God Save the Fish: The Abyss of Electoral Politics in Trade Talks—a Brexit Case Study
“The EU is continuing to make demands that are incompatible with our independence... we cannot accept a deal that doesn’t leave us in control of our own laws or waters” ~ Boris Johnson on December 20, 2020 (1-2).
Abstract During the “exit negotiations” between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU), the relatively economically insignificant fishing industry received a disproportionate share of not just UK media attention, but global press as well; not to mention an array of political machinations, which almost halted a free trade agreement between two of the world’s largest trading partners. This evaluation seeks to understand why such disproportional influence existed. Why were both the EU and the UK coming to blows over something as seemingly innocuous as fishing, and willing to risk the most significant trade agreement in recent European history? Existing subject matter literature cites history and symbolism as the main factors that brought fishing into the limelight, almost killing a multi-billion-dollar trade deal between these two primary trade partners. While this paper concurs with existing analysis, it finds further illumination in the murky waters of electoral politics. It argues that the Conservative Party brought fishing to the trade talk surface to demonstrate that they were protecting a disenfranchised industry while aiming to convey the benefits of Brexit to maintain votes and prevent Scottish secession. More broadly, this paper sheds light on the potential ramifications that domestic politicians have on free trade agreements, especially in this new global populist era where the leverage of the disenfranchised is key; an affirmation of the American colloquial- ism that “all politics is local” (3).
I: Introduction A Fishy Paradox From many perspectives, most of the Brexit drama did not make sense. From an economic point of view, it made more sense for the United Kingdom (UK) to remain in the European Union (EU) to keep access to the European Single Market (Single Market) and their largest and longest trading partners, especially in an era of increasing globalization. However, even though the vast majority of expert opinions concluded that leaving the EU would be economically disastrous for the UK, in the summer of 2016, its citizens voted to leave. Brexit was not just about economics, though. It was a reaction of nostalgia and entrenchment vis-à-vis a world that was rapidly becoming more interconnected with the EU leading the way. As the offshoring of lower productivity sectors of the economy and the development of more technologically advanced goods and services providers sailed ahead, once-thriving industries were no longer key to the economy. These changes left many in the UK workforce feeling stranded in an unnavigable wake of market disruption, while Brussels charted a course toward ever-increasing globalization. The disenfranchised felt as though they were under the thumb of Brussels, having to abide by laws that they believed were unfavorable to the UK. A rather sentimental notion of sovereignty and the call for “taking back control” resonated within certain portions of the British populace. Their goal was to withdraw from their largest economic market to regain full regulatory control yet maintain access to the Single Market via a free trade deal that represented over 40 percent of its exports (4). When the time came to negotiate this free trade deal, economic reasoning took a back seat, again. As the final days of the deal approached, most of the negotiations had been settled. However, over a dinner of pumpkin soup, scallops, and steamed turbot with mashed potatoes (a not-so-subtle nod to the feud) UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen almost derailed the entire deal for the seemingly economically insignificant fishing industry (5). Johnson left the dinner asserting that “very large gaps remain between the two sides (regarding a fishing deal) and it is still unclear whether these can be bridged.” Von der Leyen said that “we understand each other’s positions. But [we] remain far apart” (6). With only 15 days left to seal the deal, and no consensus on fishing in sight, many were left confused and frustrated. The fishing industry employs roughly 12,000 workers out of a UK workforce of over 33 million (excluding the processing industry, which employs a larger portion); represents 0.1 percent of British domestic output; 0.2 percent of EU GDP; and accounts for just 0.8 percent of total EU-UK trade (7, 8, 9, 10). It produces a little more than £1 billion of the total £300 billion worth of UK exports. It seemed that the UK was effectively putting at risk over 99 percent of its trade with the EU to defend an industry that accounted for a mere fraction of the world’s sixth-largest economy. Even Harrods in London contributes more to the British economy (11). Many questioned why the British government was prepared to risk the most important trade negotiations in recent British history over an industry that barely even touches the economic needle, let alone moves it.
Literature Review Academics and journalists alike, such as Professor Anand Menon (12), Jeremy Phillipson (13), Sophia Kopela (14), and Stijn Billiet (15) tried to address the paradox, but the vast majority failed to account for the genesis of the paradox by failing to consider the role of elections and electoral politics. Professor Menon argued that the British government’s focus on the repatriation of fishing rights was instrumentally relevant because it was symbolic and represented a commitment to the “left behind.” Menon asserted that the media’s amplification of the issue brought it to relevance, and in a sense, forced Johnson to act (16, 17). Other scholars, such as Craig McAngus, Christopher Huggins, and John Connolly concluded that since fishing was one of the most Europeanized policies for the UK, it would receive the most attention throughout the trade talks (18, 19). On par with the rest of Brexit, the answer lies in convoluted domestic politics rather than economic reasoning. As mentioned in previous analyses, the fishing industry was perceived as a symbol for the wider movement fueling Brexit: “taking back control” and revitalizing a domestic industry that was lost under the heel of the EU boot. Politicians focused on it in order to create an image that the government was helping the citizens, and particularly, the disenfranchised (20). The cause for this might not be just because of the media’s influence, as per Menon’s analysis, but rather because of a synergistically strong confluence of the Scottish fishing lobby, an upcoming Scottish general election, and the Conservative party’s political agenda.
II: Why Do Politicians Protect and Amplify Certain Industries in Free- Trade Agreements? Theoretical Frameworks: Lobbying Influence and the Self-Serving Politician There are a multitude of theories regarding the significance of certain industries in trade talks, often finding answers in lobby groups and politicians’ electoral objectives. Typically, democratically elected/appointed officials ultimately determine trade agreements. As theorized by Robert Putnam in 1988, the politics of trade agreements are often a two-level game in which public sector officials/politicians are simultaneously in negotiations at both the international and the domestic levels (21). Putnam assessed that domestic groups pressure the officials to adopt favorable policies and, in turn, these officials seek to amplify their power by developing relationships with these groups who offer support via votes or campaign contributions (22). Politicians then go to the international level and seek to maximize their ability to satisfy domestic pressures while balancing the needs of their international partners (23). Following Putnam’s two-level game theory, Gene Grossman and Elhanan Helpman introduced special-interest politics into the analysis, analyzing profit-maximizing lobbying groups. They found that, “lobbies seek to curry favor with politicians who covet their financial support... seeking to maximize the aggregate welfare of the lobby groups’ members” (24). As the politician’s objective is to maximize their own political welfare––which often relies on having a large number of contributions––they champion the policy of those who donate the most. In other words, those who donate the most have purchased the most access to influence during trade talks. Sometimes, though, the most influence comes from industries that do not have deep pockets. In 1982, Arye Hillman assessed why politicians put their support behind declining industries that have little special-interest money and/or little economic or voting influence (25). Hillman found that politicians protect and promote declining industries for self-interest motives to maximize political support, rather than for altruistic ideals, as the industry will still typically decline even with protection (26). However, a strong influence of a declining industry may not solely manifest from a politician’s political agenda. In “Entry and Asymmetric Lobbying: Why Governments Pick Losers”, Richard Baldwin and Frederic Robert-Nicoud use Grossman and Helpman’s 1994 pressure group approach to conclude that while government policy is influenced by pressure groups that employ expensive lobby- ing tactics, losers (such as declining industries) lobby more diligently through less expensive means (27). They concluded that it is not just the government that picks the losers, but rather it is also the losers that pick the government (28).
