Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Europe - In, Out or Somewhere in the Middle

What is Scotland's future in Europe?

At present, we come under the UK. And despite all the issues, let's be honest and be thankful Westminster did not have us joining the Euro, something that appears will now never happen. David Cameron is even talking about taking powers back from Europe. Whether he will actually do this is debatable (look what happened when Greece had the temerity to be non-conformist) but he is playing to the political galleries - anything to take the heat off his Home Secretary.

Europe is a political bag of nails from a lay point of view. The vast majority of voters do not have the time or inclination to look deeply into the issues. But if they did, things would look even less palatable.

 Ignoring the legal arguments, let's assume an independent Scotland would get automatic membership to the EU.

Alex Salmond has stated we will not be allowed to decide for ourselves - via a referendum - until AFTER independence. It is ironic that a party which has demanded, and is now going to hold, a referendum to leave one union, is not allowing the people of Scotland the opportunity to decide if they want to be part of a larger - and more corrupt union.

Norway is held up as a model for an independent Scotland, and it too has vast energy reserves. Yet the people chose not to be part of the EU and the politicians respected that decision. They were given the choice at the time.

We are not.

Alex Salmond is refusing to discuss about what legal advice - if any - was given to the SNP about Scotland's place in Europe.

He has put up  a political brick wall and I think this is a serious misjudgement.

Could any of the following be a possibility?

1. No legal advice was asked for or given. If that is the case, why won't he simply tell us?
2. Scotland would need to wait a period of time prior to joining.
3. Scotland can join immediately, but membership of the Euro is optional.
4. Scotland can join immediately, but membership of the Euro is compulsory.

Being the cynical type, I think Number 4 is the advice that Alex Salmond has received. Why? Because the other three options do not damage SNP politically. Compulsory membership of the Euro would kill the independence campaign stone dead in its tracks.

Now I could be wrong, and Salmond is simply ingoring Unionist party demands. But is he thinking about the impression being made on voters? Some will ask why he is refusing to discuss the question.  Normally, Alex hammers any attempt by his opponents to criticise him, but this time they are going to score points.

In my opinion, there is only one safe course of action for the SNP:

They must state categorically that membership of the EU and adoption of the Euro will only take place after a referendum, and that this will be legally binding. No ifs, buts or maybe's. It kills off the arguments on Europe and allows the focus to be on the main referendum itself.

The current argument that we will have membership of the EU once independent, and that a referendum will take place after is open to question. Look what happened to the Greek Prime Minister. France and Germany said "Non" and "Nein" and forced him to retract.

The SNP is in danger of defeating their own purpose of achieving self-determination and independence. The way things are standing at present, Scotland would finally break away from Westminster, only to be swallowed up in the political slurry of Europe.

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