The EU and Scotland fall out

Mr Salmond’s idea of independence is less brave heart, more weak knees. He wants to go cap in hand to the EU and the Bank of England to seek dependence. It always struck me as an odd vision. If you want independence, why not have your own currency and be your own boss? It was amusing to see the EU in the person of Mr Barroso upset the Scottish nationalists, after the EU has done so much to help “regional identities” like Scotland through their active promotion of a Europe of the regions.

Mr Barroso in a way was just stating the obvious. If Scotland becomes “independent” in the very dependent way Mr Salmond has in mind, they will need to apply to the EU to regain their continued dependence on the EU. Of course Scotland would cease to be a member of the EU by virtue of being part of the UK. Of course it will require the consent of all the other member states to Scotland’s admission in her own right.

Mr Barroso may be wrong in thinking other member states would want to block Scotland. The rest of the UK would have no wish to stop Scotland joining. Mr Barroso thinks Spain might wish to do so. It would be best to ask Spain that question so we can all know the definitive answer.

But what we do all know is that any Scottish membership will require negotiating. Scotland will have no automatic right to the special terms the UK currently has. Why should Scotland be let off joining the Euro, a requirement on other new members? Would Scotland have different arrangements on borders and Home affairs as the UK currently does? Why should Scotland enjoy any contributions rebate in the way the UK does? Scotland will have to negotiate how many votes she would enjoy in Council meetings, what her budget contribution would have to be, and how many seats she would retain in the European Parliament. This would all take time and may not give Scotland the deal she wants.

The rest of the UK would also need to negotiate a new membership, unless we have already voted to leave. Whilst the rest of the UK “inherits” the UK membership I presume the EU would want to use the excuse to seek to renegotiate our membership from their point of view. The number of MEPs would have to be reduced. The number of votes in Council would presumably be subject to a reduction. The rest of the UK would want a lower financial contribution, and would need to see off moves to reduce the rebate further. Eurosceptics want a new relationship anyway, so Scotland leaving might just be an added complication to a negotiation that is underway or going to happen.

PS I disagree with the notion that if Scotland votes for Out of the UK they might not be able to negotiate out. I think we should very clearly honour the intention of the Scottish people in their referendum. We should respect and implement the result either way, however narrow the margin.

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115 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    You say:- the UK would have no wish to stop Scotland joining the EU. But should they vote for out then surely the UK should indeed veto Scotland joining the EU as it would not be in their our the UK’s interests. We would want a Scottish neighbour that was economically strong, with cheaper energy and free of the endless burdens, insanities and over regulation of the EU, would they not?

    If Scotland go their own way they should do so with their own currency and outside the EU in their own interests. Salmon’s proposal for Scotland being in the EU, independent and yet using the pound was always idiotic chosen not to frighten some voters too much. I cannot believe the Scottish will be daft enough to vote for Salmon and Nicola Sturgeon who seemed so unbelievably daft and loopy lefty to me, notably on all the green crap religion.

    The UK can surely argue that, in splitting up, they too are released from the EU. No doubt the EU will use it as an opportunity to further mug the UK. The UK government will doubtless go along with it as usual.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      Sorry I have included too many fishy characters.

      • alan jutson
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic

        “…….Fishy Characters”

        Just goes to show the scale of the problem ahead for all concerned.

    • boffin
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      The point which seems to have been overlooked is that, on departure of Scotland, the entity which was known as the United Kingdom would no longer exist.

      vide infra

    • Cliff. Wokingham
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic,

      I must admit, I would be rather surprised if the Scots voted to leave the UK.
      I have always thought that Salmond et al are only really after more power for power’s sake. I liken the SNP to a child of rich parents, who wants to be “independent” but only in so far as having access to daddy’s credit card; ie, all the benefits, but none of the responsibilities.

      If a nation truly wanted independence, they would not want to be governed by Brussels and thus would not wish to be part of the EUSSR.
      I would love independence for the UK as a whole and to be free of the dead weight of Brussels and it’s socialist superstate mentality…Sorry Uni :-)

      • Peter Davies
        Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

        Can’t disagree with that. Salmond is a slippery operator – if the Scottish economy is so strong and they want true independence, why not 1. invent new currency and 2. Be like Norway and stay out of the EUSSR and use EFTA for free trade

      • Bobby George
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        I want independence, but i certainly do not want to be dictated to by the SNP. As far as i am concerned staying out of the EU is the best option upon independence and staying out of NATO and leaving behind the monarchy is best for all.

        Whats the point in independence if we have to abide by EU laws. and whats the point in independence if we bring all the inadaquecies of the current UK into an idenpendent Scotland. It’s completely pointless.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      “We would want a Scottish neighbour that was economically strong … ”

      But we would want to be able to continue to trade with that neighbour without the impediments created by it being outside the EU Single Market while we were still inside the EU Single Market.

      And so would that neighbour, because its exports to the rest of the UK account for about a third of its GDP and it would not be economically strong if that trade was interrupted or impeded, rather its economy would collapse.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted February 19, 2014 at 3:09 am | Permalink

        Why are you so fond of the Single Market? World wide free trade is much preferable and, with or without Scotland, we should try to get it.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 19, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

          Frankly I am staggered that you should ask me that question.

          However the point is not what I think about the EU Single Market, which I would have thought has been made perfectly clear from everything I have written over past years, but what Cameron and Miliband and Clegg think about it, and they are united in believing that we must be in it.

          For over three centuries unfettered trade and movement of people between Scotland on the one hand and England and Wales on the other has depended on the 1707 Treaty of Union; if the Scots voted for the termination of that treaty then in due course what has been free trade and movement internal to the UK would revert to being international trade and movement, and that would need a new legal basis if it was to continue uninterrupted and unimpeded.

          If Scotland removed itself from the UK then under the present EU treaties it would as a natural and automatic consequence also be removing itself from the EU and therefore the EU Single Market, while the rest of the UK would still be in the EU and the EU Single Market; and Cameron would certainly not be seeking to remove the continuing UK from the EU as well, instead he and Salmond would be pleading for EU treaty changes so that Scotland would also stay within the EU, or failing that at least a treaty to keep Scotland within the EU Single Market; and I think there can be little doubt that the governments of all the other EU member states could be persuaded to agree to one or the other, but probably at a price.

  2. Mark B
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Lets turn this on its head.

    Say that it was England that wanted to leave the UK. How would I vote? I would vote to leave. Why ? Well, its not just the prospect of getting rid of the EU, and in no way do I have an issue with the other Nations of our Union but, its a chance of being a self-governing sovereign nation once more. Its that that appeals to me. I Just do not consider myself to be British – I am English, as I told a lady from the Indian sub-continent, when she inquired were I was from. I would just about tolerate a England inside a UK that was Federal/Confederal in make up, so long as we had our own Parliament.

    British is an establishment construct. Its not something that I or my fore-fathers ever had a say in making. It purely artificial, just like the EU. So, if I see the EU as something that I do not wish to be apart of, because, as I see it, it artificial, its a bit hypocritical to want to be part of the UK.

