Spanish Steps 64

For a smooth transition to Scottish independence, it is essential to negate the hostility of Spain which could derail acceptance by the EU. My two decades of experience in diplomatic negotiations teaches me that the answer to this is finding a ladder for Spain to climb down; some Spanish steps, in fact.

Scotland has to be accepted in the EU, and Spain has to secure a victory in a recognition that this is in no way a precedent for Catalonia. In every diplomatic agreement everybody has to sacrifice something, and I am afraid what Scotland has to sacrifice here is the principle of solidarity with our Catalan friends.

In the event of a Brexit, France and Germany, assisted by the EU Commission, will immediately open channels to Holyrood in order positively to encourage Scotland to go independent and remain within the EU. As part of any agreement, the principle can be enumerated that there is a right for a “region” (sorry, we will have to swallow that transitory description to win the Spanish) to secede and form a new state, in order to remain within the EU when a state in which that region is incorporated is leaving the EU.

Spain will be able to accept this formulation as it sets no precedent for Catalonia, given that Spain is not exiting the EU.

It remains my strong opinion that, in the event of a Brexit, things will move very swiftly to UDI for Scotland. There will be no requirement for a second referendum as Nationalists will have won overwhelmingly in both Westminster and Holyrood elections within a year. As I repeatedly explain, the sole test of a state’s independence is recognition by the UN (and there is no security council veto). With EU support Scotland should be able to achieve international recognition extremely quickly; the UK, thanks to Blair, Brown and Cameron, is very unpopular with the large majority of member states.

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64 thoughts on “Spanish Steps

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  • Andrew

    This would be easier if the SNP had stood for either election on a policy of UDI in event of a Brexit. As they haven’t (and assuming they don’t in three months) then there would be a serious democratic deficit to overcome.

    Best strategy would be to call another independence referendum very quickly in the event of any such Brexit.

  • MBC

    It would be an interesting situation for Scotland to be independent in the EU whilst holding England’s nuclear weapons on foreign soil.

    We might have to suck that one up too.

  • Aim Here

    Catalonia seems to be a fair bit ahead of Scotland when it comes to independence; the people actually voted for it in 2014, and the Parliament has initiated the start of the independence process. The Catalans might well end up being the precedent for Scotland, not the other way around – and if they do secede, it’ll be in the face of serious rejectionism from the Spanish government. Having Catalonia flagrantly (and necessarily) ignoring the constitution and the laws of the Spanish state will set a far more worrying precedent, at least to those in power, than anything Scottish nationalists are likely to try.

  • defo

    With Turkey levering a way to membership out of the migrant crisis, you may be right that the big EU players would put out the welcome mat for us post Brexit (with our many charms), but your straying into wishful thinking, that England voting to leave the EU project will lead to UDI.
    As Andrew above. Where the mandate ?

    What about the referendum result? However it was obtained.

    Why would a gradualist controlled SNP risk a volte face, when we’re well down the one way road already ? In the finishing straight, relatively. IMHO.

    The devastation we felt, the disappointment. Scunnered at the No’s. Holding on to the warmth of Glasgow (This ashamed Edinburger took back every bad word I had said of the dear green place. Even their Polis)and Dundee.
    Holding on to what had been reborn in ‘Yes’, and the hope that it gave.
    But still. The shame.
    Never again Craig. And opinion polls aren’t settled will.

    With the ever rightwards drift of the neo liberal parties in Westminster, as opposed to who we have voted for to govern us at Holyrood we are moving apart daily anyway.
    Brexit would give a nice wee push, and contacts would no doubt need to be made. Feelers, for Indyref 2.
    Watching the NHS in England and Wales be bled dry, to make way for the insurance industry will push a bit more maybe.
    The forced, done deal that is Trident replacement ? Played nicely, there’s another % or 2.
    And our middle class (mostly not long ago working class) realising the glaring differences, and what it means to them, selfish & dopey as many are, is what will get us over the line.
    The possibility of PM Boris might do the trick.

    We are going to be a nation in our own right again Craig. If we caw canny.
    Let’s start off in a democratic manner, with a healthy mandate.
    Something that can be described as the settled will.
    The wishful thinking springs from the spring having sprung maybe?
    The bulbs waited for the right time, then flowered naturally.
    A UDI might lead to many things, but settled ?

  • Salford Lad

    The benefits of being in the EU to Scotland escape me. Having escaped the clutches of Westminster and to then jump into the Brussels web does not make either political or economic sense.
    Should Scotland opt for the Euro as their currency ,all traces of Sovereignity are eliminated.
    Without control of its own currency Scotland can not control its own economy.
    Scotland will then be ruled politically by 22 unelected ,unaccountable Commissioners of the EU and controlled economically by the European Central Bank.
    The biggest failure of UK politicians is their ignorance of Economics and the operation of the monetary system.

  • defo

    Forgot. Sorry.
    Spain ? Viva Catalonia.
    Come negotiations, real politic, not revenge in the hope of deterrence is what Spain will do. After consultation with Berlin.

