That EU reply in full

Can we renegotiate the Irish backstop? The EU’s reply in full.
ní féidir leibh


Both Jean Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier have now officially responded to the UK’s demand for a reopening of negotiations and the removal of the backstop to ensure that the Irish border remains open. They said no. They said that vague aspirations for an unspecified alternative do not make a plan. They said in the clearest possible language that they are not going to renegotiate. They said that those who are now demanding a reopening of negotiations are those who themselves negotiated this deal. So why should anyone believe that the UK will adhere to any future deal that can be agreed too. They said that they did not understand the blame game that the UK is now trying to play. It was the closest thing possible that you can get while using measured and polite diplomatic language to saying “Fuck off.”

Last night the House of Commons voted for unicorns, for pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, for we-won-the-war-you-know-ism, for an unspecified spell that would wave a wand and in a magic shower of union fleg sparkles make the Irish border disappear. The EU is not going to accept it.

But far more importantly, this was a vote by the Tories and for the Tories to keep the Tory party together. A vote which, shamefully, 14 Labour MPs supported. To their eternal shame, in an ignominy which will be remembered for generations, the House of Commons decided that it was far more important to achieve a temporary truce within the Conservative party than it was to respect the Good Friday Agreement and ensure peace in Northern Ireland.

The EU, unsurprisingly, is less than impressed. Theresa May now wants to renegotiate the deal with the EU that she herself had already agreed to, and replace it with some vague alternative that she either cannot or will not define. The position of the UK is that it’s now up to the Irish and the EU to come up with a solution.  Seriously.  No wonder no one trusts the British government.

The negotiating position of the UK is now that a no deal Brexit would damage the EU and therefore the EU will fold. But that’s not how the EU sees it. As far as the EU is concerned Brexit will be a one off event from which it can recover, but the destruction of the single market and customs union which the UK is demanding will last forever. For Britain, the effects of a no deal Brexit will be far more severe, and will last forever. It’s like basing your negotiating strategy on putting a gun to your own head and insisting that you should be stopped from pulling the trigger because someone else will have to clean up the blood spatters.

The House of Commons is a pathetic sham. The two main British political parties are obsessed with scoring short term political points against one another, and incapable of seeing any larger picture. Both of them are in thrall to a myth of a Great Britain bestriding the globe like a mighty colossus, blind to the reality of a medium sized European country that cannot, will not, face up to the truth that it lost its empire generations ago. They court cataclysm because they believe that Britain is too big to fail. It cannot enter their tiny narrow little minds that the political and economic disasters which have befallen other states can befall the UK too, because in their imaginings this is an island nation protected by the unassailable moat of the English Channel.

So they lash out, blaming everyone else for their own failures and shortcomings. It’s never the fault of Blighty. It’s never the fault of Brexit. It’s the fault of the Irish for insisting that they are an independent sovereign state and acting accordingly to protect their own interests. It’s the fault of the French and the Germans for always resenting the British. It’s the fault of the Italians and the Spanish for being jealous. It’s the fault of the Scots for not believing in Britain.

What we are witnessiing in the House of Commons this week is the historic betrayal of the UK by Britain’s political parties. It’s not just Scotland which has been betrayed, sidelined, ignored and traduced. It’s everyone in the UK. The British political class has trashed any residual belief that our European allies might have had in the UK’s good faith. They have put a bonfire under the Irish peace process. They have crapped all over Scotland. And all in pursuit of solving the internal political disagreements of the Conservative party.

Labour is no better. Even now, even at this late stage, even with so little time left to go, Labour is still pursuing unicorns with equal fervour as the Tories. The party’s leadership still talks of the fantasy of a jobs first Brexit, as though there were two years left to negotiate it and not two months. The death of a second EU referendum lies at Labour’s door. The failure to wrest back control of Commons business from an overweening and arrogant minority government with dictatorial tendencies is the fault of Labour.

This is the punching above its weight that Scotland was promised in 2014. This is the respect agenda, the seat at the top table. This is the love. This is the partnership. It’s all as much of a fantasy as the Tories’ alternative arrangements or Labour’s jobs first Brexit.

