From the District Commissioner’s Office

When Douglas Hurd was in the Cabinet I used to get a delicious pleasure introducing him on the BBC with the words: Welcome to Scotland, Foreign Secretary. And today I wish William Hague many happy returns to Scotland in the near future to meet our Foreign Secretary.

I don’t know if you caught William doing his Rory Bremner on Radio Four this morning but he sounded like one of Her Majesty’s representatives pinged over to Nyasaland or Ceylon from Whitehall to remind the natives who they’re dealing with. There is a tone that is de rigueur for Tory ministers in which they turn the Reasonable dial one way and the Remorseless dial the other so they combine into a benign, educated voice gently threatening us with a journey to hell in a handcart.

It sounded as if it really hadn’t occurred to him that it was bordering on farce to warn Yes-voting Scots they would be ejecting themselves from the bosom of Europe when his own government is promising an In/Out referendum in three years time. Impertinence! Uppity media oik! He gave a Colonel Blimp reply about this meaning the Scots actually had two votes on membership of Europe. With the rest of the natives standing to attention beside the wireless, I furrowed my brow and wondered if  Great White Man know what he talkin’ about.

I think that, like telling the Swahili house servants you are the boss because you know something they don’t, we are supposed to limit our thinking to what the Master tells us. If we do any of that joined-up thinking and catch him out, it will be the worse for us.

What I’m looking out for in this latest ministerial sortie into the Northern Bush is the Euro Question du jour: Mr Hague, when will you comply with the Commission’s offer of legal guidance on Scotland’s position if they are asked by the British government?

It wasn’t asked on Radio Four as they wanted to move on to the different subject of Britain yet again found out spying on their own citizens – in cahoots with the Americans who look increasingly like the new Soviets with their covert anti- democratic campaign against their own people, a business which makes us all suspects. (The Man from Whitehall waved it away with his fly swish. All perfectly legal….)

If you come across a journalist asking the European question of Hague, let me know.

There is now what looks like a flood of informed opinion on our EU membership which is washing up to the door of Better Together. The bald statements that We will be Out sound shrill and unconvincing as the weight of evidence shifts in favour of a speedy accession. The Barroso doctrine looks forlorn and its Unionist disciples, notably the MEPs, appear furtive, relying solely on the one sentence that separating from a Member State takes you outwith the Treaties. Not one of them has replied to the challenge of telling us how that will be effected…who stops Scots with British passports at Schipol and tells them they need a third country visa to enter…who stops trucks at Berwick to say the Single Market doesn’t apply to Scotland…who writes to each of us to say our European citizenship is revoked…who halts the diggers at the Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment facility being built with EU money in Glasgow…who orders thousands of exchange students home without their degrees…who gets our financial contribution to the EU? Isn’t it the job of Euro MPs to get those answers for the voters ahead of September?

The experts I saw at the Scottish Parliament comprehensively rubbished the idea of Scotland being excluded which is a line I think will have to change soon to avoid the No side looking trapped on a tiny island as the current rushes past. This is the legacy of starting out with a big lie and hoping nobody would challenge it. Because everybody with EU experience knows it to be a lie it has been steadily revealed to be so. They would always have been better advised to focus on the technicalities of membership – what Scotland gets out of it, or doesn’t – in order to frighten the anxious. Instead they are exposed as…what’s the right word…scaremongers…who can’t be trusted on the big questions. In fact they had a very strong hand to play if they hadn’t been so contemptuous of Scottish opinion assuming that nobody will understand the EU…just say we’ll get expelled.

I would think the contribution Scotland has to make as an independent country would go up and there is no doubt at all in my mind that a commitment will have to be made to remove Scotland’s share of the UK rebate, a stone in the shoe for every other member. I don’t think it’s the amount Brussels is concerned with so much as the principle therefore I believe they will seek a phase-out over the seven year budget period so as not to hurt Scotland too much. Once the principle is conceded they will turn their guns on rUK and use Scotland against London.

