EU would be no limit on sovereignty

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Jim Fairlie (Letters, 5 September) poses the matter of EU membership usurping the newly acquired sovereignty of an independent Scotland.

He writes: “By claiming that EU membership means ‘sharing’ or ‘pooling’ sovereignty, the SNP hopes to disguise the fact that it will surrender the right to make laws”, and brackets sterling union likewise. I think that, ironically, his concern fails to disguise a presumption that Scotland is relatively more sovereign at present than is the case.

In any imaginable scale of sovereignty Scotland would be very low by the status quo arrangement despite its devolved parliament.

When Mr Fairlie concludes that “a nation is either free and sovereign or it is not” he considerably scales down the scope for self-government and sovereignty in an independent Scotland.

Indeed, he is denying any possibility of independence because EU membership would in effect remove it.

By this analysis he is denying not only Scotland its sovereignty but every member state already in the EU – France, Germany, Netherlands, etc – and warning other states already aspiring that membership will mean loss of their national sovereignty.

While EU diktats are not universally popular with individual member states, it is still a forum of voluntary subscription. There would be no queue to sign up if the benefits weren’t seen as outnumbering the burdens.

For free-market thinkers who aver the right of people to vote with their feet, so far the EU has had more foot traffic entering than leaving.

Apart from which, such concerns as his letter expresses undervalue the savvy and spirit of Scots who have hung on to their own analysis of what sovereignty means for the past 300 years. We aren’t likely to happily accept the swap of one over-lordship for another.

Maybe Jim Fairlie will concede that Scotland has had long enough to ponder such matters.

Ian Johnstone

Forman Drive

Peterhead

Jane Liston (Letters, 4 September) misses several important points. Firstly, the former Soviet states that have rushed to join the EU quite rightly see the EU as a kind of mutual defence league which can almost guarantee that Russia will never, in the foreseeable future, impose dictatorship on them again.

Secondly, these states are poor, and hoping for handouts, which is fair enough, but Scotland – by world standards a very wealthy country – will be one of the places that will be handing out.

Thirdly, the EU is changing: Mrs Merkel was recently quoted as saying that its previous motto, “towards an ever-closer union”, will have to be scrapped, presumably because many of the countries are tiring of increasing interference from Brussels.

Fourthly, it has been agreed that any state can leave the EU, given two years’ notice, so that the EU effectively remains a confederacy, not a unified state. Fifthly, Scotland, as an EU member in its own right, would have more representatives in the EU parliament and could one day even hope to be president of that organisation.

But the most important points that Ms Liston forgets are these: London could no longer throw away our young men’s lives in illegal or dubious wars, and could no longer exploit us economically.

Having been brought up in a once prosperous fishing town, I have witnessed the economic devastation visited on once wealthy areas of coastal Scotland by Ted Heath who, quite openly and honestly, traded a major Scottish asset to join the EU.

Stan Fisher

Whinfield Road

Prestwick