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“First, let’s ignore the headlines…”

By Ed Emerson

Some will find this dull, others annoying and still others like a personal slight to their freeedommm, but everything we’re hearing in the media about Scotland’s intention to explore all possibilities to extricate itself from Britain’s path to exit the European Union is pure politicising.

That noise is far more about setting tent poles for another independence referendum than any realistic campaign to block the UK’s and or Scotland’s exit from the European Union.

There Are Certain Legal Realities for Brexit

Now, putting individual perspectives and the nonsense headlines to one side for a moment, there are certain legal realities beyond all of the media and podium power games.

It may well be the case that Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon can ask the Scottish parliament to vote down the legislative consent motions required for the ‘Brexit’ legislation. However, it’s not entirely clear at this point if a legislative consent motion would even be triggered by Brexit.

And while Scotland’s Parliament is not a powerless body by an stretch, any move to vote down the legislative consent motions would be little more than creating a paper tiger. 

The Difference Between Consent and Veto

That’s because there is a Grand Canyon of a difference between withholding consent, and the power to veto.

In simplest terms, in the instance of Brexit and Prime Minister Theresa May’s stated objective to invoke Article 50 by the end of March 2017, Holyrood simply does not hold the legal power to block the UK exiting the EU.

And while we can take endless positions on the timing, gyrations, balance of voting and ramifications of that exit, the option went to ballot and is now set.

The Shorts & Longs of the Deal

What’s important to keep in mind as we amble towards Article 50 is that we will likely see numerous short-lived knee-jerk responses that will resolve themselves as we move forward. 

By example, we watched the 48 hour stock market dip that followed what was deemed a shocking result back on 23rd June, after which the major market indexes then rebounded.

What we’re now watching is the Pound take a beating from other currencies, a market response that will, over time, correct itself as well…and don’t forget that a weaker pound is actually good for exporters here, folks.

Tariff Tit-for-Tats

And while many have become enchanted by the idea that the world will suddenly no longer want or need to purchase UK created products and thereby drive a dearth of economic resilience on this side of the Channel, that’s not a likely scenario either. 

There’s no doubt that the UK, under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, will need to renegotiate its trading relationship with the EU for importing and exporting goods and services.

And while that could mean an end to the tariff-free and quota free basis upon which the UK trades with the 27 other EU member states now, any move by Brussels to raise those rates would likely elicit a tit-for-tat response from Britain.

In short, there’s no benefit to either side in that type of change to common EU commercial policy; it would only put those costs onto consumers and risk lower sales / purchases for both sides. 

So, let the headline writers ply their trade, the celebrities air their near-sighted political suggestions on late night talk shows and the analysts drawn our their dire scenarios for the future.

The headlines have never made anyone any money.

So ignore them.  

Now go and sin no more.

Ed Emerson, Editor, HNW Magazine

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