‘These are massive wins!’ so don’t listen to ‘Sturgeon’

Today in the Herald:

Search the 1500 odd pages and annexes of the EU trade deal and there is little to justify the brutal assault on the Scottish seed potato industry. Why have Scottish spuds been black-balled? Did Boris Johnson leave them out of the deal just so that Nicola Sturgeon would only have, er, small potatoes to complain about?

Deploying the usual playground ‘You can’t talk. You want the EU Common Fisheries Policy in perpetuity‘ riposte favoured by Douglas Ross, Macwhirter finds much to like in the deal done by Boris and attempts to reassure us that most of us will hardly notice the difference unless have second homes in Europe or run import/export businesses.

He claims:

What about these concerns? SNP propaganda or facts?

  • Scottish Government modelling estimates that a deal of the type that appears to have been agreed could cut Scotland’s GDP by around 6.1% (£9 billion in 2016 cash terms) by 2030 compared to EU membership
  • all goods sectors will face the impact the higher costs of trading with the EU as a result of the additional customs and borders procedures and paperwork. For key service sectors, access to EU markets will be reduced compared to EU membership
  • extra costs could make Scottish businesses uncompetitive in some markets: manufacturing, food and drink, agriculture and forestry are particularly at risk
  • lamb and beef exports will be hard hit by the extra costs of exporting to the EU
  • businesses trying to access UK and EU markets will face additional bureaucracy and costs. For example the seafood sector will require new certificates and changes to business practices to continue to export to the EU
  • justice and security cooperation will be seriously impacted, with Police Scotland and the Crown Office having to use slower and less effective tools in the fight against crime
  • reduced EU migration will also have a significant negative impact on the economy, population and wider society and culture. It will increase shortages in key areas like health and social care
  • Scotland and its students will no longer be able to participate in Erasmus, along with a number of other EU programmes which the UK decided to exclude from the deal. On the key science programme Horizon Europe, while it is included in the deal, the UK government have not made clear the details, including the level of access which will be available.
  • Scottish fishing industry will see only a fraction of the additional quota promised and the compensation arrangements agreed if the UK Government restricts access to UK waters, means that this is control of UK waters in name only

I haven’t read the document. Readers’ comments welcome.

23 thoughts on “‘These are massive wins!’ so don’t listen to ‘Sturgeon’

  1. Depressing times for those of us who want their journalism “straight not spun”. McWhirter is just the latest scribbler who seems to write his stuff as to the direction of narrative, the Brit Nats want.
    So, it was the SNP who could have voted for Theresa Mays “soft Brexit”, even though they were committed to representing their constituencies.
    Although the May deal would have compromised “sovereignty” so McWhirter did not want that.
    When we entered the EEC, Scottish fishermen and sugar-beet farmers payed the entry fee.
    Now we leave and Scottish fishermen and potato farmers have to pay the leaving fee.
    Yup, a GOOD DEAL for the colonial mejah!
    But, for the Brit Nit commentators, this is how it should be—we are SO, SO lucky the Brits are borrowing money on our behalf. And even if they spend most of it, dann saff, that is OK as well.

    Remember when Scotland still had industry of its own? When it was being taken over and its assets moved south, Scottish Labour/Trades Unions and the Scottish Tories/CBI Scotland would say “but it makes the BRITISH economy BIGGER, and that can only be good for Scotland—a child could have pointed out the obvious defect in that. Perhaps we should employ children as journalists—they would be more truthful.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. ” Why have Scottish spuds been black-balled? Did Boris Johnson leave them out of the deal just so that Nicola Sturgeon would only have, er, small potatoes to complain about?”

      My take on this was that the EU banned Scottish seed potatoes with the intent of damaging Tories based in Scotland.

      Will their toxic Northern Freeport save them?

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Fret not
    The deal does not inc.financial services which are absolutely vital for Tory London and S.E.
    This deal which they have entered into
    Is a pre set E.U gin trap and England hath placed their foot upon it
    Do any honestly believe that the EU will continue to allow over 90% of Euro trading to
    Be conducted through London
    It is rather akin to giving your selfish aggressive neighbour access to your cash


  3. I am not sure about Premieroneuk’s view of financial services, as London does not consider itself to be in competition with anywhere in Europe – their competition is the States and Asia. Moreover, the Europeans were concerned about losing contact with London as its capacity to raise finance was much greater than anywhere else in Europe.
    The issue – and this is perhaps the most important point – is how the deal unwinds – how it works out as it is put into effect. For instance, despite the opening paragraph – the Europeans may yet get their act together and between them Paris and Frankfurt could become a much greater threat to London than they are considered now. At that point you are right about Euro trading being repatriated. In any case, non European banks will have to be passported into the EU.
    I wouldnt trust the SNP’s (or anyone else’s for that matter) modelling – as JK Galbraith said “economic forecasting was devised to make astrology look respectable”. However, most forecasts say we will be hit – indeed the less badly hit regions are London and the south east. So some sort of hit is very likely to certain, despite anything Johnson says.
    The Brexit Party is about to rename itself. We might consider it a marginal influence – apart from MPs who have abandoned the Tories for them, they have never had an MP elected. However, it would be difficult to say they are not influential. I was listening last night to Richard Tice who confirmed they would continue as a party (just a different name) to take forward aims such as tax cuts, “removing bureaucracy”, further privatization etc – in short even more neoliberalism than we have just now.
    There are too many domestic issues that this raises to go into here, but how are the Europeans going to react to this? How will they react to a sort of Hong Kong (without the Chinese) or Singapore off their north west coast, with this free trade deal in place? Are they just going to sit back and watch how a cost and standard cutting UK sells into their Single Market? I really dont think so.
    The issue, therefore, is less what happens now – which will be dominated by bombast – but how this all unwinds, aided and abettted by an agreement which is vastly complex with endless scope for disagreements about what it actually means.


