Theresa May is meeting Nicola Sturgeon today so we can expect to see the return of nonsense about hard borders and whatnot for a few hours. But in truth, the Tories’ position on a referendum is much more coherent than Scottish Labour’s.
Theresa May’s argument is that Scots can’t have a well-informed referendum until they know what Brexit entails. Of course, Nicola Sturgeon has proposed holding the referendum in that period where we do know what the Brexit deal is, so the door has been left the door open to compromise over the exact timing. Although neither side is saying it, it does seem likely that they can do business – we’ll just have to wait and see what referendum date comes out of the politics of the next year or two.
Labour’s position, though, looks literally senseless.
Here’s Scottish Labour’s Kezia Dugdale explaining that Labour will NEVER support a second referendum.
So while the Tories accept that saying we can’t have a second referendum until we know the result of the Brexit negotiations is only an argument which can be deployed until, er, we know the result of the Brexit negotiations, Labour is saying it doesn’t care what the result is. Even if the result is manifestly disastrous in every way for Scots, Labour will still oppose a second referendum!
Well, at least we won’t be hearing Labour say any longer that we can’t have a referendum because we don’t know what the deal is, right? Because the only logic of that position would be to be agnostic about a referendum until we do have that information. And given Ms Dugdale’s strong commitment we can presumably assume Labour won’t be changing it’s position on supporting a referendum even after the Scottish Parliament has voted for one?
No, remember in future this quote from Ms Dugdale’s piece above: “There are absolutely no circumstances in which Scottish Labour will support another referendum”. Disastrous Brexit deal? Nope. Great majority of Scots support a new referendum? Nope. Scottish parliament in which Labour MSPs sit votes for another referendum? Nope.
That’s the dogma of ultra-unionism, all right. And the simple fact is that the only sense which can be attached to it is the sense that Scottish Labour is actually trying to outflank the Tories on the union flag-waving front.
It feels like Labour is bringing ‘colours’ and British nationalism into the referendum.