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Scotland in Europe Update 3rd August 2018

“We’ll just revert to WTO terms!” shriek the Brexiteers when challenged that the EU stuff is a bit complex. I’ll let you into a secret: anyone saying that clearly doesn’t understand what they’re talking about and should be quarantined as a dangerous fool.

Scotland’s best interests are emphatically to stay in the EU, but let’s look at the reality of WTO membership. If you didn’t like Brussels, wait till you meet Geneva!

The first thing to understand is that the WTO is not dedicated to free trade or fair trade (note the lack of an “F” in the acronym), neither is it democratic nor accountable to you as a citizen.

It is an intergovernmental club of states, and the democracy starts and ends with the UK Government (unlike the EU). At its most basic the WTO is a mechanism for the countries of the world to argue with each other. It is complex and multifaceted. Rarely does action result in a single outcome; even more rarely are those outcomes intended. You can read more of my thoughts on this in my National Column:

Just remember, trade is all about leverage and whilst we are tied up in a legal quagmire of our own making other countries will try and get something from us. After all, why not? What is to be lost from their side? In Geneva the only currency is size. The EU has done such a good job of representing us because it is the largest market on Earth. Dear ol' Blighty will have to give up more simply because - being smaller - it is not worth as much.



The EU continues to deliver transparency and released details of the trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. I eagerly await the UK Government doing the same though I suspect I will be disappointed.
New Zealand:

House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee has realised a report noting that: “the structure and culture of Whitehall generally still takes little account of the realities of devolution in the UK.”

You can read Holyrood’s coverage here:

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research has revealed that under the Chequers agreement “output loss will amount to £500 per person per year over time compared with the soft Brexit scenario. The loss would be around £800 under a ‘no deal’ Brexit.”

Theresa May is to meet Emmanuel Macron today in an attempt to persuade the French to split from the EU. Spoiler alert… it won’t work.

The BBC have put together a good piece on the lack of clarity about our future membership of the European Health Insurance card.

They also put together a handy explainer on what "no deal" would mean for aviation.

Robert Peston has also twigged that government strategy may end up being to deliberately leave the EU with no plan.

Britain was the only member of the G7 to see slow economic growth last year.

Local Councils in Kent have expressed their deep concern about the impact of Brexit on Dover.

The Leave Campaign planned to put out Facebook ads the day after Jo Cox shooting.

In a crowded field, new Tory MP Ross Thompson has put in a strong bid for daftest Brexit contribution, expressing his displeasure about the EU increasing the efficiency of vacuum cleaners.

To be clear, legislating for more efficient vacuum cleaners does not mean we'll get less effective ones. It will save us all money and help the environment. As the Commission has explained: “With more efficient vacuum cleaners, Europe as a whole can save up to 20 TWh of electricity per year by 2020. This is equivalent to the annual household electricity consumption of Belgium. It also means over 6 million tonnes of CO2 will not be emitted – about the annual emissions of eight medium-sized power plants.”

Euan McColm has written an excellent column arguing that Brexit is far more chilling than anything from ‘Project Fear’

Michel Barnier has put forward his views on an ambitious partnership with the UK after Brexit.

And finally, Ben Macpherson the Scottish Government’s Europe Minister has put forward a convincing case on the urgent need for a tailored approach to migration for Scotland.