The election no-one wanted

The election no-one wanted

As Holyrood and Westminster resume after an uneasy truce over Easter, the old bitter divisions over Brexit have quickly returned to the surface...and some new ones have popped up too.

The UK Government and Labour's front bench Brexit team are meeting again but the prospect of a meaningful deal seems as far away as ever. That means that parties in the UK, including a myriad of new pro and anti-Brexit parties, will be obliged to contest European Elections on 23 May which were never meant to happen.

So as well as all the ‘main’ parties, we will have Change UK, the Brexit Party and Independence UK together with whatever is left of UKIP (bearing in mind that nearly 20 of the 24 MEPs elected last time have left the party).  Millions of pounds will be spent on an election which many will say is a pointless exercise to return 73 MEPs who are likely to have barely a few months in office.

Most Remainers, on the other hand, see this an opportunity to have a second European referendum in all by name. They say the popular votes cast for Remain and Leave supporting parties will be the crucial indicator which will show the nation's mood. This is in no small part because the D'Hondt electoral system, or highest average method, used in Scotland England and Wales to elect MEPs favours larger parties rather than the smaller parties. There is no preferential voting.

Labour could do well but only if they decide to turn their backs on the Brexit talks, get off the fence and back a confirmatory referendum.

A plethora of Remain parties including the SNP, Lib Dems, Greens, PC and Change UK means voters have some serious tactical thinking to do while each party claims they are the one true Remain party worthy of their support.

There's some consternation that Change UK has snubbed advances from the Lib Dems to maximise the numbers of Remain supporting MEPs elected by engaging in a non-aggression pact.

The Tiggers arrived on a ticket of changing politics for good but it doesn't seem like tribal party politics is dead quite yet.

Where's our Money ?

Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has renewed calls for the UK government to ensure Scotland is protected from the potential loss of millions of pounds of EU funding after Brexit. At present, the Scottish Government oversees spending decisions on the hundreds of millions that Scotland receives in EU funding. The UK government has not yet published details about its replacement scheme and the SNP say it  'has broken its commitment to publish a consultation on the scheme by the end of 2018.'

Glasgow SNP MP Alison Thewliss has written to the Chancellor for urgent clarity on the Shared Prosperity Fund – the Tories so-called replacement for EU Funding – and further Brexit funding for local government. Good luck getting a straight answer to that, Alison.