PRIME Minister David Cameron’s European Union “renegotiation” is a sham – he will recommend continued membership regardless of the outcome.
Meanwhile, the SNP has grasped a perceived opportunity for party advantage to propose two wildly illogical qualifications to the EU referendum.
Firstly, the Nationalists wanted each of the constituent parts of the UK to be required to vote separately to leave; how could they, when none of the four has ever been a member state?
The reverse would also have to apply: all four areas would have to concur on staying in the EU.
We might end up neither in nor out.
Put simply, this will be a UK-wide referendum decided solely on total UK votes.
The SNP’s later claim, that a vote to leave the EU would elicit calls for a fresh Scottish independence referendum, is pure trouble-making nonsense; there is no connection between the two.
What the country needs from its politicians on this highly important matter is honesty in the form of a clear statement of the pros and cons of continued UK membership of the EU.
A suitable starting point would be an honest assessment of our trade with Europe; this is often quoted as crucial to our survival as a trading nation, yet we continually incur a loss by it.
Tranent, East Lothian
BRIAN Monteith paints an optimistic vision of a UK outside the EU but still part of the single market (Perspective, 8 June).
The UK could, of course, go down the line of becoming a member of the European Economic Area, as Norway has done. The UK would still be in the single market, with no seat at the top table and incorporating the vast majority of directives into domestic law, but with no ability to influence these. This is known as “fax democracy” and it should also be noted Norway is the tenth highest contributor to the EU budget.
It is no wonder in this context that the Norwegian foreign minister, Borge Brende, recently said it made more sense for the UK to stay in the EU where it “can have more influence” than outside.
An alternative route would be to follow the Swiss model, negotiating over a lengthy period of time a series of bilateral trade agreements with the EU, giving us some access to the single market, but again with no ability to influence these directives and still contributing to the EU’s budget.
The UK has benefited by being a member of the EU, with full access to the single market, and through a seat at the top table having a clear ability to influence the decisions that affect the operation of that market.
Chair, European Movement in Scotland
WHY bother to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU, followed by a costly in/out referendum that will produce the wrong answer. Just stay in, take the advantages, and ignore what we don’t want to do – as the rest of the EU membership has always done.