|Editorial Comment: ‘What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander’|
Nicola Sturgeon has been ‘going on’ about how since the ‘failed’ independence vote ‘things have changed’ with the Brexit vote. Apparently this nullifies the ‘once in a lifetime’ promise the SNP made 2 years ago and justifies them threatening another independence referendum.
Let us consider that viewpoint;
Firstly, there is a real danger that if we go down the road of giving ScotGov, the NIA and WAG rights to ‘veto’ parts of any deal to be negotiated with the EU, we will end up in the same situation as the Walloons and the EU / Canada trade deal (apparently this issue has now been ‘resolved’, but remains an indicator of possible future problems for Brexit negotiations)
It is going to be difficult enough getting all 27 EU countries to agree any kind of trade deal with the UK following Brexit, without adding the complexity of agreeing any amendments to a previously agreed position by all ‘members’ of the UK. We could be talking for decades rather than years, as why should any part of the UK get a better deal than the others?
There is a great deal of difference between agreeing a deal about ‘Financial Passporting’ with the EU, which would benefit all parts of the UK (Two-thirds of the people employed by the financial & professional services industry work outside Greater London) and that of giving ScotGov the right to, say, control immigration into Scotland.
The former would just be a continuation of what happens now, while the latter would probably require a ‘hard’ border to prevent the immigrants flying in to Scotland and then catching a train south to England. Other deals ‘outside’ of London could be agreed in regards to car manufacturing / exporting, etc.
UK Financial Centres of Excellence - Gov.uk ~ Open Europe: How the UK’s financial services sector can continue thriving after Brexit ~ Civitas: EU economies have more to lose than the UK from curbs on trade ~ Civitas: The £13bn cost to EU exporters of failing to agree free trade terms with post-Brexit UK
There is a tremendous amount of work to be done in sorting out & agreeing what will replace the Common Agricultural Policy, Fishing Quotas, European Regional Development Fund, etc. and that is where ScotGov, WAG & NIA have a major role to play in ensuring a ‘fair’ outcomes are achieved within the UK as a whole.
10DS: Joint Ministerial Committee 24 October 2016: statement ~ Editorial Commentary: Brexit may prove beneficial, but it's more complicated than you think ~ Piecemeal approach to devolution has placed the Union under threat ~ IFG: Constitutional crisis looms if UK nations cannot agree on Brexit ~ ScotGov: Business boost
Secondly, if ScotGov wants to obviate its promise over the previous independence referendum because ‘circumstances have changed’, then why shouldn’t the UK government reconsider Scotland’s Fiscal Framework in the event that they ‘obtain’ a more advantageous / different settlement with the EU than the rest of the UK?
It is generally agreed that ‘Scotland got what it wanted’ rather than a ‘fair deal for English taxpayers’ in the negotiations for FF, but it was accepted because Scotland was part of the UK. If, however, Scotland wants a deal with EU-related benefits ‘over & above’ those agreed for the rest of the UK, then surely rUK can claim that ‘circumstances have changed’ and re-visit the Fiscal Framework, as those benefits would not be reflected in the framework. In other words; What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
If ScotGov wants to be ‘an equal partner’, then perhaps it should ‘pay for itself’ rather than be subsidised by England’s taxpayers. To adapt a historical saying; “Equal per head block grants for UK public expenditure, rather than the Barnett formula, before equality of representation”.
ScotGov: Brexit negotiations - Scotland must be equal partner ~ ScotGov: JMC must give Article 50 clarity ~ Does Scotland want the UK (basically the English taxpayers) to start questioning all funding, including the Barnett formula?