‘The fourth lecture in our series started off by Mr Rennie stating that we probably all agreed on the third part of his title. And that he would argue that the first two, although of course more controversial, were crucial to safeguard it.
At several points during his speech, Mr Rennie highlighted parallels between the “In Britain” and “In Europe” dialogues currently taking place, describing his own party as the “Party of In”. Not without pointing out though, that both the EU and the UK require reform “to be the best that they can be for Scotland”.
Mr Rennie reminded us of the current economic background, much more positive than many would have predicted and, given circumstances, “not something we were automatically entitled to expect”. Future success, Mr Rennie argued, was underpinned by “a single market, making trading easy” and allowing Scottish businesses to expand across the continent. However, Scotland’s main trade, worth £85 billion, is with the rest of the UK and one should not underestimate the “border effect”, shown to damage cross-border trade, even without physical borders and no matter how “allied and benevolent” the neighbours (as recently published in the Scotland Analysis paper by the UK Government). In a first parallel, Mr Rennie made the case “to avoid imposing borders that hit trade inside the present UK as any nationalist might for trade with the EU”. No need for more red tape, not even red tape “written in the same language”.
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