o homem é um asno

Surely the Barroso story isn’t…a story? He hasn’t said anything new and to anybody who has been following this for the last two years, this is status quo. The main point seems to be that he appears on a London television programme, one watched by London political hacks desperate for Monday morning copy and he says something easily spun into an anti-Salmond, anti-Scottish top line so who cares if it isn’t new? To be fair, to most of the knee-jerk hacks writing this stuff it will be new because they have no idea what has been said in Scotland’s far-off, indecipherable referendum catfight. And for the BBC the imperative is to publicise their own output rather than quibble about veracity. Interestingly, what is missing from the versions I’ve read so far is the question: Why? Why would Scotland find it difficult, perhaps impossible to have full EU membership?


This question isn’t asked because to a metropolitan observer, the very idea of independence is daft anyway so anything that backs up that prejudice goes unchallenged. If there is a variation in his latest deliberate attempt to influence the outcome of a vote in a member state it is that he puts the problem down, not to process, but to politics. Somebody, Spain he implies, will veto Scotland so therefore it is probably impossible for Scotland to get membership. But that country’s foreign minister has said they have no locus and no interest in blocking Scotland so long as independence is secured through a legal process. Presumably the Commission President doesn’t believe statements from his member states’ foreign ministries. (Does Andrew Marr receive any pre-interview briefings, or is he too important like Mr Naughtie?).

What was somewhat galling to those of us who are Europhiles and look to Brussels to provide some leadership on international matters, is the linking of Scotland with Kosovo, where a million ethnic Albanians fled or were forcefully driven out, more than 11,000 deaths have been reported to the UN prosecutor, nine Serbian and Yugoslavian commanders have been indicted for crimes against humanity and in one the accused were charged with murder of 919 identified Kosovo Albanian civilians aged from one to 93, both male and female. Kosovo declared UDI, it did not got through a legal process and is in such a relatively poor state that the EU is nursing it towards normalization. Does that sound like Scotland? The most outspoken country opposed to Kosovo’s recognition is Spain which objects to any EU or NATO initiative on which refers to it as a state.

Just where the comparison is found between Kosovo, created from the fire of war, and exemplary, modern Scotland, meeting every acquis and with a 40-year record of membership is hard to say if you are applying logic, rather than Barroso weasel words. Isn’t it also a little presumptious of Spain, a member since only 1986, to imply blocking us?

I’m still amazed that Barroso’s constant campaigning on behalf of the UK and thereby breaking the rules by interfering in a member state, goes unremarked. He always adds, after pointedly suggesting the Scots can forget it, that he doesn’t have a role and it is up to the voters. The way to do this according to the rules is to ask the legal services people to give a legal judgement and inform the Scots before they vote. Instead he gives us his oily smile and pretends he is acting independently. No complaints are made about this incessant political interference even though the British government objects to EU involvement in every aspect of life.

We should be ready for another EU intervention as the European Parliament is about to reveal its legal advice. This is interesting as we have Barroso for the Commission making his view known, now the Parliament and yet nobody has asked for legal advice from the Council which is the body responsible for membership. MEPs are pushing for this which sounds like a good idea and indeed, who knows, it may be. But be aware it is the direct result of campaigning but our stalwart Scottish Labour MEPs David Martin and Catherine Stihler who, along with their Tory chum Struan Stevenson, are furiously working the corridors to ensure their own country will be a pariah in Europe – such patriotism. Their joint letter got this under way and it was originally blocked because the legal people din’t want to get involved before any formal approach from the UK. But then it was forced through committee by Tories and Lib Dems and Socialists so there are grounds to be suspicious that they think they will get a negative ruling to suit their argument against their own country. We know from experience that the Unionist MEPs have no love of their own country being a force in Europe – our number of MEPs would actually increase – and they have studiously avoided anything that could be construed as constructive, democratic engagement with our  national referendum, preferring to play the supplicant role to Cameron’s British state interests.

The forces of authority are lining up against Scotland as once they did against devolution so courage and nerve is required. But I’ll tell you one thing that is now clear – the only way to earn respect in the world is to be a sovereign state in your own right because without that status you count for nothing, as Osborne and Barroso make abundantly clear. The only status they respect is independence otherwise they treat you like trash.

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0 thoughts on “o homem é um asno

  1. Like you Derek, I could hardly believe my ears when he used Kosovo as a comparison, and even more incredulous when Andrew Marr didn’t challenge him. If I didn’t know better I would believe that Marr was unaware of the startling irrelevance of that comparison, so I can only conclude that Marr was either deliberately letting him off the hook or that he had been told not to challenge – I suspect the latter as I can’t believe that Marr would abandon his ethics as a journalist so easily.

  2. At the law society debate on indyref on Tuesday, Ming Campbell made the argument that our influence in Europe would decrease as the rrequired increase in Scottish MEP numbers would have to be met by reducing the number of English MEPs. No I didn’t get it either unless of course by “our” he means the influence of ruk.

