Thursday 14 August 2003

Sheep shouldn't be party leaders

It does seem rather extraordinary that John Swinney, the boss of the Scottish Nationalists, thinks that up to one third of his party's members may support the leadership challenger, Bill Wilson, "a little-known SNP activist from the West of Scotland."

Dr Wilson and his friends think that Swinney has undersold the case for independence. Swinney wants an SNP victory at Holyrood to be followed by an independence referendum. The Wilsonites think that independence should automatically result after an SNP win with no referendum being required. But neither Swinney nor Wilson seems to be able to answer the question: How can Scotland be "independent" in Europe? And "independence in Europe" has been the slogan of the SNP for years.

The European Union has destroyed Scotland's fishing industry and now threatens the sheep trade:

It would be virtually impossible to stage Europe’s largest one day sale of sheep at Lairg in Sutherland if the EU’s latest proposals covering the welfare of animals in transit are approved.

That was the unanimous view expressed in Lairg yesterday when 25,000 North Country Cheviot lambs were offered for sale. NFU Scotland, the British Veterinary Association and the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland, who in addition have the support of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, joined forces in condemning the proposals from Brussels.

This is typical of the over-regulation emanating from Brussels. As the farmers' spokesman said:
An event like this at Lairg clearly highlights the problems and takes no account of the market situation and the practical logistics.
I suspect that areas like Scotland, far from the economic centre of Europe, suffer most from the EU's anti-capitalist rules. Bureaucrats don't care about "market situations" or "practical logistics", but if Swinney or Wilson wants a prosperous and successful Scotland they need to speak out against the EU's red tape machine.