As Nicola Sturgeon and her team work tirelessly in Scotland’s interests it is clear that there are those who desperately want her to fail. As ever, the consequences for Scotland matters less to these people than their mindless hatred of the SNP.
In reality, it was never expected that the Scottish Government would have easy access to the higher echelons of the EU or the governments of member states. Any half-competent and unbiased political analyst would recognise that the situation has been poisoned by the Brexit vote and by the vaunting sense of arrogant entitlement with which David Cameron has approached the EU – all but demanding they give the UK everything it might want as it flounces out of the European club.
The astounding ineptitude of the British political establishment doesn’t help either. When politicians meet formally, the last thing they want are surprises. They want to know in advance precisely what is going to be said, and exactly what the implications are. They want to know the status of the party or parties with which they are meeting in relation to all the other parties involved. They want to know what positions all the parties are taking. Given the confusion and lack of direction provided by the UK Government, it is only to be expected that European politicians will be initially cautious. They want to see how the cards fall before committing.
Somebody has to make the first move. And Nicola Sturgeon has shown superb leadership, not to mention admirable political acuity, in proclaiming Scotland’s commitment to the EU and her government’s determination to defend Scotland’s place in Europe.
As Donald Tusk and others have pointed out, the UK is the entity which is recognised as the member state. Dealing directly with any party other than the government of the UK is fraught with diplomatic and legal difficulties. Their caution in accepting approaches from the Scottish Government is perfectly understandable and more standard procedure than political snub.
The problem here is the UK Government. What this situation makes starkly clear is the extent to which the British state is, at best, an obstacle and a hindrance to the proper conduct of Scotland’s affairs in the world. At worst, it poses the threat of real and lasting damage to Scotland’s interests. It is entirely fitting, therefore, that the politicians who have a mandate to protect and progress those interests should seek every opportunity to put Scotland’s case.
Whether meetings take place or not is, at this stage in proceedings, considerably less important than ensuring that Scotland’s position is emphatically differentiated from that of the British state.Views: 2030
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