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Mindless bickering, but let’s keep our eye on the ball that counts

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting somewhat fed up by the continuing war over the UK Referendum result – or perhaps I’m really referring to the amount of media coverage that it is still getting.

Yes, okay, I know we’re bang-slap in the middle of the traditional media ‘silly season’, but there are plenty of things for the average Brit to be looking forward to – the Rio Olympics for instance, the remainder of the Pakistani cricket Test series, the start of the soccer Premiership new season etc. – so why are we getting all this guff (Remain’s “I told you so” moaning and Leave’s “We’ve got to ensure that the Establishment and politicians don’t deliberately fudge it and then somehow manage not to implement Brexit at all …”) at the moment? It’s all so yesterday’s news in my view.

All that said, nevertheless here at the underground bunker in Camden which doubles as the campaign HQ of the EOS [‘Eff Off Scotland’] movement we are slightly concerned at the continuing hold that Nicola Sturgeon seems to have over the news agenda.

She put it about this week – after her early meeting with Theresa May following the latter’s ascent to the keys of Number 10 Downing Street – that not only was she pursuing a veto over any Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU that disadvantaged Scotland, still less compromised Scotland’s position within the EU, but that she was actively seeking ways of ensuring that Scotland remained in the EU even if the UK did finally one day Brexit, irrespective of the terms by which she (the UK) did so. Hanging in the background was her eternal ultimate threat that, if the circumstances demanded it, she wouldn’t hesitate to hold a second Scottish Referendum which – she maintained – would have the effect (if the resulting vote was ‘Yes’) of Scotland both leaving the UK whilst remaining in the EU.

Let’s get one or two things straight, shall we?

[And here I am acknowledging that, when it comes down to legal and constitutional niceties, virtually anything can be ‘got around’ when those involved in negotiating agreements find a will and a way].

First of all, as I understand it, having a second Referendum on Scottish independence is not strictly within the Scotland First Minister’s gift at all. The best she can do is apply to the ‘powers that be’ at Westminster for one to be organised. Technically, Parliament could turn down any such request and that would be that.

Secondly, in the first Scottish Independence Referendum, Scotland voted to stay in the UK. If my schoolboy knowledge of history is correct, Scotland and England have been effectively one country since the Act of Union in 1707, which was executed largely at the promoting of Scotland itself – for the sound economic reason that at the time Scotland was desperate to have full access to the English market. In other words, Scotland has been part of what we know call the UK for 309 years and – if UK Brexits from the EU – there’s no technical ambiguity about it, Scotland will be departing the EU just like the remainder of the UK.

Thirdly, post any such Brexit (and indeed Brexit deal, whatever it may or may not contain), as night follows day Scotland will then be outside the EU … presumably (if its First Minister has her way) trying desperately to negotiate its way back in.

As things stand, Scotland will thereafter be battling to negotiate the terms for a prospective re-joining of the EU, effectively just like any other new or existing country which is outside the EU and desirous of getting in. Once they’d managed that – which could take a couple of years minimum – they’ve still got to face the tribulation of the prospect of a vote of all 27 (or whatever the number is at that stage) EU member countries in order to determine whether any of them wishes to veto Scotland’s entry. And it would only take one …

nicolaFourthly, it goes without saying that here at EOS we’d be delighted to see the back of Scotland. This applies whether Scotland goes for a second Scottish Independence Referendum – in which case, we at EOS will have our fingers crossed that La Sturgeon gets the ‘Yes’ result she’s hoping for – or even if (timing-wise) we all have to wait until Scotland had completed the EU ‘joining’ negotiation process … and that without being vetoed by an existing EU member nation … before Scotland is then granted its second Independence Referendum and holds one.

In other words, for the avoidance of doubt, we at EOS will be doing everything we can to assists Scotland in reaching a successful conclusion to their quest to become an EU member nation in its own right, i.e. if that is what it takes to help Scotland achieve its independence.

With just one rather important condition, of course.

Which is that just so long as the EU – and indeed Scotland – cannot afterwards unpick the arrangement, thereby triggering any obligation upon the part of this Scepter’d Isle (the UK minus Scotland if you see what I mean) to take Scotland back.

What concerns and irritates me about Nicola Sturgeon’s current posturing and strutting upon the world (sorry, European) stage is her delusion that Scotland’s dependent, welfare-grabbing, culture has anything to offer anyone. Any organisation to which Scotland ever belongs will soon discover that Scotland is essentially a ‘cash out’ (i.e. spending) department and not an income-contributing engine of any significance.

Plus then, of course, you’ve got to cope with listening to the never-ending ‘chip on the shoulder’ (sense of entitlement) moaning and demands for more pay-outs and benefits.


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About Simon Campion-Brown

A former lecturer in politics at Keele University, Simon now lives in Oxfordshire. Married with two children, in 2007 he decided to monitor the Westminster village via newspaper and television and has never looked back. More Posts