‘…Scotland’s relatively normal politics and pro-European aspirations may look in many ways more in the contemporary political mainstream than Johnson’s past-its-sell-by-date Trumpism. And a more open attitude from the EU to an independent Scotland may impact to some degree on US views too. But hard realpolitik interests – whether in the US or EU – will always be there.’
‘Across all its various dimensions, independence is about a whole range of transitions – economic, political, democratic, social and cultural. Considering how those transitions could and should be managed, and what their implications, timings and costs and benefits are, needs to become a more central part of the debate.’
‘The potential shorter and longer-term economic transition and structural change Scotland faces as an independent state within the EU, while rUK is outside post-Brexit, needs careful economic analysis and an understanding of likely costs and benefits. What it does not need is a studied looking away from the challenging economics of a Scotland-rUK border.’
‘Where Scottish politics and independence goes in the face of no Brexit is one more open question. Independence, after all, would be much more straightforward to manage if the UK remains in the EU.’
Independence is far from guaranteed and big issues such as currency are unresolved but Scotland’s chances of (re)joining the EU as a member state have improved.
‘Fudging both the timing of an independence referendum and the SNP’s position on a ‘people’s vote’ looks like getting more difficult as Brexit D-day draws nearer this autumn.’
A strong stance from the SNP on a people’s vote does not yet look likely. If Labour found its nerve on this, the SNP, it seems, would follow not lead. The big challenge on Brexit for the Scottish government is whether it can find its nerve on Brexit, as its MPs at Westminster have done, and lead not follow.
‘Corbyn’s speech is most important for its opening up a clear policy divide – 20 months after the Brexit vote – between Labour and Tories. That should make for an opposition starting to hold the government more to account. Whether it will result in the torpedoing of May’s Brexit strategy or even in an early election are the big questions that lie ahead.
‘To argue for the UK to stay in the EU’s single market and customs union is to argue to stay as close to the status quo as possible while giving up vote, voice and a seat at the table. Faced with a more damaging type of Brexit, it sounds sensible – until you look at the democratic cost. Compared to being an EU member state it is surely absurd’.
“For political parties that want a second vote – whether on the UK staying in the EU or Scotland being independent in the EU – this will be the key time.” “If the talks break down, then autumn 2018 will be a moment of crisis – one that all players should be making their plans for now, too.”