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By Russell Bruce

Three years after the EU referendum, Brexit supporters have held on to the idea of ‘taking back control’ with a tenacity in defiance of the daily evidence of economic damage and the shredding the UK’s international reputation.

It is very hard for people to say ‘I was wrong’. Yet over centuries people have learned from their mistakes. Learning from your mistakes is one of the most important life skills for all of us. It would be an especially helpful skill for MPs at Westminster to come to terms with. More than anything else this would resolve the Brexit conundrum. Instead the Tory leadership hopefuls insist they somehow can achieve what Mrs May could not without fresh thinking or the breaking of red lines.

The headline chart from Statista on the America’s largest trading partners tells a salutary tale when examining the detail. Canada and Mexico are America’s largest trading partners. The closer countries are to one another the more significant are the opportunities for trade and cooperation. No one would describe Trump as ‘cooperative’, he has spent months bullying Canada and Mexico to get changes to the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and then threatened Mexico with 5% tariffs potentially increasing to 25%

You will find more infographics at Statista

So Mexico is America’s largest trading partner. Or is it? When the trade with individual EU sovereign states is added together America’s trade with just the 6 largest EU trading partners is $158.9bn or 15.9% of total US trade. EU nations have tariff free trade between member nations and advantageous trade deals around the world.

When the UK leaves the EU the remaining 5 big EU trading partners are still a major trading block. Out on its own, with no sign of any major trade deal and locked out of free trade with 27 member states, Britain’s trading options are decidedly bleak.

Trump: the ultimate disruptor

From being part of a major trading block that is America’s largest trading partner the UK is reduced to just 3.3% and a sitting duck for American negotiators. When it comes to negotiation only the EU has the power and experience to out manoeuvre a Trump team.

All round the world countries come together within global regions so that they can all benefit from easing trade restrictions. Such agreements do much to promote geopolitical harmony leading to increasing cooperation by building on trade links to further international interaction and collaboration providing a basis for tension reduction within global regions. Unless that is, Trump’s US is part of the free trade deal. Trump is the ultimate disruptor.

The crucial factor is the EU is so much more than a trading block for tariff free access. Free movement of goods, capital services, services and labour underpin a level of cooperation and cross border working unlike anything that exists in ordinary free trade agreements. On top of the Commission, and Council of Ministers there is an actual parliament and those who keep up with events will remember we have just taken part in the latest EU elections. The relationship between these bodies is not perfect but it has delivered relative prosperity and security for the people of Europe for decades.

If there were any lessons from the 75th anniversary of D-Day the big one was never to walk away from Europe. Free movement is at the heart of the European project. Capital always finds a way to get where it wants. Free movement of labour balances the rights of people to work, travel and study.

By developing common policies on worker’s rights, environmental issues and more, EU countries are working towards common standards, reducing opportunity for countries to gain unfair advantage at the expense of other members. A totally level playing field it is not, nor will it ever be, but it is so much more than other looser trade agreements because nationality is captured at national and European levels. Brexit England dominates ‘British identity’ leaving Scots, Welsh, and Irish undervalued and ignored.

There is a place for cooperation and exchange across these islands that excludes overbearance and domination. As Nicola Sturgeon said in Brussels on Tuesday:

“Scotland has been at the forefront of the battle of ideas which is confronting many European countries today. In these contests, people in Scotland have consistently supported ideals of internationalism, European solidarity and co-operation. As we in Scotland consider our future, I hope, and believe, that is being acknowledged and welcomed here in Brussels and across the EU.”

There will always be reason for dialogue, discussion and such measures of collaboration as can be achieved between Scotland and the other nations of these islands. The UK leaving the EU does not make that impossible but the relationship will be different when Scotland opts for independence and EU membership.

It is a choice that offers maximum continuity compared to continuing alignment with a determined Brexit England. We despair of the Westminster political system increasingly different in the values it promotes. Scotland’s values are aligned with those of our European neighbours. As an EU member Scotland will have a voice and votes in future decisions.

For Scotland it is less about external power than internal opportunity but it is very much about having influence and control. Up against US negotiators Brexit England will find it has no control, little influence and power seeping away no matter how much is added to defence spending at the expense of the NHS and public services. The better off will need those tax cuts to pay for their health care insurance. The really wealthy will be laughing all the way to their tax havens in Britannia’s many little secret island hideaways.

