Some clarification is required. Unintentionally, I’m sure, the impression is being given that the UK Government might negotiate a deal with the EU which would be satisfactory as a substitute for independence. I know that this is not what the First Minister intends to convey. Her priority is to ensure that she is seen to be open to compromise and to avoid giving EU leaders cause to suppose she is merely using Brexit to leverage independence. But, as so often happens, this nuanced politics is simplified by the media to the point where all the subtleties are lost. Complex situations tend to become simple dichotomies as they pass through the media mincer.
Let us be clear. There is no such get-out clause for the British state. There is no acceptable substitute for independence. Even if, by some process of magic, Theresa May did manage to get a surprisingly good deal from the EU, the demand for independence would remain.
Sean Swan, a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Gonzaga University, put it rather well.
“The reason Brexit justifies calling a referendum on Scottish independence lies not in the fact that the Brexit referendum produced different results in England and in Scotland, but in the London government’s reaction to this fact. Scotland’s government, virtually all its MPs, and a clear majority of its people, are opposed to leaving the EU. That fact, as far as London is concerned, is irrelevant. It is there that the democratic outrage lies. It would still be a democratic outrage regardless of what the particular issue was. The point is the negation of Scotland’s democratic will, not the EU question as such.”
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