This is a popular but unexamined myth based on a simplistic idea that because Scotland has been in the Union for more than 300 years, leaving it must take longer and be more complex than leaving the EU. At first sight, the public can be persuaded. It’s ‘obvious, innit?’
But it’s not obvious at all and it’s more likely to be the opposite. Leaving the UK to join the EU which will, by then have a reasonably developed deal with the UK, means that Scotland would simply slip into the same arrangement, just like all the other EU nation. Simples?
Two years ago, Dr Kirsty Hughes, Director of the Scottish Centre on European Relations at Edinburgh University, wrote confidently:
But the extraordinary political turmoil in the UK, and the drivers of that turmoil, are highly unusual for a western democracy, so the perfect storm that is UK Brexit politics is rather unlikely to find a direct equivalent in the future Scottish politics of independence.
In quite a long piece, she justified the above claim with evidence, such as this on links with the EU:
As a new state, Scotland would also need to set up many new regulatory agencies. But it would be doing this in the context of joining the EU which would determine where it needed agencies, with what scope – and whether these were temporary or permanent depending how member state agencies interact with EU-level ones.
And on trade and other international relationships:
As a sovereign state, the UK already has its own foreign policy and embassies around the world. As a new state, Scotland would need to establish its foreign and security policy, defence resources, and its foreign policy networks. The UK, with Brexit, is facing major challenges to roll over or renegotiate existing trade (and other) relationships that it is currently in due to its EU membership. In contrast, on joining the EU, Scotland would be part of all those EU trade and other international agreements.
Yes, I know, I’ve just spent an hour or so responding the Lib Dems (c7%).
I’ll leave you with the full text: