Any illusion that Theresa May’s Brexit strategy is not delusional and dangerous was utterly shattered by her speech last Tuesday. When she has to resort to blackmail, threatening to turn the UK into a corporate tax haven sweat shop if the she doesn’t get ‘the best deal for Britain’, and Boris Johnson comparing the French President to a German prison camp guard, the UK is indisputably no longer a union that Scotland should remain a part of, and is endangered if it remains within. Furthermore, Scotland needs to vote this year in order to clarify its constitutional status, to seamlessly maintain their place within the EU and become a new member state.
For the reasons I will enumerate, September 2017 would be a propitious time, just as Article 50 negotiations have begun in earnest, and which also should coincide with the Catalan independence referendum.
The Article 50 negotiations will be a train wreck. The negotiations will be over the divorce, pure and simple, and a very ugly one. There is intense acrimony in the EU towards the UK government engendered by their arrogant, delusional, and insulting attitude and discourse. It will be absolutely impossible to negotiate any long-term trade deal within the 2 year period, even assuming the UK government had a shred of goodwill. It will likely take a decade after.
Assuming Article 50 is invoked at the end of March, the actual negotiations will start in May, and there will only be a 1 year window to accomplish the rupture, so that it can be ratified before the EU elections in 2019. The divorce issues are momentous. How are assets and liabilities to be dealt with? What is the status of EU citizens living in the UK, and UK citizens living in the EU? What is the status of Ireland? THIS is the agenda that the EU will dictate, and the UK will be charged some £50 billion pounds for the experience.
Here is just one issue which illustrates how hideously complex the negotiations will be. Will the UK will still participate in the European Airspace Safety Agency (EASA)? Will airline safety regulations be applicable in the UK post Brexit? Will insurers be willing to insure planes which land at Heathrow if the safety rules are not applicable?
Scotland’s constitutional status must be resolved early in the negotiation process, so that the negotiations can proceed accordingly. It makes no sense to wait even until 2018, because the negotiations will be taking place on the basis that Scotland is in the UK, and will leave with the UK.
There is also the question of new trade deals the UK signs with other countries, once the UK is out of the EU. Brexiters are delighted that the incoming Trump administration has promised to quickly sign a trade deal with the UK. Given Scotland’s experience with Trump’s golf courses, why on earth would Scots want anything to do with a trade deal that involved Donald Trump? Any such deal would allow the American corporate vultures to pick the UK carcass clean.
Scotland is facing an existential threat from Brexit and Trump. If Scotland leaves the EU with the rest of the UK, it may never again have the capacity to take its destiny in its own hands. It will be forever shackled to an isolated and bitter little England, with workers rights, human rights, trade, and everything else at the mercy of perhaps decades of Tory rule.
Scotland cannot afford to stay in the UK as it sinks into Brexit oblivion. A referendum must be called for soon to have any chance of achieving its rightful constitutional status.