Back in 2014 Scotland was told that voting for independence meant voting for a romanticised dream, that it was based on emotion and not fact. We see now that it’s Britishness which is unmoored from reality. It’s the UK which defines itself by a romantised vision of a past that never really happened. It’s the UK which trades on emotion and not fact. It’s the UK which demands entitlement and privilege that it will not get.

Common sense is often defined as something that’s self evident and therefore does not need to be proven. Back in 2014 opponents of independence were able to argue that remaining a part of the UK was common sense, that it was up to supporters of independence to prove their case. It’s no longer true that remaining a part of the UK is common sense for Scotland. In the next vote on Scottish independence, a vote which is coming soon, it will be incumbent upon opponents of independence to prove their case. And all they have are fantasies and unicorns, threats and bullying.

Scotland will become an independent nation again because the myth of the union has been destroyed by those who claim to believe in it.


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41 comments on “That EU reply in full

  1. Andy Anderson says:

    As we expected. This is what I think we should do now.

    The Respect Agenda: Westminster 29 March 2019

    Speaker: “I call Mr Ian Blackford”

    IB: “Mr Speaker I speak to you today, and to this House, with a huge measure of regret that the gross incompetence of this Government has today caused the UK to crash out of the EU without a Deal of any kind. We in Scotland have never before seen such incompetence and mal-administration in the history of this place. In Scotland we have become used to broken promises, every promise made to us for the 2014 referendum has been broken. Then we come to Brexit, an event that would not have happened had it not been for infighting within the Conservative party and a significant error made by Mr David Cameron to keep his party together”.

    “After the Prime Minister initiated Article 50 in March 2017 she had already rejected a proposal by the Scottish First Minister dated December 2016 where we proactively put forward an option for Brexit. That was rejected out of hand and never discussed. There was then a farce as the Government appeared to have meetings with the devolved administrations every two or three months. It should be noted that on one occasion no Government Minister attended. None of our requests made to the Government are in the negotiated EU withdrawal Bill. There has never been an attempt to get a cohesive ‘buy in’ with the parties in this House or the devolved administrations”.

    “During many debates in this House, my party is regularly insulted and ignored despite being active in a conscientious way with the business of this House”.

    “Mr Speaker away back in 2014 the people of Scotland were promised that we were to be an equal partner in the UK. This has not happened. Nearly everything the Scottish Government tries to support, amend or enact is rejected. Where is the respect in our democracy, where is the respect within this House for Scotland and its people. Mr Speaker it is with regret that today, on this fateful day for this land, that the SNP members of this House will today depart and will not return. We have tried to work progressively without respect in this sham of a Union, this sham for democracy. Goodbye”.

    • john mclaughlin says:

      Excellently put Andy.

    • Welsh Sion says:

      How much I could wish that Plaid Cymru could accompany her Scottish cousins out of the exit door (Scexit and Walexit – NOT Brexit/Engxit)!

      Things will become that much nastier from 30 March 2019. The Scots will finally have had enough and pull the troops back north, leaving the little Englanders to their self-created mess south of the border. There will be fireworks, tears and recriminations a-plenty against those nasty Jocks (in equal measure from Leavers – for not believing in their Britishness – and Remainers, for “leaving them at the mercy of the no-deal Brexiters and permanent austerity and Tory Governments.” (I know; I live among them daily and both factions hubris, xenophobia and panic, in equal measure is palpable and often audible.)

      So, also, there will be attempts at ‘a rough wooing’ of the Welshies, the first and last colony of England. “We love you, too – we always did. Please don’t go!” But Welshies must learn the lesson that the Jocks already have. England’s elite never has (and never will have) respect for its peripheraries. Devolution? Pah – they had no need to discuss important constitutional matters with lesser peoples like the Celts on these islands. Their wee pretendy Parliaments and Assemblies can be dissolved at the stroke of a Westminster pen – much has already been eroded by Westminster, more dilution of local democracy can only follow.

