Jones tells May Welsh ‘red lines’ for Brexit
One has to feel a little sorry for Carwyn Jones, the Labour First Minister of Wales. After all his talk about how Brexit might force Wales to choose between two unions, his voters went and chose Leave.
This stalled efforts by both himself (who seems to wish he had stronger nationalists to placate) and Plaid Cymu, the actual separatists, to hope on the post-referendum constitutional bandwagon. For about a week.
Now he has been laying down ‘red lines’ for the Prime Minister during her visit to Wales this week, according to Wales Online.
The Prime Minister is making a very commendable effort to bring the devolved administrations to the table during the upcoming Brexit negotiations and ensure their concerns are reflected.
But Jones – and many other Welsh devolutionaries, who are a bit worried about May – will never pass up an opportunity to grandstand on the constitution and demand “more powers”. The Prime Minister must be prepared not just to save Welsh steel – but to show some.
Meanwhile, former Welsh Secretary David Jones has rejoined the Government to take part in the Brexit negotiations.
SNP accused of posturing after demanding withdrawal of nuclear weapons
Angus Robertson, the Scottish Nationalist leader in the House of Commons, has provoked a backlash from the GMB trades union after calling for Britain’s nuclear submarine fleet to be removed from the Clyde.
The union claims that the call – which would likely lead to the closure of HMNB Clyde, due to the lack of need for another conventional naval base – was motivated by Robertson’s candidacy in the SNP’s deputy leadership contest.
A vacancy – which is also being contested by Tommy Sheppard, another MP – opened up after Stewart Hosie stepped down for health reasons are being caught having an affair with a Westminster journalist.
For all the SNP’s fuss, Scotland in facts polls much more tightly on Trident than its lock-step legion of SNP MPs would suggest, and there are likely very few voters who care enough about ditching Trident to base their constitutional vote on it who aren’t already firm separatists.
Government only prepared to invest in Tata if British jobs secured
Alun Cairns, the Welsh Secretary, has told MPs that the British Government would only invest in Tata Steel as part of a sustainable plan to preserve jobs at its Port Talbot plant.
Talks of a merger with German firm ThyssenKrupp led some to express concern that the UK side of the business might be allowed to “wither on the vine”, according to Wales Online.
But Cairns told them that any Government investment in Tata would come with conditions to prevent that from happening, including a firm strategy to secure the plant’s long-term future.
Northern Irish administration divides over Brexit…
Sinn Fein and the DUP are moving apart over the European Union, after Martin McGuinness suggested that Northern Ireland should somehow remain in the bloc despite the UK as a whole voting to Leave.
Much like the SNP, Irish nationalists are trying to latch onto their local EU referendum vote as a proxy for an actual border poll: the News Letter reports that the Deputy First Minister thinks Stormont would vote to stay in the EU if a vote were called.
Arlene Foster, the Democratic Unionist leader and First Minister, disagrees. She also reminds McGuinness that foreign affairs are reserved to Westminster and are decided at a UK level. The DUP campaigned for Brexit and delivered most unionist areas for Leave.
…as Irish leader concedes possibility of border poll
The Belfast Telegraph informs us that Enda Kenny, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of the Republic of Ireland, has warned the EU to prepare for the outside chance of a referendum on Irish unification following Brexit.
Voters in the province voted Remain, and the prospect of a hardening of the border has galvanised Sinn Fein to start agitating for a vote.
However it remains very unlikely – not only did most unionist parts of Ulster vote Leave, there is little sign that enough voters value the EU highly enough to swing the vote. The Republic would also struggle (to put it mildly) to shoulder the burden of subsidising the province.
SNP MP admits that independence would require years of cuts
George Kerevan, one of the three SNP MPs tasked with exploring the creation of a ‘Scottish Pound’ has conceded that breaking off from the UK would entail cuts in public spending, the Scotsman notes.
In an article for City AM about how a separate Scotland inside the EU could be a “powerhouse”, he writes that Edinburgh would have to “cut its budget coat to fit its fiscal means” in the event that it adopted its own currency.
As the Herald puts it, the party is starting to move away from the “land of milk and honey” rhetoric. But one of the key challenges facing the separatists is how to build a credible, reassuring economic prospectus for independence without dividing their coalition, many of whom have highly divergent economic politics.
Paying EU membership fees whilst losing Barnett transfers and cutting spending is not an alluring place to start – and as one commentator notes, EU policies would force an even harsher adjustment, as Scotland’s deficit is three times the level permitted by Brussels.