Lufthansa’s message to Europeans before the EU elections

Lufthansa is Europe’s largest airline by number of passengers carried. Not British Airways then. Lufthansa’s message has an interesting link to the story behind the name. Luft is German for air and hansa is a reference to the Hanseatic League, an organisation of city states and guilds in Northern Europe established in 1358. Its power declined over time until its final demise in 1862. Within 20 years Germany was to become the world’s largest exporter, a position it held for 130 years until overtaken by China in 2009/10.

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By Russell Bruce

Nations are given to creating their own myths and Britain is no exception, indeed a myth maker extraordinary. The end of WW2 and the significant part D-Day played in enabling following generations to come together in peace and stability through increasing cooperation and collaboration is a mark of where Europe’s nations stand today.

Britain did not stand alone. With the exception of the Channel Islands, it was not under the control of the Third Reich. So it became a base for the presence of those countries that would form the invasion force on 6th June 1944 led by American General Dwight D. Eisenhower

A real cause for celebration

Nothing in this article will take away anything from the achievement of what British forces did that day. Channel 4 interviewed many of the veterans attending the celebrations in Normandy today. Their honesty about how scared they were, how they recognised the fortune of their survival when others did not, or comrades who have not lived to see the 75th anniversary give a real sense of honest reflection of their experience that day and the impact it had on their lives.

There is however a wider context. Our graph shows the main composition of the invasion forces. D- Day would not have been possible without both US and Canadian forces, the 9 million tonnes of supplies and equipment from North America or the involvement of 2 million forces based in Britain from many other countries.

L’union fait la force

On D-Day, Allied forces consisted primarily of American, British and Canadian troops but also included Australian, Belgian, Czech, Dutch, French, Greek, New Zealand, Norwegian, Rhodesian and Polish naval, air or ground support. Intelligence from the French resistance was crucial to the air, naval and troop landings.

And lest we forget: 70,000 Irish men and women

“…what happened to the Irishmen and women who chose to serve in the British armed forces during the Second World War. The Irish state was officially neutral but Britain owed a huge debt to the Irish people who fought on the Allied side. Some 70,000 citizens of Ireland served in the British armed forces during the war, together with another 50,000 from Northern Ireland.”

75 years on Britain faces the big retreat

As the memories of the celebrations fade Britain will return to its current Brexit obsession, despite a large percentage of the population just switching off. Little wonder when the ineptitude of Westminster to find a solution is now entering a fourth year.

The collaboration across many nations on D-Day should allow us to focus on a continuing European future rather than a retreat echoing Dunkirk and the failures at Dieppe and Anzio. The evacuation of Dunkirk (May 26 to June 4, 1940) may have been a success in terms of logistics and for the little boats sailing back and forth but it was still a retreat.

Standing alone on the eastern front, Russia was desperate for the Allies to mount a major attack in Western Europe. A year after Dunkirk on 22nd June 1941 the Germans launched Operation Barbarossa, striking deep into Soviet Russia before being bogged down in a conflict in which they had underestimated the determination of soviet forces and significantly, the impact of Russian weather which contributed much physically challenging muddy bog.

Efforts elsewhere made D-Day possible

The Russians had to wait 3 years for the Allies to finally launch Operation Overlord (D-Day) on another June date. Hitler ignored history’s lesson and thought he could succeed where Napoleon had failed. Russian weather and doggedness got the better of both of them.

The myth of standing alone looks set to prevail with our southern neighbours. There has always been a sense of standing apart during the years of the UK’s membership of the EU. Crunch time is coming and the runestones are carved with Boris’ Brexit Crash Out X/2019 AD

England: Ready to stand alone

With the Westminster politcal system looking like a bog of Russian mud the electorate in England seem resigned to any resolution – whatever the cost. Scotland must claim its European future and not be caught in a pincer movement on Europe by Putin and Trump. Both want to undermine the EU. Putin to regain lost influence over Eastern Europe and Trump because the EU is a powerful economic competitor. In business damaging a competitor is to your advantage. Statecraft doesn’t work that way. Just ask Mexico and China about bullying tactics. Brexit plays straight into Trump’s hands. If he appeared to row back on the NHS being on the table for a trade deal it was because that was the one thing that could result in Brexit unravelling.