    The best thing about Scotland leaving is, what affect it will have on the Westminster / Whitehall cabal. Once more, their little island of power shrinks. They are have to do a deal that is both favourable and agreeable to the Scots, that will leave the rest of the Union feeling a bit cheated. This will increase the tide of resentment in both politics and politicians.

    Despite what Denis and others may say, I do not fear Scotland leaving, and neither should they have fear over their decisions. What the Scots need to fear, is those that are running this ‘debate’ (on both sides). They are not letting the people of Scotland have a true choice of what is on offer. Scotland can leave the UK and the EU and, can apply to me a member of the EFTA/EEA. They would then be guaranteed the same rights and privileges as the rest of the UK and the EU but without the political and administrative burden. It is this that the establishment and the EU fears. If Scotland go it alone and becomes a success, then the chances of a breakaway N.Ireland and possible Wales will grow also. Only England will not be allowed to have a say over its future, and we ALL know that.

    One things in all this is becoming clear. This whole thing is being carefully managed so that no matter what happens, the politico’s will come out on top and the people of the UK will be in some way or other, completely screwed over with little, or even less, say over their lives.

    And Oh, before I forget. With a new Treaty, whether it be via the breakup of the UK or what Commissioner Barroso mentioned on the Marr Show, will our kind host be pushing for us to have a nice little referendum on this ? Just asking.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      Indeed did Barroso perhaps say this in order to encourage the Scottish to vote to leave the UK and thus EU. Or is he so deluded that he think the prospect of leaving the EU would further deter them. Surely it would be the icing on the cake to rational voters.

      • Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        The Scottish population is far more pro-EU than the English.

        That’s why Barroso’s intervention yesterday was so potentially devastating for the Separatists.

        The most obvious next move for the No campaign it to ask other EU members, and the Spanish in particular, whether they will veto an application from an Independent Scotland to join the EU.

        An opt out from the Euro should be no problem for Scotland : Sweden is committed to joining the single currency but avoids doing so by the simple expedient of not joined the exchange rate mechanism, a precondition of Euro membership.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          “The Scottish population is far more pro-EU than the English.”

          Slightly more, not far more.

          It used to be the other way round, the Scots were more strongly against joining the EEC than the English.

          • Peter Davies
            Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

            I have spoken to many Scots about the EU and most do not seem fazed by it. In much of Eng and Wales the EU is despised – I really don’t see the same with Scotland – not that I have been polling

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 20, 2014 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

            Polls say slightly more rather than far more.

  3. Arschloch
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Sorry totally off topic I have wrote here before about the UKs chronic levels of youth unemployment but this totally takes this biscuit. Is the government so desperate that it has introduced, as the papers showed yesterday:

    “The DWP’s youth contract (which) allows employers to claim wage incentives of up to £2,275 for each new recruit aged 18-24 who has been receiving benefits for at least six months through Jobcentre Plus. Strip clubs are not allowed to claim the subsidy for the actual performers, but the establishment can receive the cash for any bar staff, door staff, receptionists or cleaners they employ, according to guidelines for DWP staff … The same applies to saunas and massage parlours. For part time employees a company can claim up to £1,137.50.”

    Dave is supposed to be a Conservative PM who makes a big thing about being a family man. He can put a stop to this immediately or is he really suggesting that its morally OK for someones daughter to get a job as a receptionist in a massage parlour? If it is then I have another tip for him, he can get an immediate boost to GDP if he asks ONS to include the productivity of the red light industry as Italy did to get itself into the Eurozone

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/strip-clubs-massage-parlours-and-porn-films-eligible-for-government-subsidies-9131999.html

    Reply Job subsidies have always applied to all legal jobs. The financial arrangements have never been modified to express views on the morality of legal businesses.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      These silly tax reductions for employers are just sill tinkering at the edge really more trouble than they are worth. Just PR stunts for the government to announce and pretend they are doing something.

      Just get some easy hire and fire, get rid off the countless insane regulations, cheap non religious energy and get employers NI and taxes down. The jobs and even the tax revenues will follow very quickly.

      • arschloch
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        Being the international businessman and tax exile that you are, along with the views that you express here. Could you confirm something, have you actually had anybody work for you and did they stay for more than a week? etc edhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/9006988/Mass-suicide-protest-at-Apple-manufacturer-Foxconn-factory.html

        • libertarian
          Posted February 17, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

          Arschloch

          That’s a bit rich from someone who has zero understanding of the job market, zero understanding of business and has also never run a business.

          For your information the DWP Youth Contract is also know as Apprenticeships. There are qualifications that have to be obtained as part of the deal. So rather than ranting about morality I suggest that you first don’t get taken as a sucker by poor journalism and the political agenda of a newspaper renowned for making it up as it goes along

          • uanime5
            Posted February 17, 2014 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

            For your information the DWP Youth Contract is also know as Apprenticeships. There are qualifications that have to be obtained as part of the deal.

            What qualifications will someone working as receptionist or cleaner obtain? Give that these apprenticeships mainly involve working in unskilled jobs it’s clear that anyone on these apprenticeships won’t obtain any qualifications. They’re just a way to get young people off the unemployment register for 6 months.

            Given that employers have no incentive to hire young people because it’s cheaper to use people on the youth contract all this contract is doing is destroying jobs and prolonging how long young people remain unemployed.

          • arschloch
            Posted February 17, 2014 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

            Being an “expert on employment” i.e. a clerk at a Job Centre Plus you will be aware of the internal DWP guidelines mentioned in the article. There is a link there so you can make yourself familiar with them again

          • libertarian
            Posted February 18, 2014 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

            Arschloch

            Your infantile silliness speaks volumes about your intellectual capacity. Do you have any thoughts that are remotely grown up?

            Unaime5

            I didn’t say I agreed with apprenticeships or that I think they are a good idea, I said they are apprenticeships and the qualifications are NVQ’s. as you asked.

            So I assume you two socialists are totally in agreement with the 20% funding cuts to the FE Colleges that offer these useless qualifications ?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 17, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

          Yes about 5o at times now only about 23 they certainly stay as I am far too soft on them.

          • arschloch
            Posted February 17, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

            LL“File on Four” on the BBC iplayer in my view is essential listening this week. The journalist presenting the show gives the rep from the EA a pounding that our MPs seem to be unwilling to dish out. The message being that the EA seems to be exhibiting a surreal level of incompetence probably last shown by the War Office during the Crimean War. For example, it appears that a local school geography teacher was able to give a more accurate prediction as to when Gatwick Airport would flood rather than the full of pride EA was. Amazingly enough the Labour MP Louise Ellman talks a lot of sense and has shot up in my estimation.

    • APL
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      JR: “Job subsidies have always applied to all legal jobs. ”

      Yea, well goes to show how stupid state subsidy ( aka Nationalisation) of jobs is. Instead of employing a herd of civil servants to decide if taking your clothes off and wiggling your bottom is a job worthy of a state subsidy, perhaps it’d be better if you just taxed people less – for whatever they choose to do.

