With Second Scottish Referendum, European Union Links to Trade May be Important Battleground
Scottish Former First Minister Alex Salmond predicted that “the key argument I see coming in this referendum, if that’s what happens, in terms of economics is going to be what secures Scotland’s trade, our access to markets.
“I think independence has a winning argument on that framework and I expect to see it expertly deployed by Nicola Sturgeon, Salmond said.” Sturgeon is the present first minister.
Scotland’s trade links with the European Union (EU) could be a “key battleground” in a second independence referendum, Salmond had predicted.
The National Party (NP) Member of Parliament (MP) insisted that leaving the UK would allow Scotland to have “access to trade and access to markets,” adding that this could be a “winning argument” if there is another vote on independence.
By a 55% to 45% voting result of a referendum held in September 2014, Scots decided to stay part of the United Kingdom (UK).
But because of the outcome of the 2016 referendum on membership of the EU in which Scots voted to stay in while the UK expressed determination to leave, just leaves the future structure of the Union in doubt, going forward.
Sturgeon informed voters in a matter of hours following the results of the Brexit vote, that another vote concerning independence was “highly likely.”
Despite her administration’s putting forth “compromise proposals” in hopes of keeping Scotland in the individual market, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has made it clear that she plans to leave the EU.
Salmond said if May does not accept the answer(s) being avowed by his successor, “then we will know that they (the UK Government) are not interested in the voice of Scotland and as Nicola Sturgeon has said it is very likely there will be another independence referendum.”
The scheduled vote “would be the autumn of next year,” he added, indicating a second referendum may be held within four years of the 2014 ballot.
During an interview on the British Broadcasting Company Politics Scotland programme recently, the former SNP leader said, “The key battleground in terms of economics of any future independence referendum is not going to be like last time the currency, but is going to be trade and access to trade and access to markets, because that is what the UK Government is jeopardising and that is what an independent Scotland could secure.”
The SNP’s official position is for the Scots to have an independent membership of the EU, a Scotland Government newspaper, in December 2016, proposed retention of membership in the market, even if the remainder of the UK goes against it.
Salmond said, “The key matter, as was enunciated in the compromise proposal, in terms of protecting the Scottish economy, saving Scottish jobs and saving Scottish investment is for continued, uninterrupted membership of the European Economic Area. That could be secured by the membership of the European Union, but there are other ways to secure it as well.
“So the SNP’s position will be for Scotland as an independent member of the European Union, but the key negotiating priority, as Nicola Sturgeon has outlined in her proposal to the UK Government is to stay within that European Economic Area.”
If there were to be another referendum, Salmond said he was “very confident that the progress we’re seeing in support for independence can continue if the campaign is pitched in the right way”.
He ended, “I don’t share the view that the (previous Yes) campaign was a failure – we didn’t win the vote, but we put on 15% for the Yes vote during the campaign. If we put on another 15% the result would be overwhelming.”
According to James Kelly, the Labour Party business manager, “It’s a case of Alex in wonderland if the SNP think they can try and convince Scots that the pound in their pocket doesn’t matter.
“Alex Salmond’s approach on currency is to ignore and hope nobody notices. It won’t wash.
“His failure to answer the most basic questions on currency was one of the key reasons he lost the referendum in 2014. Two and bit years on he still has no answers.
“Scotland is divided enough, the SNP should rule out another divisive independence referendum and focus on improving our schools and hospitals. Labour believes that together we’re stronger, and that is why we oppose a second independence referendum, Kelly concluded.”