Has Theresa May assessed the risks of toughing it out with Nicola Sturgeon?

 

So Flexit -a flexible Brexit or  separate deals with the EU for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland –  are ruled out – for now at least.

“We have been very clear that we should be working together to secure the best possible deal for the whole country,” the prime minister’s official spokeswoman said on Monday.

“We expect representatives of the devolved administrations to act in that way and to in no way undermine the UK’s position.”

“The devolved administrations” (to use the bloodless term) , have been put in their place. They have to be satisfied in the meantime with the delights of regular meetings with David Davis the Brexit secretary. At least two of them by Christmas!

“ Deep frustration” is Nicola Sturgeon’s verdict . But even Arlene Foster  warns they must be fully represented” in the Brexit negotiations. This was not on offer yesterday.

Mrs May has declined to appease nationalist sentiment in Scotland.  For now she retains the initiative  against Ms Sturgeon if only because  her aims for  Brexit  aren’t clear.

If they remain unclear even after negotiations begin, at what point does Sturgeon challenge them?

If they lean towards access to the single market over the next few months, can Sturgeon really afford to denounce them?

Mrs May’s unionist rhetoric makes no concessions to anyone else’s nationalism. This may be tactical or even principled. But it should be remembered that she has spent her entire  life from schooldays to  the premiership along  a sixty mile line from Oxfordshire to central London. In that sense her conditioning may be as restricted as any other provincial.  Her personal political identity shares a flavour with English nationalism  at odds  with the cosmopolitanism rejected in the Brexit verdict. Remember in her conference speech:   “ a citizen of the world is a citizen of nowhere?”

 

And we know what happens when nationalisms collide.

 

 

 

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  • willie drennan

    ” …cosmopolitanism rejected in the Brexit verdict.”

    When I voted for Brexit I believed I was being cosmopolitan – seeing UK going out into a wider world beyond the confines of a wee EU that is rapidly heading towards becoming a super nation state.

    My reasons for voting Leave were much more complex than this but I don’t see a conflict between cosmopolitanism and the belief that it is sensible to have borders/boundaries and ethical guidelines/parameters for your country, community or home.

  • Roger

    I saw a clip of Jean Claude Juncker’s reaction on being asked how talks with Mrs May went at the Euro Council meeting. I think it should be compulsory viewing for the “best deal for Britain” Brexit brigade. Ought to be sobering.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Many who voted Leave had rejected that cosmopolitanism and are not afraid to show it.

    I also think the contrast between Wallonia downing CETA at EU level, while the UK gets seen as trying to gazzump its devolved regions shows truly which of the two were more keen on centralizing powers without public scrutiny.

    Indeed ironically, not just Wallonia but Brussels the Belgian region is ironically stopping “Brussels” that reductionist term for the EU consensus, just like London wanted to stop Westminster on Brexit.

    http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2988261/brussels_defeats_toxic_eucanada_trade_deal_ceta.html

    There are lines that should not be crossed that open these dilemmas.

    Perhaps European politicians have a lot more integrity than British public give them credit for!

    Belgium listening to its people despite being at odds with other governments in their partnership block is a sign that cosmopolitan diversity does exist in the European Union, and very much in nations outside of the United Kingdom.

    Indeed I have proposed that British political elites centralizing power away from public scrutiny, national or international was the major incentive for the right wing within England to fall behind the cause. How the Union handles the EVEL/West Lothian conflict in a fair and open debate needs to be tackled too.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8aa1f59599b542a2ef115a20c202582d0bf122eca8df512546e5707ff305cffd.jpg

    The fact that internal constitutional reform or greater transparency in government was never on the Leave agenda, merely voting politicians in or out and scrutiny by a corrupt media as the only safeguards being highlighted does not bode well for a union based on real trust.

    There was no EU moves towards a superstate, just an agreed as far as possible Super Single Market with democratic scrutiny 28 times over, with strong national government freedoms still protected and respected in order to keep politicians from being “unelected” by their people for their failures in international affairs … perhaps it is the UK Conservatives that are trying to ratchet devolution back to direct rule and make the UK a monolithic superstate once again?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/23db365fcd922182c53296a959990e2b5a9055c8fa93a1c166574baac3629708.png

    In many regards Brexit Britain is becoming “Brussels”, and behaves much in the same way as a psychological projection of behaviours and resolve that Eurosceptics are quick to associate with Brussels without self-restraint or self-criticism.