The Fishing Industry as a “Loser” Lobbyist It is helpful to use Grossman and Helpman’s campaign finance lobbying, Hillman’s self-serving/re-election interests, and Baldwin’s and Robert-Nicoud loser lobbying framework to contextualize the fishing paradox. To begin, one must view the fishing industry as a lobbyist and Johnson as a political welfare maximizer. However, the fishing industry is not the lobbyist illustrated by Grossman and Helpman. After analyzing over 7,000 donations to both Conservative Party and Unionist Party between 2016-2020, the Scottish Fishing Federation and the National Federation of Fishermen did not appear to make meaningful contributions to the party. Several material contributions came from the fishing towns, yet such donations did not correlate with the amount of influence achieved. From 2016-2020, of the £169,449,385 donated to both parties, only £275,950 came from relevant coastal towns––roughly 0.163 percent (29). It is a bit of a conundrum, as according to Grossman and Helpman, the more robust sectors that donate the most would receive the highest levels of government support. When applying Baldwin and Robert-Nicod’s theory, though, it becomes clear that the fishers were not campaign contribution lobbyists, rather they were “loser” lobbyists who were loud and deliberate. They saw the Brexit movement as their policy opportunity and harnessed their symbolic nature to make themselves quite relevant in final trade talks. Concurrently, Johnson acted as a political welfare maximizer. When applying Hillman’s theory, the declining fishing community became relevant to the Conservatives, who hoped to maximize political support for electoral gains, re-election, and legacy. The newly formed Johnson administration needed to amplify an easy-to-understand industry that resonated with Brexit supporters and exemplified regained sovereignty. But it is often overlooked that the Conservatives also needed an industry that could help maintain the Tory Scottish Parliament seats and form a bulwark against the growing post-Brexit Scottish independence movement. The industry that conveniently and succinctly represented these values was the Scottish fishing industry. To see how this fits together, the story of Brexit and the fishing industry should be traced. First, we will examine the path to Brexit and the ways in which fishing––particularly the Scottish fisher––was influential from the beginning. Then we will scrutinize the trade talks and the political machinations of each actor. We will see that the political endgames of politicians are apparent in trade talks and domestic electoral gains often materially influence their tack as they adjust for the ever-changing political winds.
III: A Deep-Seated History Part 1: How Did the UK Get to Brexit? An Overview of UK/EU Relationship: A Troubled Beginning As Professors Vivien Schmidt and Jolyon Howorth note, “Brexit was, in many ways, an accident waiting to happen” (30). The UK and the EU always had an am- bivalent relationship––a noncommittal half-in, half-out—in which the UK has been referred to as the “awkward partner” that never really embraced the deeper political, cultural, and ideological ambitions of her partners across the Channel. In the aftermath of WWII, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was created in 1951 to ensure stability across the continent by linking economies. While the UK embraced the idea of a united Europe, she saw herself as a separate entity––not just physically, but culturally as well. She was an island empire on which the sun had never set. But as the empire declined in stature and size during the post-war recovery period, she realized that in order to achieve her global ambitions in the new post-imperial world, she may find herself in a useful position to be the bridge between the US and the new ECSC: the European Economic Community (EEC). After two prior attempts, the UK finally joined in 1973 under Tory Prime Minister Edward Heath (31). However, Euroscepticism reigned from the get-go. Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell argued that a federal Europe would mean the “end of Britain as an independent European state” and promised to hold a referendum if elected (32). Two years later, in 1975, Labour formed a government under Harold Wilson and held the UK’s first EU referendum (33). Although closely divided, the UK would vote “Yes” to a united Europe, with the then-Europhile Conservative leader Margret Thatcher leading the way for the Conservatives, while Labour remained extremely divided over the subject (34). Thatcher’s Europhilism, however, was short-lived. A staunch supporter of the Single Market, Thatcher ultimately changed course due to the contentious Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and its budget contributions (35). She felt that the UK contributed more than its fair share of funding. Rhetoric of losing power and control to Brussels became common in her speeches and while her Eurosceptic agenda and rhetoric would ultimately become her downfall, it planted the seed for a growing anti-Europe movement that divided both parties internally (36). This seed later found its political moment amongst the disenfranchised in 2016 after a Conservative political opportunist called another EU referendum in hopes of bridging a divided Tory Party and securing a re-election win. Divisions within the Tories regarding Europe had been brewing since the Thatcher years, and were proving to be problematic for David Cameron’s upcoming general election as the rise of a relatively new right-wing populist party, the UK Independence Party (UKIP), began siphoning off the Conservative Eurosceptic votes. Hoping to mitigate Tory Europhile defections, Cameron promised an EU membership referendum if re-elected, believing that the party would vote to remain (37). The result was a complete miscalculation as he underestimated just how powerful Euroscepticism had become. The country split into two camps: Leave vs. Remain. The Remain campaign took a negative approach, focusing their argument on the economic consequences of a vote to leave (38). As mentioned, however, Brexit was not about economics and, as such, it did not resonate at the doorstep. The Leave campaigns led by Boris Johnson and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage took a more emotional, visceral approach that resonated well with the disenfranchised who felt that the globally interconnected EU was the source of all their problems. They had seen their employment opportunities evaporate as the industrial sector left the country and viewed the EU as their scapegoat. The campaigns of Vote Leave and Leave.EU tapped into this discontent, arguing to “take back control” of a trade by creating their own trade deals, revitalizing declining industries, and bringing jobs back to Britain (39). The Take Back Control mantra percolated throughout the country and was succinctly exemplified with the vignette of the fishing industry. The fishing industry perfectly embodied the Conservative Leave movement––it was an industry key to the British identity, but was disenfranchised and felt powerless and expendable, and held deep-seated resentment towards Europe. This resentment was a manifestation of an EU policy known as the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) that seeks to conserve fishing stocks and ensure fair competition in European waters by setting catching quotas for European fishing vessels based on 1983 catch activity (40, 41). The EU can determine quotas in each boundary as the policy requires that each member state pool its sovereignty and open its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to all member states, creating a ‘European Water’ and overriding the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (42). To understand why the British held deep resentment towards this policy, one must understand the fishing wars.
Part 2: Fishing Wars To Control or Not to Control, That is the Question As an island nation, Britain has had an obsession with claiming ownership and sovereignty of its waters, at times to the point of belligerency. Fishing has always been key to British identity, especially Scottish identity, which makes it a rather sensitive topic. The tension between the Island and the Continent regarding the open seas dates back to the Anglo-Dutch wars and grew throughout the Anglo-French rivalry and crescendoed with the infamous 1950s-70s Cod Wars where the UK and Iceland faced off over British access to the rich cod waters off the coast of Iceland (43, 44). These violent showdowns repeated throughout multiple decades, with Iceland almost leaving NATO and falling into the Soviet orbit (45). The clash ended with the UK’s long-distance fishing fleets losing access to Iceland’s lucrative fishing grounds followed by a sharp decline in fishing industry revenues. Around the same time, the UK joined the EU and was required to join the contentious CFP. The UK’s fishing industry was wary about entering the CFP and pooling access to its waters, relinquishing control over its EEZ. Academics, politicians, and journalists alike wondered why the Heath government did not try to negotiate an opt-out of the CFP––an action for which the UK is famous––or even negotiate a better deal for the UK (46). The answer circles back to Iceland. When the UK lost its long-distance access to Iceland, there was little inshore activity to replace it as the nation had become so dependent on the white fish from the more northern seas (47). British fishers were not fishing near the British coast. As such, most of the quota rights for inshore fishing went to the French, Dutch, and Danish fishers during the accession negotiations (48).
