Tag Archives: Scotland

Citizen of Nowhere

Theresa May caused something of a storm of controversy when she announced to the annual Tory Party Conference in October last year that “If you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere.” I’m happy to wear that as a badge of honour, for I do believe that I am a citizen of the world, and I am saddened by the surge of populism and narrow isolationism that has swept across the USA and the UK in recent years. As an inhabitant of this planet, I believe that we all have a responsibility to do our part to tackle climate change, social inequality, and generally care for our fellow human being. I too am going to go out on a limb and say something equally controversial, and that is that nationalism is a form of discrimination, and while may be followed with honest intentions, by its very definition it means the prioritisation of a group of people based solely on a label of nationhood.

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Trouble Brewing for Guinness

The Irish border poses one of the biggest challenges for Theresa May’s government in achieving the EU exit that she has set out. Leaving the customs union – a requirement if the UK is to be free to negotiate its own trade deals – almost certainly would introduce the requirement for a customs border between the Ireland and the UK.

This poses a big problem for Northern Ireland, and for businesses in both countries that operate across the border. A well known example is the drink synonymous with Ireland, brewed at St James’ Gate in Dublin, which is driven to Belfast for canning, and then driven back to Dublin for onward distribution. A customs border, even if tariff free, would potentially add delays and certainly would add administrative costs to this constant cross border model. The brewery would presumably need to either source a different canning partner within Ireland, at a cost of jobs in Belfast, or risk losing market share as the additional overheads are priced into the drink, making it less competitive.

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