As Professor Gallagher, the Union’s own adviser says, it’s unlikely there will be a move on either the Euro or Schengen. They cannot oblige a country to join the currency, Scotland wont have its own currency to put in anyway and it does no good to the EU to unbalance a member’s economy by forcing it to adopt the Euro, even if they had the powers which they don’t. Schengen is equally problematic as it involves not just Scotland but England as well and would mean reaching an agreement with London to “close” the Scottish Border. The real sticking point though is the third country in the Common Travel Area, the Irish Republic. Brussels won’t want to drag another Member State into complicated negotiations.

I still think the tuition fees question is fair game because it seems to me to run against not just EU law but founding principle and would in theory be open to legal challenge not only by states but by citizens objecting to a restriction to their rights. (Scotland can’t use the citizen’s argument on membership but reject it on tuition fees). I suspect the entry criteria from England could be adjusted to make access harder but that might be ruled anti European. It would certainly open up Scotland to the accusation of discrimination against England, something Daily Mail readers wrongly say exists today. (It was England that changed the funding rules, not us)

Talking of young people and students did you wonder like me what the hell is going on at Better Together? Yesterday’s pitch was to young voters, mainly first-timers, the digital generation with their jeans waistband below their buttocks, a communication watch on their wrist and ipod armband. And who did BT put up to “communicate” with them? Grandad…bloody Clive Dunn from Dad’s Army!! He even has the same metal-rimmed glasses.

When Alistair began speaking I heard the words come out…I’ve been sitting here all day, thinking…Now my day’s are gone…Memories linger on…Grandad, grandad, you’re lovely…

Have they no one under the age of 60 who still clings to the faded memory of Brave Britain fighting the Hun? Even a woman perhaps who looks like she was born before Bill and Ben, the Flower Pot Men…No teenager is going to listen to a silver-haired suit droning about how gloomy and dangerous everything is. Remember Alistair was voted Most Boring Politician in Britain – twice. And what was the backdrop…something about Opportunity and Security. That’s what the kind of corporate bullshit they use to advertise NATO, a first strike nuclear Armageddon machine, not for appealing to flaky adolescents. Buck up, McDougall!

Irony Alert. Are those insufferable Tory ministers who told Scots they wouldn’t be able to defend their own country the same ones accused of not pulling their weight in the American alliance?  Robert Gates was confirming what MPs have been saying, that the UK is cutting too far to be credible. We haven’t even got an aircraft carrier.

The first of the new carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth, won’t enter service until 2016, with helicopters, not jets – not very scary.  The second new carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, will arrive in 2019 and use probably French jets. At that point the first one will be mothballed and could be sold to another country to recoup some of the building cost. The UK is not now regarded states-side as a full operational defence force worthy of being a US ally. They are also not meeting all of their NATO obligations, I’m told, and we have no maritime air surveillance. Safe in their hands? I’m taking bets on the Army being so depleted that they get cuffed by the Bannockburn re-enactment mob during Armed Forces Day in Stirling.

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0 thoughts on “From the District Commissioner’s Office

  1. Either I haven’t been hearing enough of the massa’s voice lately, on a restricted diet of Radio Scotland (when there’s nothing on the wireless you can take seriously, you might as well have a laugh), or wee Willie Hague sounded like a golfball full of marbles whacked across from outer Yorkshire. Weird to have a voice like that telling you… well anything, really.

  2. “The UK is not now regarded states-side as a full operational defence force worthy of being a US ally.”

    Yet we are regularly told that the UK has one of the latgest ‘defence’ budgets in the world. This suggests that the UK must have one of the least cost-effective military systems. Scotland has the UK’s non-independent nuclear deterrent based here, but if there was a terrorist attack on any of the North Sea oil installations, there is no Royal Navy ship based nearer than the south coast of England available and, as you say, no marime patrol aircraft.

  3. Even without a direct request from UK government to the Commission, I think there is emerging consensus that Scotland would be accomodated within the EU. Reading between lines of the Commission replies to MEP and House of Lords requests, we meet the criteria, we go in.

    However, it won’t be “automatic” as was somewhat naively claimed by the SNP – it is remarkable that their 760 page paper doesn’t use the phrase “Copenhagen criteria” once, that I can see. There is already a body of knowledge as to how a state becomes a Member State of the EU, and we already meet many of these. The additional ones, like having a central bank, are the trappings of state that we will need to have in any event to be an independent actor. We should be working on how to set these up in principle to reduce the transition time, though I think 2016 is too optimistic in any event, we will need a bit more time in transition.