  3. Thanks for writing about this Derek, I had a feeling you wouldn’t be slow off the mark on those one.

    I am absolutely outraged by this interview on so many levels. In the first place, what was the point? Everyone knows Barroso’s views, it is no secret, they have been ventilated and discussed almost ad nauseam. It can only be seen as a deliberate attempt to change the direction of the campaign once more in a way favourable to the NO camp and away from currency. The intention is to overshadow the significant speech Salmond will make tomorrow where he will respond to Osborne and the treasury letter point by point. I will be watching how the BBC cover that very carefully, and if it smacks of bias or partiality, I think it is time to crowdsource a legal challenge to the BBC’s conduct, as they are in blatant contravention of their charter. Such an action (for judicial review) is possible and there is case law which demonstrates it can be done, though it has never been done successfully, as yet. It is a legally complex matter.

    But then there is the conduct of the interview, which lacked rigour and any journalistic integrity. It looked like his sole purpose being there was to trot out what has been said before, and BAM, there is the lead story running again, which BT people are jubilant about. The questions Marr asked were leading, obvious questions were not asked. It was an outrageous piece of pre-planned political spin. Marr has no credibility left in my eyes after that, although we know he is a die-hard unionist I suppose.

    We cannot let the BBC go unchallenged. This is now becoming absurd. The bias isn’t even subtle, it is naked, flagrant, and an affront to the democratic values and the principles the BBC should stand for.

    No journalism, just political spin.

    • Well said. I did not see the full interview, only a snippet on Sky News but reading this piece and comments on various blogs it is very clear what is going in. I fully agree that it has gone too far and action is required. Surely the SG has the authority to raise this openly at the highest levels both in Scotland and through relevant departments in WM where broadcasting is accountable. I was going to say controlled there, yes, maybe that would have been a better choice.

    • If you ran videos of Marr today & with Sturgeon the other day side by side even a blind man could see the bias.

      Crowdsourcing to challenge the BBC? Where do I sign up?

    • You put my thoughts so well. I couldn’t believe Marr didn’t challenge him on Kosovo. It’s an outrage. His complacency, the wry, curled lip, to Barroso’s oily smile… watch the body language, this was orchestrated.

  4. It’s right there with Paxman comparing Salmond to Mugabe. What else were we expecting?

    Derek, you seem to be indicating that this opinion we’re supposedly to be treated to isn’t the opinion that actually counts. That’s interesting.

    I agree that it’s disgusting to see these people actively lobbying against the interests of their own country. Lower than a snake’s belly. A decent representative of a unionist party would be working for a No vote but at the same time vowing to fight for a good deal for Scotland should he not succeed in his primary aim. These people are so blinded by hate they probably don’t even realise what people will think of them once this is over. Or maybe even in May this year. Why should we vote for anyone who won’t fight our corner?

    • The Paxman-Salmond interview has been completely misinterpreted by some independence supporters in my opinion. They were both laughing at the end of that interview. That tells you all you need to know. Paxman would know fine well the reception his remarks about Salmond would get in Scotland. He would have been delighted that people joined the SNP on the back of it. On Barroso: EU politics are becoming a pain in the backside. Spain and the UK have obviously joined forces to attempt to defeat the independence movements in Catalonia and Scotland respectively. This is not a surprise, and I do not think it is worth getting too riled and angry about. It was always liable to happen. We need to focus on convincing and persuading people to vote Yes in September. These interventions will continue to happen anyway as we approach the endgame.

      • Are you seriously trying to tell me Paxman’s Mugabe jibe at Salmond was part of a cunning plan to boost SNP support in Scotland? That kind of conspiracy theory makes the History channel ‘documentaries’ about Ancient Aliens look positively definitive.

        Totally agree re Barroso. The biggest fear people have in the EU about the Scottish situation is that it will provide Cameron a back-door route to re-negotiating membership, something which Hollande and others have absolutely ruled out. But if we Scots vote yes, his wish will have been granted. In a way if you were uber cynical you might suggest that if UKIP are desperate to get rUK out of Europe the quickest way to achieve this is to support Scottish independence.

      • Salmond was laughing, yes, because what else could he do? Far better response than to take offence. Paxman was trying to pretend it was all a bit of fun, but far from it. Nasty piece of work.

  5. Kosovo – that’s nothing – Catalonia post-YES was compared by the Spanish Foreign Minister Margallo with Southern Ossettia (Caucasus) and Somalia. Nice to know they are looking after our interests!

    • And what did Marr do when he made the ridiculous comparison with kosovo? Nothing! He should have been straight in there with any number of points. The man has no integrity left after that. He may as well have been Barrosso’s poodle, the only thing that was lacking was the excited wagging of Marr’s tail…

    • @Amicus Curious, Morag

      Paxman knew fine well what he was doing. It was reported that people joined the SNP on the back of it. incidentally, Morag: if Paxman is such a nasty piece of work, why did he refer to Salmond as the first PM of an independent Scotland a year or to back in an interview?

  6. Ground Hog day for the UK media. Unionist MEP’s talking themselves out of a job? Westminster is no friend of the EU.

  7. How insulting is Made by allowing a comparison of Scotland to go unchallenged

  8. I am looking forward, in the unlikely event of Scotland not being granted automatic entry to the EU, to the first Spanish or Portugese fishing boat being sunk by the Scottish navy because it was found illegally fishing inside our 200 mile fishing limit.

    • Navies and coastguards don’t sink illegal fishing boats. If they refuse to comply with orders there might be a shot across the bows or a rake of cannon fire over their heads. Which always works. Also such forces are perfectly capable of hard stops on the high seas with forces in fast inflatables boarding recalcitrant boats. Arrested boats are forfeit and the arresting nation usually sells them to the highest bidder to recover costs and encourager les autres.

