by Rab Bruce’s Spider

The odd thing about Liz Truss’s admission that a trade deal with the USA is not on the immediate horizon is that this is simultaneously good news and bad news. On one hand, any deal with the USA would inevitably have been agreed on even worse terms than the trade deals the Brexit Tories have agreed with Australia and New Zealand, and would have led to an influx of food produced to much lower standards than those currently required in the UK. Cheap imports of things like chlorinated chicken would have been commonplace, and these and similar cheap imports would be yet another disastrous blow to the already struggling UK agricultural sector, much of which is based in Scotland. So hearing that the deal is not imminent is good news.

On the other hand, it leaves the UK having left the EU and having no major trade deals to replace everything we have lost. It really is the worst of both worlds. Or possibly not if you feel some relief that we aren’t going to be flooded with cheap US imports. It’s all really very confusing.

Let’s not forget that this USA trade deal was touted as being the easiest deal ever, but that was when Donald Trump was President, and he was very keen on a deal because it would have allowed US healthcare and pharmaceutical companies to take over the NHS in its entirety. President Biden has a very different outlook, and his insistence that the Good Friday Agreement is respected is a deal breaker. That’s because the Tories have no intentions of respecting the GFA, and they seem quite prepared to abandon their ideas of a US trade deal in order to separate Northern Ireland from the EU. Once again, we have both good and bad news.

Then again, having the Tories decide our futures is bad news all round. Whatever they turn their hands to, the vast majority of UK citizens (sorry, subjects) will see no benefit at all.

On the whole, though, I think this admission that no US deal is imminent is probably good news for Scotland in the long run. That’s because it leaves the UK floundering in a Brexit mess of its own making, and the worse things become, the more likely the clamour for Scotland to leave the dysfunctional UK will grow. However, considering the pain we will go through because of Brexit, that’s no more than a silver lining on a very dark cloud.