WHAT IF?

This is a guest article written by regular reader Scott Egner. He is asking the question what if the Brexit Referendum was organised and run just like the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum? It’s an eye opener! I am becoming more and more frustrated that the SNP see a section 30 as the only game inContinue reading "WHAT IF?"

WHAT IF?

This is a guest article written by regular reader Scott Egner. He is asking the question what if the Brexit Referendum was organised and run just like the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum? It’s an eye opener!

I am becoming more and more frustrated that the SNP see a section 30 as the only game in town. More infuriating was Nicola’s referral to a section 30 as a democratic gold standard, or the only legal route to Scottish independence. 

So I started thinking the other night, what would the Brexit referendum look like in the weeks leading up to the big day if it were conducted in a similar manner to Scotland’s independence campaign, with similar structures where the ‘players’ had similar influence on the vote. So here goes..

“With just a few weeks to go, what was looking like a dead cert for remain is now more in doubt as the grassroots leave campaign has gathered impetus. There is now a Tsunami of activity by the remain campaign. The regional offices in Birmingham and Manchester of Broadcasting giants France 24 and ZDF have run a series of interviews about manufacturing moving from England to Germany and other EU nations in the event of a leave vote with the loss of thousands of jobs.

Le Monde has a four page article about a number of European banks including Deutche Bank and BNP Paribas looking to ‘upsticks’ for Frankfurt or Amsterdam, and Dublin. Even with their extensive grassroots campaign the leave campaign complain of an ‘uneven playing field’ with broadcasting reserved to Brussels, and the apparent ‘bias’ of European broadcasters.

Two weeks to go. Astonishingly the polls are continuing to show an increase in the leave vote – now on 46%. There are some reports that scores of buses loaded with Dutch students have been spotted at Newcastle on their way to help bolster the remain campaign. It is thought they are likely to target the older population and warn them about the certainty of higher food prices after EU exit. 

Spain has written to it’s U.K. immigrants (who leave campaigners refer to as ‘ex-pats’) informing them that in the event of a leave vote they will have to apply for settled status and have no guarantee of being able to stay within the country. 
France 24 has reported that Universities across the U.K. have been informed that the end of free movement will likely end the student Erasmus programme. 

One week to go. A shock poll has revealed leave at 51%. An entourage of European MEPs have flown into London, Birmingham and Leeds. It is thought that all EU members have verbally agreed a new and improved set of EU ‘opt-outs’ for the U.K. Details of ‘Le Voeu’, have yet to be disseminated.

Breaking… Former prime minister John Major has an hour long interview with France 24 veteran anchor Jacqueline Oiseau. Major promises far reaching improvements in the UK’s relationship with the EU. The leave campaign insists that Mr Major holding no power in office is in no position to make any such guarantee. ‘Leave’ also complain about the interview being given ‘wall-to-wall’ coverage repeated in all the headlines throughout the day, giving remain an unfair advantage. Broadcasters insist that representatives from Leave were interviewed for comment at the time.

Two days to go. Australian, Canadian and Chinese trade officials interviewed by RAI insist that there will be no tariff-free trade deals with the U.K after brexit. Other countries are expected to follow suit. This is reported as a major blow to the leave campaign.

Eve of brexit vote. An official complaint has been made by ‘Leave’ regarding the ‘Le Voeu’. A leave spokesperson has insisted that this ‘charm offensive’ breaches the rules of purdah. The Brussels commission overseeing the electoral rules, ‘Bureau èlectoral’, has declined comment. Leave have also raised questions about the lack of any exit polling, but ‘Remain’ have accused leave campaigners of trying to promote conspiracy theories.

Referendum day. Polling stations are busy. RAI, France 24, ZDF beam in pictures from around the nation.

07.15 am June 24th. Leave accept defeat with a proportion of 46% of the vote. 
Michel Barnier surrounded by the U.K. based remain leadership announce ‘Egalite’ – an ‘all nations equal’ approach which also alters relationship between the U.K. and the EU. But it is not the relationship many thought. ‘Egalite’ is a ‘levelling up’ programme aimed at treating all EU nations the same and signals the end of the UK’s ‘opt-outs’.

In the days subsequent to the vote it is revealed that 90% of EU nationals (approximately 4 million people) vote to remain in the EU. The inclusion of EU nationals was part of the Brussels agreement. Leave are now calling for another referendum to be held outwith the Brussels agreement but many politicians (including many of those who campaigned for Leave) are dismissing such actions as ‘wildcat’ or ‘illegal’.”
(End)

It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Yet this is what Scots endured throughout the campaign for independence culminating in the 2014 referendum. Would our English friends put up with such an arrangement? I’m pretty sure they would not, yet we seem to be so conditioned that we thought this was not only normal, but actually superior to similar votes elsewhere. 

It wasn’t until I took a step back that I realised how spectacularly ‘loaded’ that campaign had been. It reminds me of the football match in the movie ‘Escape To Victory’, where the Allied prisoners take on the German national team. Such is the ‘officiating’ of that match, it is never a game the allies are going to win. Similarly, London will never sign up to a future referendum unless their victory is assured. A section 30 and a repeat of the 2014 arrangement is an affront to Scotland.

MY COMMENT

My thanks to Scott for this interesting article. It is so obvious when you see it laid out like this just how absurd and imbalanced the “rules” were organised in 2014. Alarmingly the SNP Leadership seem to have learned nothing and are clamouring for an unchanged franchise despite the huge influx that has taken place from the rest of the UK into Scotland since 2014. We should be resisting another referendum unless we can bring the franchise into line with how constitutional matters are dealt with in the rest of Europe or in line with UN best practice for dealing with referenda as part of the decolonisation process for indigenous peoples.

I am, as always

YOURS FOR SCOTLAND.

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