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This Week in Brexit: What Scotland Lost

by John Brian Shannon

Congratulations to Prime Minister Theresa May for working out a ‘confidence and supply’ agreement with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to allow the present minority Tory government to continue in office.

Theresa May strikes ‘confidence and supply’ deal with DUP

And congratulations to DUP leader Arlene Foster for negotiating so well on behalf of her jurisdiction, thereby gaining £1.5 billion in additional infrastructure and other funding.

That’s a ‘Win-Win’ for the Tories and for the Democratic Unionist Party — and more importantly (sorry, Theresa and Arlene!) it’s a ‘Win-Win’ for residents of Northern Ireland.

Theresa May signs ‘£1.5 billion’ deal with the DUP

Infrastructure in Northern Ireland is in bad shape and the funding appears at an opportune moment, as there comes a point when it becomes cheaper to tear down a bridge (for example) than to pay ever-increasing maintenance costs.

The same is true for all infrastructure. Whether roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, airports, or the underground infrastructure that carries water to homes and businesses, all of it has a ‘best before’ date where leaving vital infrastructure spending for too long can cost more than the savings of not doing the work.

The Conservative/DUP deal: what it says and what it means

Of course, £1.5 billion isn’t going to fix it all. But I wouldn’t be surprised if two years of successful DUP ‘confidence and supply’ support gets the residents of Northern Ireland additional infrastructure spending allocations, courtesy of DUP leader Arlene Foster and Prime Minister Theresa May.

And why not? Arlene Foster prevented a divisive and perhaps extended Parliamentary crisis — one that would’ve prevented much good from being done in the United Kingdom.

Speaking of which; See how infrastructure spending is increasing in Northern Ireland, and how it isn’t in Scotland? Not only additional spending, but PM May and DUP leader Foster also negotiated more devolved powers for Northern Ireland.

NOTE to Nicola: It’s great to have a particular ideology, but when it costs your jurisdiction £1.5 billion in the form of missed infrastructure funding, it’s time to review what you think you’re accomplishing!

Loss of opportunity is also a metric by which UK leaders must be measured — it certainly is for heads of government everywhere else — and not as much as it should be, but it’s still an important marker of successful leadership.

Nicola Sturgeon of Scotland’s SNP missed the boat. Arlene Foster of Northern Ireland’s DUP didn’t. And UK Prime Minister Theresa May begins to look like a bit of a deal-maker, which can only be viewed as a good thing as we head into Brexit. Well done, Theresa!


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UK Election: Strengthening Britain’s Brexit Hand

by John Brian Shannon

UK election 2017 - The six party leaders

With a fresh mandate from UK voters, Prime Minister Theresa May’s negotiating hand should thereby be strengthened — allowing her to obtain the best Brexit deal for Britain. Image by Samankashwaha

Some very smart people a long time ago, decided to prevent another World War by working to unify European countries that share and haven’t always *shared well* the European continent.

To preclude another internecine war they created several brilliant Euro-centric political institutions such as the European Community, the European Economic Community, the European Union, the Eurozone, the European Court of Justice, and other political, economic, and judicial European institutions — and they enthusiastically embraced internationalism and multilateralism via institutions such as the United Nations and NATO.

It wasn’t all about preventing another war, of course. By 1972 it had become as much about improving the pan-European economy as it was about presenting a united bloc to the militarily powerful Soviet Union.

Britain’s decision to join the EC/EEC and later the EU was obviously part of that geopolitical master plan — and if you read the texts carefully enough with a little ‘reading between the lines’ — it becomes obvious to all but the most tone-deaf that senior British politicians of the era and their negotiators considered that Britain might not be married to the continent forever.

To put it forthrightly, Britain joined the European project to help Germany and other countries ‘gel together’ under a unifying organization to prevent another European war — and it’s possible to find internal texts proving that Britain planned for a possible exit from the EC and the EEC and (implied) from the EU, once the continent became permanently united under one political structure.

Therefore, only those too young to remember the history of the EC, the EEC, and the formation of the EU, don’t see that Brexit was always on once the continent had become irrevocably joined.

Not only did Great Britain pay more than it’s fair share in WWI and WWII, it also contributed more than asked during the Cold War, and it contributed more to the European project than any country with the notable exception of the United States.

Now is the time for Britain to leave the EU and make up for lost time. So said 17+ million British voters on June 23rd, 2016.


It is against this backdrop that a majority of Britons still want Brexit, a clean Brexit, and a fair Brexit.

And why shouldn’t they? The UK has paid more than it’s fair share towards the continent since 1914 and still contributes more than it receives from the EU. Britain, the cash cow.

Yet some in Britain can’t stop haranguing the government for having the audacity to try to deliver what the people voted for — Brexit.

Never since Prime Minister Winston Churchill called upon Britons to prevail no matter the hardship has a country needed the strong support of its citizens and all levels of government.

