Theresa May’s government has a perfectly logical and rational response to critics who have pointed out that her own government’s impact assessment of the economic effects of Brexit, which was recently leaked, have shown that there’s no scenario under which Brexit is beneficial. That logical and rational response has been to point out in return that the impact assessment only deals with scenarios which might occur in the real world, and that it doesn’t take into account the British government’s preferred scenario, a bespoke deal which only exists in the imaginations of people who write editorials for the Daily Mail.
Under this scenario, the EU is going to grant the UK free and unfettered access to the Single Market and allow Britain to do as it jolly well pleases. British citizens will still have the free right of movement and settlement in Europe but EU citizens will only be allowed here if they register with the Home Office and are accompanied everywhere by an offical ringing a bell and shouting “Unclean!” Britain won’t have to comply with any EU rules or regulations, and countries all over the globe will fall over themselves to give Britain highly favourable trade deals because they are all jealous that they don’t have politicians like Jacob Rees Mogg. There will also be free sparkly unicorns, and the British economy will be underwritten by the bottomless pot of gold that will be found at the end of the rainbow on an invisible Irish border. Meanwhile no British holidaymaker will ever find that their sunbed has been reserved by a German because we won the war. So it’s totally realistic and a hard headed assessment of the UK’s true potential outside the EU. The only surprising thing is that the British government didn’t include it in the super secret impact assessment that it might or might not have done.
The failure of the British government to include their favourite scenario in their impact assessment may, or may not, be related to the fact that the EU has been saying since day one of the negotiations that the special deal that the UK says that it wants is not an option. The special deal is a convenient fiction which exists purely in order to stop the Conservative party tearing itself apart. It is as fictional as Theresa May’s strong and stable government. Not even Theresa has the foggiest idea of what this supposedly special deal might consist of. She does plan to talk to the EU about talking about it though. So that’s OK.
Recent reports in the German press claim that when Angela Merkel met Theresa May at the summit of EU leaders in December, she repeatedly asked her to detail the deal that the UK wanted from the EU. Yet all Theresa would say in reply was, “Make me an offer.” Merkel pointed out that it’s the UK which has chosen to leave the EU, the EU doesn’t need to make any offer. The UK demanding that the EU make it an offer is a bit like someone who has announced that they’re going to leave a party because they don’t like the food, the choice of music, and frankly find some of the company a bit unpleasant, demanding that the host make arrangements for them to leave. All the host has to do is to point them in the direction of the door. Theresa May seems to think that she possesses sufficient bargaining power to demand that the host pays for a taxi, and will still let her drop in whenever she pleases for free snacks and drinks.
The Scottish government is threatening to publish the report if it receives a copy. As it should. If the British government’s own studies show that British government policy is going to damage the country, we have a right to know about it. It’s our jobs and livelihoods that are on the line. The leaking of the Government report which shows that there’s no such thing as a good Brexit, and that Theresa May’s government is fueled by fantasies and wishful thinking, has opened up the rifts within the Conservative party. The Brexiteers are becoming ever less tolerant of those who don’t share their delusional beliefs and wish to destroy anyone who threatens to block the path to the One True Brexit. And these, by the way, are the people who accuse Scottish independence supporters of being cult-like.
Despite the threats to Theresa May’s leadership, the one thing that unites the Conservative party is a determination to avoid another General Election. The chances are that the fractured and fractious party would lose even more seats to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party in England and Wales, while in Scotland a recent opinion poll shows that the Tories are at risk of losing five of their newly won seats to a resurgent SNP, which would also pick up several seats from Labour.
The Tories have shown themselves to be as effective at speaking up for Scotland’s interests in Westminster as a company whose employees are all supposedly self-employed on zero hour contracts is at defending worker’s rights. They’re now paying the price in opinion polls. The Scottish Tories are the definitive toom tabards. Without their “we don’t want another indyref” mantra, they have nothing. Despite a media whose idea of a hard hitting interview with Ruth Davidson is to photograph her posing with a barnyard animal, the Scottish public have not been fooled. Ruth is aw mooth and nae troosers. Her job is to ensure that Scotland is compliant with whatever her bosses in Westminster want.
One of the things that those bosses want is to overturn the devolution settlement. The Scottish parliament is facing an unprecedented danger. The Tories are using Brexit to rip up the principles of devolution and grab power, not for Westminster, but for cabinet ministers who won’t even be held to account by Westminster MPs. All the while they demand that Scotland respects the results of the 2014 referendum, they are pissing all over the promise they made in that vote to increase and strengthen the powers of Holyrood and to entrench the permanence of the Scottish parliament. They are traducing and undermining the result of the 1997 referendum when Scotland voted by a large majority for the devolution settlement that the Tories are now destroying.
The Conservatives met with representatives of the Scottish government today in Edinburgh. There was no deal on the power grabbing clause in the EU Withdrawal Bill. When asked about it, all that David Liddington would do was to prattle on about how much Scotland exports to England. He’s going to talk about talking to Scotland about how to make sure that the bill can be made to meet the objections of the Scottish government. However his government deliberately delayed introducing changes to Clause 11 of the bill in order to kick it up to the House of Lords where the SNP has no representation. The UK government has not got the slightest interests in listening to Scotland, in doing what Scotland wants, or taking Scotland’s views into account. The clock is ticking. As Mike Russell pointed out, there is no longer any time for talking about talking.
The Union is dying, and it’s the Tories who are killing it. With every refusal to concede to Scotland’s legitimate demands, with every slight, with every deaf ear that they turn to Scotland’s voice, another independence referendum becomes more likely, and it become more likely that the UK is in its final days. Independence is Scotland’s rational and logical response to Brexit.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.
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