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Scotland and the EU: Mariano Rajoy should just jog on.

28 November 2013

10:47 AM

28 November 2013

10:47 AM

It’s bad enough being lectured by politicians from Edinburgh or even London. That, I suppose, is to be expected however. Irritating but normal. It’s rather different when foreigners – real foreigners – decide to interfere in our own constitutional rammy. It smacks of impertinence.

When that intervention comes from the leader – to put it in Sun-speak – of a nation of donkey-slaying, rock-coveting bankrupts it’s even less respectable. So the suggestion made yesterday by Mariano Rajoy, Prime Minister of what we still call Spain, that an independent Scotland would, by creating a new country, need to reapply for EU membership is hackle-raising stuff.

You’re tempted to reply jog on, pal.

Of course Rajoy’s remarks are not about Scotland at all. They are about Catalonia. Like most people in this country I am supremely indifferent to Catalan independence. They can do what they like and it is no concern of mine. Or yours. I doubt we will see or hear David Cameron or Alex Salmond expressing an opinion on the matter and that’s as it should be. You might hope Senor Rajoy would act with comparable restraint when considering Britain’s own internal affairs.

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It is true, of course, that Scottish – or Catalan – independence would be a new kind of thing taking the EU into unchartered waters. No-one has previously seceded from an EU-member state. And so, as Alistair Darling is keen to stress, there is inevitably some uncertainty here. This is an undingable chiel and it is silly to pretend otherwise.

Nevertheless and be that as it may, it also seems clear that new states such as Scotland or Catalonia are in a rather different position to that enjoyed – or endured – by states outwith the EU applying for admission. It follows that accession would have to be treated differently too.

The process for admitting Scotland or Catalonia would doubtless require some delicate negotiation and there might be a need for some transitional arrangements but nothing nearly so complex or time-consuming as admitting wholly new member states such as Croatia.

The reality – another known unknown, admittedly – likely lies somewhere between Rajoy’s dire warnings and Salmond’s cheery, even breezy, assumptions. (Those assumptions, mind you, are too often too cheery. It seems most improbable that Scotland can get everything it wants without compromising on anything at all. Anywhere.)

Meanwhile, I understand the temptation for Unionists to use Rajoy’s remarks as a “See, told you you so” stick with which to poke the nationalists. But this too is something to be handled delicately less it blow up and damage their own cause. Endorsing Spain’s analysis risks coming across as opportunistic; endorsing it with evident gusto and relish is mildly unseemly. Not least because should Scots actually back independence (almost) all Unionists will then support the SNP’s present position and argue that Scotland’s EU-accession be as quick and seamless a process as possible. Given the choice between Spain and Scotland they will, I trust, choose Scotland.

So, yes, there is some uncertainty. But many things are uncertain. Uncertainty is always with us. But uncertainty alone is not – or should not be – enough to decide the issue. Better instead to argue from first principles and win the argument on that basis, not on the back of dire warnings that you cannae do that because it will annoy the Spaniards. I mean, really.

 

 


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  • Colin56

    This is a really good example of the argument for independence for Scotland – it’s an issue that will in no way concern the rest of the UK once Scotland has gained its independence; and consequently all of the comments here will be completely irrelevant. Scotland will make its own way, negotiate its own treaties and agreements; and no one in Westminster of the rest of the UK need give a damn. Whether Scotland becomes part of the EU or not just won’t be an issue for us.(I suppose the FCO will open a new ‘Scottish desk’.) Independence needs to be complete separation with a full set of Scottish institutions and apparatus of government – not the quasi, milk and water version outlined in the Scotland’s Future document this week

    • Wessex Man

      Agreed, now all you have to do is convince the majority of the Scottish population that independence is something they should have and you won’t do it here but on the doorsteps in Scotland!

      • Colin56

        I think the vapid debate in the sub-threads above mored than prove my initial point.

        I cannot understand why Scots don’t want to grasp the opportunity bog independence with both hands – its their chance to make a real go of the Scottish nation, and to break free of what they see – maybe with some reason – of the yoke of Westminster government. And it seems to be the case that many of us icing in England feel that independence for Scotland is the way forward too. When I consider what how a struggle for independence runs through history like a golden skein, I wonder why the Scots seem, according to the polls, to cavil at the opportunity. they haver to realise tat, in the short term, there’ll be ups and downs, gains and losses; but that, within a generation or two, their path will be clear. And that it is divergent from England and the rest of the UK.

  • mehercle

    “No-one has previously seceded from an EU-member state”.

    Algeria ?

  • Mike

    All politicians are basically self serving and Rajoy is no different by mixing it in using his Scottish ‘observations’ when he’s only concerned with his own domestic problems. Catalonia is probably the richest of all Spanish provinces and the last thing he wants to see is them going it alone but quite why he wont let the Basque region do their own thing is beyond me.

  • FrankieThompson

    Alex.

    Great piece.

  • Jeannie

    I am Scottish and am an EU citizen and have been for the last 40 years, which means I have the same rights as other EU citizens. Can someone tell me what, precisely, is the mechanism by which the EU can take my 40 year-old rights away. Does such a mechanism exist? I strongly suspect there is no such thing.

    • HJ777

      You’re missing the point.

      If Scotland were to leave the UK it would be deciding not to be bound by agreements entered into by the government of the UK, which include the EU treaty.

      Strange to argue for independence from the UK and then complain that this would mean that you’d no longer be bound by agreements entered into by the UK. Make your mind up.

      • Jeannie

        I didn’t argue for independence and I didn’t complain this would mean I’d no longer be bound by agreements entered into by the UK. I simply asked if anyone knew what the precise mechanism/procedure was for taking an EU citizens rights away. If you happen to know the answer to this, could you give me a reference?

        • HJ777

          The point is that if there was a “yes” vote, then Scotland would not automatically become a member of the EU, in which case you would no longer be an EU citizen (presuming that you qualify for, and take, the new Scottish citizenry).

          I don’t believe that there is any individual obligation on you to do so (you could remain a citizen of the UK in preference to Scotland).

          So the point I’m making is that the EU wouldn’t be taking anything away from you – you’d be taken (or would take yourself) away from the EU.

          • Jeannie

            I don’t think you’re right about this HJ777. If Scottish citizens automatically lost their right to be EU citizens, then it would mean that other EU citizens would also automatically lose THEIR rights to live, work and study in Scotland. It’s a mutual arrangement, after all. Suppose I am a German living and studying in Scotland, free to do so under EU rules. The EU then decides Scotland is automatically excluded although it wants to stay. I will have to give up my studies and return home or face staying and paying hefty tuition fees. Or perhaps I am a Scottish student studying in France. The same will apply. Either way, I will feel my rights have been breached and perhaps, if I were the German student, I might bring a legal challenge. An automatic exclusion would result in the type of chaos and disruption nobody would want. So why would EU countries adopt a policy which would so adversely affect their own citizens?

            From Sept 18th 2014 until March 24th 2016, there will be an interim period in which Scotland will remain in the UK and therefore in the EU. It is at this point these matters will be ironed out. Scotland is already compliant with EU legislation and will agree to continue with this. And yes, I imagine Scotland will re-negotiate its relationship with the EU, if for no other reason than to ensure a decent deal for our farmers and perhaps to obtain a reinstatement of our regional aid – which, I believe, is now called the UK “rebate”

            • HJ777

              I refer you to your original question.

              You are now discussing what you think would happen. However, your original question wasn’t about that, it was: “…what, precisely, is the mechanism by which the EU can take my 40 year-old rights away” and I was merely explaining that it wouldn’t be the EU taking anything away.

              An independent Scotland would not automatically become an EU member. You might think it would negotiate to become an EU member contiguously, but that is a different issue from the question you asked.

              • Jeannie

                Actually, I’d moved on from the original question as no-one other than MichtyMe answered it and was replying to the answer you gave. I then cited examples of difficulties that would arise should Scotland at any point find itself outside the EU. I’m suggesting that such a scenario would present other EU citizens with problems which would be difficult to resolve and then offered my opinion that EU countries would seek to avoid such difficulties by coming to an agreement with Scotland during the interim period between a referendum vote and independence day.

                On the other hand, if you can give me a reference that would answer my original question, I’d be more than grateful.

                • HJ777

                  But you replied to me and I was the one who had answered.

                  I can’t give you a reference that answers your original question because, as I pointed out, what you describe wouldn’t happen. The EU wouldn’t be taking away anything, Scotland would, potentially, be withdrawing from the EU and if so would be taking you with it were you to choose to be a citizen.. Of course, this doesn’t have to happen to you personally because you could remain a UK citizen – you wouldn’t have to take up hypothetical Scottish citizenship.

                  All a bit academic anyway – the SNP campaign’s dishonesty is being exposed and their support is falling away. They’re now even resorting to bribing Scottish voters with their own money (free childcare, etc.) deliberately conflating policy with constitutional and governance issues. That’s a sign of desperation.

                • Jeannie

                  What a conundrum!

                  Currently, I have the same rights as an EU citizen. But if I vote for self-determination, whic, incidentally, is upheld by the EU, I will lose those rights. If I vote to stay in the Union, I might still lose my rights as the UK will be having an in-out referendum on Europe in the near-future. But we know from the example of say, Greenland, it’s not that easy to get out of – you have to negotiate your way back out. And, you have to negotiate your way in as well.

                  What’s a girl to do, eh? If I want to stay in the EU, am I better to vote for self-determination and stick with a country that I know wishes to remain an EU member and which will re-negotiate its position from within the EU, or should I vote to stay in the Union and stay linked to a state whose citizens and government are indicating they wish to leave, so much so that they are having a referendum on it.

                  I wish to remain in the EU. What’s my best bet?

                • HJ777

                  You won’t be voting for self-determination.

                  The vote is, in itself, a manifestation of self-determination whichever way you vote.

                  As for your EU ‘rights’ – yes. it is complicated. That’s life.
                  Even outside the EU, it depends what ‘rights’ you refer to – many are incorporated into national law (even if they are of EU origin) anyway and other rights such as trading rights would probably be retained as part of the EEA. Others can be maintained under reciprocal agreements.

