Voting to Remain: Brexit and Scottish Independence

So what does the Brexit referendum mean for independence? Much has been said about what happens if the vote is to leave but Scotland wants to stay. But what might happen to support for Independence if the vote is to remain? David Cameron has, I believe, in his narrow mindedness, given the Yes campaign a gift wrapped opportunity for us to persuade a vital few percentage of No voters that voting Yes is the less risky option.

I suspect that if we vote to stay, then the No campaign, let’s call it "Honestly We Are Better Together" next time round will say that Indy remains the main threat to continued membership. They will say that the question has been answered and the UK’s position in Europe is assured. But if Cameron thinks he will unite the Tory party once and for all behind him with a Remain vote he is more a fool than he appears to be. The sentiment will not go away, the Out faction of the Tories and UKIP will lick their wounds and continue to agitate and that agitation will continue to get news headlines, UKIP will continue to win seats and get an unbalanced amount of press coverage.

BT's strategy first time (and all the evidence suggests they would revert to it next time too), was to show the risks that Indy could bring, and to provide a solution to the fear they created by highlighting the safety of the status quo and what was known. What they did well regarding the EU was contrast the safety of the known with the fear of the unknown. After Brexit, even if Remain win they will not be able to rely on that again, they will have associated voting No with a very real fear of being taken out of Europe. They have, to use a wonderful expression - pissed on their own chips.

What Brexit will do is teach EU voters concerned about their future, that voting No was not a way to reduce their fears, it was in fact the opposite. Whilst the threat posed by Yes was a hypothetical one, one the voters were invited to imagine, Brexit makes the threat posed by No, much more powerful, it makes the fear very real and concreate. It will be a fear and uncertainly that the pro Europe No voters will now have experienced on a daily basis about their future as they listened to the news, heard the opinion polls and endured endless debates but crucially were powerless to do anything about as they could not vote.

When the second independence referendum comes round, we can confidently say that voting No is no guarantee of staying in the EU, and unlike the first time, the voters will know this to be true as they will have their own emotional memory to rely on and remember how powerlessness and scared they felt. They may not believe us that we will definitely stay in, but unlike the first referendum, neither will they believe that voting no will definitely keep them in either. One of the main pillars of the attraction of the status quo has been removed, not by us, but by our opposition.

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