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MSP and MEP Discuss Brexit On Stirling Doorsteps

Stirling Branch campaign with Alyn Smith
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The Brexit Ultimatum

Shoot herself in the head

By Steven Paterson former MP for Stirling

Such was the surrealism of the week just witnessed that the Prime Minister reminded me of that scene from the classic Mel Brooks spoof Western Blazing Saddles, when the new sheriff arrives in the town of Rock Ridge to find himself somewhat less than welcome.

Pointing a gun to her head, the Prime Minister warned: ”Hold it! The next man makes a move, the United Kingdom gets it!” Hold it, men. She’s not bluffing.

It seems that every day that passes sees one development or another that pushes any kind of deal between the UK and the EU27 over Brexit further out of reach and less attainable, and underlines the deathlike grip the extreme hard Brexiters have over this process. They want no deal, and it looks increasingly as if they will be able to force such an eventuality on a reluctant parliament which has become as paralysed and powerless as the Government which tries to lead it.

Take the knife-edge votes on Monday and Tuesday for example. The hard line European Research Group, led by Jacob Rees-Mogg and supported by Stirling’s Tory MP Stephen Kerr, tabled amendments to the Government’s customs bill designed to gut the recent “Chequers Agreement”, leaving the Government with the invidious choice of rolling over and accepting the amendments or facing a catastrophic defeat which would likely have ended Theresa May’s premiership.

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The Beginning of the Dead-End Game

Prime Minister Theresa May

This week’s comment from Steven Paterson, former MP for Stirling

The tedious creep towards the Brexit endgame suddenly accelerated in the past week or so, as the looming negotiation deadline in September finally forced the Prime Minister to nail down some actual proposals at her Chequers showdown.

Cue the resignations of the Brexit Secretary David Davis, who had clearly been side-lined and ignored by the Prime Minister, and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, whose political calculation after seeing Davies resign on a point of principle was that his chances of becoming the next Prime Minister were better served in resigning too.

Boris Johnson,
possibly your future PM and to quote Frankie Boyle, “a cross between a serious head injury and an unmade bed……” scary thought.
Image licensed from depositphoto.com
Any question that the Prime Minister has seen off her extreme hard Brexit opponents is entirely illusory, of course. Both Johnson and Davies will be vociferous critics of her Brexit negotiations from the backbenches and in the press, and the precarious arithmetic for the minority Tory Government in the House of Commons means that each time a significant vote on the matter comes along, the risk of defeat is very real.

It’s anyone’s guess how many such defeats May’s administration can take before collapsing, but we are probably about to find out. Votes on customs arrangements take place in the Commons today (Monday), and the hard Brexit brigade, whose leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has been scathing in his criticism of the Prime Minister’s position and the White Paper published following the Chequers conference, may seek to derail the Government depending on the level of support he can count on.

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A Long Hot Summer

By Steven Paterson former MP for Stirling

In the end, the EU Summit was a bit of a damp squib with no real progress on Brexit to note. And this is remarkable, now that it is over two years since the referendum and with a deal, if there is to be one, requiring to be agreed by October in order to allow its ratification in EU member states.

It seems the gravity of what is at stake is lost by a public long since bored to tears by the glacial rate of progress on the technicalities and intricacies of this issue.

Yet Brexit has enormous ramifications for the economy and jobs in this country, and the UK’s fantastical position is to persist with the obvious pretence that everything will be alright on its own. This is taking complacency to a staggering and unbelievably irresponsible degree. Reports from EU countries like Ireland now indicate that preparations for a no deal Brexit are being stepped up by the EU27, who despair at a UK Government which simply cannot get its act together. It seems utterly incredible that facing the biggest constitutional change in decades, the government charged with delivering a Brexit deal cannot even participate in meaningful negotiations as yet because it has still not finalised its own position a full two years into the process.

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How Is Boris Johnson Still Foreign Secretary?

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The Collateral Damage Of Windrush

By No machine-readable author provided. Zleitzen~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By former MP for Stirling, Steven Paterson The Tories and many of their supporters in the mainstream media would have us believe that those people of the Windrush generation who have been treated as second class citizens by their own government are some sort of collateral damage: accidental casualties of […]

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What Matters Most To Tories?

Amber Rudd

By former MP for Stirling, Steven Paterson

At the time of writing, Home Secretary Amber Rudd remains in her job as the Windrush scandal fallout continues, and the full extent of the inhuman treatment meted out by the UK Government to its own citizens through deliberately rigid officialdom is becoming more painfully clear by the day.

In normal times, it is difficult to imagine how she could possibly keep a job she is so obviously not on top of. But these are certainly not normal times.

The Guardian has just broken a story with further leaked documents contradicting the Home Secretary’s position that there were no official targets for kicking ‘immigrants’ out the country, and it rather looks like she has been caught lying to Parliament. Human shield for her predecessor as Home Secretary she may be, but if it transpires that she has indeed been misleading parliament, her time will undoubtedly be up, and yet another nail will be hammered into the coffin of this decaying administration.

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Lack of Contact with UK Government, Letting Down Constituents

Cllr Scott Farmer
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Taking Control Of Our Borders

Nigel Farage

By Steven Paterson former MP for Stirling
The omnipresence of former UKIP leader Nigel Farage in our politics is one of those things in life that must be endured, it seems.

I mean, every time one thinks this shallow character has finally shuffled off the political coil, he pops up once again on network news programmes like some oily car salesman, still somehow in business pushing his well-practiced pitch and damning the beastly European Union and the freedom of movement it brings for its citizens.

Perhaps as a society, we have just become inured to his grinning face beaming at us from television screens during an endless series of publicity stunts blaming overbearing Brussels bureaucrats for trying to ban bendy bananas and the likes to the extent that we’ll tolerate his view being necessary on any story on Brexit and taking back control of Britain’s borders.

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Tories Sell Out Scottish Fishing In Brexit Deal

A fishing boat off Jura
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