eu-scotlandIn our last post, we spoke to Matthew Elliott of the TaxPayers’ Alliance about a possible referendum on EU membership in the UK. Today, we’ll be looking at the same issue from a different perspective; this time we’re talking to Petros Fassoulas, chairman of the European Movement UK, an organisation calling for closer integration at the EU level.

Although it’s far from certain that there will be an EU referendum in Britain, the government’s signals on the issue have been nothing if not confusing:

Before we consider the likely results of any referendum, however, it might be interesting to ask what the effects might be on Europe as a whole. Nikolai, for example, sent us in a comment asking: “If the UK did hold a referendum and leave, how long before other national governments would be forced to do the same by a public egged on by some very strong nationalist parties across the EU?”

How would Mr Fassoulas respond?

Well, a referendum will certainly strengthen the hand of those right-wing nationalist factions in some member-states. It will give them a framework to argue that: ‘If country x can do it, we can do it ourselves.’ But I don’t think it will have a massive impact on most member-states, because the vast majority of the EU population, and certainly the mainstream of politicians in Europe, are pro-European. It will strengthen the hand of nationalists, but it won’t lead to the break-up of the EU.

Isn’t there also an argument that a British exit wouldn’t lead to the break-up of the EU because the UK is one of the largest member-states in the Union, and would therefore still be a global player independently? Smaller member-states might be more reluctant to strike out alone for this reason. We had, for example, the following comment sent in from Phoenix One UK: “The UK possesses one of the largest economies in the world. It is in the G8, the OECD, the WTO, the World Bank, and the UN Security Council. We are leading members of NATO and of the Commonwealth… The idea that without the EU the UK would be isolated is not just wrong. It is absurd.

I think this kind of view demonstrates a lack of understanding of how this new globalised world we live in operates. Several of the institutions mentioned were put together in the post-World War era, and the world has changed significantly since then. The UN Security Council, for example, is not what it used to be, and the situation in Syria demonstrates that the UK can’t do much against Russia and China. Meanwhile, the WTO has been unable to conclude a trade negotiation round for a significant amount of time, and we shouldn’t forget that the UK is consistently dropping in the rankings of world economies, slowly being bypassed by other countries.

We need to stop thinking about where we used to be, and start thinking about where we will be 20 years from now. I can guarantee that the UK will not be a world power in 20 years, not because its importance will have decreased, but because the relative importance of so many other countries is increasing. The more we obsess about where we used to be, the more we risk missing the boat.

Then, of course, there is the question of the upcoming referendum on Scottish independence in 2014. Hans sent us in the following comment: “The UK is a democratic country, so let their people decide… But there should also be another democratic option: if the Scots, the Welsh or the Northern-Irish want to leave the UK and join the EU as a separate state, they should be able to do that as well.

In some ways, the question of Scottish independence is a double-edged sword, and I’ll take my pro-European hat off for a moment to respond to Hans. On the one side, a possible departure will, in effect, reduce the size of the UK, not just in geographical terms but also in terms of resources and capabilities, so it will make a lot of people think twice about how viable their country might be outside of the EU. However, on the other hand, considering that a lot of the pro-EU vote would come from places like Scotland, there would potentially be less pro-Europeans left in the UK (or England, or whatever you would call this new state) to vote in favour of continued membership. So, it will be an interesting psychological and statistical exercise to see how this plays out.

Finally, if we imagine there will be an “In / Out” referendum on EU membership in the next parliament, then does a referendum on EU membership mean an automatic vote for “Out”?

Well, a lot depends on how the question is posed. There are those who advocate for a clear ‘In’ or ‘Out’ referendum, and there are those that argue that first the government should ask for a mandate to renegotiate powers from the EU, followed by a referendum on whether to accept those new membership terms or whether to leave the EU altogether.

If we have a situation where the government fails to renegotiate, it would be very dangerous, especially as it is very difficult to define exactly what a successful renegotiation would entail. On top of that, why should the other nations agree to renegotiate and unravel the treaties? The government will have to come back and say we didn’t succeed, and the chances of an ‘In’ vote in any referendum following that failure would be greatly reduced. This promise of a renegotiation is therefore a false one, it is counter-productive and it will result in a lose-lose situation.

