Scottish Conservatives Leader backs scheme to ‘aid the financing of terrorism, money laundering and organised crime’ in North-East of Scotland

In the Herald yesterday, uncritically presenting the case for a ‘free port’ in Peterhead:

Ross has qualifications in farming including milking and ‘collecting’ bull sperm. He may or may not have read-up on the pros and cons of free ports or just embraced current Tory ideology on them. Their 2019 manifesto has a commitment to create up to ten in the UK.

For readers unfamiliar:

Most commonly a free port is a special customs area or small customs territory with generally less strict customs regulations (or no customs duties and/or controls for transshipment). 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_free_economic_zones#:~:text=Most%20commonly%20a%20free%20port,%2For%20controls%20for%20transshipment).

What Ross refers to as the Scottish Government’s ‘own ideological reasons‘ to oppose them, seem more reasoned and more widely held by ‘experts‘ than anything he has to offer.

UK media reports in the FT, the Independent and the BBC seem strongly opposed and, perhaps more significantly, academic reports raise wider and serious concerns.

Commissioned for the House of Commons Library, a February 2020 briefing paper repeats the commonly held view that:

They will simply transfer business away from other areas of the UK without increasing the overall size of the economy

but perhaps more important, points out that:

The EU had introduced new rules to clamp down on free ports after identifying that their special tariff and duty status has aided the financing of terrorism, money laundering and organised crime.’

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/10/eu-clamps-down-free-ports-zones-crime-terror-links

The Moray constituency, currently held by Ross would be well-placed to lose business to the neighbouring Aberdeenshire where Peterhead is located, but far more concerning, Peterhead’s longstanding problems with drugs would get such a boost we’d have the ‘Marseilles of the North!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-50331331

Briefing Paper at:

Click to access CBP-8823.pdf

23 thoughts on “Scottish Conservatives Leader backs scheme to ‘aid the financing of terrorism, money laundering and organised crime’ in North-East of Scotland”

  1. The ‘free port’ fits the romantically mendacious paradigm of ‘slashing red tape’ so beloved of this government and unchallenged by the lackeys in the media. In Hollywood’s dream factory, films about piracy had such as Errol Flynn buckling his swash buccaneering around the Caribbean and the drinking and wenching in the louche squalor of a free port.

    The main drivers and money behind Brexit was from hedge funds and other shady financial dealers who wanted London to be able to continue as the money laundering centre of the world, and, if drugs can be added, then it is a nice earning sideline. It is not without significance that the EU is to introduce tighter regulations on financial transactions.

    Over the centuries governments everywhere have closed down free ports because of the malign effects on the rest of the local economy as well as bringing about retaliatory actions by other states.

    Like so much of what this government does this is illusion and lies and illusion was what Mr Johnson spun as a journalist. With freeports he can portray himself as Buccaneer Boris capturing money from frogs and krauts and then making his way back to the free port where the eager-for-bonking wenches will welcome him. I can imagine Allegra Stratton giving mouth watering reports of free ports like being ‘rogered by a rogue’.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Mr MacD, you should be ashamed. That was mean, cruel and uncalled for. (To ME, not him.) I now have to try to wash the images of the Johnson pretending to be Errol Flynn from my brain. The least you could do is recommend a bleach or other sanitiser that would help!

      Seriously, though, I think you could be right. It makes a great deal of sense, and it’s really easy to see him as a child in a dressing up box. Buccaneer Boris. I like it.

      I briefly considered Walter Raleigh as an alternative. Which led to Queen Elizabeth I (of England, of course…), Unfortunately, that led to a picture of BB in full regal gear doing the Tilbury speech. Actually, he only got as far as “I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman…” before he went off at a tangent, with the trademark smirk “…in fact, several of them” (salacious chuckle)

      I’ll see your Errol Flynn and raise you Elizabeth Tudor! Now SHE knew how to give a speech…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. O/T
        There’s an excellent book called, ‘The China Run, being the biography of a great-grandmother, 1829-1893’, by Neil Paterson, published,1948. It’s a gripping true tale about a woman, Christian West who becomes the captain of a trade ship out of Aberdeen. Have a read of it if you can get hold of it at all, it’s only 95 pages, so quite short for those of us who like short stories.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Was it not the case that Johnson during his leadership received donations from businessmen who are keen on the creation of free ports?

      If I remember correctly some of the other leadership contenders also received donations from these sources. Hedging their bets no doubt.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Lol, ‘eager for bonking wenches’ thats Johnson’s life now isn’t it, oh I mean Errol sorry, ha ha. First thing I thought of was pirates, and what could possibly go wrong with free ports eh. Scotland’s coastline is vast, oh oh…it’s already hardly policed hence drugs being brought in easy peasy. Scottish waters’ policing is a reserved power to Westminster, fabulous.

      Like

  2. Perhaps the SG would embrace the concept if they could declare the whole of Scotland to be free of wasteminster taxes and customs and apply their own.
    Just a thought

    Like

  3. As you’ll most certainly have realised by now I don’t claim to be anywhere near razor-sharp politically, but even I can see a couple of glaring weak points in this:

    1) “I think it’s really disappointing they’ve taken this approach to freeports for their own idealogical reasons”

    Really? How sad for the boy. To my mind, at very best, the fact that, as you say above, the “‘…EU had introduced new rules to clamp down on free ports” could be interpreted as not doing it because ‘THEY’ are. In much the same way as the dog ate their Emails when we were offered a place in the ventilator negotiations etc

    At worst, if it’s because this was done “…after identifying that their special tariff and duty status has aided the financing of terrorism, money laundering and organised crime” it’s possible that there are darker motives. (I’ll put it no stronger than that out of respect for libel laws etc)

    Of course, there’s no need to worry about that because “The Government has said that all necessary safeguards will be in place.” (The briefing paper linked above – thank you). So THAT’S alright, isn’t it? I mean, look at the stunning job they’ve done with track and trace and the Customs preparations at Dover, to name but 2…

    2)
    2) “I will absolutely do everything possible to convince the Scottish Government to look beyond their own political views and get behind this.”

    Presumably that’ll include not looking beyond his own political views, as promotes a course which would sell out his constituents if/when all the jobs moved to Peterhead…

    At risk of sounding immodest, is it possible – just possible – than even I have more political awareness than a sitting MP?

    If so, perhaps his constituents should consider looking beyond THEIR political views and vote for somebody else. Hmm… Do I fancy being an MP?! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is definitely the pot calling the kettle black.
    The whole Brexit project is ideologically driven.
    Why would you leave the biggest trading market in the world
    just so that you can become a Cayman island without the sun?
    Of course,this is a drive to the bottom as far as working people are concerned with an allout attack on living standards and social security ( there won’t be any).

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A definite signal (if one was needed) that the Fishing Community in Scotland is to be sold out by Westminster as it pursues Brexit at all costs.

    Scotland gets the bare minimum of anything from London and yet the Tories are offering both Peterhead AND Aberdeen (31 miles apart) Free Port status!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the very small clique of Protestant Boys who own the big trawlers within the Scottish Fisherman’s Federation will not be too worried ,it is the other groups of fishers and fish processor in Scotland, to whom the BBC Scotland gives scant attention, who are worried.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed but given the blanket “take back control” , “independent coastal state” and the BBC in Scotland pushing fishing through out Brexit this is about positioning/propaganda aimed at the general public for when the sell out happens.

        Liked by 1 person

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