      So Spanish fishing boats worth a tidy sum tied up under guard in Glasgow or Edinburgh with a For Sale notice, yes. Such valuable prizes sunk on the high seas? Don’t be a daftie.

  9. How insulting is Marr allowing Scotland to be compared to Kosovo without challenge

  10. I would like to think that at some point, the Scottish Government will take the BBC to task, or at least be more aggressive with the interviewers and publicly challenge them live on air regards the UWS report.

    • Great point, it is not as if the SNP have been shy of taking on the BBC in the past, even as far as the Court of Session prior to the last general election.

      I can only assume that the SNP and YES are keeping their counsel on this, and holding back for the right moment. Broadcasting is reserved, but the conduct of the campaign and the BBC being held to its own charter are matters well within the competence of both. When will the wall of silence from YES on media bias end?

      • This would be an truly awful tactic by the SNP, or the wider Yes campaign to use. Why would you risk getting into a massive confrontation with the state broadcaster, when you are attempting to get your message across about independence? We all know the MSM are biased against independence. The need to get the message out to people would be completely disrupted and deflected by attacking the mainstream media. I am afraid it would be self destructive in the extreme.

  11. ‘Silence from YES on media bias’, or is it just not getting reported, like everything else. Darling’s havering are not helpful. Repetitive, boring and increasingly irrelevant. ‘There he goes again’. Bit like Barrosa. The Foulkes look alike.

  12. Cag-does-thinking

    I have to confess a bias here. I’m really not the BBCs greatest fan, just as some people are monarchists or not I have always had the impression that either the BBC is there to feed us propaganda or it is a multinational media player which can finance itself without forcing the population to contribute huge amounts of money to propagate it’s slightly arrogant view. I always wondered what all those journalists who work there do when they keep wheeling out the same 4 failed friends of Labour for every eventuality in the Scottish landscape. That leaves about 180 which we pay for but never seem to see or hear. Anyhow it does look slightly embarrassing when the same suspects turn up time and again, surely the likes of Brian Taylor must know that having previously made a song and dance about Mr Barreso even the public who are voting no now know chapter and verse of who he is and why he is the only EC source who will say no on cue as required. This is a diminishing impact that is losing any real political sway it might once have had. even angry owl looked a bit frazzled earlier. As one of my colleagues used to say “A dog will never come to an angry man”. It all looks a bit forlorn like at least some now suspect the game is up and it must make an impression on the population that the desperation undermines their assurances that we would be even safe in a room with some of them.

  13. *Is* there actually a mechanism by which 5.5 million EU citizens can be unilaterally stripped of their membership?

    • There is no mechanism for a member state, or part of a member state to be ejected as yet, just as there was no mechanisms for a state to expand by absorbing another state (see West + East Germany) and yet it was contrived to do so.

      EU Citizenship is tied to the member state so theoretically (as far as I know) after a YES vote Scotland’s citizens will remain EU citizens as they will still be in the EU through the UK. Of course the same applies to the rUK citizens. The dissolution of the Treaties of Union should legally create TWO new states. So maybe rUK will also have to be ejected and reapply? (tongue in cheek)

      All of this is bluff and bluster

  14. So that is what David Martin, Catherine Stihler and Struan Stevenson are up to and now we also see George Lyon is now desperately trying to avoid the inevitable consequences of that Coalition deal! So we have four Scottish MEPs being paid handsomely to slag off their own country and doing so with enthusiasm.

    Yet again the BBC, now through Andrew Marr’s complicity and the headlining of old news stories , confirm the findings of the WoS survey on Bias and Partiality.

  15. @ Muttley 79
    I respect your view and sympathise, but I doubt that there are that many folk at the moment who realise what the BBC are up to. What positive message on indy is the media and BBC currently sending out to the populace? Does everyone know the MSM is biased? Craig Murray stated months ago that the state broadcaster could possibly lose the referendum for YES. There is a danger if we confront the BBC and there is a danger if we don’t. There will be a tipping point, and I think it will be sooner rather than later.

  16. The same sort of tricks were tried for Devolution. They didn’t work then, and they will not work now.

  17. Farcical intervention by Barroso. Hilarious.

  18. Why was Barroso in London? Was he invited by the BBC, by the UK or at the behest of the Spanish Government? Was he there on EU business and who paid his expenses? It should be possible to find out.

  19. I would like to see Barroso repeat those words at a open referendum debate. He would be jeered and laughed at.

  20. Don’t know if it’s just me, but it seemed as though all the negative publicity on the BBC this weekend was deliberately coordinated. Derek, does the BBC in London and the BBC in Scotland work independently of each other when deciding what goes on the news or is there collaboration?

  21. Barroso wants to make things difficult for Scotland whose people have been EU citizens for 40 years yet at the same time he is campaigning to allow nations such as Kosovo with a dubious human rights record that are outwith the EU to join as quickly as possible – John Swinney was being polite when he responded “preposterous”.

    This was set up by the BBC and the fact that Andrew Marr allowed Barroso to get away with his far fetched nonsense unchallenged says it all really about how far up the tree in the BBC the ant-independence bias goes for its got to be approved at the very highest level – maybe even Westminster – or maybe Whitehall’s spooks are now actually running the BBC anti-independence campaign.