      You could get rid of some of the useless jobsworthies in the civil service too.

      Win win.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        (Para left out ed)

        “”some of the useless jobsworthies” in the civil service – all of them please so at least 50%.

        Talking of which my wife has, after more than 10 years, finally been given 22.4% of her equitable life losses today. A total of about £500. I wonder how many thousand of pounds were wasted organizing that, over the past 10+ years. Why only 22.4% compensation, I assume the rest was all needed for admin costs!

        Reply The Equitable Life compensation was for the regulatory involvement in the disaster, which was only part of the story. The Conservative party made clear before the last election that unlike Labour who failed to pay any compensation it would pay some, but it was never going to be “full” compensation. Your figures I think assume a return on the money you invested which of course the company in question did not make.

        • arschloch
          Posted February 17, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

          LL plenty of my colleagues lost out to EL too, JR has said he was never impressed with them and neither was I. Their USP was their “advisors” (salesmen really) were not paid commission. Yes and if they did not meet their salary linked targets they were out on their ears. A bit of caveat emptor is still required when dealing with organisations that believe they are above the common herd.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

          Yes but 10+ years to give us a mere £500 and we had to send them certified copy passports, bank statements and endless other nonsense twice. Perhaps we even have to pay tax on it now as we are not in the UK, so it will waste even more of our time. Rather like most insurance too much trouble to bother claiming and thus often insuring.

          Why on earth 10+ years, just a pathetic waste of everyone’s time for £500. Better just to say that those due less than £10K get nothing and save on all the admin parasites.

          I think I shall give it to this cervical cancer research activity or something similar.

          http://www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/news/display/?id=11595

    • arschloch
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      So by that logic the next time an MP gets caught in a massage parlour all he has to do is tell the tabloid it was a commercial transaction in a legal establishment please go away and bother someone else.

      Reply Different rules would probably apply to an MP in such a situation.

      • APL
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        JR: “Different rules would probably apply to an MP in such a situation.”

        Such a scenario would as a matter of course fall within the rules – that MPs have made up for themselves.

      • arschloch
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        I appreciate your sense of humour!

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted February 17, 2014 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply: “Different rules would apply to MPs…”

          Wooden rules, no doubt.

          Will they be able to claim expenses for that sort of treatment ?

          Reply Tougher rules in the court of the media

  4. Richard1
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Indeed, whether Scotland decides to stay in the UK or leave is entirely a matter for the Scots. What the terms are however is a matter for both. It is bizarre that the Scottish nationalists think they can hoodwink Scottish voters into believing that they will be able to impose a currency union of the 55m people of the rest of the UK! No UK govt would agree it, and the people would never ratify it in a referendum. It could be that a Scottish yes will unleash all sorts of other breakaway movements – Catalonia, Northern Italy etc. That’s probably Barroso is so concerned.

    Whilst I hope for a No to Scotland leaving the UK, a benefit for the rest of the UK is it would ensure a renegotiation with the EU, an opportunity to obtain the changes we want tn order for the UK to remain in.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      “an opportunity to obtain the changes we want in order for the UK to remain in.”
      Richard, you are living in cloud cuckoo land!
      Here is what M. Guy Verhofstadt thinks and, believe me, he speaks for the Commission and all the Good and Great of the EU too.
      “Our fatherland is now Europe. Our national anthem is Ode to Joy. And our flag is that of the twelve yellow stars on an azure background.”
      “A clear victory for the pro-Europeans at the 2014 elections must herald the creation of a real constituent assembly, with the aim of establishing a truly federal Europe.”
      “A majority of people want more Europe, not less. The Constitution was not rejected because it was too ambitious but because it was not ambitious enough.”

      • Richard1
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        I dont doubt it, but he does not represent every country, still less all the people of the EU. The choice the EU will have to make in a UK renegotiation is do they want to cut the UK a special deal (which in fact we already have as we arnt in the euro), or do they want to risk the UK leaving. I think they will prefer a face saving renegotiation when the time comes, but I don’t expect them to say that until the 11th hour.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        I especially like his last line. Classic self-delusion at its best. Love it !

  5. Old Albion
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    The (dis)UK Gov. has agreed Scotland can vote whether to secede from the (dis)UK.
    Fine, it’s now a matter for the Scots.
    If they leave and they are denied automatic mebership of the EU. Scotland’s politicians will have to deal with that. It’s part of being independant.

    From this Englishmans point of view. If the Scots become independant, then it’s real independance. No more hanging on the English coat tails.
    As i’ve said before. I doubt they will vote ‘yes’

    In that event, should the (dis)UK Gov. then offer ‘Devo Max’ as compensation. Expect the English to at last awake to the unfair, anti-democratic, anti England disaster that is the current system of the (dis)UK Gov.

    • JoolsB
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      I agree Old Albion. The Scots are never going to vote for independence, why should they when they’ve virtually got it already, their own self determining Government plus they get to send a second layer of politicians south of the border to meddle in their neighbours affairs, better services and no worries about where the money comes from to pay for it all – free tuition fees, free prescriptions, free personal care for the elderly, all denied to the bill paying English by the (dis)UK Gov. on grounds of cost. And when they do vote no, Cameron and the (dis) UK Gov will be falling over themselves to offer them even more, with Wales & NI watching and demanding the same, all to the further detriment of England which of course will have no-one speaking up for it and it’s interests.

      The tolerant disenfranchised English will eventually say they have had enough of this rotten union which discriminates against them so badly and when that happens no doubt the anti-English Con/Lab/Libs will suddenly declare they are patriots after all. One thing is for sure, when England does get her own parliament, not one of the 500 plus UK MPs presently squatting in English seats should be allowed anywhere near an English Parliament which they were so vehemently opposed to.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      Once again there is the implicit misconception that a “yes” vote in the referendum would immediately make Scotland independent. It wouldn’t, the final separation would take place many months later, maybe several years later, once all the new arrangements had been negotiated and agreed, and through one or more Acts of the UK Parliament. And during that interval Salmond would not be left alone to negotiate with the EU, indeed technically he would have no standing to negotiate with the EU, and so instead Cameron and then Miliband would negotiate on behalf of Scotland as well as the rest of the UK, the present UK still being intact during that period.

  6. JoeSoap
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Precisely correct. One wonders why this referendum is necessary if the SNP neither want Scotland to have its own currency nor be independent from EU law.
    Clearly the whole idea was never thought through properly.
    I still believe the remainder of the UK should enjoy some quid-pro-quo from having to tolerate and finance this show, should the answer be no.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      The SNP cohort don’t care about “Independence”, whatever that means, they are still fighting Bannockburn and want simply and solely to minimise control from London. And it’s no use saying, But you will end up with control from Brussels instead, because they don’t care about that: it’s London and the English and their dependence thereon that they hate; anything that comes along (Oil or the EU being prime examples) that might mitigate their angst, they are going to agitate for. Unluckily for them, and as we shall find out, the majority do not agree with them.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 18, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        Post scriptum–Should we laugh or cry (Brilliant article in the Torygraph today Tuesday) to be reminded that Salmond not too long ago was not only rooting for the Euro but saying that Sterling was a “millstone” around Scotland’s neck? Are not SNP supporters embarrassed by him?

