You know how if you tell lies you’re supposed to end up weaving a complex web? The Scotland Office can’t even manage that much. It’s not so much a complex web of lies that they’ve woven as a moist tissue that falls apart with a gentle prodding. The only thing complex about the Scotland Office is something psychological that probably isn’t amenable to therapy because it’s a personality flaw.
You may recall a wee while back when the Scottish government released its impact study on the effects of Brexit on the Scottish economy. The study showed that there’s no scenario under which Scotland ends up benefiting from Brexit. Even a soft Brexit à la Norvège ends ups with null points for the Scottish economy. Leaving the customs union and the single market as the UK government is proposing results in a serious hit to the Scottish economy. If no trade deal with the EU has been struck by the time the UK leaves the EU, the Scottish government’s study forecast that Scottish GDP would suffer by some 8.5%.
To be fair, there is a scenario under which the Scottish economy benefits from Brexit. That’s the scenario where the EU agrees to allow the UK full access to all the benefits of the single market and customs union and doesn’t mind that the UK is no longer a member. Under this scenario the EU will agree to everything that the UK wants and there will be no negative consequences at all. The EU will also agree to give every UK citizen a free apartment in a Spanish holiday resort and will ban Germans from putting towels on sun loungers. Brussels will agree to put pressure on FIFA to ensure that England can never be put out of the World Cup on penalties ever again, and the French government will award Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Jacob Rees Mogg and Michael Gove the Legion d’Honneur for services to European goodwill and fraternity. This scenario wasn’t covered in the Scottish government impact study, because the Scottish government was only interested in what might happen in the real world and not in the fine wine infused reveries of Conservative Brexiteers.
It was of course entirely predictable that the grievance mongering Thatessempee would ignore the scenario favoured by the British government on account of it being, to use a technical economics term, a load of auld pishwankery spouted in a wet dream by Empire Loyalist fantasisers. The other entirely predictable outcome of the Scottish government’s study was that Tory MPs and MSPs and their pals would take to the newspapers and airwaves and harrumph about it and try to make out that it was entirely unrealistic. Which is precisely what they did. The Express reported that the Scottish government had “resurrected Project Fear”, conveniently forgetting that Project Fear was a British nationalist exercise in the first place. Adam Tomkins MSP, the Scottish Conservative spokesranter for It’s The LAW! denounced the Scottish government report as over the top scaremongering from a government whose financial forecasts couldn’t be trusted.
Meanwhile the Scotland Secretary decided not to mention the figures given in the report, instead he did his usual thing of fixatedly accusing the Scottish government of being fixated on independence. All he said about the report was that it didn’t recognise that the UK was seeking the aforementioned auld pishwankery so beloved of delusional British nationalist Empire loyalists and so could be dismissed. Which is a bit like saying that you don’t need to worry about losing your job, being evicted from your home, and ending up starving on the streets because that scenario doesn’t recognise that you might win £100 million on the lottery. Actually it’s not really like that at all, because there is a finite chance that you might win £100 million on the lottery. It’s a very small chance, but it does exist and it is quantifiable. The chances of the UK getting the deal that Theresa May is pinning her hopes on are precisely zero. There’s more of a chance that David Mundell would stand up in the House of Commons and demand that his government take Scotland’s concerns seriously.
Then on Wednesday we discovered that the UK government’s own Brexit impact assessment shows that every part of the UK is going to be negatively affected by Brexit. Scottish GDP would suffer by a hit of 9% under a no-deal Brexit. If the UK remains a member of the single market, the Scottish economy faces a hit of 2.5%, and if there’s a comprehensive free trade deal, the damage to GDP would be 6.1%. These figures are remarkably similar to those published by the Scottish government. You know, the ones that Adam called over the top scaremongering.
In other words the British government expects Brexit will cause a similar amount of damage to the Scottish economy as the Scottish government report calculated, a report which the Conservatives ridiculed as over the top scaremongering. Under a no-deal scenario the UK government is predicting even greater damage to the Scottish economy. Yet all the while the Conservatives were belittling and trying to undermine the credibility of the Scottish government’s report, they knew that their own government’s report was predicting the same ill effects on the Scottish economy. We know who can’t be trusted here. That would be the Conservatives.
The British government impact study is one that the Secretary of State for Stuffed Toy Tories first said did exist and then said didn’t. Which was appropriate really. The British government’s policy for Brexit is for the UK to be simultaneously in all the benefits of the EU while at the same time being outside the EU, a sort of Schrodinger’s Brexit. When that sort of thing is official government policy having a Brexit impact assessment that simultaneously exists and doesn’t exist isn’t really unsurprising. British Brexit policy isn’t quantum. In quantum physics you can either know where a particle is or you can know what its direction is. No one knows where the British government’s Brexit policy is, but we do know where it’s heading. It’s going over the top of a cliff, and it’s taking the rest of us with it.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.
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