If Ruth wants to remain in the single market, there is only one solution
Today Ruth Davidson met with Europe Minister David Lidington to discuss what is best for Scotland post Brexit. She advised him that the most important thing for Scotland is to remain in the Single Market. Ms Davidson said:
I was pleased to meet with David to discuss the upcoming negotiations and the best way forward for Scotland and the wider UK. We both agreed that it is vital for the voice of Scotland to be heard in these talks, and that the Scottish Government should be involved at all stages of the negotiations. There is undoubtedly a need for all the devolved administrations to work with the UK Government to ensure we get a deal that reflects the needs of all of us.
Chiefly amongst this will be our continued access to the single market. Protecting our trade with the European Union will boost our economy, sustain jobs and help to fund vital public services.
While we are in agreement with Ruth about the importance of remaining in the single market this will be hard to achieve within the UK. We just voted to leave the EU in a campaign where the most important issue was the free movement of people.
Those who are running for the leadership of Ruth’s party are all talking about controlling EU immigration. The EU has made it clear that there can be no access to the single market without free movement of people.
So the solution Ruth is advocating can only be achieved if the democratic will set out in the referendum is ignored. We can stay in the single market if we don’t initiate article 50 which would cause a constitutional crisis. Or if we come up with some sort of fudge whereby we keep free movement and stay in the single market without the decision making power we had when part of the EU.
Which would mean we would have all the responsibilities and none of the power.
Both of these solutions would be unsatisfactory to those who voted leave. They would also be deeply damaging to the Conservative party, whose members are deeply divided on the issue.
So, under the rule of her own party, Ruth is probably not going to be able to keep Scotland in the Single market while we also remain in the UK.
The UK will most likely leave the single market, but an independent Scotland would be able to remain within it.
Doing so would be a massive opportunity for Scotland. We can mop up more than our fair share of the investment that is soon to dry up in the UK. We can offer a new base to many currently English based companies who will be looking to relocate within the EU. Our highly educated English speaking population is just a stones throw away.
When Davidson finally realises Scotland will be dragged from the single market against the will of the people how will she react?
I am willing to bet everything I own that even if we do have to leave and even when the pain predicted by all serious economists begins to bite, Davidson will be the loudest promoter of remaining shackled to a self harming UK
Despite admitting the importance of the Single Market and despite Scotland being shunted from it by a lack of sovereignty, when we are forced to leave she will still be banging on about “Pooling and Sharing Resources” and how we have the “Best of Both Worlds”. Even with a UK pushing the self destruct button and an independent Scotland within the EU starting to look the like a sensible option to many small C conservatives. Even with Davidson having fought to stay in because she knows how important it is: when push comes to shove she will rather go down with the sinking ship.