  • Kempe

    ” In the event of a Brexit, France and Germany, assisted by the EU Commission, will immediately open channels to Holyrood in order positively to encourage Scotland to go independent and remain within the EU. ”

    You’ve got that in writing I suppose?

  • Uphill

    The event of a brtexit is something you should all work to see not happen. The idea that with that, and sorting your own currency. Plus the effects on Europe that will have.

    In mid crisis? The EU is disintegrating, Get that in you dead heads. You want it don’t you? Your absolutely of your rockers to think you will have any independent autonomy in such a situation.

  • alan campbell

    You’ve gotta laugh at the naiveté. Jump from Westminster into the warm embrace of Brussels, the Euro and Donald Tusk. That’ll all work out well.

  • Rolf Norfolk

    Craig, I don’t understand why a Scot who values independence would simultaneously wish to separate from the UK and yet be ruled by the shifty and undemocratic EU.

    If Scotland needs to work in partnership with others, why not forge closer links with Iceland and Norway? Think of the northern fishing area you would control together, the renewable energy expertise of Iceland, the energy storage expertise of Norway, and a Parliament in Reykjavik that represents a democracy worth the name and that will stand up to bankers (remember how Scotland’s liberty was lost by an elite that tried to make a fast investment buck).

    But the EU, with its “ever-closer union”, will do for Scotland properly. Look at Ireland and Greece for the model – the first flush of EU money in, then the relentless gurgle of money out, after having utterly distorted the economy.

  • Alex Birnie

    UDI is a last-ditch measure which we must use only in the event of Tory intransigence in the face of a clear majority for independence. As has been said above, polls are not “a clear majority”. We MUST have another referendum before we can think of independence. On a previous post, Craig intimated that independence after a referendum was the exception to the rule, rather than the norm. I’d like to know of any country that declared UDI less than two years after a majority voted against independence. I would suggest that when independence occurs without a referendum, it is because there is no need for one, because an overwhelming majority of the population are in favour. This ain’t the case in Scotland, and those who are willing to declare UDI without a clear mandate are paddling in murky waters indeed. I agree with Craig in most issues, and thank goodness he speaks out as he does, but in this case, his enthusiasm for independence has allowed him to minimize the importance of democracy. Declaring UDI months after a clear vote to the contrary in an issue-specific referendum would be a deeply un-democratic move….

  • craig Post author


    every successful independence movement in history has had a vanguard who push ahead of public opinion and don’t worry about it too much. 100 years ago the Easter Rising was undoubtedly not supported at the time by Irish public opinion. You don’t get to independence by agonising about the hurt feelings of your opponents.

  • Paul Barbara

    ‘…In every diplomatic agreement everybody has to sacrifice something, and I am afraid what Scotland has to sacrifice here is the principle of solidarity with our Catalan friends…’
    An independent Scotland would be sacrificing a lot more than solidarity with Catalan friends if it joined Europe.
    It would be putting itself into the maws of the NWO-One World Government agenda, of which the EU is a major ‘chess piece’.
    Some ‘Independence’! More a case of out of the frying pan into the fire. The larger the entity, the less control the people have over their governance (and of course, we have very little now, and it is diminishing.

  • craig Post author


    I have no idea what you are talking about. As I have repeatedly said to you, nobody forces you to be here. Why don’t you start your own blog if you don’t like this one?

  • Phil the ex frog

    Oh deary dear. The ex establishment stalwart is now declaring himself the revolutionary vanguard. Be very afraid comrades.

    This place is brilliant fun with cornflakes.

  • Alex Birnie

    Craig, You are probably right about the Irish situation, but that was 100 years ago, and it involved bloodshed. At that time, Churchill was seen as a liberal – they shot soldiers who had PTSD, they castrated homosexuals, and women didn’t have the vote. Different times indeed. I’d be happy to fight against an aggressor, who was imposing their will on us, but the opponents you talk of include members of my own family. I don’t mind hurting their feelings, but I draw the line at using violence against them. UDI, anytime in the next few years could end in disaster – unless it was being declared by a Scottish Government, who were acting with a clear mandate. If the SNP don’t include the possibility of UDI in their manifesto (and we can be reasonably sure that ain’t going to happen), then the only clear mandate available to them would be a referendum. “a vanguard who push ahead of public opinion and don’t worry about it too much” includes some pretty unsavoury examples, people who then went on to impose dictatorships. A propaganda war? – by all means! A real, civil war – between and among families? – no thanks! – and unless someone can guarantee that UDI could avoid this, I’ll argue against it until the cows come home.

  • Alister Rutherford

    The threat of a Spanish veto has no substance in reality. The Spanish government has always stated publicly that it would recognise a Yes vote. There is also the fact that after a majority of Montenegrins voted for independence from Serbia in 2006, Spain within a matter of days recognised Montenegro as an independent state. Furthermore Spain then, along with all the other members states agreed to Montenegro’s application to join the EU. With no qualifications or references to regions or anything else. The threat of a Spanish veto was always just another bluff from the No campaign.

  • craig Post author


    I should be delighted if you were right about Spain declaring it would respect a Yes vote, but I really can’t recall that. Have you a quote?

