Two governments, one aim. Sort of. Well, not exactly. It is however, true to say, that both the SNP and Tory governments are a little preoccupied with trying to work out how best to withdraw from a union. That they both wish to remain in the union that the other wishes to leave, adds a little spice to the mix.
Maggie May and the Three Brexiteer’s insist, that in withdrawing Scotland from the European Union, whilst preserving the United Kingdom, they are carrying out the will of the 'people’ as expressed in recent referenda.
The difficulty with the Tories’ position should be glaringly obvious. It denies that with regard to EU membership, Scotland has a voice, and it ignores the indisputable fact, that that voice rang out loud and clear, Scotland should remain within the EU. To argue, that since Scotland voted in 2014, to remain in the UK, the collective will of the ‘British people’, in reality, the will of our much larger neighbour (albeit, with a little help from Wales on this occasion), trumps everything, simply isn’t acceptable any more.
It is no longer tenable, where Scotland disagrees on something as fundamentally important as our continued membership of the EU, that we be disregarded. To say that Scotland is a member of the UK, and that the UK voted to leave the EU, just isn’t good enough. The UK is either a family of nations, or it isn’t. It is either a family of nations, or it is England and her colonies. The UK is made up of four distinct nations, two of those nations voted to remain in the EU, two voted to leave. That the UK’s woefully inadequate, dysfunctional constitutional arrangements can’t accommodate this, will not do. A family, where Victorian Dad’s (England) word is law, is yesterday. If this so called family of nations is to survive, it must look to tomorrow.
Should the Prime Minister and her cabinet, prove incapable of thinking outside the box, of producing a flexible, workable solution, that goes some way addresses Scotland and Northern Ireland’s desire to remain in the EU, then it is perfectly legitimate for Holyrood and Stormont to pursue all avenues. A second independence referendum, must therefor be a possibility. You would have thought, that with an unwritten constitution, where profound change, such as devolution and reform of the Lords, have been cobbled together piecemeal, that the great and the good could dream up a compromise, whereby Scotland could at the very least, remain in the single market. Sadly, I suspect that they can’t, or they won’t.
We’ve seen, quite clearly, that the Tories didn’t expect Brexit, most of them didn’t even want it. Now that they have it, they don’t know what to do with it. Article 50, hasn’t been triggered yet, because Theresa May, BoJo and the rest, can’t agree on what it is they want, far less what they think they can get. Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government know exactly what it is they want. They want independence for Scotland, and Brexit might provide the means by which they get it. Cynics might say, that the SNP are exploiting the remain vote in Scotland to engineer a grievance with the UK. I prefer to think that the deep fissure between Scotland and England is very real, and that if used wisely, it strengthens the SNP’s cause, as much by happy fate as by design.
Calls from the opposition parties, especially the Scottish Tories, for the SNP to ‘concentrate on the day job’ are deplorable. They want Scotland to be silent, to submit. I would have thought, that doing everything in it’s power to ensure the best possible outcome for Scotland, is very, very much part of the day job. If that means a second independence referendum, then so be it. If that means a second independence referendum, it will be because the Tory government at Westminster has done little, or nothing to protect Scotland’s interests, as per usual.