Blog: Brexiteers missed one big point in promise we would be on global stage – The National


JUST when it looked as though the UK had finally managed to achieve a grown-up post-Brexit relationship with the EU, the Conservatives look as though they could blow it up with their xenophobic and cruel anti-migrant policies which trash international law and risk turning the UK into a pariah state.

Legal experts have warned that if the UK leaves the ECHR or denounces all or part of it, as figures on the right of the Conservatives have been urging, the EU would be likely to suspend the police and security agreement with the UK, making cross-border law enforcement far harder.

It would also give those facing extradition from European countries to the UK a new legal defence, allowing them to argue that their human rights would be imperilled if they were returned to a state which had renounced all or part of the legal foundation of human rights which is accepted throughout Europe with the exceptions of Russia and Belarus. The Tories assured us that Brexit would allow the UK to stride the global stage – they didn’t tell us that it would be as an international disgrace.

The National:

Seven years on from the EU referendum, Brexit continues to poison relationships between the UK and its neighbours in Europe, and the Conservative right continues to manufacture imaginary grievances about Europe in order to feed the beast of right-wing English nationalist exceptionalism which they are increasingly seeing as their best bet of staving off a historic and humiliating rout at the next UK General Election. We are going to see a lot more of this ugly politics from the increasingly desperate Conservatives as time runs out on their nasty and corrupt administration.


At First Minister’s Questions today, Douglas Ross naturally chose to lead on the criticisms of Humza Yousaf’s record in government made by Kate Forbes, his opponent in the SNP leadership contest, citing her attack on his supposedly “mediocre” record.

Nicola Sturgeon was clearly anticipating this line of attack and retorted: “I am very aware that for Douglas Ross, mediocrity is a dizzy height he’s never come close to achieving.”

She then accused the Conservative leader of using virtually all of his airtime to talk about the SNP because he has nothing to offer the people of Scotland. The problem, she said, is not ours, it’s yours.

She then added: “Douglas Ross is the least popular elected leader in Scotland today. Perhaps if he spent a bit more time looking in the mirror and reflecting on the reasons for his unpopularity, he might not be in the dire straits he is in now. Of course, the NHS faces significant challenges, but the numbers self-funding private care are lower than in Tory-run England.”


Ahead of this evening’s SNP leadership debate on Channel 4, a poll for the broadcaster has put Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes neck and neck among SNP voters, with Ash Regan trailing significantly behind. Polling of SNP members has so far suggested that Humza Yousaf enjoys a very narrow lead, but among the general public Kate Forbes has better approval ratings.

This latest poll puts it too close to call between the two, placing Humza Yousaf on 33% and Kate Forbes on 32% of party members who expressed a preference. A different poll of the Scottish public placed Kate Forbes 8% ahead of Humza Yousaf. Ash Regan is far behind on 10%. However, a full one-third of respondents say that they do not yet know or are undecided how to vote, meaning that the contest is very much open.

All polling conducted so far concurs in placing Ash Regan far behind the other two, doubtless a reflection of her lower public profile when the contest began. She has so far shown little sign of closing the gap on the other two, but with a number of important debates and hustings still to come, that could yet change.


The polling company Redfield and Wilton which conducted a poll published yesterday which claimed to show a large and significant drop in support for independence since Nicola Sturgeon announced that she was stepping down as First Minister has come under fire after a closer examination of the research by polling experts revealed a number of methodological and other errors.

Mark McGeoghegan said the firm failed to include a Yes/No crossbreak in the tables. This would normally allow a glimpse into perceptions among people who voted for or against independence in 2014, but it is missing from the Redfield and Wilton polling.

The poll was additionally replete with spelling errors, with both Scotland Secretary Alister Jack and SNP leadership contender Humza Yousaf having their names consistently spelled wrongly in the poll. While this might not seem a serious error in itself, it betokens carelessness in the construction of the poll.

McGeoghegan also criticised the poll for using the politically loaded term “transgenderism” – a pejorative term used by those opposed to the gender recognition policy which was the subject of the polling question. Polling should always be conducted in neutral language or the results risk being discredited.

One poll which appears to have been conducted carelessly certainly does not mean a devastating death blow for hopes of independence, and the triumphalism of British nationalists will prove to be short-lived.

Nevertheless, whoever wins the SNP leadership contest and becomes the next First Minister will have to work hard to make up lost ground and re-establish consistent majority support for independence. How they propose to achieve that is what the three leadership candidates must be judged on first and foremost.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day’s top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

To receive our full newsletter including this analysis straight to your email inbox, click HERE and click the “+” sign-up symbol for the REAL Scottish Politics

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