2007 - 2021

This is a Mandate: “We say: yes to the Single Market”

c7j_nnxxuaadanWe all understand the nature of a mandate; in elections it is a sanction granted by the electors to the party that wins the election and forms the government. Here is a Conservative mandate, delivered in clear terms, in the 2015 Conservative Manifesto: “A Conservative Government will not increase the rates of VAT, Income Tax or National Insurance in the next Parliament.” (Conservative Manifesto; p.27).

Of course this manifesto commitment was not implemented quite as electors were entitled to expect. It was simply overturned in Philip Hammond’s first Budget; then as quickly resurrected, in the form of a pirouette in policy by the present Prime Minster and Chancellor together (albeit a pirouette executed in the form of a maladroit U-turn: more Laurel and Hardy than Astaire and Rogers), but emphatically in terms that expressly acknowledge the depth of the commitment: “the Prime Minister and I decided that, however difficult the fiscal challenges we face, the tax-lock and spending ring-fence commitments we have made for this Parliament should be honoured in full”. (Philip Hammond, 15th March, 2017: public letter). Ah, the resort to the word “honour” is made, presumably to solemnify a farce; but we should remember the resort to that word “honour”.

Here is another 2105 Conservative manifesto pledge: “We say: yes to the Single Market” (Conservative Manifesto: p.72). Another solemn manifesto commitment to be “honoured”? Here is Theresa May “honouring” that pledge: “But I want to be clear. What I am proposing cannot mean membership of the Single Market.” (Theresa May: speech, Lancaster House, 17th January, 2017).

What the Prime Minister failed to make clear was that she was ditching an undertaking even more “clearly” made to the electors in the Conservative Manifesto (who of course did not elect her or her Government to IMPLEMENT Brexit, as the manifesto also demonstrates). I am sure that any Conservative apologists reading this article are now scrabbling around for the exact form of words that will deliver easily for them, a meaning of this 2015 Conservative Manifesto statement on the Single Market, that defines the word “yes” as actually meaning “no”; I wish them luck (and if they do alight on some risible point of sophistry, you will have learned a great deal more about them than the meaning of the words), especially if they wish to embrace both the “letter” and “spirit” of the statement. You will discover soon enough below why both the letter and spirit are important.

Of course the Prime Minister was not “proposing” anything in January: she was already executing a policy that obliterated the undertaking to be members of the Single Market. Somehow I fail to see how that could be seen by any fair critic to “honour” the manifesto commitment. Perhaps the Prime Minister will seek to come to the House of Commons and explain how she reconciles her policy on the single Market with her NIC U-turn and specifically, this excerpt from Philip Hammond’s U-turn letter:

“It is very important to me and the Prime Minister that we are compliant not just with the letter, but also the spirit of the commitments that were made” (Hammond, 15th March).

There is the mandate, and there is the undertaking. I invite the Prime Minister to do what her Chancellor called the “honourable” thing, and implement the Manifesto commitment to the Single Market.

Comments (36)

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  1. w.b.robertson says:

    what a farcical argument. it was a Tory government that led the country into having an EU referendum. Now Mr Warren is arguing that it should ignore the punters` verdict (cos he does not like it) and revert back to “honouring” its original manifesto. The corollary would be a Scottish government promoting its Indy2 – losing the vote – and then declaring Independence since it was in its manifesto. Not quite cricket izzit?

    1. John S Warren says:

      My article (as distinct from the video) is about the Single Market, not membership of the EU. Leaving the EU does not entail leaving the Single Market; it never did. It has nothing to do with the referendum question, or winning it. I am afraid your argument is quite simply irrelevant to the matter discussed in the text of the article; in short, you have ‘begged the question’; perhaps because – you don’t like it?.

  2. Roger Gough says:

    I hope that Mr Warren does the “Honourable thing”. Desperate.

    1. John S Warren says:

      My article was written without the video. It is written about the Single Market. The video is frankly, irrelevant to the issue discussed in the article. I have never seen the video. I have nothing I wish to change about the article I wrote, nor need I.

