Scotland in Europe Update: 23rd February 2018

The ever-expanding list of things that the Brexit Ultras blame for the imminent failure of Brexit (the EU, Ireland, judges, Remainers, academics, experts, civil servants, etc.) gained its most dangerous and indeed sinister new entry this week. Several Ultras have launched what looks suspiciously like a co-ordinated attack on the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) itself.

The reason is as transparent as it is grubby and short sighted. They have worked out, as I have said before, that the GFA scuppers their plans for a harder-than hard Brexit, because it requires an invisible border across the island of Ireland.

The GFA is, let’s remember, the will of the people of the island of Ireland. It was endorsed in the 1998 referendum by 71 per cent of Northern Irish voters and in the constitutional referendum held the same day in Ireland by 94 per cent of voters.

For politicians who are so keen on the will of the people, it appears the will of some people matters more than others. It has become apparent that when they shout “sovereignty” and “will of the people”, they don’t mean you. They don’t mean the sovereignty of the Scottish people, or of Ireland, or the will of the people who voted against Brexit and for peace in Northern Ireland. They mean their own sovereignty, over you. You can read more of my thoughts in my column for the New Statesmen.



It appears that Theresa May has made some progress in getting her cabinet to agree on what sort of Brexit they want.

Unfortunately, they have agreed that they want the impossible!

The UK has published its negotiation position for the transition period. They accept that: “During the period the UK may not become bound by international agreements entered into in its own capacity in the areas of exclusive competence of the Union unless either authorised to so by the Union”

In a bid to reassure us all David Davis has confirmed that Brexit will not convert Britain into a Mad Max dystopia. The expectations seem to be dropping by the week!

Sixty Conservative MPs have signed a letter demanding the hardest version of Brexit.

Remarkably three of Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives signed the letter despite it being against the democratic wishes of their constituents and being incredibly damaging to the economy of Scotland.

The SRUC have published a report on agriculture and Brexit in Scotland: “The findings reiterate how vulnerable hill farming systems are to trade deals and policy choices, stressing the need to take the disadvantaged areas into account during the Brexit process.”

“Thanks to EU law, we're no longer charged a fortune for using our phones in the rest of Europe. Thanks to Brexit, that could all change.” Vice have published a good piece the future of mobile phone roaming charges.

Guy Verhofstadt has said: “It’s not acceptable for us that rules will continue without change for financial services, for goods, for whatever other business, and only for the citizens, their situation will change. That is penalising citizens.”

The Dutch have hired 900 new customs agents in preparation for Brexit.

Banks “are welcome to hope for the best, but should prepare for the worst,” outgoing Bundesbank executive board member Andreas Dombre has said.

TechUK have written to Liam Fox explaining how the Brexiters misunderstand the value of divergence in tech sector.

In particular remaining a part of the new GDPR legislation is very important.

UK Scientists have already been cut out of projects because of Brexit.

There is some agreement on the way forward to secure a security deal with the EU but there is still a long way to go.

The motor industry has started to suffer from job losses.

MLex have written up a good analysis of the future of state aid and competition clauses in the upcoming negotiations.

Euroclear are to open a settlement unit in Ireland because of Brexit.

Deutsche Bank “became the first large bank to publicly announce the beginning of a wholesale relocation of client business out of the UK” according to reports from Bloomberg.

Finally, the Scottish Centre for European Relations are crowdfunding to help them develop further. They provide high-quality research and analysis on Scotland’s relations with Europe which is more important than ever.