Coffee House

Salmond caught on the rock of Europe

10 December 2012

2:19 PM

10 December 2012

2:19 PM

Europe, so often the rock on which Conservative hopes foundered, is now causing considerable trouble for Alex Salmond.

The Scottish First Minister has long campaigned for Scottish separation under the slogan ‘independence in Europe’. Leaving aside his difficulty in justifying the departure from one Union only to become a junior member of another, this has always been a tricky proposal to sell.

The main reason for the SNP’s vulnerability has been that no-one has really ever known how Scotland could leave an existing member state and automatically become another one in its own right – not without having to drop all the opt outs and advantages that the UK has squeezed out of Brussels over the decades.

Indeed, it was probably because the issues surrounding this problem have been so opaque that Salmond has tried to be so definite about it. Scotland’s transition from being a member of the United Kingdom to being a member of the European Union would be ‘seamless’, the SNP leader insisted.

Scots were existing members of the EU so it would be easy for them to continue to be so, just under a different guise – that was what we were told. But then, as it started to emerge from Brussels that Scotland would have to re-apply for membership, so the rhetoric changed.

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The word ‘seamless’ was dropped. In its place came the argument that of course Scotland would have to negotiate the form of EU membership it wanted, but that would take place at the same time as negotiations with the UK Government on separation. This would mean that, by the time Independence Day came about, Scotland would have had more than enough time to negotiate its position within the EU, earning an easy transition into the European family of nations.

Underlying this argument was the assumption that, because Scotland does not already use the euro, it would not be forced to adopt it as its currency and nor would Scotland be forced to accede to all the treaties and agreements that the UK has managed to dodge for the last 20 years.

But last week all that changed again. The European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso declared that not only would Scotland have to re-apply for membership of the EU but that a newly independent Scotland would be treated as a ‘third country’ – not a member state and not a member of the EU.

As a result, all existing agreements that the UK has secured – including an opt-out from the euro – would not apply to Scotland. This changed the debate in Scotland considerably and while it is true that no-one knows what form an independent Scotland’s EU membership would look like, nor whether it would be forced to take the euro or how long it would have to remain outside the EU – there is now enough uncertainty to do serious damage to the SNP’s case.

It may well be that Salmond is right, that Scotland will have an easy job of negotiation EU membership, that Scotland will not be forced to take the euro and that the negotiations will be over long before Independence Day, allowing as near to a seamless transition as possible.

But it is also possible that Scotland’s path to EU membership will be long and bumpy, that other member states might object to Scotland getting any opt outs – even from the euro – and that Scotland might end up with a very bad deal indeed, as well as having to spend some time stranded outside its most important market.

The reality is that no-one will really know what’s going to happen until and if Scots vote for independence in 2014 and negotiations begin.

And it is that very uncertainty which is causing Salmond so many problems. The First Minister knows he needs the trust of Scots if he is to win in 2014, he also needs certainty.

And, at the moment, because of this still ongoing controversy over Europe, he has neither.

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Show comments
  • MikeS

    You all write as if this was an England/Scotland problem.

    EU see it as their problem, and are scared of the other separation problems in Spain (Catalonia, Basque and even Galicia). Who knows what other tribes want to go-it-alone elsewhere in EU-land.

  • http://www.facebook.com/charles.watt.5 Charles Watt

    PM stated yesterday; at the same time as Darling was claiming we would be forced to have the Euro
    “But, I believe, there are other countries in the EU who have no immediate or longer than that prospects of joining the Euro and I think that is the important point.”
    To join the Euro one has to be in the ERM and that is voluntary. No?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Iain-Hill/100000917822376 Iain Hill

    Why are commentators like you so deaf to the facts? When Scotland leaves, the Union will be dissolved and there will be two new states. If one must apply for EU membership, so must the other. There cannot be a successor UK of Great Britain (not just a bombastic phrase but an island comprising Scotland, England and Wales) once a significant part of Great Britain has gone. The new southern state would be the single Kingdom of England and NI. These are simple facts, and I would love to see any legal opinion which disproves them.