What do YOU think? Without Scotland, would the UK still be a global player outside the EU? Even with Scotland, does the UK still wield the kind of influence it used to? Or will it have to accept a gradual decline in status over the coming decades? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

Image Credits: CC / Flickr – viralbus

48 comments Post a commentComment


  1. Tudor Nicolae Nimara

    and do “nation” states still try to wield influence through power rather than build it through jointly shared efforts?

  2. Peter Schellinck

    Our society model must adopt to today’s world. What is Britain? You have Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Scots, Welsh, Cornish, etc. Let’s focus on the people and the needs of each social society not the abstract state. Internet has no boarders, why should Europe?

  3. David Platt

    Scotland is a burden on England but unlike the EU its a burden the English are happy to have, a union is like a marrage you have to want it regardless. This is not how the UK sees EU

    • Morag Keith

      I find it offensive to describe the position of Scotland in the UK as a marriage. A modern marriage would be a partnership of two equals with mutual respect. England’s attitude to Scotland (as, indeed, you have managed to convey in two sentences) is one of condescension. By contrast, the EU is a partnership with respect. That’s why the English hate it, they think the other MSs should be doffing their cap.
      In 5 years, I expect to see a thriving independent Scotland In Europe and a shrinking England sitting outside of Europe and dependent upon a corrupt financial industry.

    • James McLaren

      @David Platt

      Do you have any justification on the statement that “Scotland is a burden on England.”

      I would be interested if you can give us some references on that.

      I can give you several from official UK Gov documents and analyses that say it is the other way round.

      Scotland subsidises the rest of the UK’s consituent countries. It is has the second largest GDP per head in the UK, second only to the SE of England which includes the City of London, where a number of Scottish institutions have their HQs thereby further subsidising the “UK” I can find a reference for the HM Treasury reports (GERS); Government Expenditure and Revenues Scotland.
      Another “hidden subsidy” is that of generated elecricity.

      Scotland produces about 12% of the electricity generated in the UK but pays about 50% of the cost of the National Grid. This is because these charges are calculated based on distance from London. In fact generators close to London receive a feed-in subsidy.

      London has a lower unit cost of electricity than Scotland.

      Scotland pays about £1.5 billion more to Westminster for the MOD than it receives. In fact this gap has increased under Cameron, despite promises to rebalance the books.

      The books are cooked and we know it. You evidently don’t

    • Angus J Stewart

      I thought this was a serious platform for debate – until I read that I and my fellow Scots are a burden on the English. I wonder why the UK Prime Minister and almost everyone in the Westminster village is fighting furiously to hold the Union together – if we are such a burden?
      It’s time to do some realistic research into our respective economies and opinions Mr. Platt.
      You apparently speak for us when you say “This is not how the UK sees EU”. You may not be aware that the general Scottish attitude is much more pro-European than your claim about the so-called UK attitude. Scotland is a small nation of some 5 million people in a Union with a neighbouring nation of more than 59 million so in the event of Independence it would be no great challenge to remain in a Union with other nations large and small. At least with our resources I doubt that Scotland would be a burden to Europe!

    • mackydee1977

      Are you Scottish? Why do you think Scotland is a burden the English are happy with. I dont see any evidence of this. Scotland is a big burden on Britain because they demand (and get) such unsustainable things as Free Education (UNI), Free Prescriptions and more – the only way they can afford this is with money from England. I think you will find that MOST English people will quickly and without second thought “wave goodbye” to Scotland.

    • Mike McKie

      Ad are you BNP?

  4. Morag Keith

    Petros makes very valid points – particularly about the UK position being about looking backwards to their halcyon days instead of looking forwards. That’s one of the reasons that Scotland is reassessing it’s positon in the UK. Scotland is far more European in its outlook – looking forwards and aiming to learn and improve.
    The UK position with regard to EU membership must be fully explored before the Scottish Indy Referendum. Mr Cameron’s U turns could result in hia dizzying spin when he realises that an independent Scotland in Europe plus a UK withdrawal will lead to a lot of movement of pro-EU companies in the RUK.
    For those who say that the UK is strong enough to stand alone due to these historical alliances – are you sure they would still hold these positions without Scotland?
    Europe would find a friendly and participatory MS in Scotland – we don’t have the UK’s superiority complex. We would work as a partner, contributing and also learning. Scotland looks forward to it.

