be a problem.

It seems the Northern Irish border can be beneficial to those who live in the parts of Ulster that are in the republic, given how much the value of the British pound has fallen in relation to the Euro over recent years. They can get paid in Euros and then drive across do their shopping in Sainsburys, pay in pounds and make a big saving over what they would pay in the republic supermarkets in Euros.
 

GusB

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Well, it certainly didn't take very long before the nastiness began to seep out! :rolleyes:
 

Journeyman

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I am not aware of a single major state in the world that allows subunits secession-on-demand.
Indeed even the nominal confederations in Canada and Switzerland do not permit it.
Supposedly the constitution of the Soviet Union allowed secession of component republics, but of course once a formerly sovereign state joined up, its government became 100% communist, and 100% subservient to Moscow, so good luck trying to get out...it only happened, of course, when communism collapsed.
 

Berliner

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The accepted US constitutional response to this is total war against the secessionists.

In Spain the response is to send in the riot police.

I am not aware of a single major state in the world that allows subunits secession-on-demand.
Indeed even the nominal confederations in Canada and Switzerland do not permit it.

It has not yet been tried or tested in the US, but just saying that's the rules won't really cut it when it comes to enough people wanting to democratically vote to change their circumstances. The USA is literally made up of people who have left other countries at various points throughout history because they were unhappy with their own government, the country was founded on that very basis. If the USA was to become a place where various parts wanted to leave it would be somewhat un-American to deny them the chance to even attempt it through the ballot box. For the record, I personally doubt any states would seriously go for independence anyway as they enjoy a huge amount of self-governance and can vary their laws quite considerably even from county to county, the individuality and a large amount of sovereignty they enjoy keeps any serious attempts at bay. The same can be said for Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia too. They have developed in a way which the UK hasn't, so you don't see any massive support for, say, independence for New South Wales or Saxony-Anhalt in the same way you get serious parties proposing Welsh or Scottish independence.

The Spanish response was abhorrent and completely incompatible with modern-day democratic practices in what is supposed to be a first-world country. Let's not forget the rules forbidding regions leaving Spain date back to a time when it was a dictatorship.

The main point is you can't force people to be a part of something they no longer feel comfortable being part of, you cannot keep telling them they must remain as they are and that they cannot even vote on changing their minds. If territories want to go it alone and they have the support of their people then no other country should have the right to stop them, including the one they wish to depart from, in most cases the refusal to allow such movements is in itself the reason for such movements existence. The world would probably be a much better place if people were governed by those who identify with them most. Large countries which try to centralise too much power to the point where the biggest part of it runs the show don't usually end well. See Yugoslavia, the USSR, or indeed the various Empires which have fallen around the world.
 

HSTEd

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It has not yet been tried or tested in the US, but just saying that's the rules won't really cut it when it comes to enough people wanting to democratically vote to change their circumstances. The USA is literally made up of people who have left other countries at various points throughout history because they were unhappy with their own government, the country was founded on that very basis. If the USA was to become a place where various parts wanted to leave it would be somewhat un-American to deny them the chance to even attempt it through the ballot box.
The entire American Civil War was the federal government stopping the southern states from seceding by force!

Indeed Maryland would have seceded, except it had already been flooded with troops loyal to the Union government.

They have developed in a way which the UK hasn't, so you don't see any massive support for, say, independence for New South Wales or Saxony-Anhalt in the same way you get serious parties proposing Welsh or Scottish independence.

You are aware of the whole Quebec sovereigntist/independence saga in Canada right?

There is no settled opinion in Scotland for independence, what we have is a devolved administration demanding vote after vote in the hopes that differential turnout or the vagaries of the campaign will deliver them a result they can use to achieve their goal.
They will never stop demanding votes, and because a large and well motivated minority exists, they will continue to win elections due to the vagaries of the electoral system.
 

peters

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Quebec independence would split rump Canada in two which which is of no interest to any nation-state.

It's claimed Queen Victoria rejected the originally proposed options for capital of Canada in favour of Bytown (on condition the name reverted to Ottawa instead of taking the name of a British Lieutenant) in order to name a capital that was close to the boundary of what was Upper and Lower Canada.