    • Stuart Eels

      You must be the really deft one, not so long ago Alex Salmond’s mob were saying Northern Ireland would become a protectorate of an Independent Scotland.

      Which would suit me fine, I like millions of other English want only one country and that is England.

      • http://www.facebook.com/charles.watt.5 Charles Watt

        Where did you see that? The Beano?

    • HootsMinn

      If Luxembourg left the EU tomorrow, would the EU be “dissolved”? Get real, this whole ‘dissolution of the union’ scenario may be how you and SNP fantasists think things should go, but its not how it would be. Scotland would be seen internationally as voting for voluntary breakaway, it would be the new state, and the remaining 91.6 % of the UK population would be the successor, continuing state.

      • http://www.facebook.com/charles.watt.5 Charles Watt

        I posted one legal opinion. Heres two. Ive got six in total all saying the same thing •
        Emile Noel,
        the first and longest serving secretary-general of the European Commission has
        said: “Scottish Independence would create two new member states out of
        one. They would have equal status with each other and the other states. The remainder
        of the United Kingdom would not be in a more powerful position than
        Scotland.”

        Lord
        Mackenzie-Stuart, a judge on the European Court of Justice between 1973 and
        1988 and president from 1984 to 88, has said: “Independence
        would leave Scotland and something called ‘the rest’ in the same legal
        boat. If Scotland had to reapply, so would the rest. I am puzzled
        at the suggestion that there would be a difference in the status of Scotland
        and the rest of the United Kingdom in terms of Community law if the Act of
        Union was dissolved.”

        • HootsMinn

          Those two appear to be no longer with us, and therefore (very conveniently) ineligible to have their opinions questioned with respect to current circumstances.

  • Yorkieeye

    Scotland will be used as a pawn in the EU game to tame this island. There is no way the Eurocrats will resist the opportunity to impose a second currency here, this would be embarrassing for us (causing much amusement on the continent) but also be a back door to getting the rest of the UK into their pretendy wee currency. The EU will not give a stuff what Scots think or want, the chance to drag London through the euro mill will be irresistible. This may give some Scots a reason to vote ‘yes’ but most should be wary of voting to become a complete nobody country in the vast European machine. If they think London is irrelevant to their lives
    just wait until Brussels is calling the shots and they have only got Salmon to negotiate opt outs – no chance!

  • JMcKechnie

    Independence in Europe? Can someone please explain how that paradox works exactly?!

    • http://www.facebook.com/charles.watt.5 Charles Watt

      The same as being part of the Commonwealth or NATO or UN. Eire, USA and many others wanted to be independent of the UK and you can understand why they became independent? Why not Scotland?

  • sunnydayrider

    Another EU slap in the face for the English!

  • Gerry Boy

    You have all missed the ideal solution to all of us rubbing along in a post-United Kingdom scenario!

    Independence from the UK (and reality) for Spectator Coffee Housers! And failing that independence for London and the South East from the UK!

    Problem solved for the dominant voices of London and the SE and problem solved for the rest of us.

  • Jules

    I wish England could have a referendum on leaving the UK. Lets leave the fringes to themselves. Let them finance their own spending out of their income and not England’s and let them take the National debt, incurred by bailing out Scottish banks.

    Unfortunately I don’t think Scotland will vote for Independence, they are not stupid. They will keep sucking on the English teat. If there was any chance of Scotland going it alone, a referendum would not have been called. It’s why they won’t call one in England.

  • Watcher

    The SNP are nationalist fanatics. They do not care a jot about what happens to Scotland’s economy after they have won the vote. Therefore policy is and always will be to mask the leap in the dark with stunts, platitudes & denials. Once won there will be awards & sinecures for the ‘freedom fighters’, free rail travel, private medical treatment new ranks of public sector sinecures and above all Glory. Meanwhile the economy of Scotland will perish under the insupportable burden of public spending, welfare & benefits.

