Brexit has placed the Borders in a precarious position

For the last two referendums that the Borders participated in, we voted against change and for the status quo. To remain in the UK and to remain in Europe. This is a reminder that democracy is often messy and has a tendency to throw up contradictions.

We now face a democratic dilemma. This isn’t just something that supporters of independence have to grapple with, it’s part of a crisis in which our national interest and prosperity are at stake.

Brexit was supposed to be like the tablecloth trick – we’d be able to get rid of our membership of the European Union without disturbing the things we value.

With so many different elements of Brexit still up in the air, the trick clearly hasn’t been pulled off and there’s a real risk that a lot will come crashing to the ground before this is over.

Brexit has placed the Borders, Scotland and the U.K. in a precarious position on a whole number of fronts.

So further uncertainty is not a choice, it’s an inevitability. The one certainty we have is that the status quo is no longer an option. When the Tories demand that Scotland keep quiet to prevent further uncertainty, they neglect to mention that it was their party that got us into this mess.

The question that voters in Scotland have to ask is whether they want a Scottish voice to be heard as we move forward. This has been the overwhelming focus of my colleagues in the SNP.

I understand that I represent one of the regions that voted against independence in 2014 by a significant margin. But it would be absurd to claim that the issue of independence has been the focus of my work as an MP thus far.

The idea that Brexit is being used by my party for opportunistic ends doesn’t stack up. Our position is clear: we refuse to take independence off the negotiating table. But we will only pursue that course after other credible options have been exhausted and if the people of Scotland want it.

Our immediate task is to push for continued access to the single market. If we don’t Scotland's national interest will be damaged: possibly as part of an ideological drive to turn the UK into a low-tax, low-regulation economy.

There is much more at play here than party politics. Attitudes to Scotland’s status after Brexit have changed with remarkable speed: staunch unionists such as Gordon Brown have made clear it’s a game changer. 

More importantly the idea that Scotland has a democratic right to stay within Europe is something that the EU’s new Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt has expressed support for. We have options that must not be curtailed by a Tory government’s command.

But when you end up confronting such important questions, dialogue is the only answer. That’s why the SNP is embarking on an unprecedented conversation about where we go next. Let us know what you think about Scotland’s constitutional future at survey2016.scot