    Spain’s fishing fleet has a powerful incentive for Scotland to remain in the EU. I think that the Catalonian situation was not so sharp at the time of Montenegran independence.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    I am afraid what Scotland has to sacrifice here is the principle of solidarity with our Catalan friends.

    O dear. Just when you were looking principled.

  • Uphill

    You don’t know that Europe is collapsing? Bit like you don’t know your just transferring devotion to another totalitarian enterprise, you’ve been indoctrinated from youth to transferrer normal human feelings from family and friends to the state. How do you think your so careless. ?

    And now you want a new state to love. Your beloved Scotland. And your just as blind in pursuit of your own ends. Happy to subvert democracy for them, ignore prescient facts, likely effects. But what’s new, Most of you are like this. Hollowed out people.

    like the hollowed out EU. I mentioned this more than once, you always totally ignore anything you don’t want to engage with, it comes under the ‘no consequence’ category because it doesn’t fit your ideology. I don’t think i’v ever seen such religious politics, save the Tories.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    There’s this:

    In flagrante delicto…

    Also relevant:

    By distinguishing the Scottish case from those in Spain, the Spanish government aims to place its own voice to be the determinant for the cases of Catalonia and the Basque Country. An independent Scottish state could be recognised and accepted as a new member of the EU because its independence would have been achieved ‘in accordance with the legal and institutional procedures’ and with the support of the UK government. In the Spanish government’s view these two interrelated requirements – accordance with the domestic legal framework and approval from the central state – are not met in the case of Catalonia.

    Scottish fisheries – while I am a strong supporter of these (with practical experience of the romance of standing on a small deck in a gale of pissing rain) it’s possible to over-romanticise this:

    Some 30 millionaires scoop Scotland’s entire profitable catch of herring and mackerel, which needs between 30-40 vessels and employs only a few hundred people.

    And, as Spanish access to our waters is an EU creation, perhaps it’s time to drop another principle, and look at a non-EU Scotland.

  • Alcyone

    Does Freeing the Individual Mind come before Freeing the Collective Mind, as in a Nation?

    “Freeing the mind
    You work hard for your daily living, you spend years at the whole business of being bossed around in order to earn a livelihood, swallowing the insults, the discomforts, the indignity, the sycophancy. But to work so that the mind is free is much more arduous; it requires great insight, great comprehension, an extensive awareness in which the mind knows all its impediments, its blockages, its movements of self-deception, its fantasies, its illusions, its myths.

    Once the mind is free, it can begin to investigate, to search out, but for a mind to seek when it is not free has no meaning. Do you understand? The mind which would find truth, God, this extraordinary beauty and depth of life, the fullness of love, must first be free. It has no meaning for a mind that is shaped, conditioned, held within the boundaries of tradition, to say, ‘I am seeking truth, God.’ Such a mind is like a donkey tethered to a post: it cannot wander further than the length of its rope.”

    J Krishnamurti

  • Pete

    If Scotland has to “sacrifice the principle of solidarity with our Catalan friends” as price of continued EU membership, then maybe that suggests that EU membership isn’t what you should be buying, if the price is so high- not in money, but in honour. Scotland is a small country and needs all the friends it can get.

  • fred

    I was reading Keven Hague’s blog a while back where he likened the responses of the Scottish Nationalists to summit fever in mountaineers. A mountaineer seeing he is in reach of the summit will ignore everything else, worsening weather, their own condition how they will get down again everything. Mountain peaks around the world are littered with the corpses of mountain climbers who succumbed to summit fever.

  • Kempe

    France and Germany have separatist movements of their own they might not want to encourage and anyway wouldn’t this be an unconstitutional and possibly illegal interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state?

  • MJ

    “EU membership isn’t what you should be buying, if the price is so high- not in money, but in honour”

    Money too. The financial cost of membership might prove prohibitive. At present, for every £50 million paid by the UK to the EU, £35 million comes back in the form of funding. If you work out how much on average Scotland receives per year from the EU and multiply by 1.4 you’ll get a rough idea of how much Scotland would be expected to pay for EU membership every year.

    Remember that, as one of Europes most deprived regions, Scotland currently receives a disprortionately large share of the UK’s EU income, while the cost of membership is borne by the UK as a whole.

  • Chris Rogers


    Many thanks for posting the Bellacaladonia, which put a smile on my face as far as my own views on the UK’s membership of the EU is concerned. Being of the Celtic Fringe I too yearn for Home Rule and a break with Westminster, but unlike CM I don’t see the EU in its present anti-democratic guise as the answer to national solidarity within Europe – in fact the EZ is ripping Europe apart and the social costs certainly not worth paying.

    As someone who just remembers the last EEC UK Referendum the Labour Movement at that time had some decent politicians leading the ‘out’ vote and I remember we did have a reasonable national dialogue over the ‘pro’ and ‘cons’, which we certainly do not get this time around, which is a great shame, as many of the views expressed against Britain being part of the EEC in the 70’s still apply today and genuflection comes in to play greatly.

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