Scot­land needs early ref­er­en­dum be­fore Brexit chaos wrecks Bri­tain’s econ­omy

The Scotsman - - Perspective / Letters To The Editor -

The Tories’ Brexit “strat­egy” is far­ci­cal, with the Prime Min­is­ter and Chan­cel­lor openly con­tra­dict­ing each other. The hap­less Philip Ham­mond stated that no money had been put aside for the “no deal” dooms­day sce­nario on Brexit. Barely an hour later the equally bungling Theresa May have said that, in fact, £250 mil­lion had been set aside from the dooms­day sce­nario.

The con­se­quences of the no deal sce­nario were laid out in a pa­per by the Cen­tre for Eco­nomic Per­for­mance based at the Lon­don School of Eco­nomics. They found that it would lower pro­duc­tiv­ity by between 6.3 per cent and 9.5 per cent of GDP. This equates to a loss of in­come from £4,200 to £6,400 per house­hold per year. A House of Lords re­port is­sued on Brexit in May found that in the event of a “no deal” sce­nario 97 per cent of food and drink ex­ports to the EU could be slapped with tar­iffs’.

Around 100,000 jobs could be at risk af­ter MEPS warned fi­nan­cial busi­ness de­nom­i­nated in eu­ros must move from the UK to the EU af­ter Brexit.

EU of­fi­cials have re­peat­edly said Lon­don can no longer main­tain euro-de­nom­i­nated busi­ness.

Scot­land could lose between 30,000 and 80,000 jobs as a re­sult of Brexit, ac­cord­ing to Frazer of Al­lan­der in­sti­tute. Re­search by the Cen­tre for Cities and the Cen­tre for Eco­nomic Per­for­mance pre­dicts that Aberdeen will be hit worst by Brexit, with Ed­in­burgh not far be­hind

May is in­creas­ingly iso­lated and in­creas­ingly weak. She heads a mi­nor­ity govern­ment, and a cabi­net split over the terms of Brexit. She is be­ing held hostage by the hard Brexit fac­tion of her cabi­net be­ing led by ris­i­ble buf­foon Boris John­son. The ma­jor banks and cor­po­ra­tions want an ar­range­ment with the EU that will en­able them to main­tain ac­cess to the sin­gle mar­ket or cus­toms union. How­ever, the EU in­sists there can be no pref­er­en­tial treat­ment for the UK, and that it must set­tle its di­vorce bill (es­ti­mated at up to e100 mil­lion) be­fore any dis­cus­sions can take place on fu­ture trade re­la­tions. The Tory hard Brexit fac­tion want the talks to fail so they can turn the UK into a giant sweat­shop. The only plau­si­ble way out of this for Scot­land is an early ref­er­en­dum be­fore the Brexit chaos en­gulfs the Scot­tish econ­omy.

ALAN HINNRICHS Gille­spie Ter­race, Dundee An­drew Vass ev­i­dently be­lieves that there is no merit in the Brex­i­teers’ case (Let­ters, 12 Oc­to­ber) and Rabobank’s sur­vey pre­dicts very high fi­nan­cial costs to us of leav­ing the EU, es­pe­cially if our exit is “hard”.

Mr Vass’s dec­la­ra­tion that we would “be­tray democ­racy” by leav­ing is hard to com­pre­hend, the Leavers be­ing a sig­nif­i­cant ma­jor­ity; pre­dic­tions of the eco­nomic out­come, hav­ing thus far proved as un­re­li­able as weather and global cli­mate fore­casts, like most politi­cians’ pro­jec­tions, must be taken with very large pinches of salt.

In­di­vid­ual opin­ions on Brexit de­pend more on our own pri­or­i­ties rather than on con­fi­dent, re­li­able pre­dic­tion. It is, surely, fair to say that no-one can know the eco­nomic or po­lit­i­cal out­come af­ter Brexit, but two demo­cratic as­pects are clear.

First, democ­racy was shunned by the “great and the good,” al­beit well-mean­ing peo­ple who made us join the EU and, se­condly, there is a very strong case for us in our na­tion, the UK, to gov­ern our­selves, that is, to re-es­tab­lish our in­de­pen­dent democ­racy. (DR) CHARLES WARDROP View­lands Road West, Perth

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