Talk of eco­nomic part­ner­ship a pipedream

The Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

IT never ceases to amaze how the PM still spouts catch­phrases. In­stead of con­cise de­tails and end point out­comes for a fu­ture eco­nomic part­ner­ship with the EU, she re­sorts to vague im­agery. Af­ter “strong and sta­ble lead­er­ship” and then “calm lead­er­ship” we now have her lat­est im­age for an eco­nomic re­la­tion­ship with the EU post-Brexit – a “bold and deep eco­nomic part­ner­ship” (“Re­bel­lion on Brexit will not be tol­er­ated, warns May”, The Her­ald, Novem­ber 11).

One must spec­u­late first what is in­tended by “bold”. One doubts if such a term would be trace­able in the aca­demic lit­er­a­ture per­tain­ing to eco­nom­ics. If it were, what would be the de­tailed in­di­ca­tor? The next term used is “deep”. We must leave that one aside for the mo­ment, as it is truly mean­ing­less.

How­ever, Brexit has be­gun to chal­lenge John Red­wood, Tory Arch-Brex­iter and fi­nan­cial pun­dit. He has been ad­vis­ing in print clients to in­vest abroad and away from the UK. There are fears that the UK econ­omy is slid­ing now while we have still got full mem­ber­ship of the EU, in con­trast to the cur­rent growth of the other 27 mem­bers.

The fu­ture looks bleak. Es­ti­mates of UK pro­duc­tiv­ity have been down­graded and the IMF in­di­cates the UK is a “no­table ex­cep­tion” in an im­prov­ing global econ­omy. The UK will trail Greece over the next five years. Na­tional UK tax rises will be needed to fund the West­min­ster mis­man­age­ment of the in­creas­ing Na­tional Debt, cur­rently at £1.8 tril­lion, or 87 per cent of GDP. In­ter­est rates are ris­ing, which will add to the bill, as will the still-fall­ing pound, and static pay will squeeze spend­ing by con­sumers and re­duce the in­di­rect tax re­turn fur­ther.

How an ill-de­fined “bold and deep” eco­nomic part­ner­ship with the EU, which can never bet­ter full mem­ber­ship of the EU and the as-yet non-ex­is­tent bi­lat­eral trade deals in the global Bri­tish nir­vana will turn the econ­omy round in the im­me­di­ate fu­ture is be­yond the bounds of com­pre­hen­sion when a war­ring West­min­ster Cab­i­net is holed be­low the wa­ter­line and a PM only spouts catch­phrases in place of sub­stan­tive pol­icy ini­tia­tives.

John Edgar,

4 Mer­ry­green Place, Ste­warton,

THE “take it or leave it” vote of­fered to Par­lia­ment on any Brexit deal or no deal should be of­fered in­stead to the Bri­tish elec­torate (“MPs to have fi­nal say on Brexit bill as Gov­ern­ment caves in to rebels,” The Her­ald, Novem­ber 14. Bri­tain’s fu­ture is more im­por­tant than that of any one po­lit­i­cal party; in this case one that is ham-fisted, in dis­ar­ray, and in thrall to rebel diehard politi­cians, who are here today and will gone to­mor­row.

R Rus­sell Smith, 96 Mil­ton Road, Kil­birnie.

THE Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment should not be crit­i­cised for lack of sup­port for Cat­alo­nia, they have pre­vi­ously used the lack of de­volved au­thor­ity to avoid even a sim­ple act of “speak­ing out!” Just af­ter the 2014 Glas­gow Com­mon­wealth Games where Scot­land had suc­cess­fully showed it­self off to the world, Sierra Leone was hit by the Ebola virus epi­demic. Some of their ath­letes who re­cently com­peted in Glas­gow were ef­fec­tively stranded in the UK, all civil­ian flights had been stopped. Re­gard­less of this team mem­bers were threat­ened by im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials with de­por­ta­tion. To where begs the ques­tion? Their ath­letes were ap­par­ently liv­ing rough in London un­able as “il­le­gals”to get any as­sis­tance. Their High Com­mis­sion had other more press­ing prob­lems than deal­ing with what were guests of Scot­land.

For those with short mem­o­ries this was when nurse Pauline Caf­fer­key and many oth­ers were risk­ing their lives to fight the epi­demic, and aid work­ers could only get there by RAF trans­port. I wrote to the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment ask­ing if it could as­sist. Sev­eral weeks later an ob­vi­ously un­hur­ried let­ter ar­rived from a civil ser­vant in Ed­in­burgh say­ing Scot­land had no re­spon­si­bil­ity for com­peti­tors once the games were over and their visas lapsed, im­por­tantly it was stressed that “in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions are not a de­volved re­spon­si­bil­ity”.

So to re­main silent over Cat­alo­nia is not new. In­di­vid­ual SNP mem­bers wish­ing to ex­press their feel­ings about the heavy handed ac­tions in the re­cent ref­er­en­dum should note that Spain has two con­sulates in Scot­land – Ed­in­burgh and Aberdeen – where a strongly worded “note” could be handed in.

Fi­nally, is the EU a body that is silent over the way Cat­alo­nia has been treated, the sort of club Scot­land wishes to be­long to?

Les­lie Fre­itag,

Crav­ells Road, Harpen­den, Herts.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.