  3. The video was added by the editor in the hope that it enhanced the article and discussion. As it clearly doesn’t, I’ve removed it.

    1. Lesley Docksey says:

      The photo you’ve headed the article with – I hope you realise that this was one photo Theresa May did NOT want shared – ooh goody!

  4. John S Warren says:

    I wish to record my warm appreciation of the editor’s prompt response to the problem. I believe that his decisive action in such a case deserves the praise of both writers and readers of Bella Caledonia; that problems – which will always arise in a ‘live’ media environment – are handled with maturity, respect and common sense.

    Thank you Mike.

  5. Roger Gough says:

    The result of the UK wide referendum, which would quite obviously override any manifesto promise made by any party in matters concerning the EU (of which the single market is part) was “Leave” – a decision which brooks no argument. Why are we getting hot under the collar about trade deals? In my high street supermarket this morning I saw products on sale from Honduras, Uruguay, Madagascar, Ecuador, Vietnam, India, China, Australia, New Zealand, Chile to name but a few. There is too much money at stake for the remaining EU countries for them not to come to a UK deal suitable for most if not all. There’s a big wide world out there – some (if not most) with political leaders less corrupt than – as one prime example – ‘Lux-tax deals Juncker’. Why does anyone think that the EU would be any more honourable in it’s promises/pledges? The 6 billion deal with Turkey re. returned migrants from Greece was unlawful. Seek out Verhofstadt’s Guardian article which explains why.

    1. John S Warren says:

      Thanks for making the most difficult economic problem facing Britain in fifty years so obvious and easy to solve. Why didn’t everybody think of that? There is no problem. What is the word I was looking for to describe your cogent argument? Oh, yes I remember: “Desperate”.

      1. Roger Gough says:

        But then I’m not an expert. But I did back a horse at 16-1 called Might Bite on December 27th, 2016 to win a particular race on Wednesday last week at Cheltenham. It obliged at 3-1. The harder I work the luckier I get. If I didn’t have confidence in my work I wouldn’t bet. BTW, my argument is cogent and will come to pass . Want to bet ?

        1. John S Warren says:

          No thanks; but now at least I more fully understand your general methodology. QED.

          1. Roger Gough says:

            Like it or not, my methodology is based on facts. You dismiss it because you know nothing of it nor, more worryingly, do you want to know anything about it or anything other than your own one-sided vision of utopia, like every ‘remainer’, based on the lies of the EU (again, see ‘Verhofstadt above as a prime example, a topic a million times more important than a manifesto pledge. The migration of millions, I seem to remember was the subject of no manifesto pledge at all; it was foisted on the world by a single woman of questionable intellect). You think that EU politicians are more honest than those in Britain ? Ask the Greeks, God help them. Your claim, in the European scheme of things, is of only the slightest import.

    2. John S Warren says:

      I offered no “vision of utopia”. I made no comment on the honesty of EU politicians, or for that matter of British politicians (if you read carefully I think you will find I simply presented Conservative manifesto commitments or senior ministers’ statements IN THEIR OWN WORDS, and asked – politely I think, and hope – that they implement them).

      Yesterday you wrote that the referendum choice to leave “the EU (of which the single market is part)” was a “decision which brooks no argument”. Today, in answer to Mr Parkhill’s telling contribution on the UKIP manifesto you have decided that staying in the Single Market is “a very sensible policy”. This, it seems is the standard of argument you consider useful and one with which we are supposed to grapple. How do you grapple with a plain contradiction?

      As for your passion for “facts”, yesterday you were extolling the virtues of gambling and seemed to wish to turn the thread into a bookmakers shop, including an over-confident but not very seductive offer of a bet. I shall leave the readers to weigh and measure who is interested in “the facts”.

  6. William Ross says:

    Well said Roger Gough. “Leave” meant taking back control, controlling our borders, ending the supremacy of EU law and the ECJ and ending our huge contributions. That necessarily means leaving the Single Market and good riddance.

