Brexit aftermath: Drawing on the words of thinkers

Irish President Michael Higgins Image copyright PA
Image caption Irish President Michael Higgins addressed the Scottish Parliament

Ideas and action. In general, it is sensible if one precedes the other. For the avoidance of any doubt, I am suggesting that thought might usefully come first.

Today, in Edinburgh and Brussels, we have had copious examples of both. More precisely, we have had a range of ideas - and, just perhaps, the first stirrings of action.

At Holyrood, the Irish President Michael Higgins cited a range of thinkers - from Socrates to Foucault, not neglecting the Scottish sages Smith and Hume.

He was arguing for civil discourse, as a counter to the "thinly veiled hate and racism" which he saw emerging in the recent referendum.

Also in Edinburgh, the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown drew upon literary sources - Tennyson, Eliot - as he too urged tolerance and argued that political leaders must speedily come forward with options to reassure fretful folk.

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Independence hangs over Holyrood Brexit debate

chamber
Image caption MSPs were updated on the government's plans in the wake of the UK's vote to quit the European Union

It was not, said Nicola Sturgeon, a statement she wanted to make. Her party, her government had not sought a referendum on the European Union nor did they seek the result which followed.

Nevertheless, she delivered said statement with panache and deliberative control. It was not, she implied by her demeanour, a time for fire and passion.

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Could the Scottish Parliament stop the UK from leaving the EU?

  • 26 June 2016
  • From the section Scotland
Media captionNicola Sturgeon: Scotland could veto Brexit

To recap. The Prime Minister has resigned. The leader of the opposition is resisting pressure from senior colleagues to follow suit.

And, lest we forget in this temporary focus upon party leadership, the people of the United Kingdom have voted to leave the European Union after 43 years of membership.

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Is the time right for Indyref2?

  • 24 June 2016
  • From the section Scotland
Nicola Sturgeon Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ms Sturgeon said a second independence referendum was "highly likely"

It looks "highly likely", says Nicola Sturgeon, that there will now be a second referendum upon Scottish independence.

Is she enthused by this prospect? Does she thrill at the notion? Is she buffing up her best lines from 2014? The answers to those questions would be no, no and, once again, no.

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EU referendum: Doing what you feel in your heart

  • 22 June 2016
  • From the section Scotland
Eleanor Roosevelt
Image caption Eleanor Roosevelt was the US first lady during her husband's four terms as US president

In her lifetime, Eleanor Roosevelt prompted a range of responses. As first lady during FDR's four term US Presidency, she brought to the role an influence and status it had never had before and seldom since.

As an aside, her relationship with that other great wartime leader, Winston Churchill, was occasionally cool.

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EU referendum: Who'll be rushing out to vote?

  • 21 June 2016
  • From the section Scotland
Runners Image copyright Thinkstock

According to Nigel Farage, the more avid supporters of Brexit would "crawl over broken glass" to vote to leave the European Union.

As far as I am aware, suffrage qualifications of this nature no longer exist in the UK. Electoral participation involves no particular hazards - other than enduring dusty town halls or schools, with relentlessly cheerful canvassers at the door.

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EU ref differences less marked in Scotland

EU, Saltire and Union flag

A referendum engenders an intriguing range of issues - and curious allegiances. Even more than in a General Election where most follow Disraeli's advice: "Damn your principles, stick to your party."

Political parties, of course, are all coalitions of the more or less willing. But, again, when they are presenting themselves to the voters at election time, they commonly contrive to subsume most of their differences.

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EU debate dodges Holyrood purdah

Media captionPresiding officer Ken Macintosh told the chamber he had sought advice on the matter

It is trite - but nevertheless true - to say that politicians are not crucially important in this referendum.

They are not up for election. In any case, the future prospects of individual politicians and their parties matter far, far less than the key question.

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Strange liaisons in the EU referendum campaigns

George and Alastair Image copyright PA

Intriguing times, strange liaisons. Driven by a test of voters' views which is, lest we forget, a referendum, not an election designed to disclose partisan allegiances.

Alistair Darling smiles benignly as the Chancellor, George Osborne, warns of an emergency budget - with tax hikes and spending cuts - in the event of Brexit.

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EU referendum: Who's talking about that Cameron deal on Europe?

  • 14 June 2016
  • From the section Scotland
Media captionPM David Cameron: "There is no saving to leaving the EU. There is a cost"

Quickly now. Without looking it up. Can you list the proclaimed gains secured by David Cameron in his negotiations with the EU before this remarkable referendum campaign began?

Yes, thought you might say that. As foreshadowed here, the renegotiation of Britain's terms of membership has played a minimal role in the banter and barracking between the two sides.

Read full article EU referendum: Who's talking about that Cameron deal on Europe?