Taking back control (terms and conditions apply; offer not available in Scotland)

By Panda Paws

They say a week is a long time in politics and last week was a rather interesting one. Earlier than expected Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland announced there would a vote in the Scottish parliament on asking for a section 30 order to hold an independence referendum at the earliest in Autumn 2018 but before the UK leaves the EU around Spring 2019. The important bit of that sentence is “ask”. Because when David Cameron decided to hold off UKIP and the Eurosceptic section of his own party by offering a referendum in his manifesto for the 2015 Westminster election there wasn’t a bit about asking Brussels’ permission. Why? It wasn’t needed. Despite all the rhetoric about reclaiming British Independence from the EU, the Tories could do what they wanted if they won the election.

Legally Scotland can’t as we ACTUALLY don’t have sovereignty. The SNP have, however, a moral right. They also have an electoral mandate receiving the highest number of votes in the history of devolution on a manifesto commitment to seek a second referendum in exactly the same circumstances we find ourselves in. But like the Sewel convention, it counts for nothing legally. Devolved power is power retained right enough.

Still when Theresa May announced that “this is not the time” I thought who has been advising her to take that line, dumb and dumber? Then Fluffy Muddle and Buffalo Bill, sorry, Ruth Davidson, popped up to give a press conference to tell us to eat our cereal and I thought “ah”! For it seems like the UK is the Hotel California – you can check out any time you like but you can never leave.

So you’re not having a referendum says the PM. “Did she aye” responds approximately half of Scotland. You can have one when we’ve left the EU was the implication. Translation – when we’ve bartered away your assets in favour of the City. Such is her imperialist mindset it doesn’t cross her mind that the EU might ask – do they actually belong to you? Still, this is not the time because you don’t have all the information you need. Said the PM leading us out of the EU with no detailed white paper or, indeed, clue! And that Ms Morrissette, is what you call ironic.

The last place to attempt to leave the UK was partitioned creating an unstable and volatile situation in the North of that island. Ironically Peter Brooke, Thatcher’s Northern Ireland secretary said in 1990 that Great Britain had “no selfish strategic and economic interest in Northern Ireland”. I doubt the Tory government would bat in eyelid if NI votes for reunification with the South which, given Brexit and demographic changes, is not the long shot it was once thought to be. Meanwhile we Barnett guzzlers, we subsidised scroungers, are benevolently being looked after by the Tories who don’t even subsidise a spare room for a disabled person’s carer (and soon for an OAP). Which makes you wonder if they do have a selfish strategic and economic interest in Scotland, does it not? As recently detailed in WOS, several eminent sources have confirmed that GERS are a fiction. (And I don’t mean Sevco!)

Does Scotland have a deficit? Probably, after all, most countries in the world do.

Is it £15 billion? Err, no.

Up until a couple of years ago, the UK deficit was twice Scotland’s, even using their dodgy calculations (so probably much worse than that). But nobody was asking Westminster if they should be an independent country. Well until this week –

The look on the Maybot’s face at the end was like a bulldog chewing a wasps’ nest! She has the same authoritarian instincts as Thatcher but isn’t half as competent as her. Nor does she have her political instincts; after all, she thinks Ruth Davidson is worth listening to. Of course, given that the Tories have the majority of the MSM in their corner and the official leader of the opposition is as much use as a chocolate teapot, she doesn’t need to be competent. And in what passes for her mind, the wee pretendy leaders, or First Ministers of the devolved nations as they are otherwise known, are irrelevant.

Unfortunately for her, she has made the same catastrophic mistake as Jeremy Corbyn in listening to the branch office manager. Ruth Davidson talks a good game and has the MSM bigging her up, but she’s not the political genius they claim she is. Stripping the dying husk of Scottish Labour of their loyalist vote might have improved Tory electoral standing in 2016 but they are miles behind the SNP and have less of a share of the vote than Thatcher did here. The problem for May is that she is playing noughts and crosses whilst Nicola Sturgeon is playing 3D chess.

To compound matters, May then suggested the Scottish parliament shouldn’t even bother to vote on the matter this week given she wouldn’t grant a section 30 order.

I don’t think so, dear. I fully expect the vote to be 69 in favour, 59 against and then the political game continues.

Apparently, Gordon Brewster asked Patrick Harvie why wouldn’t he abstain from the vote? Err because the Scottish Greens support independence! And even if they did abstain (damaging their council election prospects) it would still be 63 votes yes and 59 votes no (the Presiding Officer, Ken the unionist, doesn’t get a vote). However, 69 yes, 59 no will do fine.

I remember Tris writing he was thinking of giving up on Munguin’s Republic as he was finding it hard to find enough to write about. Something tells me that in the next few years, well he won’t have that problem.

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Yeah that picture has absolutely nothing to do with the article, but very cute don’t you think?

IT IS TRULY ON NOW

JUST WHAT IS THE GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT WITH NISSAN?

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In the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Limited, a subsidiary of the Nissan Corporation, based in North East England and employing somewhere in the region of 6,500 people, expressed concern about its situation in relation to sales to the continent.

In the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Limited, a subsidiary of the Nissan Corporation, based in North East England and employing somewhere in the region of 6,500 people, expressed concern about its situation in relation to sales to the continent.

Britain’s imminent departure from the EU put at risk the international company’s ability to trade tariff-free with the massive market on the mainland and the company sought assurances that this trade would not be adversely affected by Brexit.

The UK government, in turn, wrote to the company, apparently promising that they would not be affected by the change in Britain’s status.  At the time this was considered to be a rash promise, given that only days had passed since the referendum vote (a vote which saw the North East of England vote to leave the EU, and Sunderland did so overwhelmingly 61%-39%). Who knew what was what, except, of course, that Brexit meant Brexit.

 

There were those who wondered what kind of assurances the UK could possibly give at that stage in the exit process, however, when pressed the government in London declined to give any information. A Whitehall spokesman told the Independent “There was no specific promise of money. It was a gentleman’s agreement, a case of doing whatever it took to keep Nissan happy.”  Whatever it took, huh?

The SNP asked for clarification but Greg Clark, a minister in the UK government, refused to give details because of commercial sensitivity. Certainly, we imagine that if details of the Nissan deal got out, then other companies, facing possible tariffs, would also want assurances that they would not lose out. Presumably, that would include companies in the City of London, who stand to lose big time, and of course, exporting companies in Scotland.

A Freedom of information request was sent, with an obligation on the government to respond by late November 2016. There has still been no reply to this request and the SNP has now submitted an official complaint.

I can understand that some deals governments make with companies might be commercially sensitive, but can a deal like this, when the companies across 5 countries face the same problems, possibly be considered in these terms?

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But commercially sensitive or not, we need to know what kind of deals the UK is doing with companies and whether or not the same deals could be made for Scotland’s companies. As Nissan is partly owned by the Fenech government, they will have details of whatever the letter contained. It seems odd then, to hide that information from the Scottish government.

Maybe we’d have more luck if we directed our request for information to the government in Paris.