Just when you thought the UK Government’s shambolic Brexit negotiations couldn’t get any worse, we had the embarrassing spectacle of the EU summit in Salzburg. Theresa May had to be told, once again, that her universally panned Chequers plan was dead in the water.
We now have six months to go before the UK is due to crash out of the EU. And thanks to the utter incompetence of this Tory Government, we still don’t have an acceptable plan in place. That causes huge uncertainty for Scottish businesses, threatening the jobs, incomes and livelihoods of people across UK.
After the Prime Minister’s absurd speech on Friday, where she lectured our 27 EU partner nations and continued to dig her heels into the sinking sand around her, the value of the pound plummeted as it became even clearer that we face the prospect of leaving the EU with a bad deal or no deal at all.
WATCH: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon brands Chequers 'dead as a dodo'.
— STV News (@STVNews) September 21, 2018
Either of these would deal a huge blow to Scotland’s economy – destroying thousands of jobs and damaging the living standards of millions of families.
The SNP has been clear all along. If we can’t stay in the EU, as Scotland voted for, then at the very least we must remain in the single market and customs union. That is the most sensible compromise and the only way to protect jobs and prosperity.
It would avoid the worst of the Tories’ Brexit damage and it is an option that must be put back on the table, along with an extension to the negotiating period to allow time for a deal to be struck.
But while the SNP have put forward a clear alternative to the Tories’ Brexit chaos, the so-called “official Opposition” at Westminster have, yet again, been completely absent.
When challenged on their failure to offer any alternative to the Tories, senior Labour MP Barry Gardiner let the cat out of the bag – tweeting: “Never interrupt your enemy when they are making a mistake”.
The truth is Labour are even more shameless than the Tories on Brexit. They would rather sit back silently and watch the damage unfold than work with the SNP to prevent an extreme Brexit. They are only too happy to see thousands of people lose their jobs, in the vain hope that the wreckage of Brexit will make the Tories so unpopular that they can finally beat them in an election.
👇 Here's just some of the other ways a no deal Brexit will affect our daily lives. https://t.co/oQGGU59vrT
— The SNP (@theSNP) September 21, 2018
It stinks. By dodging their responsibilities to offer any alternative, Labour have proven they aren’t fit for opposition, let alone government. It takes a lot to be more reckless and irresponsible than the Tories but Labour have managed it.
Jeremy Corbyn used to present himself as a man of principle and someone who advocated “honest politics”. But there is nothing principled or honest about Labour’s cynical game-playing on Brexit. It is the worst kind of politics and it is ordinary families who will suffer the consequences.
Scotland deserves better than this lot.
The Tories and Labour opposition at Westminster must put the interests of the country first and back the SNP’s compromise plan – or they will both be equally culpable for the lasting damage Brexit will cause.