                • Jeannie

                  Indeed, rights can be retained under reciprocal agreements. The operative word is “reciprocal”, I believe. I mentioned that a procedure is in place in the event of a country wishing to leave the EU. As I understand it, this is to give all countries involved plenty of time to make alternative arrangements for their citizens and businesses who would be losing their rights to live, work and trade in the country which wishes to leave. And why? Because it would be chaotic otherwise for the citizens and businesses involved. And that is why during the 18 month time gap between the referendum vote and referendum day, arrangements will be made for a continuity.ry. Otherwise – chaos.

                  The EU recognises the chaos factor inherent in an existing member wishing to leave and consequently seeks to avoid it. And irrespective of how Scotland comes by its EU membership, whether directly or via the UK, the EU will seek to avoid the resultant chaos for citizens and businesses should it seek to remove Scotland’s membership. Otherwise, why do they have lengthy procedures in place for leaving.

                  The point is that Scotland is already EU compliant. Whether a member in its own right or through the UK,

                  Scotland leaving the EU would require the same careful negotiation that would apply to any other existing member wishing to leave, whether that member is sovereign or not. I think that for the other EU countries, Scotland remaining in the EU would be far less problematical than what would be involved in its leaving and for that reason, will find an accommodation.

                • HJ777

                  Most or all of what you say may be true.

                  However, let me put another scenario to you. The EU plays hardball in Scottish accession negotiations. Scotland must join the Euro (as the Copenhagen criteria requires). It will not grant Scotland a rebate as the UK has (almost inevitable). It knows that Scotland would have a very limited timescale to negotiate, so could insist on anything it wanted. Scotland could not negotiate as an equal unless it were prepared NOT to be a member.

                  The UK has clout in negotiations because of its size and financial contributions to the EU. Scotland wouldn’t – and you’d have to be prepared to accept that.

                  And as for the chaos you describe – there aren’t that many Scots compared to the size of the EU. If there would be disruption, Scotland would bear it disproportionately to its size.

                • Jeannie

                  I think you paint an extreme picture, HJ777. At present, Scotland is a net contributor to the EU and I don’t think they’d want to lose this. Also, the “rebate” isn’t really a rebate as such. We used to get regional aid distributed directly to the regions according to need. Nowadays the regional aid goes directly to the Westminster government who can distribute it as they see fit. They called it the “rebate”. I’m guessing Scotland would ask for the reinstatement of regional aid.

                  Also, in terms of negotiating, I’m guessing that the outcome of negotiations would differ according to the needs of other EU countries, e.g. Spain would have a greater need for a positive outcome due to its wish to carry on fishing in Scottish territorial waters.

                  You suggest that the need to come to a speedy agreement would disproportionately affect Scotland. I think there would be a mutual need for a speedy agreement since the EU would not want to be faced with the decision of what to do with Scotland if it were not a continuing member – and after all, that would be the alternative.

                • HJ777

                  You seem to be suggesting that the rebate isn’t real – it is.

                  I think you are very naive if you think that the EU would willingly continue that proportionately to Scotland. It is desperate to get rid of the rebate if it can – and this would be the perfect opportunity.

                  You may be very optimistic about negotiations being favourable to Scotland, but if the SNP is honest, it would acknowledge that it may not turn out so well for the reasons I mention.

                • Jeannie

                  No, I’m not talking about any rebate, I’m talking about the reinstatement of regional aid arrangements, for which all EU countries are eligible. At present, Scotland gets less than it could as London does not put in the matched funding. However, this is also the case for other UK regions.

                  In the last budget negotiation round, Denmark got a better overall deal, in terms of allocation of EU funding, than did the UK, despite having a population of around 5 and a half million, similar to Scotland.

                  Might it be that size isn’t everything?

                • HJ777

                  Look – no rebate and the UK and hence Scotland would get a worse financial deal from the EU. You can talk all you like about regional aid, but it doesn’t change that fact.

                  What you are also forgetting is Rajoy’s comments. He would have a very good reason to veto a separate Scotland joining the EU or to demand very unfavourable terms.

                  The SNP’s ‘plans’ are nothing more than an aspiration.

                • Doug Melville

                  I think you would find that there are two pertinent points:
                  1. Scotland does not currently enjoy the benefits of full Agricultural CAP payments as these were traded away by the UK Govt. Scotland would be in a very strong position to claim these additional payments they do not currently get. (Kail mountain anyone?)
                  2. Scotland outside the EU would have the disadvantage of trade borders, but the EU would lose all rights to the Scottish economic zone, with the substantial oil, energy, fishing and foodstuffs they produce.

                  It seems to me that there is a lot of posturing going on here, which will either be resolved sensibly, with Scotland likely the winner (for example, direct flights not through Heathrow, CAP subsidies) or there will be a lot of noses lying on the floor, following the cut-off period.

                • FF42

                  That’s an interesting point and potentially a big fly in the ointment. The rebate goes to the UK and the UK will want to retain it after Scotland leaves (if the vote goes that way in the referendum). But in principle the rebate would be reduced in line with the UK’s smaller population and GDP share. So the UK will be negotiating something with the EU, as well as the new Scotland. It will be interesting in these eurosceptic times.

            • FF42

              Jeannie, the EU isn’t quite a State on its own, although it has aspects of it. It remains a treaty between a number of of sovereign countries. Your citizenship of the EU comes from the UK’s membership of that organisation. If Scotland chooses independence, your EU citizenship would be come from Scotland’s membership, assuming its application to join is successful, as I would expect to be the case.

      • MichtyMe

        This is nonsense, the Act of a member state, the UK, cannot cannot remove Jeannie’s citizenship, that is the competence of the EU.

        • HJ777

          You’ll be kind enough to point me to where I said it could.

          The UK government wouldn’t be doing anything as it wouldn’t be the UK government’s issue.

    • Ian McKellar

      You have never been given no rights by the EU. – they only take them away

    • andagain

      The UK is a member of various international bodies – NATO, the EU, the UN, and so on. If Scotland left the UK it would not be party to the treaties establishing those institutions. So it would have to reapply.

      Scotland might as well demand a seat on the UN Security Council – it might get it, but only if other people agreed. It wouldn’t have a right to it because it would just have left the institution that does possess that right.

  • -!!

    The spanish government does not represent, us, the spaniards, anymore. It is not because we are a donkey-slaying, rock-coveting bankrupted nation that you shouldn´t listen but because we don´t want to listen either to our own government due to its corruption, and its messures for selfpreservation that don´t agree with the people they are suppose to represent anymore. So, not Spain but the Spanish PM made that comment.

    • HJ777

      How can “Spain” make a comment? It isn’t a person – only people can make comments.

      The point is that Rayoy said what he said, and he is the man in power and therefore his comments carry weight.

      • -!!

        Neither Spain, being not a person, can do analisys but that is how the article writes it “Endorsing Spain’s analysis risks coming across as opportunistic ” . So apart of picking on the use of the language, your comment about Rajoy’s comments carrying weight is true, but we are fighting our own fight against the new laws about protesting against our government, therefore you can see there that our government does not represent us anymore, you will see if you check spanish news.

  • DougDaniel

    It’s quite simple really. Scotland and rUK have an agreement in place that Scotland can hold a referendum on independence, and if Scotland votes Yes, the two governments will work together to agree a consensual, amicable split, after which there will be no argument from anyone as to whether or not Scotland is independent or still a member of the UK.

    Spain, on the other hand, has refused to allow Catalonia to have an independence referendum, but Catalonia are going to have one anyway. If the Catalans vote Yes (as seems extremely likely), they will have to become independent against the wishes of Spain. Spain will refuse to recognise the sovereignty of Catalonia, and will encourage the countries they have diplomatic relations with to do the same.

    There’s the difference, and that’s the get-out clause Spain will use to pretend it’s not being a hypocrite when it raises no objections to Scotland becoming the 29th EU member state.

  • allymax bruce

    “a nation of donkey-slaying, rock-coveting bankrupts it’s even less respectable.” (Mariano Rajoy, Prime Minister of what we still call Spain).
    Ha! Alex Massie getting all emboldened. Alright!
    Yeh, too many career politicians in EU politics; like oor ane fair & effervescent Johann Lamont; whom, today in oor ane Holyrood Parliament, made more than a few spurious, contemptable, and sneering comments/remarks! Supposedly for the sake of her career???
    Labour sneer; dontcha just luv Labour!!!

  • RolftheGanger

    From the comments, no one has flagged up that Mr Massie is entirely correct and deserves congratulations in this respect. His argument that the Union side should face the issue fair and square and debate the pros and cons of the return to self government in a direct, open and straightforward way (my words)

    Three cheers for that. Democracy has been debased and abused by the creeping pollution of “debater” politics. I mean by that the whole gamut of the political cowardice of never answering the opponent’s point, instead deflecting, deliberately misrepresenting, twisting word and meanings without regard to honesty and truth and all the other sordid methods to which Westminster has descended. And which spills over to debates in the media columns,
    I respect Mr Massie’s commitment to the Union. I see it as honest and genuine. Totally disagree, but it is refreshing to deal with someone returning to former standards of genuine debate. That shift should be recognised, respected and perpetuated. That means self restraint by all and a willingness to jointly pull the debate back on track when it gets sidetracked or sabotaged.

    • HJ777

      So let me see – you post a comment that simply denigrates your opponents, describes them as ‘misrepresenting’, ‘sordid’, showing “cowardice” etc. and then criticises them for not debating the points at issue, when you do discuss, or even mention, any of those issues yourself.

      The obvious word that springs to mind is hypocrite.

  • MichtyMe

    What about Rajoy’s opinion on Gibraltar, sound stuff also?

  • NorthBrit

    “No-one has previously seceded from an EU-member state.” Not quite true.

    In 1973 Greenland joined the EEC with Denmark. In 1979 Greenland achieved Home Rule. In 1985 following a consultative referendum, Greenland left the EEC.

    Special arrangements had to be made with the EEC in order to allow them to leave.

    http://grahnlaw.blogspot.co.uk/2009/01/european-union-greenland.html

    http://www.politics.co.uk/reference/eu-withdrawal

    It is, however, true to say that no-one has ever been thrown out.

    Facts are, as you suggest, chiels that winna ding.

  • William Haworth

    I don’t understand why a nation would want to leave a Union in which they had 1/12 (Scotland) or 1/6 (Catalunya) of the votes, to join one in which they had 1/27 or 1/28 of the votes. If they encourage the EU by accepting those terms, then their independence would amount to no more than the right to decide what day to put the bins out.

