We’re Not Leaving Europe!

by Eärendil

There is still part of me that believes Brexit won’t happen. Not in Scotland anyway. I’ve been surprised and gleeful to see so many senior and well placed members of the Scottish establishment convert to Yes further to the EU vote; their EU citizenship meaning so very much to them. The Yes movement may have lost a chunk of largely racist yessers, but we swapped them for some powerful new allies. Many of these new allies work in law and government and have positions of influence. Having people on our side within the architecture of state is important when it comes to guiding Scotland to its new independent destination.

Over the last few weeks we have seen various banks start to relocate headquarters and jobs outside London (Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup, HSBC, etc.). Gove has scuttled off to Denmark to try to trade-off Scottish fish for financial passporting rights for the city of London (no doubt). Many of these banks have chosen Dublin. It could have been Scotland had we known of this Brexit calamity and chosen independence in 2014. We were told we would be in the EU during that vote, thus we must be given the choice of independence again.

Brexit won’t happen because we need free trade and we need migrants to keep the economy afloat. Britain always bows down to the altar of money. Transitional arrangements will just be a premise to us staying in indefinitely.  I know this as I just heard a Tory say the opposite of that on the radio this morning. Even Tory Lord Hope, the architect of Article 50, thinks it can be revoked.

The Tory fantasy of getting a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, akin to Canada, won’t happen. The EU will not allow us access to trade without paying our annual billions of pounds membership fee. It’s that simple. If they let Britain do it, all the other Member States will want to do it. The ethos of the redistribution of wealth underpins the EU, which is something the Corbyns and Cat Boyds of this world don’t appear to understand. Rich countries pay in more so that the poor countries can get cohesion and structural funds to rebalance their economies with ours; we want everyone in the EU to have access to jobs, a decent standard of living, and fundamental rights.

I stood of up in my local SNP branch meeting some time ago and told them I wasn’t accepting any single market membership – as Scotland voted to remain a full member of the EU. On reflection now, I can see that retaining European Economic Area membership could even be better for Scotland. I’ve never been entirely convinced of the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy. They tend towards intensive farming/fishing and economies of scale, when fishing and farming matters should perhaps be kept local. I would be concerned however about human rights in this scenario, we must maintain membership of the Council of Europe which oversees our human rights.

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“…some powerful new allies.”

In any case, the scenario for Scotland looks good. Unlike the last indyref, we have 27 EU Member States on our side against the rUK, which plans to leave the  European Union (I use the term ‘plan’ here loosely). We have Guy Verhostadt, Michel Barnier, and Jean Claude Juncker all making positive statements regarding Scotland and meeting with Nicola in person. We have an ally in Ireland and the unsolvable issue of the Irish border.

It is likely Angela Merkel will get elected German Chancellor again next month and the strong and stable leadership of the EU will forge ahead, with the euro predicted to gain parity with the pound in 2018. Britain and the brexiteers will be shown up for the fools that they are. The idiocy that is Brexit will certainly not go ahead, not in Scotland anyway. Just let Westminster try to make a power grab over our devolved policy areas, destroy our economy, remove our human rights, and deport our international family and friends. It will just make a Yes vote in the (pre-Brexit) ScotRef all the more certain.


The Butterfly Rebellion
Eärendil
Glasgow, Scotland

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8 thoughts on “We’re Not Leaving Europe!

  1. I hope you are right, but in this corner of Scotland there are still far too many folk with their heads firmly stuck in the mud. Lots of work needs done but we seem to be sitting twiddling thumbs and gazing at our navels instead of getting out there persuading.

