Current Affairs Politics

The Scots, Second-Class Europeans?

José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission and Eurocrat fumble-mouth in chief
José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission and Eurocrat fumble-mouth in chief

The Scottish blogger Wee Ginger Dug has done some fantastic journalistic work recently analysing and translating political and media commentary from the Iberian peninsula in relation to Scotland’s upcoming independence referendum. He has pretty much demolished all of the second-hand claims coming from British nationalist sources insisting that Spain would block the Scots’ path to continued membership of the European Union, albeit as a sovereign nation-state. In fact, as he points out, the Spanish authorities are very carefully saying no such thing clearly regarding the constitutional position of Scotland within the UK as quite different from that of their own “regions”, such as Catalonia and the Basque Country. In large part their position is derived from the actions of the British government which has acquiesced to the Scots’ right to national self-determination via a locally-held plebiscite, something the Spanish regard as unconstitutional in their own particular case.

Wee Ginger Dug has also pointed out the wide-spread (and wilful) ignorance of European Union law and institutions to be found in British Unionist circles. As things currently stand the people of Scotland are citizens of the EU and their nation is a defined region of that organisation with democratically elected representatives in the European Parliament. While the Scots are perfectly entitled to withdraw from the European Union if they so wish neither Brussels nor the national governments of the EU can arbitrarily remove their European membership, citizenship or parliamentary representation, even in the event of a pro-independence vote. To do so with be a gross violation of the principles and laws underlying the EU and would be institutionally injurious to the organisation itself. The Scots are voting for independence from the so-called United Kingdom of Great Britain, not from the European Union, a right seceded by the UK authorities.

For more on this, and the real view from Spain and the historic nations of Iberia, please read this post here on the latest comments from José Manuel Barroso, the current President of the European Commission. Comments which are already stirring dissent within the corridors of Brussels.

Update: The latest polling from Scotland shows a big jump in support for the pro-independence Yes campaign. Even allowing for changed methodologies the survey puts the Yes vote at 38%, the No vote at 47%. This confirms recent polling that has seen the gap between the two sides narrow and can no longer be dismissed by British nationalists as “rogue polls” or results still inside the margin of error.

2 comments on “The Scots, Second-Class Europeans?

  1. Been There

    Hello ASF – a general comment here about your view of the Scottish independence referendum. If you want to know, I’m 3/4 Scottish but grew up in England 🙂

    What do I think of independence? Well, I’m not *against* it, per see. The Scottish people have a right to democratically decide their own future and I don’t doubt that Scotland could be a successful independent country. But I think that independence is the wrong way of going about things. Political and social changes can be fought for across the whole UK rather than just one part of it. Our nation has survived Two World Wars and who knows how many other challenges, surely a few decades of Thatcherism and neo-Thatcherism can’t bring us down? 😉

    As for my views on Ulster – as a person of (Lowland) Scottish ancestry I feel quite close to the Ulster Scots and support their right to self determination. Eire and Ulster are not really one nation (for the majority: different culture, identity, ancestry, language etc.) and they shouldn’t be forced to be so. I don’t think its right to force the Irish-Irish and Scots-Irish to live under one government when the latter clearly don’t want it, just because they all geographically live on one island. 🙂

    • Interesting points, though ones I obviously disagree with 😉

      I think the difference between Scotland and Ireland is the acknowledgement by the British government (given again in 2013) that the island of Ireland under British rule was a colony. A military-driven and sustained settlement in a foreign land. To acknowledge the rights of the British-Irish minority in the north-east of Ireland to “national self-determination” would be like granting the Boers-Afrikaners their own nation-state in South Africa or a similar arrangement in other one-time colonial entities.

      Do you believe that if Bradford was to have a Pakistani-Muslim majority by 2050 that the local majority would have the right to secede from the UK and join with Pakistan as an overseas territory? If there was a Bangladeshi majority in a defined suburb of London would such a community have the right to reject UK sovereignty?

      No one is denying the British-Irish community in the north-east their own regional executive and legislature. Even a limited form of regional policing and justice and full recognition and rights under an expanded constitution. But all under the remit of a reunited Ireland.

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