© Mark Runnacles/Getty Speaking to a tiny audience at the Scottish Conservative Party Conference, the PM made it clear that Scotland, unlike others, will get nothing, may even lose something, from Brexit and that if it doesn’t like it then it should have the guts to go for independence. Most insulting of all, she’s sure we don’t have the guts to do so.
The Scottish Government has long since submitted an options paper for keeping Scotland in the single market. May has treated it with contempt despite clearly having no serious plan herself, leading a divided party and responsible for a government which cannot manage its NHS or social services in a manner remotely comparable to the competence of the Scottish Government.
Here are May’s real priorities:
The City of London
This is number one on the list. Panicked by losing banks to Europe, May will offer to pay huge funds into the EU to allow the London-based banks to carry on as before dealing in Europe without any financial or other constraints.
The Tories in England have never liked devolution. We saw the mask drop after the Independence Referendum in 2014 when all the pleas for Scotland to stay were forgotten as they desperately sought to fight off UKIP with English Votes for English Laws or as it really was, English Laws for English Votes. The first sign of Brexit leading to less autonomy for Scotland can already be seen in the strong signs that the Tories want to claw-back control of farming subsidies to Westminster. Second it seems very likely that they will betray the Scottish fishing industry and use it as a ‘bargaining chip’. More detail on this below.
Car Manufacturing in England
It seems almost certain that Nissan has been offered some deal whereby in can still profitably sell cars to the EU. Whether the EU agrees to some kind of tariff op-out for them or the UK compensates them in some way, this will inevitably trigger a queue of other businesses looking for the same. Scottish businesses need not apply.
Tiny Gibraltar (30 000 and 1 in 2012) will matter more than Scotland as May does a deal with the Spanish government to keep freedom of movement for which 96% of them voted. The Spanish want joint sovereignty. Let’s see how far she will go on this while still threatening Scotland with a hard border and punishing trade deals if we choose independence.
As with Gibraltar, both parts of Ireland desperately want to hang on to the soft border for economic reasons and to prevent any return to the horrors of the past. Westminster equally wants the same thing yet, as above, will not offer a devolved Scotland the same to allow it to protect or boost its economy with a different deal on freedom of movement and thus trade with the EU.
Here’s more on a possible deal on fishing. Fishing only accounts for 0.5% of UK GDP. Scottish landings at 62% of the total, worth £775 000, are twice that of England. The fishing industry has been told Brexit will be good for them. They were encouraged to vote for it but they have been betrayed before, in 1972, when access to the EEC allowed massive access to formerly Scottish waters by boats from European ports. This story is all over the media.
Regarding a devolution reversing power grab for farm subsidies and other agricultural matters, Ruth Davidson has already said that some powers over agriculture would be better set at a UK level.
So, the PM seems sure she can do as she likes with Scotland because the polls say we are afraid to leave. Remember, however, she and most commentators are relying on the landline telephone-call, data collection polls which suggest little growth in the Yes vote but these are unreliable as they were for Brexit. The recent BMG online poll made it 49% for Yes. That look s like she doesn’t really know how strong her hand is. I’ve explained before why online polls are more accurate at:
And, we haven’t even started campaigning yet.