LETTER FROM MUNGUIN

FOR WEE WILLIE

liberals1liberals2LiberalsLiberal

Dear Willie,

You promise above, in your letter to prospective donors, that the Liberal Democrats in Scotland will keep their word. (Well, I guess there has to be a first time for everything.)

But you know, or you should know that, as much as you stood on a platform of “no second independence referendum”, the SNP and the Greens stood on a platform of having a second referendum if there was a substantial change in circumstances...and they actually cited Scotland being dragged out of the EU against its will as one of these circumstances. Scotland voted 62-38 to remain in varying degrees across the whole country. So, I’d say they kept their word to their voters too.

I don;t think that there can be any doubt at all that Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP and the Greens intend that Scotland would remain, or rejoin the EU. Given that the Liberals have always been pro-EU, I’m sure you will appreciate the potentially horrific damage that leaving the EU will do to Scottish jobs, the economy,  and the social fabric. And given that there is no effective opposition to the Tories in Westminster (the SNP only having 56 votes; your own party having 9 and Labour far too preoccupied with internecine warfare to bother their backsides about opposing Tories), I’m sure you would agree that Nicola Sturgeon’s prediction that we may be facing Conservative governments till 2030.

The Tories have (and I have to remind you here that they did a lot of it with the help of the Lib-Dems) starved councils and government services of money so that, in England, without the protection of the Scottish government, basic services are simply no longer coping. When the UK withdraws from the EU we know that we will lose its protection in many different areas.

Liam Fox has already talked about deregulating businesses and some of the nuttier element of the Conservative Party (who wield considerable power now) are talking about reducing standards to meet the demands of the Americans. No more EU protection, we will be left to the tender mercies of the Tories. And we all know that they don’t actually have any tender mercies, except when it comes to themselves, the Lords, big business and of course, the royal family.

This may well suit the people in England as that is what they voted for. But it won’t suit us here…and part of your name is “Democrats”, remnember?

I understand too that you are keen to have a second referendum on leaving the EU once Mrs May, Mr Fox and Mr Davis along with Mr Johnson, have finished their negotiations. In fact, I agree that that would be sensible, but of course, it is not going to happen. I’m not sure why a second referendum is good, for an outcome you disagreed with, and bad for an outcome you backed. Any explanation?

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You say that the SNP will take Scotland out of Europe. I think you are getting a bit muddled here, Willie. You see that was the last campaign message. Remember…the only way to stay in the EU is to vote no to independence? We are trying to keep Scotland in the EU, and from what we can tell, they want us to be there.

You talk about fighting in the last referendum for a Britain that is open, tolerant and united. Can you tell me how you reckon that you score on that, given all the racism, and violence against EU citizens? And fair? To sick people, dying of cancer and being told to go get a job? Old people not being above to get any social care and ending up in hospital beds for months at a time? If that lot is your idea of open tolerant and united, then I’m damned if I can work out how your brain works.

Now I reckon that the Greens and the SNP, a majority in parliament, have kept their promises. As you can see I’ve  taken this opportunity to remind you of one of the biggest you broke…the tuition fees pledge débacle… and of how your then boss aided and abetted the Tories, with, as I recall, your full support.

Kind regards

 

Munguin

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.

KNOW YOUR PLACE, SCOTLAND

 

It was always my opinion that Theresa May was foolish not to have accepted the ruling of the English High Court when they said that the UK parliament should have the final say on triggering Article 50.

Much better to accept it, put it before parliament and move on.

After all, it seemed to me unlikely that parliament would vote to disregard the result of a legally held, even if not binding, referendum. Tory MPs would, I thought, by and large support the government’s view and enough Labour MPs would most likely vote the way that their constituents voted (largely leave) to ensure that the Bill to give the government permission to remove us from the EU with all that entails, would pass.

For some odd reason, however, May decided not to accept the British judges’ British justice and instead take their case to the UK Supreme Court with an appeal, which they have now lost. (Never mind the cost though, we’ve got piles of cash!)

Those papers, like the Diana and the Heil, who considered the High Court judges to be “enemies of the people” for pointing out what the law stated, must by now have added the Supreme Court judges to that list. I suppose that we shall have to provide police protection for these judges too, lest the hatred that the Mail and Express, the Star and the Sun whipped up, erupt into some sort of violence. (Never mind the cost, we’ve got piles of cash, again!)

So, it was never about whether Article 50 would be triggered or not. It was about the law. About whether the power of the Crown could deny parliament its say in this case.

It is fairly important when embarking on a stupendously important piece of legislation, that it should be done legally. And surely it was better to find out now that Royal Prerogative was not a legal means of triggering this article than in say 9 months’ time when embarrassingly someone points out to David Davis that he didn’t have the power to proceed, has broken the law, and all his negotiations are invalid. Oeuf sur le visage, or what? Oops sorry, that’s foreign!

Indeed you would have thought that somewhere in the massive organisation that is the British government, there might have been someone who would quietly advise them of how the law stood on these matters. Clearly not, though. Such is the joy of having either an incompetent government that doesn’t understand the law of its own land or, more likely, an egotistical one that refuses to listen.

In any case, there is now to be a bill on Article 50, and they could have saved themselves a month (and a lot of our money) had they just known a bit more, or listened a bit more.

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UK Supreme Court unanimous that this is not a devolved matter. Comprehensive defeat for the Scottish Government.

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The Supreme Court also ruled that the opinions of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish parliaments/assemblies need not be considered.  The matter is a UK one and not for devolved governments.

This was greeted with much glee by Professor Tomkins who tweeted joyfully that this was a blow for the Scottish government (something he obviously relishes), seemingly unaware that his own government and prime minister had received an equal, if not greater, blow at the hands of the Supreme Court.

In fact, unless the Supreme Court had ruled that any one of the devolved administrations could overturn the Westminster parliament’s decision, it was never going to make any difference.  Our opinion may have had to be legally sought, but it was never going to change anything. And why should it? If England has 85% of the population; it has 85% of the clout.  No matter how strongly we, Northern Ireland or Gibraltar feel, we are simply too small to call the tune.

(This is NOT a criticism of the judgment of the Supreme Court. They have interpreted the law as it exists. I’ve no argument with that.)

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Retweeted your Retweet
2h:

So it is as we suspected – the “most powerful devolved parliament in the world” is just a branch office that has no say or authority at all.
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Is it a blow to the Scottish government?
Well, hardly, I’d say. Au contraire! Oops, sorry, foreign again.
The Supreme Court has effectively ruled that we are not equal partners in the union and are not necessarily entitled to our opinion being regarded. It simply legitimises what we have always said. It’s an unequal union.
Mr Tomkin’s “comprehensive defeat” will probably convince some waverers that the Scottish legislature is, as someone once famously said, “a wee pretendy parliament”.

OH, DO MAKE UP YOUR MIND, WILL YOU?

ruth-davidoson

What kind of monumental stupidity is this?

This is the full story of the history of the deal (in as much as it was a deal) researched with Stuart’s customary zealous attention to detail and accuracy. And so, today Ruth makes yet another ass of herself.

proxyIn the meantime, The Guardian article here makes interesting reading. I wonder if it’s significant?