When former prime minister Tony Blair made his ill-advised and damaging foray in to the Brexit debate by saying, among other things, that the context for the pro-Scottish independence case is “much more credible” after the Brexit vote, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon responded by saying that Blair was just stating the obvious.
The same observation could be made when looking at what Scottish Secretary David Mundell is expected to say to members of the Scottish Parliament today when he says there are no circumstances under which Scotland could stay in the EU after Brexit.
Technically, as the UK is the member, Scotland cannot remain in the EU, but that does not mean that Scotland’s future could not be in the EU after a referendum vote to leave the United Kingdom. There are of course some obstacles to that including the economic qualifying criteria, but the very heart of politics is that where there is a will, there is a way, rules can change, exceptions can be made by politicians who all want the same thing. If it was the settled will of the Scottish people to be in Europe, and the settled will of the EU that it wanted Scotland as a member, then a way would be found.
That would be when Scots found out about the terms of membership, and the costs as well as the benefits the new-look Europe could offer, and that is unlikely to be found in the near future.
So it seems likely that Scots will know nothing of that detail when they are asked to decide. In those circumstances it would be impossible to make an informed decision that EU membership was where the best interests of Scotland lay.