Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal goes against Scotland’s will

Like most other people in Scotland, I find it extraordinary that Boris Johnson has decided to inflict a hard Brexit in just a few days’ time in the middle of a pandemic and economic recession.

This reckless action is being taken against the wishes of the majority of people in Scotland, and will hit jobs and living standards hard at the worst possible time.

An extension to the current arrangements with the EU was on offer earlier this year, but the UK Government refused to take it.

And while no deal would have been the very worst possible outcome, the deal Boris Johnson has negotiated will mean disruption in the short term – as well as new, long-term barriers.

Our people will be less safe and they will lose their right to work, study and live elsewhere in Europe.

We are to be taken out of the huge European Single Market, which in population terms is seven times the size of the UK. And promises made to our fishing communities have been broken.

The Scottish Government is working hard to soften the blow.

We’re taking action to protect medicine supplies and doing whatever we can to help businesses and people on low incomes who are particularly vulnerable to an economic shock.

But the Tories have laid bare again that they do not see the UK as a partnership of equals, but as a system of government where Westminster is supreme.

A government that people in Scotland didn’t vote for has decided to make us poorer.

Indeed, some experts say the economic damage of Brexit will be substantially greater in the long-term than the damage from COVID.

It is yet another example of Tory governments taking Scotland in the wrong direction against our will.

In fact Scotland, of all the UK nations, is being treated particularly unfairly.

England voted for Brexit and – however damaging and divisive it may be – is getting what it voted for. Wales also voted for Brexit, and is leaving the EU.

Northern Ireland, like Scotland, did not vote for Brexit but unlike Scotland, it will have its own distinct, tailored solution with good access to the Single Market.

But Scotland, with the highest vote to remain in the EU, is being told to put up with a hard Brexit.

Faced with such outrageous unfairness, it is no wonder more and more people are saying they’ve had enough of Westminster and of governments we don’t vote for – led by the likes of Boris Johnson and Mr Gove.

The international response to the COVID pandemic has reinforced the importance of values such as solidarity and co-operation. The UK government’s Brexit stands against that.

People in Scotland have the right to choose our own future, and the choice facing Scotland is clear.

We can suffer the damage, disruption and decline of Brexit, pursued in the midst of a global pandemic, and against our will – or we can take our future into our own hands.

People in the rest of the UK will always be our closest friends and neighbours.

As an independent member of the European Union, Scotland can be a partner and a bridge-builder – not just a bridge to building a stronger economy and fairer society, but a bridge to aid understanding between the UK and the EU.

Let’s put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands – not those of Boris Johnson.