Trident & The SNP

The Scottish people do not want Trident. So say the SNP, ergo it must be true. They voted for the SNP to represent them in 56/59 constituencies (though given suspensions aren’t they now the 54?).

Anyway. Scotland doesn’t want nuclear weapons. It must be true, the SNP say so.

Nope. Scottish voters are basically evenly split at 43/42 in favour/against the deterrent (Source: What Scotland Thinks). Some could even point to the rise from 37% to 43% as a 16% increase in support for the deterrent in Scotland over the past year or so.

So, Scotland is split on the deterrent. Scotland’s MPs are not. The 54+2 voted en-masse against the deterrent, as did the sole Labour and sole LibDem MP. Fair enough. True the SNP MPs are all mindless drones unable to vote against the party line lest that +2 become slightly larger. Anyway. The SNP are out of step with the Scottish electorate. Because the SNP do not represent Scotland. As in any electoral system, they represent a view in Scotland.

Do the people who vote for the SNP care about Trident? Nope.  It comes tenth in a list of priorities, just after Constitutional Affairs & Independence. Source: What Scotland Thinks) But above Defence and Land Reform. So, if pushed Scots are relatively evenly divided on Trident but they have to be pushed pretty hard to actually care about it.

If Scotland voted for a 12% deficit, a new currency and to be outside both the EU and the UK (also known as Independence), would Scots still want the deterrent based in Scotland? Of course not! Scots hate the deterrent and it’s one of the few issues they vote on. Oh…

In that hypothetical where Scotland leaves the UK, voters are again split 41/36 on keeping/removing the deterrent from Scottish waters (Source: What Scotland Thinks). The rent on the base would likely be a valuable source of income to the Scottish Government.

The SNP are not opposed to having nuclear weapons defend them. They are in favour of remaining members of NATO and are fine with allowing US naval vessels with nukes aboard into Scottish waters. Their issue, as always, is with diminishing the UK, shirking our responsibilities, and attempting to drive a wedge between the UK and Scotland by insisting they are the one true voice of Scotland.

The SNP are not Scotland. They may represent most of Scotland at Westminster and form a minority government at Holyrood, this does not make them the sole arbiters of Scottish public opinion.

Indyref2: Four Country Lock

The SNP, along with various other parties and people insist the EU referendum should have only gone ahead with a four country lock. A way of saying that if Scotland voted to Remain whilst England, Wales and Northern Ireland had voted to Leave the will of the Scottish people should have decided the referendum.

Knowing support for the EU is higher (but only marginally) in Scotland than in the remainder of the UK, barring maybe Northern Ireland, this was a mischievous way for the SNP to attempt to ensure the UK remained in the EU whilst also attempting to drive a further wedge between Scotland and England.

What would this have meant in practice, though?

Constituent Part England (incl. Gib) Scotland Wales Northern Ireland
Population (m) 53.01 5.30 3.06 1.81
Percentage 83.90% 8.40% 4.80% 2.90%
Total Votes Cast 28,455,402 2,679,513 1,626,919 790,149
Leave Vote (m) 15,188,406 1,018,322 854,572 349,442
Leave Vote (%) 53.38% 38.00% 52.53% 44.22%
Value of Vote under 4-Country Lock 1.00 10.00 17.32 29.29
No. Votes Needed to Result in 4-Country Lock for Leave -960,704 321,436 -41,112 45,633

The explicit suggestion from the SNP and others is that a vote in England is worth a tenth of that in Scotland. That a vote in Scotland is worth approximately half that of one in Wales. That a vote in Northern Ireland is worth thirty times as much as one cast in the UK. The value of a changed mind in Northern Ireland is 20x that of one in England. That of one in Scotland 3x as much as an English vote.

Far be it from me to suggest that the SNP enjoy stoking division in their quest to irritate the English into letting Scotland go into a world of 10% deficits, but the explicit suggestion of the SNP is that the votes of the English are worthless. That the votes of one Northern Irishman is worth a thirtieth of that of an Englishman. The SNP may not believe the UK should exist, they’re wrong. But the suggestion that a Scot is ten times as valuable as someone from Cornwall is insulting. Until the SNP can persuade Scotland to vote to leave the UK, the UK votes on a one man, one vote basis.

IndyRef2 – Does the SNP have a mandate?

Scotland voted to remain in the EU. On a turnout of 67.2%, higher only than the turnout in Northern Ireland, 1.7M voters chose to remain,1M chose to leave.

The SNP claim to have a mandate to hold a second referendum (leaving aside that Holyrood is not empowered to call referenda) – do they?

Leaving the EU was mentioned as a potential trigger in the SNP manifesto. A manifesto that Scotland partially rejected, see SNP minority government, likely because of continuing talk of a second referendum.

In their manifesto they spoke of a ‘significant and material change’ – until the circumstances of the deal between the UK and the EU are known the significance of the changes is unknowable.

The Scottish Greens would likely vote for a second referendum. Yet their manifesto says “a referendum should be the will of the people, and not by calculations of party political advantage” indeed.

Labour ruled out supporting a second referendum for the lifetime of the parliament, despite noises since Friday about supporting one.

So, likely there is a mandate for a second independence referendum – but only after the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU are known.