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  2. Earendil

    I must say that as a YES/Leave supporter I am shocked by this article.
    1. Around 40% of all SNP supporters voted for Brexit and I do not know one racist amongst them. My wife and son are immigrants. I voted SNP this year unlike so many. Why make a gratuitous baseless insult like this? It is not necessary and not true. Be Remoan all you want but do not stoop to insults.
    2. Tell me of a single impressive EU supporting liberal who had joined the YES movement?
    3. When did Scotland vote to become a” full member of the EU”? We were never asked. 62% of voting Scots voted for the UK to remain in the EU. In the last GE anti-Indyref 2 Unionists beat the SNP by nearly 2 to 1 in votes. Why? Where are all the influx of EU liberals ( new SNP voters?) desperate to stay in the EU?
    4.The ethos of “redistribution of wealth” permeats the EU? You should ask the devastated people of Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal. Or read Mr Varoufakis`s book? Is he left enough for you?
    5. “The EU won`t allow us access to trade..”? Sorry Earendil, even if no trade deal is done ( very unlikely) we will trade with the EU on WTO rules. Under these rules, average tariffs are 3%, an amount already compensated for by the welcome fall in the value of sterling. Anyway, EU exports only make up 12% of our ( Scottish) exports. That is 12% of exports, not GDP.
    6. It is time you faced up to it. As David Jamieson recently stated in Bella. The cause of Remain is dead.

    William Ross

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    • @william ross

      1. That figure of 40% is highly dubious. There are no definitive studies but I’ve not seen any estimates above 35%. Besides, you’ve conflated SNP supporters with Yes voters. How many Yes supporters support Leave? Nobody knows. How many will support Leave in 6 months time when the reality of hard Brexit becomes clear? Nobody knows. Throwing statistics around without citation is a bit pointless.

      2. I’m an EU supporting liberal who supports Yes. Most of my close friends have similar politics. Not sure what you mean by “impressive”. From their voting record I would surmise that most SNP MPs and MSPs are broadly liberal and support Remain. Are they “impressive”? Kind of odd wording and I really don’t know what you mean.

      3. I wouldn’t draw firm conclusions on single issues from General Election statistics. Plenty of Labour voters in Scotland are for Yes and Remain, despite Corbyn’s vague manifesto pledges. The overwhelming majority of MPs and candidates were for Remain, again despite party policy. All sorts of issues come into play: tactical votes, political momentum, the candidate, the campaign, taxation, unemployment. Besides, you seem a bit hung up on liberals. I would guess the overwhelming majority of SNP members and Yes supporters self-identity as liberal. I don’t vote Liberal but I am definitely a liberal.

      4. Relative to the UK, the EU is certainly a wealth redistributor. 9 of the 10 poorest areas in northern Europe are in England and qualify for EU funds purely by numerical measure. The UK distributes funding on a far more political basis. We know this to be true because there are no plans for the UK to match the EU’s funding. Nobody is saying the EU is perfect but does it provide better governance than Westminster? I’d say that it does.

      5. Reverting to WTO would be disastrous for the UK and Scotland. Nowadays trade is far more about services than it is about goods. As a consequence modern trade agreements are all about standards harmonisation rather than about tariffs. Without an agreement with the EU, the UK will have no right of access to EU services markets: financial, data, transport, science, technology. That’s right, this is about binary access, yes or no, in or out. Nobody is particularly worried about ball-bearing manufacturers in the 21st century and I’m sure the EU will be glad to buy ours due to the weak value of Sterling. High value businesses that actually significantly contribute to the UK’s tax take are simply going to off-shore to EU soil because they won’t be able to conduct their business from the UK. By the way, your figures on Scotland’s exports are also highly suspect. The problem with Scotland not being independent is that these figures are only available by wild estimates from the UK’s aggregate data. I’ll just end this one with the legal protection of Scotch Whisky through origin standards. We’ll soon depend on the UK to police that globally. Oh dear. Do you enjoy Shenzhen “Scotch” whisky?

      6. I very much doubt the case (or the cause) of Remain is dead. Take a look at the UK’s position papers of the last few days. Both are attempting to square a circle, to solve a conundrum without solution. Have you read them? They are unworkable on just about every level. Every time I read them something new stands out as either a logical fallacy or just impractical. Brexit is just not workable without doing significant harm.

      I can just about follow the left case for Leave but the case for Leave and Yes is just about the most harebrained idea I’ve ever heard. I don’t have any evidence of racism at all but certainly of a lack of engagement with the facts on the ground. Can you name one developed country that isn’t in a regional trade agreement? The one on Scotland’s doorstep happens to the be EU. There is literally nothing we can do about that because it isn’t going away any time soon. We can argue about EEA membership over EU membership (and I definitely would encourage that debate because England isn’t going away any time soon either) but to leave the whole lot would be utter folly.

