Brexit Scotland UK

Boris Johnson cannot win the battle for the union | The New European

I can’t help but agree with most of what’s said in this article. There’s an interesting point that it seems likely that Scottish independence will come about due to actions English nationalism rather than as a result of the arguments for Scottish nationalism.

I think it is absolutely true that, had the government of the day tried to bridge the gap between leavers and remainers back in 2016 and forge some form of compromise we would be in a much better position. It didn’t and we’re now facing a no-deal Brexit that we were promised couldn’t possibly happen and which half of the constituent countries of the UK voted overwhelmingly to avoid. The complete disregard for the hopes and desires of the Scottish and Northern Irish is deplorable. The painting of everyone who wants a close relationship with (if we’re not allowed membership of) the EU as enemies of the people, anti-democratic, anti-patriots has created a sense among ardent remainers of us being different to “the people”. The way the far right have gained ground and the rise of overt racism over the past 4 years makes me happy to consider myself different. Of course, if we’re different, why should we be governed by leaders who don’t care about our views or opinions.

The economic arguments against the break-up of the Union are strong, but only if you assume the Scottish economy needs to continue on the free-market libertarian model which was been brought in to the UK since the 1980s. The Irish economy is booming. The Scandinavian’s seem to be doing OK. The Baltic states don’t look destitute. They are all comparable in size to Scotland. If they can do it surely Scotland can go it alone too? Especially if, as I hope, going it alone means rejoining the EU and banafitting from the richest, most diverse trading area in the world.

We need the other UK parties to look seriously about how to either fix or disagregate the UK and what they want the future to look like. For Labour and the LibDems to simply state that the Union is better than independence isn’t good enough. The Union hasn’t worked in Scotland’s interests or respected Scotland’s views – certainly for the past 5 years. In my opinion, the Scottish arms of these parties are looking tired and out-of-touch. The LibDem’s have long championed electroral reform as they recognise the disenfrachising nature of the UK FPTP system. Why aren’t they promoting federalisation as a way of holding the nation together culturally while allowing seperate decisions on the direction and organisation of each seperate state? Labour is losing ground because their Unionist arguments is made better by the Tories and their social responsibility arguments arte made better by the SNP. Why aren’t they pushing for similar arrangements for Scotland as Northern Ireland post-Brexit whereby a that nation can remain in the Customs Union? I suspect SCotland would want to enter the EEA, at least, to have full access to the Single Market, buying into the 4 freedoms. Scotland needs immigration to help generate tax revenue to support an aging population. This is recognised by the population at large in way it doesn’t seem to be in England. I guess that’s another difference between a colonised country (Scotland) and it’s colonial oppressor (England).

Brexit International UK USA

Trump Pivots From Free Trade Agreements; U.S. Business Left Behind

This is an interesting article from Forbes. If this is the way of thinking of Trump’s Trade Representative then it bodes badly for the UK government hoping to negotiate a thumping FTA with the USA which will replace the EU (not a hope in hell). Lighthizer’s arguments for FTAs only within groups of local, boundaried, countries highlights one of the strengths of the EU. It is a massive free-trade area with consistent, open, rules of engagement and with relatively limited transport. The USA has NAFTA so, it seems, their Trade Chief thinks that’s enough, everywhere else should be on WTO MFN terms. Obviously, initially this removes barriers for the USA in competing with the EU in countries where they have agreed FTAs. These include many former European colonies and also some of the world’s leading economies such as Japan. The USA is losing ground to the EU due to Europe’s keenness to enter into bilateral agreements around the world.

Trump has always played an America First hand, so I guess he sees challenges in negotiating FTAs around the world as these require compromise and would open him up to accusations of ‘selling out’ one industry or another in order to gain advantage elsewhere. He needs to feel loved across the board so removing bilaterail agreements means, as the largest economy, the USA regains some of it’s former power.

This is yet another sign that Trumpist USA is not a good friend for Brexit Britain and another sign of how Brexit is a made decision which will leave us economically and diplomatically poorer, worsen our security position and not, actually, hand back any real benefits.