The Resentful Fishers This did not sit well with the fishers, particularly the Scottish fishers, who watched their industry decline just as the EU gained access to UK waters. When asked about Britain’s entrance into the CFP, Scottish fisher Baden Gibson insisted that:
“The EU and its fisheries policy have destroyed businesses beyond fishing... If you fish outside of your quota the penalties can be fierce— my worry would be that I would lose my boat and then I would lose everything. I realize that there must be quotas, but it should be fishing organizations who set those quotas” (49).
Fishers felt a loss of control and that the government sold them out for access to the Single Market. This was further exacerbated when it came down to ownership of the quotas. Over the years, more and more foreign entities started to own Brit- ish fishing fleets, with 50 percent of all English quotas “owned” by British-flagged ships that were actually Spanish, Dutch, or Icelandic; that is about £160 million worth of England’s fishing quota (50, 51). The feeling of loss of control was palpable. It must be noted that it was not necessarily Brussels causing the decline. Rather, it was overfishing and advances in technology that prevented fishers from achieving previous catching thresholds as well as the aftermath of the Cod Wars that prevented them from fishing in certain areas. Another factor was the rise of multimillion-dollar fishing companies in the UK (52). Nonetheless, British fishers did not see it this way. From their perspective, the correlation was objectively clear: the UK fishing industry thrived before EU membership, but as part of the EU, it died at the hands of the quotas.
Reforming the Common Fisheries Policy Calls were made by the fishing industry to reform the CFP, and in 2014, the European Commission tried to do so, putting forth reforms that would increase the labor market mobility of fishers (53). These schemes were criticized as they did not consider the local and cultural factors enough and did not give countries sufficient control over the quota issue. The reforms adjusted the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and allowed member states to manage 89 percent of it, while the European Commission would manage 11 percent (54). However, that still did not fix the unpopular element of being too distant and top-down with rules dictated by Brussels, far away from the UK and even further from understanding the local fishers’ needs (55). The fishers wanted a greater say in fishery management; they wanted to decentralize the decision-making structures as they felt like bystanders in decisions that impacted them greatly.
Part 1: The Referendum Brexit as a Policy Window for Fishers The EU referendum was the fishing industry’s “policy window” under Leave’s rally cry of “Take Back Control.” It was finally time to expel the European vessels from British waters and manage their fish stocks independently. Rather than lobbying via campaign contributions, as Grossman and Helpman’s theory predicts, the fishing industry-aligned more with Baldwin and Robert-Nicoud’s theory of lobbying diligently through less expensive means. In this case, the less expensive means came in the form of a new 21st-century campaign tool: social media. UKIP’s Nigel Farage teamed up with the campaign group Fishing for Leave (FFL) to storm social media and conduct demonstrations, calling for the UK to leave the EU and leave the CFP. To make a public display of discontent and grievances a few days before the referendum, Farage led a 35-boat flotilla of fishers up the Thames, asserting that “today’s flotilla is not a celebration or a party but a full-throttled protest. We want our waters back” (56). He also said that “one thing I can promise you, is that you are about to hear a lot about the fishing industry” (57). They were vociferous lobbyists who would become a key electoral constituency for the Conservatives. The hope, and promise, was that leaving the EU would allow the UK to reclaim fishing dominance and sovereignty over their territorial waters, which would, in turn, see fishing communities thrive again with replenished stock and the return of jobs. On June 26, 2016, the referendum was held, and the UK voted to leave 51 percent to 48 percent. The fishing industry, as predicted, was a firm supporter, especially the Scottish fishers (58). A pre-referendum survey indicated that 92 percent of Scottish fishers intended to vote to leave (59). Fishing communities such as Banff and Buchan voted for Brexit, with around 54 percent voting to leave, but were outnumbered by the rest of Scotland who largely voted to remain (60). They were a small, disenfranchised group within a larger community that found a policy window and representation within the Brexiteers. They would become incredibly important to the Conservatives who needed to keep a seat at the team in Scotland.
Part 2: The Trade Talks The Conservative’s Seat at the Scottish Table: The Rise of the Politically Important Scottish Fishers The Scottish fishers were Brexiteers, but that did not necessarily mean they were pro-Tory. After Heath’s historic 1973 betrayal of fishing, Scotland’s northeast fishing community channeled its anger by voting with the pro-independence, social democratic Scottish National Party (SNP) for the following decades. The Tories were treacherous in the eyes of the fishers, best underscored by the 1973 quote from a UK civil servant: “In light of Britain’s wider European interests they, the Scottish fishermen, are expendable” (61). While the Scottish Tories initially lost the community’s trust, gaining it back was easier than one may think as the Scottish fisheries did not ideologically align with the rest of Scotland and the SNP. Leading up to the referendum, Scottish scholar Dr. Craig McAngus conducted a survey of Scottish fishers’ demographic characteristics as well as their political, social, and constitutional attitudes. McAngus found that they were: (1) a unionized industrial working class made up of mostly middle-aged men with standard grade qualifications who value self-sufficiency and sense of freedom to succeed in their profession and take on a libertarian ideology that is skeptical of state intervention; (2) very Eurosceptic, portraying themselves as “victims of an overly bureaucratic and unsympathetic governance regime,” and would lean towards the Conservative Party rather than the Labour Party whose values of collectivism and socialist principles conflicted with their notion of an unsympathetic governance regime; (3) differing from the rest of the Scottish population in that they tended to trust the UK Government more than the Scottish Government, which seems contradictory at first given Heath’s 1973 betrayal for access to the Single Market, however, their support relates to the Scottish independence movement. As the Scottish Government is currently led by the SNP, and as the fishers tend to be more British-unionist, conflicts often arise between the secession-seeking Scottish government and the union-seeking fishing industry.