The two images in the content of this article are screenshots from the Imperial War Museum website. Much more balanced than most of the media and political hype. The headline pie chart was produced by Russell Bruce.

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By Russell Bruce

Theresa May once lectured her party conference telling them they were the Nasty Party and would need to change if they were ever to get back into government. That was at the Conservative Party conference on 7th October 2002. Within 8 years the Tories were in power and Theresa May was in her Home Office silo making her party nastier by the day.

It has got much worse during her term as PM but the leopard skin PM with 99 lives is about to meet her maker in the form of hordes of grey suits opening the door for her into a world of obscurity. There comes a time in the life of all Prime Ministers when it is time to go. Never before has the process been so drawn out but that is the least of our worries about the Nasty Party because it can only get worse, much worse.

The vacancy for a new PM is now official and candidates are polishing their jack boots ready to march into Downing Street without any say from the people of these islands. The number of hopefuls will shrink rapidly as the process gets underway. Only two candidates are normally selected for Tory party members to vote for. The party’s 313 MPs get to decide who those two candidates left standing are although the 1922 committee, who organise these things, are talking about MPs just slimming the list down to four.

It’s looking like Boris

That’s when the Nasty Party gets really scary because Boris Johnson is way ahead in popularity with the rank and file and the only ones with a vote to determine who the next UK PM will be. A disaster as Foreign Secretary, Johnson did massive damage to the UK’s international relations and standing in the world. For Tory activists it appears that is a positive on his CV.

For all May’s tenacity and talk about bringing the country together she could never, and still can’t bring her party together. A YouGov poll of Tory party members uncovered what we were all coming round to suspect about the Nasty Party rank and file:

When asked how the government should proceed with Brexit –
66% said the Britain should leave without a deal with the EU.
84% are against a referendum on the deal or the option of remaining in the EU
64% are opposed to May’s deal with the EU
76% think Britain was right to vote to leave the EU
79% of Conservative members think Theresa May should stand down
63% think May is a poor or terrible Prime Minister
64% think Boris Johnson would make a good leader

YouGov survey of 858 Conservative Party Members Fieldwork 10th-16th May 2019

Meanwhile May is promising all sorts of add ons to her deal including a possible second referendum. What does the No More Referendums Party in Scotland think of that one? News today is David Mundell in May’s office explaining their vision for North Britain was no more referendums. And if any of you think the North British Conservative Party are a bit more One Nation, the YouGov survey explodes that myth. 52% of NB Tories think Boris will make a good leader.

MPs need to vote for May’s agreement first, so no guarantee the political declaration adds ons, including a second referendum will ever see the light of day. If she puts workers’ rights, EU environmental standards and a second referendum on the face of the bill that would be different but her cabinet in usual storm force 9 mood would not have it.

May doesn’t owe her party anything anymore. She may as well go down fighting and just present the proposed changes as legally part of her Withdrawal Bill. Her party is in meltdown anyway so she could change the history of her period as PM by lobbing sticks of dynamite into the ranks of her many detractors. It’s her last ace and the only thing that would prevent her crawling off into a dismal sunset.

Meanwhile Boris is the rising star having significantly increased his support since July with the rank and file, a period during which he has been remarkably silent. That’s when Boris does best in polls. If that is something to really be scared of, part of the reason for this is that runner up with the rank and file is Dominic Raab who would be ‘Nasty Party’ on a lethal dose of steriods.

UPDATE on previous article: James Kelly of SCOT goes POP has pointed out the D’Hondt system plus one element means that with two seats the SNP goes into future rounds with their original vote divided by 3 ie. 38/3 = 12.67%. This means the outcome on the Best for Britain poll would be SNP 3, Brexit 1, Greens 1, Labour 1. My apologies for this error. We will know the actual result after all the polls close across Europe aat 10pm on Sunday.

The post May goes for another bite at the dust appeared first on Newsnet.scot.

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Last three Scottish EU seats too close to call

Best for Britain have published a large poll that has a sting in its tail for the SNP. Whilst their headline prediction is the SNP will take 3 of the 6 seats the percentage analysis tells a different story with the SNP only taking 2 seats.