      I therefore urge my fellow Welshies to stand tall, together with their Scottish cousins. Learn the true nature of the British State (which is only there to boot us in the balls on a regular basis) and join in the liberation that is coming soon to Scotland – and can only but inspire all right-thinking Welshies to obtain the freedom their country, too. Proud Welshies But … Your days, as those of the shamocracy of the British state, are numbered. Join us, join Scotland, join Cymru in a new way of thinking, and a new country, freed from the shackles of a defunct Westminster and UKania which has nothing but the dying glow of the embers of Empire to keep it warm.

      Dros Gymru / For Scotland.

      • Marconatrix says:

        Stumbled on this today, what’s the Welsh for “it’s coming yet for all that”? :

        • Welsh Sion says:

          – What’s the Welsh for “it’s coming yet for all that”?

          – This:

          (Diolch am yr erthygl / Thanks for the article!)

          😀 😀 😀

          • Marconatrix says:

            Diolch i chi hefyd. Dim yn gwbod fod ‘na geiriau Cymraeg i’r gan 🙂

          • Stuart Michael Burdett says:

            lol i was going to make some long winded articulate pertinent reply but then i saw Sion!!! where you been hiding pal? weve missed you!!

          • diabloandco says:

            Wonderful , stirring stuff!

            Someone did suggest that we ‘sing’ our independence here in Scotland – hearing that makes it an excellent idea.

            • Welsh Sion says:

              Well, diabloandco, I have written about 20 song parodies which you are more than welcome to use.

              Here’s one of them as a taster:

              15. (of 20.)

              Scots Wha Hae – Reprise

              Scots, wha hae wi’ Salmond bled,
              Scots, wham Sturgeon aften led,
              Welcome tae yer gory bed
              Or tae destiny.

              Now’s the day, an’ now’s the hour:
              Seize oor chance a’ last fir power.
              See the fearties start tae cower.
              Scotland will be free!

              Wha will be a low appeaser?
              Wha will bow tae Lunnon’s Th’resa?
              Wha sae base as be a greaser?
              Let him turn an’ flee.

              Wha fir Scotland’s Pride an’ Aw’
              Freedom’s sword will strongly draw?
              Bondsman stand or Freeman fa’:
              Let him follow me.

              By th’ oppressive woes and pains,
              Of oor sons in servile chains,
              We will drain oor dearest veins
              But we shall be free!

              Lay Westminster oh so low.
              Traitors fall – like every foe.
              Liberty’s oors wi’ every blow!
              Let us vote fir SNP!

              [With acknowledgements]


              Songs for the New Politics

    • Margaret Barrie says:

      Brilliant, Andy! Word perfect. If it could only happen this way in the next couple of days/weeks, then I would see my dream come true and that of many fellow Scots.
      The opportunity of a lifetime lasts only for the lifetime of the opportumity.

    • If only, Andy.
      We’re done trying to reason with them.
      The war of words is over. Time to act.

  2. Macart says:

    Still, I’m sure Treeza looks forward to the nice in-flight meals and some time away from it all. 😎

  3. […] Wee Ginger Dug That EU reply in full Can we renegotiate the Irish backstop? The EU’s reply in full. не ne ne nej nee no […]

  4. Paul, yie forgot Spitfires.

  5. Gray says:

    If only NS would say this.
    Excellent article.

  6. I had to see it for myself.
    The closing headlines of BBC 6 o’clock news heralds May’s return to Europe to scrap the backstop with grainy footage of a spitfire and a squadron of Lancaster bombers!
    England is at War.
    Time for us to leave, Scotland.
    There are troops in Norn Irn now.
    It just takes one death and the GFA will be scrapped and a hard border reintroduced.
    These nutters won’t let up.

  7. Perfidious Albion
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Perfidious Albion is a pejorative phrase used within the context of international relations and diplomacy to refer to alleged acts of diplomatic sleights, duplicity, treachery and hence infidelity (with respect to perceived promises made to or alliances formed with other nation states) by monarchs or governments of the UK (or England prior to 1707) in their pursuit of self-interest.

    Perfidious signifies one who does not keep his faith or word (from the Latin word perfidia), while Albion is an ancient and now poetic name for Great Britain.

