This is what may be called fantasy politics, or a rather odd thought experiment in politics. The idea that I want to pursue is that the Scottish people, given the SNP majority government at Holyrood, may have a choice in a referendum or in two referendums to stay in or leave the Union. By the Union, it actually means two Unions: the Union as in the United Kingdom, and the European Union.
Mr Cameron’s recent veto in the European Council has made Britain rather isolated within the EU, and depending on the course of events, he may ask the British people about leaving the EU. What would happen, if the SNP government in Scotland were to ask the Scots in a referendum or a series of referendums for Scottish independence and remaining or rejoining in the EU, at the same time as or soon after the the UK-wide referendum on EU membership? It’s possible that the UK as a whole may vote to leave the EU, but Scotland may vote to stay within the EU.
While not everything comes down to economics, one of the important reasons, even if only seen in retrospect, for Scotland to enter into a union with England a few centuries ago was the access to the increasingly large market that England was creating, both in the east and in the west. Scotland prospered, as the Empire emerged and prospered. Without the Empire, what is the economic argument for staying in the Union with the rest of the UK, if Scotland can be a part of a larger economic block called the EU, with more powers to govern themselves, in other words independence?
Perhaps Mr Cameron has set in motion that ends not in the break-up of the European Union but the United Kingdom?