Theresa’s Brexit fudge makes independence sweeter

The UK cabinet has finally, after two long gruelling years of fighting, back-stabbing, briefing against one another, and flying off to Afghanistan in order to avoid the war zone that is the parliamentary Conservative party, agreed to agree with one another about a Brexit proposal that it can put to Brussels. That’s how bad things have got within the British cabinet. Boris Johnson would rather go and face the Taliban than face his colleagues. But a deal has been agreed now. Well, I say “agreed”, what that really means is that they have agreed that they are in a meeting to reach an agreement and no one is going to resign over it, at least not this weekend.

Outside the cabinet, Jacob Rees Mogg isn’t happy about it, but he’s never been happy with anything that isn’t written in Ancient Greek or which doesn’t involve sending children up chimneys, so like, meh. Who cares.  He’ll be all over your TV talking about betrayal in five, four, three …  The Brexit saga has been the biggest load of crap ever on the telly, with the possible exception of Love Island, although both involve narcissists who don’t have a clue how they appear to other people.

Meanwhile over at the Herald, the newspaper that really has its finger on the pulse of what counts in Scottish politics and how this deal affects us, they’re going to run a story about how an SNP MSP once bought some Edinburgh rock for a group of eight year olds on a school trip to Holyrood.

The entire British cabinet has been sequestered in Chequers in order to reach this breakthrough. Usually when a group of middle class people are stuck in a country mansion for the weekend and their phones are confiscated and they are cut off from the outside world, at least one of them gets murdered. We know this because we’ve all seen Midsomer Murders. But the only thing that has been killed off this time are the hopes and dreams of an entire generation, so that’s OK then.

Theresa’s deal is being widely hailed in the British press as the greatest breakthrough in the Brexit negotiations since the EU referendum, or at least in the only part of the Brexit negotiations with which the British Conservative party has concerned itself, which would be negotiating with other British Conservatives and coming up with a solution that can avoid another general election and the risk that Jeremy Corbyn might get elected. Hating Jeremy Corbyn is the only thing that they can really agree on. Well that and jeering at any suggestion from the SNP that Scotland’s needs ought to be taken into account. The important thing is that a deal has been struck. It’s just a pity that Brussels has already ruled the deal out as a non-starter.

According to one senior Tory, if this was the plan that Theresa May had come up with when she’d first become Prime Minister, she’d have been gone within two weeks. Time is running out, and faced with an impending doom that not even Gordie Broon would dare forecast, the cabinet has been forced to sign up to a proposal that the hard line Brexiteers in the party are going to loathe. The only reason that the hard line Brexiteers in the cabinet have accepted it, or at least aren’t openly opposing it for the time being, is because they have precisely the square root of hee-haw to offer in its place. They have no plan. They have no vision. All they have is an atavistic hatred of all things EU. They dream of a magical land of favourable trade deals, at the very time that their idol Donald Trump is sparking off a global trade war.

The problem however is that this deal, with its plan to end free movement but at the same time for the UK to continue to enjoy access to the single market is precisely the kind of cherry picking that the EU has always said it will not accept. From the very beginning the EU has said that the four freedoms, freedom of movement of capital, services, goods, and labour cannot and will not be divided. If you want one, you must accept the other three. It’s taken the shower of malign incompetents in the cabinet two years to come up with this. If you want free trade, you must accept free movement of people. That’s the bitter pill for the Tories that no amount of fudge can sweeten.

What’s likely to happen now is that the UK’s position will soften even further after more negotiations with the EU. That’s why the Brexiteers are beelin. The EU has seen the door open to a soft Brexit, and it’s going to push. The EU has been very clear since the beginning. On day one after the Brexit vote the EU told the UK what options the UK had, and on day 750 after the Brexit vote the EU is still telling the UK that the options remain the same.

The UK’s new position leaves open the possibility that freedom of movement will remain and signals that there will be further concessions from Downing Street. We all know who has the weak hand in this game of poker, and it’s not the EU. The press release published by Number 10 speaks of the possibility of a “mobility framework so that UK and EU citizens can continue to travel to each other’s countries to study and work”. It looks as though the British government is preparing to retain freedom of movement but simply to rename it and pretend that it’s something entirely different and new. Theresa’s red lines are already a pale pink, and getting paler.