    Replace Brussels with Britain, then look at the ultraconservative Eurosceptic spokespeople again who have no capacity to own the decisions that they want to make and blame “Brussels” instead…

    Brussels can’t Reform …

    Britain can’t Reform, I don’t want Britain to reform, I don’t like Britain being changed into something that I do not want.

    Brussels is undemocratic …

    Britain is undemocratic, I don’t want Britain to be more democratic, it’ll be more divided and diverse, and they may vote against what I want.

    Brussels are filled with detached elites who are out of touch with their people….

    Britain is filled with detached elites like me who refuse to change the EU and build a democratic consensus good for every nation in the EU, and also I don’t want to be in touch with common folk, their criticism may sting.

    Brussels is too concerned with small states, broad consensuses and unanimity

    I don’t want this in Britain, so we need a Brexit to ensure power is consolidated centrally.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/34e6ccfbdb6c912381357ef8762210c2954c1779d562507fd029a99fba643abb.jpg

    There was no attempt to use Brexit as an opportunity for the UK shedding itself of its own internal undemocratic demons … FPTP, lack of transparency on treaties EU or otherwise, threats of penal laws to political opponents, corrupt tabloid devaluing of human life, bypassing parliamentary debate on the implementation of Brexit.

    The true test of cosmopolitan UK is if the United Kingdom can work to deal with the five or more “cultures” within itself, this may be based on the Unity in Diversity premise that should’ve been a main tenant of the European Union.

    One big lesson from Northern Ireland is that unilaterally forcing marriages lead to greater divisions.

    The EU was happy to give the UK loads of space against integration, and to some extent the UK resolved to remove itself from even more than that.

    At the same time the UK political class is once again is repeating the sins of BetterTogether behaving like the loveless clingy spouce that simply was afraid of divorce, rather than an advocate for improved partnership.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/65b46186cd46f71c63754bcab37a193a2361f1b851cb027baaadb7f632cfb2df.jpg

    If Sturgeon is offering a “republican” solution of separation and self-determination (much like Brexit was a res publica republican exercise in the same manner) to ensure Scotland maintains the high levels of connectivity it benefited from inside the EU while at the same time mending fences with an independent WENI rUK state to co-operate on equal terms, then May has to offer a Covenant that promises the sewing of greater trust between the states to ensure that does not need to happen.

    For such a Covenant to exist then it would mean English elites being supplicants to concerns of their British neighbours, and responsible for their own bad behaviour to their own constituents.

    As she was a Remain supporter, detached from the Vote Leave elites who made sour promises I would think she would try to heal the mala fides that was built in the UK by its own opportunistic political class to bring back the trust on which partnerships and unions live on, and die without.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2b74271d552e49480573eb508683b3d469b535df8f1e3cf0d071ff67940c665f.jpg

    Those underestimating that Brexit could have a domino effect on the UK union may be blind to the divisive unionists who are doing the divisive nationalists job for them.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Making the issue “personal” is an effective tool in politics but it has its limits.

    Neither is being positive about their cause if they need a bogeywoman to sell it.

  • We shouldn’t be surprised by Theresa May not exactly giving the devolved administrations the VIP treatment. Beyond the token calls for more devolved meetings, she’s ultimately the British Prime Minister with her own English-centric partisan interests.

    With 15.1m English Brexiteers and 58% of the Tory electorate having voted to leave according to a Lord Ashcroft poll, we shouldn’t fool ourselves as to where the focus of a May-led British government lies, nor will it care much about a few grumbling noises made from political bit players on another island.

  • chrisjones2

    The sobering needed is for Mr Juncker and the EU

  • chrisjones2

    More nonsense.The UK was cosmopolitan when Europeans were locked into the borders of their own petty disputes and nuroses. The UK was perhaps the first country in Europe to encourage multi-cultural immigration.The French remain notoriously xenophiobic – immigration is acceptable but you must totally assimilate to French language and standards and even dress codes.

