On 15 October, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon delivered a speech at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). It was on the contentious topic of Brexit. Sturgeon used the speech as an opportunity to promote the UK staying in the single market and customs union as a “compromise” between leavers and remainers. But the Leave-supporting Daily Express didn’t take too kindly to this proposal, or her speech.
The mainstream media are not often fans of Sturgeon when it comes to constitutional matters. But the first minister set out her compromise for the UK, which she says reflects the result of the EU referendum.
Sturgeon said in her speech at the RSA:
membership of the single market and customs union is surely the obvious democratic compromise. It is certainly in my opinion a better reflection of the referendum outcome than anything the UK Government has so far proposed.
This would see the UK adopt a Norway-style arrangement with the European Union.
The Daily Express
But the Daily Express didn’t take too kindly to the speech, or the digs at the UK government. It clutched its pearls and led with this headline:
And others in the mainstream media were also unimpressed. Former Evening Standard journalist turned Guardian deputy political editor Pippa Crerar claimed Sturgeon didn’t provide a “realistic” answer to her question.
But voters were quick to call Crerar out:
This is a great example of the framing that is putting people off MSM 'journalism'.
Pippa asks a question…
Nicola answers yes and gives details…
— Citizen Pangloss (@SophiaPangloss) October 15, 2018
It seems Sturgeon cannot win with some when it comes to Brexit or Scotland’s constitution.
Sturgeon, Scotland and the speech
Sturgeon started her speech openly and honestly. The first minister of Scotland said that she and her government come from a perspective of opposing Brexit. But since the vote, the Scottish government has tried to “recognise” the overall UK result – “even if [they] don’t entirely understand it”.
Sturgeon went on to compare the UK’s treatment of devolved nations with the EU’s treatment of equal independent nations:
The European Union has supported Ireland and shown it nothing but solidarity as it confronts the challenges of Brexit; by contrast, the UK has dismissed and ignored Scotland’s concerns.Looking at the UK and the EU, it is fair to say that only one has looked like a partnership of equals. And over the past two years that has not been the UK.
She also confirmed that the Scottish government would “do nothing to stand in the way” of a different deal for Northern Ireland. But Sturgeon did say a Northern Ireland deal would strengthen the argument for Scotland having a “differentiated approach” to the rest of the UK. This includes the possibility of Scotland remaining in the single market and customs union.
Sturgeon also set out that Scotland must have the right to choose independence from the rest of the UK, saying:
we believe that when there is greater clarity about the terms of Brexit than exists today, Scotland must have the option to choose a different course, as an independent member of the EU.
A head in the sand approach will not make the Chequers ostrich fly.
As tweeted by journalist Kirsty Strickland, the joke resulted in “laughs from the audience”.
Of course, Sturgeon’s political opponents took no time at all to criticise her speech.
in the hope of drumming up the prospects for Scottish independence
[the SNP must] not to use the Brexit chaos to pursue its dream of breaking up Britain
And Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said Sturgeon’s speech was:
not helpful in the slightest
In reality, Sturgeon is providing logical and sensible solutions to the problems in the Brexit chaos. She has defended Scotland’s interests during the EU withdrawal process when devolution was being undermined.
It could be time for Sturgeon’s political opponents to get behind her, and work to secure a fair Brexit deal for Scotland. The timeline for Brexit is getting shorter and shorter.
– Join us, so we can keep bringing you the news that matters.
– Think Brexit is a disaster? Join the campaign for a People’s Vote.
– Watch Nicola Sturgeon’s speech at the RSA in full.
Featured Image via: RSA/YouTube
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?