Scotland in Europe Update 24th August 2018

So, this week the UK Government has unveiled their plans for a no deal scenario. A scenario which, according to the Government, will be simultaneously disastrous and fine. Indeed, as Ian Dunt noted, the beleaguered Brexit Secretary seemed to be like a steward explaining how in the event of a crash “the plane would hit the water smoothly, just like in those cartoons they put on the safety leaflets, and then happy families would slide down into the inflatable rafts.”

More seriously though, the detail is deeply worrying. UK citizens in Europe cut off from their bank accounts, reams of new red tape, tariffs, uncertainty about medicine supplies… the list goes on. Particularly concerning is the section on the Irish border:

“It is the responsibility of the UK government to continue preparations for the full range of potential outcomes, including ‘no deal’. In such a scenario, the UK would stand ready to engage constructively to meet our commitments and act in the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland, recognising the very significant challenges that the lack of a UK-EU legal agreement would pose in this unique and highly sensitive context. This would include engagement on arrangements for land border trade. We will provide more information in due course.”

The short version: We’ll get back to you because we don’t know!

I have repeatedly said the no deal option is simply not credible, and I fear it is being used as a bogeyman to make folk think that the UK Government’s deal is a good one. If you have the heart or the stomach for it, you can read all the no deal scenario plans here:

Just remember the Brexiters have now retreated from preaching wealth and prosperity and instead set the benchmark at the UK having the medicine we have now and still being able to buy a BLT sandwich. Whatever people voted for in Scotland and across the rest of the UK, it wasn’t this.

Yours aye,


In Brussels (where the deal will be done) there was a further round of UK-EU negotiations.

At the end of which Michel Barnier concluded: “Our challenge for the coming weeks is to try and define an ambitious partnership between the UK and the EU. A partnership that has no precedent. This partnership has to respect the single market and the foundations of the European project.”

The European Parliament have put together a round of statistics on the EU’s trading position in the world. A stark reminder of what we are leaving: 36 deals done, eight pending, five being updated, 46 partly in place, 21 under negotiation. In contrast to this total of 116 the UK has… none.

The Institute for Government has put together a handy guide to possible scenarios for the next phase of the Brexit negotiations.

Peter Ungphakorn, a former Senior Information Officer with the WTO Secretariat, has written an excellent piece on why the arrival of Second World War rhetoric shows we're losing our grip in the Brexit debate.

Elsewhere, former trade negotiator to Hong Kong Jason Hunter calmly explains to Brexit Central Editor Jonathan Isaby why WTO rules are not going to save the UK.

The Faculty of Advocates has responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation regarding the impact of Brexit on family law.

Their answers are here and the conclusion is that we should keep as much as possible of EU law

NHS managers have warned that in event of a no deal there could be “shortages of medicines and medical devices.”

Welsh fishing may not survive a no deal Brexit.

Research by academics from University College London (UCL), University of Birmingham, and Royal Holloway University of London has found that increased visa restrictions on migrants is counterproductive since it encourages illegal immigration.

Rafael Behr wrote an important piece to moderate Tories. The Brexit extremists cannot be appeased.

Now more than ever we need to encourage brave young journalism, and so I’m honoured to be invited to the Beyond Borders Question Time event this weekend, where young journalists will be interviewing special guests.