A guest post by Samuel Miller
On Monday Nicola Sturgeon gave a bit of a keynote address to the RSA, (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), on the current state of play surrounding Brexit. A speech which sets out Scotgov’s latest proposals for Scotland’s place in Europe: A Way Forward. One more attempt by the FM to square a wonky circle created by others. One more attempt to act within devolved competences and contribute constructively within the UK political system. One more attempt to talk to people about a UK issue, whilst the usual suspects shout BOOOOO, HISSSSS from the sidelines.
We’ve also pretty much been round this track before and a full text version of Scotland’s Place in Europe from that first attempt to provide sensible options to the UK government can be found HERE. Most readers are already fully aware of how well that ended and what UK gov’s actions toward the devolved legislatures have resulted in subsequently. Bear in mind, this original report was put together after some fairly extensive research on the impact of proposed changes to the UK’s relationship with the EU on Scottish interests had been carried out.
“You know, it seems to me that one of the lasting casualties of Brexit is the notion that the UK is in any sense a partnership of equals.” SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s conference speech, October 2018.
No. What I find wearying and entirely predictable, are the replies these efforts to work constructively and within the current political system are met with. Whether it’s certain elements of media coverage or political opposition. The whole Nikla bad, Essenpee bad, independence bad, kneejerk and reactionary nonsense can leave you shaking your head in sad bemusement.
Yes, there are some beauts out there who insist Scotgov are using Brexit to instigate an independence drive (SIGH). When considering this particular viewpoint, it’d be perfectly understandable if you’re picturing some dystopian future wasteland. One which is sparsely populated by bods running around wearing leather budgie smugglers, rubber tyres for body armour, eatin’ each other, (or anything else with a pulse), but thanking GOD that at least they’re not independent.
You’d also think at this late stage and given what we’re all facing, that maybe, just maybe, there’d be a little less party and a lot more people in some folks’ politics. That ANY option which might avert or alleviate hardship for a population should be on the table. Apparently not.
Still. One more time with feeling.
Scotland’s population didn’t ask for any of this. They didn’t ask for Conservative government, its appalling austerity legislation and an ever more critical need for their devolved government to mitigate (I so hate that word). They didn’t ask for a fudged devolution settlement, or to have their mandated representation crapped on from a great height in Commons. They didn’t ask to have the assurances and pledges given to them in the 2014 indyref abandoned for someone else’s political expediency. They didn’t ask for an EU referendum and they certainly didn’t ask for Brexit of ANY kind. Neither did Scotland’s devolved government.
But it’s what we got. It’s what we ALL got. The responsibility for ALL of that lies elsewhere.
Oh, and that last point? A Brexit of any kind? There are those of an opinion that there WILL be a heavy cost for this omnishambles and Scotland’s population didn’t ask for that either. Just to be clear. Evidence collected so far, suggests that there is NO GOOD FINANCIAL OUTCOME TO BREXIT. (Shouting for those at the back)
And yes, I’d say you’d be right in thinking that by this point, it really wouldn’t matter what zooper deal PM May has or doesn’t have. Deal or no deal. Backing or no backing. Brexit has the potential to put huge swathes of the populations of the UK in a very bad place.
Today’s big EU summit was supposed to be about finalising details and agreements. It was supposed to be about moving forward to the final stages of this farce in March of 2019. Uh huh!
So far as Scotland’s population is concerned? Well it’s another of those laugh or cry Q.E.D. moments. Some folk we didn’t vote for are making us do something we don’t really want to do is the bottom line. Something we were expressly told wouldn’t happen not so long ago. Mind you, they made a lot of promises to a lot of other folk too over the years and they’re not big on keeping those promises either. Binding agreements, pledges, even understandings are to be respected and kept by others in perpetuity. Seemingly, for your average Westminster government, they’re more what you’d call guidelines.
Scotland’s First Minister, so far as can be seen, has stuck to the rules of devolution and done her duty by the post she holds. Dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on any procedure required as it were. Which is kinda more than can be said of her critics and opponents. Oh, and probably worth those critics while to have a think about their current contributions. I very much doubt Nicola Sturgeon needs to use Brexit to instigate anything at this point. The fact that it has occurred at all has started that ball rolling all on its own. The evidence gathered that it would inflict grievous economic hardship on all of the UK’s populations and that this was NOT the future promised to Scotland’s electorate just four years ago, might also have some bearing on folks’ thinking.
Now might be a good time to ask yourselves. What kind of country do you want to live in? What kind of government would you rather have?