Which Union Does Scotland Want To Be In? 142

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?”

142 thoughts on “Which Union Does Scotland Want To Be In?

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  • Theo

    One thing puzzles me here – Sweden isn’t in the Euro either, so I don’t see how the low Euro will help when buying equipment from there

  • Daniel

    I would rather be in neither. The above two options do not seem like any kind of independence.

  • Patruus

    “Independent within the European Union” – that’s a contradiction in terms, isn’t it?

  • Dunc

    I do find it particularly amusing that the unionists are trying to use uncertainty about whether an independent Scotland would automatically remain in the EU to try and scare people away from voting “Yes”, whilst their colleagues in Westminster are carrying on like this. Also, there’s the wonderfully ridiculous argument that Scotland is better represented within the EU by being part of the UK than we would be if we were independent… The UK may have numerically superior representation, but it seems to be entirely dedicated to pissing the rest of Europe off as much as possible. I’d rather not be “represented” like that, thank you very much.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Craig,
    Since the arms trade, security arrangements, treaties and Trident as well as nuclear issues are of central concern to HMG in addressing the whole question of Scotland’s secession – then how are these questions to be addressed?
    It seems to me that since the United Kingdom’s nuclear deterrent programme has a strong Scottish component, then London will need to have some sort of advanced formula in waiting if and when Scotland secedes.
    In light of the above considerations, what then are the consequences for both London and Edinburgh?
    The nuclear and arms component to the issue of secession is an area that will be quite telling and shall remain of great importance.
    These issues relate both to Scotland’s and England’s relationship with the EU and surely NATO as well – do they not?
    But – we will never know what GCHQ is thinking – will we Craig?

  • Geoff

    Of course there have been a disproportionately high number of Scottish politicians in cabinet in recent years, and yet it is not stated here that it’s the ‘British’ who keep us out of Europe, but rather specifically the ‘English’

    Maybe the English will stop being blamed for all ills within the British Isles after devolution, but I doubt it.

  • nevermind

    Well spoken Craig and also Courtney, it is without doubt that the decisions as to whether to carry the unions nuclear deterrent/prime target is a vital part of the debate.
    As any use would put Scotland, as the originator country, up against the ICC ruling on WMD’s indiscriminate nature.

    So it will also be a vote for and against moving Trident. Ideally to central London, so for the first time in its life, it can earn some money offering access to tourists and showing them what these WMD’s can do.

    I can see it now, ‘afternoon tea at the doomsday table’, a snip at £ 20/head, for an extra fiver you can touch a nuclear missile.

  • Michael Wright

    Soon after that I suspect Uk will become part of the USA, which lead conclude that the USA is responsible for Bloody Sunday. I however have no proof but does make sense for me.

  • Tom Welsh

    European union is a very nice idea in principle. But so far it seems to have fallen into the hands of unscrupulous political hacks to whom democracy is a foreign concept. Moreover, there is no prospect whatsoever of any improvement in the EUs’ basic institutions, or in its honesty.

    Craig, when is Japan going to ask to become a province of China? Its position vis a vis China is very similar to the UK’s vis a vis Europe. Yet I have never seen the slightest enthusiasm in Japan for such a union, nor have I seen the least criticism of japanese leaders for not proposing it.

  • John Goss

    As a ten-year old I used to go train-spotting with my brother and a friend at Scrooby Crossing or Bawtry Station. One of the highlights was when we saw the famous Flying Scotsman which was built just up the road at Doncaster go past. It was in a class children called ‘Blinkers’ and had held the world speed record at one time, but then Mallard, in a class children called ‘streaks’, came along and smashed the record. The Flying Scotsman ran from London to Edinburgh. This was in the days of nationalisation and it was romantic for children to ponder the unifying link between one country and another which seemed so very far away. At about the same age my dad took the family on holiday to Edinburgh, where it was quaint to find some men wore kilts among them a piper who busked in the street. It was a different country, with different cultures. It was so difficult to understand people when they spoke it seemed totally foreign. Despite that Scotland, for me, has always been part of what I’ve thought of as my nation.

