As a former MEP I have a keen interest in Scotland’s relationship to the EU. I applaud Nicola Sturgeon’s attempt to secure a veto on a UK exit via a referendum in 2017.
However, the indignant response from English commentators to the suggestion that Scotland might have a veto on the referendum is instructive.
The truth is that Scotland does not feature on the UK horizon unless it threatens to leave the UK. The truth is that the proposed referendum in 2017 has nothing to do with Scotland and is all about combating Ukip in England.
The racist reactionary agenda of the Little Englander party is driving the political agenda down south and since England comprises 85 per cent of the electorate we can safely predict that English votes will decide our future.
However, I think the referendum is likely to ensure that Scotland will realise that the only way to protect our interest within the EU is to be an independent country.
After all, an independent Scotland would have a seat at the Council of Ministers meetings, whereas at present we are not even allowed to attend. We would have a European Commissioner fighting our corner rather than an English Tory banker.
We would have 12 MEPs like Denmark, rather than the six we currently have. Faced with five more years of Tory government, maybe backed up by a rump of Ukip MPs, plus a vote to leave the EU in 2017 (even if Scotland votes differently) the majority of Scots will demand and get their independence from the UK.
Nicola Sturgeon states that “the UK is not a unitary state, it is a family of nations made up of the four home nations”.
She has the gall to argue that a referendum on leaving the EU “would have such significant consequences for jobs, for the economy, for our standing in the world, it should require the consent of not just the UK as a whole but that family of nations”.
Can anyone possibly imagine her having said that during the Scottish referendum?
It is hard to contemplate the Nationalists’ outrage if England, Wales and Northern Ireland had voted No and in effect had defeated a Yes vote in Scotland.
However, as “a family of nations” they did not get a vote. Time and time again, Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon quoted the Edinburgh Agreement that bound all parties to accept the referendum outcome.
I have just listened to Nicola Sturgeon’s eloquent reasoning as to why Scotland could, as “part of this family of nations”, have an equal say in the promised EU referendum.
Therefore if Scotland as a whole votes to stay in, that would then act as a veto if the majority of the UK votes to leave.
By the same reasoning would she accept that Scotland should pay a quarter of the £1.7 billion additional tax as demanded by the EU?