OVER two separate weeks this year, The National has probed the effects that Brexit will have on Scotland. Back in February we showed just how devastating a hard Brexit would be for things like the Scottish economy and the health service.

At that point, it was very much looking as if a hard Brexit was the only option being contemplated by the Tory government, and those who were agitating for a soft Brexit seemed very much in the minority.

This week, following the General Election debacle suffered by Theresa May, we felt more justified in looking at a soft Brexit and what that could mean for Scotland in contrast to a hard Brexit.

Leaving aside politicians, without exception the experts that we spoke to were all in agreement that a hard Brexit would seriously damage many areas of Scottish life from our universities to our social care and the basic rights of people living here.

Only those involved in the fishing industry felt that a hard Brexit could favour them, but many of them have acknowledged that the Westminster Government could trade fishing rights for, say, financial passports in the current negotiations.

Having compiled both series, I can only report that the overwhelming desire by everyone from academics to lawyers, from economists to health and social care professionals is for a soft Brexit, that is, access to the Single Market and Customs Union, accepting freedom of movement for EU citizens, with the rights of EU nationals here uppermost in many minds. When I write political comment I always mention my membership of the SNP and I invite all commentators in the media to state their party political allegiances openly. But it is not just the SNP who want a soft Brexit for Scotland. Most notably, Ruth Davidson has given strong indications that she wants to see Scotland still connected to the single market somehow. Scottish Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and the Scottish Greens all want the same thing so surely the future approach must be a cross-party movement by our politicians in the Scottish and Westminster Parliaments to try and obtain that laudable end.

Politics is always about choices, and when you have a referendum you have to respect the choice of the people, no matter how mendacious the Leave campaign was.

The truth is that Scotland can moan all it likes about the fact that the Scottish vote was to remain – and overwhelmingly so – but as long as we are part of the United Kingdom we have to accept that England’s voters will always far outnumber those of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Yet no one seriously argues that a vote that was driven by concerns over immigration – numerous polls and studies have shown this to be the case – was a choice to abandon Europe all together.

In this series we have shown that there are choices for Scotland, and that they do not have to be for a hard Brexit.

To my mind, the most interesting suggestion of the week came from Dundee University’s international legal expert Dr Jacques Hartmann who put forward the theory that Scotland could be like the Faroe Islands, a devolved administration of Denmark, which is outwith the EU but has access to the Single Market.

There is nothing in international law or indeed UK law to stop that happening for Scotland. The only obstacle is the intransigence of a discredited Tory government.

Perhaps it is time for all of Scotland’s politicians to get together and argue for a “Scottish Choice” – a soft Brexit - if the UK cannot achieve that.

For as we have shown, a soft Brexit for Scotland is highly preferable while a hard Brexit for us and the whole of the UK is frankly too awful to contemplate.