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.

64 thoughts on “Spanish Steps

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  • J Galt

    I don’t want to sound all 1914ish here but would a direct approach by France and Germany to a constituent part of a foreign Power encouraging it to secede and that contains said Power’s Nuclear Weapons not be an Act of War?

  • J Galt

    Brexit on the back of English votes appears to be accepted by the pro Independence side as inevitable.

    This may be a serious mistake.

    The BBC is already hard at work. Look at today’s one o’clock news which says openly the Bank of England is against Brexit and portrays Boris Johnson as a complete idiot with his trainspotter anorak and rucksack!

    The next thing will be widespread workplace meetings by leading employers to put the frighteners on employees voting to leave with dire warnings of job losses.

    Then will be an avalanche of stories about how your holidays in the sun will cost double as the cost of Euros soars etc etc.

    People are at base selfish – “they” know this and if “they” do not want Brexit you can be sure there will be no Brexit.

  • fred

    “The BBC is already hard at work. Look at today’s one o’clock news which says openly the Bank of England is against Brexit and portrays Boris Johnson as a complete idiot with his trainspotter anorak and rucksack!”

    Boris Johnson is a complete idiot.

    It would be wrong of the BBC to try and portray him as anything else.

  • Peter C

    God how I wish you were right in this analysis Craig. Unfortunately, I don’t think the SNP have the spine for UDI. (And, yes, I am an SNP voter but I really am becoming increasingly aware of its flaws.)

  • paul

    Being a small country in europe is shit (greece,finalnd ireland) is pretty shit.
    Being a large country in europe is shit (germany,france,italy) is pretty shit.
    Being a small country that’s an administrative/lobbying/tax haven in europe (benelux,city of london) is great as long as it lasts.

    The last thing a newly forming country such as an independent scotland would need is the fiscal and policy straitjackets they so lovingly prepare for their inmates.

    Nothing wrong with being nice to our neighbours, but monetary and policy sovreignty is the only thing that will allow scotland to be a successful country.

    We can always join in when they’ve ironed out all the wrinkles.

  • J Galt

    Fred – I agree Boris Johnson is a complete idiot – the thing is though, David Cameron’s a complete Arsehole – is he portrayed as such by the BBC?

    If Boris Johnson had gone along with it and been persuaded by Cameron’s EU “Deal” he would most certainly NOT be being portrayed as an idiot by the BBC!

  • Radio Jammor

    “…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.”

    Opponents? What about those on the same side?

    Some of us respect the result of the referendum, Craig, even if we don’t like it.

    What would that make those who would push now for a UDI without the circumstantial change(s) that would justify it?

    How about these descriptions: despots, dictators, undemocratic.

    Another description for what you are advocating is a coup. How well will that go down, internationally?

    Some of us may indeed feel that we are not governed by a bona fide democracy, but with the illusion of such; even so, you don’t overthrow it by becoming the same thing. That way you are only changing the faces of the regime.

    You clearly have lost patience over the matter and your perspective with it. I heartily suggest that you go and do whatever you do to relax and recharge your batteries, as when the opportunity for Indy does rise again, it could do with you being on board and in the right frame of mind.

    With statements like the above, I don’t see you as being that, right now.

  • paul

    Another description for what you are advocating is a coup. How well will that go down, internationally?

    Noone seemed very concerned about it in Ukraine, but don’t try this at home,kids!

  • Phil the ex frog

    [In a posh English voice]

    Comrades of the heroic Caledonian vanguard! I have always been with you and forever in these hills. Look. I drink whiskey.

    Let London and Paris burn! The sacrifice of Wales is a regrettable price we pay for my beloved Greater Scotland. I have always been with you. Tartan to the Urals!

    Vote Comrade Craig! He really hates the English for now!

  • Martinned

    Yeah, no, that’s not going to happen. Elected politicians don’t knowingly run the risk of overruling a referendum unless they have a very good reason. And if the Scottish Nationalists did do that, they’d have one heck of a time getting any widespread international recognition. Speaking of which, I still wonder why you’re so obsessed with UN votes (by which I assume you mean the General Assembly). UN bodies can vote to recognise states for their internal purposes, but that means nothing at all for Scotland’s statehood. (You should be able to tell from the linguistics of it alone that recognition logically presumes statehood. Statehood is prior to recognition of statehood.)

  • Travis

    It amazes me how Craig just goes from one thing to another, ignoring most any points made. Like he’s possessed.

    Backing the EU but not the reform movement? Many are really not in good times. Does he have any idea of real possible effects? He seems to think he knows what’s best for everything.

    But he’s moved on so what’s the point in commenting. Armchair dictator. Just a constant belching of his Superior opinions, mixed in with some juicy selected facts about Westminster to keep the boat floating.

  • MJ

    “Will your plan include the pound, Or an independent Scottish currency?”

    If the UK left the EU, Scotland would not be permitted to join it as a separate entity using a third-party currency issued by a non-EU state. It would have to have its own currency or use the euro.

  • Travis

    MJ Thanks.

    And what will be the effects of that changing event, moving to it’s own currency or the euro. With the markets specifically, but feel free to speculate wider.


  • Martinned

    If the UK left the EU, Scotland would not be permitted to join it as a separate entity using a third-party currency issued by a non-EU state. It would have to have its own currency or use the euro.

    Says who? The Treaties say that all Member States have to move towards adopting the Euro – unless they have an opt-out – but where does it say that they’re not allowed to use a third-party currency? (Although of course it might say so in the Accession Treaty.)