How the British Government Attempted to Divert Fisher’s Support Away from SNP to Scottish Tory via Brexit Scottish independence from the UK has been a divisive topic ever since Scot- land joined the UK in 1707. In a 2014 independence referendum, Scotland voted to remain in the UK, 55 percent to 45 percent, but the debate never settled. Scot- land’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon continued to push for another referendum, rather than receiving additional devolved powers from Westminster (which had been done in the past as a way for Westminster to circumvent Scottish independence). After the Brexit referendum, her calls for independence grew louder than ever as the majority of Scotland voted to remain in the EU––62 percent to 32 percent. Sturgeon argued that it was undemocratic for Scotland to be “dragged out of the EU against its will,” demanding another independence referendum–– indyref2––and then hoping to re-join the EU.62 But, to hold another referendum on Scottish independence, the UK’s Prime Minister must grant formal permission and the newly minted PM Boris Johnson did not support such. Johnson and other supporters of a unified UK argued that the 2014 referendum was a once-in-a-generation opportunity––a phrase Sturgeon campaigned on back in 2014––and asserted that under this reasoning, another referendum should not be held for another 40+ years. On the horizon, however, was the upcoming May 2021 Scottish Parliament election, thus Johnson and his Scottish Tory counterparts were finding themselves in a political pickle. Opinion polls saw a sizable shift from a slight majority of pro-independence voters in 2019 to a solid majority in 2020. Analysts attributed this shift to Brexit, and also to Sturgeon’s handling of the Coronavirus, which many believed had been better than Johnson’s. With polls indicating that the SNP was on course to win an overall majority in the May 2021 Scottish Parliament election, polling expert Sir John Curtice said that the country “seem[ed] headed for a significant clash between the UK and Scottish governments over whether another independence referendum should be held” (63). Conservatives started to worry that if they lost their Scottish Tory seats to the SNP, the Scottish Parliament would be comprised mostly, if not all, of the SNP. Scottish Tories would lose their voice in the Scottish Government, and Westminster would have to grant an independence referendum if asked, or risk being further branded as undemocratic. There was, however, a Brexit-supporting Scottish constituency that could potentially save the Scottish Tories: the Scottish fishers. As mentioned previously, fisheries have been caught between supporting the SNP and the Tories for decades. The fisheries voted SNP in the years after Heath’s “betrayal,” as the then-SNP Leader Alex Salmond sought to bring Scotland out of the CFP (64). During the 2014 independence referendum, Salmond made fishing a material role in the SNP’s campaign, asserting that if independence was gained, fishing would be the #1 national priority and would have direct representation in the EU (65). The issue, however, was that the fishers wanted out of the CFP, not more EU representation, which is what Salmond was campaigning for. As a result, SNP lost a large majority of the fisheries in the 2015 Scottish Parliament election. The hemorrhaging of fishing votes continued when the Brexiteers campaigned to “Take Back Control” during the 2016 EU/UK referendum. The 2017 Scottish Parliament elections saw a loss of fishing votes from SNP to Scottish Conservatives. The Tories increased their hold from one seat in 2015 to 13 in 2017, gaining the northeast fishing community seats as per figure 11 (66, 67).
Figure 11 (68) Yellow indicates SNP seats, orange indicates Liberal Democrats, red indicates Labour, and blue indicates Scottish Tory.
Brexit was the perfect opportunity for the Conservative Party to regain both the fishers’ trust and seats in the Scottish Parliament. Once they regained that support, they could potentially prevent independence by keeping the vote. The game was not over, though. The SNP made it its goal to regain coastal communities by illustrating that the Tories could not be trusted in looking out for Scotland’s best interests.69 Conservatives then countered by making fishing a key part of the “exit-negotiations.”
A Hiccup: When May did not prioritize the Fisheries After the referendum, Cameron stepped down and Theresa May assumed Tory leadership in 2016. May called a snap election in 2017 in hopes of increasing her party’s slim majority in the lower house and having a stronger mandate to negotiate a Brexit deal with the EU. However, due to a resurgent Labour Party, May did not gain a majority and had to form a confidence-and-supply agreement with ten MPs of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) (70). That being said, May did gain some Scottish coastal seats due to the 2017 surge in Scottish Tory support. Suddenly, Scottish fishers––as well as the DUP––became one of the preeminent interest groups for May’s coalition, as they were some of the few who kept her party from anemic minority status. Appeasing them and creating and maintaining trust would be necessary to get her Brexit deal approved and to keep Scottish Parliament seats. May proceeded with her Brexit plans and announced a Fisheries Bill to take back control of British waters and remove fishing quotas after the country with- drew from the EU (71). This pleased the fishers, but as 2017 progressed, the EU countries whose fishing industries were heavily dependent on access to UK waters became worried that access to the waters would be completely severed and that the EU would set an undesirable precedent for its member nations. Denmark claimed it had historical rights to fish in British waters dating back to the 1400s, while other EU countries claimed that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea stated that countries must respect each other’s “traditional fishing rights”, and the ability to access British waters fell under traditional rights (72). In March of 2018, then-Brexit Secretary David Davis and the EU’s Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier announced that the UK and the EU had agreed on a Brexit transition deal. However, to achieve the deal, the UK partially conceded its fishing contentions: fisheries would be required to follow the CFP rules until the end of the December 2020 Brexit transition period (73). The UK fishing industry was infuriated. Bertie Armstrong, CEO of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said, “This falls far short of an acceptable deal. We will leave the EU and leave the CFP, but hand back sovereignty over our seas a few seconds later... Our fishing communities’ fortunes will still be subject to the whim and largesse of the EU for another two years” (74). Again, Nigel Farage protested on a fishing boat floating along the Thames outside of Parliament while chucking dead haddock into the river. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon took to Twitter hoping to sway the fishers back over to the SNP stating: “This is shaping up to be a massive sellout of the Scottish fishing industry by the Tories” (75). The thirteen Scottish Conservative MPs announced that the deal was like “drink[ing] a pint of cold sick” and assured that they would be prepared to vote against their own party if they did not see a return to full control of British waters as “the EU does not care about Scottish fishermen and neither do the SNP government who wants us to re-join the Common Fisheries Policy and the EU” (76). A sense of betrayal was palpable, and May’s fellow Conservative politicians started to understand that prioritizing fishermen would need to be on their political agenda. May would go on to put forth two other Brexit deals but was met with sound political rejection. In June 2019, she stepped down and Boris Johnson assumed leadership in July.
The Hiccup Continues: Johnson Learning to Prioritize Fish
With May’s Brexit failure in the rearview mirror, Johnson was keen on steering the UK out of the EU. However, after May’s perceived slight, he found little support amongst the Scottish Conservatives and fishers. In August, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson resigned. She worried that a Johnson government would boost support for independence, given that his hard-liner Brexit stance stood in complete opposition to the majority opinion of Scotland and the SNP (77). Johnson, however, had a different agenda; one that was keen on maintaining the union and appeasing the fishing industry was one way of doing so.
In July 2019, Johnson made his first visit to Scotland and pledged that fishing access would not be sacrificed in the new Brexit deal.78 The Scottish fishers welcomed his rhetoric, with Bertie Armstrong stating, “We have been looking for a straight and direct answer and that’s exactly what we have got... Scottish fishing’s sea of opportunity lies on the other side of Brexit” (79). Additionally, Johnson assured fishers that he would “strengthen the union” and pledged £300 million for boost- ing growth in the devolved nations (Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) as a way to try to counteract critics who said his no-deal strategy would break up the UK (80). Among those critics was Nicola Sturgeon, who branded Johnson as the “last prime minister of the UK” (81).
After a series of controversial events in the Fall of 2019––proroguing Parliament and then withdrawing the whip from 21 MPs (effectively expelling them from the party)––Johnson was left with no majority in Parliament and found it impossible to get Brexit legislation through. He enacted the Benn Act to extend the divorce date from October 19th, 2019 to January 31st, 2020, and then called a snap election for December 12th, 2019. While Johnson took a strong stance against Scottish independence, his attention to fishing seemed to wane during the snap election.
