IPPR Scotland have organised a series of events with Scottish politicians to talk about how the UK decision to leave the EU might affect Scotland. So far they have organised events with Gordon Brown, Nicola Sturgeon, and David Mundell.
The broad themes of each speaker reflected what you might expect to hear from a staunch Labour supporter of the Union, a social democrat who believes in Scottish independence and a liberal minded Conservative constrained by the lack of clarity as to UK Government policy post-Brexit.
So, for Brown, the need, yet again is for a new form of relationship between the Westminster and Scottish Parliaments. As ever, listening to Brown explain why he is absolutely right, the overriding emotion is to shout 'why didn't you do that when you were in power for 13 years'?
Nicola Sturgeon argued that retaining a relationship for Scotland that is as close to conventional membership of the EU is essential. In particular, the free movement of people, and inward migration, has long been accepted as key if Scotland is to have a prosperous future. While it was inevitable that her speech would be intrerpeted (by some) as simply using Brexit to push Scottish independence, I think her argument was more nuanced. The SNP were prepared to work with anyone to secure a messy deal that retained key relationships for Scotland but was also prepared to push for independence if that remained the only option.
David Mundell spent most of his speech attacking the SNP for raising the possibility of a second independence referendum. Most of this was predictable and familiar but it was surprising to be told that Better Together had not argued that voting to stay in the UK was the only way to preserve EU membership in 2014. Apparently, David Cameron had given a rather obscure speech in 2013 setting out his case for a referendum on the UK's membership of the EU (this and a few other parts of his speech just came over far too much like listening to a Government press-release).
In respect of the issue of the rights of EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in the EU all gave very different answers. This did not rate a mention from Brown as he went on about his understanding of constitutional theory. Nicola Sturgeon was honest that the SNP could not resolve the uncertainty but was fully committed to free movement of people. Mundell, tried to defend the UK Government line that this an issue for 'negotiation' and was very angry to be accused of using people as bargaining chips.
So, three months after the Brexit vote, we still have no UK Government policy. In turn that means any attempt to work out the best solution for Scotland is nearly impossible. But it is increasingly becoming clear that the UK Government wants to end free movement of people and, from what Mundell said, is not really prepared to work out a separate deal for Scotland.