    • guest

      You mean like Scandinavian countries? There are very strong arguments against independence, but I don’t think yours is one of them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/charles.watt.5 Charles Watt

      Dont mix up the SNP and those who want Independence. I would say the majority of the folk I have spoken to who want Independence are not SNP members

  • Sheumais

    If Salmond is to ask Scottish voters if they think Scotland should be an independent country, how could a Yes vote possibly justify joining the EU? Scotland would be less independent than it is today and if anyone is foolish enough to argue that point, perhaps they might explain who appointed the political leadership of Greece and Italy. It is perfectly simple, if you believe in either devolution or independence, you cannot logically support membership of the EU. I watched a representative of the SNP claim it is clear Scots wish to be members of the EU on Newsnight Scotland last week. How can it be clear? You’ve never asked us.

    • http://www.facebook.com/charles.watt.5 Charles Watt

      Because we would get a direct say in EU policy instead of having to go through Westminster, we would likely double our MEPs, we would not have to pay for Westminster MPs (BTW the refurb of Westminster is going to cost £3Bn)

  • Ron Todd

    We might consider Scotland and the rump UK both to be new countries. The EU will look at the rump as being a net contributor and Scotland as wanting handouts. They might well decide the rump is in and Scotland is out.

    What happens if Cameron has an out of Europe referendum (yes unlikely I know whatever he promises) the UK as a whole votes to leave the EU then Scotland votes to leave the UK?

  • Guest

    The English are suffering from low esteem by the comments they make against the people of Scotland. The English have already lost their country and pour bile at Scotland in their rage.

  • Guest

    It will give the EU a serious headache if Scotland leaves the Union. The EU are afraid.

  • Bickers

    The SNP’s cover has been blown. There’s no way the likes of Spain (with their Catalan problem) are going to let Scotland join (or if they do they’ll ensure the terms the Scots join on are onerous). And the EU will not allow any new member (which Scotland will be) join outside the Euro.

    Actually, I wish England could have a vote for independence if that means we’re outside the EU – what bliss!

    • Stuart Eels

      I’m with you there Bickers, I would think that the EU attempt to bully the Scots will have exactly the opposite effect, I know if we English were ever given the right to decide our future it would be outside of the EU.

      Alex Salmond certainly missed a trick by not allowing our participation in the referendum with 67% of the English wanting “Scottish Independence.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/charles.watt.5 Charles Watt

      Scottish citizens will be citizens also of the EU at least until the Act of Union is dissolved. If anyone tries to take this away then the European Court (which is the final arbiter; not Barroso or the Commission) would step in and stop this as it is against basic human rights embedded in the formation of the EU

  • http://www.facebook.com/bigbobduncan Bob Duncan

    Yet again, the little Englanders opining here about the politics of a country they do not follow or understand, come across like WWI generals discussing just exactly how superior cavalry is to those new-fangled tank and machine gun thingys.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      …………and the little Willy Wallaces are free to disoense their soi disant Anglophobia……

    • Stuart Eels

      I should get a Doctor to check that massive chip on your shoulder if I were you, it wasn’t an Englishman behaving like a WW1 general by playing puppy to Dubba and committing the UK to an illegal war, it was your boy Blair.

  • FirstPassThePostStinks

    This intervention by Barroso will tip the vote in favour of independence. When the EU and NATO instigate wars to liberate a country abroad yet do all in their power to thwart the dreams of Scottish people, there is something sinister in the heart of Europe. Go forward Scotland and claim your self respect.

    • HooksLaw

      A McLoon…

      • FirstPassThePostStinks

        Racist toe rag.

        • HooksLaw

          I am a fan of haggis neeps and tatties. And Taggert.

    • HootsMinn

      How is it an “intervention”? As far as I can see, the guy is giving straight answers to straight questions. Something to which Salmond and the SNP are strangers.

      • http://www.facebook.com/charles.watt.5 Charles Watt

        If you understand the subject every single word he stated could be misinterpreted – and it has particularly by the Unionist press as some sort of ruling. Barroso has been incorrect before now. The Commission does not have the final say, it is likely it will be down the the Council of Ministers or Parliament but more likely to be CJE if it comes to an issue of Scots losing their EU citizenship

    • Jules

      “……there is something sinister in the heart of Europe.”

      Ha ha! Have you only just realised this?

