Viewing posts for the category EU
So, you think the Brexit situation is complex. Nope! It is actually very simple. In fact, Bill Clinton had the answer way back in 1992: "It's the economy, stupid". The central issue with the Brexit negotiations is the Single Market and the UK's continuing access to it after withdrawal from EU membership. That's it, in a nutshell. It is the UK's single largest market and without it the UK economy will get worse, a lot worse.
The forthcoming referendum is not about old country rivalry, as I have been explaining to our German friends, but about Scotland’s position now. As a former supporter of the UK Union (albeit a lukewarm one) I see that Independence would serve Scottish interests better. Unlike other countries, Scotland has the infrastructure to support the changeover and there would be less step changes required than going ahead with Brexit. However, to explain my thoughts on Independence and Brexit I need to go back to the morning when the EU referendum result was announced.
Well, Theresa May actually. Here are her actual words less than one year ago:
Two things happened on June 23rd, 2016: the UK voted to leave the EU and the campaign for Scottish independence was reinvigorated. One of the foundations of the Better Together campaign in 2014 was that by voting "No" people were guaranteed to stay members of the EU. In the course of one day in June these foundations were completely undermined and the No campaign knew they were in trouble.
Flemish politician Guy Verhofstadt has been chosen as the EU Parliament's lead negotiator for the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. The former Belgian Prime Minister, MEP and leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe is also the founder of the Spinelli Group which aims for greater federalism within the EU. It is also rumoured that Mr. Verhofstadt's candidacy to become EU Commission President in 2004, following Romani Prodi, was opposed by the UK when Tony Blair was still Prime Minister.
The Yes movement never went away and yet there is a feeling in the air that a resurgence is on-going. It might be that recent events have further strengthened the case for independence or that our opponents have weakened or a combination of both factors. The biggest influencing event is, of course, Brexit, which at a stroke demolished one of the pillars supporting the union between Scotland and England. During the previous IndieRef Better Together, and their supporters, argued that an independent Scotland would, at best, take years to get back into the EU. Those of us on the Yes side countered that the real threat to Scotland's membership was an impending in-out EU referendum. The Chris Cairns' Bull Bridge cartoon, published in January 2013, neatly encapsulated both of those arguments.
Following on from Nicola Sturgeon's highly successful EU diplomacy in Brussels last week the FM has been conducting innovative talks with Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann. The talks, referrred to as SwissScotSwap in diplomatic circles, will see Scotland brought geographically to the centre of the EU. We are indebted to the respected investigative media outlet Der Postillon (German) for breaking this vitally important story.
Well, for a campaign that started off as uninspiring and lacklustre the EU Referendum has turned into one of the most fascinating political events ever. The polls predicted that it would be close and it was with 52% Leave and 48% Remain. In Scotland, however, Remain scored an emphatic 62% emphasising, yet again, how different the political scene is here compared to rUK. All of Scotland's 32 local authority areas voted Remain although some, like Moray at 50.1%, were much closer than others.
A short while ago David Cameron announced, from outside Downing Street, the date of the EU referendum: Thursday, June 23rd, 2016. He stated that following his "deal", secured late last night,
Parties supporting independence for Catalonia have won an absolute majority in the Catalan parliamantary elections held yesterday, Sunday, 27th September. The largest Yes supporting group was the coalition, JxSí, which is comprised of: Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC), Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), Democrats of Catalonia (DC) and Left Movement (MES). JxSí achieved 62 seats which when combined with the 10 seats won by the radical Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) gives the Yes parties an overall majority in the 135 seat parliament.