    • Morag Keith

      not hia….just ‘a’ (typo)

  5. kamui_69

    The big strong illusion in the UK is that they believe that they are still an Empire as the XIX century’s one. Contrary to France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Russia and so on, UK did not lost a war in the XX century and some political leaders seems to think that member of the Commonwealth like India, South Africa, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada or the Pakistan are a kind of remaining colonies but it’s not. I was astonished by some declaration of the Cameron’s government saying that India which received some financial aid from UK do not have the right to conclude military contracts with French industry. (http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2851489.ece)
    This kind of thinking is absurd.
    Nowadays, the what we can called “US special relation with UK” is not strong like it was in the past. Today US are more interested by Asia-Pacific, South America and Africa than with the UK (and the Continental Europe).

    So what is the power remaining to the UK ? The financial place of the City, the UK army (less and less), the use of English as a national language (that is not a strong advantage when we see that the level of the UK’s education system for the Foreign Languages which is very important in the current globalization stage) not really more than that.

    So EU with the NATO and the UN is the strengh of UK. But I think that the Europhobia, because of the illusion that I explained just before, is more an English problem than a Wales, Scottish or Northern Irish problem.

  6. Kurt Koenig

    Well Scotland must know what it wants. It must be a fair consideration. I sincerely hope that it stays with Europe.
    And no. Scotland is not a “burden” on England…

    And Europe is no burden for England either. It is a great chance.
    Yes. It has its disadvantages, too. But what on earth does not have two sides? I guess a peaceful Europe is worth some burdens… For everyone.

    Well. In Europe it would be nice if England kept its influence in Europe, also accepting other countries’ influence in return. That would be nice. I -as an outsider to this question – like England, but also Scotland and Europe as a whole.

  7. Bill MacDiarmid

    The usual superiority stuff from David Platt. Contrary to your imaginings Scotland never has been and is not subsidised by England(sic) or more appropriately the rest of the UK. Scotland is in surplus with a healthy resources to population ratio. When we leave the sinking ship you will realise the ponzi scheme that is the City of London.

  8. Wee Scamp

    Believe me. The Scots are just as fed up with the EU’s interfering tendencies as others in the UK are. The latest piece of nonsense to come out of Brussels is proposed legislation to enable Brussels to control N Sea oil and gas health and safety regulations. The proposals have all been written by EU Green party members.

    We didn’t ask for this. Brussels just decided to go ahead all on its own. Of course it has no experience in offshore safety but this won’t stop them.

    In the same vein some fools in Brussel want to revise vehicle MOT rules to make it illegal for any cars that have been modified in any way at all to be permitted on the road. Under EU rules we all have to be the same you see.

    So I wouldn’t be at all sure that an independent Scotland would vote to join the EU. I certainly won’t.

  9. Lefteris Trl

    scotland should be indepedent no matter what..different nation different history…show some respect to the scots..

  10. Ozcan

    it is highly remarcable how this union intensifies the ethnic diversities of this so called European continent.

  11. Ozcan

    We could not free Cyprus from Turkey now we try to free Scotland from the UK, Where is the focus?

  12. Nikolai Holmov

    There are many interesting issues should Scotland leave the UK.

    Naturally issues such as UN, EU, WTO membership etc arise but there is more than that.

    I live in Ukraine which only 21 years ago separated from the USSR.

    If we take the issue of the Russian Black Sea Fleet for example, this had to be divided between Russia and Ukraine and the servicemen who served on the vessels had to choose to be part of the Russian BSF or the Ukrainian BSF.

    What of the UK military establishments in Scotland and the servicemen and women who are Scottish?

    Take that a step further. What of all the Scottish civil servants. There is a disproportionately high number in the FCO for example. Would they want to continue working for the FCO and remain in the careers they are and the stability of an old organisation, or would they want to be part of something new like a Scottish Foreign Office? Grandfathered rights on the pensions, salaries, perks etc?

    Returning to the example of the Black Sea Fleet, when the negotiations took place between a newly independent Ukraine and Russia, there were more Ukrainians negotiating on behalf of Moscow, having chosen to continue their careers in the Russian MFA rather than the newly formed Ukrainian MFA, than there were Russians negotiating on behalf of Russia.

    What sort of brain-drain of established and well educated people will be lost to one side or another when they must make decisions on their careers?

