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Thread: Newsletter 28th September 2018

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    Newsletter 28th September 2018

    For the latest news from Scotland see our ScotNews feed at:

    Electric Scotland News

    I am pleased to say that all issues with our sites are now resolved. The Printer Friendly icon now has a smiley face alongside it which means it will now come up with an option to either print the page or save it to a pdf file. Hope you like this new facility.

    And as I said in our last newsletter our Postcard program and the Arcade in our Community are now working again.

    You can try our Postcard program at:

    Note that the thumbnail pictures are not that clear but if you click on them a much sharper image will appear and that is the one your recipients will see when viewing the card.

    And our Arcade can be loaded directly at:

    where you'll find lots of individual games to play.

    I'm allowing things to settle down for a bit but am starting to look at some new options for the site. In the event you would like to suggest something feel free to email me and I'll certainly look into it.

    For example, I do have an old Genealogy Family Tree program on the site but am wondering if it would be worthwhile to upgrade this to the latest release as I understand it has many new features and is now well regarded. That said there are obviously a number of highly rated Family Tree programs on the web so not sure of having our own would be worthwhile? So any feedback from you would help me decide.


    Here is the video introduction to this newsletter...

    Scottish News from this weeks newspapers
    Note that this is a selection and more can be read in our ScotNews feed on our index page where we list news from the past 1-2 weeks. I am partly doing this to build an archive of modern news from and about Scotland as all the newsletters are archived and also indexed on Google and other search engines. I might also add that in newspapers such as the Guardian, Scotsman, Courier, etc. you will find many comments which can be just as interesting as the news story itself and of course you can also add your own comments if you wish.

    Why today’s kids are the worst behaved for a generation
    Kids nowadays are probably the worst behaved for a generation. Wouldn’t you agree?
    It seems to me every generation always says this about the new generation but fun to read which you can do so at:

    Scotmid serves up profit rise despite headwinds
    Scotmid Co-operative, the Edinburgh-based convenience store retailer, has overcome significant cost pressures to deliver a double-digit hike in profits.

    Note: I used to sell products to this company when I worked for Carnation Foods and have always been supportive of the Co-op movement.

    Read more at:

    CANZUK Is The Most Popular Idea In Politics
    Writing for The Telegraph, UK Member of the European Parliament, Daniel Hannan, explains the growing momentum behind the CANZUK campaign, and why cooperation with Canada, Australia and New Zealand is the greatest option for a post-Brexit Britain.

    Read more at:

    Australian Senate Committee Urges CANZUK Free Trade Zone
    A report tabled in the Australian Senate this week has strongly encouraged the United Kingdom to join the Trans Pacific Partnership, effectively creating a CANZUK free trade zone, according to Australian Senator Eric Abetz.

    Read more at:

    In the UK we tend to see Brexit through only a UK or EU lens. But Brexit is a major global event. Never before has a G7 nation embraced independent trade and regulatory policy after forty years.

    In the UK we tend to see Brexit through only a UK or EU lens. But Brexit is a major global event. Never before has a G7 nation embraced independent trade and regulatory policy after forty years. This plan for the UK therefore starts by thinking about the UK’s global future, as opposed to just its future in Europe.

    We believe that there is a huge opportunity for the UK as a result of re-engaging with the world on trade and economic policy issues in a way it was unable to do as a member of the EU, at a time where its voice is so necessary.

    This Plan starts with an analysis of the reference to a Brexit Prize in the Prime Minister’s Lancaster House speech. This Prize comes only from an independent trade and regulatory policy. Without that there are no gains from Brexit, which only becomes a damage limitation exercise.

    Read more at:

    Trump will have the last laugh on the UN
    Donald Trump's UN speech was a realistic response to a changed world

    Read more at:

    Keeper of Registers inspects 'unique' 1402 Orkney document
    Jennifer Henderson told BBC Radio Orkney: "I handle the modern-day equivalents of this, so when someone is selling land they'll produce a modern day version of this document... usually for more than five crowns and two cows, so it was fascinating to come and see a really early version of what these documents used to look like."

    Read more at:

    David Hockney designs first iPad window for Westminster Abbey in honour of Queen
    The window, the artist's first work in stained glass, reflects the Queen's love for and connection with the countryside.

    Read more at:

    Strontian: The community that built its own school
    A small Highland community decided to build its own school after parents rejected the local council's solution to sorting out their ageing primary.

