Welcome to Nicola Sturgeon’s nightmare vision for Scotland, an EU member that makes the NI Protocol look like a child’s play

Nicola Sturgeon - Getty Images Europe

Nicola Sturgeon – Getty Images Europe

The completion of Brexit was a big headache. But Scotland’s exit from the UK and the EU would be the mother of all migraines.

Nicola Sturgeon’s dream of an independent Scotland rejoining the EU would make the problems with the Northern Ireland Protocol seem simple in comparison.

Brussels would insist that Scotland treat England as a “third country”, meaning that fresh English sausages, live mussels and uncooked lasagna would be banned north of the border.

English dogs, cats and ferrets should be vaccinated three weeks before being allowed into Mrs Sturgeon’s brave new world according to EU regulations.

Sassenach racing pigeons would be thrown by smiling border guards due to EU animal health rules. And English racehorses would face new bureaucratic hurdles to overcome before they could compete in independent Scotland.

The Fortnum & Mason and Marks & Spencer barriers could be a thing of the past for Scottish households, as they are already in Northern Ireland as businesses decide the bureaucracy is not worth the effort or cost.

In the meantime, some “dangerous” English trees will be outlawed as the newest EU Member State aligns with Brussels’ plant regulations.

The United Kingdom withdrew from the EU, its Customs Union and the Single Market in 2020 following the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Ms Sturgeon wants to rejoin the three, which means all goods and animals traveling from England to Scotland will be subject to border controls to ensure they meet EU standards.

Borders at sea in Ireland have shown that this significantly increases burdensome bureaucracy and increases shipping costs.

The new burdens are particularly heavy for smaller businesses, which will simply stop exporting to Scotland, as some in Northern Ireland have already done.

The Irish Sea border is there to carry out checks that would be too inflammatory to take place at the invisible border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.

However, there is no convenient 96-mile ferry crossing between Marshall Meadows Bay on the east coast and Solway Firth on the west to channel controls.

The only solution to convince Brussels that the integrity of their single market would be protected would be the hard-line Scottish-British border with checkpoints.

Even so, owning one is still beyond the reach of the average person.

“Magic thinking”

The SNP could argue that technology and digital customs procedures could smooth border friction. But Brussels rejected such ideas as “magic thinking” when the United Kingdom proposed them as possible solutions for the Irish border.

This does not take into account any measures that the United Kingdom may decide to impose on Scottish products in response.

The EU will be less flexible with Scotland than with the island of Ireland. The Scots will not have the advantage of an EU member state like Ireland pushing for special treatment.

Outside the United Kingdom, applicant Scotland will not be able to request exceptions to the Brussels rules, as an accession process that could take decades begins.

It must promise to join the euro and comply with EU fiscal deficit rules if it can meet the criteria for membership.

The break-up of Scotland by England, its largest trading partner, after more than three centuries would be a nightmare, even without complex factors such as Trident and North Sea oil.

It has been quite difficult to free the UK from its 47 years of EU membership following a referendum that now threatens to provoke new independence votes in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The price of Brexit freedom was the new border frictions with the EU, the UK’s largest trading partner.

Reintegration into the EU will not make up for Scotland’s lost income, leaving the United Kingdom and the internal market free.

Nicola Sturgeon insists she does not want to repeat the mistakes of Brexit.

If it puts obstacles in the way of the rest of the UK, it risks doing just that.

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