A Europe one stop away from reality
John Brand’s letter (2 October) was perplexing, to say the least. Unless there are two places called Europe (and, knowing the USA, I am sure there will be one over there), I am unable to connect his comments, “Europe resurgent, recovering from a crisis”, to the real world.
I have just returned from Spain, where almost all the shops at the airport were closed due to a national strike opposing the biting cuts the government has instituted to avoid having them imposed by outside lending bodies.
Recovering from a crisis? Hardly. Spanish unemployment is above 25 per cent. Resurgent? As much as a balloon with a hole in it.
Indeed, unemployment is at 11.4 per cent, or an incredible 18.2 million in the eurozone.
At the same time, on Hard Talk on Radio 4, German economist Otmar Issing, who was on the board of the European Central Bank when it was established in 1998, acknowledged that Greece is almost certainly going to have to leave the eurozone to prevent contagion spreading and that, rather than more Europe: “The battlecry, ‘we need more Europe’ is probably the wrong conclusion. Probably, we have already gone too far,” he said.
It is hard to see what likelihood there is for the EU – and, by extension, the eurozone itself – to continue in its current form. Indeed, one hopes that it will not and that some measure of democracy and accountability will be regained by member states from the weakened structure currently teetering on the brink of the precipice.
If not, the riots which characterise the response of the people, who are the “poor, bloody infantry” in this farrago, will spill over into something much nastier.
John Brand, who describes himself as “chairman of the European Movement in Scotland”, would try to persuade us that the EU is wonderful and exists in our best interests.
Andrew HN Gray
The comments by Advocate General, Lord Wallace, that an independent Scotland would have to re-apply for membership of the European Union could not have been more poorly timed.
His comments come a matter of days after the vice-president of the European Commission, Viviane Reding, declared that there was nothing in European law that meant an independent Catalonia would be “forced to leave” the EU. In fact, she urges Catalonia to stay, rather than actively attempt to leave the EU.
In addition, Lord Wallace claims that what remains of the UK would be the “continuing state” on Scottish independence, and would remain bound within the EU.
Yet he curiously provides no evidence as to why this would be the case, while berating the Scottish Government for not providing the evidence that an independent Scotland would continue as an EU member.
The latest U-turn from Alex Salmond on a future Scottish currency (your report, 2 October) is utterly embarrassing.
For a decade he said we should join the euro, and indeed his deputy Nicola Sturgeon said as far back as 2003 that she believed in early entry into the eurozone. Now the SNP still believes in joining the euro but only after a referendum.
Then Alex Salmond said we would keep the pound in the meantime and have a stability pact with the pound currency zone, only to change his view of this in a speech in America last week, saying there was no need for a currency stability pact.
The vast majority of Scots do not want to join the euro, with the higher costs and mortgages that would involve – and we certainly don’t want to have someone else’s currency if we are not in a political union with them.
This would be funny if it wasn’t so brutally serious – our economy is too vital to be entrusted to Alex Salmond and his ever-changing views on the currency.
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