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  • Brexit

    We're starting to hear more and more about Britain's upcoming referendum on the EU and I well recall Alastair's reasoned concerns during the Scottish independence referendum. This recent speech by Secretary of State for Justice Micheal Gove is a compelling summary of the down-side arguments. I'm sure the Prime Minister will make his contrary views abundantly clear in due course.

  • #2
    Re: Brexit

    The original paper on Scotland in Europe can be viewed at



    • #3
      Re: Brexit

      The BBC have a page available at:



      • #4
        Re: Brexit

        I posted up an article on Brexit which is my take on things.

        You can read this at



        • #5
          Re: Brexit

          Hi Rick, nothing has been made clear from either side and the decision day is tomorrow. Monumental amount of fear mongering, they all clearly learned from the Scottish referendum. And of course we have Nicola threatening us with yet another Scottish Independence referendum. And still the sheep support her and her acolytes.
          We get the politicians we deserve, it is said, but this lot...


          • #6
            Re: Brexit


            So many people will believe anything if it is repeated enough,it appears thay many are not prepared to investigate all sides of an argument/discussion prior to making a decision. It does become rather onerous at times to delve into research [for most of us,me included]. At the moment here in OZ we are in "Election Mode", due date is July 2nd, it seems to be the case as usual [from all sides] who tells the biggest lies,makes the most rash promises........."BAH HUMBUG'

            As the saying goes...............only two items are certain in life "Death & Taxes"; thankfully I don't have to worry about the latter.

            On a brighter note...............we have not been afflicted with a "Mr Comb Over" pseudo political aspirant downunder.

            Gordon. :wink::angelic:
            Last edited by 1938 Observer; 23 June 2016, 00:17. Reason: forgot word.


            • #7
              Re: Brexit

              Well at 10 pm in Canada or 3 pm in the UK it is looking like Brexit might have the leave vote. Currently it's on 50.4% to leave and 49.6% to remain.

              So.. still some hours to go.



              • #8
                Re: Brexit

                Well the BBC has forecast UK votes to leave.

                So now we're in uncharted territory.

                However, I do believe while there will be short term pain I do believe in the medium term we should start to do a lot better. I also believe that Europe will see a lot of changes as well.

                Interesting times ahead.



                • #9
                  Re: Brexit

                  We are OUT and Cameron is OUT. Of course now we are back to the start with the whingeing SNP demanding another Scottish Independence referendum. Scotland voted to "remain" and that is what the numpties in Edinburgh are using. democracy only works when the ones in power get what they want. Scotland is NOT a separate country.We are British.


                  • #10
                    Re: Brexit

                    I entirely agree and Nicola wants us in the EU which is now falling apart with Denmark, France, Italy, Spain, Hungary, etc all wanting to run their own referendums.

                    We have so much to look forward to. Building back our fishing industry, being able to raise tariffs on cheap Chinese steel to protect our own steel industry.

                    We need to negotiate to re-join EFTA, look at whether to join the Nordic council and of course join all the global institutions like the World Trade Organisations (WTO), etc. We also have a great opportunity to a deal with India that the EU has stalled for some 9 years.

                    The future for Scotland within the UK is full of promise or die a death going for Independence.



                    • #11
                      Re: Brexit

                      Like many Scots I have lived and worked in England and Wales. Unlike many of them, some 800,000, I did return to Scotland to work and run a business. I later emigrated to Canada where I now live.

                      To be frank I got to the point where I didn't like Scotland as there seemed to me to be a lack of vision in Government and Business. Being something of an historian I could see that Scotland had actually benefited enormously from the Union of the Crowns. In fact in the period 1790-1820 a staggering 130 Scots were MPs representing seats in England and Wales.

                      Look at the number of Scots who were Prime Ministers of the UK and had seats in the Cabinet from Foreign Secretary to Treasurer and many other portfolios. Scotland took the lead in building the British Empire overseas. We were the people that went out and did the hands on jobs.

                      I campaigned to "leave" the EU as over the years I found that the EU was no longer relevant in a Global world where global organisations were making the laws.

