Scotland in Europe Update: 26th July 2019

So here we are. Boris Johnson is the Prime Minister of the UK. “Bouffon de la reine” (court jester) was how France’s Liberation described him and that pretty much sums up the reaction in EU capitals.

The congratulation letter from EU President Donald Tusk – the man who implored the UK “please do not waste this time” when the last extension was agreed – was blunt. His two sentence letter ended with “I look forward to meeting you to discuss – in detail – our co-operation.” It reads more like a ‘see me after class’ note from a particularly exasperated teacher, something Mr Johnson was apparently no stranger to while at Eton. You can read it here:

Mr Johnson is remembered with clarity in Brussels from his days as a journalist here. Political Brussels is a bit of a village: people tend to know of, if not know, each other. His reputation precedes him. More recently, as Foreign Secretary, he was back and forth to Brussels for Foreign Affairs Council meetings and was notorious for his erratic participation and not reading his brief.

Be in no doubt, he is universally dismissed as a lightweight even if some are too professional to say so publicly.

What has changed? For us, nothing. The task is still the same. Scotland did not vote for Boris Johnson any more than it did for Brexit. There remains no good Brexit. We’re determined to do all we can to reverse Brexit altogether for the whole of the UK. If we can’t, and the new UK government really is hell-bent on destruction, then Scotland has another option – independence in Europe.



The First Ministers of Scotland and Wales have written to the new Prime Minister asking him to rule out a ‘no deal’ Brexit

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has told Boris Johnson that an entirely new Brexit deal “is not going to happen”. Something that the EU has been making clear for months.

The Brexit Steering Group of the European Parliament has also emphasised that, although changes can be made to the Political Declaration, the agreement itself cannot be changed.

Michel Barnier has written to EU leaders explain that Johnson intends to ask them to remove the backstop. As he says: "this is of course unacceptable and not within the mandate of the European Council."

Alyn’s column this week covered the rise of both Boris Johnson and Jo Swinson.

So far Johnson seems to be hoping bluster will scare our EU friends into changing their position. As Fintan O’Toole explains, it won’t work.

Ian Dunt expects Johnson will simply be the next sacrifice to Brexit.

Chris Stephens, Philippa Whitford, Tommy Sheppard, Stuart McDonald, Joanna Cherry and Stephen Gethins have all joined the Good Law Project’s legal action which is trying to prevent the suspension of Parliament.

Farmers have had funding from the Scottish Government released early to help them mitigate the impact of Brexit.

One of the UK Government’s trade envoys has quit over the ‘cack-handed’ UK government handling of tariff policy.

The European Parliament research service have put together a good guide to the EU’s budget.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research has warned that the economic outlook “beyond October, when the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union, is very murky indeed with the possibility of a severe downturn in the event of a disorderly no-deal Brexit.”

And if all this makes you as heart-sick as it does us, then perhaps Katherine Rundell's list of five children's books every adult should read might provide an antidote. We particularly enjoyed her observation that Old Etonian Captain Hook (from Peter Pan) “has been told he deserves everything, and when he does not get it, he attempts to bring destruction to Neverland, in the hope that from its chaos he shall rise. He has elaborate hair, “dressed in long curls”, and “he was never more sinister than when he was at his most polite, which is probably the truest test of breeding”. Beware, the book tells us, pantomimic Old Etonians with unruly hair, who prize good form above truth, and who would seek to rule.”