    1. Jeff says:

      Ah, we have a Tory ostrich…

    2. John S Warren says:

      As a matter of plain fact in the 2106 referendum that narrowly approved leaving the EU, it did not mean leaving the Single Market. Here is the question in the referendum: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”. There is no reference to the Single Market. The “Leave” campaign was solely a campaign to leave the EU.

      The Conservative Government that is still in power, and currently leading the Brexit negotiations with the EU, gave a Manifesto commitment to stay in the Single Market in 2015; the last time they received a mandate from the British eletorate to do anything at all. Your proposition is simply false and you do not even now demonstrably represent a majority of the electorate in Britain over the Single Market issue (however loud you bluster). Your argument is simply a bald assertion.

  7. Tom Parkhill says:

    Even UKIP committed to the staying in the single market in their 2015 manifesto, “As a minimum, we will seek continued access on free-trade terms to the EU’s single market”.

    1. Roger Gough says:

      And a very sensible policy too. Continued access to the single market but on agreed terms which don’t demand the continued dumping of British taxpayers cash into lunatic schemes like moving the EU Parliament lock, stock and barrel every few days at over £1,000,000 a throw from one supposed ‘capital’ to another. Why can’t Edinburgh be next? Let’s be democratic about this.

  8. George Gunn says:

    Good to see Mr Warren back on form. The Tory project, as ever, is to stay in power in England. If that means stoking up prejudice and maintaining ignorance then so be it. What is a manifesto pledge to a group who believe in nothing other than their own entitlement?

  9. William Ross says:

    John

    To answer your point, the Single Market and the Customs Union inhere in the concept of the European Union for the UK voter. Notice that the Government merely gives notice under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. No-one is questioning that .Cameron and Osborne as well as all leading Leave campaigners made it clear that Leave meant leaving the Single Market. If not immigration would not have been an issue in the campaign.

    I may add that I do not generally post on Bella Caledonia because I am a man of the Centre Right. However, I have all my life I have been a Scottish nationalist. Remember that nearly 40% of us voted for Brexit.

    1. John S Warren says:

      The “the Single Market and the Customs Union inhere in the concept of the European Union for the UK voter”. This is a very obscure formulation. I shall attempt to unpick it.

      Voters may vote, but they may also be in error. They may also make mistakes. They may misunderstand the facts. It is more likely that you are wrong – that people understood the distinction, but because most responsible politicians did not advocate leaving the single Market, the voted for Brexit without assuming anyone would foolily abandon an easily established free-trade access on already well-established lines. Indeed the real argument is – why would you not only throw this option away, but throw it away before you even begin negotiating. The British people are just not that stupid. In the case of the what the British people may have been persuaded to believe about the EU by a coarse and vulgar press and crass or inept politicans, however I would not blame them for falling into a trap of gullibility. Nevertheless, even if you are right about the electors beliefs (whatever “inhere in the concept… for the UK voter” really means); even if you are right, the voters would simply then be wrong. Because the concepts do not “inhere” in ways that cannot be separated very easily and for very practical, useful, pragmatic and beneficial reasons. Furthermore. I challenge your assertion that all the leading Leave campaigners did made clear that “Leave” meant leaving the Single Market. This was not clear; indeed largely, it was not even claimed except by the remoter fringes of the polity.

      As Mr Parkhill noted above, even UKIP in its 2015 election manifesto supported membership of the Single Market (p.72 if you wish to look it up; and nobody can believe UKIP proposed this believing the EU and Single Market in some way ‘conceptually inhered’ (whatever that means).

  10. William Ross says:

    John

    Maybe you were the only one who realised that the 23 June 2016 vote had nothing to do with immigration and all we were doing was simply ending our rights to participate in EU decision-making ( such as they are) in return for somewhat less EU law. Who knows, perhaps we also intended to stay in the Customs Union and we will not even be able to negotiate our own deals?
    But others of us remember a different campaign.