  22. Heh, smoke and mirrors Derek. They screwed up on the currency tactic as I’m sure feedback is beginning to tell them. Any bloody thing will do right now. 😀

    So rinse and repeat the old Barroso nonsense.

    Currency? Promise sanctions on an independent Scotland? GIRUY (I think that’s the term)

    Response=Panic. What else can we throw at them? Europe!

    Fer Gawd’s sake, anything on Europe. 😀

  23. Barroso is Portuguese. He was a member of the Communist Party. He supported Independence for East Timor etc. He was in Ireland to win support for the Lisbon Treaty ratification. Barroso, along with the Spain PM, met up with Bush and Blair to support the Iraq Invasion. Another Hypocrite?

  24. Interesting comments about lacklustre Barroso in yesterday’s Irish Times article on Christine Lagarde. I wrote to EU office in Edinburgh the last time he interfered in domestic matters and got a lacklustre reply. As a very pro EU person, I find this embarrasing. It also strikes me as weird that the EU is desperate to get Ukraine but that it will be almost impossible for Scotland to join what we’re already in. I actually laughed when I heard it. Sky News politics guru informed viewers that the SNP was 20 points behind in the referendum. Which came as a double surprise.

  25. I wonder if Barroso will come over to London to meet Nigel Farage should UKIP “win” the EU elections in May? He could stand together with the man that wants to take rUK out of the EU, has no representation in Scotland, and both he and Farage could disparage pro EU Scotland.

    • Heard AS on SKY say that Barroso is giving up his position this Autumn. So after that he has no say in the matter at all (if he ever had). But still the BBC use him as a stooge.

  26. Relax everyone. It was just a dream. It’s all fine now:
    Scots can keep the pound after all, says Osbourne

  27. Surely the reputation of the EU is also on the line with such statements flying about from Barroso and his ilk giving the impression that it’s official EU stuff?

    Maybe time for whatever passes as the ‘correctness police’ at the EU to do a bit of wrist slapping.

  28. Dumbfounded to see the title in Portuguese! Surprised with Barroso’s comments, really. I’m expecting a far more positive (or at least not so skewed…) response from the European Parliament. One thing to note, the elections in May will be very important, especially as the MEPs will have a key role in determining who’ll be Barroso’s successor – with a central role to play in the Scotland/EU issue.

    • STEU – I was told that the MEPs will have a role, but not a key role, in choosing the next president, because the member states will again have the final say, with predictable results – can they get a lower common denominator than the present incumbent?
      The new president, apparently, is to be chosen from the European group that gets most votes after the next elections, but it was emphasised, as usual, the real power lies outside the grasp of our legal “representatives”. Don’t know the truth of this but if true, would be disappointing.

  29. (translation of title) The man is (permanently) an ass

    Just thought I’d repeat that

  30. The reason I think we’re seeing this all again from Barroso (by invitation from the BBC) is for the benefit of an English audience. We have already been here but the English are now only being informed of the referendum Daily Mail/BBC/British State style. Remember Cameron’s speech about phoning a relative in Scotland to vote no? Well those in England are now being ‘informed’ on why a no vote is imperative… because Scotland will be a pariah state with no £pound.

    Believe me, when the British government has a bad idea (and when it’s their only idea) then they will follow it through spinning it to themselves it is good one. They have no ideas in tackling the Scottish Government or the Yes campaign so they revert to the big stick and sneer. And because they are so bereft of imagination they are left with only two arguments in their canon, EU and currency, to which there are other options. They have painted themselves into a corner and now they are lashing out

    As for timing, the British State have given themselves seven months to demonise Alex Salmond and the SNP on national television, newspapers and radio. Not in fits and starts to aid the the Better Together campaign on BBC Scotland and The Scotsman, but a sustained relentless attack using all media outlets at their disposal UK-wide. Now, how about this for a scenario, lets say all this leads to a no vote in September, one angle is to get a discredited Alex Salmond to resign and for the SNP vote to collapse by the 2015 General Election so Labour would be a shoo-in for the 2016 Holyrood elections; the other angle is to put a call for further devolution to a Westminster vote which will result in a resounding no (Daily Mail campaign/little England anger), then further motions will probably roll back devolution to 1997 levels and the Barnett Formula scrapped. Hey that’s called democracy in Britain.

    What I’ve learned in recent years is that politicians only champion a plan, a motion or policy that they know they can control the outcome. The Edinburgh agreement was signed off because Cameron was told that a no vote was certain and support for independence had already spiked and would settle at around 30%, by not having Devo-Max on the ballot Cameron thought he had already won. Today the realisation has dawned, panic has set in and gunboat diplomacy deployed. Independence is there to be won and the ugliness of the British State is being laid bare for all to see.

  31. Has it not become obvious that Scotland (and particularly the SNP and YES camp) have now been declared Enemy of the State and are being demonised by all means possible as the greatest threat to Britain and it’s citizens since Communism, Fasciscm, The French, The Spanish Armarda et al and requires every weapon at the States disposal to be used against it ?
    I also disagree that that the BBC and also Channel 4 (“you want your haggis and eat it too”) should not be challenged in a very vigorous way regarding their blatant bias if only to let the foreign press be aware of the dirty war which is now taking place.
    I know the English. I was born in England. I was educated in England. They DO believe England is Great Britain. They will use force if necessary. I have no doubt.

