Will a #Brexit trigger an #IndyRef2?

Fascinating as ever John Curtice looks at what polling says about Scottish attitudes towards Brexit, and much of it hinges on the SNP’s nationalist pro EU outlook…

…in Scotland, those wanting to remain substantially outnumber those who wish to leave.

Survation reported as many as 51 per cent said they would vote to remain, while just 29 per cent would opt to leave. More recently in a poll published last week, YouGov have reported almost identical figures; 51 per cent backed to remain while 31 per cent said leave.

There is one key reason why Scotland is more Europhile – its profoundly different pattern of party politics. Here, “standing up for Scotland” is an objective with which above all the SNP are associated. And nowadays at least the SNP both dominates the electoral scene and is strongly pro-European. South of the border, in contrast, nationalist sentiment is expressed most strongly by the anti-European Ukip.

These very different stances are reflected in the views of their supporters. According to Survation, 50 per cent of those who voted for the SNP in May want to remain in the EU, while 33 per cent say they will vote to leave. In contrast, Ukip supporters are almost unanimous in their wish to leave, with 83 per cent telling Survation that they wish to do so, and just 10 per cent wanting to remain.

But he concludes that if the bedrock of Scottish pro EU sentiment are Yes voters, they may find that the residual block of No voters would be even less susceptible to persuasion. It’s a long extrapolation, not least because since the Referendum many No voters appear to have switched to the SNP.

Perhaps more precisely having three major sovereignty shifting referendums in less than four years might prove a straw to break Scottish backs… Indeed, whilst the currency issue remains unresolved independence lacks a reliable bridge to take Scotland into what could be a very unstable future.


  • TruthToPower

    Unlike the Canadian federal system where provincial parliaments are co sovereign with the federal parliament, all devolved parliaments in the UK are subordinate to Westminster. Even if a law was passed that disallowed Westminster from abolishing a devolved parliament at will, such a law could just as easily be overturned at a later time. This is the inherent weakness of a lack of written constitution.

    Also despite the UK being quasi federal, EU membership is at national level. It is illogical to say that Scotland, if voting to remain in if the overall UK voted out, would then have a right to secede. Scotland is not sovereign and for this reason the EU referendum votes should not be counted in such a way that indicated regional preferences as such stats could be used by splitters to make merry rhetoric

  • Kevin Breslin

    The simple answer I feel is no, because England and UK isn’t as EU phobic as people may think it is and the Brexit will be stopped, no Brexit, nothing can be triggered by a Brexit,

    But let’s play with the hypotheticals on the constitutional question a Brexit would change the game but not the players. The same tribalism be it British nationalism, Scottish nationalism, Europhile, Europhobe will remain Brexit or no Brexit. Undoubtably Scottish nationalists would try to drive the Europeaness of Scotland as a means of advantage of seperation, while British nationalists may assume no more EU will mean everyone will conform to a single British direction.

    In reality the silent questioning middle holds all the power.

    If a Brexit causes European trade wars, job losses, European legislation enabled networks being closed because they weren’t considered legally British by those in Westminster, and xenophobia to rise in the UK, including attacking Scottish as foreigners and a Brexit becomes nothing more than an excuse for a Siege mentality, I could see the unity of the U.K. being difficult to maintain without one. Everything used to push Europe out would drive the passions of many alienated Scots to get out.

    If the UK becomes more like Norway and accepts the Europhiles accepts diversity of Scottish nationhood abandons the need for a Seige mentality against EU, Europeans and migrants and genuinely adopts internationalism , with all the necessary take and give, rather than seeking to appease narcissistic British nationalism of the ilk of UKIP and NI loyalists, it might hold some level of Scottish nationalism back from gaining from the questioning middle.

    A Brexit wouldn’t cause an IndyRef, but the rest of Britain’s reaction to one might. If a majority of Scots want independence or indeed are driven towards it, it will happen, referendum or no referendum.

  • Greenflag 2

    The Empire’s gone . The Chinese one rises and the USA’s in longer term stagnation and relative decline , The choice for Britons is between rule by the City or the EU . When even a City friendly politician like David Cameron is urging Britons to remain within the EU you just have to know that there may be worse options than remaining within than retreating to the white cliffs of Dover and Tunbridge Wells not to mention parts of the kingdom north of Potters Bar.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The Scottish Tories are certainly more pro-European than their English counterparts, as are the Northern Irish and Welsh ones. Ruth Davidson and Mark Brotherston are great examples of pro-EU Tories.