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EU Referendum Brexit Marketing Industry

Why voting Brexit will reduce the chances of Scotland exiting UK

By Gordon Young, Editor

June 10, 2016 | 4 min read

The EU referendum is now the talk of the industry steamie – it is impossible to avoid the topic at functions and dos. So apologies if you are bored with the subject but I am motivated to write about one Remain argument that really seems to have resonated: a vote for Brexit, many tell me, will inevitably lead to Scotland leaving the UK.

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Perhaps people flag this issue to me because it is well known that I voted yes in the Scottish referendum. And for the record I have already voted leave in the European plebiscite.

To me this is a consistent position. I believe that people should have the power to shape the laws that are most likely to impact directly on their day-to-day lives. The highly centralised EU is an analogue construct in an increasingly digital world.

For businesses like The Drum which deal in ideas, intellectual property and services as opposed to physical goods, it is very hard to see the benefits. To us trading in Asia or the US is in many ways more straightforward than trading in mainland Europe even as things stand today.

But let's not get into that now. What about the Scottish question? In my view rather than making Scottish independence more likely, Brexit would actually make it less likely for the following reasons...

1. The political landscape has changed since the last vote – the Scottish Parliament has been given considerable new powers and is now one of the most powerful devolved assemblies in the world. Most Scots will want to see how their politicians use these powers before demanding even more.

2. Scots are just as risk-adverse as anybody else. Last time worries about the economy were enough to kill off independence – despite SNP assurances that we would share the pound, maintain free trade and open borders with England. However, these risks will be more pronounced in the wake of Brexit – as the pound, free trade and open borders with our largest trading partner might not be an option.

3. Referendums cause uncertainty. And if Brexit does happen that uncertainty will continue until the issues such as trade agreements become clearer. It is very unlikely Scots will want to heap years more uncertainty on top of all this to run another referendum; people will want to start getting on with their lives!

4. And then there is the matter that the current SNP administration does not have the same mandate for a referendum as the Alex Salmond-led government which called the last one. A referendum was not in its manifesto and first minister Nicola Sturgeon does not have a parliamentary majority.

It must be said it is really odd to hear Sturgeon make the case for Remain – her speeches could almost be written by the Better Together campaign she opposed so passionately during the Scottish Referendum campaign just a few months ago.

I wouldn't even be surprised if she gets together with her new Labour and Conservative chums to write a Vow for the front page of the Daily Record. But rest assured any such Vow will not include a promise to abandon her independence dream if Remain prevails on 23 June.

In fact I believe the SNP is arguing so forcefully for Remain because it sees that as its best route to independence. An independent Scotland within Europe is its position. But that will only really work if Scotland's largest trading partner is a member of the same club.

So there you have it. If you really want to keep Scotland within the United Kingdom and kill off the Scottish independence movement once and for all, you should vote Brexit on 23 June.

Gordon Young is editor-in-chief of The Drum. He tweets @TheDrumChief

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