  32. No one cares about the currency, the Queen, or the EU. They want a better run country, who support the young, the old, the poor and the sick. They will vote Yes for that.

  33. Farage and 75 MEP’s were opposed to Barroso and tried to get him sacked. Barroso spent time on a Greek millionaire’s yacht. An EU grant was awarded to a Greek shipping line. Barroso campaigned to keep Ireland in the EU when they were voting to ratify the Lisbon Treaty. Another hypocrite.

  34. Check out Barroso’s track record on Wikipedia. He sounds like a dodgy car salesman (on an international scale) who seems to have some problem with Celtic countries.


  35. Udo Seiwert-Fauti

    Derek B…..do NOT forget…Barroso is an outgoing EU commissioner…whatever he says has no relevance for any Scotland developments, observe Juncker or Schulz, the maybe new Commissioner…Luxembourg or Germany changes everything…

  36. Not on EU entry, but did you hear Mirrlees this morning on the BBC. Superb – dry, laconic answering the question, just the type of Scotsman you can believe in rather than the “Yes Minister” type who’ve recently been advising the adversary. No wonder this Laureate was on the Fiscal Commission.

  37. People are getting very angry about this manipulation, by the BBC in particular, even my daughter said she heard on TV from a senior ‘Europe guy’ that there was a big problem for the SNP about joining Europe. I put her right, but how many are left with that impression? This morning on BBC Morning Call – Louise White said before the program even began that lines were very busy – how can that be when people don’t know what’s coming up, never mind take the trouble to call in. Then as the program developed, it was funny how all the interruptions and close downs were against pro- callers and then Blair McDougal scuttled off in a huff. Crazy that we’re expected to put up with this rubbish.

    • ” it was funny how all the interruptions and close downs were against pro- callers and then Blair McDougal scuttled off in a huff. ”

      I noticed that as well Barontorc
      I dont think MacDougals quick exit left (but not before he managed to disparage his own country by reminding us how “insignificant” it was to the EU) was expected by Louise but I reached the same conclusion as you he “had to leave” when he saw the weight of numbers calling up to tell Barroso to sod off, the call from the SNP councellor Louise White cut short because his signal was breaking up was perfectly clear on the radio so it would appear she was trying to dilute the point he was making ,but in fact all she really achieved was to alert people to (yet again) just how far the BBC are prepared to go to close down a cogent and strong argument by the SNP.

      • “It was funny how all the interruptions and close downs were against pro-callers..”

        It was quite blatant! I was in the process of compiling a text to complain that Louise had cut off a caller called Annie when she cut off a businessman too, coincidentally both were Yes voters.and both were denied the opportunity to develop their points. I also complained in my text that a No caller was allowed at length to denigrate “Salmond/McAskill/Sturgeon” without challenge or interruption (he also made reference to a “Republican Rose” which I didn’t quite understand). I’m fed-up complaining to the BBC but I don’t intend to let up and would encourage others to do likewise.

      • Barontorc, glad to tell you that Louise White’s “interruptions” this morning didn’t wash with the courier driver who delivered to our village late this afternoon…..he was still furious! Said he’d ” been converted to vote YES after the great GO attack…..”.!! So there you are, these poor unionists are suffering blind panic and as a consequence are falling into one deep hole after another and managing to persuade the populace to vote for independence.
        As for Andrew Marr, he was a spent force BEFORE his recent illness which is probably why the BBC thought it safe to give him Barroso to play with – another man on his way out.

      • Bill, “Republican Rose” is Roseanna Cunningham.

        I don’t think she minds. I was in the viewing gallery of the House of Commons when she took her seat as an MP and I can tell you for sure she DID have her fingers crossed behind her back when she took the Loyal Oath.

  38. BBC Scotland. All the callers are voting YES!

    The EU and the UK Union are different. The UK takes all Scotland’s revenues and squanders a 1/6 (£10Billion) Scotland raises £60Billion gets £28Billion back + £17Billion in Pensions/Benefits. Westminster takes £8Billion (including Defence/Admin). Scotland raises £60Billion – £8Billion goes to Westminster.

    Scotland raises £60Billion Could save £3Billion – £1.5Billion in Trident + £1.5Billion by a tax on cheap ‘loss leading’ alcohol etc. Plus £8Billion on Defence/Admin jobs in Scotland.

    The EU gets a contribution 1/100 (£1/2Billion) Scotland gets it back. Large Market and CAP/Grants. The EU is a neutral expenditure.

    • No. The UK is a net contributor to the EU. And if Scotland is a net contributor to the UK, then proportiantely we would probably be paying a little more on accession.

      That’s not to say it may not be a price worth paying, and we may get a better deal on CAP.

  39. Again I am no journalist but whenever the EU issue is discussed no probing questions are ever asked in regard to how Scotland would be ejected from the EU; we are members already and so to reapply we would first have to be ejected. If Marr was worth his salt he would have explored this topic with Barroso. Surely the process of denying EU rights to present EU citizens raises interesting questions over the function of democracy and the kind of democracy we have? Not to mention the practical implications to people and business. How predictable and parochial of the BBC and MSM in UK to bypass this, after all, Scots and Indpendence, the idea is simply absurd.