    1. ” the Europeans may yet get their act together and between them Paris and Frankfurt could become a much greater threat to London than they are considered now. “

      I’d expect that is the plan.

      Craig Murray writes,

      “The EU will now be able to impose a transaction tax as a brake on reckless trading in derivatives. London will become the high risk centre for the dodgy money and the fast buck, to an even greater extent than it is already” Dec 24th


    2. Very good. The little that I know of the agreement is that there is a core Partnership Council which supports a Trade Partnership Committee and under that ten specialist trade committees and three working groups.

      Macwhirter is surely right to highlight how much worse this could have been. As it is, companies including small and medium sized companies may in the future have to give thought to rules of origin and sanitary and phytosanitary conditions.

      Seed spuds are banned because UK government declined to accept dynamic alignment with the UK. UK government wants a low tax economy, a race to the bottom while proclaiming it is “levelling up”


      1. ‘Very good’? You try saying that to the seed potatoe growers in Scotland!
        I read that someone on twitter had met a farmer who grows and sells seed potatoes in the west of Scotland, and the guy was in absolute floods of tears at this ‘deal’, so called, he is obviously going to go out of business, that’s NOT good, for him, or for Scotland!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Come back and tell us it’s ‘very good’ when millions are left with no jobs, ( and no state support because the EngGov have all but made it all but impossible for people to access adequate help when needed) no businesss, and when people are queuing to buy basics at massively inflated prices.
        The ‘deal’ is not ‘very good’. It is utterly disastrous for Scotland, and only the English government’s ‘high value’ people will benefit.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. Why wouldn’t you ‘trust the SNP’s modelling’? I suspect they have a better handle on things financial than your BritNats down in London when it comes to the impact of England’s enforced Brexit on Scotland.
      One thing we do know, for Scotland it won’t be good, in fact it’s guarenteed it will be very very bad for Scotland and the BritNats are laughing their heads off about that right now!


      1. Arty Hetty. “Very good,” referred to the post by iamsoccerdoc. In particular, the point that was made about how the deal will unwind. My later posts have been trying to add context to what he said.

        I can’t really understand why, given what I actually wrote about how seed potato exports came to be banned, I would actually be supportive of that. Care to explain that, please?


  4. Anyone talking about the internal market bill? Just wonder what thoughts are on impact of that for remain voting Scotland. Do many people in Scotland know what it is, and that the Betty queen signed it off just the other day? How much has the media covered it in detail if at all?
    Scotland is royally scr**ed.


  5. A tweet on the Sanitary/PhytoSanitary effects.

    Nicole Sykes
    26 Dec
    Much less of a win here. 0 tariffs and 0 quota a big deal. But otherwise things’ve gone wrong here. Very high barriers to trade food will exist: the need for meat/dairy exporters’ establishments to be approved, vet checks etc. As Faisal says 4/
    Quote Tweet
    Faisal Islam
    · 26 Dec
    Lastly food industry, already smarting from events, say lack of equivalence for GB agrifood/ SPS problematic as it stands they say “New Zealand has a closer relationship on SPS with the EU than GB from Jan 1” with an agreement that limits checks (1%) & simplifies paperwork
    Show this thread

    We (UK except NI) will soon be a “third country” and subject to meeting all the standards that the EU sets for us. Border Inspection Posts to allow checking on some (or all) of the exported products, live animals or food


  6. Thread on fishing here.


  7. Seed potatoes are an important Scottish export. Climate and altitude (above 500 ft) mean they are free from aphids which spread disease such as blight. Light free draining soils also matter. This gives Scotland a natural comparative advantage in growing seed potatoes which makes them valuable. The UK has now neutralised that advantage.
    See Mairi Gougeon’s letter to George Estice last year.

    “As 75% of the UK’s seed potatoes are grown in Scotland and Scottish seed is responsible for approximately 80% of UK seed potato exports, the impacts of a No Deal Brexit will disproportionately affect Scottish seed potato exporters. Seed potatoes from Scotland are world renowned for their high health status: they are of premium quality and are a successful and important part of Scotland’s rural economy.”



    1. Their now exits a massive opportunity to do a special deal with China where the common Tattie is becoming a culinary delight


        1. We already supply China with seed tatties
          They know all too well of the quality
          I think it was A.Salmond who aided the set up of the trade
          It is up to the SG.to push hard and make the contacts to boost the trade


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