Sturgeon’s reforms to meet EU economic criteria ‘will make Osborne look like Santa Claus’ | UK | News (Reports)


Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she will hold an advisory referendum on independence if her Scottish National Party (SNP) wins a majority in May’s Holyrood elections, regardless of whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson consents to it. Her party has set out an 11-point road-map for taking forward another vote, which was presented to members of the SNP’s national assembly on Sunday. The SNP leader told BBC One’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday morning: “I want to have a legal referendum, that’s what I’m going to seek for the authority of the Scottish people in May and if they give me that authority that’s what I intend to do: to have a legal referendum to give people the right to choose.

“That’s democracy. It’s not about what I want or what Boris Johnson wants.”

It comes as four-nation polling for the Sunday Times has found that a majority of voters in Scotland and Northern Ireland want referendums on the breakup of Britain.

The SNP’s goal is for Scotland to leave the UK so the country can rejoin the EU.

However, there are several questions hanging over whether the country would even be able to join as an independent state.

New members can only be allowed into the bloc through a unanimous vote from the existing member states and an independent Scotland would undoubtedly ruffle feathers.

Spain is struggling with secession demands itself from Catalonia, so is unlikely to support a newly independent state.

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Scotland could also be rejected due to its current deficit of seven percent of GDP, unless it adopted a strict austerity programme from the EU as well as the euro.

In an exclusive interview with, constitutional historian Vernon Bogdanor argued the reforms Ms Sturgeon might have to implement will make former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne look like Santa Claus.

Mr Osborne was the architect of the controversial austerity drive in Britain after the financial crisis.

Prof Bogdanor said: “Scotland could not be denied entry into the EU because if it goes independent, it will become a liberal democracy.

“The question is what terms they will accept in order to join, as these will probably be quite harsh.

“The EU does not want to encourage separatism in Catalonia and possibly other countries.”

He noted: “They would almost certainly not get their share of Margaret Thatcher’s rebate that the UK got in the Eighties.

“And they might be required to join the euro fairly soon.

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“Scotland joining the euro would cause lots of problems because their current budget deficit is around seven percent. And they would have to reduce it to three percent, under current EU rules.

“That would make George Osborne look like Santa Claus, as they would have lots of cuts in public spending and increase in taxation.”

In another interview with, Economics Professor at Edinburgh Napier University, Piotr Jaworski. also cast a shadow over the SNP’s plan to achieve independence, as he claimed it will almost definitely lead the country to bankruptcy.

He explained: “We will either go bankrupt or we will have to cut our spending.

“But there is a problem with that.

“If we really want to leave Britain and join the EU, we would need to go through a very harsh transformation of the public sector.

“I don’t think the Scottish people are prepared for this.”

Prof Jaworski noted: “So if we have a referendum, Scottish people might vote for going out.

“But they would almost immediately realise that it means no more free prescriptions.

“Then, it would be too late.”

Because of the state of its economy, the Professor argued it will be very unlikely Brussels will allow an independent Scotland to join its bloc.

He said: “First of all, countries that have splitting tendencies, such as Spain or Belgium, will never agree.

“You then have got countries like Germany and France… and the question is, ‘Why should they want Scotland in?’

“I personally don’t know why.

“We don’t have a big economy, we would have problems almost like Greece, in terms of public deficit.

“Is it really in their interest to have another Greece?”

Prof Jaworski noted that Ms Sturgeon should find something to make Scotland more attractive in the eyes of Brussels.

He added: “The First Minister is trying… with talks about electricity and power.

“But do we have it now? Can we sell it? Who is going to invest in this.

“We don’t even have money to invest in the buses…”


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