    • Scotland isn’t a member, the United Kingdom is. Scotland is recognised as a region within the EU, though. One of some 300+

      From a historical perspective, I think Scotland disolving the union should lead to the UK disappearing. Politically, this doesn’t look likely and the other states seem minded to accept the remaining parts of the UK continuing to be treated as the UK.

      • You are splitting hairs, people living in Scotland are EU citizens. Even if what you say is true, and I do not accept the reasoning, how are we going to be expelled from the EU? Is this issue, an issue that goes to heart of what democracy is, important enough to be discussed?

  40. In the end, it is a political decision, but I’m surprised at how ill-informed some of the commentators are. One on the Radio Scotland this morning thought that East Germany had joined the European Union…. If the People’s Republic of East Germany had been able to invent a time machine they probably would never have collapsed. Neither the EU nor European citizenship existed back in 1990.

    But the European Parliament does have a say in this, as do all the other member states (potentially, depending on their own internal circumstances, including a referendum to amend the treaty), assuming we go down the Article 48 route http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2009/ks_rapport_2009_en.pdf

    Kosovo is a case in point – currently five EU states don’t recognise it, for various reasons, though on some measures Kosovo is actually ahead of Scotland in being a mature state – i.e. it has a central bank, broadcasting (legal basis, a public broadcaster, and independent media commission), and a supervisory body for the financial sector (the central bank again).

    Scotland is in the difficult position of not being able to legally develop institutions in these areas as they are reserved powers, but would need them, and others, to be considered for EU Member State status. Whether we could develop them in 18 months I don’t know, and remember that Article 48 has its own internal timeline, so they would want to see the finished package they were voting on.

    • There are arms of the British state in the form of civil servants here in Scotland who deal with things like taxation etc. They can easily be retained and initially all the procedures just carried on as normal. The only difference will be the ultimate boss and the accounts used.

      This is in essence what the Slovaks did when they split from the Czechs. They just picked up their bits of the civil service. We will do the same wrt defence. The Scottish regiments will come under our control along with our share of assets like armoured vehicles etc. We would also get our share of naval and air assets. A nascent Scottish Self Defence force exists already. We just move their command and control centres is all.

    • I forgot a foreign service. Obviously Scotland is due it’s share of the Embassy estates though I expect that will be in the form of a cash payment with rUK retaining the embassies. Initially they will have Scottish interest sections staffed by Scottish diplomats employed by Scotland. I expect we will pay rent from that cash and over time we will purchase our own embassies in countries we have the most interest in. I also expect in other places we will still, as Scottish passport holders be entitled to help from rUK embassies by arrangement. That is how things work with NZ and Australia. Oz has far more embassies than NZ but in a country with an Oz but not NZ embassy as a NZ passport holder I can expect assistance from them at need.

      • Yes, I think the Czech/Slovak settlement is probaly the best, recent example as it was done peacably on a population split. The Slovaks had more to do to create a central bank, but both states put these institutions in place. It’s not enough to have the staff, we also need the institutions.

        Re consular assistance, there is already a best endeavour system between the Anglo countries (NZ, UK, Australia, Canada, and USA) so we could look to join this, possibly partnering with Ireland. I think for reasons of shared language and culture the Scandinavians and Germans/Austrians have some shared services.

  41. Im fed up,
    I was trying to get on “Good morning Scotland” when Bliar McDougal was gleefully rubbing anyone and every ones nose in how a small insignificant country like Scotland (no really) would be able to sway the opinions of 29 other EU states,
    so I get through and the young lady asks my name, (john)” we seem to have had a lot of johns on this morning”) not an auspicious start,
    and what is your question john?
    I would like to ask Mr McDougal why he is keen to take Mr Barroso’s assertions at face value when EU legal experts disagree, and why then did East Germany gain entry without as much as a murmur when it was reunited with West Germany and didn’t meet the entry criteria but Scotland who has been in the EU for 40 years would be unceremoniously dumped using a mechanism to eject us that does not exist?
    And to cap it all the young lady said “can I ask your voting intentions but you don’t have to answer” I stupidly told her.

    Still waiting for a callback 🙁

    • East Germany didn’t enter the EU (which didn’t then exist) it was absorbed by the Federal Republic of Germany which was a member of the then European Community. The Federal Republic had always regarded East Germans as its own citizens, and in absorbing them it didn’t create any liabilities for other states, there being no EU citizenship back then. The East German institutions were irrelevant as they ceased to exist. European Parliament numbers were eventually adjusted to recognise the population increase. The big issue would have been if East Germany itself had wanted to join, with the need to create a new Commissioner. But that is less of an issue now with 28 Member States.

      • The European Union holds “Europe Day” on 9th May each year to celebrate the founding of the union following the Schuman principles in a speech in 1950. Although it went through various reformations, the EU has been around for a long time. There is no doubt that the EEC as was, is the forerunner of the EU, for example. So your point is semantics.

  42. ” Kosovo declared UDI, it did not got through a legal process”

    You are, of course, correct in that the process was not considered legal in a domestic sense. However, I think it is important to point out, that in regard to its legality under international law, the UN referred the matter to the ICJ, which subsequently ruled that Kosovo did not act illegally.

