‘Seamless EU transition’ is a stitch-up

David Stevenson (Letters, 15 April) says he expects the European Union to enable a seamless transition for Scotland as part of the UK to membership as an independent state. Does he not listen to what is being said by those who are at the heart of it all?

In January Ken Armstrong, Professor of European Law at Cambridge University, told a Scottish Select Affairs Committee on Independence that on the day of independence Scotland would be out of the UK and would cease to be a member.

It would at that stage lose all benefits, previous treaties, rebates, health care etc and would have to reapply for membership under either clause 48 or 49 of the Treaty of Union.

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Clause 49 is the accession route whereby Scotland would have to negotiate each of the 35 Treaty chapters. On conclusion of these negotiations the outcome would have to be ratified by all other 28 member states.

Clause 48 is the continuing state route which, bizarrely, is the SNP’s preferred route, and would mean that the existing member state, ie the UK, would have to initiate the application for membership on Scotland’s behalf and then negotiate the terms on their behalf.

In addition we have had Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the EU, and Viviane Reding, vice president, both saying that Scotland’s membership will not be seamless and that any new country applying for membership would have to gain approval not just from the commission but from the European Parliament, which contains 776 members.

This is predicted to be a lengthy and tortuous process and could take years. There is no reason to suppose that if accepted for membership it would be not on the condition that Scotland adopted the euro and signed up to Schengen.

The SNP leadership must be aware of all this but continues to state that entry to the EU for a separate Scotland would be seamless. This is, to say the very least, extremely disingenuous.

Donald Lewis


East Lothian

Your editorial (15 April) is surprisingly dismissive of Ukip leader Nigel Farage’s very reasonable observation that Scots should have the right to decide whether or not an independent Scotland joins the EU. He is right to point out that independence and membership of the EU are a contradiction in terms.

The EU’s own estimate is that at least 70 per cent of our laws are now determined by Brussels. Our agriculture, fisheries, oil, immigration policy, health and safety issues, VAT levies, tariffs and increasingly, foreign policy and financial legislation, are all controlled by the EU. In addition, there is the massive cost of EU membership, both direct and caused by thousands of rules and regulations. If Scots were fully aware of the undemocratic nature and real costs of the EU, it is likely that a lot more than 40 per cent would want to leave.

John F Hunt

York Road

North Berwick

David Stevenson is quite right when he says he and I often agreed on many issues when I was a member of the SNP. I could have remained a member and continued to argue the case for non-membership of the EU, as I had done for several years and as Stephen Maxwell did.

Stephen and I discussed the situation shortly after I left the party but I took the view the party membership were not about to change their newly found commitment to the EU.

The SNP was perfectly entitled to support the EU and was also entitled to ask for loyalty on major issues from its leading members.

When I left in 1990, I had been deputy leader for four years, a member of the NEC for 20 and a delegate to National Council for just as long, as well as the prospective parliamentary candidate for Perth, the seat I contested in 1987. Therefore I was expected to have views on a wide range of issues and to 
support the leadership when it mattered.

My opposition to the EU was of long standing and so strong I could not back the party line. To avoid being seen as simply a malcontent and because I strongly believed opposition to the EU deserved as wide an audience as possible, I left.

Stephen Maxwell, like Brian Nugent, founder of Free Scotland, could not even make it on to the parliamentary candidates’ list, and Brian eventually followed me out of the party.

We all paid a price for our opposition to the EU, and we all watched in dismay as our predictions of the kind of union the EU would become took shape, while the SNP’s commitment to the euro and promises of sovereignty unravelled.

David Stevenson is correct when he says there are different forms of currency union but the one envisaged by the SNP is the most restrictive for any junior partner. It does not represent independence by any stretch of the imagination.

Jim Fairlie

Heathcote Road


David Stevenson’s response to Jim Fairlie (Letters, 12 April) is either disingenuous or he is even more confused than Mr Fairlie suggested.

He believes and hopes that the EU would “enable a seamless transition” for an independent Scotland’s future membership. On the other hand, he would be “happy” for Scotland to be outwith the EU! That clarifies that point then.

More importantly, Mr Stevenson makes no attempt to respond to Mr Fairlie’s question on a currency union. The point is not whether currency unions can be made to work or not. Mr Fairlie’s point is that a currency union would ensure “foreign control of Scotland’s economy” and would simply not be independence. Why does the SNP want it? Is Mr Stevenson “utterly confused” about this?

Or is it simply the case that neither he nor any other Yes voter has an answer?

I do not believe the SNP hierarchy is confused. In order to win over voters it is prepared to set out a programme which jettisons its fundamental principles on, for example, Nato, the EU and even on independence itself.

That is why Mr Fairlie has described the campaign as “dishonest”. Most committed Yes men will not care whether promises made now are honoured so long as the objective of independence is achieved.

I only hope that undecided voters will see through the hypocrisy. What they are being promised and what they might get are two entirely different things.

Colin Hamilton

Braid Hills Avenue