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The Brexit strategy

If there wasn’t enough excitement over Brexit, we’ve had an opinion poll suggesting that support for Scottish independence has increased and that a Labour Government would allow a second poll on Scottish independence.

It baffles me frankly why anyone pays any attention at all to opinion polls any more. I understand that opinion pollsters telephone what they hope to be a representative sample of the population.  They don’t just present the data they get, but rather adjust it and manipulate it to make it more accurately representative. If 520 out of 1000 Scots say they want Scottish independence then the SNP get to say that they have a 2% lead, but there might in fact have been only 480 saying they want independence only the polling company thought it necessary to adjust the data. We might as well use chicken entrails as a method of judging what is going to happen in future elections. Everyone got the result of the 2016 EU election wrong. Remainers thought they had won right up until the moment they lost. Better by far to simply ignore all polls whether you find them to be favourable or unfavourable. Use reason and experience instead.

The whole Brexit strategy against the SNP, is the realisation that Scottish nationalism depends on the UK as a whole remaining a member of the EU. It isn’t love for the EU that makes the SNP angry about Brexit. It’s the fact that Brexit fatally undermines their “independence in Europe” strategy. Independence movements across the EU have grasped that, for example, if only Catalonia and Spain can both remain in the EU then Catalan independence will not hinder the trade relationship between Spain and Catalonia, Catalans will have exactly the same rights as they do at present and the border will remain just as it is. It is the prospect of continued EU membership after independence that guarantees that life will go on more or less the same. It is for this reason that the EU has become the condition for the possibility of sub-nation nationalism. Outside the EU, no-one in their right mind would argue for the independence of Flanders, Veneto, Catalonia or indeed Scotland. Once you grasp this simple fact, then the argument for leaving the EU as a means of thwarting Scottish independence becomes obvious.

But the Brexit strategy recognises that in the short term it will make Scottish nationalists very angry. We saw this in 2016. Various polls suggested support for independence had increased. Some people blamed me for my strategy, but a few months later we found that anger had subsided, the reality of Scottish independence after Brexit had been realised and during the 2017 General Election the SNP lost seats.

A “no deal” Brexit will likewise cause some anger in Scotland. But we still need to think strategically. A soft Brexit like Theresa May’s deal or no Brexit at all, which is what the Remainers in Parliament really want, will appease the SNP. Nicola Sturgeon will be very happy indeed that the UK has either left in name only or not left at all. But she will still want independence. A little down the line she will find another reason to ask for a second independence referendum. At this point there would probably be a Labour Government in some sort of deal with the SNP. We now know that this Labour Government would say “Go ahead have your referendum”. Strategically what would remaining have achieved? It would have stopped Scottish anger in the short term, but we would have lost the best argument and the best strategy.

Something odd has happened to Britain. Many English commentators are willing to concede defeat because of one poll suggesting Scottish independence might have increased. They want to give Scotland federalism, or more money or pretty much whatever Nicola Sturgeon wants when she wants it. Some English nationalists would happily give up Scotland, Northern Ireland and perhaps even Wales, just because they find the whole debate tiresome. Which other nation state in the world is so blithe about losing territory? Everyone else would go to war to protect an uninhabited island from being lost.

We have lost the ability to think long term. Doing the right thing strategically and doing what is necessary to keep our country intact may in the past have required effort, struggle and sacrifice over the course of decades. This is something that all of us understood throughout our long history. Compared to the struggles of the past leaving the EU even without a deal is as nothing. All we are doing is reverting to how we were prior to 1972. We are becoming a country like Australia or New Zealand. Prior generations would not even have been able to see anything scary about a “no deal” Brexit. Yet our snowflakes melt at the prospect of their prosecco getting a little more expensive.

There has been an opinion poll. So, what. Just ignore it. But don’t ignore that Labour has ceased to be a Pro UK party. The Hard Left’s hatred of Britain knows no bounds. It would delight in giving the IRA victory by uniting Ireland and partitioning Britain. Now is the time for patriotic British citizens to get behind Britain. Brexit will bring us unity and will defeat a Scottish and Irish nationalism that has become one and the same threat.

This post was originally published by the author on her personal blog: https://www.effiedeans.com/2019/08/the-brexit-strategy.html

About Effie Deans

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Effie Deans is a pro UK blogger who works at the University of Aberdeen. She spent many years living in Russia and the Soviet Union, but came home to Scotland so as to enjoy living in a multi-party democracy! When not occupied with Scottish politics she writes fiction and thinks about theology, philosophy and Russian literature.

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