Open Letter

David Martin MEP and Catherine Stihler MEP (both Lab)

Dear David and Catherine

Season’s greetings to you both and to your families. I do miss my trips to Europe paid for by the taxpayer. They may come round again for me when I’m appointed Scotland’s Ambassador to the EU in a couple of year’s time. (I have been told I’m ahead of both Alyn and Ian in the queue so it may be worth keeping in with me).

I see you have both been busy over the holiday period in keeping with your reputation as among the hardest working MEPs.

In particular, your ringing public endorsement of Jose Manuel Barroso’s assertions about the position of our nation after a Yes vote have been striking and in tone at least leave you open to the charge of relishing the idea of your country being excluded from membership in its own right, an oddly masochistic reaction I put down to confusing two different things – your desire to remain part of the British state by winning the referendum on the one hand and your constituents’ national interests on the other. As we are about to vote this year on our independence and, since continued EU membership is very much the desired outcome for many of us, can you address a few questions for clarity. In this I’m following the well-worn precedent of European Unionists in demanding answers of the Scottish government before we vote, not to mention the greater precedent of access to truthful information for all citizens in advance of a democratic vote. Here are my questions.

Can you point to the section in the treaties which can be applied to Scotland voting for independence and then subsequently, against its wishes, being expelled?

If you are seeking legal clarity on Scotland’s position, will you formally ask the British government to request it from the Commission who have promised to clarify officially but only to the Member State (UK)?

Do you agree with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that a “precise scenario” for clarification only applies after the referendum vote? (Letter to me from FCO 13/12/13. The ‘precise scenario’ referred to by the Commission can only be presented following negotiations on the terms of Scottish independence from the UK, which can themselves only follow a ‘yes’ vote in next year’s referendum as there is currently no democratic mandate for undertaking such negotiations.

Will you vote for Scotland’s membership of the EU irrespective of how it eventually comes about? 

I appreciate it is in your political interest to have your constituents frightened into believing they will become stateless people – the Palestinians of Europe – stripped of their existing rights against their wishes after exercising their democratic right of freedom of expression but surely we are entering uncharted territory now in which the destiny of the Scots is at stake, not just another five years in or out of office. Therefore the ritual dance of claim and counter claim from our politicians – on all sides – should stop.

So, again, where in the treaties governing the European Union does it allow for existing EU citizens to have their country removed from membership, their citizenship revoked, their right to free movement withheld, their financial contribution retained, their subsidies stopped (retrospectively?), their visiting students repatriated before qualifying, their border re-introduced and closed to the single market, hundreds of EU-funded developments halted, and you as MEPs ejected from your elected position?

It seems that Barroso and Van Rompuy – and yourselves – are relying on Article 49 of the TEU which relates to new member states. Scotland won’t be a new state until the negotiations are completed and she will then be endorsed by London so are you saying Brussels will have no involvement of any kind in 18 months minimum of talks between London and Edinburgh and will immediately turn its back on the deal although it’s ratified by the rUK as a Member State?

Even if we adopt that viewpoint, although Article 49  manifestly envisages third countries applying to accede rather than existing ones splitting, my question is: How does Scotland get there? By what process based on which section of the treaties does Scotland cease to be a member? Who decides? Who votes? Is it your argument that the Commission members simply assert that Scotland is outside from a given date and do you as democrats – and as Scots – accept that without challenge? If so, what happened to your commitment to the rule of law and rights of the citizen and all those demands over the years for the institutions to be made more democratic and subject to the parliament? Or do we end up in the Court of Justice possibly under an Action for Annulment, thus:

If any EU country, the Council, the Commission or (under certain conditions) Parliament believes that a particular EU law is illegal, it may ask the Court to annul it. ‘Actions for annulment’ can also be used by private individuals who want the Court to cancel a particular law because it directly and adversely affects them as individuals. If the Court finds the law in question was not correctly adopted or is not correctly based on the Treaties, it may declare the law null and void.

I assure you, I will be the first individual raising such an action, should it ever be needed.

And, if it comes to this apparently unlawful exclusion, will you support it, even if the Scots, whom you both represent, have expressed their desire for independence and will you declare that your obligation is then to fall in behind the people who elect you and take up the fight for Scotland’s right to retain membership?

I would have thought that was self-evident but, David, I remember your enthusiasm for Scotland’s exclusion is quite boundless and you wanted to enshrine it in decisions of the parliament by producing an official report…. “Martin planned to write a report arguing that any new state would be automatically outside the European Union and would be forced to reapply for membership…”

Why are you so keen to ensure your own country is made a pariah? The trouble I have with this is that it doesn’t sound like a patriotic Scot bringing to bear his vast experience by using the treaties and historic precedent to warn of the implications of a vote. Rather it has all the marks of a zealot hungry to find any means, lawful or otherwise, of creating difficulty for his own people…not to mention the democratic rights of our fellow European citizens in Catalonia. When did your fealty to the British state overtake your socialist instincts for peoples’ rights, subsidiarity and internationalism?

How is it that you can champion over many years the rights of Palestinians to their own homeland run by themselves even when it brings you into direct opposition with the Israelis, yet you campaign from other side when your own people aspire to the ultimate expression of nationhood – independence? In principle, I don’t think the two are so very different and at the very least, Scots and Palestinians are entitled to hear the truth about their position from those who represent them rather than find those same representatives are in effect running a campaign against them. (How else do explain your position of insisting – and working to demonstrate – that Scotland will be outside the EU? And why have the Labour MEPs done nothing to seek an alternative view, a more creative approach which is already being preached by voices in other member states and briefed by the EU’s own lawyers?)

I notice too that in working to get the institutions to oppose Scotland’s membership, it is your custom to refer to the nation of Scotland as a “region of the EU”. I suppose that is the reality of our place in the UK but I know of no Scot, Unionist or Nationalist, who talks on an international stage of his or her country as a region. Does this provide us with a clear insight into your own personal view of the Scottish nation as less than other countries and unworthy of statehood?

