CRITICS of Brexiteers often say: “You can’t have your cake and eat it”, usually in the context of the expectation of a very favourable trade deal with the EU, while still firmly putting an end to EU freedom of movement.
Complete naivety and unpreparedness is emerging in other spheres too. Spain’s conversion of another 25 EU members to its viewpoint on Gibraltar completely wrong-footed the Brexiteers. They were genuinely astounded, and when that happens you are almost inevitably going to react with knee-jerking, ill-considered haste, cue Michael Howard and Michael Fallon.
Similarly, they were left shocked and stunned by the Spanish Foreign Minister’s clear statement that his government would not block an independent Scotland’s application for EU membership. This wasn’t a policy change at all and so proves that the Unionists had actually believed their own propaganda – put out by one of the world’s most right-wing medias.
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There are many more shocks to come. Much of London’s financial sector will either fully or partially relocate, many services and industries will soon lose all or significant sections of their workforce, and it will prove an exercise in pathetic futility to aspire to global power and influence from a starting point of self-imposed isolation.
Of course, not all the media are right-wing and reactionary. Some commentators who were opposed to Scottish independence prior to Brexit have recently come round to it. But the rest will circle the wagons and keep supporting Brexit and opposing Scotland’s attempts to remain part of the European community.
All this means that the next independence referendum is going to be very different from the last one. While there may be more support for Scottish independence from England in some quarters, right-wing anti-European opposition is going to be fierce as they not only don’t want Scottish independence.The idea of the EU having a presence in Scotland is something they are going to oppose most strongly.
The issue of Scottish independence and the Brexit deal will come together in some people’s thinking and it ain’t gonna be pretty! And here in Scotland, the situation is going to be so different from 2014.
There is much shifting of sides going on as Brexit provides a genuine spur towards the independence movement for many Unionists and at the same time some former nationalists are tempted by the lure of Brexit and the media rhetoric which is part of the package.
So the line-ups are different from indyref1 but perhaps there is a better and more varied team playing for the independence side this time round.
It is becoming ever clearer as the months pass since the EU referendum last June that Scotland has many friends in Europe and, if we retain our desire to remain a part of the club, we shall be supported by them.
After all, some subtle indications of support for an independent Scotland will only help weaken May’s team as they try to negotiate for the whole UK.
This is just one of the many, many things that the supporters of Brexit overlooked. Sturgeon’s strategy has been quietly prepared and patiently and competently implemented, in total contrast to the Brexit chaos that gave us the May Government, a Foreign Secretary they have to gag, and a negotiating team that is out-thought and out-manoeuvred every step of the way.
The independence referendum can’t come soon enough for me now but the timing will depend on optimising our chances of staying in the EU or at least minimising the wait while our application is processed.
Forget GERS figures, see the real economic position
IT is claimed by many who argue against self-determination for Scotland that our country is not strong enough economically to successfully stand on its own two feet, the implication being that without the “altruism” of a big neighbour to support it, an independent Scotland would fail.
To bolster this perspective, recent GERS figures are often quoted, although these are based on estimates and policies that would not be pursued by an independent Scotland of any political persuasion, while consideration of these figures over several decades indicates the reverse rationale to be more apt.
Of course, the “clincher” for those who do not have confidence in their fellow citizens, even if they do have faith in their own financial acumen, is that the price of oil is now less than half of what it was ahead of the 2014 referendum.
Counter to this argument is the volatile history of the oil price which would suggest that at the earliest date Scotland could reclaim its independence following negotiations with rUK, around four years from now, the oil price is more likely to be approaching $100 per barrel than still hovering around the current level of $50.
In the long term, however, neither the relative population size nor the oil price is critical to the future prosperity of an independent Scotland, as is evidenced by even a cursory view of the latest GDP per capita figures of European countries (2015). Of the 11 countries that by this economic indicator are more successful than the UK, only one, Germany, is larger in population.
The other countries – Luxembourg, Norway, Switzerland, Ireland, Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Belgium – are all more comparable in population to Scotland than the UK. None of the 11, apart from Norway, have oil and gas resources equivalent to Scotland, which also has the potential to lead Europe, if not the world, in the profitable exploitation of a range of sources of renewable energy.
Instead of persistently quoting essentially irrelevant GERS figures, perhaps those who support sustaining our unequal Union and who choose to ignore the huge economic consequences of Brexit in order to press their claims of an independent Scotland’s economic demise could explain why a country with Scotland’s resources could not, within a similar time frame, be as successful as any of the 10 “small” European countries leading the UK on the GDP per capita ladder?
Longniddry, East Lothian
THERESA May’s feigned outrage at the alleged dropping of the word Easter by the National Trust in England and Cadbury was bogus and vulgar.
Her intervention was designed to stoke up anger within fact-averse Daily Mail readers and energise the Ukip types.
It was cynical opportunism at its very worst.
The fact she made her intervention while on a visit to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia (a country that beheads rape victims for adultery) makes it even worse.
More than 1.1 million emergency food packages were distributed by the Trussell Trust food bank network in 2015-16. The charity said that in most cases benefit delays and sanctions were the main cause.
Cases of Victorian-era diseases including scurvy, scarlet fever, cholera and whooping cough have increased since 2010.
This is as a direct result of Tory austerity.
Wages have collapsed at the same rate as Greece and the UK economy has the dubious distinction of being the only one to grow where wages are going backwards.
A report in 2014 by Tax Research UK estimated that around £120 billion was lost to the government through tax avoidance and evasion by the super-rich.
Theresa May’s husband Philip works as a senior executive at Capital Group. That is one of the world’s largest and most powerful financial institutions, controlling $1.4 trillion in assets. They make money from tax-avoiding firms.
This kind of dog-whistle politics will become increasingly more prevalent as the Tories seek out new scapegoats, as Brexit becomes a reality.
Theresa May claims to be a Christian, however her Jesus would not have fed the 5000, as that would have created a culture of dependency!