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21 December 2016

Nicola Sturgeon has released her latest plot to keep Scotland in the failing EU single market.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has unveiled proposals for Scotland’s future relationship with the European Union, claiming that it is ‘democratically justifiable’ for the entire UK to stay in the single market – despite such an arrangement being a betrayal of referendum commitments on immigration, finance, and national sovereignty – while also alleging that Scotland alone could remain in the single market if need be.

She did at least concede that England and Wales want out of the block, saying ‘I accept that there is a mandate in England and Wales to take the UK out of the EU.’ She went on to say that ‘I do not accept that there is a mandate to take any part of the UK out of the single market’, failing to grasp that the mechanisms of the single market are the root cause of many of the dysfunctions that prompted the people to vote Leave.

Sturgeon’s mission

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the bitter Remainer side of Ms Sturgeon. She has been on a warpath against the British people for months, ruthlessly disregarding the concerns of the more than one million patriotic Scots who backed quitting the EU in June.

Sturgeon has been on a mission to keep Scotland shackled to the European Union one way or another since our vote for national independence in June. She has wrangled meetings with minor European functionaries to flex her muscle, threatening to disrupt the process for the rest of the UK. Despite over a million Scots voting to quit the crumbling bloc, Ms Sturgeon has pressed on with her quest with religious zeal while claiming to represent the people of Scotland.

Nonetheless she has failed to make as much of an impression as her predecessor Alex Salmond, now a mere backbench Westminster MP. Last week he won a meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, but all he could take away from the talks was a vague comment about Scotland deserving to be heard.

Ms Sturgeon now proposes devolving powers over a range of regulatory matters to the Scottish government, permitting her to harmonise the Scottish business regime with that of the European Union and thereafter negotiate privileged access for her region to the EU trading arrangement.

Separatist regions

But such a proposal is overly optimistic from Ms Sturgeon’s point of view, and highly unrealistic. With serious separatist movements in other European countries, most notably as a thorn in the side of the Spanish establishment as their grip loosens on Catalonia, it is unlikely that European leaders would encourage such a divisive step to be taken by a region of a unitary state. Such a move would set a dangerous precedent for these states.

Spain itself is already under a near constant political crisis, with the left-populist Podemos party rising in the polls. To encourage the rising spectre of Catalonian separatism would be a step too far, and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was quick to hit back at the attempts in June by declaring that Scotland ‘does not have the competence’ to negotiate with the EU adding that ‘if the United Kingdom leaves…Scotland leaves too’. Scotland of course voted to remain in the United Kingdom in a hard fought referendum battle in September 2014, in which unionists beat nationalists by an impressive ten point margin.

The danger

Most importantly, continued Scottish participation in the single market without the rest of the United Kingdom would mean that Scottish borders remain open to uncontrolled European migration while those of England and Wales theoretically become properly controlled – a situation that would quickly become an absolute mess, either with Scotland acting as a tunnel for EU migration into England and Wales or a land border being erected between Scotland and England.

It appears that Ms Sturgeon’s desire to stay in the single market is partly an idealistic plan to retain ties to her cherished EU, but also a cunning way to undermine the integrity of the United Kingdom. With continued threats of a second independence referendum – which, by the way, polls suggest she would lose strongly – we must always be aware that her overriding ambition is to cut ties with the UK. Such a devious mechanism for retaining membership of the single market would certainly further that ambition and the UK government should think carefully before caving in to her demands.