Scotland in Europe Update: 22nd February 2019

There’s a great phrase “everything has been said, but not yet said by everyone” and I have to say that is where I am with Brexit. Things I warned of two full years ago are now coming to pass, and every piece of economic bad news sees a squadron of useful idiots deployed to the airwaves to blame global events, the weather, the dog eating their homework, anything. Anything but accepting the simple reality that Brexit has already made the UK, and for the moment Scotland with it, a less attractive place to invest.

Given that seeking foreign investment has been a key plank of the Westminster economic consensus for the last four decades, this really matters. Japanese firms in particular were wooed by Margaret Thatcher onwards to locate in the UK for access to the EU Single Market. Consequently Brexit for them is a broken promise. As the Japanese Ambassador said the best part of two years ago “a door to nowhere is just a door” and serious people are making serious decisions. The Foreign Secretary likening the EU to the Soviet Union isn’t just a diplomatic gaffe, there are real consequences when the global community concludes that the UK is run by chancers. Unfortunately, real people in the real world lose their jobs.

As politicians form new political parties that aren’t parties, and the two main UK parties splinter we need to take a long hard look at where we are. For now, the only thing that the Independent group have in common seems to be that they are frustrated at the way Corbyn’s Labour and May’s Tories have handled Brexit. Fair enough, welcome to the (small P) party kids! If they are going to be an avowedly pro-EU voice in the Commons alongside the SNP, Liberals, Plaid and Greens then they might be on to something, but I’m not sure they will be. After all, if the launch was about Brexit where was the commitment to a second referendum; if it was about a new politics where was the politics?



Seven Labour MPs left the Party because of Corbyn and Brexit.

Another Labour MP jumped before three Tories also left their party. Both the main UK parties are tearing themselves to pieces over Brexit.

The Scottish Government updated their EU exit page which gives advice on everything from citizens’ rights to food and drink.

Michael Gove gave a terrifying speech on the impact of a no-deal Brexit on agriculture. The short version? Food is going to be scarcer and more expensive and the farmers are going to be bankrupt.

The Department for International Trade has produced this list of the EU’s trade deals summarising their attempts to maintain the deals (as the Brexiters promised) if we leave. The short version is simple: a few will definitely not be done, and the rest probably won’t be either.

The Good Law Project (who supported our case which proved that Article 50 could be revoked) is bringing forward a case to challenge the legality of the Serious Shortage Protocols” (SSPs). These are poorly thought through measures which give pharmacists the right to supply a different quantity or pharmaceutical quality of medicine in the event of the country experiencing a serious shortage of prescription-only medicines after 29 March 2019.

A report from UNESCO has warned that a hard border on the island of Ireland would trigger a return to violence.

Nicola Sturgeon has warned that there will be specific challenges from Brexit for the third sector.

The European Parliament Research Service has put together a handy reminder on the dangers of fake news.

Alasdair Smith – an Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex – has written an important response to some of the spurious claims of the pro Brexit group Economists for Free Trade.

Brexit represents the last gasp of the British empire according to Sally Tomlinson (Goldsmiths, University of London) and Danny Dorling (University of Oxford).

Ilona Serwicka, Research Fellow in the Economics of Brexit at the UK Trade Policy Observatory and Nicolo Tamberi, Research Assistant in Economics for the Observatory have put together a useful piece of research on regional variations in Foreign Direct Investment in the UK because of Brexit.

Dutch Brexit rapporteurs have been in London this week and are now returning to the Netherlands recommending that preparations for no-deal be redoubled.

Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs, has confirmed that France “will be ready” for no-deal if necessary. I wish I could say the same for the UK.

The House of Commons library have produced a few useful explainers this week. Firstly, on the European Investment Bank.

Secondly a list of current EU trade deals (i.e. the ones we are going to lose in a matter of days).

And finally, one explaining what may or may not happen to the European Parliament elections if the UK extends Article 50.