As the UK government continues to contradict itself over Brexit I think the most important story is closer to home.
The National Records of Scotland have produced a series of projections for Scotland’s future population growth and the bottom line is simple and unsettling: if EU migration is stopped then the growth of Scotland’s population will slow significantly to the extent that our overall population will start to decline again within the next 25 years.
Crucially, all of Scotland’s projected population growth in the next 10 years is because of migration. Without EU migration the population of Scotland is projected to decline from 2032 onwards.
This would be disastrous for our economy and society. Scotland’s tragic history of exporting our own people has only recently started to be reversed, and it is vital we maintain an open attitude to migration, in and out, and our place in the world. You can read more here:
I realise this is very long term but these figures serve to illustrate that the damage from Brexit will not only be felt today, but for decades to come.
Migration has been great for Scotland, you can read more here:
I want our friends and neighbours from across Europe and the world to have the ability to move here but, for that to be the case, we are going to have to fight against Brexit Britain’s immigration policy.
Since 2014 the East of Scotland alone has received £11 million of grants from Erasmus+. Erasmus has created opportunities for Scots (including me) for decades. Not only does this allow university students to travel abroad on exchange but it also provides funding for a variety of projects in Scotland.
Just one example is that St Johnstone Football Club’s Under-20s team and the Saints Academy’s Under-17s team recently went on a two-week training camp in Portugal which “wouldn’t have been feasible without Erasmus funding,” according Under-20 coach Alex Cleland. This is just one of the countless opportunities that could be lost without membership of Erasmus+. You can see a list of projects from 2014-17, here
Ian Dunt’s account of David Davis’s Select Committee on Exiting the European Union appearance shows that even he (surely) doesn’t believe the no deal rhetoric.
If you want, you can read a transcript of the entire session here:
Within hours of the appearance, Theresa May contradicted him saying that the House of Commons would have a vote on the deal. His argument that there may not be time is laughable since at least one parliament (the European Parliament) must have time to vote because it is a legal requirement. The EU at least will be democratic.
Ivan Rogers, the UK’s former envoy to the EU, was also before the Commons this week. In a fascinating session he said the EU views the UK’s plans as “British fantasy land”.
Tory whip Chris Heaton Harris wrote to universities demanding they provide him with a list of who is teaching what about Brexit.
Professor Tim Bale provided a wonderfully sarcastic response.
Donald Tusk has emphasised that Brexit can still be reversed.
The CBI, British Chambers of Commerce, the EEF, the Institute of Directors and the Federation of Small Businesses all wrote to David Davis urging a transition deal which May seems to have ignored in her Commons speech.
GlaxoSmithKline is ready to build a new drug-testing facility in the EU because of Brexit.
Liam Fox confirmed that the UK is not bluffing on a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Assuming we believe him, this is terrifying and has potentially devastating consequences for Scotland.
Fabian Zuleeg of the European Policy Centre has argued that the EU needs to start preparing for a ‘no deal’ scenario.
Stefaan De Rynck, an advisor to the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, has conceded that although the EU did not and does not want a ‘no deal’ outcome, it is preparing for it.
Jens Geier, a German SPD MEP, has emphasised that the EU is in control of the deal: “…in order to get the agreement it wants, Britain has to decide where it’s heading. Only then can the rest of the EU know whether no deal is better than a bad deal. For us, that is.”
According to an LSE study, young British people feel that the UK Government’s Brexit strategy is not focussed on ensuring equality, social justice and shared economic prosperity.
A group of MEPs including Sophie in ’t Veld, Seb Dance, Jean Lambert, Claude Moraes, Beatriz Becerra, Cecilia Wikström and Catherine Bearder have written to Home Secretary Amber Rudd saying that plans to force EU nationals to register in any transition period following Brexit would be illegal.
I was in Ireland this week discussing Brexit, the Good Friday Agreement, and how Schrödinger's border is not a credible strategy. Stavros Zenios has written this piece explaining why Cyprus will not work as a model for the Northern Irish border.
The consequences of a hard Brexit could be devastating for the Irish economy and could result in GDP falling by 9%.
Finally, this is a fascinating piece on the potential impact of Brexit on LGBTIQ+ rights by Dr Carmelo Danisi, Dr Moira Dustin and Professor Nuno Ferreira.