    • Rev. Stuart Campbell

      We wouldn’t be “joining” the EU. We’re already in the EU. So we wouldn’t be losing an atom of independence, because all the EU laws we’d be obeying, WE ALREADY OBEY NOW. Jeez, you folk would give a saint a headache.

      • William Haworth

        Oh, I see. We’re already not free, so being not free with a different flag makes everything soooo much better.

        • Rev. Stuart Campbell

          Depends on your perspective. I’d rather be ENSLAVED BY THE EVIL EUSSR without Tories in charge than with them.

          • Flintshire Ian

            ……and I would cheerfully manage without Scottish Labour MPs voting on issues that are of no concern to them.

            • Rev. Stuart Campbell

              Then we’re agreed.

              • Doug Melville

                Isn’t the point that the ‘Scottish’ representatives in the EU currently are not Scottish representatives, they are UK reps. Their focus is on maintaining the UK exemptions which are primarily aimed at the (Largely) London based financial services bubble. Scottish representatives based on the same representation as say Denmark. would have the opportunity to work with other nations to represent Scottish interests, such as CAP payments, not London exemptions?

          • HJ777

            If that’s part of the SNP separatist case, then I suggest that it is stated openly – that you have no interest in preserving the freedom of Scots because hatred of Tories (and there are many Scots Tories, by the way) is more important.

            Let’s see how Scots react to that argument for separation.

  • MichtyMe

    Scotland is part of the EU, not outside wanting in, the EU has no procedure to enable it to exclude part of its territory, it could I suppose create a process but that would require unanimity, it is never going to happen.

    • HJ777

      The EU has a procedure to allow parts of member states to withdraw and some have. Withdrawing from a member state which has signed the EU treaty and has been accepted by other members would create a new state which has not.

      There is no procedure for a newly-created state to automatically become a member – this would be undemocratic both for the people in the newly-created state and for the other members who hadn’t indicated their agreement.

      • Rev. Stuart Campbell

        “Withdraw” != “exclude”. There’s a rather important difference.

        • HJ777

          Scotland, in the unlikely event of separation, would be withdrawing from the jurisdiction of the member state that signed the membership treaty. Therefore it would also be withdrawing from the EU and would have to re-apply if it wanted to become a member.

          I thought that the argument of you separatists was that you didn’t want to have to abide by laws and agreements made by the Westminster government and that you prefer to institute your own agreements?

          You seem very confused.

          • Rev. Stuart Campbell

            Sigh. The referendum is not about the EU and will make no statement about the EU. The current government of Scotland has no wish to withdraw from the EU, nor will any that could conceivably be elected in 2016. You can make an argument (a comically weak one, but an argument) for why Scotland might be EXCLUDED, but to argue that it would be WITHDRAWING is embarrassingly fatuous.

            That you would wish something to be so does not make it so.

            • HJ777

              Yours is the fatuous argument, unless you are suggesting that Scotland would still be bound by agreements made by the UK government.

              Make up your mind. Either Scotland withdraws from the UK, and thus agreements made by the UK, or it does not.

              Nobody is fooled by your ridiculous assertions, least of all most Scots. You seem to think that Scots are all fools and that you can pull the wool over their eyes.

              • FF42

                HJ777 is being tetchy, but he is correct. Legally there will be no “successor state”. There will be the UK with a bit chopped off, but the same legal entity as before, and a newly created state of Scotland. None of the UK treaties will carry over automatically to Scotland. The Scottish Government might propose new treaties on the same terms as the UK ones and the other partner may agree or may decide to open negotiations.

                Scotland will have to “accede” to the EU. I would expect the process to be expedited, with the negotiations starting the day after the vote. But it will have to go through the accession process and it’s likely to end up with a different set of conditions and opt-outs from the UK. A desire for speed will probably reduce its negotiating power on opt-outs.

                • HJ777

                  and of course, the “Copenhagen Criteria” makes it clear that:

                  “[New] Membership presupposes the candidate’s ability to take on the obligations of membership including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union”

                  Note the “monetary union” part, which contradicts this week’s SNP policy on monetary union. Still, if we wait until next week their policy may change again.

                  It’s about time that the SNP separatists were a little more honest with the Scottish public about the practical difficulties and implications of what they propose

                • FF42

                  Actually, I think Scotland would get opt-outs from the Euro and Schengen. The first one because it wouldn’t qualify anyway, and the second one because it would be be impractical given its only land border with the UK. It won’t get any rebates, though

                • Rev. Stuart Campbell

                  Nobody needs an “opt-out” from the Euro.

                • MichtyMe

                  If you are correct then the UK is the successor of the national debt and any contribution by Scotland voluntary.

                • HJ777

                  Provided that the UK government continues to own all the assets too, I don’t suppose it would have any problem with that.

                • MichtyMe

                  Assets??? what assets, almost all gone, sold long ago.

                • HJ777

                  The UK government owns, through Network Rail, the rail network. It owns the road network – i could go on.

                  If you’re happy to pay the government of the rest of the UK to use these assets (tolls, perhaps), then fine.

                • MichtyMe

                  Oh dearie me, have to do better than that….. roads?? most are “owned” by the local authorities and the Scottish Government the remainder.

                • FF42

                  The obvious one is oil, but that will be negotiated separately.

                • MichtyMe

                  The oil comes along with sovereign territorial jurisdiction. Negotiation unnecessary, covered by international convention.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  I think you are being a little naive if you think Oil will not be part of the negotiation. It might, for example, be in Scotland’s interests to swap future Oil revenues for part of its share of the national debt thereby enabling it to obtain a better credit rating and borrow more cheaply or service its remaining share of the debt more cheaply. I am not saying this would be the case simply that these negotiations will be infinitely more complex than Salmond is implying and such deals might be to Scotland’s greater advantage.

                • HJ777

                  You are confusing responsibility for, with ownership.

                • Rev. Stuart Campbell

                  Dear God but you’re dim. Assets in the context of the dissolution of a state refers to MOVEABLE assets. Buildings (and roads) stay where they are, and are not considered during negotiations, for all the mindbogglingly obvious reasons.

                • HJ777

                  More insults, I see. Do you address your parishioners in this way?

                  Let me remind you that all these assets are the property of the UK government. It is under no obligation to agree to anything. It could simply veto separation and continue to own the assets.

                  The rail network, for example is owned by a nominally private company which just happens to be owned by the UK government. Any Scottish government would be required to buy those assets if it wanted to own them unless the owners decide to donate them.

                  Whether assets are movable or not is neither here nor there.

                • Rev. Stuart Campbell

                  It really is, I’m afraid. And since you clearly know nothing about anything, and simply stick your fingers in your ears when people provide evidence to the contrary, I’m out.

                • Wessex Man

                  I’ve met some pretty stupid rude arrogant Rev’s in my time but you are in a league of your own.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  I think we can safely assume that the ‘Rev’ is a childish affectation and not a reflection of real ecclesiastical status.

                • FF42

                  Possibly, if Scotland declared UDI. Nevertheless, the SNP claim a negotiated separation and the debt issue will be part of that negotiation. The precedent for allocation of assets and liabilities is clear: it’s done on a population basis.

                  If Scotland does declare UDI we can expect the UK to veto our EC accession as well as an Anglo-Irish style trade war.

                • NorthBrit

                  Vienna treaty is clear. Seceding state has no obligation to assume debt. Lord Wallace cited Russia and Ireland as the relevant examples. Russia kept all of the USSR’s debt (and overseas assets). Irish independence predates the treaty but in any case the UK was left with all of the national debt.

                • Rev. Stuart Campbell

                  Please do cite your supporting evidence.

                • FF42

                  Although it’s a long time ago, Ireland is a good example. The separation of that country didn’t affect the UK’s legal position one jot or change a single treaty. On the other hand Ireland had to create its own system of treaties from scratch.

                  Although Ireland is a successful country now it had a very bad time of it for fifty years, some of which was directly linked to its independence.

                • NorthBrit

                  “Despite its similarity to the union of 1707, Scottish and English writers unite in seeing the incorporation of Ireland not as the creation of a new state but as an accretion without any consequences in international law.”

                  From the UK government’s own legal opinion.

                • MichtyMe

                  There probably never was a sovereign Irish state. The Kingdom of Ireland was created by Proclamation of Henry VIII.

                • FF42

                  Errrr, the legal opinion you refer to was about the incorporation of Ireland into the United Kingdom after the Act of Union of 1801.

                  Their Opinion on the topic in hand is as follows:

                  If Scotland were to become independent …it would be with the UK’s agreement rather than by unilateral secession. In practice, its status in international law and that of the remainder of the UK (rUK) would depend on what arrangements the two governments made between themselves before and after the referendum, and on whether other states accepted their positions on such matters as continuity and succession. But there are a number of legal considerations.

                  The three possible outcomes for the status of Scotland and the rUK in international law following Scottish independence are as follows, from most to least probable.

                  1 Most likely, the rUK would be considered the continuator of the UK for all international purposes and Scotland a new state. This has been the most common outcome in the case of separation, as evidenced, for example, by the acceptance of Russia as the continuator of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) despite its political collapse. The fact that the rUK would retain most of the UK’s territory and population and that its governmental institutions would continue uninterrupted would count in its favour. So, importantly, would the acquiescence of other states in any claim of continuity. Since the rUK would be the same state as the UK, questions of state succession would arise only for Scotland.

                  2. Some states have dissolved entirely into new states, leaving no continuator. But the most recent instances of this are the result either of an agreement between the
                  states involved, one of which might otherwise have been considered the continuator state (Czechoslovakia), or of prolonged resistance by other successor states and
                  third states to a claim of continuity in circumstances of ethnic conflict …

                  3.Reversion to a previous independent state such as the pre-1707 Scottish state may not be excluded. But it normally depends on conditions that are absent here,..

                  Opinion: Referendum on the Independence of Scotland – International
                  Law Aspects

                • NorthBrit

                  Not relevant to the point at issue. Ireland was a colony. It continued to be a colony. It did not change the nature of the Union. I am sorry if that was insufficiently clear.

                  But you have helpfully highlighted the astonishing weakness of their conclusion 2. Which is:

                  They chose to ignore the Czechoslovak precedent on the grounds what actually happened and the countries agreed together doesn’t count because they could have chosen to do something different. This conclusion is based on an assertion in a single article published in 1993 by a Czech academic that the Czech Republic could have claimed to be the successor state. That’s their evidence.

