Scotland in Europe Update 17th August 2018

This week showed that those advocating for Brexit have not looked to the past for inspiration, but instead suffer from delusions of resurrecting an idealised version of it. The dreams of a worldwide trading network built upon the Commonwealth (synonymous with “Empire” for many, let’s be honest) is one that holds sway with those who see the world through the grainy black-and-white images of an imagined 1940s British Pathé news report. For them, The Empire Strikes Back is a promise, not part of the Lucas filmography.

But let us briefly put to one side the dubious morality of trying to live off the benefits we could derive from having once conquered and subjugated large parts of the world, and look to what could be achieved practically. I want to know how, in the modern age, any such arrangement could work. It is in no way clear what such an arrangement would look like. Will the nations of the Commonwealth open their borders to us? What would such arrangements look like? Will they involve the harmonisation of regulation?

I ask these out of genuine curiosity. For example, if we were to try to create some sort of regulatory framework across the Commonwealth countries to reduce barriers to trade, it is worth remembering that many have far lower worker protections and environmental standards than we currently enjoy. Does that mean we would be reducing our standards? Since we will be desperate for a deal it would suggest they get to set the agenda. Australia has already said as much regarding hormone-reared beef.

Equally, will freedom of movement throughout the Commonwealth, or at the very least preferential status for visas, be discussed? If so, how does this fit with the “close the borders, raise the drawbridge” mentality of the Leave campaign?

I fear I know the answers to some of these questions, but the reality is they have either not thought it through or have simply disappeared into a land of make believe. You can read more of my thoughts here:

thenational.scot/...

 


 

The British Medical Association has warned against the dangers of a no deal Brexit and called for a second vote:
“The BMA believes the public should have a final informed say on the Brexit deal and, to reject the notion of a ‘no deal’ given all the serious risks that such an outcome carries.”
independent.co.uk/...

The People’s Vote campaign have published work investigating how much Brexit will cost areas of the country. You can read about Fife here:
fifetoday.co.uk/...

and how a hard Brexit will cost the average person in Aberdeen £1,776 a year
eveningexpress.co.uk/...

The European Parliament Brexit Steering Group has condemned the UK Government’s proposal to register EU citizens alphabetically.
“We need a simple, efficient and fair process, not one a budget airline would be proud of.”
politico.eu/...

A major new study has shown that more than 100 seats which backed Leave now want to remain in the EU.
theguardian.com/...

Peter Kellner has also put together a useful article summarising where we are in terms of public opinion.
infacts.org/...

The number of citizens from the rest of the EU who are employed in the UK has fallen by the largest annual amount since records began. This is going to be devastating for Scotland’s economy.
thetimes.co.uk/...

According to Buzzfeed, the UK Government is preparing for no-deal, and the effects this will have on more than 80 separate sectors, including consumer protection, food labelling, and workplace rights.
buzzfeed.com/...

The UK Treasury has been moving cash into Euros ahead of Brexit.
thetimes.co.uk/...

Finally, Natalie Nougayrède has written a sobering piece warning us about how Eurosceptics will shamelessly try to spin anything to their agenda.
theguardian.com/...