NEXT week the Brexit drama moves to Luxembourg, where I believe a fundamental part of undoing Brexit will move a step forward. As we see the mess at Westminster, MPs need to know their choice is not this blindfold Brexit v No Deal – there are other options. One of them being to stop Brexit altogether.
First published in The National, 23 November 2018Read more
THE UK-EU withdrawal agreement is now public, so we can now see what all the fuss has been about. Remember, this is just the exit agreement, the settling up our bills, and has nothing meaningful on what the future will hold. If the agreement is approved (an open question) then from Brexit day we will enter a transition where the EU laws roll on, so little overnight will change.
First published in The National, 18 November 2018Read more
IT seems that writing about Brexit should carry an implied “At the time of typing”, or carry a timestamp, so quickly do things appear to move.
With that in mind, here’s an explainer of how we got here and – more importantly – where events may take us.
First published in The National, 15 November 2018Read more
IN one of my speeches on Brexit at SNP Conference last week, I quoted JK Galbraith from his book The Great Crash 1929: “the end had arrived but was not yet visible”.
That is where we are with Brexit, and we all need to keep the heid. The next few weeks will have many bumps in the road and I know from my own daily experience and the emails I am getting on a regular basis there are a lot of people finding this to be a new sort of torture.
First published in The National, 18 October 2018
Scotland's government has announced that it will bring forward legislation to ensure that all EU nationals resident in Scotland maintain their Scottish voting rights in the event that Brexit takes place.
The measure, announced as part of the Programme for Government, builds on the existing policy of the SNP that all residents in Scotland should have the same democratic equality as their neighbours. In the referendum on Scotland's independence all EU nationals resident in Scotland had a right to vote. The Electoral Franchise Bill will also implement reforms to ensure all legal residents, from all countries, will be able to vote.Read more
"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 lets look at the reality of WTO membership. If you didn’t like Brussels, wait till you meet Geneva!
First published in The National, 2 August 2018Read more
IN the crazy times we’re enduring it is sometimes difficult to come up with a useful contribution to make to the debate each week, so much is so unclear. But this week I want to try to take a kick at one of the most damaging myths which seems to be emerging: that a no-deal Brexit is somehow a realistic or desirable option. Sadly, we need to go back and examine what “no deal”, “deal” and “Brexit” actually mean, because a lot of folk seem awfy confused.
First published in The National, 25 July 2018Read more
SINCE the EU referendum in 2016, I almost feel like I’ve been walking around with “Scotland voted to Remain” tattooed on my forehead and in my heart, so often am I reminding my friends, colleagues and chunks of the media of this. It’s not a clever-clever argument for Scottish-European exceptionalism – it’s just a fact, and a situation that’s in danger of being railroaded through by this zombie UK Government.
One tiny, tiny glimmer of good news is that we’ve got more people talking about the EU, discussing it, analysing it, and debating whether we can stop Brexit.
First published in The National, 11 April 2018Read more
A ROSE by any other name might still smell as sweet, but what if the price increased by 14 per cent and you had to drive 10 miles to the supermarket because your local florist had been forced to close?
While floristry is a big industry, it’s composed of many small local retailers, all of whom are in serious danger. Not that I’m advocating you rush out right now and buy a bumper bouquet for your nearest and dearest (although we could all do with getting brownie points while we can), but this is just one example of the unforeseen consequences of Brexit.
First published in The National, 4 April 2018Read more