      Terry

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  3. Terry
    RE your comments
    1. 40% is a rounding up. 36% comes from Lord Ashcroft`s extensive polls after 23 June. All subsequent polls have been there or thereabouts. Ignore the obvious at your peril. So who made up these half million lost SNP supporters of 8 June?
    2.Terry, the key thing is to read the article and not just the comment. The writer argues that the outflow of racist Yessers has more than been made up for ( post 23 June 2016) by impressive Europhiles joining YES? Who are they and where were they on 8 June 2017? Now that you talk about SNP MPS/MSPs we can be sure that a good number secretly voted Leave but they were too scared to say so. Encouraging is it not? Is even the DUP this authoritarian?
    3. Terry, you are clearly a sophisticated man and you know what people were really voting for. What a very EU approach. So the French and Dutch electorates had no real problem with an EU Constitution, they just wanted it called a treaty? Well here is an inconvenient question. What were the Scottish people voting for at the Holyrood election of 2016? Did they really want a 2108 Indyref 2? I seriously doubt it.
    But there is in my humble view, a mandate for Indy ref 2. Manifestos count.

    4. In point 4 you are simply making up nonsense. First all Scotland is also a net contributor to the EU. Not as big as the UK in proportion certainly. Secondly there are plans to match EU funding, but perhaps in different ways. We know how to spend our money better than Brussels oligarchs.

    5. You have a poor grasp of trade realities. Around 80% of our economy is based on services and the Single Market is really a single market in goods. Perhaps that why our exports to it are declining year on year? I have an oil services business and the Single Market is an irrelevance for me. The best study done on the effect of Brexit on Scotland is the Fraser of Allander study last year. It predicts a two to three percent reduction in GDP over ten years but crucially it excludes the upsides from Brexit such as our ability to do our own trade deals, our ability to write our commercial and industrial laws again and our ability to reduce import taxes. ( and many more) Britain is booming and making Project Fear look stupid and dishonest.

    6. Remain is dead and buried. Get over it. The EU is not a ” regional trade agreement” it is a “weak confederation” Read Guy Verhofstadt`s brilliant book ” Europe`s Last Chance”. What other trade block offers citizenship?

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    • ” I have an oil services business and the Single Market is an irrelevance for me”

      Umm, there would be if you traded in any EEA country and were subject to EEA regulatory standards. I would take a look at the regulations regarding market access before 1 April, 2019. Why did Easyjet move their European HQ to Vienna? Why are banks moving to Frankfurt? Why are data hosts off-shoring their servers? Why will UK train operators no longer be able to operate EU point-to-point services? Because it’s all about goods? Nope.

      “Single Market is really a single market in goods. ”

      I stopped reading at that one. Bye.

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  4. Terry

    Let me repeat: ” I have an oil services business and the Single Market is an irrelevance to me”. I am able to provide my particular service from the UK into the whole World ( except possibly Iran, Syria and North Korea — I don`t have any customers there). NAFTA is as irrelevant to me as the Single Market. Trust me, I know my business and how it works. Still you claim to know what people actually meant when they voted labour in GE 2017? Perhaps you understand my business better than me.

    I made the point in my response to you that the Single Market greatly favours free movement of goods but less so services. The strength of our economy, of course is in services even if manufacturing and industrial are still very, very important. Let me quote Guy Verhofstadt ( Europe`s leading Europhile and EU Parliament Brexit negotiator): ” We keep ignoring the fact we have a common currency without fiscal and economic buttresses. Most of all, we are losing gigantically in the markets of the future: digital, energy and capital. The Single Market created back in 192 omitted these three crucial sectors…” “Europe`s Last Chance”. page 133. Or how about distinguished economist ( but Brexiteer) Roger Bootle: “… due recognition must be made of the fact that across much of the service sector, the Single Market does not work at all”. ” The Trouble with Europe”, Page 162.

    Bankers are leaving London in droves you imply? A great constitutional vote like Brexit will always cause people in special niches to do things differently. How much more would that have been the case with Scottish independence? But City hiring is booming. Recently Lesley Riddoch actually wrote that bankers were leaving London secretly with the connivance of the UK press? A ridiculous conspiracy theory! Like you, she is despairing of the lack of bad news.