                  Conclusion 1 is based on citing a series of colonies leaving empires. Which is not a relevant fact set here, but following through.

                  68.1-5
                  1. Most of their colonial examples, but not all (Algeria!, Ireland) the successor state had larger territory.
                  2. In most of their colonial examples, but not all, the successor state continued with substantially the same governmental institutions (sadly not true for their USSR example).
                  3. In the non-violent examples no-one disputed the identity of the successor state.
                  4. In violent cases, no-one disputed the identity of the successor state (odd that Algeria didn’t claim to be France).
                  5. The successor state remained in the UN, the new state had to apply. The only thing that this tells you is that the UK govt. was really worried about ceasing to be the continuing state, despite all of the above.

                  Scotland is not a colony. Unless you’d like to assert otherwise.

                  The opinion throughout relies heavily on the fact that the parties were in agreement as to which was the successor state. There is no agreement here.

                  Thanks for highlighting the paper thin arguments in the UK government’s “opinion”. Errrr, indeed.

                • FF42

                  I did learn something from that document: that rUK and Scotland could negotiate what they collectively want and then try to get other countries to agree. I don’t see rUK actually wanting to change its status so the general rules apply – ie rUK won’t negotiate a successor arrangement for itself.

                  Now these people are lawyers so they don’t say “it’s like this”, but they are as supportive as lawyers are ever likely to be of my assertion that rUK will by default remain the same legal entity and keep its existing treaties while Scotland will be a new state and have to negotiate its own treaties.

                  While they do allow for situations of a dissolved state becoming two or more successor states and of a state seceding from an existing state, they didn’t come up with any examples of states splitting in two where both parts are seen as the original state. This is the argument of many on this forum and it’s nonsense.

                • NorthBrit

                  Given that Irish union had no effect (see UK govt. legal opinion ref. below), the UK of England (including Ireland and Wales) and Scotland with “a [Scotland shaped] bit chopped off” would be England.

                  In the same way as Mr and Mrs Smith becomes Mr Smith once Mrs Smith has departed. Clearly Mr Smith could continue to call himself Mr and Mrs Smith, but he wouldn’t be fooling anyone.

                  Expressed algebraicly:
                  If E+S=UK then UK-S=E. UK-SUK

            • ChuckieStane

              Maybe Rajoy’s father should have withdrawn.

          • MichtyMe

            That is political lingo, technically what will happen is the UK legislature will create two equal independent successor states from the one.

            • HJ777

              Only one of which would be bound by existing international agreements, since that would be the only one still under Westminster government jurisdiction.

              • Rev. Stuart Campbell

                Evidence please.

                • Slipknot

                  Come on Campbell, get your finger out. Everyone’s been waiting all day to hear your unintentionally hilarious take on this in your blog. When you ignore bad news it isn’t half as much fun. May I suggest the “We’ve always been at war with Oceania” line that usually works so well for you.

      • sir_graphus

        Never mind the finer points of law; the EU generally interprets the law to suit their own agenda. At the moment it’s politically undesirable to encourage the split of small territories. When faced with the loss of territory and citizens, I’m sure they’ll decide EU law actually says something different. Though good luck to Scotland with the rebate and the opt outs.

        • ChuckieStane

          Exactly, East Germany was not made to join the “back of the queue”. The EU (like NATO) is essentially an expansionist organisation. There is no prospect of Scotland being ejected. Semantic regarding “withdrawal” are mere deabting club point scoring.

          • FF42

            East Germany didn’t join the EU

            • ChuckieStane

              Not a as a “new member”, the DDR was a unique case so the EU took a pragmatic approach and smoothed the path. Similarly the ending of the union is a unique case and the EU will adopt a sensible approach.

              • FF42

                The Federal Republic of Germany, already an EU member, absorbed East Germany. There was no change in the legal status of the country.

      • MichtyMe

        There is article 50 which is for the withdrawal of a member state. I am not aware of anything that would enable exclusion of a territory, any references.

        • HJ777

          It would be withdrawal of a territory from a member state and therefore withdrawal from agreements made by that member state.

          Otherwise, what’s the point of independence?

          • MichtyMe

            Scotland is not withdrawing, in fact it can’t do anything, the referendum is just a big opinion poll, it is the UK parliament which legislates and they will do that to create the two states.

            • HJ777

              I’m glad that you agree that Scotland isn’t withdrawing.

    • Wessex Man

      it’s like the last seven days have never happed!

  • BoiledCabbage

    “It’s rather different when foreigners – real foreigners – decide to interfere in our own constitutional rammy. It smacks of impertinence”

    Indeed. Goebbels was of the same view.

  • Tom Hogg

    The penultimate paragraph sums up a point that I have been clumsily trying to make for months now. Why are Better Together supporters apparently revelling in increasing uncertainty over a status that they wish to maintain?

    “It could take years to resolve and as the EU is so important to Scottish business and tens of thousands of jobs depend on it” said a certain Mr Darling last year.

    So why not take this up Alistair, as an important point that needs to be clarified before September next year, instead of gloating when Rajoy sticks his oar in?

    • HJ777

      When was Alistair Darling “gloating when Rajoy sticks his oar in”? I don’t recall Alistair Darling making any reference to Rajoy’s comments..

      Incidentally, it can, and I’m confident that it will, all be resolved next year by a resounding “no” vote.

      • Tom Hogg

        Errr… today, in the Telegraph.

        “Alistair Darling, the leader of the pro-UK Better Together campaign, said: “This is another blow to Alex Salmond’s claims that nothing would change if we vote to go it alone. The Spanish Prime Minister has just made it clear that everything would change.””

        • HJ777

          Fair enough.

          But it’s not “gloating”, it’s just being correct. If Rajoy had said the opposite, do you think that Salmond wouldn’t have used it to support his argument?

          • Rev. Stuart Campbell

            It’s not “correct”. The Spanish PM said no such thing.

            • HJ777

              “Mariano Rajoy said that if a “region” opted to leave a member state, then it would “remain outside the European Union”.

              It would then require the agreement of all 28 EU members before it was allowed to join, he said.”

              • Rev. Stuart Campbell

                Nobody’s “leaving” anything. The Union is being dissolved.

                • HJ777

                  For a start it’s not being dissolved since Scotland is likely to vote “no”.

                  Scotland would be leaving the UK. The UK is the member state.

                • Rev. Stuart Campbell

                  Tiresome unsupported assertion(s). Prove it, and I don’t mean with a laughably biased UK government “report”.

                • HJ777

                  Prove what?

                  My opinion is that Scotland will vote “no” and my other statement is simply factually indisputable.

                • Rev. Stuart Campbell

                  No it’s not. You haven’t provided a shred of evidence supporting it. You just WANT it to be the case, so you’ve asserted that it IS.

                • HJ777

                  I don’t want it to be the case that Scotland leaves the UK, you do.

                  But in the unlikely attempt that Scotland did vote ‘yes’ it would leave the UK. The other possibility is that it would remain in the UK – is this what you’re arguing?

                  You are the most confused person I’ve come across in a very long time.

                • Rev. Stuart Campbell

                  Sigh. “The UK” was formed by the union of Scotland and England. If Scotland votes for independence, that union will be dissolved. If you get a divorce, the marriage doesn’t still exist. You split up your stuff and become two single people. If you had a joint bank account, you don’t keep it.

                • HJ777

                  There is no such thing as “the UK”

                  It is a specific United Kingdom (of….) and its composition has changed on more than one occasion. The United Kingdom did not cease it exist when the Irish Republic left, for example.

                  You are very very confused.

                • Rev. Stuart Campbell

                  Yawn. See above:

                  http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/alex-massie/2013/11/scotland-and-the-eu-mariano-rajoy-should-just-jog-on/#comment-1143016554

                  Still waiting for you to provide any evidence for your assertions. I know you THINK the UK will be the continuing state and Scotland a new one, I just have no idea what you’re basing that on. Chapter and verse required.

                • HJ777

                  I suggest that you get less lazy and research some history then.

                • Rev. Stuart Campbell

                  What for? I already know the history. You’re the one making groundless assertions, I’ve got nothing to prove.

                • HJ777

                  You know your version of history.

                  Just like you know facts that are simply what you want to believe.

                  Proof doesn’t pay a part in your way of thinking.

                • FrankieThompson

                  The fiction is that the “KIngdom of Ireland” now consists of those six counties and the other twenty six simply broke off, so the “Three Kingdom United Kingdom” can subsist nothwithstanding the existence of the state of Ireland, commonly called “The Republic of Ireland”.

                  But if Scotland dissolves the Union of 1707 ( but not the one of 1603), the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland” can still exist, in theory at least. But I think reality will demand it is called something else. It would be interesting to see what that would be.

                • Zeus

                  The UK is Scotland and England. The 1800 union added in Ireland into the mix, so the bulk of Ireland leaving did not cease. Scotland leaving does null and void the use of UK as the Kingdom of England is England, Wales and I suppose NI.

                • Wessex Man

                  He’s probably sick to the back teeth of being told by the sad Cybernat nutjobs that come on here full pomp, saying they are going do this that and the other and you English are not going to stop us, when in fact the vast majority of the English don’t care and people like myself want it to happen now.

                  Years ago I would have been a don’t care, now however people that were happy to share my company when I visited family in Scotland barely speak and some do in the most crude way. You and I don’t doubt the vast majority of Scots may well want to stay in Union but the Nats have ensured relations will never be the same.

                • Doug Melville

                  No, he is making the (not unreasonable) case that the UK was formed in 1707, and that the withdrawal of one of the parties causes the dissolution of that Union, leaving England, (incorporating Wales – as that was subsumed prior to the Union as a principality) – and the rather odd (constitutionally) NI. Neither Wales or NI is a Kingdom, so I am not sure how it could be a United Kingdom.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Are you suggesting that England, Wales and Northern Ireland will no longer be able to call themselves the United Kingdom following the departure of Scotland. I think not. We will continue to call ourselves the United Kingdom and will be legally entitled to do so. The residents of Scotland have every right to determine their own future but emphatically no right to dictate anything concerning the future of the rest of the UK.

                • HJ777

                  He’s very very confused. He thinks that the rest of the UK would not be the continuing state based on a vote held only in Scotland.