  • MichtyMe

    What is the procedure for Scotland to become outside of the EU? It is part of the territory of the EU and it must require the unanimous agreement of member states, that just will not happen. Greenland, as a dependency of Denmark, when it wished to leave the EU found it difficult, took years before they were allowed to go.

    • HooksLaw

      Outside the EU did you say?

      Greenland remains subject to the EU treaties through association of Overseas Countries and Territories with the EU. This was permitted by the Greenland Treaty, a special treaty signed in 1984 to allow its ‘withdrawal’ from the EU.

      Greenland has association with the internal market and is within the EU’s common external tariff. Greenlanders have EU citizenship. Greenland is in receipt of EU funds.

  • wrinkledweasel

    This kind of post always gets a pavlov dog reaction – a bit like the ones about Christianity, where there are always a little coterie of pea brains who use it as an opportunity, to remind us, yet again, that they think God is a sky fairy.

    Haggis McDoughut is a rabid anti-nationalist. Let’s get that one out of the way, so that everything he writes is predicated on un-belief.

    The problem is, he is sort of right. And yet also, so wrong. The EU is not about headlines, it is about undercurrents. Does Haggis know, for example, that the pretender to the Merkel throne is half Scottish? This could impact on the negotiations. Is it also the case that as Haggis points out, nobody really knows what will happen, since nobody has done this kind of thing before. And where is the info coming from? Andrew Neil managed to make Scottish Secretary Michael Moore look very uncomfortable, as if he had been rogered by the Highland Light infantry in fact, when he dared to assert the re-negotiation scenario, based on a letter which, according to the SNP talking head, “didny exist”.

    It’s like wading through Baxter’s highland broth and anybody who tells you it’s simple is being silly.

    As an SNP supporter myself, I have some fundamental “issues” with membership of the EU. Indeed, when it comes to voting for independence, it is probably going to be a deal-breaker with me and a lot of others.

    I

  • alexander

    sarcasam is the lowest form of witt, Independence like access to the EU is for us to decide NOT for the TWO FAT ladies or even Alex Salmond , anyway the current membership of the EU is not legal as it has not been ratified by the people ministers have no right to unilaterally decide to sign the treaty

  • John_Page

    If Scotland could get inherited EU membership, that could provide a precedent for a newly independent Catalonia, so the Spanish will have none of it.

    Salmond sunk by Spanish politics.

    • xDemosthenesx

      Not just Spanish – Belgian, Italian and even German. Secessionists everywhere!

      • Mike

        Rumpuy was not supportive of Salmond. It could be that the leaders of various countries are worried that indpendence for Scotland could create secessionist problems: Germany was only formed in1860, Italy in 1850, the present borders of France from about 1860( Nice was part of Savoy until 1860). The greater wealth of Flanders, Catalonia and N Italy are encouraging secessionist forces.
        I cannot see any EU leader wanting a break up of the UK which reduced the size of payments.

        • Wessex Man

          Well you got it right in the end with your last sentence but the biggest problem for the EU is Spain because it’s the wealthiest region that wants to go, rather than here with the Socialist Soviet Republic of Scotland.

        • MikeS

          I agree – it’s a much wider problem for Brussels

  • Vulture

    Sadly, it looks as though the majority of Scots know which side their bawbies are buttered on and will vote against Fattie Salmond in 2014 and keep sucking on the English teat.

    • telemachus

      We are all in favour of keeping Scotland with their Socialist vote at Westminster

  • Scarlet Tango

    It seems that there is purposeful undoing of the argument for independence and to Alex Salmond.

    I cant imagine that the statements from Washington, from the EU, from BAe and others havent been set-up by Westminster to ensure Scotland will have a very hard time of it.

    Mark my words, Salmond will be implicated in something in the next year or so (a sex scandle perhaps?). If MI5/MI6/CIA havent got their fingerprints all over this then they wouldnt be doing their jobs.

    A short while ago, Salmond was described as the most accomplished politician in the UK. Slowly he’s being pulled apart. This hapless idiot doesnt realise what he’s playing with.

    • Wessex Man

      Oh grow Scarlet Tango

      If you think they are all in action against the fat man you should be sectioned. The majority of Scots are now looking and listening and realising that the bloke who ate all the pies hasn’t thought out any of his independence lark at all.