    Mr Parkhill`s quote is abject. Of course UKIP wanted “continued access on a free trade basis” to the Single Market. That`s what Theresa May and every Brexiteer wants. Access is completely different from membership. You are welcome to your view of the Single Market but you must accept that it represents less than 10% of Scotland`s GDP and tariffs are low ( average 2%).

    I will not respond again out of respect for BC. But your argument is such a waste of time!

    1. John S Warren says:

      “Theresa May and every Brexiteer wants” what UKIP wants. Really? Not everyone who voted Leave wishes to leave the Single Market. It may be true of UKIP and Conseravtives, because this is their mess. But of course Conservative Brexiteers have a long history of changing their minds; over and over. Perhaps Theresa May is indeed just a UKIP supporter. She voted Remain only last year. So did Rith Davidson. Clearly she may do anything. And no, only in the Conservative Party is there an unwritten rule that if you lose a vote you just must join the winning side immediately, and become their leader, or in Scotland their ‘gopher’.

      Much has been made of the British government being able to negotiate wiyhout “showing its hand”. But this isn’t true. It gave up the Customs Union. It gave up the Single Market. All for absolutely nothing at all. And the EU already knows the UK “hand”. Theresa May has said if she doesn’t receive a good deal there will be no deal and WTO rules (please note that ‘good deal’ does not mean a good deal, it means whatever Theresa May says is a good deal). In any case the EU will know the even the detail of Britain’s position first when negotiations start.

      In fact the “secrecy” strategy is not to establish a negotiating position with the EU because they have already given up so much ground, for nothing at all (the British position is weak, and Britain – since the Sir Iavan Rogers debacle exposed the extant of the huge hole in our resource team – does not have the expertise or resources even to do the job properly. The British are hopelessly outgunned in deep understanding of the complex technicalities by the EU specialists on all the vital non-tarriff regulations. So we can see where this is probably going….). The secrecy is for quite other purposes – to keep the Britiah public where the British Government want them – ignorant of the facts, and in the dark. Ready to be delivered a dud agreement or no agreement at all: with a fanfare, and flags and ceremonial, as a British triumph on the scale of Trafalgar.

    2. John S Warren says:

      I have to reply to this:

      “Maybe you were the only one who realised that the 23 June 2016 vote had nothing to do with immigration and all we were doing was simply ending our rights to participate in EU decision-making ( such as they are) in return for somewhat less EU law.”

      I am faced with losing my EU citizenship; my citizenship, something that is personal to me and is the gift of a European world, including Britain, that eventually managed to crawl out from the cesspit of dust and degradation of two world wars (to think that in 1940 Churchill offered France complete Union with Britain. And we are now reduced to this: Brexit and anti-immigration). I am faced with losing my European citizenship because some British people do not like immigration; and you cannot figure it out?

      And you wonder why everyone on the Remain or Scottish independence side do not just simply change our politics, or give up and pretend a unity with the Conservatives and Ukipers and Brexiteers to fit in with people who are held together by the single fact that they do not like immigration? You have to ask me? I cannot think of anything more demeaning. Does that answer you?

  11. John S Warren says:

    Apologies for the textual editing (or rather lack of it by me), especially this part which I have now belatedly tidied up:

    “Voters may vote, but they may also be in error. They may also make mistakes. They may misunderstand the facts. It is more likely that you are simply wrong – that people understood the distinction between EU and Single Market, but because most responsible politicians did not advocate leaving the Single Market, they voted for Brexit without assuming anyone would foolishy abandon an easily established free-trade access to the EU (the Single Market) on already well-established lines. Indeed the real argument is – why would you throw this option away, and throw it away before you even begin negotiating? The British people are just not that stupid.”

