It’s been a fun filled fantastist week for Scotland’s not so merry band of Unionist politicians as they rush to deny that there can possibly ever be another referendum, except an EU one in the case of the Lib Dems, but in the meantime they’re getting on with Project Fear Mk II just in case. This week’s big scare is that in the event of independence there will be a hard border with England that will make the Berlin Wall look like the hedge that Fluffy Mundell is dragged through on a regular basis. You won’t be able to go to the Metro Centre in Newcastle without being strip searched by those big burly men that Ruth Davidson is always warning about. You know, the ones that only exist in her own imagination. Scotland will have a hard border imposed upon it, but Ireland won’t. Because, reasons.
Mind you, after a hard Brexit you won’t want to go to the Metro Centre in Newcastle for your shopping, because goods and services in rUK will be a lot more expensive than they will be in Scotland, what with the tarrifs that will be imposed on Westminster’s trade negotiators – that would be Liam Fox. Most countries would cheerfully impose a tarrif on Liam in an effort to discourage him from bringing Adam Werrity along. On the other hand, the pound sterling will by that time be trading around about parity with the Albanian Lek, which will make rUK really cheap for Scottish shoppers. So you know, swings and roundabouts.
The whole thrust of a Unionist scare campaign is that there’s only ever negative consequences for and independent Scotland. The rest of the UK sails on blissfully unaffected. But that’s not what would happen in the real world. If there is to be a hard border between an independent Scotland that’s a part of the EU and an rUK that isn’t, the party whose interests are going to be most prejudiced by that arrangement is the rUK. Because it also means a hard border between the rUK and the rest of Europe and woeful effects on the economy of the rUK.
No freedom of movement of people, no freedom of movement of goods and services, the EU has been explicit on that point. There will be no negotiations on access to the single market without free movment of people. Westminster can stamp its foot all it likes, but it’s not the one with the strong hand. A hard border means no passporting of financial services that the City of London depends on to do business with Europe, and that will put an end to London’s position as one of the world’s leading financial centres. All that will be left will be laundering money for Mexican drug cartels and hiding the ill gotten gains of Russian oligarchs. Which to be honest, isn’t hugely dissimilar from what’s going on just now.
Scotland may very well do most of its business with the rUK for now, but after a hard Brexit and trapped behind a hard border with trade tarrifs and a plummeting pound the economy of the rUK is not going to thrive. That will provide a shrinking and weak market for Scotland. We’d be fools to tie ourselves to that. The rUK comes off far worse in the threats that the British establishment makes against us, but it’s only ever the negative effects on Scotland that we’re invited to consider. The truth that Project Fear Mk II doesn’t want us to think about is that it’s even more in the interests of the rUK to avoid a hard border.
Meanwhile, over in Toryland, Murdo Fraser has been demanding that the SNP come up with a plan to make the best of Brexit. It’s a bit like a dog owner who allows their mutt to crap all over your doorstep then chaps on your door and demands to know what you’re going to do about cleaning up the mess. The real reason that he’s wanting to know what the SNP plan is for making the best out of Brexit is because the Tories don’t have one. Murdo’s a man with no plan. There is an SNP plan however, it’s just that it’s a plan that the Tories don’t like. That plan would be to gain independence and leave Westminster to stew in its own dysfunctional juice.
Labour in Scotland does have a plan. They announced this week that they’re going to become the most autonomous Labour party in Scotland in the history of autonomy. You know, what they told us that they already were back in 2013, then again in 2014, then there was that wee relapse with Johann’s branch office moment then they were back to being autonomous again with Jim and then Kezia. Labour in Scotland wants itself to have more autonomy than it’s prepared to allow Scotland to have, which is a peculiar position for a party which was prepared to allow the least amount of devolution possible during the Smith Commission negotiations – even less than the Tories. There’s a word for that sort of thing, and that word is hypocrisy, and that’s one of the reasons why Labour’s support in Scotland is flatter than a hedgehog on the M8.
Kezia’s new found enthusiasm for Labo-Max if not Devo-Max is probably not unrelated to the fact that Jeremy Corbyn is about to be reelected by party members. And the signs are he’ll be reelected with a crushing majority. His supporters will then have their eye on deselecting MPs who were seen to be disloyal. One of whom is Kezia’s ally Ian Murray. Kezia’s autonomy proposals have a whole lot more to do with ensuring Kezia has autonomy from Jeremy Corbyn than they do about giving Scotland greater freedom of movement. You might call me cynical for thinking that, but then I’m nowhere near as cynical as the Labour party.
Even the Lib Dems have been at it this week. Not that anyone’s really noticed, or indeed cared when they did notice. The want another referendum on the whole EU thing, because that’s totally different from wanting another referendum on independence. Or something. Truth is, I wasn’t really listening. The problem for the Lib Dems is that no one else was either.
Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-21st-september-2016
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