  • Martinned

    @Travis: Actually, it might say so somewhere, it’s just that this is the first I’ve heard of it, and I spent quite a bit of time in the last decade or two looking at the European Treaties. But I can’t say I’ve ever read them cover to cover, so there might be something in a Protocol somewhere.

  • Phil the ex frog

    Comrades MJ & Travis

    Our vanguardist patience is tried. Fear Comrade Squonk and his Tartanshirts.

    Look. I drink Whiskey. Down with the ladies! Up Bonny Scotland!

  • MJ

    “where does it say that they’re not allowed to use a third-party currency?”

    Don’t know precisely where but it’s in the rules governing the prerequisites for any new member.

  • Phil the ex frog

    ” I spent quite a bit of time in the last decade or two looking at the European Treaties. But I can’t say I’ve ever read them cover to cover, so there might be something in a Protocol somewhere.”

    Government for the people! Have you read Kafka?

  • Martinned

    @MJ: You mean Article 49 TEU?

    Any European State which respects the values referred to in Article 2 and is committed to promoting them may apply to become a member of the Union. The European Parliament and national Parliaments shall be notified of this application. The applicant State shall address its application to the Council, which shall act unanimously after consulting the Commission and after receiving the consent of the European Parliament, which shall act by a majority of its component members. The conditions of eligibility agreed upon by the European Council shall be taken into account.

    The conditions of admission and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the Union is founded, which such admission entails, shall be the subject of an agreement between the Member States and the applicant State. This agreement shall be submitted for ratification by all the contracting States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.

    The reference to the conditions of eligibility refer – I assume – to the Copenhagen criteria. Those include potential participation in the ERM, but I don’t see how that couldn’t be sorted out in the Accession Treaty, assuming Scotland wouldn’t want to join the Euro or adopt its own currency.

  • Phil the ex frog

    “Yes, why?”

    Oh ok. I guess I was alluding to nightmare bureaucracy. Like one that is not understood after decades of study. But still defended.

  • PhilE

    As the EU’s newest member and one of its least densely populated countries I guess Scotland will happily take its bonus quota of refugees, on top of its UK share. No doubt the newly independent Scots will agree to anything to cling on to the Commissions coat tails. The northern powerhouse will probably need a new protective wall to save it from the Barbarian hordes once more. Should be good for job creation. Of course women’s rights North of the wall can be expected to suffer, like those in Sweden. That’s the price you pay for your principles.

  • Why be Ordinary

    According to the UN there is a veto:

    Membership in the Organization, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, “is open to all peace-loving States which accept the obligations contained in the [United Nations Charter] and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able to carry out these obligations”. States are admitted to membership in the United Nations by decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. The procedure is briefly as follows:

    The State submits an application to the Secretary-General and a letter formally stating that it accepts the obligations under the Charter.
    The Security Council considers the application. Any recommendation for admission must receive the affirmative votes of 9 of the 15 members of the Council, provided that none of its five permanent members — China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America — have voted against the application.
    If the Council recommends admission, the recommendation is presented to the General Assembly for consideration. A two-thirds majority vote is necessary in the Assembly for admission of a new State.
    Membership becomes effective the date the resolution for admission is adopted.

  • Rob

    Craig, I’m sure you will be the toast of every Scottish ambassador in each of the nation’s 70 or so embassies around the globe.

    However, for us plebs left behind, one point puzzles me. In his excellent 2014 ‘Wee Blue Book’ the Rev. Stuart Campbell quoted independence minded economist Professor Sir Donald MacKay who said – after duly rubbishing everyone else’s estimates – that the Scottish government would receive oil revenues averaging £10billion a year. Now it seems the actual figure is about £130m. That would represent an annual loss of about 25% of current expenditure and I’m wondering how the shortfall will be made up, not least to pay for all those embassies and the SNP timeservers that will be staffing them.

  • Why be ordinary?

    Lithuania seems to have joined the EU with. “Currency Board” system that effectively tied its currency to the US dollar. If Scotland did not retain a monetary union with the U.K. then a currency board system based on Sterling is the obvious alternative.

    Art 130 TFEU says that you have to have a Central Bank. It will be difficult for Scotland to satisfy this if it carries on using a currency whose Central Bank is outside the EU

  • Fredi

    Now here is a country that actually practice democracy and know what’s good for them.

    This Nation Has Officially Abandoned the EU

    Switzerland has kept an application to join the European Union active for the last 24 years, however it has finally been abandoned.

    Switzerland shares the same concerns with joining the EU that has Britain questioning whether to stay in it. The people of Britain believe employee wages will go up if their country leaves the EU, and are also concerned with the inevitable influx of Middle Eastern refugees that will be sent to Britain if the country stays in the EU.

    Switzerland formally applied to join the EU in 1992 but the people voted 50.3-49.7 against the decision. This popular opinion against joining the EU has remained constant over the years.

  • fred

    GERS is published today and hard reality puts paid to all the fantasy politics.

    10% deficit, double UK average, Europe doesn’t let you in with more than a 3% deficit.

  • fwl

    Catalan and
    Aragon ? (if not Castilian)
    Astyrias, Leon, Cantabria and Extremadura ? (if also not Castilian)
    Canary Islands?

    We are all a complex tapestry. In the Uk as elsewhere we have much to regret but at least we now have a healthy respect for some (if not all) our differences.

  • Alan

    Oh the best made plans of mice and men!

    Please explain to me Craig, exactly why you think the EU is going to treat a left-wing Scottish government any better than it just treated the left-wing government of Greece?

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