A difficult and strange Christmas and then Brexit

Wednesday December 30th 2020

Christine Grahame MSP

Christine Grahame MSP writes her monthly column for Midlothian View

What a difficult and strange Christmas this has been. I hope you managed to speak at least to someone and perhaps even manage a very careful visit on Christmas Day. I did see my close family with the two grandchildren and count myself lucky but now it’s back to battening down the hatches.

Travel only if essential and stay home and close to home as we meet the challenge of that virus mutation. We must take comfort that it apparently will still be effective and work hard together on the meantime to prevent us from spreading it.

Already our NHS is under pressure as is everywhere else so let’s just get through this.

Of course, we have, as if things were not bad enough, Brexit and The Deal. Turns out it was not “oven ready”. How did Boris do? Let’s see. We are not in the Customs Union, there are no trade tariffs (but so far financial services not included in those 1000s of pages).

Oh yes and remember the clarion call to get rid of nasty EU red tape? Well there’s going to be a lot more of it. Those lorries back to back will be a regular occurrence and already the Scottish food industry is worried about our fresh produce rotting in those queues.

As for “Taking Back Control” let’s start with fishing. Yes, there will be a small increase in allowed catch and over 5 years that will increase but after those five years? There will be negotiations with the EU about quotas. I don’t know about you but that’s not “Taking Back Control”.

Of course, neither are we doing the same with our trade. In fact the EU has us by the you know what. No wonder, they are making an example of the UK to make any defectors from the EU think twice. And of course Scotland voted Remain, as did Northern Ireland which has to all intents and purposes with its special protocol remained in the EU.

As for a democratic vote on the “Deal” this is being rushed through with the UK Parliament being recalled as is the Scottish Parliament this week. Sir Keir Starmer (UK Labour leader) has pronounced it’s a bad deal but he will vote for it. Whit? The majority of parties in the Scottish Parliament will vote against it (symbolic though it may be) and it will be interesting to see what Scottish Labour will do. It has opposed Brexit in the Scottish Parliament throughout. Perhaps the Labour members will stick to their guns in contrast to the UK party.

By the way both David Mundell and Ruth Davidson said they would not support different deals for different parts of the UK so the Northern Ireland arrangement has called their bluff. Resign? I doubt it, anyway Ruth’s off to the House of Lords so she doesn’t need to. Do you think David Mundell will also seek a safe and comfy unelected haven there too? Sic a parcel o’ rogues….

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