Showing posts with label trade. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trade. Show all posts

Friday 30 April 2021

Scotland and Flanders


“Scots as the Bulwark of the Republic.”

Scotland has long historic ties over to the Netherlands through trade, travel and settlement. 

Scotland’s ties to Flanders – there were many Flemish settlements in upper Clydesdale, Biggar: Scots travelled over to Bruges, in Flanders 14th century for trade in textiles, wool. They travelled from Berwick upon Tweed to Bruges. 


Song – “Will ye go to Flanders”


Scotland’s language is littered with Flemish words – “hoose, scones, tennis balls, malt men,”

And Flemish names – Graham, Douglas, Brenner, Murray.


Scots went to Bruges mercantile hub for shopping – Scottish square – where they sold

tapestries, velvet cloaks, jewellery, guns, weapons, luxury goods, fashion, metals. In Bruge there is the Scottish square, and the Chapel St Andrews Bruges

They held great Burgundy tournaments, feasts and pageants – when men wore elaborate black velvet cloaks trimmed with fur.


James Stewart  II married Mary of Kelders

The Mons Meg canon was sold to the King of Scots in 1457


The United Dutch Republic and the Protestant Reformations formed stronger links, and over to Scotland. The Dutch Wars of Independence followed.  Dates - 

And Belgium became part of the Spanish Catholic Hapsburg empire.


Scotland and the Netherlands

1648 Calvinist international 1572 Scots First Brigade. 17th century – new alliance with the Dutch

1629 Prince William of Orange who married Mary Stuart, daughter of Charles Stuart


(The Stewart name was changed by Mary Queen of Scots during her growing up in France.)


Culture matters a great deal to how we imagine our futures – since 2014, many of us have watched major productions with Scots ties - 

Outlander, the musical Hamilton and the tv series  Succession. I’m affected a great deal by the traditional Scots music at Celtic connections music festival Glasgow. 

Sunday 31 January 2021

Visas for Musicians after Brexit

This hard Brexit is proving a disaster for the Creative Industries.  A young band will require a cost of an extra £3,000 for visa expense and a major band about £10,000. Plus a pile of paperwork – Bank statements, proof of taxes, and more. Europe was the place for cultural exchange. These costs are impossible and will mean younger artists unable to tour in Europe. 

 But stopping freedom of movement is all the Brexiteers care about.  

After Brexit touring musicians require visas for everyone on their tour, hugely increasing costs with a £500 charge on each country. A petition is calling for visa free travel across the EU – a free cultural work permit for bands , musicians, artists, film makers and sports stars.

PETITION - Artists

“The DCMS has told musicians to deal with each country individual. I’m not getting clear answers.” musician The Anchoress. “Culture is absolute a class issue.” Look at where the arts council emergency finding went.”  There are however exceptions within the trade agreement – for miners, tour guides, spin doctors!


The UK music industry is worth £5.8 billions and one of our most popular international exports.  The creative industries as a whole is worth £111 billion. The EU rejected an agreement on temporary movement of business travellers.


Composer and broadcaster Howard Goodall, “There is clearly something not functioning in the current government DNA, that we have in this instance a successful and important industry for our country’s exports, which has been warning for five years now of the negative impacts of the withdrawal from freedom of movement. 


“It has been obvious to me from the start of the negotiations that because of the point blank rejection of freedom of movement, the creative industries were going to be at car-park basement level on the list of priorities. 

At a stroke the rights of pop singers, bands, orchestras, chamber groups, tour managers, stage managers and more to seamlessly travel within the 27 EU member states  come to an end. “

 The creative  industries are worth – theatre 112 Billion, (football 8 billion). After this hard Brexit so many hurdles for young actors, artist and musicians. 

 The Arts are fundamental to our well being.

