Theresa May has signed up to an agreement that guarantees access to UK waters for EU fishing vessels. That’s the unpalatable truth for Ruth Davidson’s thirteen strong contingent of MPs.
The agreement itself makes it clear that existing rules on fishing and quotas will endure beyond the transition period.
Some woolly language on the UK being an independent sovereign state is merely there to allow May to save face. The truth that nothing will change in terms of access to UK waters was laid bare when Emmanuel Macron tied fishing to a trade deal hours after the EU27 agreed its stance.
Even hapless David Mundell has been forced to concede that the latest Scottish Tory ‘red line’ has been ignored.
The beleaguered Scottish Secretary and the other twelve Scottish Tory MPs had demanded fishing be uncoupled from any agreement.
Only two weeks ago they sent a letter to Theresa May which stated: “We could not support an agreement with the EU that would prevent the UK from independently negotiating access and quota shares…. Access and quota shares cannot be included in the Future Economic Partnership.”
It made it as the top story on Reporting Scotland.
The agreement May has signed up to compels the UK to accept access and quotas will form part of any deal after the transition period. Ruth’s Tories have been ignored, just as they were over Northern Ireland and as they were back in March when they first drew a fishing red line.
Ruth Davidson’s contingent of MPs have been hooked by their own bait. Most won their seats courtesy of an election campaign dominated by fishing. They were going to protect fishermen from the CFP. Theresa May has left them wriggling and gasping open mouthed.
What options do they have?
They can’t back the SNP’s proposal of staying in the Single Market and Customs Union. To do that is to remain in the CFP. They can’t back calls for another People’s Vote. To do that is to undermine their ‘No Indyref2’ stance.
The only thing that can save Ruth’s Scottish Tories is a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. Only this guarantees the UK regains full control over fishing access.
But Ruth Davidson has already stated she’ll oppose a No Deal. Mundell has described No Deal as “catastrophic”. No Deal makes an indyref2 Yes vote more likely than a No vote.
The only way to obtain a ‘No Deal’ is to oppose Theresa May’s Withdrawal Bill. There’s no way the Scottish Conservatives will oppose May. They simply haven’t the balls.
This means the Scottish Conservatives are dead in the water. The fishing communities they duped in 2017 in order to win SNP seats, will ditch them. Ruth Davidson’s honeymoon is well and truly over. Don’t be surprised if the new mum resigns.
But what about independence?
If, as expected, the House of Commons rejects May’s Withdrawal Bill … then what? May has threatened a No Deal should such a scenario come to pass.
That would bring on a second independence referendum. Even Ruth Davidson couldn’t resist demands for a second ballot in the event of a No Deal Brexit. A short-sharp campaign would ensure voters stepped into the voting booth with the fires of a No Deal raging. A Yes result is likely.
The alternative is a rerun of the EUReferendum. If that came to pass then all bets are off on a second Indyref during the lifetime of this Scottish parliament … unless the English re-affirmed their intention to leave.
As things stand the Scottish Tories can’t be saved … but the Union just might. Ironically, Nicola Sturgeon’s backing for a second EUReferendum might be the very thing that prevents Scotland holding another Indyref.
How ironic would that be?
Article submitted by an Indyref2 reader.