Thursday, July 7, 2016

New Labour, Tough Choices : UK or EU?

Kezia Dugdale emerged from another long hibernation today to announce that she will continue to argue for Scotland's place in both the EU and the UK.  As most toddlers and some intelligent hamsters are aware, it's not actually possible to have both of those things, because two weeks ago today the UK voted to leave the EU.  So it will actually be necessary to make a choice.  If you're hopelessly confused about which way Scottish Labour will jump, this Twitter exchange I've just had with the party's one-man online presence Duncan Hothersall may help the mists to clear...or perhaps not.

Duncan Hothersall : @kezdugdale commits to continue to make the case that Scotland is better off as part of the UK.

Scott Russell : so, she'd rather [be] in the UK but out [of the] EU, may as well just vote for Ruth then.

Duncan Hothersall : Suggesting @kezdugdale wants Scotland out of the EU is flatly dishonest. Why would you lie like that?

Me : If she still wants Scotland to stay in the UK, she's arguing for Scotland to leave the EU. That's a fact, Duncan.

Duncan Hothersall : No, that isn't a fact, James. It is in fact a lie. I want Scotland to be in both, just as Kez does.

Me : I want to fly to Jupiter in a golden teapot, but I can't have what I want either. New Labour, Tough Choices : UK or EU?

Duncan Hothersall : So now you're *asking* the question to which you just claimed (falsely) we had provided an answer.

Me : What's YOUR answer, Duncan?

Duncan Hothersall : My answer is that that is not yet the question. The UK remains part of the EU for now.

Me : When it leaves the EU, which it has already decided to do, what will be your answer then?

Duncan Hothersall : We should do what is in the best interests of the most people. That has been my view since 2012 and remains my view.

Me : Will it be in the best interests of most people to remain in the EU, or to remain in the UK?

Duncan Hothersall : That is a judgement which will need to be based on evidence. Not all the necessary evidence is available.

Me : What types of evidence are you awaiting?

Duncan Hothersall : The ultimate deal the UK gets with the EU is pretty much fundamental to this judgement I'd have said!

Me : What will be your red line, Duncan? Anything short of EEA membership, and you'll be a confirmed Yesser?

Duncan Hothersall : We should do what's in the best interests of the most people. We're not in a position to judge what that is today. How can you?

Me : Are you saying you don't have any red lines? Something short of EEA membership might be OK?

Duncan Hothersall : (no reply)


  1. Is "obfuscation" the word I'm looking for ?

  2. I think Labour is back to counting those who didn't vote in EU ref in Scotland as having voted Leave. The Dippity Dug looks set to go against the wishes of the electorate in Scotland. Oh well give them some sharp razors to speed up their suicide pact with the BBC.

  3. Has anybody actually asked the EEA if they will admit the UK?

    1. The EEA doesn't have a concrete form in that sense - it's an agreement between the EU and the EFTA countries. There's no EEA President or anything like that.

    2. And guess what will be given up to negotiate a deal to get the EFTA...

      Fishing and Farming

    3. "The EEA doesn't have a concrete form in that sense - it's an agreement between the EU and the EFTA countries. There's no EEA President or anything like that."

      The EEA is an agreement between three out of four of the current EFTA countries, excluding Switzerland, which is in the EFTA, but has bilateral agreements with the EU rather than being a party to the EEA.

      If (massive if) the UK opted for participation in the EEA, it would, I think, have to join the EFTA. The Norwegian Prime Minister has indicated she doesn't think this is a good idea as she thinks it would bring imbalance to the EFTA. Each EFTA member (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland) has a veto on new members joining so it's quite possible that Norway could veto the UK's membership of the EEA.

      An alternative would be for the EU and the UK to strike bilateral deals, as the EU has with Switzerland, although with the UK remaining outside of the EFTA.

      The EU-Switzerland agreements are inter-linked and contain clauses which say that if one agreement is foregone, then all the agreements are voided.

      This is why the Swiss are probably going to lose access to the EU's Single Market (they have extensive, but not full, access) if they don't change their decision to effectively renege on the freedom of movement agreement with the EU through their previous decision to amend their constitution to impose quotas on immigration from all countries, including EU countries.

      There's no evidence that the EU would be willing to do a deal that didn't permit freedom of movement. And there's no evidence that the UK is willing to do a deal that permits freedom of movement. Unless one side concedes, the UK is not going to get an EEA or Swiss deal with the EU and will end up trading on much less advantageous terms with the EU, possibly under World Trade Organisation rules, or possibly under a bespoke trade agreement that provides for free trade in specific areas but without access to the EU's Single Market and without freedom of movement.

      Would that be an outcome acceptable to enough Scots to keep it in the UK?

      Only time will tell.

  4. what option?

    1.UK out EU
    2.SCOT in EU
    3.Henry McLeish

    1. If Henry McLeish is the answer, you must be asking the wrong question.

  5. Obfuscation, is that a big word for shite?

  6. Tony Blair - Labour DreamboatJuly 7, 2016 at 4:36 PM

    I suppose the poor man has painted himself into a corner and is now stamping his feet in petulant rage. But he shouldn't worry. The paint will dry at some point.

  7. That guy's bonkers?! See if that shower fuck this up! On the other hand, who listens to kezia anyway.

  8. Duncan Hothersall. So what? He has nothing consistent or meaningful to say.

  9. Duncan Hothersall epitomises British Labour and their North British Branch. If you heard him speak the words in his tweets you might visualise Tony Blair saying words that if carefully analysed still wouldn't have an actual meaning you could pin down and use again.

  10. "We should do what is in the best interests of the most people. That has been my view since 2012 and remains my view."

    I dread to ask what his view was before 2012.

  11. What a complete tosser Hothersal is. We are leaving the Eu. That is the fact we know. We didn't vote for the free market and peacemeal deals. We voted to stay complete members of the Eu in Scotland. Eu citizens get it Duncan! That's what we are so mad about. Not how much money London may or may not make outside the EU. Duncan is a shallow opportunist who understands the value of nothing.

    I want to keep my EU passport, my EU friends, my EU rights, Scotland's Eu benefits. I couldn't give toss about bigoted little England. The UK is finished they signed away their rights to rule Scotland.

  12. Duncan's sad devotion to British Labour continues. It will only be him and Simon Pia left soon.

    1. Think Simon Pia has already jumped ship. Saw something last week that he had moved to Yes.


  13. The very size of the UK works against any deal. What a country like Norway brings to the table is wealth and stability. It's small size means any sacrifices required for a deal just aren't noticeable for the EU. The UK wants the same but offers nothing. Full at their convenience access will offering bupkis. The market access they need to promise, free movement is the Bottom of the scale, but they start by refusing even that. The UK can't even meet the minimum entry for negotiations.

  14. Duncan Hothersall is proof that reality is stranger than fiction. He's Private Eye's Dave Spart personified.

    I even called him Dave Spart once and I believe he was flattered by it. Seriously.

  15. They've lost their minds over at Labourhame. A fairly recent article was posted where the author urged Scottish Labour to break out of the constitutional log-jam it's currently in.

    Then he finished by opposing Scottish independence, any further distancing between SLab and UKLab and staying with the EU. He also put quote marks around "home rule" whenever he mentioned the phrase.

    I don't know if I subscribe to the five stages of grief theory, but I'd say Hothersall is still stuck at the denial stage. SLab's remaining membership seem be somewhere between bargaining and depression. Those who reached acceptance have already left for the most part.

    Just wait until the Tory Brexit negotiation team is finally assembled...