    1. frank says:

      ‘Voters may vote, but they may also be in error. They may also make mistakes. They may misunderstand the facts.’ Are you implying that this is the case when the rest of the voters don’t agree with John S. Warren?
      As for membership of the EU and the single market, it is true that a country can be a member of the single market without being a member of the EU – BUT, as has been made perfectly clear, along with membership of the single market goes open borders. Are you happy with that? Especially considering that once the million and more “refugees” who have invaded Europe will be free to come here once they are accepted as legitimate residents? But to take it a bit further, do you understand that having open borders severely restricts a nations ability to make their own social policy and that for that very reason there would eventually have to be a common social policy throughout the single market and that that common social policy would be determined in Brussels.

      1. John S Warren says:

        “Are you implying that this is the case when the rest of the voters don’t agree with John S. Warren”.

        No, I am saying that when voters voted for the Union and believed they will therefore stay in the EU, that was a mistake. When voters voted for Tony Blair and believed this would bring peace and security, and found they were in the Iraq war; or even were seduced into believing in the “dodgy dossier”, they were badly wrong. Voters vote for bad governments. They voted for Neville Chamberlain. They voted for David Cameron. They make mistakes. They pay for it.

        Here is the irony; the voters have not had the opportunity to vote for Theresa May; who voted for Remain (presumably), and who was defeated in the referendum, along with her party and her Government. She failed. Her government failed in its central policy. But they did not resign. They just sacrificed Cameron, U-turned, and betrayed whatever principles of representative democracy, or of the political principles they had just fought a referendum campaign defending; and then tried to run the country through Crown prerogative. They were only prevented from by-passing Parliament altogether, by a legal action brought by a member of the public. The public were not defended even by Parliament, which also betrayed the public. The public were however thoroughly betrayed by the Conservatives. Theresa May’s reward for putting the interests of the Conservative Party before the people of Britain was to be promoted to PM by a clique of Conservative Leave MPs, and to lead the British negotiations over Brexit with no mandate to govern.

        Theresa May has now scorned the Single Market, yet the referendum only approved leaving the EU, not the Single Market. Neither the Conservatives nor even UKIP proposed leaving the Single Market in the referendum campaign. The Government has no mandate to leave the Single Market.

        That is what I mean.

        You do not appear to like immigration to the UK. That seems to be your argument against the EU. I believe that is a thoroughly bad, indeed rank argument. I can see that some arguments I may deploy here against you are likely to be of a kind that will ‘cut no ice’ with you, however important they seem to me. I shall not waste my time deploying them.

        Allow me, therefore to propose this argument. When we leave the EU immigration will NOT slow. It will slow from the EU, but it will simply switch from the EU to the non-EU; for two reasons. First the economy will not grow without immigration. London will not function without immigration. This does not only apply to ‘high-fliers’ either: immigration is required from the Ph.Ds to the cleaners and fruit-pickers. We have insufficient native resources in both. The WTO or similar deals with India or whomsoever will require an element of open borders.

        Second, I predict that UK immigration will not fall significantly at all, whatever the government rhetoric or the promises given. The immigration system will go on leaking like a sieve. I suspect within a few years immigration rates will be higher than ever; just that it will almost all come from the non-EU. Immigration will not fall but it will be distorted by the Government attempting to pretend that they are ‘fixing it’, when they aren’t fixing it, and can’t. They will make a complete mess of the system and declare a triumph.

        My single qualification to that scenario is that the British economy “tanks” completely after Brexit. This is quite possible, if not probable. This is the only scenario in which immigration rates slowing is likely – in the real world – to occur. Look at this statistic: in 2015 53% of immigration to the UK came from the EU. 47% came from the non-EU (House of Commons Library, ‘Migration Statistics’, Briefing Paper SN06077, 7th March 2017; Table 1, p.12). Almost half. It is very, very easy to pick up the EU immigration slack simply be re-directing it elsewhere; provided of course you can do the international trade deals (with the key provisions in these deals being non-tariff regulations – like immigration). A big ‘if you can do trade deals’: and If you think “immigration” is going to be “fixed” (ie., reduced) by Brexit, I suggest you are quite wrong, and probably being ‘conned’ by politicians who change shapes like Proteus, and their political colours like a chameleon. Only if the British economy is on the floor, out-cold, are you likely to be right. Take your pick.