I fear the politicking in this debate is obscuring the reality which is the inclusive impulse of the EU since inception, a principle I know you subscribe to which makes your insistence that the Scots must be denied an odd one.

The risks for those of you promulgating this stance is two-fold. One, the anger at the embarrassment this obstructionism to Scotland – and Catalonia – is causing to the reputation of the EU as a democratic alliance spills over and other countries openly challenge the institutional orthodoxy or, even more likely, an insider leaks the outline legal viewpoint which contradicts it. Second, the Yes campaign wins and the truth is revealed in real time as negotiations begin. In neither case do the Barroso adherents win, or deserve, anything but the contempt of the international community and, more pertinently, the scorn of the Scots. Not much of a legacy, is it?

Happy New Year


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0 thoughts on “Open Letter

  1. Incisive as ever Derek – my sentiments entirely. Stihler will climb the ranks of London Labour in no time with this and her FOI crap!
    Martin has previous as you point out – neither include Scotland or the people in their collective conscience; representation ???

  2. Once again Derek, we are in your debt.

    Oh how stupid the BBC were to show you the door. I even heard you mentioned on Radio Scotland this morning about your brilliant piece about Santa. You may have friends within the machine?

    Best wishes for 2014 and ” Lang May yer lum riek!”

  3. Even if these two seem intent on keeping a tight grip on their own interests, they’re evidently happy that the rest of Scotland should be “content / With their poor frozen life and shallow banishment.” (Scotland’s Winter, 1935). I wonder what a real European like Edwin Muir would have to say today about such smooth claws, what will be said about them in the future.

  4. I bet you will never get a reply to your letter

  5. Not so much Perfidious Albion as Perfidious Labour Party.

    Good to see your pen being honed for the coming year. The nonsense, fear, uncertainty and doubt that is being used by the unionists to keep the waters as muddy as possible must be challenged at every turn. We must demand answers to the questions they don’t want to answer. I doubt you’ll get any reply from the two Labour MSPs named above.

    I fully agree with you analysis of the EU scaremongering. Common sense dictates that Scotland will remain a member. The embarrassment that would be caused by an expulsion od Scotland and the ensuing court actions just will not happen. No matter what any of the EU politicians might like to think. It’s just plain stupid.

  6. Derek,
    I’ll be second in line to raise that action , if needed.

  7. Well argued piece. Much of the so called ‘argument’ for Scotland being out of the EU following a Yes vote is to assume that voting to leave the UK is also a vote to leave the EU. That is not a logical position and there are international precedents to ensure that treaties agreed by the previous state can be endorsed by new states. The EU has no mechanism to eject Scotland and leaving takes around 2 years – longer than the negotiation over terms for continuing membership. Spain and Catalonia are in a different relationship largely because of the Spanish constitution with its emphasis on the indissolubility of the Spanish state. As this is in conflict with the right of a people to chose to become a new state it is at least questionable if the Spanish constitution is compliant with international law and therefore also the requirements for full democratic rights as demanded by the EU of new states joining. e.g Estonia’s former distinction over its Russian speaking population.

  8. I don’t really see why they can’t be called ‘quislings’.

    The cap sits jauntily on their nappers.

  9. Pretty sad from people elected to have “our interests ” as their agenda. Shameful really, but I guess we can expect no loyalty from people like these, who are much more interested in their own agendas.
    Well your day will becoming, I suggest you look to another vocation.

  10. Great stuff once again Derek,
    the double standards and lack of integrity from a number of our own politicians is both incredible and shameful.

  11. Well done again Derek, I have emailed both of these MEPs with a request from me, as a constituent, that your 8 questions are answered. Incidentally, I do not subscribe to any notion that paid public servants can just forget about inquiries of this nature. I do expect an answer. Happy New Year when it comes!

  12. I’ll join you on that action too Derek.

    Very incisive piece Derek. Think I’ll send this open letter to all my Labour voting Pals and see if it finally gets their head from out their a–e and they finally see the light.

  13. You are addressing petty career politicians; no stamp of the statesman on them, no core of awareness to be realised. Shabby politicking, with no connection to the voters they believe they ‘own’ in perpetuity.
    Losing, to them, means the message was wrong, or badly delivered, or some other in politics, did them down. For them it has nothing to do with failing the people they claim to represent,
    Don’t look to these politicians.

  14. I wonder at what point the rank and file of Labour will waken up to the fact that they are the fall guys who have been conned into defending the indefensible Westminster establishment in this campaign.

  15. Derek,I think you got the order of priorities wrong.
    These British Labour politicians always put their interests first so being ejected from the EU as MEPs would be their first and possibly only concern.
    I think you would make a very fine ambassador for Scotland (I will vote for you).
    All the best to you and yours for 2014.

  16. Your reply “is in the post” Derek!
    I agree with X..Sticks that common sense dictates that Scotland will remain a member of the EU following a vote for independence however I’m not greatly concerned about in or out.The core issue is that Scotland is presently in surplus over the basics – electrical energy generation, food production, water, hydrocarbons – basics independence if you like – and will do well whether in or out of the EU..The next obvious step is fiscal independence via a Yes vote in the referendum so we can proceed to enjoy the benefits of our basics independence.

  17. innerbearsdenurchin

    I have to say that the willfulness of the No cabal is a bit sapping. The are terminally stupid or congenital liars and come the Yes vote, what are they going to do

    Business as usual is not on the table.

    On a related topic I read that Blair McDougal’s response to the publication of the sums given to No and the identities of the donors was that he was “humbled”

    “Humbled”. Here we have a Labour Party employee saying that he was humbled to have been bunged a wodge of filthy money from a gang of upper class crooks who, not so long ago when Labour were socialist, would have been described as the class enemy.

