The most astonishing, nay frightening, aspect of our history must be the current blind “Brito-centricity” of our national discussions on leaving the EU.
There is much talk of “deal” and “negotiation”. One can only deal and negotiate when one has something to offer.
We are not in the Britain of 40 years ago; we have lost many major UK firms; we have little or no manufacturing industry; we have a lazy workforce and can easily lose our financial sector as workers “up sticks” for the Continent. The developing nations, USA and China will seek to use us; the Pacific Rim nations and Canada do not care; and the Commonwealth has seen through our colonial chicanery. We have also been grossly rude to our European colleagues. Why would they wish to negotiate?
When one leaves a club one pays one’s dues – membership, debts, outsanding loans and interest – and gets out. One cannot pick and choose which benefits to keep, simply because one is no longer a member.
Michel Barnier, the EU’S chief Brexit negotiator, is correct. We have no policies, no government and rapidly diminishing time. Exeunt.
BADENOCH Abbotsford Grove Kelso, Roxburghshire
The European Movement in Scotland, the nation’s oldest dedicated pro-eu campaigning organisation, campaigned during this month’s general election for Scotland and the UK to remain in the European Union.
The outcome gives us hope that pressure can now be brought to bear to mitigate the worst Brexit. Influential and dormant voices within the Conservative and Labour parties are talking about a softer, open and jobs-led Brexit. This is welcome movement as the Brexit negotiations begin.
Membership of the EU, however, is by far the best possible future for us economically and socially. Any other deal comes with real costs – a Norway solution brings the burden of customs duties and a hard border in Ireland; a Canadastyle solution does not give full free trade, particularly in services; and a no deal, resorting to WTO arrangements, is economic suicide.
All these possibilities make us poorer. There has been no evidence-based analysis provided to the British public of how Brexit is going to improve our prosperity or well-being. It makes no sense to carry on down that path.
Opinion is changing very rapidly and we must not let the case for reversing Brexit go by default. We should certainly look at a referendum on the terms of the final Brexit deal, a position which is supported by the public, and not rule out of hand our continued membership of the EU.
We encourage the political parties to work together to represent the majority of voters in Scotland who do not want to leave the EU, and ensure that their interests are being best served in the Brexit negotiations.
VANESSA GLYNN Chair, The European Movement
in Scotland George Street, Edinburgh