Today the European Parliament approved a position on the future EU-UK relationship by 554 votes to 110 with 51 abstentions.
The resolution sets out Parliament’s input ahead of 22-23 March summit of EU Council when it is expected that guidelines for negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the EU will be approved. Any deal with the UK will require the approval of the European Parliament.Read more
I’VE noticed lately that more people are getting in touch with me about Brexit, not just raising particular points but expressing their own unhappiness and anxiety generally over the whole thing. The UK Government, in the grip of Brexit Ultras like Jacob Rees-Mogg, has decided to pull the UK, and Scotland with it, over the cliff edge of a hard Brexit.
First published in The National, 22 February 2018Read more
In response to today’s ruling from Lord Doherty in the Outer House of the Court of Session, a spokesperson for the seven Parliamentarians said:
“We note today’s Ruling and will consider the best way forward. The Ruling does not address whether Article 50 is unilaterally revocable, it simply says now is not the right moment to ask. We will make a decision on an appeal to the Inner House shortly.Read more
The European Parliament met yesterday (Tuesday) to debate the state of play of the Brexit negotiations.
During a fruitful discussion in the chamber, SNP MEP Alyn Smith praised the unity of purpose while condemning the UK’s actions thus far as “not good enough”.Read more
THERESA May’s official visit to Canada this Monday was a fiasco. Hastily organised on the premise of the UN summit in New York, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was polite enough to host his UK counterpart, yet no agreement on trade was reached.
First published in The National, 20 September 2017Read more
I’ve been struck in various meetings lately that there seems to be a bit of hopelessness setting in to discussions on Brexit, especially amongst those who are not involved in politics. The feeling seems to be that “it’s going to happen, it’s going to be bad and I need to work out my own escape route, what a mess”. I’m being asked what my own plans are when, well, you know, it happens.
Well I disagree. I don’t think anything about Brexit is inevitable, because the people supposedly in charge of it don’t know what they want, those opposed to it can’t agree on an alternative and we in Scotland don’t want it at all and voted clearly and decisively to reject it. I’m in a luckier position than many MEPs in that my constituency, the whole of Scotland, voted to remain in every counting region, from Shetland to Stranraer. My instructions are to keep us in, and properly ventilate each and every possible alternative.
First published in The National, 6 September 2017Read more
IN an episode of The Simpsons, Homer decides to take up boxing. His extraordinarily thick skull combined with his general flaccidity mean his technique is to take a beating that tires out his opponent, then gently push them over. It’s successful, and he rises up the ranks of the Springfield Hobo Boxing Association. One day Homer finds himself up against the heavyweight champion. Deluded about his own abilities, he promptly gets the snot beaten out of him.
And so on to the UK Government’s performance in the Brexit negotiations.
First published in The National, 26 July 2017Read more
Assessment of the Brexit Steering Group on the UK Paper “Safeguarding the Position of EU citizens living in the UK and UK Nationals living in the EU”
1. The European Parliament represents all citizens of the EU and will act to protect their interests throughout the whole process in line with its resolution of 5 April 2017.Read more
LAST week was, in some ways, quite a big week in the twists and turns of Brexit. The anniversary of the vote not long past, I was tickled to have so many folk wishing me a happy Sherkaleg day, the anniversary of my own speech in response to the vote. A year on, yet even after so much heartache we’re all barely further forward.
First published in The National, 5 July 2017Read more
I've been thinking lately on how people across Europe felt in the early 1930s as they watched events around them and in faraway places with unfamiliar names. Of course, they were unaware of the future so could not imagine the horrors ahead. But would they have done anything differently? Or would most folk just have done what they did, put it all out of their minds and get on with their lives as best they could? Replace Pastor Niemöller’s “First they came for the socialists and I did not speak out, for I was not a socialist …” with Syrians, or refugees, or sick, poor or disabled, or immigrant, and you get my idea. Solidarity is all encompassing or it doesn't exist.
First published in The Sunday Herald, 2 July 2017Read more