The rabid anti-Europeanism displayed in the recent House of Commons debate on EU funding was a further clarification of a simple political truth. The real choice facing Scotland in 2014 is, “Which union do you wish to be in?”
Scotland can either be independent within the European Union or part of the United Kingdom outside the European Union. In joining the pro-UKIP wing of the Tory Party in the vote, Ed Milliband was, with short term shrewdness, tapping in to a bottomless well of English atavism that I have no doubt, from living there and simple observation of those around me, is leading England inexorably out of the European Union.
UKIP support rises, the Tory xenophobes bray, New Labour joins them because as always it scents the way to money and power. The English have already kept the UK out of Schengen and the Euro, the two most important developments in the history of the EU and both of which it would be great to be in. (On my advice a company here in Ghana is now buying tens of millions of pounds of manufactured equipment from Sweden, switching source from the UK, because the weak Euro gives much better value for money). The UK is already out of some of the most important aspects of the EU, snad the rest will follow.
When did any major English political figure dare to suggest in public that the EU is a good thing? That, incidentally, is a genuine question. Any answers? Neither English politicians nor media care to hide their gloating at the Eurozone’s economic difficulties, and the London media still makes daily predictions of the end of the Euro, despite having been wrong on the subject 1,000 days in a row.
Most amusing is when pundits who don’t actually support the EU themselves leap with glee when they can find a Spaniard wishing to be disobliging about an independent Scotland’s EU status. Said Spaniard is suddenly the ultimate authority on EU law, even though the same pundits deride Spain in every other circumstance.
It won’t be on the ballot paper. But the real question for the Scots is “Which union do you wish to be in?”