For us in Scotland Theresa May’s panicking realisation that a soft Brexit is the only realistic option means that it’s going to be easier for the Scottish independence movement to kill off the current argument most favoured by opponents of independence. That would be the argument that most of Scotland’s trade is with the rest of the UK and not with the EU, the so-called UK single market argument.

Since May is now seeking frictionless borders with the EU then an independent Scotland that is a member of the customs union and the EU single market will also enjoy frictionless borders with the rest of the UK. There will be a single market for goods, services, agriculture, and no perceptible border between Gretna and Berwick. The last great anti-independence argument has just bitten the dust, killed off by the Tories who’ve touted it. Theresa’s fudge means that the case for independence just got sweeter.

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39 comments on “Theresa’s Brexit fudge makes independence sweeter

  1. Luigi says:

    If, as expected, a soft BREXIT with free movement (in all but name – face-saver required) emerges, then the British Nationalist line will then become:

    “An Independent Scotland will be out of the UK and the EU (doom doom doom).

    I just hope that our friends in the EU will help to counter this – they are no supporters of the UK and it’s about time they helped us out a little.

  2. Luigi says:

    “The UK is your biggest market. The EU is your second biggest market”

    “You will be out of both!”

    (I can hear it coming down the track)

  3. Marconatrix says:

    So after spending all day at checkers they reach a draught agreement … no that really should be a daft agreement. As you point out, the EU are playing poker, a much more serious and grown-up game.

    TBH, I can well sympathise with those whose patience has long since run out and who are screaming “[expletive] Just Leave!” whether regarding the EU, May, or the whole shower that’s the Tories. How much longer can all this go on?

  4. Clydebuilt says:

    Power Grab what Power Grab>
    If Agriculture, Food Standards and Product Standards are to remain tied to EU regulations, there can’t be a Trade Deal with the US. As they would demand we accept their food standards.
    Then where is the reason for the Power Grab. Other than the Tories taste for stamping all over Scotland and the Scots there is none!

    • Clydebuilt says:

      Apollogies for the entire post being in bold

      Power Grab what Power Grab
      If Agriculture, Food Standards and Product Standards are to remain tied to EU regulations, there can’t be a Trade Deal with the US. As they would demand we accept their food standards.
      Then where is the reason for the Power Grab. Other than the Tories taste for stamping all over Scotland and the Scots there is none!

      • One of the countless examples of Alt Right Brit Nat nonsense, Clydebuilt.
        The EU will reject May’s Mandate out of hand. The Hardliners know this.
        No Deal Eurmageddon awaits, and quote, ‘fuck business’.

  5. I note from the agenda that this exalted group spent 1 hour and forty five minutes of their precious day having morning coffee, 30 minutes, lunch, one hour, and afternoonTiffin, 15 minutes.
    I read through this 3 page mandarin pre-prepared load of toss.

    Johnson Gove and Fox would of course agree to this being issued, in the certain knowledge that the EU 27 will dismiss it out of hand for what it is, a jumbled mish mash of rotten cherries.

    Get this for arrogance:-

    ‘Benefits of the Model’.
    ‘end free movement, giving the UK back control over how many people enter the country’.
    cannot be clearer.

    Forget all the ‘Mobility of Work’ nonsense.

    No Freedom of Movement: No Deal.

    Our Silver Surfers who have retired to the Costas have been thrown to the wolves of Hard No Deal Brexit.

    Two years on and this is what the Civil Servants have cobbled together for the PM.

    The final Paragraph:- ‘PREPAREDNESS’
    contains the most telling warning of all.

    ‘ 7. It remains our firm view that it is the best interests of both sides to reach agreement on a good and sustainable future relationship. But we also concluded that it was responsible to continue preparations for a range of potential outcomes, including the possibility of ‘no deal’. Given the short period remaining before the necessary conclusion of negotiations this autumn, we agreed preparations should be stepped up.’
    ‘The short period’. FFS

    She wants free trade of goods but not Financial Services. She wants common trade within the EU but also will compete with the EU on the world market.

