It has not been a good week for Scottish independence campaigners and particularly the SNP. Their primary objective in their quest has been to achieve a break up of the UK without scaring any horses. We’d hardly notice, they said. Everything would go on pretty much as before. We’d still have the Queen and the pound and, of course, an independent Scotland would be admitted to the EU automatically on the same terms as the UK currently enjoys.
This week George Osborne, backed by Danny Alexander and Ed Balls, ruled out the SNP’s preferred option of a currency union. Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon’s reaction involved accusations of bullying and bluffing. Of course it would all be different if there was a yes vote. And thus they expect the electorate to play the biggest game of chicken in electoral history.
Today it went from bad to worse for them. You may remember the ongoing argument about an independent Scotland’s membership of the EU. It’s all been a bit of a fiasco. The SNP says that of course Scotland could just continue in the EU on exactly the same terms as the UK has at the moment. Salmond even implied that they had legal advice that told them so until the Information Commissioner dragged out an admission that they had no such thing.
Well, the President of the European Commission told Andrew Marr this morning that it would be difficult or maybe even impossible for an independent Scotland to join the EU.
In his interview with Andrew Marr, Mr Barroso said: “In case there is a new country, a new state, coming out of a current member state it will have to apply.”
John Swinney described Mr Barroso’s comments as “pretty preposterous”
He said it was important that “accession to the European Union will have to be approved by all other member states of the European Union.”
He went on: “Of course it will be extremely difficult to get the approval of all the other member states to have a new member coming from one member state.”
Mr Barroso cited the example of the Spanish not recognising Kosovo.
He said: “We have seen Spain has been opposing even the recognition of Kosovo, for instance. So it is to some extent a similar case because it’s a new country and so I believe it’s going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, a new member state coming out of our countries getting the agreement of the others.”
John Swinney can say it’s preposterous if he likes, but this is the guy who effectively has the keys to the EU so he should know what he’s talking about.
It certainly sounds like it’s time to get those horses on some anti anxiety medication.
Willie Rennie said it was time for Alex Salmond to put his White Paper into the shredder:
The European Commission President knows more than most how other countries will react to an independent Scotland’s application to join the EU. He can’t be aggressively dismissed with Alex Salmond’s characteristic bluster.
It’s not up to Alex Salmond if Scotland joins the EU. If even just one country says no it does not matter how loud Alex Salmond shouts, Scotland will not be in.
At best Alex Salmond is gambling with Scotland’s membership of the EU. At worst a vote for independence is a vote to leave the EU.
Leaving the EU would be bad for trade and jobs.
Not only does the SNP need a plan B on the Pound but now they need a plan B for the EU. Perhaps they should shred the White Paper and start again.
Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said that the plan was a pig in a poke compared to his positive vision of a thriving Scotland in Britain and the EU.
While Alex Salmond struggles with his plan to remove Scotland from the EU and the UK Pound, I will be going around Scotland this week showing why we already have the best deal.
I will be going coast to coast meeting businesses and talking to them about what matters most for them.
Being part of a large UK single market, an influential EU member and keeping the UK Pound all help scottish companies.
I want us to keep what is best for Scotland. Alex Salmond wants to keep ignoring reality and ask us to give all of this up for his pig in a poke plan.
His EU and currency policies are marching to a tune that no one else can hear.
He is the proud parent and everyone else is out of step except oor Jonny.
Scottish business, the EU President and the three main UK political parties are all wrong according to him.
I will keep making the positive case for what we have in Scotland and the First Minister must start facing up to the hard facts that are starting to engulf him.
While there’s no doubt that this has been a disastrous week for the SNP, I am quite worried that we’ll hear nothing but currency and EU for the next couple of hundred days. We should be talking about the sort of Scotland we want to see. We need some brightness, positivity and aspiration about giving us all a better future whatever the outcome of the vote.
To be fair, we have had a lot of positive stuff from Cameron last week, Alistair Carmichael a few weeks ago and with Willie Rennie’s push for more powers but there ware too many dark clouds and storm forces hiding the sun for my liking.