Europe

Sturgeon taking Scotland on destructive path as country ‘considerably poorer’ outside UK

Nicola Sturgeon 'full of her own importance' says Muldoon

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The Scottish government will push for the “gold standard” set by the 2014 independence referendum process, Angus Robertson, Holyrood’s Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture, has said. He refused to comment on reports that Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is planning to announce a “softer” consultative referendum in an attempt to secure a vote without Westminster’s approval. Mr Robertson said: “I’m not going to be able to give you a sneak peek of that announcement, but what I would say is that the preferred route for everybody, given that we have precedent [in 2014], and it worked, [is a section 30 order granted by the UK government, transferring the necessary powers to Holyrood].

“If it was possible then, there’s no reason why it isn’t possible now. And it really is for those others who are seeking to block democracy to explain why that is.”

Ms Sturgeon wants to hold the vote in 2023, but many suggest she has already lost the independence argument.

Scots may be concerned by a report published in February 2021.

According to the analysis of trade by the London School of Economics (LSE), Scotland would be “considerably poorer” from a trading perspective as an independent country.

Co-author of the report, Hanwei Huang, said: “This analysis shows that, at least from a trade perspective, independence would leave Scotland considerably poorer than staying in the United Kingdom.”

The report added that independence would be a bigger hit to Scotland than Brexit was to the UK, and leaving both unions would cause an equivalent income loss of between £2,000 and £2,800 per person.

Even joining the EU would not do much to lessen the damage, the authors said,

Brexit and independence without rejoining the EU would reduce Scottish income per capita in the long run by about 6.5 per cent in an optimistic scenario and 8.7 percent in a pessimistic one.

The impact is due to Scotland’s trading ties with the UK, as the UK accounts for more than 60 percent of its imports and exports.

Co-author Thomas Sampson added: “We find that the costs of independence to the Scottish economy are likely to be two to three times greater than the costs of Brexit.

“Moreover, rejoining the EU following independence would do little to mitigate these costs.”

Despite the damning verdict of the report, Scottish economy secretary Fiona Hyslop defended the SNP’s independence plans at the time.

She said: “The study is also clear that it takes no account of any changes in migration policy, inward investment or any economic levers the Scottish government would have control of in an independent Scotland to do things better and boost the economy.

“It is still too early to calculate the long-term damage that Brexit will do to Scotland’s economy, but the disruption it is already causing is deeply concerning.”

A Cabinet Minister in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Government suggested last week that Ms Sturgeon may have to wait as long as 25 years for a referendum.

Mark Spencer, the Commons Leader, said he believed “once in a generation” — a phrase used by then-SNP leader Alex Salmond to refer to the 2014 vote — should mean a wait of approximately a quarter of a century.

He told MPs: “Once in a generation I think is certainly not five years, I think that would be closer to 25 years before it should be considered again.”

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Boris Johnson added that the Scottish people had already made up their minds in 2014. “I think the decision was taken by the Scottish people only a few years ago.

“I think we should respect that.

“I think we should also focus on what the people of the whole of the UK — Scotland, England, everybody — wants us to look at, which is the economic position we are in, the effect of Covid on the country and then the post-Covid issues that we’re grappling with.”

Last week, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross vowed to boycott a wildcat referendum.

He said: “This is not the priority for people across Scotland right now.

“There are far more pressing issues to deal with: coming out of Covid and the recovery of the country after that; dealing with unemployment; dealing with education issues; getting our NHS on better footing.

“That’s the priority people want politicians and the Chamber behind us to be focusing on and if Nicola Sturgeon would be so reckless and irresponsible to go ahead with an illegal wild card referendum then I wouldn’t support it and I would urge people to boycott it.”

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