    • ‘automatic’ – somewhat naively claimed by the SNP.

      Really ? My understanding from TV interviews with Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon across various media outlets was that Scotland would join the EU after a period of negotiation from September this year until the day of independence in March 2016. As we are already EU citizens and comply to all EU regulations, the process of transfer and negotiation could take place over a drunken night on the town in all reality.

      • Yes, it’s not quite as easy as that. The European citizenship thing in particular has no weight. This used to be the SNP claim:

        “It is the very clear view of the SNP and of the Government that Scotland would automatically be a member of the European Union upon independence.
        “There is very clear legal opinion that backs up that position. I don’t think the legal position, therefore, is in any doubt.”

        That was in 2007 (not sure this was the legal advice that turned out not to exist?)
        But the “rules” haven’t changed in that time. For a state to join the club you need to be accepted by all the existing Member States, meet Commission requirements (hence the need for institutions like a central bank, pluse a healthcheck that all laws incorporate EU directives) and a qualified majority vote in the European Parliament.

        It might get done in 18 months, but I think a longer transition period is the more likely solution.

  4. The 21st century equivalent of the Town Crier
    O Yes O Yes (or should that be O No) Be Very Afraid….
    I think the clincher for a lot of people will be if Cameron follows through on his promise to hold a cabinet meeting in Scotland before the referendum.
    A reminder to us Scots that we don’t always get what we vote for in this “United” Kingdom.
    Thanks Derek,excellent as always.

  5. I saw Hague on the BBC’s early morning ‘news’ show with Hague was in Glasgow sounding every bit like a tedious non-conformist preacher with that droning voice that occasionally goes up and down to inject a bit of interest. The voice is so weird that I missed much of the message, but it seemed to consist of the usual twaddle that even Flipper has stopped spouting. The usual stuff about having to wait till the next Ice Age to get admitted to the UK; seat at the top table; UK more than the sum of its parts; EU rules mean to sterling for iScotland; blah, blah, blah. Derek has it right on the button – wise white massa, he visit Nyasaland, he say truth to stupid natives. It felt like 1948 (not that I was born then…)

  6. Hague certainly didn’t get any difficult questions from Jim Naughtie on Good Morning Scotland this morning – more of a big, soft Better Together bosie.

  7. Mr Bateman states: “This is the legacy of starting out with a big lie and hoping nobody would challenge it. ”

    Is he talking about Ms Sturgeon’s lie that a separate Scotland would automatically become a EU member retaining all UK opt-outs without the need for negotiation?

    If he wasn’t he should be…

    • macgilleleabhar

      Grahamski, I think Mr Bateman and Ms Sturgeon are familiar with EU article 48.
      Your posit suggests you believe ‘Yes” will win the referendum so may I congratulate you on finally gaining some vision.

  8. Not once did James Naughtie mention that Scotland would be negotiating from within in answer to William Hague. This is fundamental to peddling the lie. In other words vote Yes the next day Scotland is independent. We all know the truth that it will be another 2 years until independence day. A country that currently meets all EU legislation will not need 2 years to negotiate independent membership. Give it 3 months and the next stage in this process will crumble for No. They will be forced to concede to seek EU formal agreement on the matter whcih they have the power to do today. It’s already happened with the national debt.

  9. Blair Jenkins on BBC Breakfast this morning was excellent, Hague was P*** bwana! Save Me!

    Grahamski: are you the comic or the straight man. Yer some turn!

  10. Hague trying to square the circle for his boss. This debate is for you Scots, I’m just here for the beer, honest. 😀

    As far as BTs strategy on the EU is concerned…

    …who knew it would start to rot from under them?

  11. I think you’re spot on about the No campaign making an error by effectively betting the house on a line of argument that was always just waiting to be totally blown apart by using facts. It was an incredibly high-risk strategy, which might work for a 3 month campaign, but was never going to work for a 2.5 year one. I think they’ve done this with a whole load of other stuff too – the currency union, the UK’s now-former AAA credit rating, postal services… It’s exactly why they’ve run such a poor campaign in my eyes. So I was puzzled as to why you said they’d been doing a good job on the recent Scottish Independence podcast. Surely these are the hallmarks of a terrible campaign, not a good one?