  • Declan Doyle

    To answer the question you pose directly; no, it does not look like Theresa May has assessed the risks. The Scottish seem very sure footed with what they want whilst May seems a bit wobbly in her stance that London will be kind to the devolved regions so long as they stay quiet, listen carefully and essentially do what they are told. In fact the only people who can do anything to calm the growing tension between Scotland and the UK are the other member states of the EU. They need to come to the table with a nice deal for the English government, one which Sturgeon cannot reasonably object to, unfortunately that is looking increasingly unlikely. Mainland Europe is fast running out of patience.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The UK was the first country in Europe to encourage “multicultural immigration”?

    Hmmm …. Nope.

    Fairly sure Alexander III of Macedon was bestowing citizenship on Corinthians and Persians with no expectation to “Hellenize” themselves. It was pretty much a strong reason in Macedonia for its imperial growth.

    Here’s a pro-Leave commentator making very much the same point about migration.

    http://www.workpermit.com/news/london-mayor-london-would-fall-sparta-without-immigration-20140617

    Chronologically speaking this would be back when the Iron Age “Brits” were merely trading with the European coastal neighbours in Brittany and other parts of Northern France.

    Most importantly long before the UK and England even existed.

  • John Collins

    What is that Disraeli said about the British when his Jewish background was commented upon unfavourably in the HOC.

  • Reader

    Kevin Breslin: Fairly sure Alexander III of Macedon was bestowing citizenship on Corinthians and Persians with no expectation to “Hellenize” themselves. It was pretty much a strong reason in Macedonia for its imperial growth.
    Or, of course, it could be all of those victorious wars that did the growth trick. And Alexander’s imperial subjects were typically allowed to be foreign outside Macedonia (outside Europe, in fact) – not that central authority could have achieved much more. Especially since the whole structure fragmented pretty much immediately after his death.

  • Anglo-Irish
  • OneNI

    I guess alot of people living in NI can get divorced from the political realities of the UK – esp as the media connives in the idea that the local parties and the NI Executive are in some way important
    How else could someone write ‘separate deals with the EU for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – are ruled out – for now at least.’
    The Conservatives are the sovereign UK govt and have no need to pander to nationalists

  • OneNI

    Sturegon is the wobbly one – forced by her hardliners to make noises about calling a referendum she knows she cant win one day and then demanding that an Independent Scotland must leave one Union and their most important single market to remain subject to the European Union and a smaller decline single market the next!

  • pablito

    http://www.civitas.org.uk/reports_articles/potential-post-brexit-tariff-costs-for-eu-uk-trade/

    Civitas argues that the best deal for Britain is also the best deal for the EU. Could be that politics will trump economics, but who will benefit from it?

  • willie drennan

    Well Kevin that was an impressive response to my comment. Unfortunately I don’t have time to address it all but your take on the Belgian region of “Wallonia downing CETA” is particularly interesting. You clearly see it as a representation of EU democracy at its best. While I think it is great that CETA is hopefully being scuppered I actually see this as a classic example of the dysfunction of the EU.

    I also don’t recall this being debated in the UK or Ireland yet your link to the Ecologist article points this out – “If CETA ever does pass through its full ratification process, the UK can be sued by US and Canadian corporations under the deal’s ‘corporate court’ investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism for up to 20 years after Brexit”.

    Sounds like the plan was to pass this agreement, and TTIP, without the people of Europe being fully aware of what was going on. That’s an example of why I believe we will be better out of the EU.

    No, I’m afraid I remain a Leave voting cosmopolitan.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Much the same as empire.

    You generally win wars with more people, Britain better than any other empire knew this, building an empire part colonies, part protectorates, part alliances.

    I mean there are plenty of examples in Middle East, Central, Asia and North African civilisations being multicultural due to trade and the nomadic nature of humanity at the dawn of agrarian technology.

  • Croiteir

    May has her by the throat. If Sturgeon wants another referendum she better get on with it lickity spit. This is due to the fact that disentangling Scotland from the rUK is going to take time, take precious time, and patience to do it right. And it will take money. Sturgeon has neither as May holds the purse strings and May has the ability to delay. And if it takes more than 2 years then Scotland faces trouble with the EU as they would need to negotiate their entry to the EU, and even Michael Martin cannot help them with that. (All this is based on the assumption that if they get out of the rUK before the English get out of the EU and the EU accepts that that means they never left). And then the raison d’etre for the referendum is null and void. So expect May to ignore Sturgeoon – time is not on Sturgeon’s side.

