Fluffier and Fluffier – Mundell’s reasoning for banning #indyref2
Scottish Secretary David Mundell has been hinting that we would not be allowed to hold #indyref2 in the two year timeframe specified by Nicola Sturgeon.
According to David:
It would be impossible for people in the timescale suggested by Nicola Sturgeon to make a reasoned view and, therefore, have a legal, fair and decisive referendum
You might be wondering why the Tories suddenly want people to be able to make a reasoned choice?
After all, we are currently about to negotiate to leave the EU and there is little sign even the government are aware of what the outcome of that will be. This is almost nine months after we voted in the EU referendum. A referendum that had a shorter campaign than the proposed Scottish one and that was carried out on a populace that started less informed about the issue.
However, let’s allow that point to slip as the notion the population will be uninformed is rubbish anyway. The timeframe chosen by Sturgeon coincides with the exact point people are most likely to be able to form a reasoned view. She has suggested having an indyref between August 2018 and spring 2019. As reported by the BBC we should know the detail of the article 50 negotiations before October 2018 meaning only the earliest dates mentioned by Sturgeon seem unreasonable.
Here is a potential timeline of events.
- By the end of March – UK triggers Article 50
- April – European Council president Donald Tusk expected to call an EU summit of the 27 leaders (without the UK) to agree to give the European Commission a mandate to negotiate with the UK
- After the EU 27 summit – European Commission to publish negotiating guidelines based on the mandate the EU leaders give it. The EU might say something about possible parallel negotiation on a future EU-UK trade deal
- April/May 2017 – Negotiations begin
- 23 April and 7 May – French Presidential elections
- 24 September – German parliamentary elections
- Autumn 2017 – The UK government is expected to introduce legislation to leave the EU and put all existing EU laws into British law – the Great Repeal bill
- October 2018 – Negotiations conclude (the article 50 negotiations could be extended, but this is subject to the approval of the other 27 EU member states)
- Between October 2018 and March 2019 – The Houses of Parliament, European Council and European Parliament vote on any deal
- March 2019 – UK formally withdraws from the European Union
Now there is a very unlikely chance that the article 50 talks could be extended.
However, it is unlikely because all 27 EU member states have to agree to do so. That said, I wouldn’t be against a clause to delay indyref2 in that case until there is clarity.
Nobody wanted this referendum so soon after 2014 but the result of the EU referendum has forced the Scottish Government’s hand.
If you accept the decision has to be made then Sturgeon’s timing is the best option we have. There will be clarity as to what direction the UK is travelling. There will be a prospectus from the Yes campaign to compare that to.
The timing is OK from the point of view of the public being informed. Yet the timing could result in an independent Scotland going up against a UK that is in turmoil having negotiated a poor Brexit deal. Mundell is not worried about people being misinformed, he is really worried that the information we will have then will increase the chances of independence supporters winning.
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