In theory the old saying is that ‘anything is possible’, in practice, in the real world it isn’t and never has been.
Professor John Curtice, of Strathclyde University says an independent Scotland could remain in EU after Brexit, the idea apparently is that Scotland could swap places with Britain in the EU.
There would have to be a second referendum and the Scottish National Party would have to win it.
Now, the reality, there isn’t going to be a second referendum, the United Kingdom is going to ‘Brexit’ the EU and there is no possible chance of Westminster agreeing to another Section 30 order to let the SNP hold a referendum.
As to the idea of a ‘swop’, this in my opinion is highly dubious; the United Kingdom membership is specific to the UK as an entity. I doubt that there is anything in the EU articles which say that membership can be swopped and it would also fly in the face of article 49, and the existing EU Members right of veto.
The right of veto cannot be sidestepped by a backdoor deal.
After making the announcement former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish immediately climbed onboard and said the idea of Scotland taking on the UK’s terms of EU membership was a “positive” suggestion.
Henry McLeish hawks around the place giving interviews about indy and rather looks these days like a cheerleader for the SNP. He has even gone so far as to say the idea by the Professor should form part of Sturgeon’s strategy for protecting Scotland’s place in the EU.
The boat has sailed on Scottish independence and the Westminster Government will not grant a Section 30 order nor will they agree to have two fights on the go at the same time, the Brexit and Scottish independence fights require a considerable amount of time, money and resources.
Curtice bases his claim on the UK’s Foreign Office paper ahead of the 2014 referendum that stated an independent Scotland would not inherit EU membership because the UK was the recognised member state.
“Clearly it would depend how the EU decided to interpret that. There would be a choice facing the EU. It could decide to treat Scotland, which is already part of the EU, as the successor state. The point the Foreign Office paper argued was that an independent Scotland would not inherit EU membership as that membership was the UK’s. But if the rest of the UK wants to get out of the EU, a decision could be made in regard to Scotland being the continuing state.”
No matter how much the SNP would like to jumble the meaning, the road blocks for refusal already exist and cannot as I said be bypassed by some people wanting to be cute. And then there is the entry criteria, Scotland cannot meet the required standards of gaining entry.
The Scottish deficit is three times above the EU limit, so there is no chance, and you can certainly see EU members objecting to Scotland because of their internal domestic separatist movements saying no all the way up to the very top of the EU and possibly into the European Court.
Yes, this one would get legal in an awful hurry.
Curtice, also said if one part of the UK, in this case Scotland, wanted to remain in the EU but the rest of the UK wanted to leave it would give officials in Brussels a choice. No, I would say it isn’t as simple as that not by a long chalk; the EU rules of membership aren’t designed to allow officials in Brussels a ‘choice’, far from it.
The EU is forbidden from getting involved with domestic politics of a member state, as such, they cannot entertain Scotland until negations are completed in the event of the SNP winning an indyref.
And that is further away post September 2014 than it has ever been; you see the SNP were outed as liars who deliberately attempted to cheat the people of Scotland out of their country.
As well all know how that turned out; it would have the same result in any future referendum.
Legal expert, Tobias Lock, a lecturer in EU Law at Edinburgh Law School, said Scotland could only take over the UK’s EU membership if a vote for independence took place before Brexit was complete.
I doubt that assessment entirely.
Also Lock is co-director of the Edinburgh Europa Institute, a research centre on European integration.
“If Scotland became independent before the UK leaves the EU [the prospect of Scotland being allowed to stay in the EU as a successor nation] would be open for discussion, either in terms of replacing the word UK with Scotland or accommodating Scotland as a member. But if it was after Brexit I don’t see a basis for it. Much would depend on how the Brexit negotiations go, but it looks like it would be quite an elegant solution.”
This part of Lock’s assessment I do agree with when he says that post Brexit there definitely is no chance.
So, now if we had this scenario unfolding you would see a situation where all the pro UK parties in Scotland who expressed a desire to stay in the EU having to decide whether they would back independence.
In this scenario you can’t ride two horses, you can’t back the UK and back the EU anymore, you have to pick and that choice will be final. In the plus side for the UK is the fact that Europe is the most dangerous place politically and physically since the end of the Second World War.
People are angry, people are mobilising, and the political class are in more danger than they have ever been in, hence the EU wants its own army not to fight abroad but as internal ‘peacekeepers’ to crush dissent.
In the end, the opinion of Professor John Curtice is academic, there isn’t going to be a second independence referendum before Brexit, the Tories will not allow it, so no official campaign means legal binding result and as a by-product all sorts of legal trouble coming down the track.
Will Nicola Sturgeon go ahead with her threat to resign as First Minister in 2018?
Who cares, it is doubtful she will get a majority as the SNP “appeal” is slipping; incompetence has a habit of eroding popularity.
The rules of the EU cannot be by-passed by officials, Article 49, the right of EU members of veto cannot be ignored, and on that basis, I would say that any mumbo jumbo talk of people having a ‘choice’ is an illusion, a mirage, it doesn’t exist.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University