                      I like reading news from all over the world to try to understand what is happening in the world and how it might impact Scotland as my work is all about the history of Scotland and the Scots at home and abroad. I have been working on this now for some 20 years.

                      Over the past several years I have been looking at the EU to see what it is doing for the UK first and Scotland second. I have to say that I really can't see any point in that organisation at all and is why I campaigned to "leave".

                      Let's look at some points...

                      Marine Le Pen is generally thought to be favourite for winning next years French Presidential elections. She wants to take France out of the EU and if she wins will have a referendum.

                      Here is what she said after seeing the Brexit result...

                      Marine Le Pen: After Brexit, the People’s Spring Is Inevitable (28th June, 2016)
                      PARIS — IF there’s one thing that chafes French pride, it’s seeing the British steal the limelight. But in the face of real courage, even the proudest French person can only tip his hat and bow. The decision that the people of Britain have just made was indeed an act of courage — the courage of a people who embrace their freedom.

                      Brexit won out, defeating all forecasts. Britain decided to cast off from the European Union and reclaim its independence among the world’s nations. It had been said that the election would hinge solely on economic matters; the British, however, were more insightful in understanding the real issue than commentators like to admit.

                      British voters understood that behind prognostications about the pound’s exchange rate and behind the debates of financial experts, only one question, at once simple and fundamental, was being asked: Do we want an undemocratic authority ruling our lives, or would we rather regain control over our destiny? Brexit is, above all, a political issue. It’s about the free choice of a people deciding to govern itself. Even when it is touted by all the propaganda in the world, a cage remains a cage, and a cage is unbearable to a human being in love with freedom.

                      The European Union has become a prison of peoples. Each of the 28 countries that constitute it has slowly lost its democratic prerogatives to commissions and councils with no popular mandate. Every nation in the union has had to apply laws it did not want for itself. Member nations no longer determine their own budgets. They are called upon to open their borders against their will.

                      Countries in the eurozone face an even less enviable situation. In the name of ideology, different economies are forced to adopt the same currency, even if doing so bleeds them dry. It’s a modern version of the Procrustean bed, and the people no longer have a say.

                      And what about the European Parliament? It’s democratic in appearance only, because it’s based on a lie: the pretense that there is a homogeneous European people, and that a Polish member of the European Parliament has the legitimacy to make law for the Spanish. We have tried to deny the existence of sovereign nations. It’s only natural that they would not allow being denied.

                      Your Thoughts on Brexit?
                      What fears or hopes do you have about your own country, whether you are in Europe or elsewhere, after Britain’s decision to exit? Share your thoughts.

                      Brexit wasn’t the European people’s first cry of revolt. In 2005, France and the Netherlands held referendums about the proposed European Union constitution. In both countries, opposition was massive, and other governments decided on the spot to halt the experiment for fear the contagion might spread. A few years later, the European Union constitution was forced on the people of Europe anyway, under the guise of the Lisbon Treaty. In 2008, Ireland, also by way of referendum, refused to apply that treaty. And once again, a popular decision was brushed aside.

                      When in 2015 Greece decided by referendum to reject Brussels’ austerity plans, the European Union’s antidemocratic response took no one by surprise: To deny the people’s will had become a habit. In a flash of honesty, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, unabashedly declared, “There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties.”

                      Brexit may not have been the first cry of hope, but it may be the people’s first real victory. The British have presented the union with a dilemma it will have a hard time getting out of. Either it allows Britain to sail away quietly and thus runs the risk of setting a precedent: The political and economic success of a country that left the European Union would be clear evidence of the union’s noxiousness. Or, like a sore loser, the union makes the British pay for their departure by every means possible and thus exposes the tyrannical nature of its power. Common sense points toward the former option. I have a feeling Brussels will choose the latter.

                      One thing is certain: Britain’s departure from the European Union will not make the union more democratic. The hierarchical structure of its supranational institutions will want to reinforce itself: Like all dying ideologies, the union knows only how to forge blindly ahead. The roles are already cast — Germany will lead the way, and France will obligingly tag along.

