Nicola Sturgeon's double standards

It's all very well Nicola Sturgeon saying Europeans should be guaranteed the right to stay in Scotland post-Brexit. But would she say the same of Britons in an independent Scotland?


Would Brits have the same rights in Nicola Sturgeon's independent Scotland?

The morning after the UK's referendum on Europe, Nicola Sturgeon thought about holding a snap referendum on the Scottish independence. She didn't presumably because she wouldn't have won it, and because even if she had won it, it would have had no legal status. But not calling one then doesn't mean she isn't going to keep grandstanding about having one some other time and hence keeping all of Scotland in a mild state of anxiety for as long as her party are in power. It is very trying.

More trying, however, at the moment is her grandstanding about the EU referendum itself. Yesterday she held an event designed, her party said, to reassure EU nationals living in Scotland that she is doing everything she can to make sure they don't have to leave post-Brexit (something the UK's prime minister has already said she is committed to confirming anyway). "I believe,' she told them, that "you have the right to certainty". Interesting.

Why I wonder, if EU nationals living in Scotland have the right to certainty about their status, do the British living in Scotland not have the same right? This was a point neatly made by one attendee at the event. Patrick Harkness noted that he isn't getting much in the way of certainty out of living in Scotland at all (he is from Northern Ireland). Instead, the SNP's relentless focus on independence constantly threatens his status as a citizen of the country in which he lives.

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The UK government could, says Sturgeon, "at the stroke of a pen" end the worries of Scotland's Europeans. But the Scottish government could make life easier for an awful lot more people: at the stroke of a pen Nicola Sturgeon could confirm for the 55% of Scotland's population who voted to stay in the UK in the last referendum that they will stay in the UK. She could do that either by setting a date for another referendum (which she will almost definitely lose) or by just promising not to have one.

Merryn Somerset Webb

Merryn Somerset Webb started her career in Tokyo at public broadcaster NHK before becoming a Japanese equity broker at what was then Warburgs. She went on to work at SBC and UBS without moving from her desk in Kamiyacho (it was the age of mergers).

After five years in Japan she returned to work in the UK at Paribas. This soon became BNP Paribas. Again, no desk move was required. On leaving the City, Merryn helped The Week magazine with its City pages before becoming the launch editor of MoneyWeek in 2000 and taking on columns first in the Sunday Times and then in 2009 in the Financial Times

Twenty years on, MoneyWeek is the best-selling financial magazine in the UK. Merryn was its Editor in Chief until 2022. She is now a senior columnist at Bloomberg and host of the Merryn Talks Money podcast -  but still writes for Moneyweek monthly. 

Merryn is also is a non executive director of two investment trusts – BlackRock Throgmorton, and the Murray Income Investment Trust.