EU queue is Unionist woo, guff, barf, drivel and crud

I thought I’d expand a bit on the idiocies that Unionists are excitedly telling themselves in an effort to persuade one another that Scottish independence is a non-starter. It’s bad enough when they tell one another nonsense of course, but Unionist nonsense has a habit of appearing in the pages of a newspaper and on the screen of a national broadcaster as unvarnished truth. Because when it comes to exercising the critical faculties certain media outlets are more like couch potatoes than marathon runners where claims made by the Unionist establishment are concerned. On the other hand, claims made by independence supporters, when the same same Unionists deign to notice them at all, are subject to a dissection that is all but indistinguishable from reductio ad absurdum.

The claim du jour, there’s me coming over all European, which is terribly appropriate for the topic at hand, is that an independent Scotland would have to go to the back of the queue for EU membership. This is true because a right wing Spanish MEP said so. He might once have been besties with Ruth Davidson, but the fact is that Esteban González Pons no more speaks for the EU or the European Parliament than the SNP’s Alyn Smith does.  Although that doesn’t prevent any pronouncement from a minor Spanish political figure being plastered all over the pages of Scotland’s Unionist press. Funnily enough these same publications don’t treat Alyn Smith’s pronouncements on Scotland’s chances within the EU with the same degree of gravity. They don’t even treat pro-Scottish statements from very senior EU figures with the same degree of gravity as statements from right wing Spanish MEPs whose influence is limited even in their own offices. Instead they drop them to the bottom of a very deep and dark well and hope no one notices.

It’s worthwhile looking at this latest claim in detail. The claim is that an independent Scotland would have to go to the back of the queue for membership, behind Albania, Serbia, and Turkey. There are a number of assumptions in this assertion, none of which are well founded. Which is a kind way of saying that Unionists who make the claim are really ought to be paying more attention to the Trumpton firemen’s theme song, which is pitched at approximately the same intellectual level as people who swallow the claim. The reality is that the EU queue is Unionist woo, guff, barf, drivel and crud.

Firstly the claim assumes that Scotland will not hold an independence referendum until after the UK has formally left the EU. This is by no means certain. In the increasingly likely circumstance of a second independence referendum being called, it will be held before the UK formally leaves the EU. That means at any time within two years of Theresa May invoking Article 50 and giving the EU formal notice of the UK’s intention to leave. If Scotland votes in favour of independence in a referendum held within that time frame, the UK will still be a member of the EU, and so will Scotland.

Given that Scotland will have voted for independence while the UK isn’t yet out of the EU door and therefore the UK is shortly to become two states, there is absolutely no reason at all why the EU can’t decide that for the purposes of EU membership, iScotland inherits the UK’s existing membership. After all, it would be pretty nonsensical for the EU to insist that Scotland needs to leave along with the rest of the UK only to make an application to join later. Scotland is already in full compliance with EU membership requirements, and it serves no one’s interests to insist that iScotland leaves then rejoins. The EU has already proven that it can be flexible where circumstances demand it, such as when the former East Germany was admitted as a part of an existing member state.

This scenario has the added advantage of by-passing any possible Spanish objection. The EU could simply say that if a member state is leaving the EU, but a part of that member state is becoming independent and wishes to remain a member, it can do so. Since there is zero prospect of Spain, one of the most pro-EU countries, voting to leave the EU, Spain could agree to this then say that it’s an entirely separate set of circumstances which has no effect on its stance versus Catalonia.

But even supposing that an independent Scotland ended up outside the EU, that still doesn’t mean that we go to the back of the queue and would have to wait for the applications of Turkey, Macedonia, or Albania to be processed before ours could be considered. The queue for EU membership is not like a queue in the chip shop, where the person who has been waiting longest gets annoyed when a newcomer barges in and demands to be served with a special fish supper and acquis sauce right away.

In fact it’s safe to say that the queue for EU membership is not a queue at all. New member states are admitted when they meet the membership requirements, they are not admitted in order of application. Turkey applied to join the EU in 1987. Since then Poland and Hungary have been admitted even though they hadn’t applied to join in 1987. In fact the EU has since admitted a slew of countries which weren’t even independent sovereign states when Turkey first made its application, Slovenia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia spring to mind.

The fact is that Scotland is a highly developed Western European democracy which is already in compliance with the EU’s membership requirements, and would continue to be in compliance with them even if we became independent a couple of months after the UK as a whole had formally exited the EU. Harmonising a country’s domestic legislation with EU laws and regulations takes many years, but Scotland is already there. That means that our application for membership of the EU would be relatively simple and straightforward. We’d be at the head of any queue, such as the queue is, not at the end of it.

The bottom line is, if you genuinely believe that the EU won’t admit an independent Scotland into membership until Turkey is already a member, then you have the IQ of a doner kebab and you really ought to stop embarrassing yourself.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984

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0 thoughts on “EU queue is Unionist woo, guff, barf, drivel and crud

  1. The thing is Paul, we would have to have voted Yes first before that scenario could happen.

    Let’s say that your a No voter and a Remain voter and that you want to stay in the EU even at the expense of the UK Union. Before you cast your vote in a second referendum who will you believe?

    The media telling you that you will be out and at the back of the queue or the Scottish Government saying Nah don’t worry it will all be alright and we’ll be in?

    That’s the question Paul, what deal or promise can we get before another referendum, this could prove crucial to winning or losing. If we lose then we’re out for good.

    It’s not me needing convincing it’s the No/Remain voter if there more committed to the EU than the UK.