    • I think that’s a symptom of having Westminster MPs running the BT show. They’re so used to the quick campaign, where there’s no time to uncover all their lies, that the 2+ year campaign has seen them exposed time and time again for the charlatans that they are. The SNP, on the other hand, have been used to playing the long game for many years and, despite a couple of minor hiccups along the way, continue to make mincemeat out of them. They also surprised many of us by turning out to be a very effective government part. This must stick in the craw of the CON/LAB/LIB lot. You can see it every time JoLo stands up in parliament with each weeks new whinge – her face is contorted with rage 5 minutes into each session. Who knew PMQs could be so entertaining? 🙂

  12. Another splendid article.
    It is good to see that Grahamski is a follower. It will keep him off the doorsteps of Falkirk where he could never find separatists.
    Your references to the UK Defence forces brought to mind a clip I saw last week following the untimely death of the satirist John Fortune of Bird and Fortune renown.
    Asked about the amount of preparation required for their Ministerial interviews sketches Fortune suggested that MoD sketches required the minimal amount of preparation as they could be almost quoted verbatim with a simple pause and a puzzled expression left for the audience to absorb

  13. On the Europe thing I simply can’t see why people don’t reflect upon the situation as it actually is and as far as I can see – will be. Scotland has always been separate form England. We are part of a union of member states- Scotland and rUK being those in union- and we will not be leaving a member state because we – Scotland – are that member state. We will need to reorganise our representation when we decommission our agents of sovereignty from reporting to and via Westminster and direct communication afresh from our own parliament. But we will surely keep the rights and responsibilities that have been negotiated upon our behalf -albeit accepting that conduits of communication and funding will need to be updated? We will surely negotiate fresh agreements pertaining to our own governance as and when they arise? There is no actual ‘start anew moment’. We continue as we are in the first instance and reorganise as appropriate. This should equally true regarding our status within and outwith the UK also although to listen to some people you wouldn’t understand that, regardless of our arrangements, the idea of a separate Scotland is in itself no a change whatsoever. How we are represented will change, but not what/who we are.

    But in the case of Europe I will try to illustrate that which seems self evident and very straightforward to me.

    At present I am a Scottish E.U. citizen who has accrued rights and responsibilities that have been rightfully paid for by various but definite means. I do not accept that these payments expire upon Scottish Independence being gained. I am represented by an MEP structure that has no dubiety with English constituencies whatsoever and I (as it happens) work to European directives. (I am a bus driver who uses European tachograph regulations and I have paid good money of my own to qualify with my European CPC card).

    Should I be in contravention of my European driver’s hours I will expect to be prosecuted through the Scottish courts – even as is always the case with me the journey is deemed to have started and finished in ‘UK’ on the tachograph. Because I’m based in Edinburgh it will be Scots Law that I will have broken whilst contravening European regulations. (I haven’t done this by the way!).

    The law of my member state is Scots Law. Regardless of the vote on 18/9/14 this will remain the case. The English courts, a separate system will not record the incident (unless I was at the time of contravention ‘ down below the border’). I will not accept being stripped of my status as an EU citizen due to a misunderstanding by unread and unconsidered officials as to the current status of Scotland. Should Scotland be, against all evidence and custom and practice, deemed to be a ‘new country’ and I were to lose my rights through this misrepresentation of the palpable truth I will appeal to my MEP and perhaps ultimately to the European Court of Human Rights. It may be appropriate to make representation through the Scottish Courts. It would always be inappropriate to petition the English, Welsh or NI courts because they are not the courts of my member state.

    (If anyone bloody mentions the Supreme Court I’m going intae the huff, since because since it needs to have no Scots Law quorum sitting I don’t see how it is either competent or constitutional and I don’t think its authority has been properly tested thus.)

    But the point is Scotland is already separate and in Europe and that status is not within the remit of our referendum. (it would be appalling to think that the English could vote us out against our wishes and we should be insisting that should the Tories euro referendum come to pass and we are not already free fae Westminster then we must have our own Euro ref! Then perhaps we can put up our Border controls and fancy airport queues for non E.U’s off the shuttle as per the Beaten Together nightmare scenario!)

