Sturgeon’s push for continued membership of the single market for Scotland comes at a heavy price, argues Rory Broomfield.
Last weekend we saw the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, renew her push for Scotland to stay in the Single Market and look to make deals with the EU, independent of the UK. This, of course, continues to stoke the fires of discontent and, as a result, Sturgeon is not just hurting the UK’s chances of achieving a new and prosperous future, but also Scotland’s chance of doing the same.
You see, the Single Market is seemingly adored and loved by those that wish the UK to be tied to it. Instead of realising that the UK can trade with the EU without having to be in it, many like to also muddle access with membership for convenience and, as such, muddle the debate. Nonetheless, the truth must be told: the UK does not need to be in the EU’s Single Market for companies and consumers within the UK to trade with others within the EU.
But Sturgeon obviously won’t be told. As we saw in her interview with Andrew Marr, she wants access to the Single Market – seemingly at all costs.
But has no one mentioned that access to the EU Single Market doesn’t require membership?
Has no one said to her that the EU has done Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with 43 countries around the world without the need for those countries to be EU members?
Has no one told her that countries – including the USA, China, India and Russia – trade with the EU despite not having even an FTA with the EU?
Despite the fact that economists Professor Patrick Minford CBE and Professor Tim Congdon CBE have performed numerous studies suggesting that Single Market regulation – not just membership costs – circa 6% of GDP per year (and rising), Sturgeon obviously thinks that the costs – and future costs – of Scotland being inside the EU outweigh the benefits.
Yet, in staying within the Single Market, Scotland would lose out on the chance to take back control of its own fishing and farming rights. It is odd that, despite Scotland’s fishing industry welcoming the decision to leave the EU, the First Minister of Scotland doesn’t want to know; doesn’t want to help Scottish farming; doesn’t want to help Scotland’s fishing industry.
But this goes deeper still. The interview she had with Andrew Marr was very telling. Indeed, Sturgeon believes that Scotland can be inside the Single Market whilst the rest of the UK leaves.
And let’s digest that for a second.
The costs of the Single Market (including maybe a membership fee?) with the same access that the UK will have post Brexit (with FTA)? I wonder what Scots would think about that.
What would it mean for Scotland regarding voting rights within the EU? Would they have votes within the EU? Given Scotland would be a minnow compared to other countries – and compared with its current deal on voter representation in Westminster – maybe Scotland will become the Greece without the Sun under Sturgeon?
Also, there are other questions that Sturgeon needs to answer in the plans she presents in the next couple of weeks.
Does she want Scotland to remain inside the Customs Union as well? That would mean allowing the EU to do its trade deals for it; it would mean waiting by on the sidelines as Liam Fox and the UK does trade deals with nations that are already queuing up to do trade deals with the UK.
If the rest of the UK does not have an FTA with the EU post Brexit (but goes for WTO arrangements) would the SNP – if they are in Government at that time – impose tariffs on the rest of the UK? This may seem like madness, but could be a possibility under Sturgeon’s SNP.
Why do I say that? What possible reason can I think of to suggest the above? Well, the SNP have demonstrated themselves to want to take back control. Not, of course, in matters concerning the EU, but rather their domestic policy has continued the centralising march of national socialism; their domestic policies have been a plan for central control.
Examples of this are numerous but the breaking of regional police structures to form Police Scotland, which prompted a stinging attack by Theresa May when Home Secretary, is just one example. As is the Named Persons Scheme, which looked to introduce a “state guardian” to be in charge of every child in Scotland, and was both blocked by the UK Supreme Court and described by the Court as ‘totalitarian’. (Despite this, the SNP still wish to introduce the Named Persons Scheme next year).
But the cherry on top could now be that Sturgeon’s SNP has allegedly begun censoring the press in Scotland.
The only silver-lining in all of this is that Sturgeon – and the SNP – cannot keep their iron grip over Scotland forever. Or can they?
For both Scotland – and the United Kingdom’s sake – I think Sturgeon’s loss is everyone else’s gain.