    This was a very important ruling because it represented a tectonic shift, albeit a rather silent one, in the ongoing battle between the fundamentally conflicting principles of ‘Territorial Integrity’ and ‘Self Determination’.

    Another cog, one might imagine in this post-imperial age, on the ratchet toward a more tolerant, moral and democratic position. However, there is nothing inevitable about that progress, some might argue we are already into a neo-imperialist phase, ratchet cogs can be broken.

    Nonetheless, the Kosovo ruling was a landmark, if unheralded in certain quarters.

  43. In the main I can agree with your comments, but I feel that you have also somewhat misrepresented the Kosovo history. This is not the place to go off-topic, but simply to state that I have worked in the balkans for almost 20 years now, and have had extensive working worth the Kosovan (and Serbian) authorities. The “History” of the wars in the region as presented by the western MSM are, let’s be polite, somewhat biased. As we see today with the media on Scottish independence and how “honest” that is, reflect that “Serbia” became the bad guys in the media and were always presented that way.

    Are people aware that 250,000 Serbs fled Kosovo due to a murderous campaign by the terror organisation the KLA, later to become the USA’s friend, and the NATO bombing? Over 200,000 have still not been able to return. Kosovo is lightyears away from anything approaching a normal state. The levels of corruption and nepotism are huge, and state/political control of the country is rife. (The EU/USA consultants and agencies are a part of the problem, not necessarily the solution).

    So, I agree that Kosovo is no Scotland. But let’s also be careful not to maintain the lies carefully crafted by the “west” to excuse their actions in this still blighted region.

  44. Irrespective of what came first Eu or east German reunification with west Germany overnight 18.3 million people joined the club without as much as a murmur from the rest of the EU apart from doubts cast by the UK government,
    and again Scotland meeting all acquis seems in spite of the logical conclusion that the agreements (certainly not negotiated with Scotland’s best interests at heart) such as fishing rights in the North Sea would at a stroke of a pen prevent Spanish fleets from exploiting the largest fishing grounds open to them, to be a case of an organization who’s whole reason for existence is to increase its sphere of influence to be cutting its nose off to spite its face, do they really hate us THAT MUCH ? how much money are you prepared to bet on that outcome Stagiaire?

    • It did prompt a lot of debate at the time, and is considered to have led to the euro as a way of binding an enlarged Germany into the club. The critical point about the East German example, and why it is not relevant to this discussion, is that it was a case of one EU Member State remaining an EU Member State, with a bigger population, but all of East Germany’s governmental institutions were scrapped.

      In the case of Scotland, it is an EU Member State becoming two EU Members States, and therefore needing to satisfy all the institutional requirements. Meeting the acquis is useful, but hardly surprising, as just like running a balancedd budget, Scotland. Has. No. Choice. Putting in place needed institutions like the central bank/financial regulator will be the next required step to be considered of equal status with other Member States.

    • John, the Spaniards are not very interested in N Sea fisheries but have a major interest in West of Scotland fishing grounds, mainly for hake. They also own the ‘French’ fleet that fishes out of Lochinver, bought by their largest fishing company Pescanova.

  45. We are not so much the enemy of the state, more like the enema of the state.
    they are shitting themselves.

  46. @Tony Little – it is semantics if you’re the kind of person who thinks peanut butter is the same thing as strawberry jam, both being comestibles suitable for delivery through toast-based media.

    If you think the EEC is the same thing as the EU, because the EEC predeced the EU, then that’s no different in principle to believing a medieval Chinese war rocket is the same as a Saturn V. They are both linked, but time only runs one way. The fact that it was the EEC that the East Germans joined (but not East Germany the state!) is important as it was a lighter weight structure, with fewer ambitions, e.g. no citizenship. The fact that Germany was also the EEC paymaster in any event didn’t hurt, it is a political club. Though the French are considered to have got their pound of flesh in moving abolishing the Deutschmark in favour of the euro.

    • No it is semantics to think that the EEC is not the forerunner of the EU. Of course it evolves, but are you really suggesting that today, when we consider the principles of the EU as published on its own website that as far as accession is concerned, “In keeping with the wishes of the founding fathers and the spirit of the treaties, the EU is seeking to achieve its goal of being a space of unity in diversity and a promoter of stability and prosperity and is bringing together countries which share a common commitment and common values namely freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights.”

      How exactly would Scottish independence, achieved through democratic means, and allegedly, agreed with the Westminster government, that already complies with the EU acquis, that is already existing members through the UK (as are England, Wales, and Northern Ireland), that has 5.2 million EU citizens, that has expressed openly and repeatedly its desire to remain as members be a “problem” for any of the EU member states. the question that should have been asked is, “Why would any member state wish to refuse Scottish membership”?

      IScotland will be a net contributor, it has massive fishing and marine areas, as well as a vibrant mixed economy, and has shown itself far more Eurofile than rUK. Why, and perhaps pertinently HOW, would Scotland be ejected?

      The EU is not perfect, far from it, but these are POLITICAL questions, and for many practical political reasons iScotland will have a relatively easy route to renegotiate its continued membership. The same can not be said of the rUK.

      • I think if we have the institutions (i.e. central bank, financial regulator, full function stats office) then we will clear the technical hurdles without a problem. That means a break with the SNP’s White Paper vision, but that is unravelling already.

