UK’S ar­ro­gance

The Scotsman - - Perspective / Letters To The Editor -

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.

CHRISTO­PHER OGILVIE

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

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