    • aunty estab
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Would`nt it be good to be rid of Scotland and the large number of Labour M.Ps they foist on us at every election?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 18, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        No, it would not be good to be rid of Scotland, it would be bad.

  7. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    This is getting really silly.
    Thank you Mr Tony Blair for raising the spectre of Scottish Independence. Thank you Mr John Presctott for trying and failing to put the idea of DG Regio into practice all over our united Kingdom.
    Thank you Mr Barroso for doing utterly the wrong thing and putting a damper on Scottish Independence when you ought to have encouraged Regionalism.
    This is my country you have wrecked. Thank you very much indeed.

    • alan jutson
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      Mike

      Like everything now in life, it’s getting all too complicated, especially when politicians become involved.

      The more politicians, the more complicated any proposed solution.

      One thing you can be absolutely sure about though.

      Whatever the final solution, I guarantee it will cost the taxpayer ever more money.

    • bigneil
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      I hope that in the future no one finds a way of raising the spectre of Tony Blair.

  8. Martin
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Mr Barroso either ignored or was let off about the financial outcomes.

    If Scotland leaves the UK then the UK will expect its contributions to the EU budget to drop by say 10% . Scotland if it joined the EU would probably be a net contributor.

    Under the Barroso suggestion the EU then has a hole in its budget.

    It is all very well Spain or any other net beneficiary of funds getting fussy about who joins the EU but I suspect when they find their benefits will be cut that they will think again.

  9. alan jutson
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    At last some real questions are being raised about what Mr Salmon thought would be a breeze to go “independent”.

    I think some of the Scottish population may start thinking twice about the way they may vote over the next few months, as more and more complications start to surface.

    Would the rest of the Uk be happy for such State operating departments like the Inland Revenue, customs and excise, and many others to be located in a foreign Country.
    Perhaps these should be bought back ” in house” so to speak.

    Then of course we have the share of the National Debt to negotiate., security arrangements, etc, etc.

  10. stred
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Surely, the DUK will also be a new country and should have to re apply for membership of the EU, but then not bother. Why should we have existing rights to pay them to be mucked about? Mr Barroso has a duty to be even handed.

  11. Chris S
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    The SNP vision of “Independence” is unravelling by the day.

    Perhaps England should save their embarrassment by voting to leave ourselves.

    That way we will be out of the EU and the English taxpayer would no longer have to subsidise three other countries within these islands and at least 20 others in mainland Europe. I’m only half joking !

    By the way, Does anyone know exactly how much subsidising that lot actually costs England ? I suspect it’s not an insignificant sum for every household in our country.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      As Scotland has the second highest GVA in the UK this means that it’s subsiding everywhere in the UK except London.

      • David Price
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        Not for the first time you are inaccurate …

        According to ONS for 2011 Scotland had the third highest GVA by region, behind London and the South East, and was lower than England overall.

        So if anything it is provising some subsidy to Wales and NI, though less than England.

        ONS data follows;

        NUTS1 regions 2011
        United Kingdom 20 873

        North East 15 842
        North West 17 754
        Yorkshire & The Humber 17 037
        East Midlands 18 083
        West Midlands 17 486
        East of England 19 355
        London 35 638
        South East 22 369
        South West 19 093

        England 21 349
        Wales 15 696
        Scotland 20 571
        Northern Ireland 16 531

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 18, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

          Are those numbers with off-shore contributions being attributed not to any region but to the mythical land of “extra-regio”?

          • David Price
            Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

            I believe you are correct.

            As I understand it from the background notes in the statistical bulletin the data above excludes the extra-Regio GVA and so specifically excludes UK embassies, UK forces overseas and activities on the continental shelf (ie North Sea Oil and Gas).

            The statistical bulletin is here – http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/regional-accounts/regional-gross-value-added–income-approach-/december-2012/stb-regional-gva-2011.html.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 20, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

            Thanks.

            If you add in the “extra-regio” contributions then Scotland goes up by something like 13% while the others are not much changed, which lifts Scotland from 20571 to 23245, which is higher than England and higher than all other regions of the UK apart from London.

            Roughly speaking.

          • David Price
            Posted February 21, 2014 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

            How much would Scotland’s GVA go down if you then subtracted all the income that derives from UK public sector based there, which would no longer be there if it became independent. Similarly the private sector organisations that are or threaten to relocate out of Scotland if they become independent.

            I would agree that a proper calculation of contribution from the different parts of the UK needs to be done, but GVA is GVA no matter how faulty and Scotland isn’t second.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted February 22, 2014 at 3:42 am | Permalink

            Hang on a minute. Why should all this ‘extra-regio’ stuff be attributed to Scotland. How would you draw the North Sea border between England and Scotland?
            – By extrapolating the land border in a north easterly direction?
            – By drawing a line of latitude from the eastern extremity of the land border?
            – By drawing a line of latitude from the mid-point of the land border?

            And while we are about it, how is England to be compensated for the investment it has sunk into North Sea oil and gas extraction? You are aware, I trust, that many of the oil rigs were built in North East England.

            The more I think about it, the more Scottish Independence is pure poison. Recognising Scottish independence from a single referendum result was stupid. The barrier should have been that the SNP would need to win a majority of Scottish seats in Westminster in five successive general elections. Will all of you glib ‘democrats’ be happy if Scotland votes for independence by 50.1% to 49.9%, especially if it is postal votes by 16 and 17 year olds that has tipped the scales?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 22, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

            Lindsay, it would be difficult for the UK government to argue for a maritime border which differed greatly from the lines previously set by UK legislation back to the 1960’s.

  12. Alan Wheatley
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Is it not the case that in the course of Scottish history the only occasions on which Scotland has received help from a mainland European country it was not so much to help Scotland but as a way of attacking England. In other words, Scotland was being “used”.

    So why Salmon thinks the EU could be a haven for an independent Scotland I have no idea!

  13. Roy Grainger
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    The pressure heaped on Salmond by the UK political establishment, big business, and the EU elite is a small foretaste of what will happen if there is ever a referendum of EU membership for the UK.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely !

      That is why people must be prepared.

  14. Richard Jenkins
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    “The rest of the UK would have no wish to stop Scotland joining [the EU]”. No indeed, rUK might not care either way, but everything is negotiable. The support of rUK for Scotland joining the EU might be offered in exchange for other concessions from Scotland in the separation negotiations.

  15. stred
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Mrs Sturgeon underlined just how keen Scotland is to goldplate EU carbon dioxide reductions. Just how daft some of these are was brought up on You and Yours R4 last week. The EU directive to increase Ethanol content of petrol to 10% in E10 petrol still stands but is controversial, as it will be necessary for small petrol stations to have and extra pump. Ethanol can damage some engines, as it oxidises.

