If Scotland votes to leave the U.K., then Brussels has made it clear that it will also leave the European Union. Scotland would need to apply like any other potential member state.
But what about the rest of the U.K.? Would it vote to leave the E.U. without Scotland? Many observers are worried.
I do not think that they should be.
The Tories will be up for reelection in 2015, unless there is a vote-of-no-confidence. That election will be weird. The Scottish government wants to wrap up the independence negotiations by March 2016, so Scots might still be able to vote in the U.K. election.
That said, it would entirely reasonable for Parliament to disenfranchise Scottish voters before then. Would that swing the 2015 election to the Tories?
Probably not. I played with the crosstabs from this poll. Here are the results:
|Weight||Weight w/o Scotland||% Tory||% Labor||% UKIP|
My general impression from the literature is that the district boundaries in England (I mean England England) generally favor Labor, even after the recent redistricting. So Labor is likely to win. Labor opposes holding a referendum on the European Union. That would make Brexit moot.
Moreover, my gut feeling, which could be entirely wrong, is that allowing Scotland to secede will kill Cameron and hurt the Tories at the election. After all, Cameron allowed the election to happen and Cameron took off the option of giving Scotland the powers of your typical Canadian province. So he really will be to blame.
Absent some sort of black swan, Labor will be more likely to win, and Brexit will be moot.
This analysis fails if the Tories pick someone popular to replace Cameron. But I have no idea who such a person would be.
On the other hand, if the Tories pull off reelection, then Britain is likely out of the E.U. The above analysis, from this poll:
|Weight||Weight w/o Scotland||% Brexit||% E.U.|
Any Cameron-replacement is likely to demagogue the Europe issue and the voters south-of-the-border will be pissed. The momentum will be towards withdrawal and the polls will likely move that way.
But I would bet against a Tory election victory in the wake of Scottish secession, and thus against Brexit. Investors and bankers relax! The Labor Party will save you.
On the other hand, I think that the Spanish government is going to be much bolshier about letting Scotland in than I did a few months ago … they won’t veto, but they will drag things out, and Scotland is going to hurt.