    • Interpolar says:

      La perfide Albion. I used to think it was just the French being French (that‘s how we were socialized, after all). But in this Brexit „process“ I‘ve come to understand that it‘s actually the Fench being reasonable.

    • Interpolar says:

      La perfide Albion. I used to think it was just the French being French (that‘s how we were socialized, after all). But in this Brexit „process“ I‘ve come to understand that it‘s actually the French being reasonable.

      • France is our ally, England if we are to base our assessment on the outrageous behaviour of Yoons to the SNP at WM, are the enemy of Scots.
        How did we get to this sorry pass?

      • The French and Germans have always followed treaties to the letter. Every word of their treaties, is treated as if it’s gospel. That’s why the Tories duplicitous, double-dealing, deceitful and treacherous methods used in Brexit are anathema to them. That being said, the leaders of the EU have kept their tempers in check, under severe provocation and shown the heights of diplomacy, while remaining true to the four principles of the EU.
        The English seem to forget that Ireland will have a veto on any EU/UK trade deal. If we don’t crash out with a disastrous No deal, after all the traitorous shenanigans of the UK, the EU 27 are going to screw the UK for everything they can get in the trade negotiations. Who can blame them? An independent Scotland needs to be there, so we can wet our beaks, as well.

        • Marlon, I like to think that the EU will be playing hard ball with England on our behalf too, ultimately.
          It is unthinkable that Scotland would vote ‘No’ in Indyref 2 now.

          In 60 days, my European passport will be cancelled, because a fat Tory in an English seat has ‘power’ over me?
          I don’t think so.
          Our friends and allies are in Europe, not Down There in the Palace of WM.
          Tonight Fiona Bruce will fill the benches on QT with gammon faced John Lewis checked shirt Brexit nuts cheering the ‘Jerusalem’ Singing Battle of Britain Dunkirk Spirit MP’s and Hacks on the panel.
          They chose wisely picking her to replace the Eton/Oxbridge Bullingdon Boy.

          Now that Corbyn is in bed with Treeza, they’ll all be singing from the same ‘Always Be An England’ hymn sheet.
          England is working itself up into a crescendo of madness.
          Scotland’s interests lie elsewhere.
          I am a European, not a serf in a militarily occupied colony of England.

          • Agree with every word Jack. I see May is going to basically bribe Labour MPs for their vote now. This doling out of cash to constituencies is called pork barrel politics in the USA and again shows Labour at their most treacherous. No scruples, no principles, Labour in bed with the Tories, same as in Scotland. Selling out Scotland’s pro EU vote without a thought.
            Now, we’re also to have teenage spotty scrotes from Leeds, Hull, Manchester and Liverpool given guns and uniforms and let loose on the streets of Scotland, in a No deal Brexit outcome. There is Tory legislation in place, to allow these “soldiers”, free rein without recriminations.
            Apart from that, everything is just fine.😎

            • It is the centenary of the reading of the riot act in George Square during the General Strike. Tanks batons, workers crushed by The Iron Heel of England.
              I’ve been in Belfast many many times during the ‘Troubles’.

              My Everlovin’ is a Belfast lass.
              I have witnessed the sad sight of poor working class boys Press Ganged into the British Army through poverty patrolling the streets of W Belfast.
              Indeed my nephew served and di a tour there; he was the poor sod with the radio and whiplash aerial strapped to his back.

              The thought of young Sunderland and Bristol lads being marched North to quell us ‘Rebellious Scots’ chills me to the bone.

              Set prole against prole is the Brit Empire MO.

              In London’s fashionable Gentlemen’s Clubs and the Ritz, life goes on, no matter how many hundreds of thousands of ordinary folk lose their jobs, their houses, or their lives.
              Perhaps it’s time to march on George Square again, not for a few hours, but ensconced until Scotland is Free once more.

