Useful myths and dreadful fallacies

James Kelly offers a fair summary of the First Minister’s statement on #ScotRef and #Brexit. But there was this –

“Although she acknowledged that the Tories losing their majority reopened the possibility of a soft Brexit (which presumably would remove the need for a referendum altogether)”…

That’s just wrong. It’s actually wrong in two ways. The Tories losing their majority will have no effect whatever on Brexit ‘negotiations’. They are the government. The EU negotiates with the government. It has not the slightest interest in the size of that government’s majority. It is of significance only internally.

The notion being peddled is that, being weakened, the Tories can be forced to negotiate a ‘soft’ Brexit. That is complete nonsense. In the first place, there is no such thing as a ‘soft’ Brexit. There is only Brexit. And it is NOT going to be soft. And, even if there were such a thing as ‘soft’ Brexit, it wouldn’t be for the UK Government to choose. There isn’t some kind of pick ‘n’ mix menu of option that the UK can select from. There’s what the EU is prepared to grant. Nothing more.

For political reasons, it suits Nicola Sturgeon to go along with the fantasy of a ‘soft’ Brexit. Theresa May can’t be shown to have refused or failed to deliver something unless that something has been demanded. By insisting on something the British PM can’t deliver, but must pretend to be able to negotiate, the FM gains relative power. It’s just basic politics.

The other way in which the quoted statement is wrong is far more serious. The idea that the need for a referendum can be “removed” by anything other than independence is a dangerous fallacy that should be mercilessly shot down whenever it appears. Indeed, Nicola Sturgeon did just that when she stressed that the issue of independence is much bigger than Brexit.

Let’s have no more such drivel.


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About Peter A Bell

Thinker. Listener. Talker. Reader. Writer. None of my attitudes are immutable. None of my conclusions are final. None of my opinions are humble.
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