Under the D’Hondt system of proportional representation once a seat is allocated that party’s remaining vote share is divided by 2.

The The Best for Britain poll gives the SNP a clear lead on 38%, Brexit Party 19.8%, Greens 11%, Labour 10.2%, Conservatives 10%, Lib/Dems 7%, Change UK 2%, UKIP2%

On these figures the SNP takes the first seat and the Brexit Party the second. Those in the running for the third seat are on vote share:
SNP 19% Brexit Party 9.9% Greens 11%, Labour 10.2% Conservatives 10%

The third seat goes to the SNP and the fourth is allocated from
SNP 9.5 % Brexit Party 9.9% Greens 11%, Labour 10.2% Conservatives 10%

The fourth seat goes to the Greens and the vote allocation is now:
SNP 9.5 % Brexit Party 9.9% Greens 5.5%, Labour 10.2% Conservatives 10%

The fifth seat goes to the Labour Party and vote allocation share is now:
SNP 9.5 % Brexit Party 9.9% Greens 5.5%, Labour 5.1% Conservatives 10%

So on these figures the Conservatives win the last seat being 0.1% ahead of the Brexit Party.

Why Best for Britain have allocated 3 seats to the SNP when their poll results actually only give them just 2 is strange. Perhaps because of an unexplained adjustment or wider polling influence. Out of 9260 people polled, 796 is the weighted number for Scotland.

This is a fairly large sample but well short of a full Scottish poll. The general run of figures for each party is not so far away from other polls when a 2 to 3% margin of error is considered and when new parties and vote switching are certainly major factors in the EU election.

There are big swings to the LibDems in England, especially in London where this poll predicts they will lead with 24% over Brexit on 21%. Elsewhere in England Brexit have a commanding lead over other parties. Both the LibDems and the Greens are showing gains from Remain supporting voters.

The figures for Scotland show higher support for the Greens than other polls and this might be an outlier or a reflection of increased Green support down south as voters choose between the Remain supporting parties. In England the LibDems seem to have overcome a lot of the backlash from their coalition with the Tories. Scots seem less forgiving.

There is definitely a message for the SNP about sharpening up its message in the days remaining. ‘Scotland’s for Europe’ has been diluted by ‘Hope messages’ (analysts agree this has very weak appeal, the recycled ‘Stronger for Scotland’, (still piles of merchandise with this), then late in the day ‘Stop Brexit’ arrived as a call to action but with little material to back it).

The SNP have the same challenge as everyone else – to hold on to the party vote and gain from those prepared to switch allegiance next Thursday. With every party still in the game after the first 3 seats are allocated and all hovering around 10% every vote really counts.

Best for Scotland means the SNP vote must turn out on Thursday and also win over those whose support for being in the EU is more important than being in the UK.
A bad result will be a major setback for #indyref2

Postscript: there is some better news in a new Panelbase poll but that is for a Westminster general election instead of an actual electon due to take place this week.

The post Opinion poll panics Tories and Labour but the SNP should be concerned too appeared first on Newsnet.scot.

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By Russell Bruce

England is about to embark on a brave and foolish experiment. It’s called Brexit. Scotland must show how it thinks differently by getting out to vote on 23rd May to press home our European credentials. Whether the MEPs get to take their seats is immaterial. The extreme right Brexit Party is snapping and clicking their heels north of the Border.

All across Europe, in France, Germany, The Netherlands and Poland people and politicians are rowing rapidly back from previous anti EU positions. They have watched the shambles of Brexit and have changed their position as the electorate in these countries have reaffirmed their commitment to the European project that has brought peace and security through cooperation.

91% of Poles support EU membership and Germany’s right-wing Alternative für Deutschland has fallen behind the Christian Democrats, Social Democrats and Greens due to its anti EU stance.

Europe can make these changes because it has critical mass as a global market

This newly released video shows how cross Europe initiatives can provide consumer benefit and overcome the resistance of telecoms companies to push back against anything that will affect their bottom line. This is the start of the digital single market and Scotland with its growing Fintech, games and video industries needs to be where the action is.

As of 15 May 2019, a new maximum price will apply for all international calls and SMS within the EU. As a result, consumers calling from their country to another EU country will pay a maximum amount of 19 cents per minute (+VAT) and 6 cents per SMS message (+VAT).