    I mentioned, rather incongruously it might seem, the word nationalisation, but what I really wanted to encapsulate was a centrally governed economic system. There was a time in England when the state provided for things like healthcare, and children’s education, though there were few educational aspirations for the sons and daughters who lived in the West Riding and North Nottinghamshire’ mining villages.

    Later in life I got round to reading Winifred Holtby’s ‘South Riding’ which has the tale of a poverty-trapped but gifted child who was deprived of her education because she was needed at home to help bring up siblings. It is a sad read. (In real life in 2000 I saw exactly the same situation in a village in Romania. Fortunately for Florentina her life worked out well and she now enjoys whatever Sydney, Australia has to offer.)

    The post-war government invested so heavily in education for all it meant that people like myself could get a university education for free even though I had previously spent 17 years as a toolmaker. Recently there has been an erosion of the principle of education for all, and a return to the dark days when it was available only to those who could afford it. One of my stepsons has just started at university at £9,000 per year. If he lived in Scotland it would have been free, as I believe it should be. This is why Scotland should do whatever is best for Scotland. If that means uniting with other European countries to grow its economy in such a way as to maintain essential services like education and health then that is a good thing. It is a good thing for England too providing it is successful, because we can always challenge Westminster with the success of Scotland. Yes, I for one will miss the unifying link that made us all a part of the United Kingdom. My views are no longer the romantic views of a child. They are entrenched in reality.

  • Phil

    A choice between those two unions is unimaginative – both will result in just another NATO member with a corrupt political class.

  • Kempe

    Barroso’s comments are important because he does happen to be President of the European Commission. He also contradicts what Alex Salmond has been saying for years (and incidentally using public money to resist an FOI request over the source). If that doesn’t ring alarm bells for Scottish voters it should!

    Using the current weakness of the Euro as ammunition in it’s defence is pretty desperate. Exchange rates fluctuate and within a year the situation could be reversed. In the longer term the common currency exacerbated this crisis by enforcing Germany’s interest rate on the rest of the Eurozone and is prolonging it through the EU’s wavering and enforced austerity.

    “Independence within the EU”. Yeah, good one. I see Ireland has won itself a pat on the head from Angular today, obviously sending the budget to Berlin for approval paid off.

  • A. Prole

    If Big Eck has his way, you can be part of both unions at once, by leaving the UK, joining the EU and, best of all, keeping the poond.

  • Frazer

    I have no idea personally, but Scotland should not be a base for Trident. I personally would not like to see nuclear missile subs parked at Faslane. Nor would I vote for anyone who would advocate joining the EU, reasons too many to be written here.
    The day that Scotland achieves independance is a day I will rejoice, but we can still be magnanimous to the English, say, in a very condecending way. Nationalise the Germans holdings in Scotland, including thier art collection and land.
    Mind you, the entire vote will probably depend on a bunch of 16 year olds with hangovers from a nights binge drinking !

  • Suhayl Saadi

    There’ll be a book coming out, later this month I think, of short essays by various people on the theme of independence for Scotland. I’ll keep everyone posted.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Courtenay Barnett, at 4:01pm on 1.11.12:

    “But – we will never know what GCHQ is thinking – will we Craig?”

    True. But they will always know what we are thinking.

  • Kempe

    Craig 1 Nov, 2012 – 3:17 pm
    “It’s from Siemens Sweden and priced in Euros, I guess because it’s Siemens.”

    Priced in Euros but valued in Krona which has suffered worse than any other currency recently. It’s not so much the weak Euro that your exploiting here as the weak Krona.

  • nevermind

    Phil your far running logic, although peddling facts, is rightly pointing out that many Nazi firms still bear the same name, Krupp Thyssen , Siemens, IG Farben, as they did then. They are all cheats, just as BAE, one of the best. So what’s the point t you are trying to score?

    Thing is, what is regarded as a jolly by some tartan wearing jocks and British lads here, i.e to raise your hand at 45degree and scream heil…. whatever, is a criminal offence in Germany.

    What a cheap shot, but hey, we thank you for inventing the concentration camp and showing these third Reich arse holes how to do it.

