Views

Adjusting the Sails: Taking the Pragmatic Course

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails”. William Arthur Ward


By Fiona Grahame

FionaScotland as a member of two unions recently has chosen to remain in both of them.

In 2014 55% of the Scottish electorate voted to remain in the United Kingdoms then in 2016 62% of a reduced franchise voted to remain in the European Union. It could safely be argued that the vote in Scotland to remain in the EU would have been even higher if EU Nationals and 16 year olds had also been allowed to vote on their future, just as they had done in 2014.

The winners of both campaigns promised the electorate great things. The Brexiteers promised increased funding for the NHS, taking back control and stopping people coming into the UK to work where they would fill jobs no one else was doing and pay taxes.  The Vow

In 2014 the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition made a Vow to the People of Scotland that their Scottish Parliament would be ‘permanent‘ and that ‘extensive new powers‘ would be delivered by those 3 political parties starting on 19th September 2014.

“We will honour those principles and values not only before the referendum but after.”

The Vow pledged  a permanent Scottish Parliament, with increased powers and remaining in the UK  and in the European Union. In fact, it was repeatedly stated by the Unionist side  that the only way for Scotland to remain in the EU was to remain in the UK.

And now that has turned out to be a humongous falsehood. For the UK is leaving the EU in less than a year and it doesn’t matter a jot what Scotland wants. The UK Supreme Court stated that the Scottish Government did not even have to be consulted about the triggering of Article 50 to leave the EU.

“The Supreme Court concluded by stating that although the Devolution Acts were passed by Parliament on the assumption that the UK would be a member of the EU, they do not require the UK to remain a member. The devolved legislatures thus do not have a right of veto over the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU.” White & Case

Taking back control” a catchy phrase by the Brexiteers’ campaign throughout the EU referendum was successful in getting the Leave vote in many fishing communities and yet the Fishing Industry, with the terms agreed to under the Draft Agreement ,are going to be worse off. The Common Fisheries Policy is to continue for another 2 years after the UK leaves and without any say in how it is administered. How’s that for ‘taking back control’?

The Protected Brand Status of our products with PDO and PGI will go because those come with being member states of the EU and unless the UK Government puts something similar in place that has international recognition then that quality assurance is lost: Orkney the Brand Under Threat .Products with protected brand status can command better prices in the market as consumers trust in what they are buying and are prepared to pay for that quality mark.

Scotland as part of the United Kingdoms will be taken out of the single market and the customs union. This means tariffs will be applied and checks will take place at hard borders. That can only result in higher prices and delays in reaching the shops. Drivers will also have to check that they are licensed to drive in the rEU 27 countries and the digital single market everyone has been enjoying will also go: The Digital Single Market ?

The Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly have both overwhelmingly passed Continuity Bills to try to protect the existing powers that those administrations have because the ‘taking back control’ referred to the UK Parliament not the devolved administrations.

There are 650 Members of the Westminster Parliament.

  • England: 533
  • Scotland: 59
  • Wales: 40
  • Northern Ireland: 18

It’s a very strange union of equal nations when you look at the number of representatives each one has.

It’s an even stranger kind of democracy when a Prime Minister bungs £1billion of tax payers money to one political party, the DUP,  which has 10 seats (and only 28 out of 90 seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly if that ever sits again) to prop up her Government. No wonder we need the distractions of Royal weddings, births and the Russian menace.

The manipulation of the media to influence our decision making including on social media  where even the once trusted BBC News has become complicit in the fairy tales we are now being presented with is shocking. But we are intelligent, educated beings who have access to more information than ever before and it is time now to make that judgement call. To make that choice.

The choice for Scotland is whether the decision we made in 2014 to remain in the United Kingdom, a member state of the European Union, continues to be the right one for us now. For everything has changed. What Scotland was pledged in 2014 has disappeared as swiftly as those political leaders who promised it. It is time to reconsider our decision in 2014, before irreparable damage is done to our nation and its people. The Scottish Parliament, elected by proportional representation has a mandate to deliver a Scottish referendum on Independence. Now is not the time for those we have elected to dither. The UK is not a democratic union of equals . The Scottish electorate needs to take the pragmatic option. Time to adjust the sails.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” Martin Luther King


 

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