Anyone who bought the Leave campaign rhetoric of ‘taking back control’ needs to stare down the silo pit of Brexit to see there is no control in that black hole of political paralysis. As for rushing to the Brexit Party they need to look behind the soundbites to understand this is a tightly controlled political machine run on business lines by Farage, a former commodities trader, John Longworth, a former chair of the British Chambers of Commerce, and led by Brexit Party chair, Richard Tice, who formally chaired the controversial Leave EU campaign and is currently CEO of asset management group Quidnet Capital.

Theirs is a right-wing agenda in the interests of the already rich, seeking to beguile the middle and working classes with soundbites to soothe the hard reality of austerity with hidden agenda to make them poorer if they can’t afford health insurance when the NHS becomes a private for profit entity.

And just in case you missed it they want to do away with the Scottish Parliament and anything else that smacks of social justice in the face of endless austerity.

Digital Single Market: cheaper calls to other EU countries as of 15 May - YouTube

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By Russell Bruce

This week’ Opinium poll for the Observer makes nothing as ordinary as grim reading. The failure of the UK political system to deal with the full spectrum of political issues and to be superglued to the contortions of Brexit has left the electorate in switch off, a plague on all your houses mood.

It is a very dangerous place for a population failing to grasp the dire implications of thinking the UK can leave the continent that it is culturally, economically and socially bound to as a vital antidote to a US Trumpian future that will inflict great damage on the social values delivered over over many decades and resisted at every turn by Victorian leaning conservatives.

The simple, uncomplicated, but vacuous message of Farage has beguiled voters, leading them like the pied piper into dark chambers where the light of social justice will never penetrate. Out polling Labour and Conservatives combined, this is a wake up howl to the UK’s former leading parties.

With the Conservatives barely in double figures at 11% May’s government is a Dodo that has leached, flowed and raced towards Farage in unthinking panic. One Nation Toryism, never much more than a translucent fig leaf, has withered to dust blowing in the wind of a dark English brand of dangerous narrow nationalism.

The D’Hondt system gives significant advantage to a party that can command a clear lead. In Scotland we are fortunate that the SNP has a commanding lead in the name of progressive politics to stake out Scotland’s very different pro-European credentials. Well clear of Labour, the SNP on current polling, should pick up 3 seats with the fourth to Labour but the fanatical Brexit Party might take the fifth seat and a close run off between the Tories, SNP and perhaps the Greens for the last seat.

Meanwhile a ComRes poll in the Sunday Telegraph, commissioned by anti EU group Brexit Express, indicates the Brexit party could win 50 seats in a UK general election. Such is the state of politics in that politically distanced country south of the Border that a party with only hard Brexit in mind might finally achieve Westminster representation on a scale that begins to emulate the rise of Nazism in 30s Germany.

For demonisation of Jews read demonisation of Europe and Europeans. For those that think there is still nothing to worry about then they should remember how highly Trump thinks of Farage, the Hugeunot refugee, and his rapturous reception at a Trump rally. Voting for Farage means voting for private health care and an end to the NHS we all value.

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By Russell Bruce

Statista have produced this interesting table of the average share of gross wages and social security contributions for selected OECD countries. The percent typically paid is also related to the level of income in different countries.

That the UK and the US are rather similar implies quite a lot about the path the UK is on to become every closer to the US economic model. Brexit is the neoliberal threat facing Scotland and something those on the left, like Jeremy Corbyn fail to come to terms with.

You will find more infographics at Statista

Another comparison is the level of pensions paid in other countries. The state pension in the UK is just £7,500 compared to £15,800 in France and £26,000 in Germany. French pensioners are twice as well off as UK pensioners, whilst German pensioners enjoy three and a half times the meagre UK state pension. It is a reminder than tax and contribution rates are related to poverty or living comfortably in retirement.

Fuel poverty is becoming endemic in the UK where it is not just pensioners who have to make choices between heating and eating due to the continued assault on social security payments. A proper balance is not just socially just but is an virtuous economic circle. These are groups that tend to spend their income, allowing money to circulate around the economy with much finding its way back into tax revenues.

