Er, when did it become likely that the Brexit negotiations would drag on beyond 2021? When did this even become possible, never mind probable? Has the Lisbon Treaty been renegotiated? Because, barring that, Article 50 of that treat continues to stipulate a strict two-year period for negotiations. A period which can only be extended with the agreement of all remaining member nations of the EU. When did it become likely that such agreement would be forthcoming?
There is absolutely no reason to suppose the Brexit negotiations might run beyond the March 2019 deadline. No reason, that is, other than that it suits Carolyn Leckie’s argument to suppose this would happen.
And what is “Nicola Sturgeon’s timetable”? It sometimes seems that everybody and their therapist is claiming the right to define this “timetable” on the First Minister’s behalf. In reality, no firm timetable has been set. Nicola Sturgeon isn’t so stupid as to narrow her options for no good reason. Her consistent position has been that it is Theresa May who is setting the timetable. The closest Nicola Sturgeon has come to pinning herself down is to tentatively link a new independence referendum to a point when the outcome of the Brexit process is sufficiently clear. Which is characteristically clever. Because it effectively leaves her “timetable” wide open. The point at which a new referendum becomes justified is so undefined that it could be any time at all between right now and the March 2019 cut-off date.
Nicola Sturgeon has been careful, and clever, enough to give herself the maximum amount of leeway in deciding on a date for #ScotRef. It’s easy to understand why her political opponents would want to limit her options. It’s not so clear why Carolyn Leckie would wish to do so. Unless, of course, there was a calculation that this might advance the agenda of the righteous radicals who are determined to push the SNP to the left regardless of the consequences for the party’s electoral prospects and, thereby, for the independence campaign.
Because, despite the incessant urging from those who would find ‘honourable defeat’ a satisfactory outcome, there is no rational reason to suppose that a lurch to the left would benefit the SNP. If there were, then surely the likes of Carolyn Leckie would be setting out that rational case rather than bending the reality of the Brexit process to suit her purpose and imagining constraints on First Minister’s options which simply don’t exist.
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