Sunday, December 27, 2020

SNP MPs to vote for "No Deal" Brexit

The Scottish National Party has confirmed that its MPs will vote against the trade deal agreed between the UK and EU on Wednesday when it comes before parliament for ratification.

Since Britain has already left the EU and the transition period under which we continued to trade with the EU on the same terms as when we were members expires at 11pm on Thursday evening, the choice for MPs on Wednesday is between trading on the terms agreed in this deal or a "No Deal" Brexit.

There is absolutely no mechanism to cancel Brexit at this stage. It has already happened, and if we wanted to reverse it Britain would have to apply to re-join on the the same basis and using the same mechanisms as a country who had never been an EU member state. It would be completely impossible to do that in five days.

The SNP's Westminster leader described Brexit as 

"An unforgivable act of economic vandalism and gross stupidity, which will cause lasting damage to the economy and leave the UK much worse off at the worst possible time."

If there were any danger of the deal not being ratified, I think those words from Ian Blackford are a  better description of what he and his chums will be doing on Wednesday when they go into the lobby to vote for a ne-deal Brexit. Substitute the word "Scotland" for "the UK" and it's an even better description of what the SNPs central policy of Independence would do to Scotland.

From what I've read of the deal so far - and I have not had the chance to read all 1,200 pages of it - while it is certainly not perfect it looks like a much better basis for trade than what has been variously described as an "Australian style" Brexit (though Australia is now actually trying to negotiate a trade deal with the EU) or World Trade Organisation terms, but IMHO is more accurately described as a "No Deal" Brexit.

I always thought we would get some sort of deal at the last minute but we appear to have been a lot closer than I would have preferred to leaving without a deal. I am very relieved that this has been averted: it would have been a very risky outcome for British business and British jobs. (It would have been bad for the EU side as well.) 

However, the "madman" strategy appears to have paid off: the deal does look like a better and more stable and sustainable one for Britain and ultimately for both sides than what was on the table a few weeks ago.

I say for both sides because what is unsustainable will not ultimately be sustained. I think we can live with this deal whereas some of the things which the EU, on their own admission at the time, were asking for  a few months or weeks ago were simply not sustainable. 

If Britain had just signed up to what was on offer a month ago in order to get a deal at any price, I think that sooner or later that deal would have been successfully challenged, but I think this deal will stand.

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