    • Thepnr, let’s not forget that this time we shall have 56 seasoned SNP MPs campaigning for Independence.
      Once it becomes clear, if it is not clear already, that Scotland (and NI, Gibraltar and Wales) will be excluded from the Brexit talks, Scotland’s pro Independence MPs will be free to turn their attention to the Independence campaign.
      We have some astounding talent in their ranks who now are street savvy to Westminster and its devious ways.
      Angus Robertson, Joanna Cherry, and Alec Salmond debating with Ruth Davidson, Wullie Rennie, and Kezia Dugdale . I’ll watch that one.
      I doubt that Alistair Darling and the Clunking Fist will make an appearance this time, although I fervently hope that they do.
      I have no doubt at all that if we time Indyref 2 strategically, September 2018 sounds about right to me, 18 months into the Brexit pissin’ contest, two known unknowns will be a lot clearer.
      Firstly we’ll get a sense of what Hard Brexit means, the rUK economy on life support, travel, work, and retirement in Europe in serious danger, and secondly EU member states will be in no mood to do rUK any favours.
      Conversely I don’t anticipate that the EU would provide Scotland with a cast iron guarantee of continuing membership, but I’d be surprised if out talented team of WM MPs could not extract some form of MOU on continuing membership following a successful Yes vote.

      Many more unknown unknowns will crawl out from under the Brubble of Whitehall and Westminster by then.
      The Madness of Trump, England’s Special Appeasement, the disastrous impact of Ruth Davidson’s Tory Government’s austerity cuts in Scotland (£2 billion of cuts to welfare, disability, unemployment, and child/working families’ tax credits)
      Many No’s and Leavers will have been given ample food for thought over the next 20 months or so. Perhaps they will think again.

      There will be nowhere for Project Fear to turn, no threats, embargos, and plagues of locus that Blair McDougall and John McTernan can hurl at us.
      A Memorandum of Understanding between the EU and the Scottish Government offering continuing membership of the EU post Independence would be the ticket.
      If I were a NO voter, but Remain, I might want to remain in the UK and fight to rejoin the EU at a later date. But somehow I don’t think that many Remainers believe that there is any way back following Brexit. Rejoining after Brexit will never be an option.
      England is out, for good.

    • I understand Angela Merkel is going to have a statement to make on that very subject shortly. If the rumour I saw on WOS threads yesterday is true. I also suspect timing is involved in this instance. We’ve heard some pretty positive statements concerning Scotland from both Verhofstadt and Juncker of recent times, but I suspect the gloves will truly come off when A50 is triggered, negotiations begin and the EU officials will consider themselves free to make statements concerning EU residents.

      We’ll see soon enough. 😉

      • The Truth is out There, Sam. We are too big, too rich, too clever, for either of them to give up.
        rUk without Scottish estate, resources, and people, will be even more isolated and a lot smaller, a lot poorer, and a lot stupider during Brexit talks. Merkel knows this.
        Conversely, why would the other 27 EU partners not welcome too big too rich too clever Scotland as the continuer state?
        It’ll be interesting to hear her statement right enough. Ooft! diplomacy?

  2. Pingback: EU queue is Unionist woo, guff, barf, drivel and crud | speymouth

  3. Fully agree with you except for one thing. Are you assuming we would have our own currency at or shortly after independence ? I know there are many advocates of a seperate Scottish currency but that issue is not settled yet .

  4. There’s also the question of the Great Repeal bill. If we leave it too late, until the UK actually leaves, we could find all the EU legislation we have signed up to and which underpins Holyrood has been repealed/ditched/trodden underfoot or converted to English law, with probably a sneaky clause inserted that band us from ever holding or taking part in another referendum. Timing is crucial. And yes, a few more strong hints that the EU door would be wide open to us is essential.

  5. Great post Paul and bang on the money.

    No, there is no queue, only a fit for compliance or not. Scottish citizens are ALREADY EU citizens, our laws are ALREADY EU compliant and there is NO mechanism to remove EU citizens from the EU against their will. Scotland is party to two unions, but make no mistake, is a country in its own right. A country which voted quite conclusively to retain its membership of the European Union.

    There are two possibilities for doing so: Either –

    a. the compromise position put forward by the SG to HMG in an attempt to retain both unions, but which WILL require a UK federal solution where Scotland is concerned. That would be the federal solution Scots were promised last indyref, but were denied by those who made the promise. Of necessity powers over immigration, foreign affairs, agriculture and fisheries, (as a minimum) would require repatriation to make this work. Possibly also border control (laughs madly), and a broader band of tax controls etc. Fuck it! Basically near FFA.


    b. Independence

    Take a wild guess which would be easier?

    As for the supposed laziness of the media. I think we’re all aware its neither laziness, nor an excuse. It feeds a narrative that suits the agenda and editorial line of the publisher.

    It is simple dishonesty. When people needed a fair and ‘FREE’ press most, the press abandoned them en masse. I have some time for Kevin McKenna, but when he asked recently for the YES movement to cut editorial staff some slack,because there’s hunners oot there who are sympathetic to the independence cause? I’m afraid I’d fall into the category of those who weren’t exactly moved by the plea.

    Its not a FREE PRESS when the media shackles its own people. It is not only over zealous government whom the press should fear apparently, but their own publishers, their employers. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, is it?

    No more need be said about publishers, for they aren’t worth the candle.

  6. The yoons will try to box Scotland on. In vain, the Claim lf Right overcomes any chicanery.
    Never trust the UK-yoons! I suppose May will engage Trump and Erdogan to issue threats!!
    Davidson is getting shriller by the minute screeching about fratricidal conflicts.
    Fevered mind indeed!
    I wonder if Trump will ask to station US troops in Scotland to assist in defending the nuclear sites at Faslane just along the road from his golf courses? After all, the Holy Loch was an American nuclear base granted by the Tory regime in the 60’s.

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