Having been to Ottawa I found it a bit like Manchester in one respect, in that you can walk across the river and be somewhere different with it's own identity (Gatineau in Quebec.) The difference being Ottawa's very bilingual and Gatineau is French speaking, the street signs switch to French only as soon as you cross the river.

Having also been to Quebec City I found many of the locals saw it as their capital city.

Large countries which try to centralise too much power to the point where the biggest part of it runs the show don't usually end well. See Yugoslavia, the USSR, or indeed the various Empires which have fallen around the world.

What I found surprising about that was one of the reasons for the Croats being hated by other groups in the 90s Balkans conflicts was supposedly because they supported the Germans in WWII and decided to wait 45 years to express their anger!

Yugoslavia was a strange country, it was like trying to form one unified country with Austrians, Italians, Bulgarians, Turks and Greeks and expecting it to work.
 

Ediswan

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Yugoslavia was a strange country, it was like trying to form one unified country with Austrians, Italians, Bulgarians, Turks and Greeks and expecting it to work.
The way I heard it (before it all fell apart) was that Tito knew it was the least worst option and he could only delay the inevitable.
 

HSTEd

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Turns out ordering people to pretend to love their neighbour only works so long as the person doing the ordering is around
 

DynamicSpirit

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There was a report on the news the other night where they spoke to one farmer on the English side of the Scottish border and another on the Scottish side and one thing the English farmer stressed was that people like him could be affected significantly if Scotland becomes independent but wouldn't get to vote in any independence referendum. If there was a Welsh independence referendum even more people would be affected who wouldn't get a vote, due to the longer land border with England.

I don't really see how that's a problem in democratic terms, even though it's unfortunate for the farmer concerned. Relationships like a region being part of a country only work as long as both sides are happy with the relationship. If the people of Scotland decide they want independence then that's it.

As an analogy, if you decide to quit your job, then depending what job you do, that may well inconvenience your immediate work colleagues and perhaps your employer. But I suspect that if someone suggested that your colleagues should get votes to decide whether you should be allowed to leave your job, you'd probably not take the suggestion very kindly. Same principle with independence.

What is a problem with the situation at the moment is that Scotland had a referendum not so long ago, and the people of Scotland voted against Independence. That appears to be not good enough for the SNP who have been demanding another referendum almost ever since then. How is this going to work? Do we keep having referenda over and over again until 50.0001% of the people who voted vote for independence, at which point the SNP declare the matter settled for all time and promptly (and irreversibly) declare independence? It should be obvious that that's not a level playing field. If we are going to decide the question through a referendum (which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do), then you need a set of rules that only settles the matter if it's clear that there is a very clear and permanent majority one way or the other - you can't settle it while the population is split almost 50-50.

Of course none of that helps the English farmer you're concerned about :)
 
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Journeyman

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The SNP were convinced support for independence would go through the roof after Brexit, and I think it's come as a disappointment and shock to them that it's barely shifted - if anything, it's dropped recently.

This leaves us at a stalemate, which is an absolute disaster. Both sides are at 50ish percent, which means the SNP can't risk holding a referendum yet, but need to keep promising one to keep the faithful on-side.

It's a disaster and it's holding Scotland back seriously badly. People are being massively divided and wound up by it, and it has to stop.
 

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Although I agree that the 2014 referendum should have put the matter to sleep for a generation, Brexit changed that. My opinion (as a non-Scot) is that what the Scots voted to retain in 2014 was very different to what they have now and it is reasonable to pose the question again. One would hope that the lessons of previous referendums will have been learned, and the pros and cons clearly laid out. If the result is Remain, then that should be it for another generation, barring a second seismic shift.

A second reason is that the Conservative party seems to be turning into an English National Party with little interest in anything in the three other constituents of the United Kingdom. The worry may be that Labour will imitate them, albeit not so drastically, in order to win back votes in its former heartlands.
 

JonathanH

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If the result is Remain, then that should be it for another generation, barring a second seismic shift.
The idea that the SNP will accept no further vote for a generation is fantasy.

There will continue to be a majority for independence at Holyrood after each set of elections and the primary policy in the manifesto will continue to be independence above all else.

Is there any avenue by which Scotland could simply declare independence rather than having to go through the process of a referendum?
 