    She wants to turn London into the Money Laundering Capital of the world free from pesky interference from the ECJ.

    Brussels and Rees Mogg will wait until after Sweden beat England before ditching this laughably short piece of Brexit nonsense.
    Prepare for Indyref 2 come October.
    May is toast btw.
    This ranks as the biggest cock up since ‘I have in my hand a piece of paper’.

    • ‘ I hold in my hand a piece of paper’:- Neville Chamberlains’ ‘Peace in our time’ speech while waving a piece of paper aloft following his meeting with Herr Hitler in 1938. I forget that not all WDG devotees are ancient monuments like I.

      • Marconatrix says:

        A bit before my time, but the image of N. Ch. waving the scrap of paper aloft, is surely iconic, no?

        • Hitler invaded Poland.
          The Final Straw for the British people.
          This 3 page piece of nonsense is seen a the Final Straw by the 17.4 Leavers.
          The ethernet is on fire with cries of ‘traitor’ from the Merrie Englanders already.

          World Cup fever is at its height.
          Englund Uber Alles.

          I wonder how the citizens of Gibraltar feel as they prepare for today’s kick off, ready to wave their wee Butcher’s Aprons and sing Mogg (oops) Save the Queen.

          They don’t even get a mention in this document.

          I’d imagine that the Loyalist and Republican ‘boys’ in Norn Iron are sharpening up their tools in readiness for Troubles II right now.
          What a mess; an Eton Mess at that.

          • Marconatrix says:

            Maybe the Islamist threat has been bought off with the promise of Jebel Tariq … ???

            • well done, Marco. I had to look that one up. Learn something new every day.

              I’m probably on GCHQ’s ‘one to watch list’ now, as are you.

              I was going to nip into town today, but was reminded that the Billy Boys are on the march and Glasgow’s is closed to the rest of us.
              In the 21st century we still let these endomorphs strut their stuff on the public highway.
              Dear Green Place has plenty of parkland surely?

              It is all about to kick off, Marco, and May and Co know it.
              When Johnny Foreigner rejects this ‘compromise’, it’ll be all their fault.
              Airbus BMW and Jaguar Land Rover must have ordered the packing crates by now.
              Madness stalks the green lanes of Ol’ England.
              The Tribe That Lost Its Head.

              • Robert Harrison says:

                England always had deluded people in its ranks just like we here have traitors among us like Davidson and her cons to name one the madness it’s because there delusions can’t hide the truth of brexiteers damage yet fitba fever is going to be hyped even more now as to distract the English and they won’t see Brexit coming to stop it untill it’s to late as as all they care about is the fitba nothing else matters to them not even the evil conservatives stripping them of there rights.

    • Excellent, Jack! Neville Chamberlain did at least BELIEVE that he had a deal … Mayhem and Co. know they have hee-haw!

  6. Macart says:

    The EU will, of course, kick their whitepaper into touch. They will not and cannot compromise on the charter which underpins their existence… the four freedoms. May will either blink and attempt to sell a *Norway option to the public in order to avoid biblical economic carnage or party politics, isolationism and political expedience will win out and hard Brexit it is. *(In truth, the option arrived at and proposed by Scotgov over a year ago)

    To recap? There are three Brexit impact scenarios and they’re all bad. There is no good Brexit for people and soft really, REALLY, isn’t all that soft. They range from massively damaging to catastrophic and all because people we didn’t vote for decided to have a pissing contest.

    Well done them.

    • Sadly, it is all panning out as we have discussed, since 19th September 2014 onwards, Sam.
      The Brit Nat Establishment is hell bent on becoming the 51st US State.
      What the hell IS the ‘Comprehensive and Progressive agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership’?
      (Part II Para 6.e.)
      Doublespeak for GM crops, Fracking, chlorinated chicken, steroid beef, and Kentucky Scotch?
      We did warn tem, guys.
      Now the path is clear.