  • Roger

    That conclusion sounds like common sense to me. It’s why most EU countries are sad to see UK leaving and giving up the best deal the UK and the EU will ever have with each other. It’s a loose-loose situation.
    But as you know there’s more to this than just tariffs. The EU is a major political project. If it falls apart, there would be political and, indeed, economic consequences. Many of the EU 27 will be mindful of those potential costs when they are asked to give the UK the ‘best deal for Britain’; the deal the Brexiteers trumpet. Whatever emerges, it will be bad for the UK…and the EU.

  • Hugh Davison

    Europe of the regions – strongly resisted by Nation Statism

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I agree, people need to get over themselves a bit. Like all nations – except Belgium it seems! That went well – we do foreign policy together as a unit.

  • Hugh Davison

    Hey Chris. The Brits are leaving (democratic decision). What do you think Mr Juncker should do about that? Scenarios:
    1. Close the door on the way out.
    2. No please don’t go. It’s all been a dreadful misunderstanding.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    She is certainly having to walk a very careful line right now. Scotland doesn’t yet want another referendum; and she doesn’t want a hard border with England, economically v risky; but she does see a historic opportunity for yes if she plays her cards right. My guess is she’ll do all she can to influence May towards good single market access – good deal for UK is also good for Scots Nats as they need prospect of prosperous future to win ‘yes’. She’d prefer indie ref after Brexit itself to maximise chance of winning.

  • Kevin Breslin

    You think it’s dysfunctional that Belguim has a veto over a pan national economic union.
    The EU is not an empire, it has every reason to find the best foundation to a single market the nation’s within it could sign up to.

    When reality doesn’t fit the strawman … Create a straw reality … One where the Evil EU empire is kept in check by an incompetent Belgian state not a concerned one.

    What luxury would I have to warp my reality to justify things UK governments did?

    Perhaps it was a political nation centric prejudice to assume only the European far right were as vigalent about their government and the EU as the Britons.

    Meanwhile the UK central government treats Scotland and Northern Ireland like nothing more than imperial colonies, having what they want only if the government agrees with them. Without MEPs, the only real difference between Northern Ireland and a colony seems to be the indulgence of 18 MPs, of which 4 don’t show up and which will be cut by one anyway. It may even be levied for tariffs soon to subsidise Southern Irish farmers, while Southerners subsidise English, Scottish and Welsh farmers on top of Northern Irish. Colonies have better fiscal and diplomatic powers and they can decide their own internal tariffs to an extent to make itself an enterprise zone, so without the £9 billion compensator, that is going to get cut anyway, it’s arguably worse.

    There is nothing Scotland, Wales, London Assembly or Northern Ireland governments can do to stop the UK introducing TTIP and CETA deals if they can agree them with their North American friends. Make no mistake Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats are huge supporters of Free Trade deals like these, it seems to get to the point where UKIP only hate them because they seem to hate everything. The U.K. Political class are more like the Flemish than the Wallons here.

    The very meaning of Free Trade is that states are legally accountable to treaties where they stop companies trading freely (within agreed limits). Deals like these are what’s going to lead to cheaper New Zealand lamb, and exporting specialist British Jam. The freedoms given away in free trade deals tend to be much wider than would be for a single market that has to please a good majority of 28 nations.

    Where’s the democracy?

    Well as I’ve said before nearly all of the European national governments and parliaments and the EU Parliament itself have democratically elected right wing lead governments who think FTAs are the main way these nation states can grow. At the same time the EU left is being held account by the people of Europe for perceived fiscal ineptitude, “ultraliberal” social policies, economic climate change, relaxed attitudes to migration and relaxed attitudes to soverignty and middle class intellectual snobbery … and the right has waved patriotic banners and milked that anger for its causes.

    These include minimising state interference in industry and ensuring other states do not do the same.

