Depth of UK ignorance on Brexit "astounding", says former European Court of Justice judge

Perth meeting hears from former ECJ judge on Brexit

THE legal aspects of the Brexit process, from the nuances of Article 50 to the question of what exactly "falling back on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules" means, were explored in a talk in Perth recently by David Edward, former judge of the European Court of Justice.

Local campaign group Perth4Europe invited Edward to give a lecture at the AK Bell Library’s Soutar Theatre on Wednesday 31 May, in the hopes of shedding light on the actual goings-on of Brexit.

Edward is noted for his expertise on the law and institutions of the European Union, having over a decade of experience in European courts, as well as involvement in domestic law and academia.

Edward was particularly critical of the UK Government’s lack of knowledge going into the Brexit process, noting that he could "say from personal experience that the depth of political ignorance is astounding".

The talk spanned numerous topics, beginning with the fundamental – though not necessarily straightforward – questions around who the UK is actually negotiating with, and how trade works within the Single Market.

The answers proposed were, in short, the the UK will be dealing with "various institutions of the EU, subject to final approval by the European Parliament, along with the governments of the various states thereof", and that trade works "through a complex approximation of a domestic market on an international scale".

Following this, there was an examination of the multiple ways Brexit could be approached, from softest to hardest, before concluding with an overview of Scotland’s own options for dealing with Brexit, both with and without independence.

In the closing Q and A session, Edward was particularly critical of the UK Government’s lack of knowledge going into the Brexit process, noting that he could "say from personal experience that the depth of political ignorance is astounding", commenting that "Brexiteers like David Davis seem to think we’re just leaving a golf club".

Susannah Rae of Perth4Europe said: "It was an interesting, informative lecture, and was well-attended and seemed to generate a lot of interest and discussion."

He added that "Brexiteers like David Davis seem to think we’re just leaving a golf club".

She added that the group has several further events in the works, including a pub quiz based on the UK citizenship test handbook (date TBC) and an event marking the one-year anniversary of the EU referendum result on 24 June.

Perth4Europe is a recently-formed organisation expressing support for the European Union from people throughout Perthshire. In addition to its planned events, the group has also been engaged in leafleting and campaigning in Perth with the aim of making people aware of the issues of Brexit.

The group's next meeting is at 8pm on Wednesday 21 June at the New County Hotel in Perth, with new members welcome. 

Anyone in the Perth area interested in joining can contact Perth4Europe through perth4europe@gmail.com, and follow its activities on Facebook and Twitter.

Picture courtesy of katarina_dzurekova

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