      U-turns on NATO, the monarchy. using the hated English Pound and the Bank of England to set fiscal policy to name but a few.

      • Scarlet Tango

        Are you so naive to think that no security forces are engaged in ensuring the breakup of the UK doesnt happen?

        Do you honestly believe that they would risk the UK without survellance on fatty Salmond?

        Salmond is proving a dickhead without doubt, but I bet MI5 is photographing him whiping his arse.

        • Wessex Man

          Oh dear there’s no hope for you, careful what you do in the shower, they bugged the shower head yesterday

          • Scarlet Tango

            In your world everything will be done above board. Titter

            Naivity is a wonderful thing

            • Wessex Man

              now you’ve been smoking too much wacky backie, go and have a quiet lie down.

      • http://www.facebook.com/charles.watt.5 Charles Watt

        There was no U-turn on NATO, the SNP voted to throw out Trident (lets transfer 200 nuclear missiles to your back yard) , there was no U turn on monarchy, its the GB pound and although it is called the Bank of England it is owned by the UK…..

  • Russell

    As long as we here in England get a border separating us from Scotland and only allowing them in via visas and/or work permits(same for anyone who wants to go to Scotland would need a visa or work permit), and the Scots are not allowed to retain the UK(English) pound as currency I and I am sure, many millions of other English will be delighted.

    • http://twitter.com/TheRealHenBroon Hen Broon

      WOW! you speak for many millions of English. The ones I know are thankfully not as bigoted as you sound. Will you be campaigning for the return of the tens of thousands of English resident in Scotland? Many of them members of the SNP. Will you be repatriating the tens of thousands of Scots resident in England. There will be a lot of rail traffic in Russell land. Sales of barbed wire will rocket. You cannot afford the officers to secure Heathrow and Dover never mind adding to your borders.

      • Matthew Whitehouse

        No! They can call themselves Scottish and live their life free of being English

      • Russell

        I think you have your numbers completely screwed up. The most recent estimate I have seen of Scots living in England is over 2 million whereas the number of English people living in Scotland is indeed in the tens of thousands.Personally I think it would be a fair ‘swap’ 2 million ‘repatriated’ (leaving) England leaving an abundance of houses and jobs, which the tens of thousands could easily fill leaving a substantial number of both jobs and houses available to the English born.
        I would be particularly keen to see the back of the many Scottish Labour MP’s from both English and Scottish constituencies go along with a substantial number of BBC pro Labour Scottish employees currently on our screens.

        • Gerry Boy

          Russell, ‘tens of thousands’ of English people living in Scotland; actually it is on Census figures, 400,000 – the largest minority in Scotland. And official figures of Scots in England is 795,000. So you are massively out on both.

          • HooksLaw

            ‘I Was Massively Out’ would make a fine tombstone for most of the loony tune nut jobs.

        • Get it right

          What a great future I have to look forward to in an England ruled by Russells. I will be sent back to Scotland, my half-scottish half-english children will be cut in half, one half of each sent north the other half can stay in England. Just as well not a single English person I have ever come across in all my time living here has a problem with the fact I come from Scotland. I work hard, I pay my taxes, I contribute to my local community. I have made my home in England, it is my choice and I am happy here. But in the brave new world of Russell-land I will be sent ”home” anyway, because of the town on my birth certificate. To me, Russell-land sounds much like a country in central Europe in the 1930s and 40s.

          • Stuart Eels

            I wouldn’t worry too much about “Russell Land” Get it right, Russell will still be a small minded member of a very small minority that will never influence anyone, much like some of the Scottish ranters that appear here as well and follow any article in the Scottish Press with unbelievable hatred of all things English.

            If Scotland goes it’s own way, I would hope for a velvet divorce and full free relationship between the two countries.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Iain-Hill/100000917822376 Iain Hill

              Hear hear. Down withe rangers on both sides!

            • http://www.facebook.com/charles.watt.5 Charles Watt

              Why cant we continue to live in harmony. Unlike Darling who says we will be foreigners and serfs. I lived in England for seven years and one of our sons was born their.

