Sunday Column: If Brexit goes wrong then it's the end for Scottish Independence.

By Derek W Gardiner

As Brexit looms we may well be headed for a no-deal outcome, as someone who voted for it, I'm not going to pretend there won't be any disruption. We saw this week, a build-up of lorries in Dover however, this was mostly due to a spike in demand for certain products as we have not left the EU single market or customs union yet. Whatever happens, the UK has covered its back, we have already negotiated trade deals which encompass 59 countries including Canada, Singapore and Japan. It is clear that with a population of 65 million and world-leading financial services industry the UK will remain an attractive trading partner for most countries in the world.

The disruption we see at the start of next year is likely to be short term but it will show the SNP what the real consequences of embarking on independence after Brexit might look like. They will, of course, scream that it is the Tories fault for "inflicting" Brexit on Scotland "against its will" and all that but that won't change the cold hard reality of things. The SNP has made it clear that they will seek to join the EU if Scotland becomes independent, never mind that Scotland does not meet all the eligibility criteria for entry into the EU and will be trading with the whole world in WTO terms until they are allowed to join, the consequences of having one half of the island of Great Britain in the single market and customs union and one half out of it will mean customs checks at Carlisle and Berwick upon tweet rather than Dover and Kent. There is talk of naming the new lorry park built in Kent the "Farage garage" What will Scottish lorry drivers and warehouse workers name all the things we have to stock up on if there is a no-deal Scexit, "Sturgeon stockpiles" perhaps.

Freedom of movement across the island of Great Britain where everyone speaks the same language, works for the same employers, reads the same newspapers and shares a common culture with, is far more important to me than the purely theoretical freedom to move to a country where they speak another language and where I am unfamiliar with the local culture. Unless some special agreement like what we have with Ireland is agreed then we could lose the freedom to live, work and love across the UK, something me and family have taken for granted and our saltire passports probably won't even be blue but EU burgundy.

Scottish independence voters seldom get the same scrutiny from remainers as Brexit voters do. A popular question that radio host James O Brien asks Brexit voters is to name one EU law they are looking forward to not having to obey after we leave the orbit of the EU. But when you try the same with a Scottish independence voter you will get the same kind of "bendy banana" type laws from them. For example, when I was canvassing for Vote No in the 2014 referendum, I encountered a man outside the polling station who told me he was voting yes because he watched the TV show "Can't pay, we'll take it away" the night before and was worried his home would be repossessed, what he didn't understand was that debt recovery is a devolved power and so he would only lose his house if the SNP Scottish government passed a law to enable it. Another more recent example is students trapped in halls blaming Westminster, the Tories and Boris Johnson for their plight when in fact, the Scottish government was to blame. The SNP have been very skilled blaming Westminster for their own abysmal failures, one wonders if they will start blaming the EU when they no longer have Westminster to blame, most likely they will continue to blame whatever independence deal we sign up to as "Westminster trying to punish Scotland for independence".

These are the arguments unionists should be making not going on about "division" when the country is already divided.

Stop scaring people out of enjoying Christmas.

2020 has been an annus horribilis and at the end of it all the people deserve at least having the comfort of a family Christmas and to that end the UK government allowed three households to meet indoors for a Christmas meal and hug relatives for the first time in months and the Scottish government followed through gritted teeth. They continue to tell people that just because they can meet with their families doesn't mean they have to. The SNP mouthpiece Devi Sridhar recently tweeted that we would have to endure lockdowns in January and February because we dared meet our families for the festive season. Well, it's not up to her.

Even more disgracefully an NHS charity Christmas ad depicts Santa being given oxygen treatment for Coronavirus. Why does the Christmas season have to be made worse for everyone by this sort of doom merchandising. Thankfully the government has refused calls to review this taking into account the mental health and frankly their inability to enforce a ban on Christmas. Its time we stopped treating our fellow people as walking bioweapons but as human beings instead.