The Yes side win a vote for Scottish independence by 53.4% to 46.6%
Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon begin negotiations with the UK Government led by Michael Gove.
Michael Gove announces that the UK will only support a free trade agreement with Scotland under the condition that Scotland pays an exit fee. This will be ten billion pounds. Unless Scotland agrees to pay this fee the UK will refuse to enter into negotiations regarding free trade.
Scottish independence supporters bitterly complain about the UK’s negotiating tactics. But everyone recognises that there is just over a year until 24th March 2016, the intended date of Scottish independence.
Michael Gove proposes that there should be a backstop agreement applying to those areas of Scotland that voted No. These places should not be disadvantaged in their trade relations with the UK. For this reason Scotland must agree that if a free trade deal with the UK should turn out to be impossible to negotiate, they should remain part of the UK Single Market and Customs Union.
Scottish independence supporters continue to complain and to demonstrate their displeasure with the Salmond/Sturgeon negotiating team. Representatives of No voters try to prevent Scottish independence continuing by taking legal action.
Scotland takes part in its final UK General Election. MPs for what are now known as Remain supporting parties win a majority of the seats. There are loud calls for a “People’s Referendum”.
Fear of a “no deal” Scottish independence grows in Scotland forcing Salmond/Sturgeon to agree to the exit fee and the backstop.
Salmond Sturgeon and other members of the SNP Government meet at a large country house in order to come up with a plan. The debate is between fundamentalists led by Salmond and pragmatic gradualists led by Sturgeon. Salmond loses the debate and resigns. The agreement is known as “Check hers” because on leaving Salmond says that “They wouldna read my plan, they only wanted to check hers.”
Sturgeon goes to a meeting with Michael Gove with her “Check hers” plan. Gove rejects it. He thinks that Sturgeon is wanting to cherry pick the UK single market.
Salmond is shouting from the side-lines that Sturgeon should chuck “check hers”
Michael Gove insists that there can be no free trade agreement with Scotland unless Scotland agrees that the Borders, Orkney and Shetland remain in the UK Customs Union and Single Market, which would mean that although they would have no representation at Westminster, UK MPs would still control the rules and laws applying to these parts of Scotland. Alternatively Scotland could agree that the whole of Scotland would remain in the UK Single Market and Customs Union, meaning that it would not be Edinburgh that controlled Scottish trade and customs policy, but London. In order to retain these benefits Scotland would have to pay a membership fee of five billion pounds per year on top of its ten billion pound exit fee.
Scotland is deeply divided. Some independence supporters are determined to leave the UK come what may even if there is no deal. They reason that they would still be able to trade with the UK on WTO terms. Other Scots begin to regret their decision to leave the UK. They demand a second referendum. The SNP argue that it is undemocratic to demand a second referendum and that the result of the September 2014 referendum must be respected.
Sturgeon continues to plead with Michael Gove to relax the terms of the backstop. She complains that it puts her on the horns of a dilemma. Either she must break up Scotland or deliver independence in name only. Gove responds that it wasn’t his choice to vote to leave the UK.
Gove continues not to budge and as the clock ticks towards Independence Day Scotland becomes ever more divided.
Faced with a choice between leaving with “no deal” and staying in the UK, the Scottish Parliament narrowly votes to stay. Salmond calls them traitors.
Gove accepts that the result of the September 2014 referendum has been annulled, but decides to also annul Scotland’s rebate (Barnett Formula) and abolish all of the devolved Parliaments. From now on the UK will be treated as one nation indivisible with no preferential treatment for anyone.
This post was originally posted by the author on her personal blog: https://www.effiedeans.com/2018/10/check-hers.html