Scots fear for employment oppurtunities and Eastern European Immigration
By Molly Ambler
Political turmoil has certainly followed the shock of Brexit. The latest in this political saga is the SNP calling Theresa May to continue allowing freedom of movement between the UK and its European counterparts, despite the majority of Scots disagreeing with this stance.
The Scottish Social Attitudes Survey found that at least a third of Scots worry about the impact of immigration from Eastern European countries such as Poland, believing that they reduce opportunities for others in Scotland.
These results came as the SNP argued free movement was essential as the NHS depended on staff from EU countries. However, the majority of the country remains sceptical to the benefits of immigration.
The SNP has highlighted official figures showing that 6.7 percent of Scotland’s doctors are from the European Union and demanded that the government of the UK assure EU citizens they will not be forced to leave in the wake of Brexit. Such disparity between the beliefs of Sturgeon and the beliefs of the majority of the population of Scotland suggest a further attempt by Sturgeon to halt and even potentially stop Brexit from occuring.
Scotland’s Conservative party leader, Ruth Davidson, disapproved Sturgeon’s stance. Davidson implied that Sturgeon should concentrate on helping Scotland and its citizens deal with the fall out from Brexit, and not to wish away the decision made by the entirity of the UK. She said the First Minister was attempting to use a “constitutional chisel” to break up the UK instead of listening to the concerns of the people. These concerns include the freedom of movement between EU citizens and Scotland.
It can be understood that Sturgeon is attempting to poise Scotland in a newly independent position, politically seperate from the UK. However, this could lead Scotland into a head to head collision with the rest of the UK, especially when assuming that immigration was a large deciding factor in the verdict to leave the EU.
The SNP leader has made it clear that she is ready to stage another independence referendum if it proves to be the only way to maintain Scotland’s interests inside the EU.
PM Theresa May has said that she is “willing to listen to options” but some may be impractical. Sturgeon has stated that Scotland could remain signed to the Brussels’ freedom of movement rules- which allow any EU citizen to live in any of the 27 member states- while remaining part of the UK. However, she has denied that this could lead Scotland into an isolated position from the the rest of the United Kingdom.
Sturgeon is facing opposition on her stance towards free movement, with Scots worried at the declining opportunities for locals and, thus, this may mean she has to concede on this particular desire. However, time will tell as to whether Sturgeon values the democracy of the United Kingdom over her desire to retain Scotland’s relationship with the EU.