          • Frank Gillougley says:

            i too am a European, Jack. and because of the commercial crime of ageism endemic in this feckin country, effectively barring me from my profession, after trying both multi-drop delivery driving and the royal mail, i am now working/general labouring on a building site supervising two Hungarians and putting them up at our house (I’ve never been happier in my puff) where my translation services are part of the job. My Irish passport arrived last week. As soon as my wife retires we’re off out of this (another year max.) and are going to retire to outside Budapest where she can look after her ageing mother. I very much look forward to being adopted by another European country and one with a deep-rooted culture which I’ve known over the last 8 years. Assuming Orban wont get rid of me of course (or Europe him, but he’ll go in time anyway) I like many others just have to get on with our lives as best we can. I hate all that Tory Engerland (Britain) stands for, and the media cognoscenti, i really dont give a XXXX for the lot of them. I switched off from the stupidity of Brexit donkeys ago. Just a load of posturing eejits playing at politics. We made our pieces this morning with Dutch cheese Hungarian salami and Spanish lettuce FFS! What have we in store for us? Pork feckin pies? As for Scotland? Who knows, that’s another long story. At least i think the hoi polloi realise now that they’re no more than a colony. I can only pray that Scotland achieves its rightful independence in a Europe of Nation states.

  8. bringiton says:

    May is not a leader and certainly not PM material.
    Merely the current manager of the Tory party and not a very good one at that.
    The complete lack of leadership from any of the London based parties during the Brexit fiasco does not bode well for the future of politics in England’s green and not so pleasant land.
    You cannot govern a country by sound bites alone,substance is required and unfortunately sadly missing in England at present.

  9. If we were ever in any doubt in the West of Glasgow constituency when we did not vote in Professor WATP Two Jobs all round bigot and former Republican Socialist now Arch right Wing Blue Tory Royalist Adam Tomkins, then his disdusting little tweet confirms what we knew at the time’ He has no class, and will never be anything other than a LisTory jobs for the boys add on.
    He was foisted on the Scottish Public by Ruth Davidson, despite coming a risible 4th in the actual election.
    Tomkins the Bigot at his best:-
    When it was mooted that NS might call a snap SGE, this 9Half) Wit of the West tweeted:-
    “Oh yeah; would alex Salmond be a candidate?”
    Scum of the first order.
    Let’s hope WATP never gets smeared.

    • typos, me, ragin’.
      Beneath contempt.

      • diabloandco says:

        Ragin’ with you Jack , but almost permanently ragin’ this weather.

        • It’s a wonder that someone has allowed this man to teach, or even to come into contact at all , with the young people of Scotland. A role model from Hell, Jack.

          • He allegedly teaches Law at Glasgow Uni, Marlon.
            Hence my ‘two jobs’ jibe.
            Imagine a student openly declaring Self Determination for Scotland and this ostensibly unconscionable tweeter is marking his work? There might be a conflict of interpretation of Scots law?
            He adopted the soubriquet ‘WATP’ at the time that other well known political also ran Murdo Fraser, 7 times loser at FPTP plebiscites, not to be confused with FTP, gave himself the handle:- ‘The Queen’s Eleven’.
            Presumably that was to garner the votes of the Loyal Sons of William No Surrender vote, presumably, maybe, perhaps, or maybe not.

            Blue and Green Knuckledraggers are thin on the ground down our way, thank the Chief..

            Woe betide this evil Red Blue and Yellow Tory Brit Nat mob, if one of our own Scottish Police come to harm on the streets of Belfast.
            Of course that will solve the Backstop problem for them, and Arlene and Sammy,their fellow Arch Right Tory collaborators.

            To paraphrase Boris’ Dad:
            Who gives a damn if a Mick shoots a Jock.
            England will be free of EU ‘rule taking’ at last.

            The above, I postulate, I do not state.
            I don’t have an island of lawyers.

  10. Coyler says:

    Great letter from Frank Neenah ofrom Carlow in The Irish Times This morning.
    “Mrs May is in the unpleasant position of some one who has quit a cushy job in a huff over their perceived importance, but after an acrimonious discussion at hom, has been told to go back and tell the employer they still intend to leave, but need confirmation that their salary,health and pension benefits and the use of the company cat will continue indefinitely to make leaving more palatable.”

    Sums it up nicely!

  11. Andy Anderson says:

    This article from the BBC website explains what the USA wants in a post Brexit trade deal. A big drop in food standards and increased NHS drug costs.

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