    But the daftest part is that, as it contains 33% less energy, fuel economy is reduced. What Car has tested various cars, including hybrids, and found that mileage was reduced by about 9-10%. Let’s call the old petrol c and the E10 e.

    The car originally does 100 km using one unit of fuel. Put ‘e’ petrol in and it will only do 90 km using 9 units of ‘c’ and 1 unit of ‘e’. Then it has to use another 0.9 of ‘c’ and 0.1 of ‘e’ to cover the same distance. The total of ‘c’ is therefore the same as before, meaning that the reason being reduction in carbon, the directive is completely useless. However, the Treasury will like it as the new fuel will raise 10% more tax.

    I have looked at this, thinking it must be a mistake. Expert opinion needed.

    • stred
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Also, the ethanol used in the EU is mostly from the US, using corn kernels. There it is very big business and with powerful lobbying, countered by various environmental scientists. To quote p 284 of the DECC book Sustainable Energy written by their Chief Scientific Advisor ( still the only member of the new teamwho does sums and has qualifications related to the subject, as the other five- on the staff page-have previous qualifications in banking, media, Euro jobs, corporate services, the insolvency service, and the Treasury) states ‘The power per unit area of bioethanol is astonishingly low’.. ‘and we haven’t taken into accountany of the energy losses in processing!’. The other question raised by EU scientists is that alternative land use is not taken into account. The CO2 produced in other countries processing is ignored under EU rules too when importing biofuels.

      EU Directive. Lets save the Earth by burning food!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        “EU Directive. Lets save the Earth by burning food!”

        Yet more economic, anti-science, immoral, market rigging insanity from the EU and not even reducing CO2 (even if you do still believe the BBC AGW exaggeration).

    • stred
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Forgot to increase the units of carbon fuel (E0) to ten. Comparable saving using E10 therefore 1% for 10% increase. This easily lost by carbon increase in supply and undetectable.

  16. Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    If the UK splits, and Scotland becomes independent, aren’t two new political identities created?

    If Scotland has to renegotiate new arrangements with the EU, why should the rest of what was once called the UK be treated any differently?

    To be consistent, shouldn’t the EU require that both Scotland, and the UK-minus-Scotland, be required to sign up to the Euro in the same timescale or be asked to leave?

    We wouldn’t want that though, would we? :-)

    • Bob
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      @petermartin2001

      We wouldn’t want that though, would we? :-)

      Wouldn’t we? :-)

  17. oldtimer
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Here is a wizard idea. If Scotland votes to leave the UK, let Mr Salmond keep the EU membership he says he so earnestly desires, and let the rump – the rest of us in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – leave the EU instead.

  18. boffin
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Is it not very rash to assume that the ‘rest of the UK’ would “inherit” the UK’s former EU membership, after Scotland’s departure? What legal basis exists for such an assumption?

    Surely, if an independent Scotland is seen as a newly-created sovereign entity, then so must be the other remnant of the former United Kingdom following dis-Union?

    Surely, if the flag no longer contains the Saltire, it is no longer the Union Jack!

    If sauce for the goose be sauce for the gander, does not the end of the former United Kingdom free all of its parts from EU bondage – not just the one?

    Reply NO, they have a n otion of successor state.

    • boffin
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Mr. Redwood, thank you for your response to this (and to Vanessa’s similar observation later), but I fear that you may be seriously adrift here.

      It appears to me that the principle of ‘successor states’ is an unclear and difficult matter in international law, and that the UK and its parts were not party to the Vienna Convention which attempted to resolve some of the unclarity –
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna_Convention_on_Succession_of_States_in_respect_of_Treaties

      Even just the possibilty that the remnants of the UK might be be seen as a new sovereign entity, following a Scotland exit, would seem to me to have huge political implications in the present debate over our continued presence in the EU.

      Perhaps you might find time to clarify your viewpoint on this very tricky legal issue in a future Diary post?

      Reply Your references is to the international arguments, not EU ones. What matters for this issue is what the EU regaards as the successor state. There has been no indication that the EU would regard the rest of the UK as having left the EU if Scotland left the UK. I expect the EU would be very unwilling to cancel the RUK’s continuing membership unilaterally, as we pay a lot of the bils and provide such a good export market for them under their rules. They would also appreciate politcally that once out the RUK government might be in no position to rejoin, as surely we would then need a referendum to do so and maybe the public would vote No to re-entry. I doubt the EUers would want to test all that out. If the EU thought the rest of the UK was out if Scotland leaves,surely Mr Barroso would have made that point as well.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        The UK is not a party to that Convention and therefore is not bound by it, and nor are most of the other EU member states parties to it.

      • sjb
        Posted February 18, 2014 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

        @boffin

        Perhaps the legal opinion of Sir David Edward, KCMG, QC, PC, FRSE would help. He is a unionist and a former judge of the European Court of Justice:

        “18. I express no opinion as to whether either Scotland or RoUK or both would be “successor States” in conventional international law. That question might be relevant in relation to other treaty relationships but not within the legal order of the EU […]

        19. […] the EU institutions and all the Member States (including the UK as existing), would be obliged to enter into negotiations, before separation took effect, to determine the future relationship within the EU of the separate parts of the former UK and the other Member States.

        20. The outcome of such negotiations, unless they failed utterly, would be agreed amendment of the existing Treaties, not a new Accession Treaty…”

        http://www.scottishconstitutionalfutures.org/OpinionandAnalysis/ViewBlogPost/tabid/1767/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/852/David-Edward-Scotland-and-the-European-Union.aspx

        Reply What matters is the view of the people currently controlling the EU. We have heard it from the boss, Mr Barroso, that Scotland would have to apply all over again, but he did not say the same about the RUK.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 19, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          I read that, and except for one point it is what I’ve been saying for at least six years now.

          But it is very hard work convincing some of the English to abandon their misconceptions.

          I find that back in April 2008 I was exchanging emails about this with the Chairman of the Campaign for an English Parliament, in one of which I said:

          “Perfectly true, it is the UK which a contracting party to the EU treaties.

          But it wouldn’t be difficult to amend the treaties so that the UK ceased to be a party, and the successor states became new parties, at exactly the same instant that the UK ceased to exist and the successor states came into being – eg, at precisely midnight GMT on December 31st 21AB.

          There would of course be a price to pay for that, but it would all be
          sorted out long in advance of the instant of final separation, so that
          there would be no hiatus – hence my “Section X” in the Act to dissolve the UK.”

          The point on which I would disagree with Sir David Edward is whether the EU institutions or the governments of the other EU member states would actually be under any legal obligation to enter into negotiations.

