(this post may be updated with links and additional information later…)
Standard Life has broken cover to tell the market that if Scotland chooses to leave the United Kingdom without an agreement covering currency, interest rates, taxation and regulation, it would look at relocating itself to England.
This is little different from the concerns business in the rest of the UK would have if a political party decided to repeal the European Communities Act and simply declare independence from the EU.
Such a political party would be deluding itself to believe that all the complex issues and problems this would cause relating to trade, tariffs, regulations and agreements that have been made with other countries on the UK’s behalf, would come out in the wash and that World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules would force the EU to maintain trade with the UK as if we were still part of the customs union. Exiting in an orderly manner with a negotiated agreement is the only responsible course of action. Anything else and the actions of Standard Life in Scotland would be replicated many times over in the rest of the UK and on a much bigger scale.
While speaking to the Today programme on Radio 4 about WPP’s latest results, chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell was asked about what the business community – which has been going along with the deludophile nonsense about EU reform – would do if reform could not be achieved.
After explaining that the business community feels there are a lot of positives being in the EU – in other words the single market, as the EU is political and the single market is economic – he said the business community would want to stay ‘in’ if no reform was achieved.
Therefore, those who are most vocal in calling for impossible EU reform will stick with the status quo if the changes they want are not forthcoming. The fact reform will be impossible was made clear by a German guest speaking separately on the same programme this morning about the visit of Angela Merkel. He pointed out that Cameron’s reform agenda was going to go nowhere, not least because no one knows what his supposed demands are.
It was pointed out by this guest (name to follow) that the Treaties that would need to be changed were the product of years of negotation and compromise, and so the outcome would be the same compromise, with little or no change. The Lisbon Treaty would be strictly off limits and none of its elements would therefore be negotiated let alone reformed.
Added together we can see that a grand performance is being played out for the media and public, to give the impression that there will be changes. But it is just that, a performance, an act, and nothing of substance will be altered.
Cameron famously said about the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by Gordon Brown that he ‘would not let matters rest there’. But he did. Cameron is now on the stage once again, prancing around and delivering a monologue to the audience, gazing imploringly into the stalls and peddling more fallacies, in the shape of a rengotiation our EU overlords have told us won’t happen, and in the shape of a referendum that cannot possibly be delivered in 2017 even if the Conservatives form the next government.
And now we can see that behind him are those people who have given their backing to this drive towards an illusory outcome, but who are now saying that they would stick with things as they are if no reform came about. EUsceptics need to bear these important lessons in mind.