Time is running out to stop Brexit catastrophe

The Tories and Labour are failing Scotland on Brexit. There are now just nine months left before the UK is supposed to have a Brexit deal agreed with the EU, and only fourteen months before Scotland will have our EU membership terminated against our will by the Tory government at Westminster.

Since the referendum, when an overwhelming majority of people in Scotland voted to remain in the EU, Theresa May’s utterly incompetent Tory government has stumbled from one crisis to another, as its chaotic and shambolic Brexit negotiations falter at every turn.

Just before Christmas we found out that the Tory cabinet has unbelievably only just begun to discuss what future trading relationship it wants the UK to have with the EU, and it still hasn’t done any meaningful assessment whatsoever of the impact its Brexit plans will have on the Scottish and UK economy.

Negligent doesn’t begin to cover it.

As we hurtle towards the EU exit door, it is increasingly clear that the Tory government hasn’t got a clue what it’s doing.

It is being driven by the fringe ideology of dogmatic right-wing Brexiteers, like Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, rather than the national interests of the country.

Worse still, in true Better Together tradition, the Tories are being helped at each and every stage by the Labour Party – who refuse to lift a finger to oppose their extreme Brexit plans.

Time is now running out to prevent the unprecedented economic catastrophe that an extreme Brexit would cause.

We know Tory plans to drag Scotland and the UK out of the world’s largest single market and customs union would destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs, and damage the incomes, livelihoods, and living standards of millions of people across the country.

Analysis from the Bank of England, Fraser of Allander Institute, London School of Economics, and many others, has revealed the devastating extent of a hard Brexit.

In Scotland alone we stand to lose 80,000 jobs, and £2,000 per person, under a Tory hard Brexit – a huge blow to the Scottish economy that would cause lasting harm to our industries and communities for decades to come.

While no option other than retaining our EU membership can truly protect Scotland’s economy from Brexit, remaining in the single market and customs union is by far the best compromise, the least damaging option, and the only way to safeguard people’s jobs, incomes, and living standards.

The Scottish Government has repeatedly tried to advise and influence the UK government to that end but instead they have chosen to ignore, sideline and undermine Scotland’s interests.

We were told Scotland would be an “equal partner in a family of nations” if we rejected independence but it is now plain to see that nothing could be further from the truth.

The Tories and Labour are utterly failing Scotland on Brexit. With the clock ticking it is now vital that we have a strong, united and effective opposition to prevent the lasting harm an extreme Brexit would cause.

The SNP are doing everything within our power to protect Scotland’s vital membership of the single market and customs union – it is time Labour joined us.