    Moreover, I thank you Phil for reminding us all of the never-ending debt to you, personally, for all the suffered and death during the 1.st second and the forthcoming 3rd. world war.

    If in doubt, Phil
    blame a Kraut,

    here is a little event you can join in on the eve of Remembrance day. Norfolk police, in their wisdom have allowed the EDL to march on City Hall, as is the group called ‘we are Norwich’, who will also demonstrate against them inviting themselves to Norwich, and march on City Hall, what respect these nationalists show for those who died for them.


    This is how to wind up people with no more than three sentences, they call this, the whole story on their main page. I cannot understand that these Breivig/Phillips/Geller supporters are allowed to breathe. I shall attend and be as loud as I can possibly manage, whilst turning my back to them.

    Anybody local got a Vuvuzela for hire? Komodo? can I adapt a motorcycle exhaust?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    It’s becoming clear to me that the SNP are likely to sell out on everything that matters. The NATO decision was the the ‘murder of Duncan’. Henceforth, they will find it much easier to betray the people. Who will be the first to wash their hands?

    Without radical, fundamental independence, there might as well be none. I do not see independence as the end – to me, a flag, any flag, a national anthem, a tribal myth, mean nothing – but simply as a possible means to an end. Perhaps independence ought to be viewed as a starting-point, but if, on your journey to freedom, you bolt on your chains ever more tightly in the hope that soon you will be strong enough – once you are officially declared free – to cast them off, you may be in for existential disappointment. Today, it’s NATO, tomorrow, of course, it will be Trident. We watched this process with the Labour Party under Kinnock, Smith and Blair during the mid-1980s to early 1990s. We know where that led – to the killing fields of Iraq and to the daylight robbery of privatisation/the banking debacle. Reprise.

    I think that in the UK, the military-intelligence-arms industry is too strong for the SNP, the imperialism, too deep, and that that is the real, underlying and unspoken dynamic at this point. Up to now, ‘independence’ has been an academic subject, but now that it may be a real possibility, one can hear the sound of velvet gloves, slipping forwards over skin. The NATO U-turn was the first product: Signed, sealed, delivered.

    Usual prefixes:


  • Vronsky

    “When did any major English political figure dare to suggest in public that the EU is a good thing? ”

    All the bloody time. In Scotland the English parties Unionists continuously batter away at the idea that an independent Scotland would be ejected from the EU. Unstated assumption: and that would be a Bad Thing and you should be really, really afraid.

    I’m not convinced. You’ve posted before on the wonders of the EU but I think you are moved by the original lofty intentions (an end to war and poverty!), not the familiar gangster show it has become. It’s just Westminster writ large, and bigger salaries too. Don’t be tempted by Tory opposition to the EU to think that such opinions are the province of the loony right, ergo wrong. The loony left (of which I am a cheerful member) is of the same view, albeit for rather different reasons.

    If the Spaniard you refer to is Viviane Reding, then you should note that her comments were concerning the position of Catalonia in the event of UDI, that is a separation not negotiated with Madrid. Scotland is pursuing a separation negotiated with London: different thing, presumably different rules.

    A worrying development is the possibility that a requirement of the independence referendum will be that EU membership is negotiated by the Scottish government instead of being put to the people in a subsequent referendum. It’s uncertain, but certainly plausible. We know the EU is very uncomfortable with ordinary people being asked if they want to join since the silly buggers so often get the answer wrong.



  • nevermind

    yes, and I remember rightly, Siemens, is also a competitor of Craig’s in Ghana, what a coincidence, lets see what the forum can drag up eh, so much easier. Cue Phil.

  • Vronsky


    “The NATO U-turn was the first product”

    No, just the latest. Earlier and at least as significant is the refusal to institute an enquiry into the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. Whole horrible can of worms there – an ‘institutionally corrupt judiciary’ is the mildest description I’ve seen. A legislature and judiciary directed by the CIA might be nearer the mark.


  • John Goss

    I should be interested to know if Alex Salmond and the SNP would do anything about releasing documents on the Dunblane shootings. There is a big scandal there. I did not know that Thomas Hamilton allegedly shot himself with a different gun from the one used on children and teachers. I was not aware either that there had been no inquest into his death.


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