Leading EU Remain campaigner and CEO of Business for Scotland Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp said:
“Assuming that today’s speech by Theresa May matches the leaks placed in the press by the Conservatives, then the UK PM will announce an economic, exporting and international relations policy that is detached both from common sense and the economic reality of the interconnected and interdependent nature of trade within Western Europe.
“The UK’s economic strategy is now being driven by old fashioned, isolationist, British nationalism and the PM’s negotiation tactic for the forthcoming Brexit talks seems to amount to nothing more than ‘sticking her fingers in her ears and humming Rule Britannia’.
“A soft Brexit is possible; the Norwegian model with membership of the single European Market via an EFTA style arrangement is a credible option, it just does not satisfy the xenophobic, anti-foreigner narrative of the highly misleading Leave Campaign. With immigration control and no EU membership fee/trade levy as part of the deal, a soft Brexit was never something that the EU would agree to. Theresa May has made a political calculation that a soft Brexit would lead to the Tories descending into civil war and the EU would disintegrate if it allowed the UK preferential access without the costs or the four freedoms. The PM has made a decision based on out-of-date thinking about Britain’s place in the world, a cold political calculation on the future of her own career and xenophobia – this is not the UK that Scots narrowly voted to remain members of in the 2014 referendum.
“Research by Business for Scotland before the EU referendum, predicted a hard Brexit would cost Scotland’s economy as much as £7bn year and as many as 50,000 jobs – these figures have proven conservative when compared to more recent estimates such as those by the Fraser of Allander Institute. Scotland exports more per head than the rest of the UK and with 8.4% of the UK population receives 17.4% of the EU grants to the UK, making Scotland’s EU/single market access economically vital and given the rise in value of grants denominated in Euros, Scotland’s vital EU membership is now effectively free.
“Scotland now has a choice between being dragged under with an isolationist, self destructing, distant, disinterested and dysfunctional UK Government or planning a route to greater shared prosperity with a fully empowered, independent Scottish Government focused on an international, inclusive, civic national identity and economy policy.
“A second independence referendum is now inevitable and most likely will take place in May 2018. This is not a rerun of 2014; the UK has changed fundamentally and so has the economic argument, as a hard Brexit guarantees significant economic damage, heavy job losses and no EU membership or single market, all of which can be avoided through Scottish independence. The Scottish people only need to have the will to be a better nation than we can be in a post Brexit UK and it will happen.”