There is, I strongly suspect, a very good reason why these “senior SNP figures” and “influential party insiders” are unnamed. Supposing they actually existed, they would surely be embarrassed to be associated with the nonsensical views attributed to them by Michael Settle. It is hardly credible that anyone in a position that would justify the labels “senior” or “influential” might imagine it even possible, far less advisable, to postpone the independence referendum until after the 2020 Westminster election.
Anybody taking a more rational and less prejudiced view of the situation than most British commentators are capable of must realise that the referendum has to take place before Scotland is dragged out of the EU contrary to the wishes of Scottish voters. It is vanishingly unlikely any “senior SNP figure” or “influential party insider” would fail to recognise that finalisation of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU creates a new political reality in which restoration of Scotland’s independence whist retaining our place in Europe would be more problematic, not less.
Whilst it is certainly the case that there are differences of opinion concerning the timing of #indyref2 within the SNP and across the independence movement, the tendency is to favour an earlier rather than a later date. For reasons that should be obvious. Even at the level of intuition it seems quite evident that it must be easier for Scotland to maintain its relationship with Europe rather than start from a position that is not only outside the EU but outside on terms that we will have no significant role in defining.
The terms on which the UK exits the EU will be almost entirely dictated by the EU. And the settlement that is imposed will not be favourable to the UK. The EU is very far from inclined to be generous. There is little or no goodwill among the remaining member states. And there seem no realistic possibility that special arrangements for Scotland and Northern Ireland will be either granted by an EU disinclined to allow even the perception of doing any favours for a departing member, or sought by a UK government dominated by One Nation British nationalists.
And, of course, the British political establishment has its own agenda in relation to Scotland. The UK Government is hardly likely to actively pursue any Brexit settlement that could conceivably be seen as a win for the Scottish Government. Even the most casual observer cannot have failed to notice that the Westminster elite views the SNP as a threat to the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state. The overarching imperative is the preservation of the union at any cost. Even to the very limited extent that the UK Government is in a position to win any concessions in the Brexit negotiations and subsequent trade talks, Scotland’s interests will not be a consideration. Other than the potential that Brexit may offer for undermining the SNP and/or locking Scotland into the union, we will not be given a second thought.
Almost by definition, senior SNP figures and influential party insiders are well aware of all this. They know full well that the final terms of Brexit are all but certain to be a constitutional and economic hammer-blow to Scotland. They have to know that the UK Government will be seeking ways to take advantage of the opportunities Brexit offers for putting new obstacles in the way of the democratic campaign to restore Scotland’s independence. It is simply not believable that such people would be urging Nicola Sturgeon to delay a second referendum until after the damage has been done.
There is more of clumsy and transparent political mischief-making in Michael Settle’s article than dispassionate political commentary.Views: 2854
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