    Read more at:

    Oxford and Cambridge top the list of best universities in the world
    The UK is still home to the top two universities in the world, according to the 2018 Times Higher Education World University Rankings

    Read more at:

    President Trump’s speech to the United Nations was a ball buster.
    You know what did not come up? Not one word, not one syllable, not one reference to climate change or global warming at the United Nations in the speech by President Trump.

    Read more at:

    As the Arctic melts the Northern sea route opens for business
    When a blue-hulled cargo ship named Venta Maersk became the first container vessel to navigate a major Arctic sea route this month, it offered a glimpse of what the warming region might become: a maritime highway.

    Read more at:

    Electric Canadian

    Canada and its Provinces
    Added Volume XV.
    The Province of Quebec Part I which you can read at:

    The Engineering Journal
    Added the volume for

    Includes topics on: Polythene, its development, manufacture and use, Ore handling facilities at seven islands, An experience in teaching design, Grout curtain for a Rocky Mountain Dam foundation, The use of Aluminum in contact with other metals, Will the ice age return?, Discussion of Technical papers, Abstracts of current literature, Personals, Obituaries, News of the Branches, Library notes, Business and Industrial briefs, etc.

    Mining Review
    Added the volume for 1908 at:

    Alberta Histories of Published Local Histories
    Assembled by the Friends of Geographical Names Society as part of a Local History Mapping Project in 1995 (pdf)

    You can study this resource at:

    Canadian Life in Town & Country
    By Henry J. Morgan and Lawrence J. Burpee (1905) (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    Survey of Barrhead
    Prepared by Industrial Development Branch, Department of Industry & Development, Government of the Province of Alberta (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    Speech by Sir Alex. Campbell
    On the second reading of a bill to incorporate the Pacific Railway Company in the Senate, Ottawa. Thursday, Feb. 3, 1881 (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    A History of the Canadian Pacific Railway
    By Harold A. Innis, Ph.D. (1923) (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    Tales from the Archives
    Our Voyage to Canada from Norway (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    New Videos
    Added some new videos to our Yukon page due to discovering some of the ones I had up were no loner available.

    You can see these at

    I also discovered a few videos of our "Makers of Canada" so added the ones I found to the appropriate pages.

    Conrad Black

    Only the People Can End This Democratic Horror Show

    Trump Can Still Prevail in the Midterms

    Trudeau's high-tax, high-deficit, low-growth plan is doomed

    Electric Scotland

    Update of our Travel page
    I added several new videos to our Travel page again due to some of the ones I had up no longer available.

    You can view these at:

    Clarke's Barrhead & Neilston Directory
    (1896) (pdf). I posted this up partly due to adding the Barrhead pages on ElectricCanadian as I thought there might be some cross checking that could show some connections.

    You can study this at:

    Old Marlborough
    Or the Story of a Province by T. Lindsay Buick, J.P. (1900) (pdf).

    A story of a Province in New Zealand which you can read at:

    A Memoir of the Life of John Tulloch, D.D., LL.D.
    Principle and Primarius Professor of St. Mary's College, St. Andrews, Dean of the most ancient and honourable order of the Thistle; one of her Majesty's Chaplain in Scotland, etc., etc. by Mrs Oliphant (Third Edition) (1888) (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    The Book of the Garden
    By Charles M'Intosh corresponding member of the London Horticultural Society, the Massachusetts Horticulture Society, and the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, etc. Late curator of the Royal Gardens of his Majesty the King of the Belgians at Claremont and Brussels, and now of those of his Grace, the Duke of Buccleuch at Dalkeith Palace, in two volumes (1853).

    You can read this at:

    The Story

    This week I am bringing you the opportunity to read some serious research on the future of Brexit in Scotland and the UK and how important it is to look Globally by reading two reports, one from Scotland and the other from a UK perspective. I hope you'll take the time to read these in detail.

    Businesses must unite in telling Scottish Government to focus on growth
    By Struan Stevenson in Think Scotland

    SINCE BEFORE THE ACTS of Union in 1707, England has been Scotland’s main trading partner. The United Kingdom is one of the largest economies in the world and Scotland has always played a key part in that success story. For Scottish business, the United Kingdom has been a win-win partnership.