Johnson did keep Scotland in his sights, but most of his attention was to mainland England, hoping to gain back the English voters who defected to Labour in 2017 (82). He visited Scotland once during the campaign, where he delivered the Scottish Conservative manifesto and claimed that Scotland was “paralyzed” by the SNP. Johnson asserted that “a vote for the Scottish Conservatives is a vote to stop a second independence referendum and to get Brexit done... Only a vote for the Conservatives will stop the SNP’s plans to break up the UK” (83, 84).
However, given that May lost many British votes to Labour in 2017, he also needed to prioritize issues that were of interest to larger voting blocs, such as the NHS, the police, and the British education system. To do so, as is now second nature to many politicians, Johnson harnessed Twitter to connect with constituents. On Twitter, Johnson spoke less about fishing and more about those three campaign stances. In total, Johnson tweeted 62 times regarding his campaign agenda on those issues, while only tweeting about fishing five times and Scotland nine times.
Figure 13 (85) Illustrates the number of times Johnson Tweeted about a specific subject: 5 times about fishing; 9 times about Scotland; and 62 times about the NHS, policing, and schooling.
With much focus on Johnson’s campaign, fishers in coastal Scottish towns were growing worried that fishing was not his top priority. These fishers became more apprehensive and began questioning Johnson’s true intentions: “There’s a calculation that the fishing industry is making that there’s a heavy risk they will get sold out on the way out of the EU, just like they did on the way in” and that maybe “the SNP might get a better deal for Scottish fishing from the EU” (86) especially since Johnson “changes his mind like the weather” (87). A growing number of fishers were unsure whether Johnson would protect the fishing industry or divert his focus towards other aspects in the UK during the trade talks. Election day came, and while Johnson won the largest Parliamentary majority since Thatcher in 1987, he lost several crucial seats in Scotland, which resulted in a small swing back to the SNP, who won 48 out of 59 seats (88). Although a tabloid journalist, Torcuil Crichton provided some thoughtful insight by noting that Scottish Tory 2017 gains were halved in 2019, and any further “betrayal” of the fish- ing industry “will fuel the independence argument and undermine the principles Brexit was fought on” (89). Suddenly, the importance of Scottish independence began to sink in. Johnson needed to show Scotland the benefits of staying in the UK and that Brexit was good for Scottish communities. The fishing industry was the perfect political tool for this end. Johnson could argue that he was going to secure them a good deal, stand up for the disenfranchised against an “overbearing” Brussels, and bring back the domestic industry. He could argue that the UK’s government was paying attention to Scottish needs and, as such, Scotland should stay in the UK rather than back the independence-preoccupied SNP. It is for this reason that fishing was greatly amplified during the trade talks. The Tories needed to secure the Scottish fishing industry a good deal––the rare Scottish industry that embodied the Brexit movement, had yet to back SNP fully, and were against independence––or else potentially be forced to consider calling an independence referendum. Fishing was the fulcrum for Johnson’s political leverage.
The Talks and the Deal With the general election behind him and the risk of Scottish independence at the forefront of his mind, Johnson entered the trade talks as a strong counter to Macron and other EU officials who wanted the status quo ante. The issue has now come full circle, back to the famed scallop and turbot dinner on December 9th, 2020, when Johnson and von der Leyen sat down to hash out the final open issue. Britain demanded 80 percent of the EU’s catch to be returned to the UK, but reduced this to 60 percent as a compromise; the EU countered with 20 percent (90). The UK demanded that this transition would take no longer than three years, while the EU asked for a 14-year transition period, which they then reduced to seven. The EU asked for its fishing vessels to be able to fish in the six-to-twelve-mile zone from the British coastline, but the UK insisted that EU vessels be banned from this zone. Von der Leyen left the dinner saying the two sides remained “far apart” (91). The whole trade deal was on the line, with only a few days to go. Finally, on Christmas Eve, after four-and-a-half years of bitter negotiations and only a week to spare before the UK would crash out of the EU, they came to a deal. The 1,200-page document was passed by MPs on December 30th, 521 to 73, and it goes as follows: The transition will be phased over five and a half years, during which EU vessels will still be able to fish in the UK waters. During the adjustment period, EU quotas will decrease by 15 percent in the first year, and then two and a half percent for the following four years. That means by year five, the UK will regain 25 percent of the current EU catch in British waters; Fish will continue to be traded between the two parties with no tariffs imposed; After the five-year adjustment period is over, the UK and EU will enter annual negotiations to determine the quota of fish that EU vessels are allowed to catch in UK waters (92). Johnson announced the deal while wearing a fish patterned tie and praised it as a great deal in which fishers would see their hauls increase from half of the fish quota in British waters under CFP, to about two-thirds by the end of the adjustment period (93). However, neither the fisheries, the French, nor the other EU nations, saw it this way. A deal had been made, but the saga was far from over.
V: Conclusions Summary of Findings While fisheries were the “losers” that lobbied hard to grab the government’s attention initially during the Brexit campaign (much like Baldwin and Robert-Nicoud’s theory), it appears that the Conservatives needed the fishers during the exit negotiations and thus took a hard position on access to UK waters, not for social merit, but rather for their electoral and political gains (much like Hillmen’s theory). Matt Bevington, an analyst with the UK in a Changing Europe, pointed out that Johnson saw fishing as one of the few areas where the government would be able to score a “win” to tout as evidence of Brexit’s success (94). Barrie Deas, CEO of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organization, said that the fishing industry was a “litmus test’’ for Brexit since we will not know most of the effects of the Brexit deal for many years, but the effects for fishing will be realized immediately (95). The Guardian journalist Daniel Boffey noted that fisheries were important to Johnson as he needed to show some benefit of Brexit to Scottish communities as Sturgeon was ramping up her demands for another independence referendum (96). In a similar vein, Denis Staunton of the Irish Times emphasized that North East Scotland is now essential to Johnson’s electoral constituency and will play an important role in the Scottish independence debate over the next few years (97). However, if he remains unable to please the Scottish fishers, the SNP may snatch up those who feel expendable to the Tories. This will again potentially embolden the independence movement since no politician wants to be known as the last Prime Minister.
