While south of the Border Ukip is set to win the most number of MEPs at the forthcoming European Parliamentary election, in Scotland the party of Nigel Farage is confined to just 7 per cent of the vote, according to recent polling, and is set to secure no MEPs in Scotland.
This is in keeping with its abysmal performance at the recent Cowdenbeath by-election, where it lost its deposit.
With Tory backbenchers and Ukip at his back, Prime Minister David Cameron intends to hold a referendum on continued UK membership of the EU in 2017 and the Labour Party will undoubtedly follow suit as it continues to try and out-Tory the Tories.
While just under half of Scots, according to recent polling, want to remain in the EU with a third looking to leave, these figures are reversed south of the Border. The threat posed to Scotland is that we are left out of the EU, not through our own volition, but due to English votes.
It is not that Scots are better or worse than the English, we are the same, but it is our political cultures that are worlds apart.
Scotland is rightly proud of Andy Murray, first UK grand slam in 77 years. But what about rocky little Switzerland with Roger Federer (17 grand slams) and now Stanislas Wawrinka coming up?
Foreign Secretary William Hague informs us that small countries are irrelevant on the world stage and would have more influence if ruled by their bigger neighbours. True, Switzerland doesn’t invade, bomb or foment revolution in other countries.
But in terms of peace and humanitarian works, Switzerland has great influence through the Red Cross, hosting peace initiatives such as the current talks on Syria, running embassy facilities for countries that can’t speak to each other, and hosting organisations such as the World Health Organisation, the International Labour Organisation and Cern. Better if it was ruled by Paris, Rome or Berlin?
Of course, none of that matters for Scotland’s independence, only whether we would be £500 better or worse off. But the GDP per head in Switzerland is £47,500 compared with that of the UK at £23,600. Not £500 but £23,600.
Also, remember that Switzerland has no oil, no gas and no maritime resources, unlike other high-income countries which are resource-rich.
That equates to much less in purchasing power, of course, because Switzerland is a much more equal country, but maybe that is why it is so productive.
West Acres Drive