        1. frank says:

          Let me say first of all that when a government shows enthusiasm for implementing the will of the people (as per the referendum) I become deeply suspicious of their real motives.

          As for the voters not having elected Theresa May, there was no need, a PM is elected by the Party with the most MPs. Are we to believe that if Nicola Sturgeon fell under the proverbial bus we would have to have an election to determine who would take her place?

          In the minds of the public membership of the EU is equated with open borders and immigration, the public want immigration halted and they were also fed up with being dictated to by, what is in reality, an undemocratic alien entity. Theresa May and others want access to the single market but it is the EU who have said that access to the single market and open borders go together and that we can’t have one without the other, so we are to be denied access to the single market by the EU, not by a UK government.

          We need immigrants to maintain economic growth? We may well need and benefit from a relatively few highly skilled immigrants, but to claim that we need immigrants to fill run of the mill jobs when we have one and a half million of our own people unemployed is nonsense. It may be that the jobs are in the wrong place or more likely it is the unemployed who are in the wrong place but given the will that is a problem that can be solved by government. When it comes to the more skilled jobs we might ask what kind of government is it that prefers to import skilled labour rather than train our own unskilled and unemployed labour for the relevant jobs? Since both Tory and Labour governments have been committed this for years it is surprising that no one has ever questioned their motive. Now we have the SNP playing the same tune.

          I suspect, or perhaps I should say fear, that you may be right about immigration continuing after we leave the EU and that it will continue to come from outside the EU. Let us suppose that it all goes forward peaceably and that England doesn’t erupt, what will the long term consequences be for our nations, Scotland and England? Quite simply, as Scot-land and Angle-land they will cease to exist. Who will claim to be a Nationalist then?

          1. John S Warren says:

            “We may well need and benefit from a relatively few highly skilled immigrants, but to claim that we need immigrants to fill run of the mill jobs when we have one and a half million of our own people unemployed is nonsense. It may be that the jobs are in the wrong place or more likely it is the unemployed who are in the wrong place but given the will that is a problem that can be solved by government.”

            The problem is that this is not true. Seasonal work on the land (harvests) or the sea (fish processing) is largely done by immigrant labour. Large numbers criss-crossing the land, doing necessary work. It just isn’t noticed. Cleaning and other low skilled jobs, and much of the hospitality trade (all three especially in London) rely on regular infusions of cheap immigrant labour (because the older labour is struggling to get out of it or do better things). Britain has been doing this since the Industrial Revolution. There is nothing new about ut. We didn’t invent it for the EU. We used to use the Empire. The canals and railways in Britain were built largely by Irish labour: “navvies” (navigators). The British would not touch the work. This was in the mid-19th century. The transfer of British unemployed labour to fill the gap you identify will not happen. It never has; it never does; it never will. You believe in an illusion, and it is very naive. Do you think that in the last two centuries nobody thought about this? Do you think nothing ever happens about it, or ever has happened, by accident?

            Of course you rather surrender the case in the end anyway. “I suspect, or perhaps I should say fear, that you may be right about immigration continuing after we leave the EU and that it will continue to come from outside the EU”. That isn’t insight; it is called “reality”.

            You didn’t actually think that voting for Brexit was going to reduce immigration; as some kind of gratuitous reward to the electorate? Why would they? Why need they? They don’t; the British public is easily seduced by rhetoric, repetition and a florid display of empty gestures. How on earth do you think politics works in Btitain?

          2. John S Warren says:

            “… a PM is elected by the Party with the most MPs”. A truism (the PM certainly has the votes) but scarcely the point, which is a matter of authority, and to use that favourite Conservative word “honour”.

            “Are we to believe that if Nicola Sturgeon fell under the proverbial bus we would have to have an election to determine who would take her place?” No, and that is not the point being made about the PM either. The point you fail to address is the mandate. The point is not who is the FM (or PM); who cares which Tweedledum or Tweedledee fills the office (as we have seen Theresa May shed here whole allegedly passionate commitment to the EU almost literally overnight, for a new and opposite passionate commitment to Brexit, like a snake shedding a skin: for Tweedledum can even become Tweedledee in the Conservative Party)?

