What is the point of Alistair Carmichael exactly? We pay the guy’s wages after all, and the deal was supposed to be that he spoke for Scotland’s interests in UK Cabinet. And here he is again, doing his utmost to damage Scotland’s interests. It’s not anti-Scottish to damage Scotland’s interests – not when it’s all for the greater good of the UK. Alistair gets very upset when people call him anti-Scottish, and greets like a wean trying to deny he’d been tormenting the cat again, despite it being pointed out on previous numerous occasions that the cat gets upset when you poke it in the ribs with a sharp pointy stick.
This week he was on day release, and got packed off to Brussels so he could hob with some nobs and feel pure dead important while poking a Scottish cat with a sharp stick. He did this by insisting that Scotland would have to leave the EU and get in the membership queue with Serbia and Albania. No fast track for Scotland, although we already knew that since the High Speed rail is only going as far north of London as Birmingham.
This is because in Alistair’s legally trained opinion the Scottish Government’s proposal to use Article 48 of the Treaty of the European Union to gain membership is a non-starter, because the Article has never been used for that purpose before. Article 48 deals with matters internal to the EU, Scotland has to use Article 49, which deals with states external to the EU and specifies how they can apply for membership.
It seems not to have entered his sharp legal mind that after a yes vote in September, the EU would be in a situation that it has never been in before. Which means “but no one has ever used Article 48 for that purpose before” explains itself. Does this really need to be pointed out to him? There would be an EU member state, the UK, where a part of that state had voted in favour of independence but which wasn’t yet independent. That’s obviously a situation which is internal to the EU, it’s not a question of external enlargement.
Perhaps there’s a wee corner of his lawyer’s brain that thinks that EU matters are reserved to Westminster and after a yes vote the Scottish Government won’t be allowed to talk to Brussels without a permission slip from David Cameron.
But onto the next box to check in his handy list of Euroscares. He blamed it all on Alex Salmond, even describing the referendum as Salmond’s “vanity project”. (I thought that phrase was copyright to someone on the Herald.) At this point, if we hadn’t realised already, it’s clear we’re dealing with a political speech in the sense that a very drunk guy in pub talks loudly to himself in the corner about the iniquitiesh of the shyshtem. He too will tell you he lovesh you before he tries to heidbutt you, and it’s best not to think about what he might do with a pointy stick.
All the tired old lines got trotted out, the ones that refuse to die even though they’ve had more stakes through the heart than Michael Forsyth’s career in politics. Alistair tells us we’ll be forced to sign up to the Schengen Treaty. This is the EU Treaty that has the purpose of removing border controls between EU member states. The one the UK has an opt out from that we won’t get on account of no one in Europe possessing an atlas. See Europe. See Scotland. See its only border. Guess who it’s with!
Scotland can’t use a single article of an EU treaty in order to gain smooth access to the EU, because the article has never been used for that purpose before. Meanwhile Westminster can take an entire EU treaty and use it for a purpose it’s never been used for before – the exact opposite purpose from the one the Treaty is intended to achieve. Alistair wants to use the Treaty which removed border controls across Europe to create border controls where there were none before.
Alistair is a Proud Scot. It’s not that he’s anti-Scotland’s interests, it’s just that he’s subsumed them in Westminster’s interests and has forgotten what Scotland’s interests actually are. It is in Scotland’s interests to ensure that we would have a smooth entry into the EU whether we choose to vote yes or no in September. Our national interest demands that we keep our options open. Alistair wants to close Scotland’s options down because it’s in Westminster’s interests.
He’s comfortable with the many contradictions he spouts because he forgets that there’s a Scottish perspective. He’s not Scottophobic, he’s Scottamnesiac. He’s forgotten that the nation of Scotland may have interests which are different from those of the Parliament on the banks of the Thames. So it’s not that he pokes the cat with a sharp stick out of badness. He does it out of love. Like that’s not weirder.
Alistair loves the Scottish cat really, but he thinks it would be better off declawed. And preferably have its teeth removed too. That way it will never inconvenience anyone who pokes it with a sharp stick.