    So corrupt has our democracy become but such useful idiots for the Tories.

  18. Very well said, Derek. You would think that these two MEPs would be doing their utmost to stand up for Scotland, given there are European elections next year, before the referendum. It’s good that we know where we stand, in their eyes, before we make the mistake of voting for them. Why would any of us vote for people who hold us in so much contempt that they are happy to see us stripped of our democratic rights? In fact, they would be happy to wield the swords themselves. Perhaps you should add one more question, Derek – “Do you want me to vote for you next year or would I be better off voting for someone who will work to protect my rights and look after my interests?” I know who I won’t be voting for!

  19. Well said Derek


  20. Honestly can`t thank you enough for this article, Derek, or the stated intent you`ve announced in it. It looks like I`m now in a que to follow you in pursuit of that objective, but I`ll take my turn if Mr. Martin & Ms. Stihler really do decide to stick to their guns, but seriously, after a Yes vote ? I think there won`t be enough vomit in the world to do justice to the bowing, fawning, history-rewriting, “I always loved Scotland, honest” Horsecrap we all know our unionist politicians to be capable of when there`s a threat that the trough may be withdrawn.

  21. Just wanted to add my thanks for another great article. Oh, that it would reach a wider public. Mind you, on the one hand I can’t believe that BBC Scotland let you go; on the other, how could they retain such a writer as part of an organisation that is deliberately, systematically and continually playing an active part in the No campaign.

  22. A breathtaking dissection of the career Labour politicians and their selfish priorities.
    It’s a pity there is no way for the electorate to withhold their remuneration until they do their job of representing the interests of their constituents.
    Well done!

  23. An incisive well authored piece. I suspect it will go unanswered Derek. Please keep up the good work. Fairly miss you from the BBC, no real challenge.
    all the best for 2014.

  24. Great stuff, Derek! When Scotland is independent you’ll be able to choose whatever post you fancy…….your present readers will insist upon that! All the very best of wishes to you and your family.

  25. Thank you for seeking a clarification needed by the people of Scotland.

    If you haven’t done so already, please send a copy of this open letter to the BBC.

  26. Of course we shouldn’t overlook the fact that the place where they rub shoulders also carries way to many UKIP nutters and that is how the tone of the Euro Parly is set. So not difficult to match standards in that kind of company – so much as it is to even try to be better. Says a lot for these two who’re just as bad. (Have I inserted an unnecessary apostrophe there?)

  27. Derek, your columns need a wider audience. Why do none of the newspapers pick up these articles? I think we may know the answer to that…

  28. I recall in April (foolishly) sending an email to Catherine Stihler after receiving a response from the ODIHR re oversight of the media in Scotland and I decided to send it to an SNP MSP and stupidly sent it to Stihler in error, I immediately realized my mistake but the ensuing barrage of emails from her office asking me to resend the original email as it hadn’t been properly received was quite sickening I eventually had to ask her office to stop emailing me as my original email had been an error,
    you could sense the enjoyment the senders were getting from the onslaught, just shows how mean and petty her office staff are.

  29. Never have I seen people work so hard to denigrate and cripple the aspirations and needs of their own electorate and in the name of what? I mean there can be no doubt surely as to their intent or actions. These people actively work to undermine the work of the Scottish parliament in favour of party politics and their preferred UK system of governance. A parliament, they never tire of telling us, their own parties helped set up. A parliament they supposedly endorsed and a commitment they made to the people of Scotland. How many members of these parties were signatories of the claim of right? How many actually support the idea of popular sovereignty?

    Apparently working with the Scottish parliament was ok so long as they held the positions of authority. As soon as the people showed them the door for their failures, their one aim has been to damage the Scottish parliament and the future it represents. I’ve voted both Labour and Liberal in times past (voting for the person, not the party albeit). Never again, so long as we remain attached to that crippling ethical black hole and financial leech on the Thames or a system of governance which condones a war on the poor, will I support any Westminster party. Their system crippled this economy, abused our trust, pissed our money up against a wall, took us to illegal wars and came back for more whilst alienating the weakest among us. This is the record they are defending and what they would have us continue to support.

    They fooled me more than once, I’m not up for giving them a third chance.

  30. An excellent letter Derek that demands answers. This is particularly timely given the current discussions over whether the UK can remain in the EU if Westminster repeals the Human Rights Act and therefore has to leave the OECD. Martin and Stihler should instead be spending their time warning their constituents about the threat to EU membership from Westminster.

  31. Derek – you will never get an answer, simply because these numpties do not have one.

    The Sunday Times article (while trying to shore up the Union) leaves an impression of a Westminster in massive panic as the reality starts to press in on the Unionists’ carapace of denial and obfuscation – especially in the comments from the ‘frothing at the mouth’ Lord Forsyth. The author of the piece certainly is hinting the Sunday Times poll showing only a 9% gap is closer to the real position than the other claims.

    The question is just how long can the Unionists run an ‘Elizabeth Bott’ style campaign, screaming and screaming until they are sick?

  32. The new SLAB anthem has never been proved so accurate. “The working class can kiss my ass I’ve got the bosses job at last”. SLAB, Affiliated to and financed by: THE CONSERVATIVE AND UNIONIST PARTY.

  33. Right.

    To cut a (very) long story short; if you don’t agree with the SNP you are anti-Scottish.

    I’ve heard that somewhere before….

    • And you’d be right slimer !

    • To cut a (very) long story short if you don’t agree with Westminster rule you’re anti English/Welsh/NI/social? Cobblers argument.

      Don’t like having your representatives motives or tactics questioned? You’re a bod who likes to question the honesty and integrity of others quite regularly. Apparently you don’t believe we should have the same recourse.

