This site is archived.
For Alyn's work as MP for Stirling visit

Scotland in Europe Update: 5th October 2018

So the Tories have gathered for their annual conference in their own little parallel universe. In their world Brexit is wonderful and the EU is an anti-democratic authoritarian regime which can easily be conflated with the USSR.

This is utterly crass and offensive to the millions who lived under Soviet occupation and from a UK Foreign Secretary it is utterly unforgivable. Europe had begun to hope that with Boris’s departure the UK would now behave in a grown-up manner but it seems not. As for Theresa May’s surreal speech? Ian Dunt has perhaps summed it up best: “according to her conference speech, the Tories were the party of opportunity and sound finances. They were going to address abuse and hatred in politics. They were an open party, fighting anti-semitism and promoting the children of hard-working immigrants. If only any of it was true.”

Indeed, if only. Back in the real-world medical trials are now being cancelled due to Brexit.

Donald Tusk condemned the aggressive language from the Conservative conference and emphasised his solidarity with Ireland. As I have said before, this could be Scotland. He is still trying to explain to the UK Government that it is the UK which chose to leave, and it is not up to the EU to change itself to fit the demands of one member state that is leaving:

“We very much regret that the UK has decided to leave, and we hope for the best relationship in future, but no-one can expect that, because of Brexit, the EU will give up its fundamental values and key interests.”

You would have thought that by now the Brexiters would have worked this out, but judging from this week’s conference there seems to be little awareness of the situation.



The European Court of Justice have received our request for a ruling the on the revocability of Article 50

My National column this week covered this.

And you can read my thoughts on Article 50 itself in the Herald here.

A British Chamber of Commerce survey reveals a fifth of businesses surveyed will cut investment if there is ‘no deal’ and 20% will move part or all of their business to the EU 27.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons issued a warning about a no deal Brexit. In this case I think their words are best just reproduced, it is a stark warning:

“Each year about 1,000 vets who qualified in the EU join the UK Register, making up around half of our annual intake. These EU graduates play a key role across all veterinary sectors including clinical practice, academia, research, and, of course, public health, with about 95% of vets working in UK public health having trained in the EU. With a predicted increase in demand of 325% for veterinary-certification in a ‘no-deal’ scenario, we will need these vets more than ever, and it is not yet clear how effective current government plans to ameliorate these additional certification requirements will be.”

French President Emmanuel Macron has reiterated his support for Ireland.

The French Government is looking after UK citizens who live there by unveiling legislation to protect their status. As the Europe minister has said: "We must make sure that in the absence of a deal Britons living in France do not find themselves suddenly with irregular status."

The UK Government has finally conceded that international law means that they will have to enforce the border checks on the island of Ireland.

Nissan has once again warned of the dangers of a no deal Brexit.

The RBS chief executive has warned that Brexit could cause a recession.

The FT has published an excellent piece discussing how the Brexiters have never really understood Europe.

Thomas Cook has ruled out compensation to holidaymakers if their trips are cancelled due to Brexit.

The Scottish Parliament Research service has put together a handy guide to EU funding in a ‘no deal’ scenario.

The BMA has joined forced with a number of other employer organisations to emphasise the importance of continuing to mutually recognise qualifications. Architects, dentists, doctors, midwives, nurses and vets… they are all at risk.

The New Yorker has a wonderful piece mocking the so-called festival of Brexit Britain.

The European Parliament has called for more intensive Article 50 talks to ensure the deal gets done.

And finally, one for your diaries. The next European Council meeting has been set for 17-18 October. We need to see progress if the deal is going to be done.