          It seems to me that legally they could just say to Cameron:

          “OK, so your country will be a bit smaller with the loss of Scotland, but don’t worry, we all agree that you’ll still be a member state and we can just pass secondary legislation to make a few adjustments; we can actually do it all like that now, apart from your subscription to the European Investment Bank where the figure is still set down in a protocol to the present treaties and you will have to wait for a new treaty to get that reduced. Of course if you felt that it would be appropriate to change the name of your country you could do that, and we would just declare that we still accepted it as being the same country with which we originally made the treaties, no problem. As for Scotland, yes, well of course we will all recognise it as having become an independent country and establish diplomatic relations with it, but as it will no longer be part of your country or any other member state it will be outside the EU and therefore outside our Single Market and so at some point we may have to negotiate some kind of EU-Scotland trade deal. But we have to remind you that as your country is still part of our Single Market legally you will not be able to trade at all with Scotland after it becomes independent until we have negotiated that new trade deal and it has come into force, whenever that may be.”

          This is why I have been saying repeatedly that shortly after a “yes” vote in the Scottish referendum Cameron would be in Brussels, with Salmond in tow, and rather than bolding demanding treaty changes to repatriate powers to the UK he would be begging for treaty changes to deal with the consequences of the UK breaking up, treaty changes so that Scotland would be kept in the EU as a new member state, or at the very least that it would be kept in the EU Single Market.

          And, JR, while Barroso may have a view on that, it would not be him but the member state governments who would decide what happened.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted February 21, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

          What Germany thinks will be more potent than what Mr Barroso thinks. Scotland is perfectly entitled to make the argument, which is logical, that if Scotland has to apply for EU membership from scratch, so too should the rump of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Once that idea is put in the public domain, Angela Merkel and David Cameron would perceive the threat and reject Mr Barroso.

  19. Atlas
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    I watched Barroso on the box. Rather amusing in its own way, given the intrinsic undemocratic nature of the EU. The mailed fist trying to sink any regionalisation that is not the approved EU model.

    As others have said – any Devo-max must come with Westminster voting reform; but who would have thought that such a proud nation as Scotland would want to be run by others anyway?

  20. Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    It’s a pity that Scotland can’t take the UK’s EU membership with them, with the rest of the UK being refused membership!

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Dear Fellow English Pensioner–Our host will tell you it is all to do with artificial legalistic twaddle about which is the “successor state”.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        But our host has also put forward concrete political arguments why it is unlikely that the other EU member states would question it. However, it remains a possibility that some of them might question it, and might then try to extract a price for agreeing not to pursue their objections.

      • Monty
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

        And the EU definition of a “successor” state, is the territory they can get the greatest net financial contribution out of.

  21. The PrangWizard
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    In connection with any post-referendum negotiations whichever way the vote goes, indeed any that are going on now, it must be clear that no-one connected with the campaign to keep Scotland in the Union or speaking in favour of it should be involved in any way. Only those who put England’s interests above those of Scotland’s should be allowed to participate. There must be no more betrayals of England by the British and Unionist Elites. It is the future of England, for decades and centuries ahead, we are talking about.

    It must be an ‘England First’ group, and there should be some kind of swearing of allegiance to England, and I mean England, not some pretence or imagining of a future UK. It is an extremely serious issue and must be treated as such. Britain and the UK is ending as it has existed so far, we must not try to cobble it together, it will not hold.

    And it will be very difficult to trust Cameron – he has said ‘there is a lot of Scottish blood flowing in these veins’, along with ‘I will take on the little Englanders’. Can the people of England be properly served by such a man and his like?

  22. Bert Young
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    The likelihood of Scotland voting for “out ” has become less rather than more as the result of Mr. Barroso’s observation . I don’t respect his role in the EU any more than I respect the EU as a whole , but , his comment has relevance . I will be very interested to learn what the alternative is to Scotland keeping the pound from Alec Salmond later in the day ; I suspect it will be more of his rhetoric and less of sound economics .
    There is little doubt from the posts you received yesterday that the Wythenshawe result is seen as significant evidence of the emotion present around the country ; surely the unrest must have an impact and create a change of heart in the leadership of the Conservative Party ? How many Conservative seats are at stake unless such a change occurs ?

    Reply The by election will not have any impact on the leadership. They will point out the seat was never on their list of seats to win, and Labour now have more than half the vote there.

  23. Dan H.
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    There’s a lesson in this for all of us if you look hard enough, and that lesson is stark and simple: The EU is not your friend.

    Look at the evidence: EU nice and friendly when it suits their purpose to regionalise the UK into nice, small, unlikely-to-revolt chunks. When one of those chunks wants help, EU tells ‘em to go take a running jump.

    The EU is the very personification of a fair-weather friend, and as such cannot be trusted to stick by anyone or anything in times of trouble. As this is the case, why bother assisting it at any other time?

    This is a very important point; the EU is not loyal, it is not a friend to anyone, and it cannot be trusted and will probably renege on treaty obligations if these are too difficult to easily perform. The EU is not, and never has been anyone’s government; there isn’t any military or civil force that it can call upon that is the EU’s own and isn’t beholden to anyone else. EVERYTHING the EU does is by borrowing someone else’s whatever to do the job. If the someone else tells the EU to get lost, then it is sunk.

    DO NOT trust the EU!

  24. Leslie Singleton
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Disagree with one bit (rest OK!!)–viz if we leave, we should, as it seems to me. but contrary to what you say, want Scotland out as well. Whether we could achieve that is of course another story. It is very easy to overreact to the idea of Scottish Independence–they already have their own legal system and the sky doesn’t fall in. What we should aim for is for us and (if it came to it) a (semi?) independent Scotland to run pari passu as far as possible; in particular whether we would be in or out of the EU and in or out of the Euro. I continue to think it obvious that Scotland will, at least for the foreseeable future, continue to use the pound “informally”. Maybe the EU and the Euro will crash and burn (let’s hope so) when we could at least dream of the Republic of Ireland coming back and the totality of the British Isles being restored. Apart from all else, it’s just another point on which we should not commit to anything before what could be heavy and important negotiations.

  25. Richard
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Because the EU’s aim is to remove the nation states to form a great empire there is no way that the EU does NOT want to see the breakup of nations, led by Scotland leaving the UK.

    Mr. Barroso’s comments are simply the EU’s hard negotiating position to ensure that Scotland joins with no opt-outs, no rebates and must accept the Euro currency and that both Scotland’s fishing grounds and oil fields belong to the EU.

    That the rUK will also be diminished in size and power and hence will need to re-negotiate terms with the EU will also be seen as advantageous to both the EU and the Europhiles in Lib/Lab/Con.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      There is a lot in what you say.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted February 21, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Richard & Denis, please follow the arguement where it leads. The UK does not want to join a European SuperState and I very much doubt if Scotland does. We should have a foreign policy aimed at breaking up the EU into an inner (Federal) ring and an outer (free trading) ring, with as few countries as possible in the inner ring. This means that we should offer support to countries willing to leave the Euro zone and do absolutely nothing to support the continued existence of the Euro.

      All of us should recognise that the Franco-German alliance wants the UK in the EU in order to share the costs, not to share the power. Perhaps Germany is willing to compromise at the moment because both the UK and Germany have centre-right governments, but I see no signs of French compromise.