    • I think your first line is correct historically, but not politically. For me, one of the most interesting aspects of the EU debate is that the memory of how the UK came into being has no bearing on continental decisions on what happens if the 1707 union is dissolved. The biggest surviving bit will apparently be treated as the continuing UK and any fragment will need to reconsitute itself as an independent state and go from there. The parallels are probably Bavaria breaking out of the German union, but Germany surviving and Bavaria proposing itself to the EU Member States to join the club.

      • HI
        Can I just join here to say this is exactly what we need to have clarified and that it is dereliction of duty for our own government not to find out. The implicit reason is that they are not sure of their ground, otherwise it would make perfect sense to get a ruling fitting their case. There are real doubts over successor state because I’m told the EU would take into account the legal formation of the Member if part of the state (Scotland) makes that part of its case for entry…that we are withdrawing from the Union and thereby dissolving the treaty which established the UK. It is also far from clear in our case that unanimity is needed. I make these points because in an unattributable media briefing a senior EU source said both states – Scotland and rUK – would be treated the same…that is they would have equal status with each other, both requiring formal (re)-acceptance. I think this is because, as others have pointed out, the successor state argument about the larger section of a dividing country succeeding etc applies in international law which does NOT precede EU rules. The Eu’s own laws, the treaties, dictate the process and in the absence of appropriate wording, the EU lawyers propose a solution and, for accession, the Council decides. Also, if this is not treated as two New States to which the entry rules would normally apply, then they don’t have to demand unanimity, thereby speeding the process and avoiding a potential problem if, say Spain, wanted to vote against. If this source – unimpeachable, as they say – is correct you can understand why Her Majesty’s Government dare not ask for an EU ruling as it would blow them out of the water on the Scottish question and provide a superb platform for UKIP to say Take the chance to get out when the EU demands we re-apply. It all begins to make sense if our friend in Brussels is right. (I’m disturbed that there is little or no attempt by Yes to force this issue with HMG and ether EU nations) Derek

    • 1. Scotland is not an EU member state.

      2 .How are you going to appeal to the European court of human rights if you are no longer an EU citizen with legal standing in the court?

  14. When the Treaty of Union is revoked by a Yes vote in September, the British mainland will revert to having two sovereign parliaments at Westminster and Holyrood because it is only these two sovereign parliaments who have the lawful and constitutional powers to negotiate the detail of ending the Treaty of Union 1706. Scotland is technically ‘independent’ on the announcement of the ‘yes vote’. Clearly there are all sorts of bits and pieces that then have to be divided up and that takes time.

    As we have seen over Sterling, the City of London will determine the pace of the United States of England and Wales disengagement from the Treaty because it has most to lose if the new sovereign parliament of Westminster gets silly or huffy and the negative impact on the ‘markets’ this will generate. In the background remains the fear amongst the World’s money men is if Westminster plays ‘silly buggers’ the Scots will walk away from Sterling and they will see their Sterling investments becoming Wiemaresque in their collapsing value.

    The biggest problem for the No Side is having peddled all this tosh and lies to the English and Welsh electorate about too wee, too poor, too stupid Scotland is just how will they square the circle when the electorate of England and Wales wakes up to the complete arse Westminster have made and morass they subsequently end up in – not just in terms of the negotiations between the two parliaments on ending the Union but as the EU pays Westminster back for its hubris and presumption over its ‘role in and vital importance to the EU’.

  15. Well, that makes sense. I bet BT wish they had you working for them!……and I really enjoyed your Stirling vision.

  16. Derek: In answer to the point about forcing the issue: the Commission is surely about as reluctant to give clarification as the UK is to seek it. I imagine there has been feedback from Brussels to Scotland to that effect. If Scottish independence can be presented as a domestic issue which sets no precedent for anyone else, then it’s all hunky-dory. That will be the quid pro quo for rapid Scottish accession and nae fuss about Westminster’s continuing status. But it can’t be stated in advance of a Yes vote.

