April 9th, 2021


Whoniversaries 9 April

i) births and deaths

9 April 1972: birth of Neve McIntosh, who played both Alaya and Restac in The Hungry Earth / Cold Blood (Eleventh Doctor, 2010) and Madame Vastra in later stories

ii) broadcast anniversaries

9 April 1966: broadcast of "The Hall of Dolls", second episode of the story we now call The Celestial Toymaker. Steven and Dodo, competing with the King and Queen of Hearts, must find the two safe chairs to sit in.

9 April 2005: broadcast of The Unquiet Dead. The Doctor and Rose, with the help of Charles Dickens, investigate reanimating corpses in Cardiff in 1869.

9 April 2013: Strax reports from Trafalgar Square.

My tweets

Collapse )

Scottish independence: EU membership and the Anglo–Scottish border

Second paragraph of third section:
The TCA is a basic trade deal that eliminated tariffs on goods that meet the relevant rules of origin but did little to reduce non-tariff barriers. If Scotland were to join the EU it would trade with England and Wales on the same terms as other EU member states do now, so new checks and processes would be required on trade across the Anglo–Scottish border. It would also mean that border infrastructure would need to be erected on the Anglo–Scottish border, across which there are 21 road and railway crossings.32
32 HM Government, Scotland analysis: Borders and citizenship, Cm 8726, The Stationery Office, 2014
This is a short paper that caught my eye the other day, published by the Institute for Government and available for free here. I'm neutral tending to positive on Scottish independence, and felt that this paper laid out well some of the issues regarding Scottish frontier policy that would arise inevitably from an independence status, especially in the light of Brexit (which was not an issue during the 2014 referendum). Basically, it's impossible to see how an independent Scotland could avoid frontier controls with England (and therefore Wales), whether or not it joins the EU, because of the particularly hard form of Brexit that Boris Johnson chose, unless it chose to remain essentially a vassal state of London (which would also require London's collusion). The desired end-state of course is EU membership; the authors are I think a little pessimistic about how long that would take (though they do slay the myth of the Spanish veto), but clear that this would certainly mean that the trade frontier between Scotland and England would end up looking much the same as that between France and England, or Ireland and Wales. Northern Ireland is of course a different matter, but the authors rightly do not devote too much time to that as it's not a Scottish issue. I think it's also worth pointing out that the 21 border crossings between Scotland and England would be pretty easy to police, and the landscape is favourable, unlike the situation in Ireland.

The authors also look at other alternatives to EU membership that Scotland could try, but one comes away with the sense that there is no real middle way; Scotland can choose continued Union with England, Wales and (to an extent) Northern Ireland, or independence which inevitably means economic disruption to its relationships with the rest of the UK. A renewed relationship with the EU will partially but not completely substitute for that, and there's not much point in considering anything other than EU membership as an end point. Scottish Nationalists should not pretend that independence will come without a price; of course, the lesson from other cases (including Brexit) is that voters can be persuaded that it is a price worth paying.

Friday reading

Kathedralen uit de steentijd, by Herman Clerinx
Adventures in Lockdown, ed. Steve Cole

Last books finished
Worlds Apart, by Richard Cowper
Foucault’s Pendulum, by Umberto Eco
Network Effect, by Martha Wells
Kaleidoscope: diverse YA science fiction and fantasy stories, eds Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios

Next books
Le dernier Atlas, tome 1, by Fabien Vehlmann, Gwen De Bonneval and Fred Blanchard
The Serpent Sea, by Martha Wells