Not a level playing field

What passes for negotiations between the UK and the EU on what the relationship between the two will look like from next year are floundering thanks to the intransigence and unreasonableness of the EU.

The EU is demanding unprecedented access to our fishing waters, the right to impose laws on us and for the EU courts to continue to have jurisdiction in the UK. They call this a “level playing field”.

There is a fundamental misunderstanding about what these negotiations are about. It’s not the UK negotiating from a position of weakness, asking for the price of doing a deal with the EU because we’re desperate. It’s the world’s 5th largest economy offering the EU the opportunity to continue doing business with its largest trading partner with fewer barriers and tariffs.

A level playing field means fair and equitable, not unbalanced and punitive terms to try and force us into a perpetually weakened position. The EU has acted in bad faith throughout this entire process, nothing they offer us will be to our favour. We need to stop wasting time on this sham negotiation, put the current offer back on the table a week before new year and walk away if the EU don’t accept it.

Braveheart

Scottish nationalists are up in arms because Boris Johnson said that the Scottish Parliament has no role in approving Brexit.

The SNP think the Scottish Parliament should have a veto over Brexit because of a convention that says that British bills affecting devolved matters should be approved by the Scottish Parliament.

There are three primary reasons why the SNP are wrong.

  1. It’s a convention not an obligation. There’s no law that says it has to happen. At a time when parliamentary conventions that have been around for centuries are torn up in the name of overturning democracy, the SNP really can’t complain when their own side’s tactics are used against them.
  2. The convention exists to seek the consent of the Scottish Parliament when the British government legislates in their place. Brexit is taking powers from the EU and giving them to the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Parliament can’t legislate on these things currently as they are EU competencies.
  3. Devolution is power shared, not power given away. The British government retains the right to legislate on all matters, devolved or not.

Boris is right: the Scottish Parliament has no role to play on Brexit and no amount of huffing and puffing by Scottish nationalists will change that.