jimtoggleJim O’Neill dives into silly season with Scotland’s silliest MSP, and says as the reality of Brexit bites Labour should still be championing Remain.


So here we are in the silly season, but I am not going to follow the advice of Private Eye and write 5000 words on Pokemon Go. Why should I when silly, creationist MSP, John Mason, has decided to support a boycott of Barrhead Travel because two years ago they opposed independence?

I wonder how many other products he has forgone in his pursuit of indy purity. I suspect very few. I am also sure that Barrhead Travel are not crying over their corn flakes at the loss of his custom. But the silliest of his comments on this was his statement that business should stay out of politics.

This stunning remark suggests that politicians, many of whom have never been in business, know better than business people what is good for them. I may be a touch naïve but I would suggest that Barrhead Travel, having assessed the possible impact of independence, had rationally come to the conclusion that independence would have a negative impact on their business. This on the basis that they have extensive experience of dealing with the legislative environments of not only Scotland but also the many countries to which they send clients. Does Mason have that breadth of experience? I think not.

Sometimes I think that it’s politicians who should stay out of politics. And I say that as an ex-politician.

Another recent big story is the fact that all the Brexit chickens are coming home to roost. The interest rate cut last week by the Bank of England, which has further weakened the pound, was accompanied by a substantial downgrading of the country’s growth figures. Since the referendum, the pound has fallen by over 15% (which has made my trip to Australia for my daughter’s weeding more expensive) and growth has been predicted to fall next year from 2.1% to 0.8%, the biggest ever fall predicted by the Bank since it became independent under the 1997 Labour Government.

I wonder what all those newspaper proprietors who supported Brexit – Murdoch, Rothermere, the Barclays etc. – think now of the lies they told about it and the impact on their incomes in the UK. And how can all those who supported Brexit in the referendum still think it was a good thing? I hope they all understand the impact on their pensions and savings.

Mind you, it looks like Prime Minister May is trying to extend the negotiation period for as long as possible. This is where Labour should come in. Since the referendum was an advisory ballot, since it was so close and since we opposed Brexit, we should be saying that, if we win power, we will stop any exit negotiations and commit ourselves to remaining in the EU. Otherwise, we could be singing, like Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar: “Could we start again please?”