  34. Grahamski – if Stihler and Martin are working against the best interests of people in Scotland isn’t it obvious, even to someone as deluded by Labour as you are, that the are anti-Scottish. Any comments that I asked you for before on how you have seen Britain in your lifetime?

  35. I trust the recipients of the letter will relish the opportunity to provide legal precedent, factual clarity and the detailed steps towards Scotland’s eviction from the EU. Maybe they have already been involved in meetings to help expedite this forced eviction?

  36. You can bet Murray that they will be doing their level best to stuff the people of Scotland – isn’t that what Labour do and have been doing since the 2nd World War – where’s Grahamski with a defence of socialism in Britain, where it is? and when it was?

  37. Grahamski What tune is the fifth column marching to today. The “Eton boat song” or “the red flag” or “give us money”?

  38. Good article Derek,
    What’s the chance of getting it published in a main stream newspaper ?, where Joe public can start to learn
    Just how misleading our national newspapers are.

  39. Really people, why do you rise to this chancer’s bait. Ignore its every comment and see it curl up and disappear. There’s two of them now and more to come so get an operational code in place – ignore the cretin trolls and concentrate on truthfuly informing those who genuinely seek it.

    Maybe we should crowdsource a ‘sin-bin fund’ and levy everyone who gives them oxygen – that’ll pay for the Rev’s Mac.

  40. All of these faux independinistas queuing up to back another Union – infamous for its gravy trains, waste and imposition of technocrats on countries failing to make the grade – make me laugh Derek.

    “Independence within Europe” – the oxymoron of morons.

    As you no doubt well know, when the UK entered the EEC in 1973 it entered as a single national entity – therefore it is the EU who view Scotland as a ‘region’ of the UK – and it’s why Barroso, and Van Rompuy’s statements can’t be so casually dismissed.

    The implication that rUK can ratify Scotland as a ‘member state’ of the EU is laughable – more akin to the statements of the wilder elements of the Nationalist fraternity.

    How much do you drink when you write these articles Derek?


    • Hi longshanker
      Thanks for getting in touch and adding a welcome tone of criticism – and a dash of vitriol. If I may say so, you’re looking too closely for points to disagree with if you think I suggest London can endorse Scotland’s EU membership. It can’t, of course. What I’m pointing out is that the completion of disaggregation talks leads to both participants officially recognising the other confirming the democratic process to be completed. The EU is duty bound to recognise this as it means both states are legitimate and mutually agreed. Then it becomes Brussels job to formally engage with both on membership. (So the endorsement is a crucial part of the process). Meanwhile the EU will be constantly monitoring and advising throughout those disaggregation talks. Keep reading. Happy New Year.

    • Hey Ergasomophobe McMoron (Wos finder General) – thought I recognised the aroma of unioist nosense. A good laugh as always

      Still on the buckie I see

    • Just when you think you’ve blocked every hole and sealed every crevice, the vermin still get in.

  41. Do the EU treaties themselves need annulled if it doesn’t provide for a scenario like Scotland might find itself in? Just a naive thought.

    • just one thing….as Scotland under European law is nae country but a region like Bavaira in Germany….even many in in Strasvbourg and Brussels do nae know what will happen…it´s the frist time ever a region would leave a member country of EU and Council of Europe….please tell Scottish Media to stop their guess and could and should and wishful thinking and- I am German bland- their biased information….I work in European Strasbourg since many years

  42. Since Grahamski appears to lack the manners or bottle to defend his own position I will ignore him in future. What can you do with unionists? You give ’em a chance and what do you get……?

  43. In A. Darlings book he states that he realised that his boss G Brown was not up to it… and he thought of standing against him….. but…. decided not to as harmony within the party was more important….. so…. within Labour ranks it is obviously common to keep the party line and to hell with the electorate…. which implies scant respect for the citizens who can actually be bothered voting and who think their 5 minutes of democracy every 5 years is worth something…. when clearly these two quisling MEP examples are simply following what they are told by H.Q. …..
    The Falkirk inquiry is as good an illustration of the desperate position and consequences faced by any who step from the right on remit…..

  44. Well Derek, I love the assertion that you are line to be a EU ambassador. However i think you are most likely jumping the gun somewhat.

    You see the thing is as an EU Ambassador you would be expected to have a basic understanding of the EU Treaties and i doubt if you have studied them correctly. I would comment as follows.

    1. In the event of a YES vote the EU will not be stripping anyone of their EU citizenship. Our EU citizenship derives from our UK citizenship (see Article 20 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union) and the very act of voting for independence and removing scotland from the UK means that Scots such as you or I will no longer be UK citizens and therefore neither will we be EU citizens. This is fact. I completely fail to see how you can accuse the EU of something that Scots who vote YES next september are inflicting on themselves.

    2. If Scotland becomes a new state it will no longer be party to any of the Treaties that the UK is a signatory of. This includes the EU Treaties where the UK Government is the member and not the territory of the UK or its citizens. There are numerous precedents for this. An independent Scotland will have to join all of these treaties as an independent new state and until Scottish Independence day Scotland will not exist as a legal entity with the capacity to negotiate and sign any treaties no matter what the SNP claim. Until Scotland has set up systems of governance (such as the treasury and other fiscal controls, central bank etc) to replace what it is losing by leaving the UK and proven that it can operate them it will not be accepted for EU membership. Under no circumstances can you claim that Scotland is currently a member of the EU. It is not, it terms of law it does not even exist as a separate entity so therefore it is impossible for it to be a member of the EU. I would go even further by saying that post a Yes vote the SNP does not have the authority to negotiate Scotland’s terms of membership of the EU and a second referendum or election would be required. I should maybe also mention that scotland will have to take the EU deal it is offered which means all the UK opt outs are gone and among other things a commitment will have to be made to the Euro (so no Sterling zone).

