It is quite wrong to view David Cameron’s speech on Europe through the narrow prism of the Scottish independence debate (Letters, 24 January). Being in or out of the EU will fundamentally affect the way we live our lives in Scotland. It could be for the better or worse.
We need to debate the issue itself, on its own terms, and not from this narrow political perspective.
We need to have some discussion about how people in Scotland actually feel about the EU, and not just assume we know what their thoughts might be.
We are supposed to be more in favour of the EU than those south of the Border, but we don’t know that for sure.
And would we really want to be inside the EU if the rest of the UK decided to leave, since they are our biggest export market by far?
This may be the reality check that Scottish politics needs at the moment – a political choice that is much more wide ranging and important than the Scottish independence argument. Now, who would have thought that could possibly happen?
Time to stop investigating our navels and pay attention.
A host of comments (24 January), lambasted David Cameron’s speech in which he offered us all a chance to have our say on the EU, after he has attempted to deal with the utter mess that the EU has become.
Mr Salmond wants Scotland to be able to apply to join the EU, with all the baggage that entails. If and when Scotland joined, then it would be with the same clout as Ireland, for example, one of the states Mr Salmond wants Scotland to emulate.
Irish referenda that run counter to EU thinking, of course, get short shrift and are held again, to “make the right decision this time”, which, of course, they do.
Mr Cameron also wants to be in the EU, but one which is reformed. The current structure is great for Brussels and Strasbourg apparatchiks, but less good for democracy.
The EU Parliament cannot instigate legislation. Unelected and unaccountable commissioners tell it what to deal with.
Equally, when governments displease these commissioners, they are replaced, as we have seen in Greece and Italy in the recent past.
The UK cannot make trade treaties as part of the EU, which limits our potential international trade.
Equally, we are dictated to on any number of legal and administrative fronts to no great advantage and – in the case of the Working Time Directive – very much to our disadvantage economically.
To many of us, these matters are crucial. We are a democracy, and to live under the EU’s democratic deficit is quite intolerable.
That is why we must have a vote in Scotland in the EU referendum.
The alternatives are very simple. Counterintuitively, a vote for the SNP plan would lose independence at the stroke of a pen and subject Scots to rule by Brussels.
Alternatively, vote to stay British and have a say in sorting out the unholy mess that is the EU. Make it accountable; make it democratic; make it reflect the views of the member states and stop trying to make it the United States of Europe, or step away from it.
Nothing could be clearer.
Andrew HN Gray
Behold the Cameronian Antisyzygy Uncertainty Principle: no referendum on the EU without talks around issues; but no talks on issues around the Scottish referendum.
Now you EU it, now you don’t. Maybe. If unionists celebrate Dependence Day in 2014, who will save North Britain when England votes Tory? Écosse, sauve qui peut!