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By Jason Michael
London has sent Scotland a message: We are all going to leave the EU together, so come good with your threats of another referendum or quiet back down and follow your master. The ball is now in the First Minister’s hands and all eyes are on her.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has made her position clear on Brexit. The United Kingdom will be leaving the European Union, and no connection will remain that will result in a situation where it would seem the county had never left. What this means is that Britain will no longer have free access to the single market or any other instrument of the EU, including the courts and the convention on human rights. Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU but is now threated with being pulled from Europe “kicking and screaming.”
All eyes are now on First Minister Nicola sturgeon and the SNP. As the strongest opposition to the Leave campaign in the June referendum, the Scottish government has outlined repeatedly the serious danger to the wellbeing of Scotland that being removed from the EU poses. Ms Sturgeon has indicated that such a move by the Westminster government would lay the ground for another referendum in Scotland on independence. In her response to the Prime Minister’s address yesterday, the First Minister insisted that if there was to be any confidence that Scotland’s interests can be met within the Union the British government would have to change tack, and “in short order.”
So far the Scottish government’s position has been one where accommodations with the London government have been sought, with Ms Sturgeon working to exhaust all available avenues for compromise. Before Christmas she delivered a set of proposals to Number 10 setting out ideas and strategies the Edinburgh government believe to be best for Scotland. Theresa May yesterday gave the firm impression that Scotland’s proposals are being ignored, but – as yet – Edinburgh has received no formal reply to its efforts from London.
What is process for removing our EU citizenship? Voting yes. #scotdecides—
Better Together (@UK_Together) September 02, 2014
May’s somewhat dictatorial language yesterday in Lancaster House on London’s position, together with the lack of a response to Edinburgh from Downing Street, leaves Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish government with less room for manoeuvre. Thus far there has been a great deal of posturing on both sides, but Theresa May has only gone and raised the stakes. It is patently clear that mere posturing is no longer enough – the time has come for Nicola Sturgeon to carry through on her promise of another referendum or get off the pot.
All the indications are good that this is the direction in which she is headed, but she keeps returning to the tactic of the strongly worded letter. Yet as she continues to do this there is a growing sense among independence supporters that she may not have the bottle. Time is running out. Perhaps it is prudent that she wait for this illusive reply from London, but when it finally arrives – and it is not what she was looking for – she faces what is in all likelihood her very last opportunity to act.
FM NICOLA STURGEON ON THE ANDREW MARR SHOW