    The U.K. is a signature of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. British companies have used this mechanism to sue states across the world, UK is up to its neck in these deals already. Look up Rurelec and Bolivia and Argentina even using UK diplomatic privileges against these states. Not through the EU, but bilateral legal deals the UK set up in 3rd world nations.

    Rather than attacking an EU Court of Justice that is suing Germany for allowing Vattenfall to break environmental regulations, when said company itself is suing Germany, Eurosceptics in Britain are more concerned with the the EU Commission suing Apple for not paying tax in Ireland.

    Trade deals are at the end of the day, give and take arrangements, the U.K. signs treaties to build trust between nations to ensure business gets done. Perhaps it would be much easier for May to imagine Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were independent states in their own right already then work out what unites them politically to build cooperation upon.

    A bit like the European Union does.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Belguim’s resistance being accepting the Walloon verdict?

    Wonder what those “Nation Statists” in the UK would have done if England voted Leave and the whole of the UK voted Remain?

    The sheer artifice of the UK and its myth of a common unique exceptionalist British politics holding it together is being laid bare.

  • the rich get richer

    The SNP are bluffing ( and for what its worth I am pro Scottish independence). I can’t see too many of the Scottish Brexiteers or the people that did not vote for Scottish independence the last time voting for Scottish independence this time . That is a large amount of Scottish voters .

    They are bluffing and if Theresa May can’t see it then she would have to be very naive .

    I suppose she will have to humour them for the optics but anyone who thinks that the SNP are in a strong position is not reading the ruins correctly .

  • chrisjones2

    What is it?

  • chrisjones2

    I am afraid you b are again just following the Connolly House line.The Nats are scared stiff of a new referrendum as they know they will lose it.A bit like SF innit

  • chrisjones2

    “economically v risky”

    I disagree.Not risky – suicidal with oil at well under $100 for the forseeable future

  • chrisjones2

    He might act in the interest of the EU which is to keep the UK as a major trading partner. He is however personally aggrieved as he understands how history will portray him – as the useless fool who started the break up of the EU

  • willie drennan

    I think it is brilliant that a small region of Belgium is able to scupper such a horrendous deal as CETA. The dysfunction is in the fact that it has taken years for the EU to come close to signing a deal. This is not because superior democratic principles but because a thick blanket of bureaucratic fog is needed to disguise the shady deals they are doing with multi national corporations.

    I accept that any individual European nation on it’s own is more than capable of doing wee sleekit deals with multi nationals. This includes the UK and the recent Hinkley Power Station monstrous deal is a prime example.

    The reason why so many of us voted Leave however is that we will be in a position to demand more transparency from our own government. There will be UK trade deals with Canada, USA and a host of other countries. The difference will be that we will expect to be told of the finer murky details in advance. Granted we might not be able to stop shady deals that benefit the already powerful at great disadvantage to the rest of us, but we will be able to hold our locally elected politicians to account come election time.

    Regardless, we are where we are. Regardless of what we think of the EU we are on our way out of it. Interesting times ahead for democracy.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The EU was never meant to function like some undemocratic federal entity.

    This clearly exposes the most dysfunctional part of the EU has been the dysfunctional attitude that Eurosceptics had that it was.

    Yes there are federalist voices, but they are clearly outnumbered by nationalist ones. 28 proud and arrogant nations in all their beautiful hubris, vices and character.

    Quitters aren’t just arrogant, at times they believe it’s not worth trying anything.

    It’s a shame the UK needs to stoke the fires of English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish nationalism simply because it was having an identity crisis.

    The reason why so many of us voted Leave however is that we will be in a position to demand more transparency from our own government. There will be UK trade deals with Canada, USA and a host of other countries. The difference will be that we will expect to be told of the finer murky details in advance. Granted we might not be able to stop shady deals that benefit the already powerful at great disadvantage to the rest of us, but we will be able to hold our locally elected politicians to account come election time.

    Actually I doubt many Leave voters would have even heard of Rurelec or activities of the government on Oil for Food.

    Successive UK governments have not just exploited the EU to cover up their misdeeds even when they had nothing to do with EU institutions or even the single market. UK governments now have fixed term parliaments, 5 years to do whatever they want with their power.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c7b36fe0e710eb4849732631624e7259593d5339ca95ac8b9f2be19783a732b0.jpg

    These are governments who hoodwinked the British public with dodgy dossiers and fake multi-million spending promises just to go to wars and get corporate friendly trade deals.

