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.

 

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If I were Theresa May…..

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In the light of the European Parliament and the increasing belligerent and bullying approach of the EU politburo and their confederates it seems that any ‘negotiation’ with the EU will be prolonged and futile.

Thus Anthony Sargeant reflects that ….. if I were Theresa May ….. I would have the courage to call an early general election with a manifesto pledge to leave the EU with immediate effect. I have no doubt that she would achieve an impressive victory, if only because British people do not take kindly to bullying and threats.

The consequence of immediate withdrawal would probably be very positive for the UK given the precarious position of the EU and Euro economies (Greece is yet again on the brink – desperately trying to find an agreement with its creditors – aka the European Central Bank – aka Germany) – but Portugal, Italy, Spain and others are not much better off – even if hidden from view. In many EU countries there is massive youth unemployment rising above 30%.

On leaving the EU the UK  can immediately open negotiations with the rest of world on such free trade deals as seem beneficial (even, dare one say, deals with the EU – which as a net exporter to the UK might quickly think this is a good idea). In the meantime WTO rules and their tariffs are not as significant to exporters as fluctuations in exchange rates as James Dyson has pointed out.

But trade is not the real point – the real point is British Sovereignty. That is having control of our own destiny. As Karl Popper famously observed, the point of western democracy is not that you necessarily get the government that you want, doing what you want, but that at the next election you can get rid of them – unfortunately this is not true of the un-elected EU politburo in Brussels.

Who, for example, voted for Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the European Commission? A former Luxembourg Prime Minister who in that role and in a little known secretive EU committee vetoed any attempt to limit cross-border tax avoidance. Then you might ask why are Amazon and other multi-national companies located in the tiny principality of Luxembourg? to the benefit of guess who? Jean-Claude Juncker and Luxembourg (which has the second highest GDP per capita in the world after that other well known democracy Abu Dhabi). A position that at the very least might be considered hypocritical and at another level verging on corrupt.

But anyway and in addition to controlling our own destiny the UK would no longer be a cash cow sending money to Brussels to support a political project which is out of date and frankly, after 60 years, out of time. A political project which is now, in all but name, a German controlled European Superstate – the Holy Roman Empire revisited (which was the 1st Reich for those who know the numbering system of the 3rd Reich – NB the Weimar Republic was classified as an ‘interim Reich’ so it did not count).

And then finally Scotland –  …… if I were Theresa May ….. I would also put into the manifesto a pledge to have an immediate referendum on Independence. It would be the honourable thing to do.

A referendum would give the Scottish people a chance to review the situation and make their own decision about the future. One understands the emotional and sentimental appeal of Independence for a proud nation. A nation which it could be argued has made a disproportionately large contribution to the historic Union. Without Scottish engineers, philosophers, artists, writers and others the United Kingdom would have been a much poorer nation.

In addition there has been the contribution of Scotland to the UK military over many years and many wars. In my lifetime the ‘United Kingdom’ stood alone and thereby rescued Europe from German tyranny and genocide, but only after massive sacrifice of UK military and the civilian populations  (including my maternal grandparents killed in the London Blitz). Who can forget the Scottish piper at El Alamein, or on the beach on D-Day?

So, ……if I were Theresa May ….. ,  I would commit to a very early referendum on Independence for the Scottish people. They deserve no less. If they choose to leave the historic Union and become an independent country one would wish them all speed and so very many thanks for their massive contribution to the United Kingdom over many years of the Union. Of course, and in passing, one would hope that they would not then vote to lose the independence they chose by becoming a minor province of a dysfunctional European Superstate controlled by Berlin through Brussels – a 4th Reich in all but name.

 

Scottish Independence – but independent from whom?

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If he was Scottish Anthony Sargeant would vote for Independence. He would not however then vote to throw that Independence away by joining the EU and adopting the Euro. It seems that this is what the SNP is in effect proposing to do.

It seems to Tony that to become a ‘bit player‘, a ‘minor province‘ slightly larger than Lithuania (and probably with as much genuine influence) in the great European Superstate dominated and controlled by Germany via Brussels and the European Central Bank would make a nonsense of Independence. It would make Scotland a Vassal state in a new German Empire.

Before anybody protests that Scotland would not have to adopt the Euro it is as well to point out that NEW members are being required to adopt the Euro following a number of policy decisions post 1992 Maastricht, and Copenhagen. Following Independence from the rest of the UK and even in the interim, while negotiating EU membership, Scotland could surely not continue to use the £ sterling. That would be impossibly complicated. So what are they to do?

Furthermore it would not just be a case of the proportion of EU control over day to day life in Scotland remaining the same as it is now because the stated aim is for greater and greater integration of political, economic and social structures. So Scotland will find itself losing its independence year by year as Germany through the Brussels politburo extends it control.

In addition if the EU is to survive it has to take greater direct control of the financial affairs of member states through the Eurozone (and in the transition period Exchange Rate Mechanism II as with Denmark). To do this the European Central Bank will need to govern and ‘harmonise’ taxation and other financial instruments across the EU. ‘Harmonise’ sounds such a pleasant and harmless European buzz-word until one unpicks its true meaning which is to take away government from national, in this case Scottish, level and replace it with centralised decisions taken by the European Commission and European Central Bank.

In the context of EU finances it would be interesting to know to what extent Scotland would become a net contributor to the EU budget supporting Greece and a number of other failing economies with massive youth unemployment. If the oil and gas revenues turn out to be much larger than previously thought Scotland will surely have to make a very large net contribution thereby decreasing the revenue available to the Scottish Government to use for the direct benefit of Scottish infrastructure and services. Although in reality of course Holyrood’s power to allocate its own resources will diminish year on year as control seeps away to Brussels. Eventually leaving Holyrood as a sort of Parish Council along with other small provincial governments (of other previously and similarly proud nation states) within the European Superstate.

Furthermore and in relation to financial matters  Scotland will not, as a member of the EU, be able to control its very valuable asset, the fisheries. Spanish Super-Trawlers will continue to cause devastation to this valuable resource, landing their above quota catches in Spanish ports with impunity, and with no benefit to the Scottish people.

Finally, and one knows the Basil Fawlty instruction, “Whatever you do don’t mention the war”. Nonetheless, Scottish people died in huge numbers in two world wars fighting against an aggressive Germany. The last war against The Third Reich was in the lifetime of Tony Sargeant and he does wonder what those who fought and died would think of a Scotland that voluntarily voted to abandon any new won independence and become part of a new German Empire in the guise of the EU, in effect a Fourth Reich?