Well done Brexiteers, another sign of your ability to completely misread the way the future was shaping up.

Brexit UK

Boris Johnson

So, this morning (25th August) 4 different news outlets are reporting rumours that Boris will have resigned by February. Can’t it be sooner?

How might this play out then, if it’s true. Here’s my thinking:

  1. A no-deal Brexit is on the cards as no trade deal can be agreed due to British red lines. The government spin machine goes into overdrive ‘celebrating’ the break from the EU and congratulating Boris on delivering the wishes of the people. Boris ‘resigns’ as ‘his work is done’ leaving others to pick up the pieces.
  2. The government U-Turns in the Brexit trade talks in order to secure a deal. The government spin machine goes into overdrive ‘celebrating’ the break from the EU and congratulating Boris on delivering the wishes of the people. Boris ‘resigns’ as ‘his work is done’ despite ERG members spitting feathers about the ‘betrayal’.
  3. COVID comes back with vengeance and Boris is ‘advised’ to step back due to the health risk, him already having suffered and been hospitalised earlier in the year. ‘Reluctantly’ he steps back handing the reins to someone else to sort out the mess he’s left.

I appreciate this is wishful thinking but if we’re being prepared for his leaving there is a chance that there;s going to be a shift in the brexit stance as everyone in government can see the disaster looming. Boris sidestepping at the right time, amid fanfare and thanks, could just casue enough of a distraction for them to sneak through a reversal and us end up with a deal that doesn’t cause absolute disaster. The key factor, in my opinion, will be the US elections. If Trump loses, Boris will be looking for a way to achieve a proper deal with the EU knowing full well that there’ll be nothing coming from a Biden administration. The Tories can’t oversee a total meltdown of the economy. This is their strong point. They’d be out of power for a generation if everything tanks. Especially with the cool calm head of the lawyer-in-waiting across the despatch box with his facts and his statistics and his research. Pesky professional that he is!

Brexit UK

Backwards facing Britain

I’ve just realised, with some shock, that I am just the same as the Brexiteers!

They want to take Britain back to some rose-tinted 1950s ish period where Britain ruled the waves (and other countries did as they were told). The ignore that fact that Britain was still bankrupt in the 1950s due to WW2. There was a decade of growth and improvement in 1960s then the country was so broke in the 1970s it needed the biggest ever loan from the World Bank. They forget 3 day weeks, devaluation, Imperial wars, poor life quality and expectancy because the way it is portrayed is through the lens of the middle classes. We started to emerge from 30 years of on and off austerity and economic turmoil after we’d joined the then EEC and they had started to move towards the fundamental freedoms (Goods, Labour, Services). Why wasn’t Auf Weidersehen, Pet described as “unwelcome immigrants steal jobs from locals by working for less than the going rate and refuse to learn local language or customs.”

Anyway, why am I the same as a Brexiteer? Because I want to turn the clock back to the heady days of 2012 when we confidently welcomed the world to celebrate sporting prowess. When the country had a positive outlook and a positive reputation. It was the end of arguably 20 years of “cool Britannia” where we looked to the continent for partnerships that helped us all grow and we took a collaborative approach to everything.

I think 2012 was the end of that era as we’d had the coalition government for 2 years, austerity was start to bite and the LibDems were starting to find out their limits as the junior coalition partner. In my opinion it all started to unwind after 2012. Immigrants and immigration became the scapegoats for everything the government failed us on. Europe and the EU was blamed for every government failure. The rhetoric of the Conservative party became more and more isolationist, nationalist and selfish.

So here we are in 2020 looking forward to the prospect of drug shortages causing animal pandemics, the army on the streets to quell riots food prices rocketing and shortages due to lorries being held up at the ports. Adding to this the now annual flooding devastating the lives of tens of thousands and a second round of Covid, on top of seasonal flu to add another 30,000 or so avoidable deaths.

What, exactly, is this country doing to itself?