    The Conservatives hedged their bets on the EU simply because the political class was already insured against harm by wads of public money in case of either result, they didn’t think they’d end up with less public money if Leave won.

    Sadly the only ones who are holding the UK government to account are the victims of its crimes … like the Bloody Sunday families, the Hillsborough families, the family of Rosemary Nelson or David Kelly.

    Heck the second to last inquiry was about the government holding the free press to account.

    The UK government pretty much needs to be guilty of homicidal negligence or outright murder before there is a public inquiry, and even then you can have whitewashes.

    The British political class are telling the British public how wondrously they can be held to account outside of the European Union, when the reality is that the British public didn’t care much about holding them to account anyway.

    They barely know who their MP is for starters…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22555659

    If you do not believe me compare how many column inches on the front page of any paper from The Express to The Guardian are dedicated to Muslims and Refugees than to international trade?

  • chrisjones2

    They face trouble anyway.

    Noone can negotiate until Artilce 50 is triggered

    In EU terms Scotland is a region and the EU can only negotiate with the UK

    If Scotland wants to stay in the EU it has to (i) become independenet (ii) apply to join

    Countries like Spain will not offer any support or encouragement lest their own dissident regions get too restive /take comfort

    Internally the SNP will not win a referrendum,.The hole in their finances now oil has dropped is about the equivalent of the entire budget for NHS Scotland + 30% of the old age pension. Whoops

  • chrisjones2

    Belgium is hardly a nation. At one point recently it went without a Government for all of 2 years

  • chrisjones2

    It will only be lose-lose if the EU is stupid enough to want a punitive trade deal. The member states (that matter) dont but the problem is a small core of states that get the huge subsidies and the malovelenece of some in the nomenclatura whose incompetence has been exposed

  • Katyusha

    Germany has some powers in foreign policy devolved to individual states as well. There is however, some creative ambiguity and long-standing habitual arrangements over which matters are handled by the federal government and which can be handled by individual states.
    http://library.fes.de/fulltext/bueros/london/00538007.htm

    Under Art. 32 of the Basic Law the Länder have the right to be ‘consulted in sufficient time’ before the federation concludes ‘a treaty affecting the special circumstances of a Land’. Also, it stipulates that ‘in so far as the Länder have the power to legislate, they may, with the consent of the Federal Government, conclude treaties with foreign states’ (Art. 32/3)

    In other words, on matters of their own competence, an individual province can enter into a bilateral treaty with another state, as long as it secures approval from the Federal government. Similarly, the Federal government cannot enter into a bilateral treaty with a foreign state without the approval of each Land.

    The basis of this arrangement, laid down in the so-called Lindau Agreement of 1957, is the assumption by the Länder that the federation acts on their behalf when negotiating or signing foreign treaties which either partly or wholly regulate matters of their competence. In exchange for empowering the Federation to act on their behalf, the Länder have secured for themselves wide-ranging rights of participation which deny the Federation the right to sign such treaties without previously securing their unanimous consent.

    The consent of all of them must be secured before obligations created by the treaty achieve validity under international law. The legislative process of ratification, beginning with the treaty being sent to the Bundesrat, does not normally start before the Federal Government has asked for the consent of the Länder to be given.

    However, one thing to note is that unanimous support among the Länder is not required in treaties with the European Union. As such, a Landtag can veto the passage of a bilateral treaty between Germany and the US, but cannot veto a treaty between the EU and the US. Instead, it only requires a majority vote in the Bundesrat, which is where the representatives of the Länder sit (and is taken to represent regional interests). So, slightly different to Wallonia’s situation, where Wallonia was able to veto ratification of an EU Treaty by itself.

    On the European level, they also have the power to send representatives directly to the EU to negotiate, particularly in matters which affect laws which are the competence of the Länder, not the Federal Government.