    3. Prodi, Barroso and Van Rompuy have always said the same thing when it comes to the matter of part of a member state seceding as an independent scotland would. They have been consistent since 2004 when Prodi first gave the EC’s opinion on such matters. The EC will not change its mind on this.

    4. Article 49 is the only way that Scotland can apply to join the EU. Scotland will simply not be allowed to use the Article 48 route and in any case Scotland until it became an EU member state will have no legal standing to request that Article 48 be used to amend the Treaties to include Scotland. As well as the 3 heads of the EC stating that Article 49 is the correct means of accession a number of heads of states of EU member states have said the same thing and as you should be aware each head of state has a veto on new members. Therefore Scotland only has to irritate one head of state enough for them to use the Veto and Scotland’s application will be refused and they will have to reapply.

    5. Lastly, i find you comparing Scots to Palestinians downright insulting and no doubt any Palestinians would agree. I fail to see how you can compare the circumstances of Scots who have democratically voted to leave an EU member state and therefore give up their EU citizenship to a people who have essentially had their land stolen by force.

    I would be interested to hear your thoughts, i am prepared for abuse from fellow posters but such is life.

    • Hi John
      Thanks for such a fulsome contribution and for restating the Unionist case so accurately. Section by section, starting with the first, you are clearly not right in saying “the very act of voting for independence…means we will no longer be EU citizens.” The vote does not render us immediately independent, more’s the pity. We remain citizens of the UK and of the EU and, as per the Edinburgh Agreement, begin the process of negotiation and only become independent on completion. Scotland is not voting to come out of Europe but specifically, in the policy of the government sponsoring the referendum process, wishes to remain in membership. This will be made clear throughout the discussions which will have a direct input from the European Commission. They will be in no doubt of our intention and, if they object to our aspiration to remain, must surely excuse themselves from the talks. There is as much chance of that happening with so much at stake as there is of an MEP forgetting to put in his expenses. We will not be leaving and will demand our rights therefore it follows, if you are right, that the EU itself must remove us if we are to lose our citizenship. You haven’t addressed my question in the blog: Can you point to the section in the treaties which can be applied to Scotland voting for independence and then subsequently, against its wishes, being expelled? (Article 299 merely states who the Members are, it was Prodi who conjured the line about regions leaving the Member state also leaving the EU)
      How do they stop us moving freely through open borders, trading in the single market etc? They would have to enact some form of legislation or directive to curtail Scotland’s rights and prevent us exercising those rights as EU citizens. Isn’t that blindingly obvious? You are rather slavishly relying on the statements of the Presidents neither of whom has said how this will happen. By what mechanism? They can’t simply assert it. What if a member state objects? What if it is taken to the Court of Justice? This is frankly a pantomime interpretation which would make the entire EU an international laughing stock, even if they did try to apply it. Or are you suggesting that they would only say we were expelled but would let the practicalities of our membership run regardless? In which case you’re entering Alex Salmond territory by pointing out that we will carry on as we are without expulsion despite what they say. And how ridiculous they would look in the face of a democratic vote and a legal deal with London – who would also be backing Scotland’s fast entry. (I haven’t even touched on the issue of successor state here. You have again taken the Unionist legal line that rUK sails on unperturbed while Scotland is left with nothing. There is a clutch of authoritative voices which deny this interpretation entirely and point out that we will be in the exactly the same position as each other in the eyes of the EU. Perhaps you subscribe to the UK lawyers’ view that Scotland “ceased to exist” 300 years ago and was “absorbed into greater England”. I know two university professors of history who disagree with that and I would hope you as a Scotsman do too.)
      On the second section, your statement: “under no circumstances can you claim that Scotland is currently a member of the EU” is bewildering, so much so I will press on and ask if you can name any acquis that Scotland does not currently meet? Of course not. There are none. Further requirements such as central bank will be laid out by Brussels in the Scotland-England discussions but to adopt your Catch-22 approach in which you are not a legal entity and can’t sign agreements and won’t be recognized until you do is – sorry – just silly. Even the UK government’s lawyers don’t go that far. Countries become independent all the time. They don’t drop into a black hole. As for the Scottish government “not having the authority to negotiate” on the EU without a further referendum…that puts you in the UKIP camp, doesn’t it?
      I can’t decide John if you are a fastidious bureaucrat who interprets every word to the letter without reading the meaning into it, or you’re just in awe of the EU. “Scotland will have to take the deal it is offered” is an extraordinary statement from any observer of the affairs of men, let alone one with claims to special knowledge. You are flatly misinformed on the Euro membership issue – discussed previously here and understood by all but the willfully obtuse – but where I agree you have a point is on the rebate. My guess is they will demand it is tapered over the seven-year budget period until it is gone. It will not stop immediately.
      I am impressed by your dedicated adherence to the words of Prodi, Barroso and von Rompuy, clearly men you respect and look up to. In my book they are politicians who will say what is convenient at the time and will swing the other way when the time comes (they’ll be gone I think by then anyway to other richly rewarded billets).
      I’m not sure you’re right about the veto. If it was via 49, that is true. But in your desperation to interpret literally you miss the wider point that an agreement between London and Edinburgh requires a workable solution and the last example I was given – from a genuine source – was that it will not be via 49 and will not need unanimity as it will not be viewed technically as enlargement. Even if it did, don’t you see the tricky position any country wielding the veto would be in – asked to justify itself, contaminating the EU brand, using self-interest, undemocratic reaction etc, etc? And please don’t pretend Spain would – the fishermen would trawl the bottom of the North Sea with their government ministers.
      Not sure if you’re feigning insult or not, but I said the comparison with Palestine was in principle – a people trying to run their own country but denied freedom of movement by larger unsympathetic interests, which is what you are suggesting happens to our travel rights if we vote Yes. It is interesting how any example is ridiculed by Unionists in case it gains traction – Greenland struggling to get out…Germany adding 18 million citizens without enlargement…the eastern expansion with corruption and dismal legal independence. I suspect, John it takes a real diehard Unionist to regard his country’s independence as a vote to “give up citizenship” and it’s a sign of how corrupted some people’s thinking has become by deference to the Union that this is common currency.
      After reading your post, I have concluded that, when I am EU ambassador, I will offer you a post in the embassy. Can you organize the hospitality for me? I will have much need of it. Thank you for putting yourself on the line. Kind regards. Happy New Year.

