20 December 2016

Hard and soft borders

Even The Times is preaching sedition:
Nicola Sturgeon, perhaps unlike her predecessor, is wary of economic insanity. She has learnt the lesson of 2014, which is that at the ballot box, if only in Scotland, it does not sell. So her strategy is to be the sane one. This, of course, being helped in no small part by sanity being out of fashion, at least in Westminster. For a Unionist, all the old arguments of prudence, caution, and economic soundness can only work if the Scottish separatist alternative can be shown to be even more batshit doolally than the stuff British cabinet ministers come out with every other day.
Sturgeon’s plan might not be. Its details remain to be seen, and on past form it will include holes you could drive a Brexit bus through. Yet the notion of a single market settlement for Scotland alone is not inherently mad at all.
It would be theoretically possible, for example, to retain freedom of movement up north, without a big fence at Berwick-upon-Tweed. Yes, EU nationals could enter Scotland and go south, but so what? Unless we’re planning on terribly strict visa controls, tourists will be able to do that anyway. Freedom of movement isn’t really about movement, but jobs and benefits. Fudge some equivalent of the EU’s border agreement with Switzerland, and the mooted deal with Turkey, and it’s certainly conceivable.
Can't see it, myself.  But let us await what the Blessed Nicola announces ...


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