EU could deal big blow to Sturgeon: ‘Catalonia more welcome than Scotland’

Sturgeon: SNP has ‘very strong hand’ says expert

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Nicola Sturgeon’s recent pact with the Scottish Greens has led to heated debate in Scotland. The move from the Scottish First Minister comes as the SNP hope to cement their pro-independence majority and win the right to hold a second referendum. Douglas Ross, the Scottish Tory leader, tweeted: “Scotland will suffer from this nationalist coalition of chaos. The SNP-Green government will be anti-jobs, anti-business, anti-families, anti-drivers, anti-oil and gas.

“Nicola Sturgeon failed to win a majority, so she needs a hand to ramp up the division and push for IndyRef2.”

One of Ms Sturgeon’s key goals is to get Scotland back into the EU – she has argued since the UK voted to leave that Scotland’s 62 percent vote for Remain means the country is being dragged out of the bloc against its will.

But columnist for The National, Michael Fry, warned in February in an article titled “Why Catalonia might be more welcome in the EU than Scotland” – that Scotland could find itself behind Catalonia in the queue to join the EU.

This is because the region, where separatists are gunning for independence from Spain, has a strong economy and has embraced free-market capitalism – Mr Fry said.

While Mr Fry says Scotland also has a capitalist economy, he argued that the SNP’s enthusiasm for such a system isn’t as strong.

He added: “The First Minister is totally indifferent to commercial profit, and I suspect she thinks it is actually rather undesirable.

“Businesses that make profits are suspected not of producing things people want to buy at a price they want to pay, but of exploiting their workers and customers.

“We are obviously still a long way from any open discord, but once an independent Scotland sought to enter the EU these differences would have to emerge into the open.

“In the same position, the Catalans could easily come to terms with the existing member states. I wonder if it would be so easy for Scots, or indeed possible at all.”

In October 2017, Catalonia’s regional government held an unconstitutional referendum without permission from Madrid.

Organisers said 90 percent of voters backed a split but turnout was only 43 percent amid a boycott by unionists.

Some have feared that Ms Sturgeon could pursue a wildcat referendum if Westminster continues to turn down her demands.

She has previously said she would not take this route, but public law expert Professor Aileen McHarg told last year that a Catalonia-esque rogue referendum could backfire anyway.

She said: “Would there be a unionist boycott? [in the event of a unilaterally declared vote] I think this is quite likely.

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“There are a couple of precedents that could support that – in 1973 there was a border poll in Northern Ireland on reunification.

“That was boycotted by unionists in Northern Ireland, and there is also the Catalonian referendum in 2017 which was boycotted by pro-Spanish voters.

“How significant that becomes is a question of how high support for independence is. If it is floating at just around 50 percent then a unionist boycott is a significant undermining of its legitimacy.

“If however, support for independence is as high as 75 percent, then a boycott would be much less significant.”

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