Daily Archives: June 29, 2016


Back to the Future

The priority now of the political “elite” is to ensure voters never again get the chance to make a choice the political class do not want. Jeremy Corbyn is the thing the political class want least.

Do you remember when 184 Labour MPs refused to vote against the Tory benefit cuts that ruined lives and caused suicides? They did so on the grounds that their focus groups showed the public wanted benefit cuts, and so it would be wrong to oppose the Tory Welfare Reform and Work Bill.

Well, I can promise you that the 172 Labour MPs who voted to no-confidence Corbyn are exactly the same people who would not oppose welfare cuts. The net effect of the Corbyn year has been that 12 Labour MPs have decided that they have a purpose in politics which is not just personal gain. The vast majority would vote to push the unemployed off a cliff if they thought it would get them career advancement. Or adapt the John Mann anti-immigrant agenda.

Make no mistake. If Corbyn is deposed, the people of England and Wales will be back to having a choice between two colours of Tory. Labour will go full on anti welfare, anti immigrant and pro-nuclear weapon. Because Jon Cruddas will tell them that is what will get them elected.

In the UK, 78% of people do not know the name of their MP. With Labour MPs it was 82%. The idea that they have a “personal mandate” is rubbish. People vote for the party. In Blackburn I stood as an Independent against Jack Straw and all the main parties, and got 5% of the vote. Not one of those 172 Labour Party MPs would get 5% if they stood as an Independent.

The SNP has mandatory reselection for every MP and MSP for every election. It is a fundamental democratic need. The mainstream media are now trying to generate horror at the idea that the Labour MPs should be accountable to their local members, in whose name they wish to stand again. It is a ridiculous argument that people who have behaved like Simon Danczuk should have the right to represent the Labour Party for life. Yet it is the democratic alternative which the media are seeking to demonise.

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Continuing EU Membership for Indy Scotland is Possible – Special EU Status for Scotland in the UK is Impossible

Alyn Smith was excellent in the European Parliament yesterday. He was doing exactly what the SNP need to be doing – building sympathy in the European institutions for continuing Scottish membership of the EU.

The European Union is an institution which is based on treaties which have legal force. There is nothing whatsoever in any of those treaties, and nothing in any existing arrangement with any state, that makes it possible for part of a state, even a federal state, to be inside the EU, when the state itself is outside.

There is absolutely no way that Scotland can be inside both the UK and EU, if the UK is outside the EU. This question has been visited before by the EU in detail, in relation to Cyprus in particular . I understand that Nicola Sturgeon may feel a need to show that she explored all possibilities. But there is a serious danger of confusing the issue by asking for impossible things that will just exasperate people and lose sympathy.

It is very possible indeed to work out modalities for independent Scotland to join as an EU member at precisely the same moment the UK leaves. Indeed, the creation of a new doctrine of right to retain EU citizenship that makes it possible for recognised EU “regions”, of which Scotland is one, to achieve statehood and continue membership, only if the member state is leaving the EU, could alleviate potential Spanish opposition.

Such a solution can politically be stitched together. The reaction to Alyn Smith’s speech demonstrates that. Absolutely crucially – and I cannot emphasise the importance of this enough – no treaty changes would be required for Scotland as a newly independent state to continue membership. But any kind of special status for Scotland when it is not a state, would require treaty changes which we are just not going to get.

UPDATE – To answer a question three people have just asked me. The Greenland case is not in the least comparable because its relationship with the EU is based on the fact that it is an autonomous territory of an EU member state, Denmark. That is completely different from the situation of an autonomous territory of an EU non-member, which the UK will be.

UPDATING AGAIN Wow people are engaged in this one. The same is true of comparison with Monaco, Andorra, San Marino etc. They all belong to states INSIDE the EU. The UK will be OUTSIDE the EU. Scotland’s status will have no comparison at all to an autonomous territory of an EU member state.

I spent four years of my life as First Secretary (Political and Economic) in the British Embassy in Warsaw working specifically on Poland’s EU accession. I not only know this stuff backwards, I know a lot of key contacts. Alyn Smith shows that the SNP MEPs know what they are doing and are highly capable. I am consumed by desire to find a way to help my country at this crucial time. Having thought I had achieved some kind of acceptance that in the UK whistleblowers are forever excluded from public life, I today find it hurting more than ever.

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