      • Macart says:

        May will have been told this plan is unworkable Jack. This has been presented in full knowledge it’s going to be rejected as it stands.

        There’s either the mother of all U turns about to be released, or a hard Brexit crash out and a massive media barrage apportioning blame toward the EU, RoI, Scotland and anyone else NOT the plucky, soooooper reasonable, utterly blameless and terribly stable UK gov.

        Over two years to bring a cabinet together and hash out a wish list which doesn’t address the devolution settlement, the GFA and attendant border issue or respect the EU’s four freedoms? And this is to be regarded as a serious attempt at a negotiating position?

        If you were a cynical sod, you’d be forgiven for suspecting it was never intended to. Either that or they truly do believe their own spin/hype.

  7. chicmac says:

    A return to the isolationism of the 30s for America can make some kind of sense for them, they are, when all is said and done, a resource rich country.

    Ditto, if needs be, for the EU.

    But, isolationism for England makes absolutely no sense for them, their resource to population ratio is appalling, one of the very worst on the planet, mainly because it has about twice as many people as it should really have in a stand alone scenario.

    Isolationism is not a viability for England, a fundamental incompatibility of English and American options.

    England also, therefore, needs the EU more than any other EU member. Brexit is an utterly bizarre option for them to pursue.

    An independent Scotland could get by, if needs be i.e. if full global isolationism were to happen but England, no way.

    • They are a ‘nation of shopkeepers’, chicmac.
      They closed down or sold off their manufacturing base to multi nationals from Thatcher onwards.
      When the car giants go, then England will be a land of shelf fillers and Bookie’s clerks.
      Yet, in full knowledge of the deluge to come, they still appear on QT screaming about making Britain Great again.
      It is mass hysteria; it is a collective Death Wish.

    • Andy Anderson says:

      You are spot on Chicmac.

    • Les Bremner says:

      An isolated England cannot survive, but an isolated England plus Scotland can.
      London will stop at nothing to keep Scotland.

      • Robert Harrison says:

        No les they will sell us out to buy themselves more time to save themselves even though it’s useless as England is finished as a nation under the conservatives thats the only thing labour ever got right.

        • Les Bremner says:

          Robert, I don’t understand how they can sell us out. I have expended a lot of effort on the subject of vote rigging on the assumption that London will not lose us. I have watched them selling assets such as British Steel, Telecomms., etc., so I am very interested in your comment.

  8. Andy Anderson says:

    Nice to read all your comments and your article Paul.

    I cannot see the EU agreeing to this although they will try to move the UK to an agreement that is less harsh and fits in with available membership options already in use between the EU and other non EU countries. The trouble is that the brexiteers, Tories and the labour ones, will not agree. I suspect it will turn to mince.

    My view is 70:30 in the likelihood of a crash out against a soft Brexit. Time is also a major time issue here as you all know. I wonder if it will all be screwed up further by a tory leadership contest or possible a general election. That will muck up the time table completely.

    The worst Government and official Opposition ever at Westminster in my lifetime.

    • Hr Anderson says:

      “The worst Government and official Opposition ever at Westminster in my lifetime.” You’re right there Andy me too. When I read this fudge today I thought this shower of morally bankrupt incompetents have staged a nice wee set up aided and abetted by the MSM to show how firm May was…. It would be hilarious if it weren’t so bloody serious. Play acting with people’s futures.

  9. Robert Graham says:

    I wonder if this is the plan , all this in-out-in-out is boring the pants off everybody , how many times recently have we heard english audiences saying oh just get on with it , looks like they will accept anything now , however stupid it becomes they just want a end to it , the mindset is we are great england and everyone should accommodate us and our demands or else .

    The only saving grace is the european negotiators are seeing the difficulties we have dealing with a english government who refuse to listen because they think they are superior to everyone .

    • Robert Harrison says:

      Ugh don’t remind me I grew up around that bigotry shite that’s why I don’t trust or respect England and probably won’t ever again

  10. Eckle Fechan says:

    The Arsling Fuds of May.

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