  26. Posted February 17, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    From where comes all this nicety about relations between nations? How will the choice of Scottish nationalists affect the standing of England, Wales and Northern Ireland with the European Union?

    Scottish people are being conned into a false choice about independence by crafty politicians, on the grounds that they never had a say on the Act of Union. O. K. So they were forced into it against their will.

    That’s just like the U.K. and the European Union membership. We never had a say on that.

    So tit for tat. We don’t need to ask for a referendum. If the Scots think the Act of Union was a stitch-up and can ditch it without reference to how the other party feels about it, the same applies to England and the E.U. Lets cut the rubbish about government by Treaty or Agreement and go back to self-government and tell the E.U. to get knotted.

    John Wrake.

  27. Ken Adams
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    With regard to respecting the wishes of the voter during negotiations, if Scotland votes for out. That cannot mean our government would simply accept any demands made by the SNP, can it?

  28. Sebastian Weetabix
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Salmond is not daft. He knows most Scots would run for the hills if forced to confront the reality of independence: no more currency/fiscal union, swapping a great degree of influence in England for none. That’s why he said we’re keeping the Queen, Sterling, the BBC – and my favourite bit of nonsense, we’ll have a “social union” after independence, whatever that means. Deep down they want the end of Monarchy, exit from NATO and so on. They just daren’t say so directly. I do have to reluctantly admire their party discipline – they’re like the Bolsheviks in January 1917.

    Whatever JoeSoap may think they have thought this through very clearly.
    1. Don’t frighten the horses. Keep the pound, the BBC, the Queen, EU membership, nothing really will change…
    2. When the logical empirical historically beastly English say ‘no, you can’t have your independence and a currency union’ cry bully
    3. Foster bitterness and division ‘we acted in good faith, but the English…’ etc ad infinitum
    4. Narrowly win vote due to bitterness and division
    5. Get real independence without currency union – which is what they wanted all along.

    Because if they don’t there’s no point to it, is there? If you don’t have your own money you’re not independent.

    I just wish as a Scot who happens to live in England (due to work) that I got a vote.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      You give them far too much credit…
      Are you saying they are making themselves look silly as a clever gaming tactic?
      I’d be embarrassed to be in the same country, never mind vote for their ideas…

      • Sebastian Weetabix
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        @JoeSoap – It might look silly to you, but it will look like the bullying English to the more intellectually challenged of my compatriots. Salmond is appealing to emotion, not reason, so smarmy ex-public schoolboys saying “no” in plummy tones is right up his street. Didn’t you see Braveheart? There are far too many people in Scotland who think it’s a documentary. But… embarrassed to be in the same country?

        We invented television, the telephone, penicillin, the steam engine, radar, and discovered insulin. Tarmac roads. Pneumatic tyres. The steam hammer. Not to mention building all those ships and fighting all those wars. Possibly the most important event in the 19th century was James Clerk Maxwell’s discovery of the laws of electrodynamics. My point being I’m very proud to belong to Scotland, thanks very much.

        If Scottish morons are guilty of small minded bigotry one can always rely on English morons to be arrogant and high-handed. The two seem to bounce off each other to deleterious effect.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Agree with you on all points and it would certainly be naïve to believe that the Monarchy would be retained for any length of time after separation.

  29. Vanessa
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I love the bit about if Scotland leaves the EU it scuppers the UK’s renegotiations !!

    If Scotland leaves the EU -as it is the only other kingdom (a monarchy) – the United Kingdom would no longer exist and so would not be a member of the EU herself. Stuff renegotiation, this would be our “get out of hell” card. Bring it on and I hope they vote yes.

    Reply Not so, we would be the successor state and still have the membership

  30. Narrow shoulders
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I have heard in the past that Alex Salmond is the consummate politician but of late all I have observed from him and his party is child-like whining about bullying or fairness.

    The SNP issued a vision foe a future independent Scotland without ensuring the partners needed in some of his vision were agreeable. Sterling and the EU are the most obvious manifestations of this but there is much assumption about busr and defence too.

    I do not comprehend why the negotiations required by independence were not conducted in advance to at least determine the viability of solutions before the vision was issued. One can not make impositions on neighbours without asking and then complain if they refuse.

    The Scottish are being asked to vote on a whim without substance, who shall bail them out when it all goes pete tong?

  31. behindthefrogs
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    The outcome is interesting to contemplate. Scotland joins the EU but to do so is forced to use the Euro. A little later the UK votes to leave the EU.

  32. Remington Norman
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    ‘Mr Barroso is…. just stating the obvious’. True, but why does Mr Cameron not believe him when he states the equally obvious facts that a) renegotiation is not on the table unless we invoke article 50 and b) that even if he were to do so, the EU timetable is such that no credible referendum would be possible until well after 2017. I don’t like Mr Barroso or his cohorts but in this case his pronouncements carry weight.

    Reply Because Mr Cameron believes Mrs Merkel and others of like mind will negotiate.

    • Chris
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      The only thing that we will be offered, and it will be after 2017, is Associate Membership (see draft new treaty, Spinelli Group, which Barroso hints at). I am certain this would be spun by Cameron to be a favourable renegotiation settlement, but if the proposals in the Spinelli document are examined closely they are certainly not favourable, nor an improvement on what we have now.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Already Dan Hannan and David Campbell Bannerman have put forward a plan called, EU-Lite. Its basically EU Associated Membership with a little bit of glitter, cheap glitter.

        There are going to be many such scams in the days, weeks, months and years a head. But all will have one aim in mind. To keep us either in, or very close to the EU.

        There is only one alternative to EU membership, and only one. Article 50, and negotiation, followed by exit.

  33. behindthefrogs
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Aren’t all new countries that join the EU also required to commit to eventually joining the Schengen agreement? Doesn’t this mean that we shall have to erect customs posts between Scotland and the rest of the UK?

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Really, so what? Do you think we’re in control of our own borders now?

  34. Max Dunbar
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    At the 1979 Scottish Devolution referendum, a threshold of 40% of the entire Scottish electorate was required for approval of the changes proposed. This was a wise condition because the result was very closely in favour of devolution. Some 32% (a small majority of votes cast) of the electorate voted for, but were defeated on this amendment.

    I guess that the result in September may also be close but because there is no threshold on this occasion there is a much greater danger that the National Socialists will win. Either way, if the result is narrow the chances of violence and intimidation post-result will become a very real risk. Farage’s treatment in Edinburgh at the hands of left-wing separatist extremists is a harbinger of what is to come both before as well as after this campaign.

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Quite so. There is going to be tremendous bitterness after this vote, whatever the outcome.

  35. Leslie Singleton
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    I continue of opinion that Salmond is increasingly making a fool of himself with his plaints that everybody but everybody has it wrong apart from him and the SNP. Best I can tell, if Scotland leaves the UK they will become like every other country vis-a-vis our exports, full stop, so why we should worry about that I cannot imagine. The Eurozone for these purposes is just another “country”. Personally, so long as an independent Scotland has no control or even influence over the pound I could not care less what they do; other than to say I would prefer they did not go in to the Euro but I doubt very much indeed that they would do that–even Salmond has thought better of that.

