Of course the media will lie. Of course they will misrepresent Nicola Sturgeon’s statement. Of course they will seek to deceive the people of Scotland. What else would we expect? It’s what the media does! But I take issue with the following,
“If, as expected, the First Minister indicates that the chaotic Brexit negotiations mean her initial timetable of autumn 2018 to spring 2019 has now been delayed, the media will be ready with their negative line.”
There is a huge and glaring fallacy in this. That is not the First Minister’s timetable. It is not even Theresa May’s timetable. It’s the EU’s timetable. It doesn’t matter a toss how “chaotic” the Brexit negotiations are. There can be no change to the timetable. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty stipulates a two-year negotiation period. There is no flexibility on this. Theresa May cannot unilaterally decide that she wants more time. And the likelihood of all 27 member nations of the EU agreeing to an extension is so remote as to be barely worth considering.
Nicola Sturgeon has two options. she can either insist that nothing has changed as a consequence of the recent UK general election. Which would be a perfectly reasonable position, because the reality is that nothing has changed. Or she can say that we already know all we need to know about how Brexit is going to impact Scotland and that we might as well get on with holding a new referendum. which would also be a perfectly reasonable position. Because we do know all we need to know.
The factor that may weigh most heavily with Nicola Sturgeon, apart from the obvious necessity of ensuring the new referendum is held before the Brexit process brings about irrevocable constitutional change, is the benefit of providing a stimulus to the independence campaign that would inevitably flow from announcing a date for the referendum.
In terms of a “timetable”, what Sturgeon must be cognisant of is the possibility – admittedly not great – that Theresa May might choose to end the negotiations early, rather than extend them as far as possible within the limits set down by Article 50. It is essential that the FM ensures there is sufficient time to deal with the practical aspects of organising the vote, as well as the likely obstacles that will be contrived by the British establishment – including refusal of a Section 30 Order.
From all of this, we can see that there is an an increasingly powerful case for announcing a date. Or, to put it another way, there are only rapidly diminishing arguments for delay.Views: 3552
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