Will the Scottish people, so cross at being required to lose all those lovely EU subsidies (even though they are almost certain to be replicated by the UK government), cut off their noses to spite their faces by voting to deprive themselves, at the same time, of the even greater English subsidies? Nicola Sturgeon apparently thinks they will.
The Scots, their self-proclaimed leader thinks, are bone stupid. If she calls an independence referendum and tells them it is really about Brexit, not the independence from the UK which they so resoundingly rejected a couple of years ago, they will dutifully file into the polling stations to vote for independence.
Her reasoning might make sense if there were the remotest possibility of an independent Scotland being permitted to join the EU. But, sadly, Scotland on her own is far too poor to comply with the rules for EU membership. From being a part of a country which has been a substantial net contributor to the EU she would move to being a poverty stricken supplicant for funds. There is not the slightest chance of countries like Greece, Spain, Poland etc. etc. agreeing to permit such a supplicant to join their club.
But Nicola Sturgeon is convinced that her supporters are far too dim to understand any of that. So long as she keeps banging on about how awful Brexit is she reckons she can get her way and be crowned Queen Nicola of Scotland. After all, there was a large majority in Scotland for the remain side in the EU referendum: it must follow from that that most Scottish people, when told that they are really having a second Brexit referendum not a second independence referendum, will forget their objections to independence and vote as the future Queen Nicola instructs them to.
Of course, Ms Sturgeon is living in cloud cuckoo land. The people of Scotland are not mentally defective. If they are forced to have another referendum they will almost certainly be even more unionist than they were last time. But that is not a reason for letting Ms Sturgeon have her referendum before the Brexit negotiations are concluded. Once Article 50 is triggered, the UK (including Scotland) will be committed to leaving the EU. There is no provision in Article 50 permitting a small part of the leaving nation to remain. A Scottish vote for independence (which will not happen – but let’s humour Ms Sturgeon for the moment) cannot change the fact that Scotland will be leaving the EU. An independence referendum in the middle of the negotiation process would be a pointless distraction. By all means, let her have her referendum immediately after we have left the EU. But, please, let us all concentrate on getting the best deal from the EU first.