    If the majority of smart career orientated civil servants choose to remain with the FCO, how well will Scotland fair in their negotiations with other States and international organsiations when fronted or advised by a second tier civil service?

    Returning to the EU, will Scotland, as all new member states have to promise, move over to the Euro and be forced to dump Sterling as their currency?

    Does it want to be answerable to the monetary and fiscal policies of The Bank of England or the ECB as those are the choices it faces?

    No doubt none of this is insurmountable should Scotland become independent, however it will take a lot of very clever people to negotiate everything at the same time. Considering the brain-drain that is likely to occur, you can’t but help expect a serious error along the way.

    • Angus J Stewart

      Nikolai you raise some interesting points, all of which have to be dealt with if Independence comes. However, are you suggesting that either Russia or Ukraine now regrets being independent nations? Is there a movement towards a Union?
      All nations seeking Independence must surely go through a settling down period while the changes take place. I agree that service personnel and civil servants must be free to choose which Nation they serve.

      Would Scotland have to adopt the Euro currency? There is great debate about this but on the understanding that Scotland is already part of the EU (as a constituent partner-country of the UK) could it be described as a “new” EU member if an independent Nation? Does the EU have a mechanism to remove Scotland from EU membership if it becomes independent but wishes to remain in the EU? It would help if the EU at the highest level could confirm the answer to that conundrum.
      Finally, Ireland gained its independence and doubtless had many of the problems you have highlighted – but I don’t see any demand from the Irish people to return to London (Westminster) rule!

    • Nikolai Holmov

      To answer your question regarding some lamenting independence then the answer is undoubtedly yes.

      Some to a greater degree and others to a lesser degree and some not at all.

      This issues are numerous, cultural, language, business etc. to the point that Ukraine has recently signed a FTA with the CIS nations with which it was once part of “the whole” and with Asian Pacific nations like Vietnam beginning accession talks with the Eurasian Union, the appeal to Ukraine to also head in that direction will become greater. Quite possibly greater than that of joining the EU on purely economic grounds.

      Add to that Ukraine’s declaration to seek Observer status with the Shaghai Cooperation Organisation this week, and the view eastwards of which it was always a part, becomes more and more attractive than that of the view westwards.

      The question therefore, is just how much an independent Scotland may rue its independence 21 years on as that is a question which Ukraine is now starting to ask itself in certain circles within society.

    • Angus J Stewart

      Past circumstances in Ukraine cannot be directly compared with Scotland’s current place in the UK but I think I can understand what is happening. Gaining independence does not, to me, mean isolation or turning your back on your old neighbours. The key point is surely that the path Ukraine is taking will be decided by the people of Ukraine – even if that means good trading relations with those from whom it has gained independence. I certainly don’t see an independent Scotland doing anything other than strengthening its trading ties with the other nations in the British Isles and the EU. Decisions are currently made based on the overheated economy of London & the South East of England – which often have harmful effects on the Scottish economy. The principle desire is for a recognised nation to stand on it own feet, to take the important decisions itself and to be brave enough to take whatever the consequences may turn out to be. That surely is the right of all nations.

    • Nikolai Holmov

      I am not in any way trying to undermine the right to self determination. What Scotland does is a matter for the Scots and the Scots alone.

      My point, such as it is, is that is will have a lot of unintended and unanticipated consequences and independence as a sovereign state may not, after 20 years or so, be the Utopia that it may appear.

      That said, I am not Scottish, or even live within the EU boundaries, so I have no interest in whether Scotland becomes independent or not, or the consequences it may or may not have within the EU machinery.

  13. Peter Schellinck

    May be we should just ask ourselves how the Scottish independence would effect the EU as such. This debate actually goes beyond the issue of the impact on a referendum in the UK, which is becoming more and more academic. What ever happens the outcome will not solve the issues on how the EU should progress in implementing the current treaties and making the EU project work.

    If we look at today’s Europe, it is shaped by our capability and the foundation of the many treaties to unite the continent. As it grows and makes the transition from one perspective to another so we see more complexities, more shades of gray, more opportunities and challenges. We need the courage to see Europe as it is and let the EU central structure define the nature of needs to be met, services to be provided and problems to be tackled in the total field of concern.