Thursday 31 December 2020

The Losses of Brexit

“That us one reason why Brexit seems such a sadness for Scotland both in a economic and cultural sense, because it loosens our ties with one of the most ancient relationships to the European continent. “ Professor Tom Devine Scotlands top historian

MANY Scots will be filled with a great sadness, sense of loss, regret and will be grieving our enforced departure form the EU.. I grew up in Edinburgh and it always seemed a great centre of international culture, connections and travel. After five years I still have no idea what the benefits of all this Brexit chaos really are – except for the tax-avoiding off shore trust funds and saving the Tory party.

It’s a day I hoped would never arrive, but here it sadly is. Scotland voted to stay in Europe and our ancient history and ties to Europe run very deep: we have long been an outward looking nation on the edge and entrance to Europe. In fact our ties to Europe are much deeper and longer than Scotland’s attachment to Britain. I recently travelled to Scotland’s islands  - Orkney, Lewis, Harris, Barra, Uist, Mull, Iona - and I more clearly understood our links to the seas and travels and our strategic importance.

I have no trust or confidence in Boris’s Tory team or how well they are prepared for extra red tape, customs checks, hold ups and other issues. Their goal is for de-regulated freeports of reckless, exploitative capitalism. This is not the future I imagine for Scotland. For Scotland I hope for a very different future with improved social protection, greener policies, land reform, close private schools, equal and democratic opportunities for all its citizens (not subjects)

Back in the 70s when we first voted  to be in the EU, there may have been some questions over the EU. But over this time more and more it became evident all the obvious advantages both for Britain and Scotland gained from EU membership. 

We gained from regional investment, immigration, cultural exchange, freedoms of movement and more importantly peace in Europe. We have enjoyed the benefits of EU membership for 47 years – increased prosperity, immigration, regional development, environmental protections. Now we loose passports, Erasmus, no customs paperwork, free movement, just in time trade, and more… for what exactly?

This English Brexit – for that is assuredly what it is, is an insular, backward-looking, regressive and harmful thing. I’ve struggled to understand. And I wondered why the bigot and opportunist Farage was so often on BBCs Question Time, plying his false, extreme lies. I highly recommend Irish times writer Fintan OToole, Heroic Failure, an excellent interpretation of this English existential crisis and act of self harm.


AS I watch Boris gloat as he waves his 2,000 page Brexit deal, I feel sick with foreboding. What other country would vote to leave a successful trading block and how much is it all costing? Of course Cameron’s remain fear strategy would never work on the English – they were, ‘how dare anyone tell us we can’t.’ Wheras with the Scots, fear has worked over the centuries and the fear no campaign of 2014 meant many Scots were, ‘oh perhaps we really can’t. 

It’s the End of an Auld Sang

We left the EU 1st January – parcels to Europe will require customs checks; loss of fast movement of good across borders; slowdown at ports; increase paperwork; health certificates required; raw materials and Rules of Origins; EU safety requirements; barriers to professions working in Europe; Financial services more difficult and complex, still to be negotiated; tourism, data flows also affected. 

The big issues in 2021 will be Scottish independence with the May Scottish Parliament elections. I now see the future as Scotland’s place in Europe – much as other nimble, small nations are flourishing in this successful trading block which has been brought us peace and prosperity in Europe.

Ian Blackford, the SNP leader in the house of Commons – “ Now we have an isolated UK amid a global pandemic – its economic vandalism, bad for fishing….. Worst of all worlds for Scotland.”

John le Carre, one of England’s greatest writers and the master of the spy thrillerwho died recently in a cottage near lands end so he could be miles away from London, and all that had gone wrong with a once great capital city.” His books about espionage were “compelling and a metaphor for the decline of Britain, Le Carre was fascinated by the end of empire, by the emotional debris it left behind and by the folly of the misplaced superiority complex that still festers in the minds of many today. He despised Brexit and loathed the people who had been the architects of its deceitful promise.”