Lessons Learnt While the deal itself was a “Christmas miracle” to the Tories, in many respects, its aftermath has not been so merry. Johnson was unable to provide the fishing industry the deal that they wanted, and more importantly, that they were expect- ing. While the Scottish Tories matched their 2016 performance in the May 2021 Scottish elections, the fishing debacle still plagues the Johnson government with many lessons to be taught to future politicians (98). Hoping to illustrate the UK government’s commitment to the disenfranchised and their commitment to taking back control from the EU, many promises were made. These promises, however, were not plausible, let alone achievable––especially in regards to the fishing industry. Now, the Scottish independence movement has re-emerged, with the SNP harnessing the fishing failure as another reason for why they should leave the UK. Electoral politics influenced the amplification of the industry during the talks. In so doing, it amplified a delicate social, economic, and political bond that is about to snap. However, the main lessons scholars may glean from this case study is the extreme influence of domestic electoral politics in trade agreements: 1. An industry being economically insignificant does not mean that it will be insignificant in the international arena. Not everything in trade talks distills down to economics. More likely than not, declining domestic industries will be protected in trade talks for political purposes. 2. That is not to say, however, that economics is not influential. Johnson was a champion of the industry throughout the trade talks, but ultimately, he had to secure a deal that would allow European vessels access to UK waters for a limited time in order to salvage a trade relationship. In other words, economic interests were prioritized over politics towards the end of the talks. As Barrie Deas said, “It’s what we always feared... When you get to the endgame in the negotiations it becomes a binary choice and economics prevails over politics. I think that’s what’s happened and it’s really not good news.” Ultimately, for better or for worse, Johnson needed a deal (99). 3. Politicians often pick easily understood industries to get their message across. While much of the fishing industry is quite complex, once dissected, its disenfranchised status is not. Johnson harnessed the underserved with a message centered around one question: “what does Brussels know about potholes in London?” His intent with the fishing industry was to illustrate an example of him protecting locals to show (1) that Brexit can be a success and (2) that he was fighting for the British (and Scottish) industry. Fishing was an industry that many people could understand as it portrayed Brussels as treating them unfairly with “draconian quotas.” It would have been difficult if, for example, Johnson had tried to highlight intellectual property rights; few people would latch on to that due to its highly technical nature. Here, success revolves around clear messaging, which is something the Remain camp struggled to achieve. In the eyes of the Brexiteers, these were local fishers––the heart and soul of the UK, even if they were no longer as economically significant––being taken advantage of by Brussels. Fishers also happened to be politically right-leaning and resided in the “hostile” territory of Scotland. As the world enters a more global epoch, there has been a greater emphasis on interdependence and trans- nationalism, which often glazes over domestic factors. But, as former Speaker of the House of Representatives Tip O’Neill (D-MA) famously quipped: “all politics is local,” or, rather, “all local politics are global,” especially in free-trade agreements. Constituents care more about what is happening on the home front, rather than what is going on in Brussels. They care about how Brussels affects them at home more than being in an economically efficient partnership with the EU. 4. Thus, as Putnam theorized in 1988, international negotiations are a two-level game in which domestic groups pressure the government to adopt favorable policies, as the politicians seek to amplify their power by consulting coalitions of these groups. The politicians then go to the international level and seek to maximize their ability to satisfy domestic pressures while balancing the needs of their international partners. However, the need to get reelected and to preserve legacy presides over the strategy they bring to the negotiation table and the industries they choose to protect. Electoral politics is at the heart of all politics, especially in free trade arrangements.
Future Research It has been eight months since this paper was originally completed, and fishing still remains top of the fold. The UK and France are in continuous disputes, threatening sanctions and denying each other licenses to harvest in each other’s seas. To understand this continued conflict, scholars and politicians must look at the EU’s perspective as well as the British perspective. While this paper sought to understand why British politicians amplified the fishing industry during the talks, the UK was not its only amplifier. Just as with the UK, fishing is an economically insignificant industry for the EU overall, yet it continues to be amplified by EU member states. From the EU’s perspective, British waters have fish that are the staple of the European diet: herring, mackerel, sole, and shellfish (100). Herring and mackerel are Denmark’s most popular seafood, and it would be impossible to catch their quota if they could no longer fish in UK waters. This would devastate Denmarks’ industry, culture, and customs. For France, on the other hand, it is more about political weight, similar to what we saw in Scotland with Prime Minister Johnson. As journalist John Lichfield pointed out, “The north of France, around Boulogne, is hugely important for the presidential election in 2022... The regional president... might well be one of Macron’s main rivals at that time, so [Macron] needs to be seen to be supporting what is already a struggling area economically” (101). Additionally, the EU was determined to not set an undesirable precedent. They could not let Britain dictate access to such waters, which could potentially portray the EU as weak to other countries trying the same. This was one of the reasons the EU insisted that the previous level of access to UK waters be maintained, and why Phil Hogan, the EU’s Trade Commissioner, assured Johnson that if he wanted to gain access to EU financial markets, the UK would have to allow EU vessels in British fishing waters (102) Both sides took hardline positions for their constituents, thinking that they were doing their best while also serving their political agendas. Now, though, both British and EU constituents and their businesses are the ones suffering from the fallout of the deal. As stated by Olivier Lepretre, the head of the Hauts-de-France regional fishers association, they want to move on with their lives: “Fishers really don’t care about the politics” anymore, “they just want to work, to go to sea” (103). But, Brexit always was, and still is, a political initiative at its core, and as such, the politics remain. The continued fishing feud illuminates much larger and more profound structural relationship issues that will play out over the next few decades as the two former partners navigate these uncharted waters and tack against the political winds.
1 Robert Fisk, “Boris’s Last Push for Brexit Sees Him Kissing Fish and Posing for Selfies as New Poll Gives Leave the Narrowest of Leads,” The Sun (The Sun, June 22, 2016), https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/1326026/boriss-last-push-for-brexit-sees-him-kissing-fish-and-posing-for-selfies-in-a-gruelling-final-day-of-campaigning/. 2 Raf Casert, “EU-UK Trade Talks Floundering over Fish as Cutoff Day Nears,” Associated Press, December 20, 2020, https://apnews.com/article/brexit-europe-global- trade-boris-johnson-europe-94ead6da2c46c87efc51328893cd3590.
3 Thomas Phillip “Tip” O’Neill.
4 Avery Koop, “Visualizing the UK and EU Trade Relationship,” Visual Capitalist, February 9, 2021, https://www.visualcapitalist.com/visualizing-the-uk-and-eu-trade- relationship/.
5 Adam Coghlan, “Breaking Bread Over Brexit With Fish in Brussels, a Short Story,” Eater London, December 10, 2020, https://london.eater.com/2020/12/10/22167244/no-deal-brexit-fishing-boris-johnson-ursula-von-der-leven-dinner. 6 Daniel Boffey, “The Brexit Brussels Dinner: Fish and Frank Talk but No One Left Satisfied,” The Guardian, December 10, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/ dec/10/the-brexit-brussels-dinner-fish-and-frank-talk-but-no-one-left-satisfied. 7 Elena Ares et al., “UK Fisheries Statistics,” House of Commons Library, November 23, 2020, https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn02788/. 8 Reuters Staff, “PM Sold out Fish in Brexit Trade Deal, Fishermen Say,” Reuters, December 26, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-fish/pm-sold-out-fish- in-brexit-trade-deal-fishermen-say-idUSKBN2900KG. 9 Kat Haladus, “Fisheries: An Industry That’s Worth 0.1% of the UK’s GDP Is Holding up the Talks,” UK Customs Solutions, December 23, 2020, https://ukcustomssolutions. co.uk/2020/12/23/fisheries-an-industry-thats-worth-0-1-of-the-uks-gdp-is-holding-up-the- talks/. 10 Matt Bevington, Professor Anand Menon, and Professor Jonathan Portes, “Fishing: Why Is It Such a Tricky Issue in UK-EU Negotiations?” UK in a Changing Europe, November 10, 2020, https://ukandeu.ac.uk/explainers/fishing-why-is-it-such-a-tricky-issue-in-uk-eu-negotiations/.