    We should hence first make the EU work as it was set out to do. The installation of the commission and council allows all citizens to be represented. Hence, cut out the middle layer and we’ll have a strong central EU government with many regional and local clusters, like an independent Scotland, a Flanders, a Catalonia, etc. Do we really still need national boarders? History has proven that they are artificial. What counts are the people living where they are and organizing them to benefit of a well structured system. Just let the regions relate directly to the EU parliament. After all we voted them into office, so let them do their job and cut out duplication.

    With or without Scotland, the UK means what? More over the global role it might wish to play will remain a desire, as many other population groups will have gained superior impact over time on the world economy. Whether we like it or not, evolution is a fact as well as the UKs’ gradual decline in status. If we don’t fix Europe we’ll fade away as we become less then 9% of the worlds’ population. Is that what we want?

    • James McLaren

      I am not sure why you should wish to “punch above your weight.”

      A bit pre Post-Empire to me.

      The whole object of Government is to work for the betterment of its inhabitants and not to impose by might its decisions and will on others.

      That will do fine for me and, I think, most Scots.

      Less strutting, more engagement and negotiation.

      What is wrong with that or, do you still see plots all around you?

    • Angus J Stewart

      Perhaps you could help me understand your statement by defining what the burden is to the UK and – if you can be really honest – what the UK would lose if it was outside the EU.

    • James McLaren

      You are Davis Platt in disuise, a slow learner or a Troll.

      Fess up, whatever your name and tell us who you are what justification you have for your statement?

  14. Eusebio Manuel Vestias Pecurto

    Todos nós sabemos que a Inglaterra é dona do seu nariz agora eu espero que a Escócia não ande de casamento com a Grã-Bretanha a Escócia deve encontrar uma solução politica para a sua independência com os Ingleses e entrar no espaço da UE

  15. Bill McDougall

    The debate over Scotland and independence is not about sepratism as opponents claim. At the moment Scotland is separate as it has no say in European decision making that countries such as the Republic of Ireland have. The EU has its critics but at the very least every country has the right to be heard. On the issue of the Euro and whether an independent Scotland would have to join well Scotland has been part of a single currency for three hundred years called the pound and no one asked the people if they wanted that either! The one question no one covers in the UK referendum debate is what would happen if Scotland or Wales voted to stay in the EU and England voted to leave?

  16. James McLaren

    @Nikolai Holmov
    28 August, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Just a thought Nikolai, has the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ghana. Nigeria. Jamaica, Tanganyika, Burma, South Africa, India, Malta, Malasia, Singapore, Cyprus, Pakistan or even the Irish Republic (despite their economic predicament, from which they are emerging faster and stronger than the UK) pleaded to be brought back under the control of Mother England?

    I suspect that the trjectory will be for an increasingly prosperous Scotland in 20 or so years from Indpendence and that some of the bordering parts of England will be trying to , or have already succeded, in joining Scotland.

    The Northern parts of England are badly served by London as well.

    • Nikolai Holmov

      I have no idea about the nations you state but most seem to be part of the Commonwealth still.

      I am not and have not stated that it will be a good, bad or indifferent thing for Scotland to be independent.

      I have simply highlighted the experience of Ukraine during the negotiations for independence, the loss of established and competent people choosing the other side of the border when careers were to be chosen, ergo significant brain-drain when it was much needed, and the fact that looking back 21 years later, many in Ukraine have seen no benefits from independence.

      None, parts or all of that experience may also become the experience of the Scots.

      As I have said above however, I am not Scottish and neither do I live in an EU nation, so what eventually happens, independence or not, really has no effect as far as I am concerned.

      I have, as the expression goes, no dog in that fight whatsoever.

  17. James McLaren

    Nikolai

    I am sorry if I seemed aggressive in my resposnse. I was not my intention.

    You make a point about people of “talent” choosing to move to England. That has been happening for over 300 years. One of the fundamental reasons for wanting our indpendence back is that we wish to correct the economic anomalies which create and sustain that intellectual inbalance. We can only do that by way of the economic levers of control.

    Scotland has 15 universities for 5 million people and when England had only Oxford and Cambridge we had 4 and arguably 5. At the moment 4 of our Unversities are in the World’s top 100.

    Since 2007 about 800,000 Ebgliag residents have moved to Scotland. I suggest that they find the social democracy culture of Scotland is to their liking and many are supporters of independence.

