Exploring options

Whatever misgivings there may be about the practicalities of the ‘Norwegian model’, it is surely incumbent on the Scottish Government to fully explore the option. Even if only to put the British state in the position of having to explain its opposition to such an arrangement.

There will, of course, be much squealing from the absolutist/isolationist faction of the independence movement. But this is a tiny, if disproportionately noisy, clique which has been totally discredited by the success of the gradualist/internationalist approach adopted by the SNP.

The reaction from ‘Scottish’ Conservative bladder, Murdo Fraser, only serves to make the European Economic Area (EEA) option all the more attractive. Intuitively, if those who are prepared to see actual harm done to Scotland’s economy in the name of their British nationalist ideology are against it, the sane, sober and sensible people should be for it.

Also, the fact that Fraser resorts to the rhetoric of Project Fear, with scaremongering about Scotland being excluded from the EU and threats of economic sanctions in retaliation for a Yes vote, has to make thinking No voters suspicious of his motives.

Thinking people will be asking themselves how, if other EU members blocking Scotland’s membership of the EU is something we should be afraid of, the UK dragging us out of the EU against our will can be something we should accept with equanimity. Perhaps Murdo can explain why some unspecified members state sabotaging Scotland’s place in Europe is very, very bad, while his beloved British state doing the same thing is just fine. But I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Thinking people may also be asking themselves just how much we should value our trading relationship with the rest of the UK (rUK) if the price is to have it wielded by the British state as a club to beat us down and force us to accept all manner of inequity and injustice; up to and including having the government we elected overruled by a government we rejected.

Perhaps the political and social cost of having an abusive trading partner just isn’t worth it. Perhaps we should be looking for alternative trading relationships. After all, the British establishment assures us that there are endless opportunities out there. Opportunities, we are assured, sufficient to compensate for quitting the world’s biggest single market. Even a small part of that would surely negate Murdo Fraser’s determination to build a wall between Scotland and England.

A ‘Norwegian-model’ arrangement would address many of the problems inflicted on Scotland by the Brexit vote. And a few of the issues that arise from constitutional anomaly of the Union. If it means remaining part of the UK for a little longer, that may be something we can live with. But, while Nicola Sturgeon cannot say as much, the rest of us must approach this as another measured step on the sensible road to independence.

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