    The facts on UK inward investment are stark.UK inward investment in 2015 was £33 billion and in 2016 it was £197 billion . FDI continues to boom.

    Terry: do investors flock into a failing bank to make deposits, or do passengers row madly to board a sinking ship? Think about it.

    William

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  5. William

    Thanks for your comments on my blog, and Terry for responding so well. I’m sorry to use the term racist but that is simply my experience and given the idiocy that is Brexit I find it difficult to find a positive reason for voting leave. I know loads of no voters who are now yes due to Brexit e.g a former diplomat and senior civil servant in my family is now a verdant SNP supporter. I know many more professionals like this.

    Your figures, as Terry points out are highly speculative or plain wrong. According to one poll by Lord Ashcroft one in three SNP voters voted for leave. I don’t be,I eve this to be accurate. Nor does it show how many yessers voted leave, conflating yes with SNP is a yoon mistake.

    Secondly, Trade with EU is way more than 12%. According to HMRC regional trade statistics for first quarter of 2017, exports to EU accounted for 43% of UK exports (and as Terry explains we can only really take these figures seriously at UK level). Official estimates at Scotland level do have us being the only ‘region’ without a trade deficit though!

    WTO rules are the worst case scenario for trade post Brexit. Whisky exports attracts tariff of 21% and fish 12% to name but two sectors.

    And there is no real plans to replace the redistributive EU structural funds by UK. UK is one of the most unequal societies in the world. EU has made huge strides in overcoming inequality, particularly in new member states. I agree with you about Greece and believe that is the fault of the fundamentally flawed Euro experiment. It should never have gone ahead and I’m glad UK never joined in. Other countries can blame themselves for joining it he Euro in my view, it was never going to work.

    Come back to me in 2019 about how the case for remain is dead, William. I look forward to it.

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  6. Dear Earindill

    Thanks for your follow-up and kind words regarding “racist”. Let us now put that behind us. But however Remain you may be, you should try at least to understand why people voted Brexit.. To write off millions of people as “idiots” is scarcely good sense. My brother is an ardent Remainer and is far from being an idiot.

    On the figures, Lord Ashcroft`s is a well respected poll ( using a 36% figure) and it is also the poll that told us that young people overwhelmingly voted Remain. David Jamieson recently came up with 38%.
    It may well that SNP Brexit support is concentrated in the North East as we lost every seat there ( barring Aberdeen North) in 2017 whereas as Wishart and Gethin hung on in their more Remain supporting areas.

    You contest my figure of trade with the EU at 12%? These particular trade figures postulate Scotland as an independent country so naturally, trade with the RUK is much larger at around 60-70% I think. Rest of the World comes in at about 18%. If you look at matters from a UK perspective, EU represents about 44% of our international trade ( and falling all the time) with Rest of World about 56%. EU trade as a share of UK GDP represents around 10 to 12% and it is rather lower in Scotland. This point was made by Fraser of Allander Institute. So I have full faith in my analytical approach, though I could express the figures differently, at the UK level.

    As I mentioned to Terry, some 80% of our UK economy is in Services and these are but little impacted by the Single Market. Liam Halligan was making this same point again in the Telegraph last Sunday. It is not fake news.

    Re WTO Rules we obviously want a free trade agreement and I think we will get one. However, WTO Rules will be no disaster. To take your example of fish, Sterling has already fallen by more than 12% since 23 June 2016. Most tarrifs are low but agricultural tarrifs remain high. Those are the things we need to negotiate about. Why would Eurocrats wish to make their people pay more for whisky?

    You assert that there are no plans for Westminister to replace “re-distributive EU structural funds”. I am sure exactly what you mean by this? We will have still have government support for agriculture and universities but the support may come in different forms.

    I am glad that we agree re the euro.

    I will indeed come back to you in 2019 and hopefully many times in between. How are you going to derail Brexit given the fact that Article 50 notice has been given and Brexit has a huge majority in the Commons, attracting the support of around 85% of voters. Should a nationalist like you really be trying to derail the results of a democratic referendum? What happens when we win Indy ref 2 by 52 to 48%

    Regards,

    William

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