  17. When Greenland gained autonomy and voted to leave the EEC (or proto-EU), it took them a couple of years to negotiate their way out. When Germany re-unified, it did not take long for the arrangements for the admission of the former East Germany to be completed. Clearly the EU is keener to gain territory than to lose it. If Scotland regains her independence, the EU will want Scotland as a member state, and I am sure that they will arrange this before formal independence, as the Scottish Government expects. The EU will not want the problems that would be caused by a lack of continuity in Scottish membership, an although opinion polls show more people in favour of EU membership in Scotland than against it, there can be no guarantee that the people of Scotland, if they found themselves outside the EU, would approve a subsequent application for membership if the Scottish Government were to hold a referendum on this.

    It is an interesting question whether the rUK will have an automatic right to be treated as the successor state to the present UK, or whether the EU would have to treat Scotland and the rUK on the same basis. I have read that the Treaty of Union was, in modern terms, a bilateral international treaty between two sovereign states, and that such treaties can always be ended by one party giving appropriate notice. If so, surely Scotland and the rUK should be teated equally, or does the later Union with Ireland somehow change this? I wonder if, given the UK’s tendency not to be ‘good Europeans’, there are some European politicians privately wishing they could find some justification for treating Scotland as the successor state and telling the rUK that they will have to re-negotiate EU membership.

    • The arrangement between Scotland and England will, or should have no impact on the EU other than the dependency/contribution of the ‘member(s)’; succeeding or ‘new’ and it could even be said that rUK does not look too healthy without Scotland’s resources in either classification.

      I would imagine that the path of least resistance will be adopted by the EU to avoid such classification, and thereby avert pressure from Spain/Catalonia, Belgium/Flanders, etc., hence the studied reluctance from all quarters, including the SG, to attempt to force this issue with HMG and other EU members.

      The UK government have made a monumental mess of their backyard and those of other EU neighbours’, not to mention incurring the ire of the USA as the geographically strategic defense platform offered by Scotland lies hanging by a thread. Did Scotland walk or was she pushed out?

  18. I had visual problems reading your article beyond Nyasaland and Ceylon – watering eyes and laughter – I have a loaned video from a friend of A History of David Brown Tractors around the World. Even a piece on paddy fields! Fits to a T your article.
    If historical records matters then the formation, and following a Yes vote for independence, the dissolution of the political union of England and Scotland means the return of two nation states to their independent status. If history doesn’t matter and EU real politics rules such that the EU decide to be awkward with us over membership, fine. We will be independent of the EU and trade our goods, some manufactured, some God(?) given, with the other peoples of the World.
    If you don’t want the answer don’t ask the question is the UK’s position on Scotland’s EU membership.

  19. Europe is not going to be a legal decision but a political one based mainly on self-interest, especially for the Spanish and Rajoy whose constituency is in Galicia and Galicia has one of the biggest fishing fleets in Spain.

    It’s useful to see what the EU loses if it loses Scotland. It will lose 66% of its oil production and 25% of the North Atlantic and North Sea continental shelf which comprise the best fishing grounds in Europe.

    There is also the loss of all that potential wind, wave and tidal power. Scotland has 25% of Europe’s potential tidal power, 10% of its wave power potential and around 25% of the European offshore wind potential.

    There’s two of bad outcomes for the EU if they do deny Scotland entry. Scotland would join EFTA and gain access to the free movement of goods, people, services and capital throughout the EFTA and the EU countries via the EEA but the EU would lose all its fishing rights in Scottish waters. Goodbye Spanish fishing industry and a large chunk of everybody else’s too.

    Then there’s NATO. If Scotland gets booted out of Europe by all these NATO members why join NATO? If they don’t want us in one of their clubs why should we join the other? It would be a much better scenario to give them all two fingers. At that point NATO would lose control of a vital end of the current Greenland/Iceland/UK gap which is the choke point for Russian naval vessels entering the North Atlantic. With both Ireland and Scotland out of NATO they would have no control over a large chunk of the north west Atlantic. NATO is going to be big consideration for Scotland’s entry to the EU even though at first glance they do not appear connected.

    Realpolitik and money are going to play a large part in the consideration of Scotland’s entry into Europe and we hold the good cards.

