Scotland’s voice in Europe

British nationalists are, as we would expect, drooling over the comments form Mariano Rajoy and Francois Hollande just as they revel in anything that they perceive as a put-down for Scotland. While hard-line unionists welcome these comments as promising to thwart the democratic will of Scotland’s people, a more rational perspective recognises that they are, in fact, nothing more than statements of the obvious fact that Brexit negotiations will be conducted at UK Government level. There is nothing at all controversial in these remarks, and they have no bearing whatever on what the First Minister is seeking – rather successfully – to achieve by engaging with EU leaders and representatives of member nations.

But let’s suppose that the statements from Rajoy and Hollande really do represent the spoke in Sturgeon’s wheel that British nationalists so fervently crave. Let’s suppose they really were declaring a veto on any arrangement which allows Scotland (along with, presumably, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar) to maintain its relationship with the EU regardless of whatever deal is struck with the UK. What are the implications?

Quite simply, if Rajoy and Hollande are saying Scotland cannot remain in the EU as part of the UK, then this necessarily means that we must seek to secure our place in Europe as an independent nation. It is a fundamental principle of the EU that no European nation which meets the relevant criteria can be refused membership. Scotland has met the requirements of membership for over 40 years. So it is far from certain that any attempt to deny Scotland membership would succeed. For sure, the simple veto that British nationalists like to imagine is little more than one of their sick fantasies involving the belittling of Scotland.

Back to the real world, and one thing is very clear. If Scotland’s status in relation to the EU is to be negotiated by the UK Government, we cannot possibly trust them to defend our interests. At the very minimum, Nicola Sturgeon must demand that Scotland is fully represented in any talks whinge impinge on the nation’s interests. This means having senior Scottish politicians, such as Alex Salmond and Humza Yousaf, fully embedded in the UK Government’s negotiating team – reporting to the SNP group at Westminster and the Scottish Parliament.

Should the UK Government refuse this, then we must assume that they have no intention of acting in good faith. It must be made absolutely clear that Scotland will not be bound by any agreement which has not been freely negotiated and ratified by those who have a democratic mandate from the people of Scotland.

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5 thoughts on “Scotland’s voice in Europe

  1. Jimbo

    I think we can assume here and now, that where Scotland is concerned, the UK Government has no intention of acting in good faith.

    A wealthy, successful Scotland outside of the UK is the last thing they would want. It would show the Westminster elite up in their own country for the incompetent amateurs that they are.

  2. highland daughter

    I would like nothing better than a wealthy successful Scotland, but my fear is you may get stitched up by Europe they only have their own country’s heart to be the one to succeed the most.Scotland does not like to be told what to do by westminster so i think in the end you will not be one of the top countrys to have much say with the rest of Europe. my heart is divided having had a Beautiful Highland Mother and me being born in England whatever happens we should be pulling together not pulling apart love to you all lets stay united whatever happens.good luck to all our future.

  3. Derek Hamilton

    I’ll make a prediction now….Scotland WILL get to the EU table in it’s own right and Scotland’s voice WILL be heard loud and clear purely because our ministers are the only voice of reason in the UK. Everyone in the world can see the clowns of Westminster for what they are now. No plan, no strategy, personal back stabbing on a grandeous scale, in fighting, clueless, mind changing, bumbling buffoons none of whom are fit to be politicians. NICOLA STURGEON AND HER MINISTERS ARE A SHINING LIGHT OF SENSE AND SENSIBILITY and all of Europe’s people who matter can see it.

  4. Keith Robinson

    Although Nicola has not officially called the referendum date, and I think personally she should should not wait for article 50 to be triggered before doing so.

    First of all it has Scotland ‘waiting’ on Westminster and allows the Tories to get their new leader in place and their respective factions re-aligned. Who knows when or even ‘if’ the article will be set in motion?

    Second, it throws away the chance that Scotland presently has to seize the momentum and dictate the timings of proceedings. The leadership battle going on at the moment between both parties is designed to control the headlines and take away the momentum from the Scots. What it is doing is buying precious time for the establishment to get a coherent ‘Better Together’ strategy in place.

    I’d hazard a guess and say the YES campaign teams would take a matter of days to get back together. Going with a Scottish pound right now when the Brit pound is at a 31 year low takes another huge stumbling block away from the BT arsenal.

    I know Nicola must be seen to exhaust all options, but the BRexit result should be all she needs as justification. The gutter press is playing her tune at present and perhaps she has not heard it.

    They are declaring that Scotland will not be listened to by the EU so long as Scotland remains part of the UK. What more does she need?

    Carpe diem FFS!

  5. Mark S

    I believe, or hope I believe, that Nicola Sturgeon is playing a canny strategy whereby all reasonable options are exhausted prior to calling indyref2. Aside from increasing her standing as the sole political leader in the teetering UK with credibility, she appears the only one with a long term plan of any viability albeit for Scotland rather than the fractious Union.

    It is axiomatic that countries within the EU with strong nationalist regions, as they see them, will thwart Scotland’s EU membership aspirations whilst it is absorbed in the dysfunctional ‘United’ Kingdom. Clearly for Scotland to continue as an EU participant it must first divorce from the UK as that divorces from the EU. A period of Scottish/EU accession would then ensue where it would appear highly likely the € would have to become the national currency – in other areas Scotland should be ‘EU compliant’ save for where current UK opt-outs would not apply. These opt-outs were massive concessionary inducements for the petulantly childish UK to remain in the EU, sadly they are unlikely to be on the table when Scotland negotiates its (re)entry.

    Hopefully it is only a matter of choosing the optimal moment to formally initiate indyref2, as in all such considerations timing will be everything. I trust it will be sooner rather than later and that the correct decision will be made by the electorate as none of the certainties promised by BT remain.

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