On June 23rd 2016, Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom voted on whether or not they’d like to remain within the European Union, Scotland convincingly voted by a margin of over 600,000 votes to remain and incredibly, a majority in all 32 Scottish council areas voted to remain with the EU. This convincingly demonstrated, nationwide, Scottish voters wanted to remain within the European Union.
Since then, Scotland’s landslide vote to remain has been ignored within the House of Commons, as two incompetent Conservative governments have made little progress on the issue of Britain leaving the EU. The mystery over when or if we’ll leave the EU and with or without a deal has caused businesses some panic, not only in Scotland, but in the UK as a whole, with many businesses not even knowing if they will be able to survive once we leave the EU. This is due to many Scottish businesses importing and exporting produce from across the EU under EU laws. Of course, once we’re out, Scottish businesses will not be able to trade with other nations within the EU as cost effectively and as simply as they would if they were still within the EU.
For example, the Scottish sea food industry export fresh Scottish produce such as lobster and crab across Europe to countries including France, Spain and Portugal. Once we leave the EU there is much uncertainty as to how they will be able to continue to sell their produce across Europe following the introduction of tariffs, increasing the cost of Scottish goods, and increasingly complex licencing arrangements, delaying the transit of fresh produce. Annually, Scotland export £14.9 billion worth of goods to the EU which accounts to 18% of all exported goods worldwide. In addition to this, Scotland imported over £10 billion worth of goods from the EU last year. This demonstrates the importance between the EU and Scottish businesses trading. Many Scottish businesses have begun stock piling in preparation for Brexit as certain raw materials and finished goods will not be accessible. This has a harsh and frightening effect on the Scottish economy as businesses will have very uncertain futures.
Scottish Nationalists have called for a second referendum on Scottish independence after Britain had voted to leave the European Union in 2016. Scotland had already decided to remain within the UK 2 years prior to the EU referendum however, with the three biggest parties’ leaders ‘vowing’ to Scottish voters that staying within the UK Scotland was ‘guaranteed’ to remain in the EU. This of course was a hollow lie to encourage voters to vote against Scottish independence and the SNP now aim to have Scottish voters take to the voting booths once more to decide if Scotland should become an independent nation.
This in contrast does not mean Scottish independence support is rife as a poll conducted this month shows those opposing independence have 44% of support with pro-independence supporters trailing at 43% and a further 13% unsure on their stance. This further illustrates, however, that Scotland is still very divided on the issue as only 1% separates those who want to stay within the UK and those who don’t.
By Aidan Keating, Political Corespondent