Brexit is going to be one of the biggest challenges the UK has seen in decades.

And instead of ‘All Hands on Deck’ with every person in the country coming together to strengthen the hand of the Prime Minister and her negotiating teams during what will undoubtedly be difficult negotiations complete with EU officials acting the part of the suddenly jilted lover, we have some British people doing everything in their power to derail Britain’s chances of getting a good deal!

It’s your future, people!

I know you lost the referendum, but for God’s sake don’t sabotage your country just because you don’t like the democratic result.


Of course, it’s the job of the loyal opposition parties to provide policy alternatives to the sitting government’s plans. Nobody can blame them for performing their noble calling which has roots going back hundreds of years.

But it seems that some are so upset they lost the democratic referendum that they actually want the government to fail, they want the Brexit that was approved by 17+ million voters to fail, and they want to demean anyone who supported Brexit.

Really, if you prefer the EU to the UK, why don’t you just move there and become a citizen? I’ll help you pack.

This is no time for un-democrats to undermine their own country’s democracy, and who believe in the superiority of an un-elected Brussels cabal that lives off the largesse of UK (and German!) taxpayers — both countries pay more per capita towards the EU than any other country.

All of whom conspired to convince the Prime Minister to call an election to prove to EU negotiators that Britain is united and moving forward with Brexit, and to quell the small number of UK-based naysayers in the Houses of Parliament and on the street — who get far too much airtime on slow news days.

With a fresh mandate from voters on June 8th Prime Minister Theresa May’s negotiating hand should be dramatically strengthened, thereby allowing her to obtain the best Brexit deal for the UK.

This Prime Minister has gotten stronger every month since being sworn into office, and calling an election to silence the outliers and to strengthen her hand in the Brexit negotiations that will determine Britain’s destiny for decades, may turn out to be a stroke of genius.

Voting to tie one hand behind Theresa May’s back at this point in time only serves to weaken the United Kingdom. Surely no true Briton would consider such a thing.

READ: What Mandate for Theresa May? (Project Syndicate)

Indyrefs Until Nicola Gets the Answer She Wants

by John Brian Shannon | March 14, 2017

Q: How many Scottish Independence referendums will there be, Mum?

A: As many as it takes for Nicola Sturgeon to get the answer she wants, dear…

Which will be more than the advertised ‘once-in-a-generation-vote’ of the original referendum on Scottish independence.


“Senior Nationalists called the referendum a ‘once in a generation’ event. Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon both signed an agreement with stating they’d respect the result. Ms Sturgeon went on the record saying she ‘wouldn’t have the right’ to ask the question again unless views changed.

These turned out to be hollow promises, every one.

Absolutely everything the SNP has done from referendum day to now, has been geared towards engineering another vote.

Despite losing her majority in May, by June Nicola Sturgeon was back at it – using the EU referendum as a catalyst. Instructing officials to start drafting another independence referendum Bill within four hours of the Brexit result.

It is unjustified, infuriating and wrong. It denies the democratic verdict of the 2014 referendum. It breaks Nicola Sturgeon’s own word. It ignores every bit of polling evidence which suggest Scots don’t want another referendum, and that Brexit hasn’t materially changed views on independence.

And it is terrible for Scotland’s economy.” — The Telegraph

In the space of only 30 months and against her own promises, the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon is proposing another referendum on Scottish independence (Indyref) in the hopes of getting the results she missed by a healthy margin during the last Indyref held in September 2014.


Here are the 2014 results as recorded by the BBC

Scottish independence | Final results in 2014 Indyref

Scottish independence | Scotland votes 'No'

Breakdown: Here is the referendum result by Council.

Scottish independence | Scotland Indyref 2014 results by Council

With 84.59% of eligible voters turning out to vote in the referendum, the ‘No’ result can’t be blamed on poor voter turnout. It must be something else.

Maybe it’s that the Scottish people know they have ‘a good deal’ with the rest of the United Kingdom, or that they are a people who respect the many and historical links between Scotland and the other members of the UK and Commonwealth, or that they feel their future is inextricably linked with everyone else on the island, or that the case for Scottish independence simply wasn’t compelling enough. It could be all of that, and more.

Whatever their reasons, 55% of eligible Indyref voters in 2014 chose to stay in the United Kingdom.

Scottish independence | Scotland votes to become an independent country - Indyref


The question that hasn’t been answered by Nicola Sturgeon;

What’s changed ‘the case for’ Scottish independence vs. 30 months ago?

Something must have changed to make Nicola think there would be a different referendum result or she wouldn’t be calling for a second referendum on Scottish independence.

The Scottish people and the other members of the United Kingdom are entitled to know exactly what has changed that would suggest a different Indyref result.

Otherwise the people of Scotland will simply duplicate the time and expense of a second referendum to arrive at a similar result.

Inquiring minds (and the people paying for, and affected by) a second referendum deserve to know…


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