      • Key Points

        1. Scotland is not currently a member of the EU. As you know it is not an independent country. If you disagree show me where it is named in the Treaties?

        2. Scots are UK citizens who derive EU citizenship from their UK citizenship. The EU will not be expelling any EU citizens. Again if scots vote yes it is they who are giving up their EU citizenship and for anyto try and blame Westminster for this is pathetic. It is our choice next September what happens, if people do not like what will happen if the yes vote wins then vote no, it is very simple!

        3. If Scotland votes yes then we leave the UK and scots are no longer UK citizens on Independence Day. We are still in the UK before then.

        4. Scotland can only apply for EU membership after Independence Day. It will have to sort out meeting the requirements in various things it doesn’t do now before the accession negotiations start.

        5.Everything on table in negotiations. Sterling currency zone could be gone, if it is even still a goer, rebate, schengen could be pushed for so borders if UK doesn’t join, euro too, not sure what else, fishing maybe?

        6. Scotland will get in but not sure how long it will take, if salmond caves in on everything then 18 months. If not then longer and you never know we might fall out with them completely.

        7. Whatever the outcome it will be worse than now.

        PS. I don’t like Europe particularly but it has its uses for certain things. Van Rompuy is a typical Eurocrat and I don’t like him, but he is the EC president and what he says goes. It is not his personal opinion, it is the opinion of the EC and it is backed up by the treaties. The whole plan of the EC/EU is political union and regions of member states becoming independent does not fit with this plan. Most importantly accession is not a legal process as such, it is more political when you consider the veto rights and behind the scenes negotiations. It is more like a members club where the members control the membership. If even one member state has reservations about anything in the accession process they can veto it and it’s back to the start again. You dismiss the veto but if you know anything about the EU you will know it has been used before, Does de Gaulle vetoing the UK twice ring a bell? There are plenty member states with their own agenda and plenty of examples of the veto being used or threatened.

        In reality Scotland needs the EU more than it needs us. The oil is irrelevant as the UK is a net importer of oil even with Scotland. Renewable energy is also irrelevant as it cannot be exported other than by cables, so Scotland will have to sell it to Europe whether it likes it or not ( that is if we can get off shore generation to work right) The EU/EC always get their way that is why it is best to keep a distance and salmond is going to jump right in and Scotland will come out a loser. Only of course Eck’ll be fine it’s the rest of us who’ll be stuffed.

        Pps. I don’t actually think that the UK will vote to leave the EU so any nationalist claims to the contrary are typical nationalist lies and scaremongering. Cameron will get more concessions, the UK is too big a contributor to the budget for the EU to let it walk and with the UK on track to be the most populous EU member state with the largest economy the EU cannot afford to lose the UK.

  45. Of course this whole controversy was sparked by the SNP’s assertion that a separate Scotland would automatically become a member of the EU with all the UK opt outs and conditions without the need for any troublesome negotiations.

    Were those who questioned that ludicrous assertion scaremongering or talking Scotland down?

    The SNP have form for playing fast and loose with facts and details on Europe. The most flagrant recently being Mr Salmond’s lie that his administration had sought legal advice from his law officers but that is just one of many in a long line of deceptions perpetrated by the SNP.

    If you remember they tried to counter proper legal opinion with an extract of a twenty-plus year old newspaper interview. Obviously the SNP didn’t say it was from a newspaper interview – they tried to pass it off as an extract from a similar legal document – but it was indeed a newspaper cutting.

    Guess who the journalist who wrote the piece was?

    Anyhoo, a separate Scotland’s place in the EU will be decided in Brussels not in Edinburgh.

    If you genuinely believe that Europe will do what it’s telt by Salmond then good luck in persuading your fellow Scots.

    It’s a pity you can’t accept that a lot of your fellow Scots have their doubts…

    • When UK pulls out after 2017 referendum it’ll no matter anyhoo. Yes a lot of Scots have doubts – mine are solely to do with Scots who still trot out the Slmond is a liar” stuff – how many times has he been referred and how many time has he been found not to have misled. The hooey about the EU legal advice has been resolved so many times even I’m sick of hearing it. Those so deaf as they who will not hear……! My main doubts are all about how Labour will go forward after their dishonesty and hypocrisy!

  46. Without doubt it is in the interest of Better Together to obfuscate on the matter of Scotland and her continuing membership of the EU in the event of a Yes vote .
    What is not in doubt is that as individuals resident in Scotland , with the right to hold dual citizenship and a British passport after Independence , we would all continue to be EU citizens with all existing rights of free movement , work , residence and investment .
    The EU cannot in itself withdraw individual EU citizenship and there exists case law to support this statement .
    Withdrawal of citizenship in the first instance rests with a member country . In the case of the UK the right to withdraw citizenship rest solely with the Westminster Government and is enforced by UK Border Control . This right of withdrawal of citizenship is seldom enforced being reserved as a sanction of last resort only for proven criminals and fraudsters .
    Such a deliberate and spiteful act against Scots would require a complete change to existing Dual Citizen Legislation and would have adverse Global ramifications for rUK . It just would not happen .
    So unless the clowns in Better Together and Brussels get their act together by facilitating Country Membership of a newly Independent Scotland there will be 5 million EU Scottish citizens questioning their legislative procedures and in the process making a laughing stock of Brussels and Strasbourg on the world stage . ……..
    5 Million EU citizens belonging to a non EU Country . Unthinkable !!