                  That, of course, would only be the case if there was a UK-wide vote to split up the union.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Yes there seems to be this startling and naive belief that the rest of the UK will have to sit around in limbo for years while the people of Scotland decide our fate. Shall we let them keep the pound, belong to the EU, set interest rates etc etc. And then they accuse us of being arrogant. Priceless.

                • Jeannie

                  I wouldn’t have any problem with the former UK (which includes Scotland) continuing to call itself the UK if Scotland is independent. I’m just wondering what the term would mean. Which kingdoms would be united? As I understand it, Wales and Northern Ireland are deemed “provinces”. Granted, we’d share a queen, but then so do Australia and Canada and I don’t think they would use a term like United Kingdom. Having said that…..I really don’t have a problem with it.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Well that really is very big of you. The point is that if Scotland opts to become an independent nation, which its citizens are perfectly entitled to do, you will not under any circumstances by making that choice leave the rest of the UK in limbo and beholden to the people of Scotland for what we do next. We will continue to be members of the EU, set our own interest and tax rates without any reference to the people Scotland and their interests. That includes continued use of Sterling by Scotland which will be for the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland to decide as well as the people of Scotland. Cue the usual dreary accusations of racism, bigotry etc etc in response.

                • Jeannie

                  I was trying to support you actually. What a shame you chose to reply in that way. I fail to see where I accused you of racism or bigotry. Could you maybe clarify?

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  I said “cue” the usual dreary accusations etc. That is what usually follows a comment by anybody who dares to have a contrary opinion to a supporter of Scottish independence. Please do not insult me by suggesting you were supporting my position because the implication of your comment was that after Scotland’s departure, the appellation ‘UK’ would simply be a name and would not enjoy the same legal status it enjoyed previously. It was condescending nonsense as you well know and to try and pass your comment off as supportive is wholly disingenuous.

                • Jeannie

                  In what way did I not support your position? You want to use the name UK. I’ve agreed you should use the word UK. I only asked what it would mean. At worst, you could accuse me of pedantry. If you are saying that “cue the usual dreary accusations, etc.” was not directed at me, and that I’ve taken you wrongly, that’s fine. But really, there’s no need to be so obnoxious.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Right, in answer to your question, this is what calling England, Wales and Northern Ireland the UK following the departure of Scotland would mean: 1. We would manage our own currency (Sterling), Monetary and Fiscal policies in the best interests of the people of the UK and without any reference to the people of Scotland. 2. We would remain a member of the EU for as long as that was the desire of the people of the UK and without reference to the people of Scotland. 3. The UK would manage its Transport, Defence, Health, Education, Agricultural, Energy and Industrial policies without any reference to the interests of the people of Scotland. Is that clear? Scotland will not, following its independence, dictate anything related to the above to the people of the UK. Oh and if Scotland wishes to create a ‘Sterling Zone’, assuming its separate membership of the EU will allow this, then that will be for the whole of the UK to decide and not just the people of Scotland. Finally, should Scotland join this ‘Strerling Zone’ it will live with the decisions of the BOE which will be acting in the best interests of the citizens of the UK and not a foreign country. I await your usual self-pitying response.

                • Jeannie

                  I’m sorry but I really don’t understand what you’re talking about. And I don’t understand what you’re getting so annoyed about. I also don’t know what you mean by my “usual” self-pitying response. I’ve never posted on this site before today.

                  With respect to your three points, there’s nothing that I would disagree with. I would fully expect that the UK government would pursue policies that would be in the interests of their citizens.

                  I’m not interested in getting into an argument with you, especially as I’ve no idea why you’re so angry with me, so I’ll call it a day with you.

                • Doug Melville

                  Actually, it was the UK that joined the EU. If the people of Scotland choose independence, then the UK ceases to exist, now I would imagine that the EWNi would have a very good claim to be the successor state, but that has yet to be established.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  And exactly the same questions would arise for an independent Scotland although Mr Salmond seems to treat this issue with the same lofty disdain as he does every other difficult question. Ironically, there is a growing proportion of people in England who would be delighted by the prospect of being kicked out of Europe and thus regaining a little independence for ourselves. That said, Britain represents an important market for exports from the EU and I expect that commercial imperatives will prevail on this issue. I suspect both EWNi and Scotland will be welcomed into the EU fold with open arms save for a lot of belicose chest beating and grandstanding from the various elements of the EU. On the basis that this whole situation would have been engineered by Scotland and that ENWi would be, shall we say, the innocent bystander: I wonder if the EU would treat it as a ‘residual rather than new member. Scotland on the other hand might be asked to join the euro as part of its ‘application to join’. Who knows? It is yet another question that everybody seems keen to duck.

                • HJ777

                  I think you’re a little unfair on Jeannie, who is discussing in a civilised fashion. I do sympathise, because the reaction of so many of the ScotNat fanatics here can easily create the impression that they’re all as you describe and that they are all likely to resort to such behaviour sooner or later (usually sooner), but there are exceptions.

                  Of course, the more the fanatics get out in the open, the better, as more Scots will see the true nature of so many of the separatists who claim to be such nice people compared to unionists.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Sorry but I am sick to death of being treated as a second class citizen in my own country. I am sick of being told that the future of England, Wales and Northern Ireland will rest in the hands of the people of Scotland. I have absolutely no objection to them choosing their own future but I am heartily sick of the implication that they will decide mine.

                • HJ777

                  It’s understandable.

                  But you do have to remember that it is only a small proportion of Scots that are like that. These fanatics are deliberately trying to provoke English people into intemperate outbursts against Scots in general (so that they can point and say – they’re the nasty people and we’re nice, so vote to get away from them), by trying to portray themselves as representing Scots attitudes and opinions. They don’t.

                  I am Anglo/Welsh/Scots and a firm believer in the union. I know lots of Scots (neighbours, friends and colleagues) and have family in Scotland. Not one of them shares the attitudes of these people – in fact, most of them are extremely angry at the antics you see and the fact that these people claim to represent them. Some are apoplectic at the voting arrangements that allow those Scots living in England no vote in the future of their own country – but then Salmond is interested in getting the outcome he wants, by whatever method he can use, not in what Scots really want. He is prepared to be as dishonest as it takes.

                • Doug Melville

                  The remainder of the United Kingdom can cal itself whatever it likes, – the Democratic Peoples Republic of Canary Wharf or whatever. The real question is whether it wants to claim the status of successor state, in which case – everything continues as before – except Scotland has no liabilities of the debts contracted as the UK (and no claim on the movable assets either). Or there can be a negotiation. My personal belief is that neither extreme would work, and in some ways, the Scots Govt. holds the successor/non-successor trump card. So I actually think that negotiations would be largely as predicted by the Scottish Govt, with a variety of minor concessions and transitional arrangements. I would hope it would be reasonably amicable.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  I can only imagine your reaction if I suggested with equal flippantcy and condescension that Scotland should be renamed for example, ,the Democratic Peoples Republic of the Frozen North’. I have to accept however that this is a one way street and you can be as rude as you like about England but woe betide anybody who insults Scotland. It is naive in the extreme of you to believe that negotiations would be amicable they will be extremely bitter and trust me, Scotland will get its share of the national debt.

                • Doug Melville

                  Read what I said. Which is that the remainder of the UK is entitled to call itself pretty much whatever it wants. But it wouldn’t be the United Kingdom, as that has a statutory basis.

                • Doug Melville

                  well, i agree that you should be unaffected by the disaffected. But the continued use of Sterling is not in the gift of the ‘bank of England’ – it is a fully convertible currency. And the BoE is actually the bank of the UK.

                • Rev. Stuart Campbell

                  They can CALL themselves that, or indeed the Unified Imperial Grand Society Of Banana Hammocks And Marmite-Flavour Knee Socks if they like. But they won’t legally BE the United Kingdom formed by the union of Scotland and England.

                • HJ777

                  It hasn’t been that for a long time because of the inclusion of Ireland (and then Northern Ireland).

                • Wessex Man

                  Don’t you just love these Cybernat nutjobs with their mesh vision!

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Yes its funny that they never comment on anything else but Scottish independence. The moment an article appears they are all over it like a rash with rebuttals and accusations of bigotry, racism, fascism etc etc directed at anybody who so much as hints at a dissenting opinion. Make a suggestion that there needs to be some clarity developed in respect of monetary policy and just wait for the deluge of abuse and obfuscation. When articles concerning growth, EU renegotiation, inflation etc etc appear however, they vanish like the wind. I wonder if they are all sitting together at computers in some dreary office in Edinburgh waiting for the word from Salmond that a potentially unsupportive article has appeared and it is time once more to “cry havoc and let slip the [nationalist] dogs of war” .

                • Wessex Man

                  very well put!

                • Doug Melville

                  clearly I must be sitting at my dusty computer here in Canberra Australia awaiting my instructions. But regardless, the question of EU in/out still hasn’t been answered by those who support the continuation of the Onion.(it maks ye greet).

                • Tom Hogg

                  There’s a timing issue here that you don’t appear to be aware of. In 2014 Scotland will vote Yes, but will still be in the UK, since obviously you can’t just switch government systems overnight.

                  As we seem to endlessly hear, after the referendum there needs to be a period of negotiation on the independence settlement. That principle is spelled out in the Edinburgh Agreement. The White Paper has said that March 2016 is when Scotland would become independent. So, from September 2104 to March 2016, Scotland is still part of the UK and will become involved in negotiating with the EU on membership, something that it can’t do now, only the UK government has a conduit to Brussels.

                  At no point is there a loss of continuity where Scotland is either not in the UK (and the EU) or in the EU on its own.

                  It’s not feasible any other way. For example, if Scotland was kicked out in 2014 after voting Yes, but was still part of the UK, what happens to the UK opt-outs and the rebate? How are CAP payments allocated? Who gets to fish in Scottish waters?

                  Rajoy can say what he likes for his domestic audience, but it’s complete fabrication. As for Mr Darling, he has already said that it’s an important point, so him doing nothing other than parroting nonsense isn’t really helping.

                • HJ777

                  Your views are simply an assertion of what Salmond says will happen, not a matter of fact.

                • Tom Hogg

                  I don’t really need Alex Salmond to help me form an opinion about what is a logical hypothesis, but what do you think will happen between September 2014 and March 2016 in relation to the EU membership conundrum?

