We don’t want to fall into the trap of portraying the Liberal Democrats as a party of any political relevance or consequence in Scotland, but for the sheer comedy value alone Willie Rennie’s interview with Gary Robertson on today’s Good Morning Scotland is worth a couple of minutes of your time.
(Good Morning Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland, 10 March 2017)
So, are we all clear?
1. Having another referendum on EU membership, in which the options would be to leave or remain in the EU, would NOT in fact be a second EU referendum.
2. When people vote on an EU referendum and then see that the consequences might be quite damaging, they should be given the right to change their mind in another referendum.
3. This does NOT apply in the case of a Scottish independence referendum in which people were told (for example) that a No vote would keep them in the EU, and then the consequences turned out to be the opposite.
4. Willie Rennie, we just learned, considers that leaving the EU is a prospect so serious and so damaging that it constitutes grounds to revisit the EU referendum vote. But it’s not serious enough that Scottish people should be given the choice of whether to revisit THEIR choice in the light of accurate information about what a No vote meant in the EU context.
5. In other words, it’s a serious enough matter to overturn a UK-wide vote for, but not serious enough to overturn a Scottish vote for. Even though we’re not aware of a single poll showing that the result of a second EU referendum would be any different now, whereas several polls since the EU referendum, including the most recent one, have shown a majority for Scottish independence.
6. Voters do NOT have the right to change their minds about Scotland staying in the UK within four years of their original vote, even in the light of dramatically changed circumstances, because the indyref was “once in a generation”.
But they DO have the right to change their minds about EU membership within three years of the original vote, even though all that’s happening as a result of the Leave vote is that the UK is leaving the EU, which is what people voted for even though they knew there was no detailed plan.
Willie Rennie, everyone!