  47. Surely the UK will cease to exist when Scotland withdraws from the Treaty of Union, so the treaties signed by the UK will be worthless.
    Unless common sense takes hold?

  48. Ireland wasn’t a signatory to the Treaty of Union.

  49. rhinoceros

    • Now that really is irrelevant. If you don’t believe me go read professors crawfords and boyles legal opinion and while you pr at it read up about the many examples of regions seceding from states in the past. Google is a wonderful thing.

  50. Go do some reading.

    Ps, if we leave we have to take on part of the debt, how much will be decided by the UK’s creditors and not salmond and co. Any attempt to not pay our debts will be met with Scotland becoming an international pariah that will be unable to get credit on reasonable terms.

    • Make your mind up John. We are either seceding or we’re not.
      You do understand what that means?

      • You are the one who doesn’t know what seceding means. Under no circumstances will Scotland get away with reneging on its share of the national debt.

    • What debt…. do you mean the billions spent on the central London rail network…. or the billions committed to the forthcoming HS2… or the likely future expansion of Heathrow and the rerouting of the M25… or the billions to invade countries that were deemed a threat and after invasion are now more of a threat … and… that the majority of Scots democratic views were simply ignored by that great socialist T. Blair…… or the billions spent on non useable nuclear weapons… or the billions spent on England’s infra structure… like flood defences in Leicester that hasn’t seen a flood in over 20 years whereas White Sands in Dumfries suffers almost yearly flooding and that the other great socialist MP R. Brown has managed to do almost nothing in his efforts to eradicate this but is more than happy to blame the SNP… or the billions in new sewage works that London requires…. or the minor hundreds of millions spent on the Manchester tramway…. or the new Birmingham Library… or the millions being squandered to change the interior of the olympic stadium for the benefit of a London football team…. and the proposed housing development in the olympic park???????????.
      … I for one feel that the billions being borrowed by G Osborne and his associates in order to prop up a socially divisive policy and to help keep a corrupt banking system afloat whilst helping property speculators should be automatically excluded from any illusion that Scotland should contribute a penny more to bail out rUK.

      • London subsidises the rest of the uk by 20 billion a year so it is hardly sponging from us. Your pointless arguments about projects could be used against things like the Scottish parliament, the m74 extension, the new forth road bridge, the Edinburgh tra or the proposed dialling of the A9. For your information all the things you whinge about relating to labour came from a scottish dominated Labour Party with Scottish prime ministers and chancellors and very large proportion of other Scottish cabinet ministers. Idiocy is not something that the SNP is immune from either, I mean just take a look at Angus Robertson if you doubt me.

        • London subsidises…..why?…. because in the words of one of your fellow unionista…the liberal?… minister for business…. it is a magnet that successive governments have encouraged at the expense of all the other contributing parts of the UK… so are you saying that London subsidises Scotland to the tune of £20billion.?…. which is half of what the London cross link railway system is costing AT THIS MOMENT…. gawd only knows what the true figure will be… where is the M74 being extended?… how much?…. why not all the other pathetic roads throughout Scotland… or do we not deserve to have a superior road infra structure…. given that a village of some 150 souls in Surrey is about to have a new £350 million BY-PASS to divert the heavy lorries that continually trundle through it…. but where is the BY-Pass for the likes of Crossford or Springholme on the A/E 75 which our great socialist MP convieniently forgets about the years his party were in power and effected so very very little improvements… but he is more than happy to blame the SNP……
          “PROPOSED” dualling of the A9… after how many deaths???????and again the main road into the North of Scotland…. is the ground ‘holy’ either side of it?… is there some insurmountable technical difficulty?….. is there a massive public reaction against this ” PROPOSAL “?….
          You seem to think that the new Forth Road Bridge is some act of benevolence dolled out by a sympathetic westminster…. when like the vast majority of our roads … it is barely acceptable in a so called modern civilised country…. look at the road to Inveraray!… after all these years it has a single lane road bridge controlled by traffic lights…. and this is the main and basically only road into the west coast of Scotland… and as for the Scottish labour party… puuhleese do not insult me by trying to pass of this bunch of corrupt mafiosi as representative of Scots abilities…. as I have been so impressed by the clear forward thinking of those I have met so far in the YES campaign…. not the whining we are to small… to stupid and rely on England’s subsidy to get by… as you have so ably demonstrated with your remarks on Angus Robertson….

  51. I never said Scotland wouldn’t pay it’s share of debt, John. Of course we’ll also have our share of the assets.
    The rest of your points are too childish to waste time on.

    • Yes you did. To say that making reference to a respected legal opinion or suggesting that you should research previous secessions of regions is childish shows your true nature. You are not interested in the facts only nationalist propaganda matters to you and no one is allowed to question it. You are a good advert for voting no.

  52. Methinks Derek that your communication with those MEPs seems to have realised an answer!

    Just not personally!!
    Hope you had a peaceful New Year.

  53. Legal opinion on secession seems pretty clear to me John. If the rUK wants to be the secesser state and keep all the assets, then it is liable for all the debt.
    The option favoured by the SNP, offering to share the debts and the assets, seems like the fair way of doing things.
    Personally, I favour just walking away and starting with a clean slate. 🙂

  54. @scottogoto

    London’s metropolitan area economy is 3 times the size of Scotland’s which makes it roughly the same as the entire economies of Saudi Arabia or Argentina with a value of around $670 billion in 2005. That is a fact. Not only that but other regions (such as Scotland) financial industries benefit from being in the UK with London as it is the largest financial centre in Europe and with New York and Tokyo it is one of the largest financial centres in the world. It is the only region that provides a subsidy to the rest of the UK every year. Scotland even with its oil is essentially neutral.

    Regarding the A9 or any of you other whinges about the roads. You should know that roads and transport are devolved. It is up to the Scottish government to sort the A9 out and so far the SNP have done nowt but blame everyone else for not sorting it out. I had always thought it was one of swanneys “shovel ready” projects, obviously not.

