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Book Review Radical proposals for a post-Brexit Scotland

Getting the Best Out of Brexit 
by Pauline Bryant and Vince Mills 
Published by Radical Options for Scotland and Europe (Rose)

WHAT a joy it is to read something in the Brexit debate which is both positive and proposes radical solutions.

At a time when the Scottish government is pursuing its girn and grievance agenda, obsessing yet again upon a process dispute, this pamphlet reminds us that many powers, which Remainers were keen to have remain in Brussels, will instead be coming to Scotland.

The authors, prominent members of Campaign for Socialism/Momentum, remind us that Labour’s UK manifesto, which will have a huge impact here, cannot be implemented within the rules of the single market. 

But this has been covered elsewhere. What is unique is the focus on Scotland and the listing of many opportunities for radical change that a progressively driven Brexit will create.

The largest share of the EU budget remains agricultural spending. Repatriation of Britain’s contribution will give control of enormous amounts of money to the Scottish Parliament.  

This, together with new powers and freedom from the constraints of EU rules enforcing competition and restricting financial support for progressive objectives, will create the opportunity to recast agricultural policy from a benefits system for rich farmers and landowners to an enabler of rural economic and social development.  

Brexit will give the freedom, the power and the money to allow a comprehensive and progressive policy programme for Scotland’s isolated and fragile rural areas, involving changes in land ownership in favour of local people, the use of directed funding to assist economic development and control of farm, fish and forest by local groups and councils to regenerate coastal and rural Scotland.

On procurement, a Scottish government freed from the single market will be able to use its huge purchasing power as a lever for economic development and regeneration, for high environmental conditions, for quality terms and conditions of employment, for trade union recognition and as a deterrent to tax-dodging, blacklisting and insecure employment.

Financial support, control and ownership of transport, energy and capital projects, driven not by neoliberal pro-business ideology but by public need and benefit, would also be possible for a Scotland outside the single market.

Freed from the single market and European Court of Justice obsession with the primacy of the market, of competition, of privatisation, of the legal right of establishment, Scotland can create markets that are run in the interests of the people.

This short pamphlet is not the final word — indeed, so underdeveloped is the policy debate that it is simply a pointer to the possibilities. 

However, as a first step to transform Scotland after Brexit, read. Then discuss.



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