WE are out of the single market and the customs union. Scots, who voted against Brexit by a large majority, have lost their status as European citizens and with it the right to live, work and study freely in the 30 or so countries of the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA). But hey – blue passports!

The last-minute trade deal struck between the Conservative Government and the EU has not gone down well in Scotland. The fishing industry, the only economic sector which was supposed to benefit from Brexit, is already crying betrayal. Meanwhile, the deal offers nothing to Scotland’s large and important financial services sector.

The deal sets up customs checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, yet despite the promise of certain prominent Scottish Tories that they would resign if this happened, they remain very much in place. We’re looking at you Baroness Don’t call Me Baroness Davidson and your pal David Mundell. In October 2018, Davidson and then secretary of state for Scotland Mundell signed a letter to Theresa May saying: “We could not support any deal that leads to Northern Ireland having a different relationship with the EU than the rest of the UK.”

READ MORE: Ruth Wishart: All the faux outrage seems to have affected Tories' memories

Johnson’s deal does exactly that, yet there has been not a peep of protest from the erstwhile defenders of the so-called precious Union.

These are, it should be noted, senior Scottish Tories who are currently and hypocritically trying to make out that the SNP supports a No-Deal Brexit.

Well, Mundell and Davidson do know a lot about hypocrisy. They are basing this risible claim on the basis of the fact that the SNP, along with the LibDems, the Green MP Caroline Lucas, and the perma-naws of the DUP all voted against Johnson’s deal when it was put before the Commons in a rushed and time-limited debate which passed for parliamentary scrutiny in the same way that glancing at a YouTube video compilation of car crashes counts as writing and researching a detailed accident investigation report.

It’s typical of the Tories to work themselves into a fury about something that isn’t going to happen while hoping we won’t notice the very real harm they are causing.

The SNP have consistently opposed Brexit and have equally consistently opposed a bad deal that does not take Scotland’s interests into account and which damages Scotland’s relationship with Europe.

Given the large Tory majority in the Commons, together with the decision of Labour leader Keir Starmer to support the deal, there was never the slightest possibility that the SNP’s opposition would have risked No Deal happening. Nevertheless, Conservatives took to social media in an orchestrated and deeply unconvincing campaign to accuse the SNP of supporting one. It’s hard to understand just who the Tories thought that they were persuading with this ludicrous attack line.

Anyone who has been paying even passing attention knows that it’s the Tories who have spent the last year or so intoning the mantra that No-Deal was better than a bad deal, and that the SNP have opposed Brexit at every turn.

It’s the Conservatives who, for selfish reasons of internal party politics, who reduced Scotland’s options to a No-Deal Brexit or Johnson’s bad deal hard Brexit.

By trying to claim that by rejecting their bad deal the SNP support No-Deal, the Conservatives have put themselves in the position of a mugger who threatens to stab his victim if they don’t hand over their wallet, and then when the victim tells him to get lost says that the victim has freely chosen to be stabbed.

Far from achieving one of the Brexit goals of the Tories and making Scottish independence less likely, this deal increases the likelihood that Scotland will choose its own path. There is widespread anger and dismay in remain voting Scotland at the loss of our rights as European citizens. The previously independence-sceptical financial services sector based in Edinburgh has now been given a powerful motive to support independence as the quickest route back into the customs union and single market. And we now know the terms on which an independent Scotland could trade with the rest of the UK.

It is true that upon independence Scotland would be out of the EU and would have to apply for membership. Even with an expedited application from a sympathetic EU this would take time, however Scotland does not require full membership of the EU in order to regain the benefits of the single market, the customs union and freedom of movement.

READ MORE: George Kerevan: Scotland must stop being dewy-eyed about EU and focus on indy

It is entirely feasible that Scotland could negotiate membership of the EEA and Efta in the period between a Yes vote in an independence referendum and the actual date of independence, ensuring a smooth and seamless transition – Scotland could then trade with the rest of the UK on the same terms that Northern Ireland now does.

The British Government could not threaten Scotland with a more punitive regime as they cannot treat one part of the customs union and single market differently from any other. Likewise, there is absolutely no reason why an independent Scotland could not remain a part of the common travel area with the rest of the UK along with Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, removing any need for passport checks.

The threat of a hard border is now much diminished. The Tories are going to have a hard time scaring Scotland with the threat of border checks when they are spending so much political capital persuading the UK that Johnson’s deal means that the UK is indeed having its cake and eating it. The risks of independence are now much diminished and the advantages much greater. Scotland would be in an ideal position to enjoy access to the rest of the UK while restoring the right of Scots to European citizenship and the benefits that entails.

We have now finished Act One of the farce of Brexit, the UK has now completed its exit from the EU. Act Two is about to begin, Scotland’s exit from the UK and the re-unification of Ireland. The Tories had a choice between Brexit and their “precious Union”, they chose Brexit. In 2021 it will be Scotland’s turn to choose.