    Scotland is a world leader in the production of whisky, food, avionics and satellites, micro-electrics, computer software, financial services, oil & gas, textiles and a host of other goods and services. Our skilled workforce and thriving entrepreneurial spirit have traditionally acted as magnets for inward investment, boosting our economy and creating jobs. Expanding global markets have enhanced our export trade and attracted significant growth in the tourist sector.

    Yet despite all of these upbeat indicators, the Scottish economy has continued to languish behind other parts of the United Kingdom and we remain in the bottom half of the 34 countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

    Scotland’s performance relative to its potential is a source of frustration to the business community. As part of the United Kingdom and given the clear advantages this bestows in fiscal and monetary terms, this should be one of the best places in the world to do business. However, to maintain growth the Scottish economy needs investment – and businesses need to have the confidence to make that commitment.

    Uncertainty has always been the enemy of investment and uncertainty about the SNP government’s continued threat to hold a second independence referendum has acted as a brake on our economic performance. Much has been made of the potential negative influence of uncertainty resulting from the United Kingdom’s decision to exit the EU. Yet over a longer period, the stagnation of Scotland’s economy can be directly linked to the ongoing question mark over Scotland’s status within the United Kingdom; an influence that the rest of the United Kingdom does not suffer.

    That’s why Scottish Business UK (SBUK) has released a new report, Win-Win: The business case for Scotland's place in the United Kingdom which aims to set out clearly the benefits that most companies feel derives from doing business from within a strong Union, while explaining the risks of leaving.

    The report concludes that while Brexit may be of concern to many Scottish businesses, it in fact makes our membership of the UK all the more essential. Scotland’s trade with the rest of the UK is four times greater than our trade with the EU and the Scottish Government’s own figures imply that independence would be at least eight times as costly as the worst-case Brexit situation.

    In short, independence would be a lose-lose scenario for Scottish business yet four years on from the 2014 referendum, it’s clear that the Scottish Government is determined to establish any pretext possible for holding another vote.

    The never-ending uncertainty that this presents for Scottish business means that companies need to unite in urging the Scottish Government to abandon its demand for another referendum on independence and instead focus its efforts into reigniting the Scottish economy by pursuing a policy of stability and growth that will increase investment, create jobs and benefit everyone.

    A winning formulation.



    In the UK we tend to see Brexit through only a UK or EU lens. But Brexit is a major global event. Never before has a G7 nation embraced independent trade and regulatory policy after forty years.

    This plan for the UK therefore starts by thinking about the UK’s global future, as opposed to just its future in Europe. We believe that there is a huge opportunity for the UK as a result of re-engaging with the world on trade and economic policy issues in a way it was unable to do as a member of the EU, at a time where its voice is so necessary.

    But if we squander this opportunity, then the UK and the world will miss this unfrozen moment and the new normal of limited economic growth will prevail to the detriment of future generations.

    This Plan starts with an analysis of the reference to a Brexit Prize in the Prime Minister’s Lancaster House speech. This Prize comes only from an independent trade and regulatory policy. Without that there are no gains from Brexit, which only becomes a damage limitation exercise.

    The size of this prize depends on three key contexts.

    First, the state of the global trading system which is in crisis. There has been no completed round of international trade negotiations of any seriously liberalizing significance since the Uruguay Round, a third of the life-time of the GATT, an unprecedented situation which has led to obvious consequences – the stalling of global trade growth in 2015, the increase in global regulatory protectionism, the slowing of measures of actual wealth creation such as industrial output.

    Second, the direction of travel of EU regulation is increasingly anti-competitive and prescriptive.

    Third, the direction of travel of global regulation is also negative. The EU is spreading its regulatory system around the world, and China is taking global standards, applying Chinese characteristics and pushing these on its neighbourhood. The result constrains wealth creation globally, but it also means that a successful UK independent trade policy could yield significant gains. If these contexts were different the scale of the prize on offer would be different and smaller.

    The quest for the perfect economic model to determine exactly what are the gains of an independent trade and regulatory policy is a fool’s errand – no trade negotiation is determined by an economic modeller with a laptop. Indeed where the gains are potentially the greatest for a services based economy like the UK’s – the reduction of behind the border barriers and anti-competitive market distortions, the gains are hardest to model.

    What we can do is have a sense of the significance of these gains, and it is well-known that the reduction of behind the border regulatory barriers can have much greater impacts on GDP than border barriers alone.

