Not something to be taken lightly

Falkirk East MP Martyn Day.

Falkirk East MP Martyn Day.

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The referendum to determine whether the UK leaves the EU is set to be put in motion soon. With speculation rife that a June date is to be set, although this might not be the case, it’s important to find out why this is a significant issue we must all be aware of.

With the next Scottish Election set for May 5, the campaigns are starting to heat up, and it is likely that the EU referendum campaign could be ramping up at the same time. This gives us very little time to properly scrutinise any “deal” that David Cameron has managed to squeeze out of the European Union and, therefore, we will not be going to the polls with neither the full picture nor the level of debate created during the Independence referendum.

This shows, once again, the major disparity between the Scottish and UK governments. The Scottish government gave a two year timescale for the Independence referendum for a full debate to take place. Not everything was debated fully, but the point is, we were a long way away from the little information we are all being provided when it comes to the EU referendum.

So what if it doesn’t happen in June? All is well? Perhaps. But then again, perhaps not. The Prime Minister wants to get this over and done with as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Even though he has set out a timetable to have the referendum by the end of 2017, my feeling is that whatever deal is brought from the EU summit this week, the full lot of information will not be released for everyone to make a full and proper judgement.

Getting back to the Scottish Government, it is clear that any attempt to drag Scotland out of the EU without the backing of a majority of its citizens, is a clear diversion in the feeling of the constituent members of the United Kingdom as it stands. This could be a trigger for a second independence referendum, and one which, if polling suggestions are correct, that currently six in ten people in Scotland would vote in favour of. This is not something to be taken lightly. Scotland is an important contributor to the EU through the UK, as a country we have a third of the EU’s wind energy potential. Our farms receive funding from the EU and our fishermen are subject to the rules and regulations set down by the EU.

What we stand to lose by being taken out is considerably more than we stand to gain. Let’s be clear, being dragged out is not something we want to happen, but if it does we will be ready.