            What matters here is the mandate. If the new FM/PM continues to endorse the policies in the mandate provided in the election there is no case to answer. The fact is that the mandate the Conservatives won in the 2015 general election was to hold a referendum; but as the government, to defend the Union. They abused the privileges of Parliament by leading both the Remain and Leave cmpaigns, and they also backed the wrong horse. Theresa May reneged on the commitment, indeed her own commitment to the EU. Of course she could have sought a new mandate in a fresh general election; but she didn’t. She can do it – but it is an abuse of power.

            Think about this way; if we are really saying the mandate doesn’t matter, then why bother having more than one party in Westminster at all? Theresa May has already shown that, no matter what, she will follow any policy at all – provided only the Conservatives remain in power. Indeed we have virtually reached the position of a one-party Westminster (in terms of power) already, because the official opposition is effectively inoperative; deceased: brain-dead. That is the reason Theresa May has been able to develop her disastrous, and vacuous Brexit strategy so easily.

  12. Roger Gough says:

    I suspect that the following is a question that has been asked many times in Scotland with reference to “Independence”. Why would a nation wishing to gain independence from the union that is the UK wish to immediately lose that independence by joining the EU; another union but much less democratic. One can only assume that hatred of the English is the driving force. If it is, I’m cool with that. As we’re on the subject of manifesto pledges, the SNP has promised independence to the people. If the EU represents that independence – and I have no wish to be rude – I simply cannot square that position with common sense. I would sincerely like to hear a cogent explanation – if only to use it as being authoritative – during debates on the matter.

    1. Alan Stewart says:

      “less democratic” !!!
      You have to be living in an alternative universe.

    2. Alf Baird says:

      Perhaps Scots liking for the continent is a traditional and cultural phenomenon. As 17th century Leith traders used to say, ‘It is only 2 days sail with a fair wind to the Low Countries, whereas Edinburgh to London by coach takes two weeks through a hostile England’. Having worked on collaborative pan-European research projects for over 20 years (in shipping as it happens), I can readily state that the continental welcome for all things Scots endures, as unfortunately does our large neighbours hostility toward us.

  13. John S Warren says:

    Do you really believe that suggesting “hatred of the English” is “cool” is consonant with possessing a firm grasp of “common sense”? Are you serious? Do you expect to be well received by me, or anyone else for that matter, for that appalling remark? I ask you now to retract your remark immediately, in the name of both common sense and decency.

    The fag-end of this thread is becoming an utter disgrace to civilised debate. Is this the best that those who disagree with my views on the Single Market can offer as an argument? Drag it down? Pathetic. Sad. I shall not be responding further to any of your comments.

    1. Roger Gough says:

      For your information Article 50 requires THE EU to conclude within 2 years a trade deal with any country leaving the EU after their triggering of the article. I bet that it will be ‘free’. Unfortunately the ‘hate’ which you so despise was visited upon London today and Sadiq Khan’s claim appears correct. The incident coincides with the anniversary of the hate attack in Belgium. I believe such attacks have already been visited upon Glasgow too.

  14. Roger Gough says:

    The response that I expected. Put me down as vile a individual but please answer the question about retreating from one union and then entering another. By the way, the new joint leader of the English Green party last year called all UKIP voters “Nazis”, so comments such as that which you take such grave exception to are common currency. Where have you been lately? Would you denounce that man’s publicly stated hate directed towards at least 4 million United Kingdom citizens, some of them, at least, being Scottish? Dare I even mention the love which is so apparent between Old Firm followers? As Sadiq Khan said last September, “Terrorism nowadays is part and parcel of living in a big city”. What greater example of hate could there be? We city dwellers have to suck it up. Times have changed because of people like yourself who are so precious it defies belief.

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