JamesT

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The idea that the SNP will accept no further vote for a generation is fantasy.

There will continue to be a majority for independence at Holyrood after each set of elections and the primary policy in the manifesto will continue to be independence above all else.

Is there any avenue by which Scotland could simply declare independence rather than having to go through the process of a referendum?

Of course the thing about general elections is that they’re general, not about a specific issue. People vote for parties for many reasons. Although the SNP may have independence as their priority in their manifesto, that doesn’t automatically follow that all their votes are therefore independence supporters. A referendum is currently seen as the best way to get an accurate answer as to the population’s view on a particular issue of importance.

There are certainly some in the independence movement that consider the SNP to have been institutionalised, they’re more interested in governing than moving on to independence.

Yes, the SNP could try to unilaterally declare independence. The example of Catalonia trying it was they had their parliament pass a resolution declaring it. But as we saw from that, no country recognised Catalonia as existing as an independent state and there were repercussions for breaking the rules of the Spanish constitution.

Constitutional matters are reserved to Westminster per the act setting up the Scottish Parliament, so the decision is theirs. The previous referendum had UK legislation to put it on a legal footing. I don’t believe anyone has yet managed to make a legal challenge as to whether that would be required for another go, or you’re back to UDI with all the problems that causes.
 

HSTEd

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The SNP were convinced support for independence would go through the roof after Brexit, and I think it's come as a disappointment and shock to them that it's barely shifted - if anything, it's dropped recently.
If anything, Brexit makes independence considerably less attractive.

A lot of the 2014 "prospectus", such as it was, was based on the idea that they just had to get into the EU and then everything could carry on as it was.

Now it is obvious that it will be a hard border with England with all the things that implies.

Also a lot of the youth vote worships the EU, as the youth vote does in the UK.
Although a lot of them are barely able to actually articulate what about it they love so much.

Hence Nicola's insistence on adopting NI style fleg policies.

They are rather shocked that not everyone else feels the same
This leaves us at a stalemate, which is an absolute disaster. Both sides are at 50ish percent, which means the SNP can't risk holding a referendum yet, but need to keep promising one to keep the faithful on-side.
Ultimately a stalemate benefits the unionists.

There is no chance of legislation for a referendum being even drafted before 2024 (and that assumes Starmer wins and then throws Sarwar under the bus).
Most likely no referendum date set before 2025, and no vote until 2026.

5 years from now!

If Boris wins again, or Starmer doesn't throw Sarwar under the bus, it will be 2031 at the earliest.

The SNP might be able to cling onto power that long, ANC style, but if frustration at the SNP being unable to deliver a referendum leads them to lose the SNP+Green Majority in 2026 Scottish elections, then the whole thing is finished because the unionists will never support an SNP budget and will form a Tory-Labour-LD grand coalition if necessary to kill off Sturgeon's premiership.
If they lose power the SNP will inevitably tear itself to pieces.

Meanwhile, in the long run - before Brexit/Covid, the Scottish population was predicted to peak in 2043.
Models with 50% reduction of EU immigration bring the peak forward to 2033 pre-covid, with zero EU immigration (as an edge case), it's 2028.

By the time of the next referendum, it is entirely possible Scotland will be staring down the barrel of the demographic timebomb.

The electorate will be dominated by older people who will be more concerned with a stable retirement, and english immigrants who are far less likely to wish to sever the union.
They will be little interested in the Scottish young persons dream of recovering some imagined halcyon period of EU membership at the cost of the union
 
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GusB

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If anything, Brexit makes independence considerably less attractive.

A lot of the 2014 "prospectus", such as it was, was based on the idea that they just had to get into the EU and then everything could carry on as it was.

Now it is obvious that it will be a hard border with England with all the things that implies.

Also a lot of the youth vote worships the EU, as the youth vote does in the UK.
Although a lot of them are barely able to actually articulate what about it they love so much.

Hence Nicola's insistence on adopting NI style fleg policies.

They are rather shocked that not everyone else feels the same

Ultimately a stalemate benefits the unionists.

There is no chance of legislation for a referendum being even drafted before 2024 (and that assumes Starmer wins and then throws Sarwar under the bus).
Most likely no referendum date set before 2025, and no vote until 2026.

