It is regrettable but not surprising that nobody from Westminster or Whitehall has informed Jose Manuel Barroso of the essential irrelevance of his opinion regarding an independent Scotland’s membership of the European Union.
The statement, “if a territory of a member state ceases to be part of that state because it has become an independent state”, does not properly apply to Scotland.
Scotland is not a territory of a member state; it is itself a state which predates most of the countries of Europe.
Scotland was an established country before the creation of Belgium, Yugoslavia, Iraq or Israel, and before the unification of Germany or of Italy.
It had been a country for some centuries before the USA was cobbled together.
Scotland is in a union with England, the two states sharing a sovereign by virtue of the Union of the Crowns and the same parliament by virtue of a later union.
Scottish independence would imply the dissolution of one or both of these unions, and any separation of the two states would leave England in exactly the same position as Scotland.
Those who try to cloud the issue by referring to “the rest of the UK” should note that Wales and Northern Ireland are constitutionally linked with the United Kingdom, not with England, so, in the event of the UK being dissolved, the status of Wales and Northern Ireland would have to be redefined.
It seems to have escaped the notice of most people – including Jose Manuel Barroso – that a decision on an independent Scotland’s future in Europe will not be for him – or any individual – to make.
It will be for all the members of the European Parliament. Why would they wish to kick us out, along with all our reserves of oil and gas and our enormous potential for renewable energy generation, especially when we’ve been a member for 40 years, and there’s no mechanism for expelling a member state in any case?
And why doesn’t Mr Barroso come clean and admit that he is under pressure from Spain not to give encouragement to the likes of Catalonia in its fight for independence?
David Fiddimore (Letters, 12 December) has it right: people will vote on whether or not they want Scotland to be an independent country. It’s hard to see how the European Union question will influence them. Opponents of independence will regard it as irrelevant (“independence won’t happen”); the Yes voters may be concerned, but will surely vote for independence anyway.
The Rev Archie Black (Letters, same day) seems to have overlooked the likelihood that the EU will note that it is Scotland that would be separating from the UK.
Consequently, it would not be an agreed split as in Czechoslovakia; it would be a one-sided secession by one part of a unitary state from that state. It would leave the rest of the UK as the continuing EU member and Scotland as the newly independent state needing to apply for membership, or at least to renegotiate the terms of its membership.
If the Reverend Archie Black’s letter is anything to go by, we should all get down on our knees and give thanks for the separation of church and state.
The idea that a referendum held in Scotland, participated in only by those resident in Scotland and excluding the opinions of all other United Kingdom residents, could result in England, Wales and Northern Ireland being evicted from the EU is profoundly undemocratic.
Equally worrying is the plain nastiness of it, for the truth is that, should Scotland become independent, the relationship between the rest of the UK and the EU would cease to be any of our business. It seems sadly obvious that this desire to see England disadvantaged reveals the depth of anti-English bitterness within the SNP.
Not exactly a Christian view.
Graham M McLeod
Bearing in mind the blows that the SNP’s plans to break up the United Kingdom are taking from all quarters, I expect that there will be a few changes to its plans.
The SNP simply denies anything which looks dodgy about its proposals for the break-up of the UK.
Thus, the unappealing prospect of Scotland having to join the euro single currency and also accept every Tom, Dick and Harry from the European Union without passport controls as part of the SNP’s ambition to join the EU were denied without any sign that any research on the topic had been done.
Soon, it was shown that, indeed, no research had been done at all and that the Nationalists were again spouting nonsense.
It seems likely that the new plan will be for an “independent” Scotland, which will remain part of the UK, using the pound and being in Nato, while not being in the UK in any meaningful sense.
I expect that the nonsense that Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been spouting of late, about staying British if you want while also being part of an “independent” Scotland, will now be cranked up.
Perhaps the Nationalists will now be suggesting a “Jersey” type of independence, or an “Isle of Man” type, perhaps. Nothing would surprise me.
However, the sort of independence they have claimed they can have is now, quite plainly, no longer attainable.
Perhaps they should save everyone (especially the people of Scotland) the cost of their pointless referendum.
Andrew HN Gray