For the first time since 2014 the leaders of the devolved nations will be visiting Downing Street today.
As custom dictates at such meetings, there will be the usual smiles in front of Downing Street, warm words for the camera about productive working relationships and further talks to be had.
The purpose of the meeting is primarily so that Theresa May can demonstrate she’s listening to the concerns of the devolved nations on Brexit. She’s listening so much that she’ll ask Sturgeon et al to tell their concerns to Brexit Secretary, David Davis.
The central plank of Nicola Sturgeon’s ask is that the “negotiating package [for leaving the EU] should be subject to a vote in each of the four of the United Kingdom’s parliaments and assemblies.”
This is quite right in the opinion of the Scottish Politics Review. Yes, the country did vote for Brexit and yes, Brexit means Brexit. But the whole point about leaving the EU was so that Parliament regained its sovereignty. Theresa May can’t renege on this the first big vote out of the blocks.
More importantly, there wasn’t a decision taken on how we would leave the EU. There are several options open to the UK – subject to agreement by our European partners.
So it is quite right the governments of the UK come together to put their case forward. Additionally, it would be politically smart of the Prime Minister if she bound the devolved governments to the UK’s negotiating strategy.
The question is: can the SNP be trusted to act in national interest or will they act in self interest?
The Brexit vote does give the SNP the substantive change which they said would trigger a second referendum on Scottish independence. So, does this mean their negotiating position will be geared towards achieving this aim? Or will they knuckle down and work with – not against – our partners in the UK?
Scotland did vote to stay in the EU but this was a UK wide vote and Remain lost. So the SNP have a responsibility to prove that they are a government for the whole of Scotland and not just the parts that agree with them, as Ruth Davidson suggested.
We really can’t decide which side they’ll come down on. We are sure, however, that it is game of high-level brinkmanship which no one can afford to lose. Least of all the voters.