SNP should back May’s Brexit deal in the interests of Scotland
THE increasingly desperate plight of the Prime Minister in trying to push her withdrawal deal through Parliament offers a rare opportunity for the SNP to leverage its Westminster representation in the both the best interests of Scotland and the SNP independence agenda.
With an SNP block of 35 votes, which translates to a swing of 70 in terms of parliamentary voting arithmetic (from against to for the motion), the SNP could in effect rescue the Theresa May’s deal from the certain failure it faces.
Her premiership is tangled up with the fate of her Brexit deal and, such is her political vulnerability, she will probably agree to almost anything to ensure its passage and her survival. It is also fundamental to the SNP independence dreams that the UK avoids a hard Brexit.
If this transpired, a future Scottish independence referendum would ask the Scottish people to vote for a hard border between Scotland (re-joining the EU) and England (permanently outside). This would be a tall ask indeed, especially given the insoluble profile of the Northern Irish border in the present debate. So, acting in naked self-interest, the SNP should agree to vote for the Brexit withdrawal agreement in exchange for the following commitments from the Westminster Government.
▪ The immediate allocation of £3 billion in additional cash to the Scottish Government for the 2019/20 financial year, not much more than the Democratic Unionist Party secured for propping up the Government and less than the £4bn-plus being wasted on a no-deal preparation; a win-win outcome.
▪ Consent from the Prime Minister that the Scottish Government can hold a second independence referendum provided the Scottish Parliament votes for it.
▪ Agreement that any special arrangements negotiated with the EU applicable to Northern Ireland (for example potential customs union membership and single market access) would equally apply to Scotland.
▪ Scotland be devolved the powers to vary the rate of corporation tax, commensurate with the similar powers proposed for Northern Ireland such that Scotland does not suffer a competitive disadvantage.
In the coming weeks the SNP has a unique opportunity to shape Brexit events, putting Scottish interests centre stage, rather than, as it frequently declaims, be shaped by them. Raymond Hall,
NEVER have so many luminaries shed so little light (Letters, January 9). The letter with so many signatories is a prime example of why the Brexit debate resembles First World War trench warfare – positions never really change.
That letter links to Neil Mckay’s thesis regarding elites (“Blair’s Iraq war lies sowed the seeds that caused Brexit”, The Herald, January 8), which conflates the later Iraq war with one colour of elite. He fails to acknowledge that the EU embodies just such an elite to those who voted for Brexit. “Truth stagnates”?
Rather than stagnate, apparently truth is a constantly flowing river. Fleeting coruscations reflecting the light from one direction thence from another. Neil Mckay should remember Tony Blair and Labour won a general election well after the invasion of Iraq; it was the stupid economy that saw off Labour.
The fact so many luminaries appear to be xenophiles shades us from their underlying xenomania. And, like any other mania, this precludes the ability to think cogently about the particular. England is not full of xenophobes any more than Scotland is full of xenophiles – immigration proves that point beyond any doubt.
Brexit is about elites but, to the great unwashed, it really doesn’t matter which elite gets a bloody nose; it just matters that someone does and this is directly linked to the stupid economy. This fact is beyond the ken of any particular elite; those elites foolishly believe that “the people” believe what they proclaim. No: “the people” just find a way to upset “power” in whatever way they can.
Dr Ronnie Gallagher,
5 Wyndhead Steading,
I REMARKED in an earlier letter that, regarding the People’s Vote campaign, the entanglement of complex EU laws ensures the entire Acquis Communautaire, or body of EU laws, is beyond the grasp of any individual. Let us not pretend the population of the UK is better informed than in 1975 or in 2016 (13,000 pages of legislation when we joined the EEC, hundreds of thousands in today’s EU).
The surest guide for the voting public to arrive at a decision in a Remain/leave referendum is the examination of the background and interests of the leading proponents.
So it was interesting to note the names of the signatories to a letter (January 9) in support of a People’s Vote which, we were told, “will allow an informed debate”. Notably absent from this list were those of Lord John Kerr, a career diplomat and deviser of Article 50, and Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal of Glasgow University, an economist, both of whom are advisers to the Scottish Government. Both addressed a conference in October on the economic aspects of a new UK relationship with the EU.
The signatories to this letter are minor figures compared with the three professional persuaders who run the People’s Vote campaign. When the result of the 2016 referendum was known, Alastair Campbell declared he would work to defeat it; Peter Mandelson has been prominent in the campaign and, over a year ago, Tony Blair, despite the pressures of merging his international charities and commercial enterprises into a new Institute for Global Change, opened an office in London to deal with the UK Referendum vote.
Your pages have demonstrated the horror and loathing felt for this man. That he dares to organise a People’s Vote campaign here surely tells us something about the project itself. Mary Rolls,
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I AM researching aspects of the 1938 International Exhibition and came across one of my cuttings from the Glasgow Herald in 1997 with one of the many writings of Jack Webster, unrivalled in penmanship.
At his golf club he had met two visitors from Airdrie, one being Art Sutter of dance band fame and the other Bob Mcphail, of Airdrie and Rangers FC fame. In those days sense and sensibility worked together. Mcphail could earn, at most, £8 a week, plus a £2 win bonus. He wrote there were those who couldn’t lace the boots of Mcphail but who walked away with £15,000 a week. But, he wrote, there was more to life than money: discipline, dignity, modesty and respect for others. The message seems relevant for those ferrets wrestling in a sack at Westminster, disparaging democracy. I look forward to the UK being an independent country with a sensible relationship with the political EU.