        • http://www.facebook.com/charles.watt.5 Charles Watt

          Good English name Cameron. His father was born in Scotland. Im willing to make an exception in your hypothetical swap

      • http://www.facebook.com/charles.watt.5 Charles Watt

        Russell , I suppose you think of it as the English pound instead of the GBP. It is not solely an English currency and wait for it, shock, horror , The Bank of England is jointly owned by the countries that constitute the UK. I do wonder whether the rump of the UK will survive with attitudes like this

        • HootsMinn

          “… instead of the GBP”, “… jointly owned by the countries
          that constitute the UK”. It is just now, but haven’t you forgotten,
          you want to ‘dissolve’ the UK of GB&NI. In the secessionist
          fantasy world, a vote among only 8.3% of its population could create
          two successor states of equal status, which after dividing the assets
          and debts between them, would be foreign countries to each other.
          Except that Scotland would use a foreign country’s currency, that
          foreign country’s central bank would control our fiscal policy, and
          its FSA would regulate Scotland’s financial institutions. This
          whole idea from ‘independence’ proponents is so laughable.

          By the way, why call England, Wales and NI “the rump of the UK” when they constitute 91.7% of UK population? Of two supposedly equal successor states in your estimation, the title could apply at least equally to Scotland, could it not?

    • Ron Todd

      I am half Scottish half English and have spend roughly half my life in Scotland and half in England. Wouls I need a work permit or a visa to keep my job?

      • Russell

        I imagine it would depend on where you were born. I was born in England and I am English, despite working and living in Scotland for 20 years of my life. Thankfully I have now returned to England since finishing work.

        • Ron Todd

          I was born in Scotland. I have English relatives working in Scotland and Scottish relatives working in England.

          • telemachus

            Mattereth not where you live or where you were born
            How you are likely to vote tells all

  • Daniel Maris

    The Scots Government should go to the Supreme Court to get it confirmed that the United Kingdom was a voluntary union of two realms. Any break up of the union means there are two successor states to the UK – NOT one.

    • HootsMinn

      I’d imagine hell would freeze over before Salmond would go to the Supreme Court in London on anything. What does what happened 300 years ago matter anyway? It is what EU members think now that’s important.

      • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

        That’s true, and the EU members now don’t want Scotland except on their terms.

        • http://twitter.com/TheRealHenBroon Hen Broon

          You have of course consulted them all on this, will you publish the documents? Or have they also been written with invisible ink?http://tiny.cc/yjy3ow

        • alexander

          we don’t want to be members anyway , just look at the common fisheries policy that the Tories sold the industry into

        • http://www.facebook.com/charles.watt.5 Charles Watt

          Where did you get that conclusion from?

      • http://www.facebook.com/charles.watt.5 Charles Watt

        Not London The European Court of Justice. The ECJ has the final say not Barroso and the Commission. Barroso has made mistakes before and has had to be corrected by Commissioners. The above article implies that by Barroso stepping in this is some sort of ruling. He specifically said, rather ineptly, that he was not commenting on any specific case

    • Andy

      Aren’t you conflating two different things ?

      We have a union of the two crowns following the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603. As far as I recall foreign states sent ambassadors to the court of King James I & VI and not to the two respective governments in Edinburgh and London. It was the King and his council that conducted foreign affairs.

      We then have the union of the Parliaments and internal governments in 1707.

      • Stuart Eels

        Not since 1997 mate, we’ve had the UK Parliament, Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and North Irish Assembly but nothing for the English as usual. We still have MPs of these countries sat in the UK Parliament imposing their will on English matters that they aren’t allowed to vote on in their native Anglo hating countries.

        We’ve had Anglo hating Scots ranting about the English taking us into illegal wars, yet the Prime Ministers since 1997 have all been Scots, Blair and Brown born in Scotland and call me Dave saying that he is proud of the Scottish blood pounding in his veins, all of his grandparents being Scots doesn’t make him Polish does it!