    In this paper, I have articulated a four pillared approach to trade policy; what we do unilaterally, bilaterally, plurilaterally and multilaterally which have enormous interaction effects which we have ignored at our peril.

    The government’s choice to separate the EU track from the rest of the world track has meant that in this multi-dimensional chess board on which we are playing, we have sought to placate the EU with one move and sacrificed our queen on the other boards, without knowing it. Our supplicant approach to the EU – essentially bowing to any request they make because of their interpretation of the duty of sincere cooperation – has led us to a government white paper which in my view and the view of trade policy experts takes our independent trade policy off the table.

    I have just returned from the US where I was told in no uncertain terms by the United States Trade Representative that the White Paper’s approach would absolutely preclude a free trade agreement with the UK. The countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership have said the same.

    Our ability to gather allies to put pressure on the EU which is regarded by the world as an outlier on global regulation (quite the reverse of the gold standard as suggested in the White Paper) has been severely imperiled, and the once deep reservoir of good will for the UK is running dry as our trading partners grow ever more confused by our approach.

    Meanwhile, the EU is making the case in foreign capitals as we speak that the UK will not have the authority to be a credible trade partner as it claims, denting the strongest argument that Brexit is a major global event where a G7 country can make a contribution to the direction of travel of the global trading system by being a more liberalizing force in the world.

    This paper shows examples in where this bifurcated approach has led to negative consequences for the UK. We must change now, and we must have a single mind over all our independent trade policy including our negotiations with the EU so trade-offs can be made, and we can read across negotiations from one area to another.

    UK Trade Policy Recommendations

    We should lower tariffs unilaterally where we can, and we should embrace a more pro-competitive regulatory system at home. In this paper, I have suggested improvements that can be made to the UK’s domestic economy with newfound regulatory autonomy. We should offer to the EU a comprehensive free trade agreement with the maximum regulatory recognition given that we will be completely aligned on day one of Brexit, with a management of differences mechanism going forward.

    We can do this by offering actual negotiating text for the EU which I believe they would welcome – it is critical to do this in order to get to a framework for the future relationship as required in the Withdrawal Agreement.

    The EU cannot negotiate with speeches and white papers. Text would allow us to move forward. Such text should also include a Customs and Trade Facilitation Chapter with an Irish Border Protocol which would deal with the critical issues of minimizing customs clearance costs and mitigating any hardening of the Irish border.

    Both sides’ goal should be to not harden the Irish border in ways that damage the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process. While there is no single silver bullet for the Irish border, there are a series of steps we can take to minimize the hardening of that border. These are listed in the paper and are designed to deal with the reality of trade across the border which is high frequency, low volume trade, where most RoI and NI trade is with mainland GB.

    The goal should be to move traders to trusted trader schemes as much as possible, so that customs clearance moves from being tied to goods, to being tied to the trader itself (from transaction to systems based).

    We can also use trusted third parties to do in facility inspections (so-called drive through borders), as they do elsewhere in the world. Finally, we can use Special Economic Zones both to stimulate economic growth as well as to ease any hardening of the border. Many people have addressed the Irish border issues, but we must acknowledge the politics and the emotion around these issues – there are pragmatic people in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and third parties who were involved in the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) who can play an important role in ensuring that the solutions which do exist receive a fair hearing. It is crucial that any backstop – despite the illogic of the concept -- cannot take away the EU’s incentive to negotiate an advanced FTA, but I do suggest that since the backstop has to be agreed between the UK and the EU, it could comprise a basic FTA between the EU and UK with zero tariffs, as well as the mitigants suggested above.

    The paper includes a number of mitigants to lower the cost of customs clearance. I am clear that these are mitigants – the small increase in frictions at customs which we can mitigate must be set against the real economic gains that the UK can muster both for itself and for global supply chains if we are able to arrest the direction of travel of global behind the border and regulatory barriers.

    Customs clearance costs are falling in any event, whereas global regulatory barriers are increasing. It would certainly not make sense to take our independent trade and regulatory policy off the table solely because of customs clearance costs for some supply chains. Instead, in the paper, I advance customs solutions involving a best in class customs and trade facilitation chapter, and use of technologies such as trusted third party inspections.

    For the major supply chains, a highly advanced version of a trusted trader system, (building on and improving schemes like Canada’s CSA Platinum Plus programme, where for 100 companies, customs is made more like filing a tax return) is possible. It is even possible to have a specific auto or aviation pact in the customs and trade facilitation chapter to the extent that these supply chains would not already benefit from the mitigants proposed, including more effective back to back Inward Processing Relief.