    You are obviously easily impressed… funny that… for example Colin fox the communist… So forward looking… and if you seriously think that it is acceptable for a supposed member of parliament to go on tv and carry on like a moron whinging about scots being slaves to their English masters and to refer to Scotland as a colony then you really need to change your points of reference. The man is a fool and an embarrassment to this country.

    • Edit: London metropolitan economy was $751 billion in 2010.

    • you ‘seem’ to be very well informed…. and yet the money raised in Scotland through tax excludes the present tax levels that OUR OIL generates for those companies that have their H.Q.’s in …. London…. and therefore are included within your London figures… so…. once we are independent the income which these companies generate from Scotland will no longer be a part of London’s tax take….. so… if the ex post office wanted to purchase vehicles for its fleet…. all these purchases were negotiated within the M25 corridor…. again part of London’s budget… then the vehicles were dispatched throughout the various parts of the UK…. and this expenditure…. which shows up as being part of a ‘vibrant” London economy is in fact raised from all of the UK…. as does all the monies spent on our behalf by the M of D…. the F.O…. bbc…etc etc… so… as V Cable states London does not actually produce very much but spends the NATION’s wealth… therefore it is a parasite living off others income..
      and like most unionists you conveniently forget the years when both labour and your friends the tories were in power and seriously neglected all of Scotland’s road infrastructure…. can you explain why it was acceptable to do nothing … did your fellow unionist politicians not have the funds?…. did any of them raise this within their own parties or did they not dare?… did they actually travel anywhere that illustrated to them that Scotland’s main road network was unfit for purpose…. and yet you now blame the SNP for this inherited disaster… probably you will feel completely justified in putting all the present woes of Scotland on the SNP…. as it is clear from the answers you have given…. and those you have avoided giving… that everything was hunky dory old boy… should have been grateful that maggie closed down all those heavy industries that other parts of Europe have managed to keep… should be grateful that we still have the odd fishing boat … unlike the Maltese who successfully negotiated on their fishermen’s behalf an exclusive fishing zone…. plus have the same number of M.E.P’s as Scotland yet have less than a tenth the population…. so… is it still the SNP’s fault….

      and why shouldn’t any SNP member state what ever he wants…. he is free to do this…..whether people listen or act on his views is another matter…. unlike your westminster friends who are petrified they will not be part of the never ending gravy train…. the stench of corruption and nepotism is not built into the SNP…. unlike those socialists who have been expelled or jailed and can not accept that Keir Hardie ever existed as he strongly advocated Scotland’s separation… and … nationalising everything…. including the land…. does that seem familiar to you?….. probably not as this is against present party policy ….which is ironic given that its actually tory lite….

      • You do realise how relatively irrelevant scottish oil production is in the global picture? Scottish profits would be small part of the total profits of a large oil multinational like shell or bp.

        I will not waste my time dissecting the rest of what you say as it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference to you. After all you dismiss an economy of $750 billion dollars, an economy larger than Saudi Arabia as somewhere that sponges off the rest of us (remember what Alex Salmond Said; “scotland would be the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy”).

        What i would suggest is get on google and spend time on serious news websites like Reuters etc and teach yourself about the world, economics, international relations etc. Try to stay off nationalist websites. It will do you the world of good and be rewarding at the same time. When you come back you will realise you have been conned.

        • First of All . I can gather from your posts that you are not Scots but some other nationality… some 70 years ago in Norway you would have probably been described suitably… secondly… you are so far up the unionist posterior that I can understand why your statements etc are so negative… as you continually deride Scotland and the Scots no matter what … why you have given your non de plum as McMad is no doubt a guide to your sympathises … if one were needed

          I of course recognise the value of Scottish Oil… especially when you look at Norway and the decent nest egg they have built up for the future of their citizens…. I wonder if you could enlighten me on the value of the UK nest egg?… whilst researching this you might look up a ‘gent’ called Algy Cluff you may find a clue as to why Scotland has never really prospered from the black gold in the same vein as southern speculators and the London property market…. BUT… of course none of this matters… what matters is that you can only see one future and that is keeping all those wonderful institutions that have successfully drained this country of its wealth… as they have with all their other colonies…. almost a cultural genocide really…

          As for trawling the web to find some form of reference for my posts…. then I am afraid you are well short of the point….. at the age of 11 I was sent to Australia… and noticed the distinct lack of tenements… or council housing estates… instead…. mile upon mile of various properties… no two the same… all well appointed… some with swimming pools etc…and before I escaped Oz I had travelled widely through its various states…. next came New Zealand… but it was so backward at that time… I moved on…. I eventually returned to the UK…. took on an apprenticeship in a shipyard where they took on 400 boys every year giving them training in almost every trade you could imagine…. BUT once I had finished my time.. I joined one of the services… where for 6 years they entertained me with travel ALL over the globe apart from S. America…. and this only whetted my appetite as… when I left… due to the socialist idiot in charge of defense… bushy eyebrows covering a very limited intelligence and his idea that ammunition sourced from a third world country would suffice…. so…it was back to working for a living…. unlike your own probable set of golden handcuffs… I travelled wherever the notion and my money took me… working wherever on whatever…. each time returning to Scotland … as those hills were my hills…. BUT… it was apparent that other countries that could govern themselves were so so much better off financially and socially…. no H of L… no monarchy…. no class ridden structure…. no old boy network…. etc etc…. so… I have seen and compared many and by conclusion we are going to be so much better of once we rid ourselves of the white heather club and their friends who’s only genuine reference is the fortnight per year in Torremillinos…

  55. John/Grahamski/Hutherswill.
    Are you mad?

  56. sam mcneil

    so im not scottish… once i read that i didn’t bother reading the rest.

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