    Commonwealth; yes all those counries are still in the “Commonwealth” but that is only a “social club” and has no economic of political significance or power or miltary significance. It is not like the CIS post USSR.

    I am pleased that someone from Ukraine, who writes excellent English has taken his time to opine of a small country many thousands of kilometres away.

    One point that has not been made, either in the Article, or in the cpomment thread is that the Union that is the UK is a perfect example of how a good idea has become corrupted by the larger parter to the detriment of the smaller. This has been happening in continuum for 300 years but only now, thanks to the Internet has been elucidated, quantified and the results diffused by way of by-passing a “unionist” pravadesque Press centred on and manipulated by the London Establishment.

    Thanks again

    James

  18. James McLaren

    Nikolai

    The experience of Scotland in its Union with England should be a warning to the EU on how not to manage a partnership of different sized members.

    My guess is that they will look at the causes of the dissolution on the UK Union and conclude that the Internet must be controlled.

  19. catherine Benning

    What the Scots have to decide when committing themselves to stay in the UK as part and parcel, of the UK, or, choosing to have independence is… do they want to have a more US style capitalism in their country, or, a slightly more socialist way of life with Europe? Because that is the choice they have, whether they realise it or not.

    The English parliament is signed up to a closer union with the US financial and social system. It began under Thatcher which heightened under Blair and this, heir to Blair, we have in Cameron is committed by his parties manifesto to closer ties to the US on every level.

    Which is the reason they have sold the English NHS service out to privatisation using US insurance companies as the roll models and masters as overseers, who will make billions off of the tax payers funds. It has been a secretive deal and they intend to keep it that way.

    Here is a Guardian newspaper article telling it as it really is.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/27/nhs-privatisation-toxic-world-healthcare

    And this is what is happening to the people thrown out of work in the UK today as our government follows the rampant US Capitalist system it longs for us to have.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/26/yvonne-roberts-working-people-hit-by-cuts?newsfeed=true

    From my point of view, the Scots would be losing an opportunity of a lifetime by not grabbing at independence for themselves.

    And as another poster wrote above, if the Scots were such a drain on the English government financially, would they really be fighting tooth and nail to hold onto them. …I don’t think so.

  20. Philip Smith

    Statements like “With or without Scotland, the UK means what?” miss the point that Scotland is a defining component of the United Kingdom. If Scotland separates parliametarily, even if not regally, from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom will cease to exist. Two new states will have been formed.

  21. Mike McKie

    Philip Smith, of all the posts submitted here, you make the most poignant of remarks: the UK ceases to exist without Scotland.

    Regarding brain-drain, the overarching feat of Scotland is the sheer ratio of high calibre graduates emanating from Scottish (world class) universities. From engineering to statecraft, Scots are recruited to the highest levels of industry, commerce and government administration.

    Regardless of prestige, the critical dimension to the question of secession remains grounded in how the UK writ large and Scotland as a separate entity, wish to approach and develop their political economies.

    Scotland leans accross the Channel in this regard, whilst the UK leans across the Pond. Both forms are capitalist, though the former regards keynesian monetarist theory as less magic than originally proferred; whilst the latter insists the magic can make a come-back.

    So the question must be to consider where Scotland’s political economy interests best lie – with a magic market or with a European wealth of nations? Presently, neither appear particularly attractive which beggars the question: what is in the best interest of the Scot?

    • catherine benning

      @Mike Mckie:

      Scotland has all but rid itself of the Conservative party. It either votes Labour or SNP. And therefore is it likely they will want to cling relntlessly to an even harder political swing toward rampant right wing politics of the Mit Romney camp? That would appear unlikely from where I stand.

      Therefore if the Scottish people want a more centre left or even left wing rule, they have little alternative other than to vote against remaining part of the UK.

      If this creates a situation where the UK, as an entity, no longer exists, so be it. Evolution is always a shift toward facing up to profit as well as loss.

      However, another thought on this propective change is, if England or the UK has a referendum of in or out of the EU, will those people in England, who cling closely to remaining within the EU want to pack up their bits and move north of the border?

