IF YOU READ my previous blog (and if you didn’t you can read it here: As a remain voter, let’s get on and make Brexit work) you will recall I revealed that having voted to remain in the EU referendum a week earlier I had since concluded:
The dream of Scottish independence was dead in the water with a Brexit vote and Nicola Sturgeon should work with the UK to secure the best deal for the UK rather than working against it for her own ends;
We needed a positive future vision for the UK outside Europe by securing the single market but with sensible reforms on immigration; and,
From initial disappointment my mood had moved to optimism; concluding Brexit could work even possibly leading to a ‘better’ EU, one which we may even want to rejoin at some point.
Have I changed my mind? Well yes I have: I’ve now concluded I made a mistake voting Remain, I should have voted to Leave. Why?
Well the most positive change in the past two weeks (one that wouldn’t have happened without Brexit) is we now have a new Tory Prime Minister, Theresa May, a ‘blue collar’ one Nation Tory who in just a few days in power has set out a vision for a UK of greater equality where everyone matters and where everyone can succeed through his or her hard work and talent irrespective of background; most importantly she appears at face value to truly believe what she’s saying; at last a conviction politician with public service her one aim.
So not to be to unfair, and to David Cameron’s credit he probably believed this also, but in truth his family wealth and privileged background was always going to be a barrier to credibility and progress here, but no more.
The Tories through vicar’s daughter, Theresa May, are now planted firmly and squarely in the centre (and after her first speech some would even say centre left) ground of British politics; so much so in a ComRes poll tonight By 40% to 36% Labour GE2015 voters believe that Theresa May would make a better PM than Jeremy Corbyn! OK perhaps not that difficult!
Hopefully Labour members take note and vote to end their self-imposed exile from reality in a few weeks time; UK democracy needs Labour, but not the Momentum version.
Also, and critically in my view, May’s very first statement as PM was to affirm her total and unequivocal commitment to the UK; she then reinforced her words by making Scotland the first place she visited the day after she became PM (she will quickly follow this up with visits to Wales and Northern Ireland).
She didn’t just visit Scotland, in my view she left Edinburgh after her visit with Nicola Sturgeon’s independence dreams in complete tatters.
May made sure Scots knew she wanted Scotland at the heart of the UK’s EU negotiations and even gave Sturgeon the leeway to go and pursue Scotland’s (okay her) so called ‘EU interests’ (knowing full well she will get nowhere). She also made clear to Sturgeon the UK was exiting the EU, and as part of the UK so was Scotland; casting aside any possibility she would countenance a new independence referendum.
May’s approach was incredibly refreshing compared with David Cameron’s union supporting but ultimately laissez-faire approach to Scotland.
The notion that referendum results are only binding if Nicola Sturgeon or Alex Salmond agree with the result has for too long gone unchallenged. Not any more it would seem.
Actually I suspect deep down Sturgeon is mightily relieved; she’s managed to corner herself with a ridiculous proposition that Scots would vote for independence in the EU over the UK; it’s just absurd.
Indeed I’ve not seen one interview in which Sturgeon can point to a single detail of what Scotland’s ‘special EU interests’ are; how they can be realised or how our interests are not best served being part of the UK given our single currency, trading relationship, strong economy, our superior democracy, open borders and the small matter of the £10b fiscal transfer from the UK.
By the way is there ANYONE from the SNP who can tell me what replaces this £10b fiscal transfer if we go independent? I’ve asked many times still no answers.
If May can negotiate a good EU trade agreement and an immigration points system that can benefit Scots special immigration needs (and the signs are looking good she will) then Sturgeon has nowhere to go.
On top of this Sturgeon knows 350k SNP voters voted to leave the EU. I suspect many of those would prefer staying part of the UK rather than signing up to another union even more remote and less democratic than the one they want to leave right now.
So in summary..
Following Brexit the roof hasn’t fallen in; we have ended up with a PM who appears sincere in her vision of a fairer UK for all with the skills and determination to execute; there are good signs we will reach a sensible agreement with the EU what’s more we have the potential to bury the ugly spectre of Nationalism on these shores. The politicians now need to deliver. What’s to be pessimistic about? Time for glass half full folks.
Footnote (and to the title of this piece):
One thing that has really annoyed me of late are the statements of what will happen to our so called EU funds… Many of our roads and buildings sport these EU signs (pictured above)…..
Well here’s the truth. There are no EU funds coming to the UK. In every year but one (1975) the UK has been a net contributor to the EU meaning that any ‘EU money’ spent in the UK is actually UK taxpayers' money recycled with spending priorities decided by the EU.
Clearly the challenge for organisations receiving EU money will be to ensure that they get to keep their monies once the UK gets back control of spending it; plus we retain our influence on any collaborative programs for example in joint European research once we leave; however I have one request:
Can we now take these misleading signs down and replace them with the more truthful version that its UK taxpayers money not EU money, which is responsible for funding these projects!