The Prime Minister is quite right to resist holding an immediate in/out referendum on Britain’s relationship with the European Union (your report, 3 July).
Although there are fundamental aspects of our partnership with Europe that need to be addressed over time, the belief that summary withdrawal from Brussels’ institutions would be a panacea for all of the UK’s problems is a misguided distraction from the far more imminent and potentially catastrophic referendum that definitely will take place: the ballot on Scottish independence.
The constitutional future of Scotland is the biggest question facing the people of Britain today and we simply cannot allow our eyes to be taken off the ball while it is still in play. The independence referendum will happen and it will happen on David Cameron’s watch. He must not go down in history as the Prime Minister who allowed the break-up of the UK to happen under his nose, by allowing the attentions of this country to be diverted by a fruitless internal battle over Europe.
There are those who say that if the Conservative Party fails to offer a referendum on EU membership it will be outflanked by Ukip, which demands such a poll, and even by Labour’s Ed Miliband, who is also toying with the idea. Mr Cameron must resist such siren voices and stick to the best possible retaliation: that he is focused on the future integrity of the United Kingdom.
We must stop this eternal squabbling over Europe until we have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with our Unionist colleagues from every corner of the UK to prevent the severing of our ancient and successful partnership. Let us keep Britain united and then turn our attention to its place in Europe.
MEP for Scotland
The European Parliament Strasbourg
It IS intriguing to note the recent furore enveloping the Conservative Party over the holding of a referendum on the UK’s relationship with the EU.
We are consistently told by the UK government of the urgent need to hold a referendum on Scottish independence “sooner rather than later” because of the impact this apparent “uncertainty” is having on potential investment.
This, incidentally, is in spite of a recent report indicating that Scotland has topped a table for attracting foreign companies to invest – ahead of every other region in the UK outside London. However, Mr Cameron is looking to hold a referendum at a date, still to be defined, on a question that is still to be defined, on our continued relationship, or not, with the EU.
As part of the largest single market in the world, with more than half our trade with the EU and more than three million jobs depending on this commerce, potential UK business and investment are being damaged by such irresponsible comments.
It smacks of hypocrisy to criticise the Scottish Government for holding the independence referendum in 2014 when the Conservatives are dithering about holding a referendum on the UK’s relationship with the EU.
Will anyone be even mildly surprised the SNP has failed to open talks with any British government department regarding the aftermath of a UK break-up and Scotland’s possible separation (your reports, 4 July)?
Talks are not needed with UK or EU or UN officialdom because the SNP has the assertions of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon to rely on. Who needs negotiations when the SNP leaders merely lay out what everyone else has to do and the starry-eyed SNP party members take this as gospel?
When, eventually, the eyes of the deluded are opened, it will be a most painful arrival in reality for many of them. Those of us who have pointed out continuously that the emperor has no clothes will get little satisfaction as the damage inflicted on the country we love will be immense and perhaps irreversible.
New Cut Rigg