Sunday, 17 June 2007

Scotland becomes independent!

I've heard some Scottish Tories suggest this in private, but now it's in the public domain:
A REFERENDUM on Scottish independence could be held as early as next year after a dramatic move by Conservative leaders to support the historic poll.

The party's vice-chairman has publicly backed a referendum as soon as possible to "clear the air" over Scotland's constitutional future.

This is certainly a fascinating development and, as it will cause Labour to freak out even more, it's to be welcomed.

But let's look a bit into the future. One of the perennial arguments concerning the independence question is: what about the EU? Some argue that both Scotland and England would automatically continue as EU members as they are the "founding fathers" of the British state. Others say that England, Wales and Northern Ireland would be regarded as the "Continuing UK" and that Scotland would have to apply in its own right. For the purposes of this argument I'm ignoring the question as to why anyone would want to be in the EU!

The scene is 2008. The Scottish parliament has called for an independence referendum. Only Labour is opposed. The polls are close. Labour's leader, Wendy Alexander, claims that Scotland could be "booted out of Europe" and that all of our top companies would depart for the South. Strangely though, some English companies are talking about a move in the opposite direction...

"Good Evening. This is Newsnight with Kirsty Wark. We're going to hear from Wendy who's up in Edinburgh.

"I hope you enjoyed the holiday, Wendy. Now, what about this terrible threat to Scottish jobs that independence would bring."

"Hi Kirsty, isn't Majorca wonderful at this time of year!"

"Er, yes Wendy, but as I understand it, you don't think that an independent Scotland could necessarily remain in the EU. Is that it?"

"You got it!"

"Well Wendy, and regards to wee Dougie - he's so cute in his swimming trunks, as it happens we can sort out that question right now! On the other line I've got the European President."

"Mr President, how are you today?"

"Hi Kirsty, I'm on my way from Strasbourg to Brussels aboard Euro Force One. This Airbus 380 is so big - turn the wave machine off, Ms Caplin - so much bigger than George's tiny thingy. What's it called? Taco One! Ha! Ha! Yo Bush!"

"What we want to know, Mr President, is whether the EU would approve of an independent Scotland."

"Ah yes, Scotland. Isn't that where the Queen retired to after I made her curtsey to Cherie?"

"Yes Mr President, and she goes out hunting and fishing every weekend with Alex and Annabel. Disgusting, isn't it?"

"Well, Kirsty, in these matters I've got to consider what's best for Europe, for humanity, for the children.

"I understand that Gordon's got my old job now. And doesn't he sit for that place, Raith, yeah that's it. But he hasn't got a seat at Holyrood, has he? So if Scotland becomes independent, he's in the merde, as we sophisticates put it.

"Kirsty, your new EU/Scottish passport is in the post!"

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Alexis Vizcaino
The Catalan Countries are looking at to the North expectant because what's going on in Scotland can be soon in our country. Is true, there are many differences between both nations, but there are also many similarities.

31 July 2007, 17:14:58 GMT+01:00
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Bob
The question of whether Scotland would be a continuing state only arises if Scotland makes a unilateral declaration of independence. If Scotland and the rest of the UK agreed to dissolve the federation, the matter of who would be a continuing state would simply be up for negotiation.

4 July 2007, 23:31:01 GMT+01:00
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David Lindsay
So, with the CFP intact, are SNP MPs going to vote against the Constitreaty, and is the SNP going to campaign for a No vote in any referendum on it? If not, why not?

25 June 2007, 17:02:46 GMT+01:00
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dagny
As beeing a citizen of the "Freestate Bavaria" (Bavaria ist unfortunately still a part of Germany), I understand the Scotish Independent Moving quite well.

23 June 2007, 13:30:44 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer
Dagny, 
 
The UK as a whole is a net contributor to the EU. The Scottish GDP per capita is only slightly less than that of the UK so we may well not be a net financial beneficiary. However, we do have a high proportion of "remote" areas that get subsidies for roads and suchlike. I'm not sure what the overall balance is. Anyway, the new Eastern members will be getting the bulk of EU transfers in future - they are much poorer than Scotland. 
 
I doubt if the SNP are in any way motivated by the desire for EU subsidies - apart from anything else they think that Scotland would be much wealthier if independent. Some of their members are economically "liberal", others not. Overwhelmingly, the motivation is for Scotland to simply be a independent country, come what may.

22 June 2007, 05:27:20 GMT+01:00
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dagny
Beeing quite new in Scottland and Scottish politics I didnĊ½t understood so far, weather the SNP wants Scottland to become an economic liberal country or weather they just want to get more EU-subsidies than now.

21 June 2007, 23:15:05 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer
I wrote this: 
 
Some argue that both Scotland and England would automatically continue as EU members as they are the "founding fathers" of the British state. Others say that England, Wales and Northern Ireland would be regarded as the "Continuing UK" and that Scotland would have to apply in its own right. 
 
So whether the UK would continue in the event of Scottish independence isn't clear. 
 
But as an MP for a Scottish seat Brown certainly couldn't be PM of a UK that didn't include Scotland. Unless he gets Tony Blair's old seat of course...

21 June 2007, 19:48:24 GMT+01:00
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dagny
Would Gordon Brown lose his job if Scotland gets independent? He would be no citizen of the 'UK' then....?

21 June 2007, 16:54:22 GMT+01:00
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Purple Scorpion
Great stuff! It should be England that leaves the UK. Then you can all subsidise each other and we will somehow fail to reapply for EU membership.

18 June 2007, 21:41:02 GMT+01:00
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Lady Macleod
Someone call A. Christie as I think, "then there were none." 
 
an independent Scotland reads well, but what will that mean financially for the country, aside from the EU?

18 June 2007, 19:49:11 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer
I had a go at explaining it here. 
 
(Scroll down through the white space)

18 June 2007, 11:43:21 GMT+01:00
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steves
I can see the attraction of an indepedant Scotland, but is seems to me that the SNP doesn't want independance, just for Scotland to be a part of a federal EU under its own name. 
 
They seem to think that Oil and EU handouts are the future for Scotish prosperity

18 June 2007, 11:16:37 GMT+01:00