                • HJ777

                  You mean that the SNP hasn’t made it clear?

                  You mean that there isn’t certainty about the SNP’s plans?

                  If I’m wrong, why are you asking me?

                • Tom Hogg

                  I’m asking you to share your wisdom and insight on the part of the process that results in Scotland leaving or being ejected from the EU as a consequence of it leaving the UK. Be creative if you want to. It’s all conjecture at the moment.

                • HJ777

                  How can it all be conjecture at the moment?

                  The SNP and the ‘yes’ campaign says it’s all worked out and if anybody says otherwise it’s all scaremongering by unionists like me.

                • Tom Hogg

                  Because the information is incomplete. There is no precedent. So, go on, have a go. Tell us what you think. That’s the point of these comments sections, for folk to debate stuff.

                • HJ777

                  But if I give my opinion, then the SNP separatists will accuse me of scaremongering because they have made quite clear that it would present no problem for Scotland.

                  That’s why they moved on to offering free childcare, lower fuel prices, earlier retirement, better weather etc. following separation – because all the really big constitutional, monetary and international issues have already been addressed so carefully.

                • Tom Hogg

                  I’ve set out a hypothesis which you have obliquely criticised and I’ve invited you to challenge it with one of your own. I promise not to accuse you of scaremongering. I don’t promise not to pick holes if I think you are wrong (but I will of course provide supporting evidence of any such criticisms just as I did above).

                • HJ777

                  So the SNP’s plan is simply a hypothesis, is it?

                  Thats quite an admission.

                  It has always hitherto claimed that to question its plan was simply scaremongering by its opponents. I must admit that, as a scientist, I had already been under the impression that the whole idea of advancing a hypothesis was to allow people to test it.

                • Tom Hogg

                  No, the SNP’s plan is a statement of intent. The hypothesis is mine alone, despite you suggesting that it was the work of Mr Salmond. I’ve set out my personal views and I’m inviting you to state yours. You are being invited to test my hypothesis.

                • HJ777

                  I’m not interested in discussing your views.

                  I’m interested in examining what the SNP proposes, whether it is plausible, and what risks it entails.

                  Of course, when anybody does this, it is shouted down as “scaremongering” by SNP supporters in order to try to close down public examination of their plans.

                • Tom Hogg

                  So in effect what you are saying is that you reserve the right to come onto an internet comment thread and right at the start, suggest that I have incorrectly quoted somebody when in fact the opposite is true. Then you make pejorative remarks when I try to engage with you on what I perceive as your misunderstandings of the process. You then confuse fact, hypothesis and conjecture, but despite this, when I invite you to promote your own views you refuse to engage.

                  Hmmm…

                  Are you Alastair Darling?

                • HJ777

                  I think your last sentence reveals everything about your attitude.

                  In case you hadn’t noticed, you and your ScotNats fanatic friends (most of whom never otherwise frequent The Spectator) have been bombarding my inbox with literally dozens of posts. I have no time to dissect your long an tedious posts in forensic detail, as you demand, because i prefer to point out the flaws in the SNP’s position, which you refuse to discuss, demanding instead that I examine your personal hypothesis.

                • Tom Hogg

                  OK we’re done here. No flaws pointed out so far, despite a courteous invitation to do so. However, I’ll not waste any more of your precious time. You’ve no doubt got sciencey things to get on with. As for me, it’s nearly time for Pointless.

                • HJ777

                  The obvious point about your arguments is that they contain conjecture and questions. However plausible your thoughts may or may not be, nothing can be guaranteed about EU membership for Scotland unless it remains in the UK.

                  I have not time to examine everything you posted in detail.

                  When this is pointed out about the SNP’s plans, opponents of separatism are told they are scaremongering. That is ridiculous and deliberately dishonest.

                • Scott Creighton

                  “…nothing can be guaranteed about EU membership for Scotland unless it remains in the UK…”

                  Really? So the IN/OUT Referendum on EU membership promised by David Cameron will gurantee Scotland’s EU membership? Are you absolutely certain of that?

                • HJ777

                  The point is that it can be guaranteed by a vote in favour of remaining an EU member.

                  If Scotland were to leave the union, such a thing could not be guaranteed by any vote in which Scotland has any say.

                • Scott Creighton

                  “…The point is that it can be guaranteed by a vote in favour of remaining an EU member….”

                  You implied that Scotland’s membership of the EU cannot be guaranteed “unless it remains in the UK”.

                  That is patently untrue.

                  YES Scotland

                • HJ777

                  I am completely correct and you are completely wrong.

                  If Scotland were to separate from the UK, EU Membership cannot be guaranteed for Scotland.

                  This editorial in The Scotsman makes the legal position very clear:

                  http://www.scotsman.com/news/leaders-salmond-should-admit-eu-difficulties-1-3213195

                  However, if Scotland remains in the union, membership can be guaranteed by a vote in favour of continuing EU membership. Such a future vote in Scotland alone cannot guarantee anything.

                  Do you think that Scots will be fooled by your blatant falsehoods and distortions?

                • Scott Creighton

                  “…However, if Scotland remains in the union, membership can be guaranteed by a vote in favour of continuing EU membership….”

                  Given that Scots have indicated their preference to remain as part of the EU, it is guaranteed then that Cameron’s IN/OUT EU referendum will ensure Scotland remains a part of the EU? Are you absolutely certain of that?

                • HJ777

                  When was there such a vote in Scotland? I must have missed it.

                  By remaining in the union, Scots can choose to take part in the decision for the United Kingdom that they have chosen to be in. What could be more democratic than that?

                  Or do you not like democracy?

                • Scott Creighton

                  “When was there such a vote in Scotland? I must have missed it.”

                  Clearly you did.

                  Now–I asked you a question. Given that Scots have indicated their preference to remain as part of the EU, it is guaranteed then that Cameron’s IN/OUT EU referendum will ensure Scotland remains a part of the EU? Are you absolutely certain of that?

                • HJ777

                  I asked you a question – When there was such a vote?

                  If Scots choose to remain part of the union, then obviously it is the union that will remain in or out of the EU – and it can be guaranteed to remain in if the electorate choose it to. Yes, guaranteed.

                  An independent Scotland can offer no such guarantee.

                  You are disingenuous even by the standards of the SNP.

                • Scott Creighton

                  “I asked you a question – When there was such a vote?”

                  I do believe my question takes precedence. However, to keep things unprotracted, in 1975 Scotland voted (along with the rest of the UK) to continue its membership of the Common Market (EEC) by 58.4% (YES) to 41.6% (NO).

                  Now, back to my question. Given that Scots have indicated their preference to remain as part of the EU, it is guaranteed then that Cameron’s IN/OUT EU referendum will ensure Scotland remains a part of the EU? Are you absolutely certain of that?

                • HJ777

                  Thank you for clarifying your position that you are relying on a vote 38 years ago to judge the opinions of Scots now. Is that how the SNP intend to run things in this brave new Scotland you intend to construct? You should be honest with the public.

                  In any case, even if Scots had indicated last week in a vote that they wanted to remain in the EU, that could not be guaranteed were they to leave the union as The Scotsman makes clear when it detailed the legal position (which I note you have not been able to challenge).

                  Keeping repeating a question that has already been fully answered really does make you look very foolish.

                • Scott Creighton

                  “Thank you for clarifying your position that you are relying on avote 38 years ago to judge the opinions of Scots now.”

                  If you have a more recent plebiscite that shows Scots now hold a different view then do share it.

                  Now, Hootsman aside—my question (again). Given that Scots have indicated their preference to remain as part of the EU, it is guaranteed then that Cameron’s IN/OUT EU referendum will ensure Scotland remains a part of the EU? Are you absolutely certain of that? Evasion is not an answer.

                • HJ777

                  You wouldn’t give Scots the opportunity to express an different opinion, would you? You seem to think that you know the answer because Scots haven’t had the opportunity to disagree. I don’t claim to know how Scots feel on this issue, but you do based on a vote 38 years ago. How very democratic of you.

                  I realise that you are none too quick, but your question has been answered. Repeating a question stupidly just make you look foolish and evasive.

                • Scott Creighton

                  “I realise that you are none too quick, but your question has beenanswered. Repeating a question stupidly just make you look foolish and evasive.”

                  No. My question has categorically NOT been answered and resorting to ad hominems will not help your argument. They are, in fact, the last refuge of the bankrupt argument.

                  Now, for the umpteenth time: given that Scots have indicated their preference to remain as part of the EU, it is guaranteed then that Cameron’s IN/OUT EU referendum will ensure Scotland remains a part of the EU? Are you absolutely certain of that?

                  A simple YES or NO will suffice (for the moment).

                • HJ777

                  I have answered very clearly – you just don’t like the answer.

                  Your demand for a “yes or no” answer is like demanding a “yes or no” answer to the question “Have you stopped beating your wife?” It is not designed to elicit the truth, it is designed to allow you to interpret the answer as you please.

                  Even your question is based on a blatantly false assertion. Scots have never indicated their preference in any vote for Scotland to remain as part of the EU – they were asked the question about the UK, not Scotland separately.

                • Scott Creighton

                  I have answered very clearly – you just don’t like the answer.

                  No. You have NOT answered my question so there is no answer to like or otherwise.

                  ”Your demand for a “yes or no” answer is like demanding a “yes or no” answer to the question “Have you stopped beating your wife?” It is not designed to elicit the truth, it is designed to allow you to interpret the answer as you please.”

                  Nonsense. How difficult is it for you to say YES or NO to a simple question?

                  Even your question is based on a blatantly false assertion. Scots have never indicated their preference in any vote for Scotland to remain as part of the EU – they were asked the question about the UK, not Scotland separately.

                  Are you suggesting the result of people in Scotland did not indicate the desire of the people in Scotland to remain in the EEC (which later became the EU)? Semantics are the second last refuge of the bankrupt argument.

                  Now, once more, you stated:

                  “…if Scotland remains in the union, membership can be
                  guaranteed by a vote in favour of continuing EU membership….”

                  Given Scotland’s indication to remain in the EEC (EU) and with no recent plebiscites to suggest a changed view, how exactly will Scotland’s desired continued membership be guaranteed by Cameron’s IN/OUT referendum? How is it guaranteed (your word) that Cameron’s IN/OUT EU referendum will ensure Scotland remains a part of the EU? How can the outcome that will suit Scotland’s expressed wishes be “guaranteed”?