    The UK and EU will be completely aligned on the day of Brexit, and so we should start with the maximum regulatory recognition possible.

    There should be a management of differences mechanism where one party cannot unreasonably withdraw recognition, and there is no reason the UK and EU should not have a best in class regulatory coherence chapter, a sample of which is included in the document.

    We should start off with this ask, knowing that as a floor, there is a compilation of agreements that the EU has already agreed with other parties so they would have to justify to their citizens why they can’t do this with their biggest trading partner.

    But we must not lose sight of other agreements we would want to sign. I highlight the US especially, but also India and China. Indeed any forward progress on the US deal in particular will concentrate the minds of our friends in the EU. USTR officials legitimately say that it seems at least to them that the White Paper was written almost specifically to take a US agreement off the table.

    Plurilaterally, we recommend actual application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

    The Department for International Trade should be credited for their success in convincing the CPTPP partners that UK accession would be beneficial to the agreement, and that there are benefits to the US of an FTA with the UK. We note that a US agreement and NAFTA accession are not mutually exclusive. Indeed many US entities are calling for UK NAFTA accession as a counterweight to the threats of the US to leave it. CPTPP accession and a US FTA alone would constitute a significant percentage of global trade.

    We can use our WTO transition to our advantage in the negotiations with the EU by signaling our liberalizing intent, through our agricultural import quota (TRQ) negotiations and our production subsidy (AMS) offers. We can exploit the fact that the EU is an outlier in the minds of most other WTO members, and that far from having gold standards as the White Paper suggests, it has more restrictive regulations and standards, outside the global trading norm.

    We must be able to show other countries that we will be an ally in international organisations and standard setting bodies. This in turn will help us in our negotiations with the EU because they will feel similar pressure from all sides. One fundamental flaw in our strategy so far has been to allow ourselves to be trapped on the EU’s terrain – which began when we rashly accepted their negotiating mandate, instead of submitting FTA text immediately after Article 50 in line with the Lancaster House speech.

    Finally a major problem in our approach has been to assume that we cannot make these initial moves or opening bids until we know exactly how negotiable they are with the EU without understanding the dynamic nature of that negotiability. How negotiable a particular proposal is depends on how other aspects of UK Trade and Regulatory Policy are being advanced, and negotiability is only ever really tested at the sharp end of a negotiation itself – you move when your move is most likely to be effective.

    That is why we must use time better. The EU has played us against time, and created an environment where we feel we will be forced to accept their views because we “don’t have time”. But since time has been deliberately used here, we must instead make time our friend, by accelerating our negotiations and action steps where we are in control of them, both as a hedge against EU reluctance to move, but also as an intrinsic good in itself.

    The good will of other countries towards us comes not from some altruistic love of the British but because they see a potential ally in the steps to improve the global trading and regulatory system. But if the UK is merely a mini-version of the EU on the global stage, we will simply become irrelevant to them, and we will end up with a bad deal from the EU.

    The EU regard Chequers as an opening bid, which they can negotiate concessions on – customs union for goods, and single market rules is quite possibly the only way they can ultimately go. To avoid this outcome, we must put FTA text on the table and pivot to the other pillars of our trade policy strategy.

    If we continue on the present course, Brexit will be a small damage limitation exercise which will weaken the UK, and be largely unnoticed by the rest of the world.

    However, if the UK were to adopt a bolder, more ambitious approach – one that sees us as a major player in global trade, one which takes our departure from the EU seriously but sees it as part of a much broader picture of taking a leading role on the world stage, then we can look forward to a brighter, more prosperous, free trading future for both the UK and the wider world.

    I hope this plan helps us along that path.

    Thank you.

    See the full report at:

    And that's it for this week and hope you have a great weekend.


  2. Thanks Rick, sandyc, 1938 Observer thanked for this post.
  3. #2

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    Re: Newsletter 28th September 2018

    Like the article about Barrhead in Alberta. My daughter is living there now so I shall share it with her.

  4. #3

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    Re: Newsletter 28th September 2018

    And I learned that it was part of the Klondyke trail so that was cool as well.


  5. #4

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    Re: Newsletter 28th September 2018

    Yes and part of it is 'designated' the Grizzly Trail too. I've not seen any ones there yet...

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