Comment by Anthony J Sargeant
I empathize with my Scottish friends who want Scotland to become an independent self-governing country. What I then find difficult to understand is that the SNP, who are demanding a second referendum in anticipation of securing a ‘Yes’ vote for Scottish Independence, are doing so with the express aim of then joining the EU.
There is no logic in this position because this would mean becoming independent from one Union only to become a very small province within the much larger European Superstate project. With a population roughly equivalent to Slovakia the Scots would be entitled to about 12 MEP seats in the European Parliament out of the total as set by the Lisbon Treaty of 751: That is about 1.6% of the total MEP seats.
Compare that with the nearly 10% of seats that Scotland has in the House of Commons (59 out of a total of 650 – that latter figure being made up of 533 English, 59 Scottish, 40 Welsh and 18 Northern Irish). Even that 1.6% would depend upon the EU principle of “degressive proportionality ” continuing in the future (basically giving small EU countries more seats than their population warrants on strict proportionality – and by the way don’t you just love the labyrinthine ways and terminology of the European project?).
1.6% voting rights (equivalent to Slovakia) does not sound as if Scotland would have very much influence or independence as the EU political project moves towards ever closer political, social and financial integration.
Furthermore as a new state applying to join the EU Scotland would, like all other new applicants, have to agree to join the Eurozone and adopt the Euro as currency.
Inevitably this would require a further surrender of independence and control since the Scottish economy and financial affairs, and therefore ultimately all social and political policy, will be determined by the European Central Bank based in Germany.
Now nobody would suggest that Scotland is the equivalent to Greece, but the Greek experience is a salutary one. The ECB in its attempt to preserve the Eurozone has required Greece to adopt extreme austerity measures leading to widespread poverty, emigration of its young people, and starvation in the countryside. A pattern echoed in other poor EU countries.
The European Central Bank is based in Frankfurt. At the moment its President is Mario Draghi who was previously head of the Italian Central Bank (the Italian economy being such a wonderful success story – irony) but much more to the point he was Managing Director of Goldman- Sachs International : The very bankers consulted by the EU to assess the Greek Economy when it applied to join the Eurozone and who reported back that everything was fine and to “go ahead” let Greece join the Eurozone. Goldman-Sachs were alleged to have directly conspired to hide Greek debt using so-called ‘off-market swaps’.
In this context and to urge further caution it is interesting to note that in order to join the Eurozone Greece was restricted in the amount of olive oil that it could export to the EU (because Spain and Italy wanted to preserve their preferential markets). The curious result is that Greece then sold their ‘above EU quota’ to Israel, who then resold it to Italy who then incorporated it (quite within the byzantine rules) into processed “Italian” Olive Oil.
There is no question but that on joining the EU Scotland would have to give up any rights to control its enormous and valuable resource which is its wonderful fisheries leaving them open to the depredations of Spanish super-trawlers which routinely land above quota catches in Spain without effective control and with resultant destruction of the sea bed and fish stocks in Scottish waters. The loss of independence and therefore the ability to control a sustainable fisheries policy for the benefit of Scotland would be an economic as well as an environmental disaster for Scotland.
So with a role equivalent to Slovakia in an EU parliament dominated and largely controlled by the Germany economy, and understandably geared to the benefit of Germany, Scotland would have no real independence. Scotland like the other small European “Provinces” would have little direct control over its economy (“Provinces” because the aim clearly stated by the EU is for further integration and central control – thus loss of nationhood). There might still be a Scottish ‘Parliament’ in Holyrood but that would become the equivalent of a Parish Council meeting in the village hall commenting on planning applications but with no actual power.
In conclusion I do wonder what those brave Scottish Military personnel who suffered and died to defeat German domination of Europe in two World Wars, the last in my lifetime, would make of a surrender of their precious nationhood and independence to a German dominated European Superstate – The 4th Reich by any other name.
But, if I were Teresa May I would not hesitate. I would include in the Tory Manifesto for the upcoming UK General Election an absolute commitment to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence in the lifetime of the next parliament. The Scottish people can then decide for themselves whether to become independent from the United Kingdom – and if they so decide many, including myself, would wish them well.
I just hope that they do not then seek to surrender that new found independence to a German Hegemony in a European Federated Superstate.