“Brexit is the great catastrophe and the greatest idiocy that Britain has perpetuated… I’m not just a remainers. I’m a European, through and through, and the rats have taken over the ship. My England would be one that recognises it place in the EU. The jingoistic England that is trying to march us out of the EU. That is an England I do not want to know.”


Tom Devine writes Sunday National 27th Dec 2020, “Due largely to extensive migrations at every level of society – clerics, farmers, mercenaries, “ The bonds between Scotland and Europe between the 12 and the 17 century were much stronger than they were between England and Europe. Essentially I see Scotland as a global nation fashioned by generations of emigration and external connections. Tom Devine examines Scotland’s global identity and experience in his book – ‘To the Ends of the Earth : Scotland’s Global diaspora 1750 – 2010.’ Scots migration routes were not only to empire but to all corners of the world.  

Sunday 29 October 2017

Brexit threat to Scottish Musicians

The weak pound is having a negative effect on major Scottish arts and music festivals, such as Celtic Connections and Edinburgh International festival. Musicians, particularly folk, jazz, and classical depend on collaborating and touring across Europe. Fashion and the arts and design also thrive on these European collaborations. Scottish musicians are campaigning for exemptions for musicians for ease of travel across Europe.

The Scottish duo The Proclaimers are warning that Brexit could be catastrophic to Scotland’s major festivals and also for touring musicians.

Brexiteers claim Britain will now instead look ‘Globally’ to china, Australia, US – while maintaining links to Europe. I’ve no idea what they mean. Scotland’s links to Europe run much deeper, plus Europe is a closer trading partner than these far flung trading partners.

RATHER than "Bathgate no more" and "Linwood no more" we could soon be singing "Fringe no more" and "Celtic Connections no more".  The Proclaimers - famed for their anthem 'Letter from America' - are among a host of Scottish music stars who are warning that Brexit risks devastating Scottish culture. A new campaign by the Musicians' Union is warning that Brexit that will usher an era "disastrous" decline for Scotland's flagship cultural festivals.
Iconic events such as Glasgow's Celtic connections and the Edinburgh International Festival face being devastated by restrictions on European musicians visiting the UK after Brexit, campaigners say. There are also concerns that the careers of Scottish musicians will be damaged by the limits put on them in terms of working across continental Europe.

Fiona Hyslop, SNP Culture secretary at The Lorient Interceltic Festival 2017 in France spoke of how freedom of movement within the EU is fundamental to Scotland’s culture. Scotland was the ‘country of honour’ with a sold-out programme, to highlight the important contributions from the EU in developing the Scottish cultural sector) “European cultural collaboration is central to Scotland’s open international cultural outlook and EU membership is a very important modern dimensi‎on to this.
Lisardo Lombardia, Director of Festival Interceltique de Lorient:  "When the festival was born in 1971, Europe was only a project in construction. This festival has made a choice: to build bridges and not walls. The festival has always welcomed Scotland and it has been one of the festival’s most faithful supporters. The free circulation of culture and ideas, particularly for artists and works of art, has helped Scotland develop its strong reputation in arts, music and creativity and become a major country for European culture.  We want that to continue in the future.
“Despite the anxiety caused by Brexit, we will continue to support the free circulation of cultures and ideas, in particular for artists and works of art. This is what has helped Scotland develop such a strong reputation in arts, music and creativity. It has helped Scotland to become a major country for European culture." 

(PS  Why will Europe give Britain as good a trading deal as members of the EU? Its ridiculous. Yet Brexiteers want their cake and eat it too. They believe the EU will offer free trade with no strings attached and not agreeing to EU regulations!?  Scotland is run by incompetents.
They have truly messed up running Scotland’s oil and gas industry too – not simply mismanaged but screwed up.  Why does Scotland sleep walk into this noose as if we have no other choices?  It is really possible that those in Scotland might do a much much better job running our own resources!! Yes really!)
Either the UK joins EFTA - not likely as UK economy too big – or we crash out with nothing.