  20. The examples of Germany and Greenland show that there is no fixed E.U position. It is for us to declare our position and see that it is respected. It is not for us to await the judgement and approval of others. My opinion is that I am an fully paid up and bought in member of the EU as a citizen and that my country in which I invest my personal sovereignty to the collective is Scotland and Scotland is a fully valid member state. No article of treaty nor legal clause is bigger than principle. This is what I will argue and its basis is simple, clear and with ample precedent in the working practice of Scotland as a nation. And, although it may be dismissed as opinion, it easily as competent as any constitutional advice. We are not here to service the language of the law. The law is there to offer framework for our aspirations. I repeat – Scotland is already separate and a full historic member of the E.U. This status, in any fair hearing is not altered in any way by our upcoming referendum. It is not guaranteed that anyone will respect this position but it is, I believe, the shortest most reasonable evaluation of the facts.

  21. Fascinating comments on here.

    I note that many contributors, like the SNP, argue that they will be able to negotiate a separate Scotland’s place in the EU immediately after a YES vote because at that time they will still be part of the UK and as such part of the EU.

    Of course, they are in this position just now.

    And just now the EU won’t even answer their questions far less negotiate with them.

    I wonder if the SNP has had confirmation from the EU that rules will be changed post indy vote to allow these negotiations to take place before our liberation day?

    • Ummmm because of the Edinburgh agreement…point 30 of the memorandum of agreement. I know you swivel-eyed British Nationalist types can be slow but do keep up.. Oh and of course – when Scotland votes YES then trust me – the EU will be knocking on Englands door toot suite with rebates, fishing, agricultural subsidies and seat numbers on the council top of the list to be discussed! And then there’s the permanent seat at the UN to be queried by any nation holding a grudge against imperial Britain…. I’m sure that’s a short list though eh?

  22. Always remember that we are the EU. In part anyway. They are not a separate ‘they’. If Scotland wishes to remain in and the E.U wishes to stand by its duties to existing E.U citizens what madness is it for us to assume we are subordinate to some inappropriate clause in the user manual?

  23. Grahamski -I’m delighted you are “fascinated” – maybe that explains your complete lack of understanding of the topic under discussion. If you really imagine that the EU will negotiate with Scotland before a YES vote you continue to be fascinated! Now isn’t it fascinating that the UK Government (I use that description to avoid being rude) may ask the EU for it’s advice regarding Scotland following a NO vote – why don’t they. Better still – why don’t you and see how fascinating a response you get – all in the best interests of democracy you understand! However, I am fascinated that you acknowledge our “liberation” day – a good name for it “Liber” = FREEDOM!!!!

  24. that should of course have read “following a YES vote” – fascinating stuff this politics or is it plain dishonesty and hypocrisy as epitomized by unionism?

  25. About an iScotland and the EU, this is interesting:

    in a post yesterday on the Herald website, a George Gebbie reported that he “was in attendance when Glasgow University hosted a conference of its Glasgow Global Security Network. The talk was mostly of defence issues in an independent Scotland but also Scotland’s place among the nations of the World. Present in the audience on the final day were Adam Ingram, former UK Defence Minister and Sir David Omand, former head of GCHQ. Both of these men were anti independence. At a session where the panel comprised academics who had been discussing Scotland’s position in the EU post independence with officials in Brussels. Sir David Omand asked them how long it would take for Scotland’s position in the EU to be negotiated in light of these discussions. The unanimous answer was, “THREE MONTHS”. Sir David almost fell out of his chair when he was then told, “actually the people in Brussels estimated two months but we’ve just added an extra month on to be on the safe side.” You can find this here

  26. EU countries have reciprocal agreements. EU can’t force countries to change their education or tax systems. All students have to comply with the Law of the country. Eg the Scottish gov coukd issue Grants to Scottish students. All EU countries do that. Have Grants for their own students, with residential requirement. Or make Scottish qualifications the first consideration for access to University.

    It is Westminster which is out of step with reciprocal education, by charging the highest fees in the EU. The Westminster policy would have to be changed to comply with EU aspirations. They are excluding EU students by having the highest fees in Europe.

    Why would a cheap skate country (which refuses to fund education) want it’s smaller neighbour to pay to educate it ‘s children?

    Westminster is breaking Scottish/UK/EU/International Law. Scotland’s equal ‘sovereign rights’ and the right to a separate Legal system forever, as agreed in the 1707 Act of Union.

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