Scottish Independence Referendum – but then what? Independence from whom?

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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.

 

The Great Repeal Bill – a nonsense name – it is The Great Incorporation Bill

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Actually the Bill is an “incorporation” of all existing EU laws and regulations into UK law. The Bill is repealing nothing except the jurisdiction of the EU and European Courts. Apart from necessary technical changes about the naming of authorities who will arbitrate when there are disputes nothing will be different.

EU workers’ rights as they exist today will become UK workers’ rights, EU environmental laws will become UK environmental laws and so on and so forth. Of course at some time in the future it is possible that a democratically elected UK government may seek to improve upon existing, that is previously EU, laws in the interests of the UK – but that will be a decision of just that, a democratically elected UK government.

The Bill should more correctly referred to as ‘The Great Incorporation Bill’ designed as it is to incorporate EU laws and regulations into UK law.

Continental European History shapes thinking in a different way to the UK

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In the early 1980s Anthony Sargeant had a lovely Hungarian girl friend, Judit, whose elderly parents during their lives in the 20th Century and living through two World Wars,  had had three different nationalities because of central European border changes: and that is not to mention the German Occupation during the Second World War.

Another example:  Strasbourg was German then French then German then French again (albeit now within the German dominated EU).

Going further back in history one might consider the changes, not to mention the devastation of the 30 years war.

By contrast the island of Great Britain was not part of these upheavals – and so it is difficult for the British to truly understand the psyche of Continental Europeans.

In the 19th Century the European Powers appointed a German, King Otto, to govern Greece after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire (Prince Phillip is of course a direct descendant). Curiously this ‘appointment’ was repeated in the 21st Century when the EU and European Central Bank effectively appointed an ex-Goldman Sachs Director as the Greek Prime Minister to enforce the ECB’s austerity requirements for the benefit of the Eurozone and thus the German economy.

Plus ca change …..

If I was Theresa May …….

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Some weeks ago Anthony Sargeant said that, “if I were Theresa May I would have a general election now” – prescient or just logical? Now once again let me say that …. “If I was Theresa May …”. I would include in the Tory manifesto a cast-iron promise to hold a Scottish Referendum on some specified date – possibly in 2018 or 2019.

via If I was Theresa May …. — TONY Anthony SARGEANT

Easter in England – Rape on a distant hillside

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A field of Rape seed oil plants brighten the quiet greens of an English spring. Photographed by Anthony Sargeant while walking along the country lane where he lives yesterday (Easter Saturday, April 15th 2017). just below the Rape field sheep can just be seen as small flecks on the distant hillside grazing on the lush green pasture land which dominates the Shropshire landscape. In the 19th Century poem ‘Home thoughts from abroad’ the 19th Century Robert Browning wrote ‘Oh to be in England now that April’s there’ – today he would be surprised by the bright yellow fields of Rape which are a late 20th Century introduction to the English landscape.