        Political hurdles I wouldn’t like to bet on, too unpredictable, but you could see loss of rebate (but upswing on CAP funding), commitment to join euro (but no need to follow through), Schengen (but not till rUK implements too) as a “price” but not a very painful one.

        The risk for me is not having the institutions and getting stuck in a sub-Member State category they invent specially for us.

  47. Rather unexpectedly I admit, there is a good piece in the Guardian online by John Palmer which wipes the floor with Barroso. I could only read a few of the comments until nausea crept in. JP is apparently a former European Editor of the Guardian who should know what he’s talking about.

    • I think Palmer’s piece is generally good. You could see Scotland in some kind of political vestibule while all the umlauts were dotted, and our instutions made to stand up. Fishing policy will remain unchanged however, it is a reserved competence for the EU to determine conservation objectives and targets, including quotas.

      Worth noting that even after Greenland voted to leave the EU, Greenlandic citizens retained EU citizenship by virtue of being a overseas country through its Danish link.

  48. For those who have not heard Graham Avery’s thoughts.

  49. Thanks for that chicmac. Particularly enjoyed the Patricia Ferguson questioning around one hour five miuntes into the clip. You could say she was really as “sick as a parrot” with the answers she got by the time she had finished. Her body language told it all.

  50. Pat Kane gave a good interview on CH 4. Amazing the difference simply allowing the person to speak makes.

    • Thanks chicmac. A good interview and at long last, fair to the YES campaign giving, as you say, Pat Kane a chance to put his side of the argument. Perhaps CH4 has seen the light.

  51. Let us all remember that J M Durao Barroso is leaving very soon. Incredible the reaction from the BBC man, but make no mistake Barroso was playing to Cameron and that gallery. His worry or scheme is to warm up to the British Government at a time when the UK becomes less and less cooperative in Europe. His other scheme is to keep all his options open for future employment! That’s for sure!

    • And remember, the Spanish would very much like to have the Rock. Rather like Spain owning Cape Wrath…..and I don’t think we Scots would be too happy with that!

  52. Another great clip chicmac, thanks again, keep them coming.

    Referring back to your previous clip and thinking about the surly ungracious attitude Patricia Ferguson adopted towards the mild, neutral and constructive approach taken by Graham Avery, you realise that there is a third answer to the question as to which loyalty people see themselves as having – loyal to Britain or loyal to Scotland. This third loyalty is neither of these, it is simply blind loyalty to Labour doctrine which for such as Patricia Ferguson transcends any other single loyalty or issue in the whole debate for them.

    This has all the characteristics of extreme sectarianism in its sheer uglyness and unreason. This is the truly poisonously bitter side of Bitter Together and Osborne seems to be heading relentlessly in the same direction. The bile created by this will be hard to eradicate when we are free but by God it needs cleansing.

  53. Well that’s one way of looking at it. Other thoughts include a question as to why the SNP won’t publish the legal advice it received. It would certainly have done so if it was helpful to their cause. Another point is that the UK Govt might well veto Scotland’s membership if Salmond tries to implement his threat to renege on Scots’ debt, or tries to insist on removing the weapons at Faslane.

    The reality is that the SNP is discovering there is no such thing as the “freedom” in the modern world to do what you want without regard for the wishes, interests and power of fellow actors. The incoherence of their obsolete project is truly astonishing:

    1. “We want to be free of your political union and independent, but insist you enter into a currency union that will by the very nature of these things require that we have no control over our monetary policy and thus we agree to cede our sovereignty and undertake not to have different fiscal policy from you. Oh, and yes, we know that means we can’t deliver the taxation and social welfare programme we’re promising and which is so often vaunted as the great prize of the freedom we want and the reason for leaving in the first place.”

    2. We want to be free of your political union and independent, but insist the EU let us join, which will require exactly the same monetary and fiscal constraints upon us and in addition will require us to move towards “ever greater” political union with 28 nations rather than the three entities we are currently engaged with.”


    3. We recognise we have absolutely no control over either of these decisions and have been told by all the players involved that they are either not going to happen or very unlikely to happen, but we don’t believe them (because serious political entities always behave in such a manner, right???) but we will continue to reassure our citizens that these people – on whose goodwill our future in part depends – are deliberately lying and can be forced to change their minds. Despite the fact that we represent a tiny proportion of both entities and have absolutely no bargaining power (see International Law, European politics and economic reality).

    Really, wake up and smell the coffee. It’s dead Jim.

  54. Great piece Derek. Hits all the nails bang on the head.

  55. I love this (from Guido Fawkes).

    “It may not be how they do things in Brussels, but Ms Reding should know that here people don’t take so kindly to being told what they do and don’t “need” by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats… ”


    England’s right say ‘Don’t tread on me’… ‘but it’s OK to tread on Scotland’.

  56. The tackling of the EBC is a dodgy one because it would take the spotlight off the target, independence! The other MSM allies would just ignore it so it would just be a sham. We don’t have to tell foreign journos what’s going on iIts as plain as the nose on your face, they are just following convention.

    As for Marr (a disgrace) and our old con artist Barroso.

    Was Barroso paid for this appearance on BBC (if so by who)?

    Was his expenses paid, by who and how much?

    Who arranged for him to be on the Marr show?

    Was this the main purpose of him being in London?

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