Tax cuts for the wealthiest 10% do not circulate through the economy, they save it. Fair taxation and progressive social policy provide advantage to the majority in society and higher turnover for businesses through increased consumer spend.

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The panel answers questions from a packed audience at the Glencairn Centre.

Yes Rutherglen and Cambuslang held a Question Time-styled panel at the Glencairn Venue in Glasgow on the 21st March 2019 to discuss the way forward to IndyRef2, the legal and political issues, and how we win.

Panel members were Bill Bonnar (SSP), Kirstein Rummary (Stirling University), Craig Dalzell (Common Weal), and Lindsay Bruce (ayeMail). Chaired by journalist Angela Haggerty.

Although quite long at 1.5 hours there are many very interesting answers to some of the questions. Much better use of time than watching old fims on television. The event was filmed by Newsnet media associate, Twinlaw Films.

Yes Rutherglen #Indyref2 panel - YouTube

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By Russell Bruce

Which is puting it mildly. The ERG is going for the first stike nuclear option whatever the cost to the country. After months of trying to bring her unhinged party together, threatening No Deal to the former remainers and threatening staying in some part of the EU to the No Deal zealots, Mrs May fired her own Cruise missiles, scoring direct hits on Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson.

A five hour cabinet meeting stretched out to an 8 hour lock-in with no access to the outside world for warring ministers. As the PM headed to the Downing Street studio to talk to her nation [England] her ministers were kept in class to do after hours homework. It was pretty unruly according to Newsnet sources. Erasers, pencils, waste buckets stuffed with the Civil Services head’s 14 page letter were hurled with venom.

Suggestions that Leave women cabinet ministers and Soft Brexit women ministers were dragging each other by the hair round the Cabinet office may be a slight exaggeration.

EU elections planned

One item that got less coverage is that Mrs May plans to get EU elections under way on 11th April. Electoral Returning officers round the country will need to get their staff prepared and issue the usual timetables for what happens by a particular date, parties will need to select candidates and organise lots of printing. Mrs May has a ‘Backstop’ in mind in case her ‘deal’ miraculously gets agreed and the UK leaves by 22nd May.

“Congratulations on being elected as an MEP. As the UK left the EU yesterday nobody is expecting you in Brussels”

England: land of the low comedy theatrical farce tradition

They do like to keep those peculiarly English traditions alive with waves of nostalgia sweeping over a lost past. Back in the 1920’s until 1933 the Aldwych Farces were all the vogue. The tradition was picked up by actor and theatre manager Brian Rix in the 1950s and 1960s with his long running Whitehall Farces. It was a time when England could laugh at itself and the other nations in these islands could enjoy laughing at English incompetence.

No theatre writer could have written the Maybot Farces a year ago. The point of a good farce is to stretch credibility until it becomes uncomfortably funny. The Maybot Farces fail two important tests, they are not funny and they are not England laughing at itself. Meanwhile the international community looks on in disMay at a country that has completely lost the plot and looks on in horror.

The Maybot Farces don’t quite fit the literary genre of Tragicomedy that blends aspects of tragic and comic forms, but neither is it quite full blown tragedy. The UK has never had a prime minister like Theresa May before. Tragihorror Farce is waiting in the wings to take centre stage in the form of Boris Johnson. Boris the joker rebel without a cause, other than the Boris cause, exploding onstage will destroy what little is left of England’s shrinking credibility.

The Conservatives tearing themselves apart is no bad thing. The Cabinet briefly discussed the idea of a general election and dismissed it immediately when Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee, ran the numbers past sore heads. That doesn’t make a general election impossible as the whole withdrawal process is where it has been for three years, heading for meltdown, but what and who survives remains the drama mystery of the century.

The Scottish Government and SNP MPs cannot stand by and watch the conflagration without attempting to rescue England from itself because Scotland’s economy will be severely damaged by Brexit, whatever happens.

Scotland leaves the EU with the UK as the UK is the member state. We might not be able to save England from its delusions but try we must, because collateral damage will be inflicted on Scotland. SNP MPs have gained a lot of respect with some in other parties by their willingness to explore possible solutions. More important. the team have won admirers beyond the Commons with increased understanding and goodwill towards independence that was not the case in 2014.