11 British Sea Fishing, “Brexit and Britain’s Fisheries,” British Sea Fishing, January 20, 2021, https://britishseafishing.co.uk/brexit-and-britains-fisheries/. 12 Anand Menon and UK in a Changing Europe Team, “Fisheries and Brexit,” The UK in a Changing Europe, June 2020, https://ukandeu.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/ Fisheries-and-Brexit.pdf. 13 Jeremy Phillipson and David Symes, “‘A Sea of Troubles’: Brexit and the Fisheries Question” 90 (2018): pp. 168-173, https://doi.org/10.31230/osf.io/fxnqj. 14 Sophia Kopela, “Historic Fishing Rights in the Law of the Sea and Brexit,” Leiden Journal of International Law 32, no. 4 (2019): pp. 695-713, https://doi.org/10.1017/s0922156519000438. 15 Stijn Billiet, “Brexit and Fisheries: Fish and Chips Aplenty?” The Political Quarterly 90, no. 4 (2019): pp. 611-619, https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-923x.12748. 16 Tom McTague, “Why Britain’s Brexit Mayhem Was Worth It,” The Atlantic (Atlantic Media Company, December 24, 2020), https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2020/12/brexit-trade-deal-uk-eu/617509/. 17 Anand Menon and UK in a Changing Europe Team, “Fisheries and Brexit”. 18 Craig McAngus and Christopher Huggins, et al., “The Politics and Governance of UK Fisheries after Brexit.” Political Insight 9, no. 3 (September 2018): 8-11, https://doi.org/10.1177/2041905818796570. 19 John Connolly et al., “The Governance Capacities of Brexit from a Scottish Perspective: The Case of Fisheries Policy,” Public Policy and Administration, January 2020, https://doi.org/10.1177/0952076720936328. 20 Matt Bevington, Professor Anand Menon, and Professor Jonathan Portes, “Fishing: Why Is It Such a Tricky Issue in UK-EU Negotiations?” 21 Robert D. Putnam, “Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: the Logic of Two-Level Games.” International Organization 42, no. 3 (1988): 427–60. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2706785. 22 Corneliu Bjola and Ilan Manor, “In the Long Run,” In the Long Run, July 19, 2018, http://www.inthelongrun.org/criaviews/article/revisiting-putnams-two-level-game-theory- in-the-digital-age-domestic-digita/. 23 Eugénia da Conceição-Heldt and Patrick A. Mello, “Two-Level Games in Foreign Policy Analysis,” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.496. 24 Gene Grossman and Elhanan Helpman, “Trade Wars and Trade Talks,” Journal of Political Economy 103, no. 4 (1995): pp. 678, https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/3450062/Helpman_TradeWars.pdf.
25 Arye L. Hillman, “Declining Industries and Political-Support Protectionist Motives.” The American Economic Review 72, no. 5 (1982): 1180-187. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1812033. 26 Hilman, 1186. 27 Richard E. Baldwin and Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric, “Entry and asymmetric lobbying: why governments pick losers.” PSPE working papers, March 2007. Department of Government, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. 28 Ibid. 29 Data collected by Eleanor Ruscitti via the UK Electoral Commission donation reports from 2016-2020, http://search.electoralcommission.org.ukcurrentPage=1&rows=10&sort=AcceptedDate&order=desc&tab=1&open=filter&et=pp&isIrishSourceYes=true&isIrishSourceNo=true&prePoll= false&postPoll=true®ister=gb®ister=ni&optCols =IsAggregation.
30 Vivien Schmidt and Jolyon Howorth, “Brexit: What Happened? What Is Going to Happen?” Politique Étrangère, no. 4 (2016): pp. 123-138, https://doi.org/10.3917/pe.164.0123.
31 Ibid, 4.
32 Kevin H. O’Rourke, “A Short History of Brexit: from Brentry to Backstop,” in A Short History of Brexit: from Brentry to Backstop (London: Pelican, 2019), p. 74. 33 James Walsh, “Britain’s 1975 Europe Referendum: What Was It like Last Time?” The Guardian, February 25, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/feb/25/britains-1975-europe-referendum-what-was-it-like-last-time. 34 Ibid. 35 Pan Pylas, “Britain’s EU Journey: When Thatcher Turned All Euroskeptic,” Associated Press, (January23,2020), https://apnews.com/article/64855d1ff67454443db5132bdfb22ea6.
36 Ibid. 37 Vivien Schmidt and Jolyon Howorth, 7.
38 Ibid, 4.
39 Jorge Martins Rosa and Cristian Jiménez Ruiz, “Reason vs. Emotion in the Brexit Campaign: How Key Political Actors and Their Followers Used Twitter,” First Monday 25, no. 3 (March 2, 2020), https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v25i3.9601. 40 European Commission, “The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP),” European Commission, 2015, https://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/cfp_en. 41 Andy Forse, Ben Drakeford, and Jonathan Potts, “Fish Fights: Britain Has a Long History of Trading Away Access to Coastal Waters,” The Conversation, March 25, 2019, https://theconversation.com/fish-fights-britain-has-a-long-history-of-trading-away-access- to-coastal-waters-112988. 42 Convention on the Law of the Sea, New York, 10 December 1982, United Nations Treaty Series, pg. 40. https://www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/unclos_e. pdf
43 Thomas Wemyss Fulton, “The Fisheries,” in The Sovereignty of the Sea: an Historical Account of the Claims of England to the Dominion of the British Seas, and of the Evolution of the Territorial Waters; with Special Reference to the Rights of Fishing and the Naval Salute (London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1911), pp. 25-57. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/54977/54977- h/54977-h.htm. 44 Keith Johnson, “So Long, and Say Thanks for All the Fish,” Foreign Policy, February 28, 2020, https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/02/28/fishing-uk-european-union-brexit-trade- talks-cfp/. 45 Ibid. 46 Dan Roberts, “‘We Have Been Hijacked’: Fishermen Feel Used over Brexit,” The Guardian (Guardian News and Media, March 23, 2018), https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/mar/23/we-have-been-hijacked-fishermen-feel-used-over-brexit. 47 Ibid. 48 Ibid.
49 Serena Kutchinsky, “Is Nigel Farage the Fisherman’s Friend?” Newsweek, June 27, 2016, https://www.newsweek.com/eu-referendum-brexit-fishing-policy-nigel-farage- scotland-snp-473435. 50 John Litchfield, “Ukip Is Wrong: British Fishing Answers to Westminster Not Brussels,” The Guardian, April 6, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/06/ ukip-british-fishing-westminster-brussels-brexit. 51 Oliver Barnes and Chris Morris, “Brexit Trade Deal: Who Really Owns UK Fishing Quotas?” BBC News, January 1, 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/52420116. 52 Keith Johnson, “So Long, and Say Thanks for All the Fish.” 53 European Commission, “The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP): the essentials of the new CFP,” 2015. 54 Ibid. 55 Craig McAngus, “A Survey of Scottish Fishermen Ahead of Brexit: Political, Social and Constitutional Attitudes,” Maritime Studies 17, no. 1 (2018): pp. 41-54, https://doi.org/10.1007/s40152-018-0090-z. 56 Daniel Boffey, “UK Fishermen May Not Win Waters Back after Brexit, EU Memo Reveals,” The Guardian, February 15, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/15/uk-fishermen-may-not-win-waters-back-after-brexit-eu-memo-reveals. 57 Severin Carrell, “Nigel Farage to Lead pro-Brexit Flotilla up Thames,” The Guardian, June 3, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/03/nigel-farage-pro-brexit- flotilla-thames-eu-referendum-leave-campaign. 58 Chris Morris and Oliver Barnes, “Brexit Trade Deal: What Does It Mean for Fishing?” BBC News, January 20, 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/46401558. 59 Craig McAngus, “A Survey of Scottish Fishermen Ahead of Brexit: Political, Social and Constitutional Attitudes.” 60 The Newsroom, “Scottish Constituency of Banff and Buchan ‘ ̃Voted for Brexit’,” The Scotsman, November 22, 2016, https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scottish-constituency-banff-and-buchan-voted-brexit-1462018. 61 Kevin McKenna, “Scotland’s Fishermen Feel a Sickening Sense of Betrayal Yet Again,” The Guardian, March 24, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/ mar/24/scotland-fishermen-betrayal-peterhead-brexit.