5 years from now!

If Boris wins again, or Starmer doesn't throw Sarwar under the bus, it will be 2031 at the earliest.

The SNP might be able to cling onto power that long, ANC style, but if frustration at the SNP being unable to deliver a referendum leads them to lose the SNP+Green Majority in 2026 Scottish elections, then the whole thing is finished because the unionists will never support an SNP budget and will form a Tory-Labour-LD grand coalition if necessary to kill off Sturgeon's premiership.
If they lose power the SNP will inevitably tear itself to pieces.

Meanwhile, in the long run - before Brexit/Covid, the Scottish population was predicted to peak in 2043.
Models with 50% reduction of EU immigration bring the peak forward to 2033 pre-covid, with zero EU immigration (as an edge case), it's 2028.

By the time of the next referendum, it is entirely possible Scotland will be staring down the barrel of the demographic timebomb.

The electorate will be dominated by older people who will be more concerned with a stable retirement, and english immigrants who are far less likely to wish to sever the union.
They will be little interested in the Scottish young persons dream of recovering some imagined halcyon period of EU membership at the cost of the union
*Yawn*

Absolute nonsense.
 

peters

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I don't really see how that's a problem in democratic terms, even though it's unfortunate for the farmer concerned. Relationships like a region being part of a country only work as long as both sides are happy with the relationship. If the people of Scotland decide they want independence then that's it.

As an analogy, if you decide to quit your job, then depending what job you do, that may well inconvenience your immediate work colleagues and perhaps your employer. But I suspect that if someone suggested that your colleagues should get votes to decide whether you should be allowed to leave your job, you'd probably not take the suggestion very kindly. Same principle with independence.

Firstly, for a job when you start you sign a contract which specifies the terms which either party can end the arrangement. Did Scotland sign an agreement like that when it joined the UK?

Secondly, if the business position is the same as when you joined it's likely the business will recruit a direct replacement for you if you resign. OK you might finish on 31st May and the replacement may not start until 16th June but long term the business won't be worse off by you leaving. Will the UK be able to recruit a suitable replacement for Scotland? Will we invite Denmark to take Scotland's place?

Thirdly, a referendum is advisory, politicians don't have to implement the winning result. If you resign and your employer refuses to let you leave then they would be breaking the law. Also following your resignation your employer might make an improved offer in an attempt to get you to stay, if Scotland voted to leave and Westminster then proposed more devolution would be possible while remaining in the UK, would the Scottish people get to vote on the 'improved offer'?

Let's face it, your analogy doesn't work.

Where your analogy would work is for the Scottish people currently resident in England, Wales or Northern Ireland who plan to move back to Scotland at some point. In that case you can say it's similar to not getting a say on a change of contract at your employer because you left and if you rejoin then you need to accept the new contract.

A few thoughts for you to ponder:
- There's need to be agreements in place between Scotland and the rest of the UK if Scotland leaves the UK. For instance, how will electricity supply work? If these changes positively or negatively affect people in the UK shouldn't they get to vote on it?
- Bosnia & Herzegovina is one country consisting of two former regions of Yugoslavia. If Bosnia voted for independence then is it Bosnia that's getting independence or Herzegovina or both? If it's both shouldn't both get to vote?
- If the UK invited Northern Ireland to vote on leaving the UK to instead join the Republic of Ireland and leave won, the result of that referendum could not then legally be implemented unless the Republic of Ireland agreed to it. In the unlikely event that NI did vote to rejoin the republic and the republic says no then it would be impossible to deliver what was voted for. Hence, why the other party needs a say.

Of course none of that helps the English farmer you're concerned about

Like I said in an earlier post I'm not too familiar with the businesses operated on either side of the Scottish border and the farmer the news reporter spoke to was just one person. However, I'm sure many of the examples I gave for the Welsh/English border apply to the Scottish/English border as well.

It's almost like a significant proportion of the electorate keep voting them into government.

Are they always voting SNP because they are pro-independence or voting SNP because they agree with their policies on day to day issues like taxation? Personally I think the SNP have better policies on taxation than the Conservatives in Westminster.
 
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