Brian Monteith: Even Michel knows that we are leaving

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, right, shakes hands with Brexit Secretary David Davis. Picture: AP
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, right, shakes hands with Brexit Secretary David Davis. Picture: AP
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A year ago today at 6.30am I walked away from the Brexit referendum results party at the headquarters to catch my flight for a much-needed holiday.

A great deal has changed since then; party leaders have come and gone, the threat of second referendums on Scottish independence or EU membership has fallen away, Trump has been elected and Alex Salmond was sent packing, but there is one thing that I believe remains certain – we are leaving the European Union, its restrictive Single Market and impoverishing Customs Union.

One of the more space-age designs submitted as a replacement for the Ross Bandstand

One of the more space-age designs submitted as a replacement for the Ross Bandstand

Don’t take my word for it, the EU’s own negotiator Michael Barnier said so himself in Brussels this week. While many of our own politicians remain keen to dream that they can reverse the decision the EU itself wants to get on and finalise the arrangements. The public too is getting fed up with those wanting to revisit the decision. The regular polling from YouGov shows that 70 per cent of the British people want Brexit to be enacted. Indeed a majority of people who voted to remain in the EU now favour leaving.

That’s not to say it will be easy. There will be many surprises, heated rows and false dawns as we witness the rollercoaster ride of the Brexit negotiations, but at the end of it we shall leave. It will then be up to us to make our own laws, set our own taxes and police our own borders. Making Brexit a success will be up to us; we need to seize the opportunities it presents by being open to new ideas, new markets and new ambitions.

It’s time for opponents to recognise the debate is over, Brexit will mean Brexit and Leave will mean Leave and we should now be pulling together to make the best of our country’s decision whichever way we voted.

The suggestion that the House of Lords should step in to overturn the process would condemn that institution to certain abolition, given that the Labour and Tory general election manifestoes both committed to leaving the EU single market and the Lords has no constitutional standing in opposing such a Brexit deal.

It’s not just the moaning remainers who need to move on. Now that we’ve had the general election and the government’s Queen’s Speech can we return to normal at Holyrood – can our Scottish politicians face up to their day jobs?

Nicola Sturgeon needs to focus on all those responsibilities given to the Scottish Parliament. Improving education, health, policing, housing, transport – and many aspects of the economy are all within her gift. Focussing on improving the lives of ordinary Scots should occupy her time, not speechifying about the constitution all over the world.

The challenges are not just for the Scottish government. Ruth Davidson has to figure out how she is going to make her unionist party more than a single issue pressure group. Will people still vote for her Conservative Party once she strays off the prevention of a second independence referendum and starts to advocate policies that are different from other parties? We will have to hear more from Tories about schools, hospitals and issues such as fracking – but will that lose them votes or is the support stronger and deeper than being the best at stopping the SNP?

Kezia Dugdale has her own challenge too – Labour is recovering but it is built on the radicalism of a leader she does not believe in. How does she square that off personally and how does she make that work for her own party in Scotland? Is a more radical leader needed to replace her that is in tune with Jeremy Corbyn?

We don’t want a UFO in the Gardens

Have you seen seven shortlisted designs to replace the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens? I suggest you go and see them in person at the City Art Centre.

So far I have only seen the photographs in the media coverage and will return to the subject in more detail once I’ve taken a proper look, but there are two obvious questions that any design must face; firstly, how does any proposal improve upon what we currently have; and secondly, what will it look like in twenty and fifty years hence? The Ross Bandstand is over 80 years old – if there is to be a replacement rather than an upgrade then it has to become a positive addition to our townscape in what is one the most wonderful city views anywhere in the world. Anything that looks like a spacecraft has just landed should be rejected without even a hearing…

Our net loss is Forest’s gain

Goodbye Mr Cummings and good luck at Nottingham Forest, for you brought great joy to many Edinburgh people. With grace and guile you made the net billow just like the great Joe Baker, and just like him you too will now pull on that red jersey at the City Ground.

Give it your all but know that should you come back to Easter Road you will always be welcome – just like Leigh Griffiths. Those two goals against England shall never leave my memory. The wee lad I used to watch scoring goals on the links for Leith Athletic has come a long way and is now worthy of the title football legend.

Be careful what you vote for..

SO they did it after all – Edinburgh’s Labour councillors finally got into bed with their SNP brethren to form a ruling group in the City Chambers.

Their betrothal has been the worst kept secret of the last month, designed all along to dupe the public before the general election. With this – and Corbyn’s courting of the SNP at Westminster – anyone voting for Labour in future should be very careful what they wish for.