                      Here is a sign: President François Hollande of France, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy and acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain take their lead directly from Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, without running through Brussels. A quip attributed to Henry Kissinger, “Who do I call if I want to call Europe?” now has a clear answer: Call Berlin.

                      So the people of Europe have but one alternative left: to remain bound hand-and-foot to a union that betrays national interests and popular sovereignty and that throws our countries wide open to massive immigration and arrogant finance, or to reclaim their freedom by voting.

                      Calls for referendums are ringing throughout the Continent. I myself have suggested to Mr. Hollande that one such public consultation be held in France. He did not fail to turn me down. More and more, the destiny of the European Union resembles the destiny of the Soviet Union, which died from its own contradictions.

                      The People’s Spring is now inevitable! The only question left to ask is whether Europe is ready to rid itself of its illusions, or if the return to reason will come with suffering. I made my decision a long time ago: I chose France. I chose sovereign nations. I chose freedom.

                      Marine Le Pen is president of the National Front party in France. This essay was translated by John Cullen from the French.

                      And there is more from around Europe...

                      Last night’s Danish referendum rejecting Europe once again may yet be imbued with a similar significance if David Cameron’s fails to win the forthcoming referendum on Britain’s membership of Europe. (4th Dec. 2015)

                      So likewise Denmark may also vote to "leave" the EU.

                      EU referendum for Austria if there are no reforms (27th June 2016)
                      Presidential candidate Norbert Hofer calls for an Austrian European Union referendum if there are no significant reforms in the next year, after Britain votes to leave the union.

                      Brexit: Poland, Hungary lead angry rebellion against EU’s old guard (JUne 28, 2016)
                      A continental split opened up over the response to the Brexit vote as Poland and Hungary led calls for a new-style European Union amid fury that the founding member states were trying to call the shots.

                      Italy’s perfect storm could topple the EU (June 29, 2016)
                      The Italian banks have been smashed. Italy’s biggest bank, Unicredit, has lost more than 30 per cent of its value since the vote and more than 60 per cent since the start of the year.

                      Renzi, under pressure from the surging popularity of the Eurosceptic Five Star Movement, is trying to seize the moment created by Brexit and the effect it might have on other EU countries disenchanted with the state of the union.

                      Now that is just a snapshot of what is happening in the EU countries. So given the above why should we remain in the EU? Does it not make a lot more sense to leave? The whole EU is now in melt down and I doubt it will survive in it's present form.

                      SO ask yourself, given the above, why is Nicola Sturgeon so fixated on being in the EU?

                      A clue to this can be found in the following story...

                      UK lacks expertise for trade talks with Europe, says top civil servant (28th June, 2016)
                      An initial government review has revealed Whitehall has only 20 “active hands-on” trade negotiators, and will be up against 600 experienced trade specialists for the European commission, Sir Simon Fraser, the former permanent secretary at the Foreign Office disclosed.

                      And how many "trade negotiators" does Scotland have?

                      To me this is the problem that Nicola Sturgeon is not prepared to discuss as she is hoping that the EU will carry the weight of Scotland's relations with the rest of the world.

                      Let us not forget that EU countries do not sit on any of the top tables of the world organisations. Increasingly it is them that set our laws. The sub regional EU is only a part player in an increasingly global world.

                      It is foolish of countries to identify their future with the EU. By 2050 there will be some 9 billion people in the world. The EU will then account for only 6 per cent of the world’s population, as against 20 per cent before 1950. Its share of the world’s gross product will have shrunk to some 10 per cent by 2050, as against 30 per cent in 1950.

                      In the coming decades most growth in GDP, market size and investment returns will tend to occur outside continental Europe. Most EU countries will have a shrinking and ageing population. The EU in general is likely to decline economically, politically and culturally relative to the rest of the world, and in particular Asia, where the bulk of humanity lives.

                      The Commonwealth is a great source to go after for the UK as Asia is obviously the growing market of the future and in the Commonwealth are countries such as, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

                      In the Pacific we have Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

                      In the Caribbean and Americas we have Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and The Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.