62 “Scottish Independence: Will There Be a Second Referendum?” BBC News (BBC, March 22, 2021), https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-50813510. 63 Ibid.
64 Scotland Correspondent, “SNP Tries to Dump EU Fisheries Policy” (The Times, March 31, 2010), https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/snp-tries-to-dump-eu-fisheries- policy-7b8tnlq3gw5. 65 Scottish Government, “Scotland’s Future and Scottish Fisheries,” Scottish Government, August 14, 2014, https://www.gov.scot/publications/scotlands-future-scottish-fisheries/pages/2/. 66 “General Election 2017: Former SNP Leader Alex Salmond Loses Seat,” BBC, June 9, 2017, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-40212541. 67 “General Election 2017: SNP Lose a Third of Seats amid Tory Surge,” BBC News, June 9, 2017, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-40192707.
69 “Letters: Tories Could Not Be Trusted to Negotiate in Good Faith in Independence Talks,” HeraldScotland, November 11, 2020, https://www.heraldscotland.com/ news/18864349.letters-tories-not-trusted-negotiate-good-faith-independence-talks/. 70 Ibid. 71 Ibid. 72 British Sea Fishing, “Brexit and Britain’s Fisheries.”
74 The Newsroom, “Fishing Industry’s Anger as UK and EU Strike Brexit Transition Deal,” The Scotsman, March 19, 2018, https://www.scotsman.com/country-and-farming/ fishing-industrys-anger-uk-and-eu-strike-brexit-transition-deal-318889. 75 Ibid. 76 Jenni Davidson, “Brexit Deal for Fisheries like ‘A Pint of Cold Sick’, Conservative MP Douglas Ross Says,” Holyrood Website, October 4, 2019, https://www.holyrood.com/news/view,brexit-deal-for-fisheries-like-a-pint-of-cold-sick-conservative-mp-douglas-ross- says_13762.htm. 77 Libby Brooks, “Scottish Tories Still Anxious over Johnson’s Impact on the Union,” The Guardian, July 23, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/23/scottish-tories-still-anxious-over-johnson-impact-on-the-union-independence-ruth-davidson. 78 Tom Peterkin, “Boris Johnson Pledges That Access to Fishing Will Not Be Sacrificed in New Brexit Deal,” Press and Journal, July 30, 2019, https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/politics/scottish-politics/1807666/boris-johnson-pledges-that-access-to-fishing-will-not-be-sacrificed-in-new-brexit-deal/.
79 Ibid. 80 Rowena Mason and Libby Brooks, “Boris Johnson Heads to Scotland to Deliver £300m Pledge,” The Guardian, July 28, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/28/boris-johnson-heads-to-scotland-to-deliver-300m-pledge. 81 Ibid. 82 Tim Ross, “Boris Johnson’s Tories Abandoned Scotland to Win Their Big Victory,” Bloomberg, December 23, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-12-23/how-johnson-s-tories-ditched-scotland-to-rule-a-divided-kingdom. 83 “General Election 2019: Boris Johnson Claims Scotland ‘Paralysed’ by SNP,” BBC News, November 26, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/election-2019-50561993. 84 Reuters Staff, “Boris Johnson to Tell Scotland: Vote Conservative to Stop Independence Bid,” Reuters, November 6, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-election- scotland/boris-johnson-to-tell-scotland-vote-conservative-to-stop-independence-bid-idUSKBN1XG333.
85 Data collected by Eleanor Ruscitti via Boris Johnson’s Twitter account
86 Alistair Grant and Rohese Devereux Taylor, “Constituency Profile: Fishing for Votes in Scottish Coastal Communities,” HeraldScotland, December 1, 2019, https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/18072191.general-election-2019-fishing-votes-scottish-coastal- communities/. 87 Ibid. 88 “Results of the 2019 General Election,” BBC News, https://www.bbc.com/news/election/2019/results. 89 Torcuil Crichton, “Why Scottish Fishing Rights Are a Brexit Deal Breaker in EU Trade Talks,” Daily Record, October 15, 2020, https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/.politics/scottish-fishing-rights-brexit-deal-22850163. 90 British Sea Fishing, “Brexit and Britain’s Fisheries.”
92 Chris Morris and Oliver Barnes, “Brexit Trade Deal: What Does It Mean for Fishing?”
93 Harry Taylor, “Kipper Tie: Boris Johnson Sports Fish Symbol in Brexit Message,” The Guardian, December 24, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/dec/24/net-gains-boris-points-up-his-ties-to-the-fishing-industries. 94 Jeremy Kahn, “A Fine Kettle: How Fishing Became the Issue That Could Sink a Post- Brexit U.K.-EU Trade Deal,” Fortune, October 15, 2020, https://fortune.com/2020/10/15/fishing-rights-brexit-u-k-eu-trade-deal/. 95 Barrie Deas, “Opinion Piece,” NFFO, October 9, 2020, https://nffo.org.uk/news/opinion-piece.html. 96 Daniel Boffey, “Catches, Quotas and Communities: the Key Fisheries Issues at Stake,” The Guardian, October 17, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/oct/17/catches-quotas-and-communities-the-key-fisheries-issues-at-stake. 97 Denis Staunton, “Johnson Covers Brexit Win on Fish to Show He’s ‘Taking Back Control’,” The Irish Times, December 4, 2020, https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/uk/johnson-covets-brexit-win-on-fish-to-show-he-s-taking-back-control-1.4426956. 98 “Scottish Election 2021: Conservative Match Best Scottish Election Results,” BBC News (BBC, May 8, 2021), https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-57042432. 99 Dan Roberts, “‘We Have Been Hijacked’: Fishermen Feel Used over Brexit.”
100 Laura Hughes, “Brexit: Why Fishing Threatens to Derail EU-UK Trade Talks.”
101 Lucy Williamson, “Brexit: Why France Is Raising the Stakes Over Fishing” (BBC,
October 13, 2020), https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-54526145. 102 British Sea Fishing, “Brexit and Britain’s Fisheries.” 103 Jon Henley, “French Fishing Industry Divided over Sanctions on UK Trawlers,” The Guardian (Guardian News and Media, November 1, 2021), https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/nov/01/french-fishing-industry-divided-over-sanctions-on-uk-trawlers.
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