                • HJ777

                  I repeat, Scots have only ever been asked whether the UK should remain a member.

                  You call it semantics, I call it being correct and not distorting the facts.

                  You really have been eviscerated in public and you don’t like it, do you?

                • Scott Creighton

                  Clearly you have no interest in answering a simple, direct question. YES or NO–that’s all you had to answer. But I think most reasonable people bored enough to be reading this will judge for themselves why you refuse to answer because the simple truth is, if Scotland remains within the UK then there is a very real danger that Scotland could be dragged out of the EU against its wishes. That is the simple truth and reality you simply do not wish to admit. We’re a bit smarter here in Scotland.

                  My work here is done.

                • HJ777

                  Dealing with you is like dealing with a small child. You are simply incapable of understanding answers you don’t like.

                  Come back in a few years when you are mature enough to discuss.

                  I see that you have started referring to yourself as we. Or perhaps you think someone voted for you to speak on their behalf?

                • Doug Melville

                  I don’t think eviscerated means what you think it means: disagreed with might be closer.

                • HJ777

                  I know exactly what eviscerated means and I used the term correctly.

                • Doug Melville

                  No you didn’t. Metaphorically eviscerated would be factually incorrect but at least an attempt. Unless you are claiming to have disemboweled an Internet commentator? Simple assertion on your part doesn’t make you correct, nor is it a debate, unless you want to descend to the level of ‘yes it is’, ‘no it isn’t’. You started by claiming that Cybernuts were picking on you and filling your inbox. This sounds remarkably similar to the claims by Carmichael and others of Internet harassment by sinister ‘Nat’ forces. For which there is no evidence whatsoever. Claims of abusive Tweets looked ridiculous when his Twitter feed was reviewed and none could be found. It seems like a pattern of disagree by assertion, then claim that anyone disagreeing with you is a bullying Cybernat nutjob. All you have been asked for is some evidence or argument to back up the claims you are making. You say Scots have never been asked whether Scotland should remain a part of the EU, when by inference they clearly have, as when the EU question was asked, there was no other option. Continuing polls still show greater support for EU membership than in the rest of the UK. Cheap debating tricks aren’t particularly helpful.

                • Wessex Man

                  My word you are persistent arn’t you? I must ask though, how many of the people voted to stay in the EEC forty years ago do you think are still alive? It seems dishonest to me not to allow the generations that have followed to have a vote about leaving an organisation that the people still alive from that vote will assure you they never voted for!
                  The population of the entire UK were lied to at that time as Ted Heath happily admitted to years later. Why anyone voting to leave one Union want to stay in another is beyond me.

                • HJ777

                  He’s not only persistent, he’s dishonest,

                  The question in 1975 was: “Do you think the UK should stay in the European Community (Common Market)?”

                  Nothing about a separate Scotland. What is more, all Scots in the UK were permitted to vote in 1975, whereas Salmond has excluded those Scots living in the rest of the UK from his new vote.

                  And he’s demanding a “yes or no” answer from me in the same way that a “yes or no” answer is demanded to the question “Have you stopped beating your wife?”. There is only one reason for demanding such an answer – and it’s not because you want to know the answer but because you want to misrepresent it for your own purposes.

                • Scott Creighton

                  “…My word you are persistent arn’t you?…”

                  Yes, I am.

                • HJ777

                  Persistently wrong.

                • Scott Creighton

                  Saying I am “wrong” won’t, of itself, actually make me wrong. To do that you require evidence. Evidence, dear boy. Evidence.

                • HJ777

                  I see you’re having a tantrum because you’ve been publicly eviscerated.

                  My sympathies – you are clearly very embarrassed (as you should be).

                • HJ777

                  I’m not sure that you understand. He will take anything as evidence for what he wants to think, will ignore any perfectly valid objections, and will just keep repeating himself as if that hides the fact that his argument has been publicly torn to shreds.

                  Everyone else can see that he is making a fool of himself but he still keeps trying to deny it to himself, even though he must surely realise it.

                • HJ777

                  Even were I to accept a 38-year old vote, you cannot take this as evidence that Scots would want to remain in the EU if Scotland were to leave the union.

                  Let me remind you of the question that was asked:

                  “”Do you think the UK should stay in the European Community (Common Market)?”

                  The question was asked about the UK, not about a separate Scotland.

                • Scott Creighton

                  I have answered very clearly – you just don’t like the answer.

                  No. You have NOT answered my question so there is no answer to like or otherwise.

                  ”Your demand for a “yes or no” answer is like demanding a “yes or no” answer to the question “Have you stopped beating your wife?” It is not designed to elicit the truth, it is designed to allow you to interpret the answer as you please.”

                  Nonsense. How difficult is it for you to say YES or NO to a simple question?

                  Even your question is based on a blatantly false assertion. Scots have never indicated their preference in any vote for Scotland to remain as part of the EU – they were asked the question about the UK, not Scotland
                  separately.

                  Are you suggesting the result of people in Scotland did not indicate their desire to remain in the EEC (which later became the EU)? Semantics are the second last refuge of the bankrupt argument.

                  Now, once more, you stated:

                  “…if Scotland remains in the union, membership can be
                  guaranteed by a vote in favour of continuing EU membership….”

                  Given Scotland’s indication to remain in the EEC (EU) and with no recent plebiscites to suggest a changed view, how exactly will Scotland’s desired continued membership be guaranteed by Cameron’s IN/OUT referendum? How is it guaranteed (your word) that Cameron’s IN/OUT EU referendum will ensure Scotland remains a part of the EU? How can the outcome that will suit Scotland’s expressed wishes be “guaranteed”?

                • HJ777

                  Have you stopped beating your wife?

                  A yes or no answer is required.

                • HJ777

                  As you haven’t answered yes or no, then I’ll assume that you are still beating her.

                • HJ777

                  I never stated “will ensure”, I said “can be guaranteed”.

                  Do you not understand the difference between ‘will’ and ‘can’?

                • Jambo25

                  I suspect the word “if” is a qualifying factor here.

                • Wessex Man

                  and if pigs had wings they could fly.

                • HJ777

                  By the way, you didn’t quote anyone correctly or otherwise.

                  You asserted that Alistair Darling was “gloating” – a claim that I would dispute. He was simply pointing out that his argument is being supported by the Spanish prime minister.

                  Had the Spanish Prime Minister said precisely the opposite and had, as he undoubtedly would have, Salmond then jumped on this as affirmation of the SNP’s position, would you have described that as “gloating”?

                  No it seems that unionists “gloat” but separatists are much nicer people. It’s all part of the SNP agenda to create a ‘nice vs nasty’ picture of the issue in the public eye.

                • Wessex Man

                  Why on earth should HJ777 spell anything out, He’s a Scot, who wants to keep the Union it’s up to the Nats to do that not him.

                • HJ777

                  I’m Anglo/Welsh/Scots to be accurate.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  OK Tom I have broad shoulders and can take the subsequent abuse. My issue of choice is monetary policy. Should Scotland wish to retain Sterling as part of a newly created ‘Sterling Zone’ will that require the permission of all constituent members or will Scotland make this decision on behalf of the rest of us? The Welsh seem to think Scotland will require permission from the other constituents of the ex-United Kingdom so there is one potential conflict for a start. Second, I assume that the BOE will continue in its existing role and set interest rates, manage the money supply etc etc. What will happen if, sometime in the future, Scotland and the remaining constituents of the UK diverge dramatically for example in their needs for a change in interest rates. Scotland wants to cut rates to encourage exports and the remaining constituents want to raise rates to choke off a credit boom. Do you expect the needs of Scotland to prevail over the remaining constituents of the UK on every occasion? Do you expect the BOE to act in the best interrests of 55 million people or 8 million? Remember there is no ‘half way house’ on an issue such as this. Kindly spare me the “we have no influence over the BOE now so how could it be worse” nonsense because that is a cop out. The BOE attempts, at the moment, to manage interest rates etc in the interests of everybody in the UK. Would you not be better off establishing your own currency and thus retaining some control over money supply and interest rates? Might it be better to adopt the euro? Will you be compelled to adopt the euro as a nation state separate from the UK? Finally, I emphatically have no objection to the people of Scotland determining their own destiny and I have no ill will towards them. I do however, wonder if Mr Salmond is relying rather heavily on a newly awakened national consciousness making everything ‘right’ rather than doing the hard work and articulating a few details. I await your torrent of abuse. Let us have a debate.

                • Tom Hogg

                  That’s a bit harsh, addressing me personally from behind a nom de guerre and suggesting that you are awaiting my “torrent of abuse”.

                  As it happens I think you have a good number of points.

                  I agree that Scotland cannot of course set up a currency union on its own. It would need to agree the precise arrangements with the UK, although why Carwyn Jones thinks he has any say in it is anyone’s guess.

                  The balance question is one that also causes me to pause for thought. I am in no way a financial expert, but it would be best that Scotland had its own currency since as our economy may very well outpace the rUK we could find ourselves with low interest rates when we need them higher to contain growth.

                  I don’t think we’ll be compelled to adopt the euro, but that remains to be seen. Even if we are asked to join the euro, there is no end date for the process as I understand it, so it’s possible to do what Sweden has done and agree to join but never do so. Denmark, a more longstanding EU member, has an opt out like the UK’s.

                  Finally, I don’t think there’s a newly awakened national consciousness. This has been planned for years. The trick that the SNP need to pull off is in balancing vision issues and process issues. The white paper includes both and as you have seen from the discussion on Rajoy’s intervention, our opponents are keen to focus on individual problems of process without articulating how they see those entire processes unfolding.

                  The currency issue is going down the same road, with politicians on the no side lining up to tell us that a currency union is a bad idea for this reason or that, but nobody with any authority in the matter, be it Osborne, Carney or even Cameron, has stated that they will not allow it to happen.

                • HJ777

                  Analysis by Robert E Wright: Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to joining the top table as a very small player

                  If Scotland wants to be a member of the EU, it will be required to agree to the eventual use of the euro and membership of Schengen area. Only three EU-member states have opt-outs from the euro (Denmark, Sweden and the UK) and only two countries have opt-outs from Schengen (Ireland and the UK).

