Scotland in Europe Update 31st August 2018

The next few weeks and months are going to be the Brexit endgame, and we need to keep our eyes on the prize and not be distracted by the industrial scale amounts of chaff the opposition are going to throw out.

Scotland’s best future will come with independence, and the best route to that future is to ensure that EU membership is front and centre of our proposition.  In the meantime, stopping Brexit for the whole of the UK is in all our interests, but in my National column this week I tried to pin down some of the myths spreading about Scotland and the EU.

EEA and EFTA membership solve us no problems, and answer us no questions, that EU membership does not. They mean that Scotland would in every sense be a rule taker, and yet have no say in the formulation of those rules. We’ll also pay in significantly more per head to the EU budget than we do now, but have no say in where it goes and limited opportunity to encourage Scottish organisations to access it as we now can. You can read more of my thoughts on this here:

We want to be independent, not to pretend we can be separate or apart, but to join things as ourselves, making our own decisions at home and working with our friends and neighbours across our continent to be that voice for progress in the world.  That means that there are limits on sovereignty - what club doesn’t have rules? - but we are and will be involved at every stage of their formulation.

I’m all for debate, and I’m all about testing all options.  But let us all be realistic, and informed, about what our options are. To maintain the greatest support at home, and elsewhere, for independence, EU membership is our best option. By a country kilometre.

Yours aye,


The UK proudly announced that for the sum of £4bn it will maintain the trade deals it already has with a number of African countries through EU membership. Billions of pounds thrown away to change nothing. Amazingly there has been lots of coverage that the EU has protectionist tariffs damaging Africa that the UK will be able to remove. To be clear this is simply not true, as this BBC article explains.

The Scottish Government has outlined its plans for how the devolved administration should have a say on the UK’s future trade deals. This may appear dry, but it is important. The Scottish Parliament must have a meaningful vote on any deals that impact on areas that are devolved. Considering how modern trade deals work and the focus on the removal of non-tariff barriers I cannot foresee any deals that won’t.

Nobody who was paying attention was shocked to learn that there will not be a deal signed in October.

Ireland continues to receive the support of the EU27. This week Simon Coveney was in Germany “We have to avoid a hard border, it is a pivotal issue. Any insecurity or deterioration in relation to Northern Ireland must not happen as a consequence of #Brexit.”

This was repeated today when Michel Barnier emphasised “With no backstop there is no agreement."

In an act of utter folly Theresa May has ordered planning to be started on a UK rival to the EU’s Galileo GPS system.

Panasonic are relocating to Amsterdam because of Brexit.

The WTO has warned against a no deal Brexit. So much for falling back on the WTO!

Confusion, contradiction and ignorance are driving UK towards no-deal Brexit, warns Charles Tannock, a senior Conservative MEP.

The blame game is becoming more and more obvious. Liam Fox has said a no deal will be all the EU’s fault. Remember this is the same man who once said a deal with the EU would be the 'easiest in history'.

and you can see his previous comments here:

EU citizens are using their rights under the EU’s GDPR rules seek judicial review looking into whether individuals should be able to access their Home Office records. 

mLex have put together a piece explaining how the UK’s current planning for chemical regulations will cause years of litigation.

The Royal College of Nursing is backing a second EU referendum.

There are major concerns about data protect rules post-Brexit.

Fed up of the clocks changing twice a year? The European Commission is proposing an end to daylight savings time.