They will continue to face abuse within and outwith the chamber but it is important not to underestimate the connection made with other MPs, especially between women MPs from different parties, who have been subjected to intolerable abuse and threats from out of control political elements.

This stage of full English Brexit is surely drawing to a close – finally – and Scotland can turn its attention to an independence referendum so that it can make its own European future. Frustrating it has been, but if England is actually about to crash out or reach some vague relationship with the EU, the Scottish Parliament mandate is achieved and will be quickly grasped. There was and is no option for Scotland to remain.

Somewhere in a darkened room…

Two Leave supporting parties are meeting to find if they can make common cause to take the UK out of the EU. A deal that builds a new Political Declaration to go along with May’s ‘deal’ and form, supposedly the basis for the real negotiations with the EU. Yes folks there are years of this to come. Most people in Scotland understand this but it will be a big surprise to many south of the Border. All that has been agreed is the exit bill, rights of nationals in UK and EU and the backstop.

No deal does not change any of that because the UK must arrive at a new relationship with the EU at some future unknown point in time. Leavers think they can just walk away from the exit bill and the UK’s obligations from our period of membership. Irresponsible Tory politicians pedal the ‘won’t pay’ line whilst knowing full well to default would lead to both legal action and a downgrading of the UK’s credit rating.

Scotland will be long out of this and making our own arrangements following a successful independence referendum whist England is tied up for years with its never ending Brexit

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By Russell Bruce

The people are speaking. They are less than impressed with May’s government and Corbyn’s dithering. That might just be the understatement of the year.

May went to Brussels yet again to no point, asking for an extension of Article 50 to 30th June, something she has said for months she would never do. She yattered at them for 90 minutes and came away with an extension to 22nd May – if she could get he deal through Westminster next week, failing which a new crash out date of at least until 12th April. The ‘at least’ is interesting because it suggests if there is a radical change in what parliament does with May’s red lines they might listen to new proposals for inclusion the political declaration.

May: “The people voted for pain”

That is what May told opposition leaders. It gives a rare insight into May’s religious convictions that are often the subject of comment. Flagellation is not what people voted for, but May is determined to hand it out anyway. It also explains why she persists in attempting to gain the support of the zealots in the ERG and the DUP. The ERG zelanti will not be moved.

Really the best option is just to revoke Article 50. May and the Tories have messed around with the biggest change to the UK’s position in Europe in over 50 years and made the UK a global laughing stock. Her European counterparts will be much relieved that this was certainly the last time they will have to endure her presence. Nobody in Downing Street thinks she has any chance of getting her deal through next week. The ERG smell blood.

Mandate wider than what was envisaged in different times

The mandate for Indyref2 is wider than the big risk foreseen in 2016. Nobody anywhere in the political world in Scotland, UK or Europe could have envisaged the UK could possibly be where it is today

The case for Independence is still overwhelming whatever happens. Revoking Article 50 does not end the mandate because England will still need to decide what its future relationship with the EU will be. Fraught times will continue with little really settled other than May’s cliff jump will be averted and serious damage to the Scottish economy avoided, for now.

Three years ago nobody thought May’s government could be this divided and incompetent. It was all supposed to be sorted over a year ago and a future relationship with the EU clear, so people and businesses could plan accordingly.

May has changed everything about the 2014 Independence refendum including taking powers away from Scotland without our consent. Powers over fishing, farming and the environment are removed from the Scottish Parliament in the Withdrawal Bill. Even revoking Article 50 does not mean these assaults on the powers of our Parliament will not return under new legislation.

Scotland needs independence and to make its own decisions on its international links, treaties and engagement. The mess of Brexit makes that ever more imperative. So much has happened, or not happened, in the last three years to give us scores of reasons to trigger Indyref2.

It is an outside chance that Article 50 will be revoked given the current composition of the House of Commons. Signing the petition adds to the pressure on Westminster. May is unlikely to survive the certain failure of Meaningful Vote 3 and the Speaker might still insist on some material change to the government’s motion.

Signing will, along with other petitions and demonstrations planned, help bring down the worst Westminster government in history. How often do we get the chance to help bring a useless government down? Its a no brainer and will give you a chance to vent your frustration with Theresa May.

Over 3 million and increasing by the minute

The post Revoke Article 50 passes 3 million signatures appeared first on Newsnet.scot.

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