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Scotland in Europe Update: 19th October 2018

I'm almost tempted to feel sorry for Theresa May sometimes. But then I remember, it didn’t need to be like this. She didn’t need to call her vainglorious election. She did not need to mouth meaningless platitudes such as “Brexit means Brexit” when it was obvious to the dogs in the street that Brexit means making choices.

Above all, she didn’t need to trigger Article 50, starting a time-limited process when it was obvious to those same dogs in the street that neither she nor her party were ready for the choices they have still not made.

The ultras will accept anything to – as they see it – get Brexit over the line and call it a success. So long as there is a transition period, the pound will (probably) not collapse and business will (probably) not start leaving in earnest, so they’ll be able to leave the field and retire to their after-dinner-speaker circuit, same as David Davis (remember him?) already has.

May’s evident talent for fudge cannot be allowed to smooth over the fact that we are throwing ourselves off a cliff and hoping we’ll have time to knit a parachute before we hit the ground.

Brexit is an entirely self-inflicted disaster, as I mentioned in my speech to SNP Conference earlier this month.

There's not so much white smoke on Brexit as a great deal of fog. Keep the heid folks.



Here’s a fascinating piece by Iain Begg over at LSE on the looming constitutional crisis.

This week, I added my signature to a cross-party letter to the National Crime Agency and the Met Police asking whether they were approached by government representatives to suggest that they soft-pedal the investigation due to political sensitivities.

There may be an extension of the Brexit transition period.

Meanwhile, Tony Blair, Nick Clegg and Michael Heseltine have penned a joint letter on the need for a referendum rethink. “Getting into the transitional period with little fuss might seem worthwhile but it will not settle the Brexit question.”

Germany’s Welt has covered the letter with interest.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Rabb is making friends with his ‘take it or leave it approach’.

In case you missed this story in the blur of Party Conferences, The Future of England study released earlier this month shows that 79% of English Conservatives would support the breakup of the UK as the price of Brexit.

If you're interested, this Twitter thread from Peter Geoghegan links to the full YouGov data tables from the study.

Maintaining medicine supplies would be “very complex” and “extremely difficult” if the UK leaves the EU with no deal, says England’s most senior health official Sir Chris Wormald.

I wrote about this last month. There are real human costs to a hard Brexit – people cannot afford to skip their medicine.

The UK auto sector warns a hard Brexit could set it back 25 years.

This is a good summary of the issues facing Theresa May.

And an equally good primer on the Irish Border issue.

Thanks to Euronews for having me on this week to discuss Brexit and the Irish border.

Any friend of peace in Ireland owes it to them to support the Good Friday Agreement. I’m staggered that Brexiters are pretending this isn’t a serious issue.

“This is the responsibility of the Irish Government protecting an international peace agreement. It goes so much more important than customs unions, trade deals, and the fantasy that you’re trying to sell to your own electorate.”

Brexiter Andrew Bridgen MP appears to think there’s a reciprocal system allowing English people to get Irish passports.

A no-deal Brexit will be bad news for you, bad news for your pet. The British Veterinary Association is very concerned about the effect a no-deal Brexit will have on the profession, and has released a briefing note here.

This week’s National piece covers my thoughts on the next few weeks.

No deal would be a disaster for Gibraltar, another part of the UK that voted to Remain but is being dragged out by the UK Government anyway. Sound familiar? Here I am with other MEPs at the weekend, showing Gibraltar they haven’t been abandoned.