        • Andy

          Oh I would solve the ‘West Lothian Question’ in a second. All Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs would be unable to vote on any matter which is devolved. I would also start to reduce Scottish expenditure to parity with that in England. But I would allow the Scots to vary income tax by 5p in the £. If they love socialism so much they will enjoy paying for it too.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Iain-Hill/100000917822376 Iain Hill

            you are wrong to talk of parity with England. How often does it need explaining? Scotland is higher than the English average (whatever that means) but lower than say, London or the North East. A short course in arithmetic?

          • http://www.facebook.com/charles.watt.5 Charles Watt

            Read the facts in the governments own statistics (GERS) Scotland contributes 9.6% of tax revenue and has 9.3% of the population.

        • http://www.facebook.com/charles.watt.5 Charles Watt

          I assume you think that all women who want equal rights are men haters. This has nothing to do with hating England it has everything to do with running our own country by those who care about our country. Count how many Scottish Tory MPs there are in what is in effect a Tory government and then tell me they / he influences policy. (the answer is one) I have voted in eight general elections and in only three cases has Scotland got the government it voted for. English MPs dominate Westminster

      • http://www.facebook.com/bigbobduncan Bob Duncan

        Only the 1707/8 union of parliaments is affected by the referendum. A yes vote will leave the 1603 union in place.
        The 1707 and 1708 Acts are the only legal basis for the existence of the UK, and the UK will end when the acts which created it are no longer in force. No doubt,England, incorporating Wales, will do a political deal to retain union with Northern Ireland, and may even style itself the UK, but the state which exists today will be replaced by two new ones, however they are named.

        • Jimmy R

          Aye, right. The United Kingdom will not become a new country if Scotland becomes independent any more then Spain will become a new country if Catelonia becomes independent and neither would France if the Catalans in France were given independence.
          All the treaties with the EU have been made with the Parliament in Westminster, which will continue to exist all be it without the over represented Scottish Contingent.
          What the SNP has not even paused to consider is that the other countries in the EU, several of whom have their own problems with disaffected areas, will not want to give encouragement to any of their would be break away parts by surrendering to Scotland’s demands for favourable treatment. The more difficult the EU makes it for Scotland the less encouragement there will be for other country’s sulky parts to follow Scotland’s example. And that is without the prospect of the EU upsetting other countries which a waiting patiently to become Members by letting Scotland push them asside to jump the queue.

        • HooksLaw

          The UK came about in 1800. If Scotland leaves the UK that still leaves a UK that they er, leave behind.

          • xDemosthenesx

            Except that it wont as the ‘United Kingdom’ is exactly that – a Union between Scotland and England (plus English Satellites). If either member leaves, the Union ceases to exist. This is not comparable to other situations where you have a federation that might survive a secession such as the U.S.A or Germany as the entity is comprised specifically of two parts.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Iain-Hill/100000917822376 Iain Hill

            How can it be “united when one of the partners has gone? Divorced people are no longer married.

        • xDemosthenesx

          You are correct. This leaves the wonderful possibility that the UK would then be de-facto outside the EU as all treaties signed as the United Kingdom are invalid. Why would one half of a Union keep the treaties and the other half not?

          Come on you beautiful Scots, free us all!

          • http://www.facebook.com/charles.watt.5 Charles Watt

            ….. and some legal comment to back this up “Lord Mackenzie-Stuart, a judge on the European
            Court of Justice between 1973 and 1988 and president from 1984 to 88, has
            said: “Independence would leave Scotland and something called ‘the
            rest’ in the same legal boat. If Scotland had to reapply, so would the
            rest. I am puzzled at the suggestion that there would be a difference in
            the status of Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom in terms of Community
            law if the Act of Union was dissolved.”

            • xDemosthenesx

              Thanks for this, I had not come across his comments before.

        • http://www.facebook.com/charles.watt.5 Charles Watt

          …. and until this act is dissolved we will be part of the UK and EU members and so can negotiate our membership. Is anyone suggesting we would be expelled at this point and asked to rejoin? This would also be against our rights as EU citizens

      • http://www.facebook.com/SilverFox2143 Nathan Matthews

        Ask yourself why trade was done in such a way – that’s right, because the English King insisted on it being that way and restricted trade direct from Scotland!

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