A POST-BREXIT scenario of more powers for the Scottish Government as described by Professor Drew Scott could equally be the stuff of dreams or nightmares.

He manages to simplify the details quite effectively – as long as the UK stays in Europe, powers such as environment, agriculture and economic development, although devolved to Holyrood, would remain regulated by EU law.

If, however, there is a Brexit, powers over these and other policy areas would default to coming under Holyrood’s remit, triggering what he called a “significant constitutional debate”.

He takes neither side, merely pointing out the constitutional wrangling this would bring; how the Scottish Parliament might suddenly be required to draft policies on agriculture or fisheries.

Scott also points out the practical aspects, such as who would fund these new responsibilities, which are worth billions of pounds to Scotland.

As we discussed these matters with the good professor, David Cameron was heading into a Brussels summit with other EU leaders “battling for Britain”, but what is he battling for?

Cameron wants to change the UK’s membership of the club with a British opt-out of immigration and sovereignty, cutting Brussels bureaucracy, restricting access to benefits to EU migrants and making sure that countries outside the Eurozone are not materially disadvantaged.

So far, Cameron has secured a legal statement that the UK is not committed to further political integration; new powers for national parliaments to club together to block new EU laws; a form of words that commits the EU to strengthening the internal market and cutting red tape; and an “emergency brake” on welfare payments to EU migrants.

There are several ways of looking at Cameron’s strategy. It could be seen as a high-risk gamble that might one day come back to haunt him; it could be a “theatrical sideshow”, as advanced by Jeremy Corbyn, designed to “appease his opponents” in his own party; or it could, as Alex Salmond sees it, be a “sham”, “a much to-do about nothing” focussed on “minutiae” rather than the important positives for remaining part of the EU.

Those positives include recovery across all member states, fending off the economic crisis that has engulfed us all, taking measures to ease the predicament of refugees and tackling the environmental issues that threaten the future of our planet.

How difficult would it be for the posh London boy to set aside his glad-handing and posturing and playing to the gallery, and do something useful for the union he holds so dear?

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