                      In Africa we have Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia

                      And in Europe we have Malta and Cyprus.

                      In all 2.2 billion citizens.

                      The Commonwealth dates back to the mid-20th century with the decolonisation of the British Empire through increased self-governance of its territories. It was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which established the member states as "free and equal".The symbol of this free association is Queen Elizabeth II who is the Head of the Commonwealth. The Queen is also the monarch of 16 members of the Commonwealth, known as Commonwealth realms. The other Commonwealth members have different heads of state: 32 members are republics and five are monarchies with a different monarch.

                      Member states have no legal obligation to one another. Instead, they are united by language, history, culture and their shared values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. These values are enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter and promoted by the quadrennial Commonwealth Games. On 3 October 2013, after 48 years of membership, The Gambia became the most recent nation to withdraw from the Commonwealth.

                      The Commonwealth covers more than 29,958,050 km (11,566,870 sq mi), almost a quarter of the world's land area, and spans all six inhabited continents. With an estimated population of 2.328 billion, nearly a third of the world population, the Commonwealth in 2014 produced a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of $10.45 trillion, representing 17% of the gross world product when measured in purchasing power parity (PPP) and 14% of the gross world product when measured nominally.

                      It'a my view that a reconnection with the Commonwealth has great scope for the future of the UK and Scotland and the Queen could so a lot to help influence growing trade between them.

                      In addition I might add that while we might be out of the EU that does not mean we are out of Europe. Indeed as the 5th largest trading nation EU countries would obviously want to work with the UK to sell their goods.

                      Curently the UK trade with the EU accounts for £227bn UK exports to EU against £288bn in imports. So we have a trade deficit with the EU of £61bn. 45% of all UK exports are to the EU.

                      The EU is in charge of trade policy. Trade negotiations with non-EU countries are conducted by the European Commission on the basis of a negotiating mandate from the member countries' trade ministers. For imports from outside the EU, there is a "Common External Tariff". Member states do not set their own tariffs.

                      So as an example, Scottish Steel is almost dead but outside the EU we would be able to impose tarrifs on the dumping of cheap Chinese Steel and thus help to protect our Steel industry.

                      Now that we have made the decision to "leave" there is little point in looking back as we need to look forward. Frankly I think the future is great for both the UK and Scotland but we need to get on our bikes and work hard for can be a glorious future.

                      My view on Scottish Independence is simply that this is not the time for an referendum. As Kevin has so well laid out Scotland can only be the loser as our deficit to GDP is so large that it is doubtful if Scotland could survive and very doubtful that they would be able to join the EU.

                      That is not to say Scotland can't become an Independent country in the future but certainly not in the next 10 years in my opinion. Instead it needs to get over its fixation with the EU and help the UK make the most of the opportunities that are now open to us. And we need to work hard at producing trade professionals and diplomats that can work on the world stage and ensure Scotland's voice is heard.



                      • #12
                        Re: Brexit

                        Thanks Alastair for your perspective and help sorting though all this. I particularly appreciate your pointing to the Commonwealth, which has barely been mentioned in the media circus. My pension portfolio is taking a bit of a roughing up, but I don't expect that to last and am not too worried. My daughter has young adult friends in England that are outraged at the restrictions on their future options, but my contacts in Scotland are less concerned. All in all, we just have to wait for the tantrums and panic to subside and then see who steps forward to start crafting the future. But please, no second Indyref!


                        • #13
                          Re: Brexit

                          I agree Rick... no second referendum!!! <grin>

                          I am also taking a hit on my pension as almost all of it comes from the UK. I am considering not banking my next cheque hoping the following month will see the rate making more sense.



                          • #14
                            Re: Brexit

                            You get a cheque? Mine goes straight into my bank account every 4 weeks.


                            • #15
                              Re: Brexit

                              The British Old Age Pension goes into my bank as does my Just Retirement pension and my Canadian pension but the one from Zurich is sent by cheque.