    (5) For the purpose of Council meetings on projects relating primarily to areas in which the Länder have exclusive legislative competence, the Bundesrat shall designate, in accordance with Section 6 (2), members of the Länder governments at ministerial level to whom the Federal Government must transfer the conduct of negotiations. The Länder shall ensure that the Federal Republic of Germany is represented in accordance with Article 146 of the EC Treaty for this purpose. In the event that the representatives of the Länder are prevented from attending, a representative of the Federal Government or the Permanent Representative shall assume leadership of the negotiations.

    (6) Representatives of the Länder shall be members of the German delegation. They shall take part in delegation discussions at the relevant venue during meetings. Prior joint preparations, which may also be proposed by Länder representatives, shall remain unaffected.

    I’m not sure about other federal states, I’m only using Germany as an example because I’m familiar with it. But it’s not true to say that Belgium is the only example of a federal state where individual provinces can veto foreign policy. The UK, of course, is not a federal state, but a unitary one – the devolved administrations only have power at the discretion of Parliament, which retains absolute sovereignty.

  • congal claen

    To put some figures on that. Scotland exports about £12B to the EU and about £15B to the rest of the world. But to rUK – £48B.

  • Jams O’Donnell

    May has so far shown no signs at all of “lean[ing] towards access to the single market”

    In fact she had done the opposite, leaning towards appeasement of the loony right of the tory party and a ‘hard’ Brexit.

    This (thank the stars) plays right into Nicola Sturgeon’s hands. The more Westminster diverges from accepting the Scottish vote to stay in the EU, and the SNP’s red line of staying in the single market, the greater the majority to leave the UK will be, when the moment comes. It’s almost as if May wants Scottish independence, but I think it’s rather more likely that her insularity and arrogance are leading her on.

    There is just no end the stupidity of the “Stupid Party”, but in this case it is very welcome.

  • Jams O’Donnell

    Obviously you don’t live in Scotland, even if you are, as you say, pro-independence. The SNP are not bluffing. They are in a stronger position now than at the previous referendum. The UK is heading off a cliff, and a majority vote in Scotland declined the invitation to do so. The only way for them to avoid that is to vote “Yes” to independence.

  • Jams O’Donnell

    The Scottish government is required by law to balance it’s books. The Scottish deficit is part of the UK deficit. If as was indicated at the last referendum, the rUK are not willing to part with the appropriate share of UK assets, there will be no corresponding share of the deficit.

  • Jams O’Donnell

    In that case they will have a much smaller country to mis-rule.

  • Jams O’Donnell

    Mad as a box of frogs! But you can certainly invent your own reality.

  • Jams O’Donnell

    The Scottish economy – without oil – is still the 12th largest in the EU. What is the problem?

  • John Collins

    Basically he threw an ‘auld fit’ proclaiming that his ancestors were artisans and scholars, when the British were still a hunter gatherer people clad in animal skins. Was his summation historically accurate?
    I have not got a clue, but it was a great old rant anyway.

  • John Markey

    As Scotland is not an independent nation Scotland cannot possibly have a hole in its finances. The ‘deficit’ is an estimation of Scotland’s share of the UK’s debt as a member of the UK, not an estimation of what Scotland’s potential deficit on leaving the UK would be.

  • Roger

    It would clearly be ‘stupid’ not to bend over backwards for a member who has extended the proverbial two fingers to the club or to consider how other club members might feel if that treatment is given. The EU isn’t worth a sod anyway goes the logic.

  • Roger

    It’s not a small region of Belgium; it comprises over half of Belgium’s territory.

  • Hugh Davison

    Yes Kevin. My point being that the ‘Europe of the regions’ aspiration that we heard so much about some years ago is being exercised in Belgium (due to the complex nature of their own need to reconcile two cultures in one country).
    btw Isn’t Belgium just another British c**k up, like so many?

  • Hugh Davison

    Willie Drennan:’The difference will be that we will expect to be told of the finer murky details in advance.’
    Good luck with that one, Willie

  • Hugh Davison

    There are other people in Europe, apart from the French. Try the Dutch for instance, absorbing Jewish refugees when the English (and Spanish) were chasing them out.

  • billypilgrim1

    “When I voted for Brexit I believed I was being cosmopolitan”

    Then you made a catastrophic mistake.

  • Cagey Feck

    ‘Belgium is hardly a nation’… the mind boggles

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