    I note that nobody ever wants to confirm that there will be a separate Scottish Navy with ships HMSS Whatever, or otherwise comment.

  36. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    We shouldn’t be too surprised about Mr Salmond’s weak knees. Scottish Nationalists have form. The famous Declaration of Arbroath, endorsed by none other than Enoch Powell as being nationalist sentiment in its purist form, was part of a grovelling letter of supplication to the Pope. Scots Wha Hae, the famous battle hymn attributed to Robert de Bruis on the eve of Bannochburn, was written by Rabbie Burns 500 years after the event. Robert de Bruis was interested in having a throne and saw an independent Scotland as the only was to get it. William Wallace, a genuine martyr, was the real McCoy. Later on, the Jacobites took to their hearts this character called Bobbin’ John, who changed sides ever so often; you can hear about him in Steeleye Span’s version of the Jacobite song ‘Come ye o’er frae France?’.

    Mr Salmond should not be too worried about Mr Barosso, a Portuguese who is perhaps worried about the Catalonian quest for independence from Spain. All Mr Salmond needs to do is to assert that if Scotland has to apply for EU membership, then so too does the rump of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which would demonstrably not be the UK of old and therefore a new Member State. That would get David Cameron on his side PDQ and Angela Merkel would sit on Mr Barosso hard.

    I think that I know what is causing Alex Salmond’s concern about currency. He doesn’t want to join the Euro because he does not know what will be the outcome of the looming fight to the death between Germany and the ECB. He doesn’t want Scotland to be thought of as a new applicant Member State because the EU rules state that it must join the Euro and not have its own independent currency. So he pretends to his electorate that Devo Max is independence and to the EU that if Scotland retains sterling it is not really independent. Very neat, if you like living in a madhouse.

    For the rest of the UK, the immediate worry of an indepent Scotland retaining sterling is not monetary but fiscal. Mr Cameron would try to get an agreement with the Scot Nats on Scotland’s fiscal policy, and it wouldn’t be easy – like trying to grasp an eel.

    Better together, if we want to stay sane.

  37. Antisthenes
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    It appears to me rather strange that Scotland seeking to be independent should want to remain in the EU where is the independence in that. Surely after a little bit of consideration it would tell anyone Scot or otherwise that independence gives Scotland no advantages by leaving the generous rest of the UK’s taxpayers teat unless it was balanced by not having the EU running their country in an entirely undemocratic and incompetent way. Barroso saying that Scotland will have to leave and reapply membership of the EU should that not logically mean that the rest of us should have to do the same as we will not be the same country that signed all those ghastly treaties, if not then it smacks of double standards. Alex Salmon and the SNP have got themselves in a fine old mess as usual with left leaning politicians they have come up with an intention and because in their eyes it is a good one then they believe a good outcome is assured which is now already not proving the case(it is a pity that all the other lefty policies and practices do not show how bad they are before they are implemented but after. Perhaps that is because they do not come under the intense scrutiny that the independence question has but we would be better off if they did) . The competence or more correctly the incompetence of the left is once again being demonstrated so perhaps that is the reason the SNP wants to remain in the EU as they do not mind it’s methods of governance as it closely resembles theirs both being equally awful.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      The SNP hyenas are desperate to join the EU so that as a pack they can attack the English Lion and pull it down by weight of numbers. Please do not equate the SNP with Scottish sentiment generally. The SNP are dangerous and if they lose the vote at the referendum they must not be given a soft landing under any circumstances, but I fear that Cameron will do just that. Appeasing extremists is never a good strategy.

      • Chris S
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

        I agree. If the Scots vote to stay, Devo Max should be off the table, the Barnett formula scrapped and spending equalised across the four home nations.

        If a British Government unwisely grants the Scots Devo Max, then the deal has to be exactly equal devolved powers for all four nations on their own. By that, I mean England on its own, not England and Wales combined.

        If the outcome for England is any less favourable there is a real possibility of serious political trouble, especially if the matter is decided by a Labour-led Government with little or no majority in England.

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      The answer to your puzzle is that a small minority of Scots hate the English so much they find rule from elsewhere preferable – especially if that rule is disliked by “the English” – much Scottish Nationalism being little more than the narcissism of minor difference, you see. Apart from that the SNP is fairly loony left, so permanent socialism via Brussels unmediated by the dread Tories at Westminster looks attractive to them. If Brussels was suddenly run by Mr Redwood (now there’s a thought) you would find no sterner opponents of European integration than the fishy pair running the SNP.

      I strongly believe joining the EU has given rise to these events. If the laws come from elsewhere anyway, why bother with Westminster anymore? You might as well speak to the organ grinder directly rather than the monkey. The Empire’s gone so the high road to opportunity could be said to go via Brussels these days.

      For the sake of clarity I think the EU is ultimately doomed because there is no European demos. But there is a UK demos and the Union works and we should stick with it.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      There is no “generous rest of the UK’s taxpayers teat”.

  38. Mark B
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    My final post on this matter.

    I, like many here, are happy, in fact, a little envious, to see the Scots get as say over their future. But whatever the outcome, again like many here, I too want a say. I want a say whether or not I agree to whatever settlement their is between us.

    I do not know if our kind host can do this but, I really would be grateful if somehow he could convey, what for sure are many, their thoughts and wishes on this matter, to those who we have elected to high office, to speak and act on our behalf.

    We are the silent majority ! We stand aside and patently watch and listen, while others speak for us. But if the time does come, I want my voice on this matter to be heard. I too want to be consulted and be respected as an equal citizen of this nation. A nation that I admit, have become detached from, but not out of love with.

    Our kind host does indeed offer us a opportunity to speak on many issues. But are we ever heard ? Democracy, even our relatively poor one, is a two way street. Do not abandon us !

    Reply I agree. I expect the Scots to vote to stay. If they do not I will keen to ensure a good deal for England and will represent strongly the English view over the future settlement.

  39. uanime5
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Since the number of Council votes and MEPs is based on population size the UK will have less of both if Scotland leaves because the UK’s population will be lower.

    The UK’s contribution will still be fixed at 1% of GDP but will appear to have been reduced after Scotland leaves because our GDP will be lower. I suspect that if Scotland leaves Cameron may claim that these lower contributions are due to his renegotiations, rather than a drop in GDP. This is especially likely to occur in the year that Scotland leaves UK because the UK’s rebate is based on how much we paid last year. So a combination of a high rebate and lower contributions will make it seem like there’s been a major reduction in the UK’s contributions to the EU, when in reality the reduction has remained the same.

  40. lojolondon
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    John, here is a factual, scientific explanation of why they Somerset floods have been so devastating. Having read this, do you not agree that ‘heads must roll’ – ie. Senior EA directors should (face the music ed)?

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9137131/instant-wildlife-just-add-water/

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
    Published and promoted by Thomas Puddy for John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU
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