                  The likelihood of Scotland being able to negotiate opt-outs from both is nil, although they will have at least two years to meet the Maastricht criteria. Even after two years, given the level of debt Scotland will inherit, it will not have met these criteria. Likewise, it will have a deadline to meet the requirements set out in the Schengen border code, assuming the UK sticks to its intention of not joining Schengen.

                  Of course, if what remains of the UK after Scottish independence decides to join Schengen, then a “hard” border between England and Scotland would not be required. All new members states since 2004 have followed exactly this path, and Scotland will be no treated no differently when it applies.

                  Even if one were to accept the view that joining the EU is a “process of negotiation”, one must ask what would give Scotland a strong negotiating position. Scotland represents about 1.5 per cent of the total EU population and generates slightly less than 1.5 per cent of the total EU economic output. Scotland is just too small and too insignificant to “demand” opt-outs. Furthermore, there is no benefit to the EU of current members splintering into micro-states, each demanding a seat at the top table.

                  Even if agreement is reached on opt-outs, membership is not guaranteed. It can be vetoed by another EU member state. An independent Scotland may set a dangerous precedent for other states with secessionist regions.

                  • Robert E Wright is professor of economics at the University of Strathclyde.

                • Doug Melville

                  As has been pointed out many times, (but Robert Wright seems to be unaware of), there is no mechanism to compel new states to join the Euro. States are required to state their intent to do so, but the preliminary phase is voluntary. In common with Sweden, Scotland could simply state the intent to join the Euro, but regretfully be unable to comply with the requirements. Many of these myths are debunked with the accompanying evidence on the ‘Wings Over Scotland’ site, referencing authoritative sources.

                • HJ777

                  The SNP’s case is all could, might, intend, isn’t it?

                  Yet if anyone points this out, it’s apparently ‘scaremongering’.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  The currency union is a bad idea because of the reasons I have outlined already and I am, forgive the immodesty, a financial expert. There is no possibility of a ‘one size fits all’ interest rate that can be determined by a central bank for the benefit of all participating countries. The overwhelming proof of this proposition sits on our doorstep and is called the eurozone with Germany and Greece at its extremes and varying degrees of misery in between. It is reasonable to suppose that the economies of the new UK and Scotland will operate in reasonable parallel for a while but they will inevitably diverge and the same problems as I outlined earlier will emerge. The issue for Scotland is that if the rest of the UK chooses to exclude it from using Sterling, a strong possibility given the inevitable bitterness that will ensue post-independence, then Scotland will have to make a choice between the euro and its own currency. The other matter I find fascinatingly naive in so many ‘yes’ campaigner posts is that they believe that negotiations after the independence vote will be amicable. This beggars belief and while the politicians will drown us ameliorative language hard economic reality will dictate otherwise. Scotland will take its share of the national debt and its ratings from Moodys, S & P etc will dictate its cost of funds for future investment and spending. The ‘we have got all this oil’ argument which is what independence is really all about will not paper over every crack. Indeed, if I were advising the Scottish government I would tell them to at least ‘run the numbers’ on swapping part of its share of the national debt in exchange for future oil revenues. Turning away from the economic arguments I will conclude by confessing to my loathing of the cult of nationalism. I must emphasise that I refer to nationalism as a concept and not the SNP or Scottish nationalism in particular. It is simply that I look at the history of the 20th century and see only misery and ruin whenever nationalism has raised its ugly head be it Germany prior to 1914 and 1939, Spain in the 30s, Italy in the 20s and more recently in Serbia. The list is endless and bloody. We now have this most dreaded of ‘isms’ festering on our own doorstep and the common factor is that every nationalist movement blames another race/religion or culture for all of its ills. You have only to look at the tone of comments on this and related threads to witness the frightening growth of antipathy and bitterness which is growing btween the English and the Scots. It can only get considerably worse and it is naive in the extreme to believe otherwise.

                • Tom Hogg

                  Bizarre post, given what I had said above, but thanks for your input. Have a nice weekend.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  How predictably condescending. Monetary policy, a minor matter, is obviously not your strong point.

                • Wessex Man

                  well said, I found it interesting and sadly agree that the bitterness, which I think is a part of the cybernat nuts tactics will never be repaired. It suits them to paint England as some belligerent Empire determined to prevent their freedom.

                  Anyone travelling to England would however find it’s very far down the average Englishman and Woman’s discussion area.

                • Doug Melville

                  I voted you up because of the first part of your statement. Unarguable. I disagree about the second part. Would you argue that NZ or Canada were ‘isms’ ?

                • Doug Melville

                  Fair comment, and I actually think Scotland should have its own currency. To be pegged to Sterling limits the options.And it is completely unreasonable to suggest the BOE should take into account 10% of the country when making its decisions. Ooops – did you accidentally make a ‘separitist’ argument?

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Hi Doug, “a separitist argument?” – you may well be right. The sincere intention however was to make a purely practical point in what seems to be an increasingly acrimonious and emotive ‘England v Scotland’ debate. I hasten to add that I have probably contributed my share of misguided acrimony to said debate the operation of a realistic and practical monetary policy is critical to both countries in the event of saparation and I have had enough of the “it will all be fine the day we become independent” line of argument which refuses to address hard but critical questions. Thank you for a reasoned response.

                • HJ777
                • Rev. Stuart Campbell

                  Over and over and over again: please provide your supporting evidence. Which statute of law makes that statement?

                • HJ777

                  Is it? Could you prove that please?

                  Who decided this and when?

              • NorthBrit

                Which is a manifestly idiotic statement. Either it remains in, or it leaves. It can’t “remain” out of something it isn’t outside. I suspect Salmond would have hesitated to cite the leader of the heirs to Franco. Liberal Democrats, SLab and you appear to have lower standards.

                • HJ777

                  He meant that if it left the UK it would be outside the EU and that it would remain outside until and unless agreement was reached to admit it.

                  It is patently absurd for separatists to pretend that Scotland wouldn’t have to leave the EU and then re-apply, since their whole separatist argument is that Scotland would no longer be bound by decisions made in Westminster – which must include international treaties.

                • NorthBrit

                  Did he? I wonder why he didn’t say that then, rather than using tendentious language. Perhaps you can explain, given your apparent proximity to his mental processes and your odd use of the Spanish fascist term “separatist”.
                  You claim to think it patently absurd to think that the EU would do what exactly what it did in the one such case that has arisen in its history. Stupidity or malice? Both?

                • HJ777

                  Didn’t take you long to accuse me of using “fascist” language, did it?

                  Common practice on the web, I’m told, for people whose arguments have been thoroughly exposed as nonsense.

                • ChuckieStane

                  HJ, some of this is perhaps counterintuitive but it is a fact that if Scotland votes Yes then during the period between voting yes (2014) and becoming independent (2016) Scotland would still be an integral part of the UK. Taxes will be collected, pensions paid out and wars fought if necessary. Again it seems strange but Scots will therefore vote in the UK 2015 General Election (with potentially explosive implication of the Scottish vote is critical to the result). It may be anomalous or even bizarre but that is the way it will have to be.

                • Wessex Man

                  No one is arguing with that fact are they? it’s obvious that it will take a couple of years after the referendum if Scotland votes to become indepenent to reach a settlement with the rest of the UK.

                • NorthBrit

                  It is fascist language. Like calling the French resistance terrorists. You have been told. Several times. Facts are chiels that winna ding.

                • HJ777

                  Thank you for “telling” me and thank you for your patience in putting me straight repeatedly (I must admit that I missed that).

                  I’d better shut up and do as I’m told then, hadn’t I?

                  You’re doing a good job cracking down on dissent – keep it up!

                • Rev. Stuart Campbell

                  Any chance you could stop being such a crybaby and answer some questions? You have the exact same right to comment here as we do. You’re not being “suppressed”, you’re being disagreed with and asked to support your arguments, and you’re bleating about evil cybernats because you can’t do so.

                  Wait a minute, are you Alistair Carmichael?

                • HJ777

                  Any chance you could cut out the insults and provide some evidence for you patently false assertions?

                  I didn’t mention “evil cybernats”. Is that what you are?

                  Insults are a poor substitute for arguments – but it would seem that insults are all you have.

                • Rev. Stuart Campbell

                  No insults. Just observations and evidence. Where’s yours?

                • HJ777

                  Your idea of evidence is anything you want to believe, hence your insults and false assertions.

                • Rev. Stuart Campbell
                • Wessex Man

                  are you Alasdair Gray or just a rude halfwit?

                • MichtyMe

                  Historically I think it was Adolf who first used the word, on those opposed to his auschless policy.

                • HJ777

                  Hitler spoke English, did he?

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  They are all professional offence takers who love to accuse people who have a differing opinion of being firstly arrogant, then fascists. Finally, if that does not work, they wheel out the accusations of racism.

                • Wessex Man

                  HJ777, I must say I admire you for sticking with it and bothering to discuss with these people who if you said east is east they would say no it’s not just to argue!

          • Wessex Man

            Of course they would, it was only a couple of days ago that some particularly gung ho Cybernats were on here shouting in words about the intervention of a particular junior member of the Spanish Government saying he hah no problem with it to jusitify that which isn’t true. No doubt I will read their words of wisdom as I scroll down the comments.

  • ChuckieStane

    Rajoy’s remarks are really no different to what Barosso said previously and in reality they are meaningless posturing. The no side have grasped this statement and fed it into the scare machine. But just as Barosso’s remarks turned out to be in no way definite so too Rajoy’s is just an opinion. I would like to see Rajoy explain Scotland’s expulsion to the Spanish fishermen!
    Like so many fear bombs it is a damp squib. The more often Better Together try to frighten the electorate the less scary it gets.

    • asalord

      Agreed.
      The Spanish PM threatens Scotland because he is scared of the independence movement in Catalonia.
      People in Scotland will show the proverbial two fingers to Madrid and London by voting Yes.
      The Spanish PM has made Scottish independence more likely,not less.

      • robertsonjames

        Scotland will vote No, as the polls predict, so Rajoy’s intervention is irrelevant either way.

        And then the delusionalists, clearly out in force this evening, will be able to sharpen their claymores for the greatest internal civil war a Scottish political party has seen in recent times, as the man who always hoped to be The Father of the Nation is suddenly discovered to be Edward Balliol by many of his more fanatical erstwhile supporters who mistakenly thought he was going to deliver them independence.

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