      I, for one, fear greatly a stronger union with the US than we presently have. As a British resident of the USA for many years, I have no illusions about what it means to be extradited to that land of the free. And under no circumstances would I wish to remain in England outside of the EU, whilst Westminster sells itself as the fifty first state.

      What will Scotland do if thousands of Englishmen want to set up home in Scotalnd? Will they be rejected?

    • Mike McKie

      Secession, in any country, is about identity, no more no less. And on that basis, I ask Scots to look deep and question whether identity is at risk of being lost. I argue that it is not under threat and therefore, it is a question of political economy. The left and the centre-left, need to do a much better job of levering greater political economy autonomy from Whitehall, which is highly possible. This is in the interest of Scots and Scotland.

  22. Georgi Hrisstof

    Britain believes the task is not true and the decision will be the wrong answer. He lives in a conservative model, and under the crown of glory and grandeur in an already bygone time. Sure, it has created its Island Union wants an extra European Union as a bonus, which dominates and determines the rules. Willing to form contracts others to follow. “Myopia” is a disease of the eyes of the political elite and closed in feudal hypocrisy, and fear of the dynamics of change. In an attempt to applause last possible loss audience …

  23. Stuart Mack

    The referendum on Scottish independence is a backward step that would take the UK back to its pre-1601 days, when in my opinion the UK needs to be going forward and working towards creating a democratic Europe with a common culture.

  24. Matt dovey

    Glad for the scots that democracy is working for them and they are getting their referendum on independence. I wish it was working for the rest of the UK and we could have a referendum on our membership of the eu. Regardless of what Cameron says we will never get it.
    I hope the scots vote to remain part of the UK. But that’s up to them.
    I am getting fed up with hearing from certain people commenting on forums such as this that the English/ Westminster are to blame of all Scotland’s ills. Don’t the Scottish people vote in general elections to? If your feeling hard done by by Westminster/England shouldn’t you talk to your MP

  25. Matt dovey

    Milhail and Stuart what are you talking about the empire for. No one i know talks about Britain having an empire, that boys is all in your heads. The empire is only ever mentioned by people like Milhail during debates about the eu. If you to consider the English superior I think you both need to travel more. Try France there’s a nice superiority complex there. If considering your country is some thing to be proud of does that make you superior. And yes having a monarchy and nuclear weapons does make the UK some what different. But so does the fact that generations of Englishman and women have worked and dead to make this country what it is today. To make the united kingdom a modern prosperous place. The pride i feel for the united kingdom is for all those people who worked hard for generation to build this country. This country was built without the eu and other country’s tax money in the form of eu grants. The very reasons that Milhail was so desperate to leave his own country for are the reasons I’m proud of the UK. If you didn’t get on well in England Milhail then I’m very sorry. But mate take a look at yourself sounds like your the one who couldn’t fit in. We have tens of thousands of immigrantants in the UK and most do ok. What was your problem. Go somewhere else or even go back to your own country and try and build that to a country half as good as England. Then see how you feel when someone from another country bitches about it.
    Stuart you have described my worse nightmare. England and the rest of the uk should have nothing more to do with the eu. The eu is history, the concept is out of date. The global economy has over taken it. The economic crisis will finish sooner or later. They always do.

  26. kris muir

    I think scotland shouldent be independent because we will lose a lot of money and the econmy will go down so were best staying united as one.

  27. Tom Maplethorpe

    I beleive the scottish are no diffrent from the english, in that they have lost there sense of identity under the union jack! I think scotland should stay as they are right now and have there fingers crossed cameron does give a referendum on europe. I would rather my st georges flag shaddowed by a the jack over the euro flag

  28. Tom Maplethorpe

    Purely because I dont count myself as european. But I will say I thought being british was a few islands in the atlantic sticking up together against our enemies. I think we all know who rules europe and its Brussels! And they will do whats right for there people and weve seen over in southern europe and republic of Ireland the collapse of the countrys. Whos to say that wouldnt happen again to maybe scotland! Then I will laugh my arse off! Posted york england ;)

  29. Ronald Dewar

    If the EU would consider an Independant Scotland to be a new state and be required to apply for EU membership Would the also consider the new UK to also be a new state in the same way as it will no longer be the country who origionaly joined the EU

  30. David Widdowson

    What about a Referendum for the people of england

  31. Stan Smith

    The SNP is campaigning to make Scotland independent, and break all ties with Westminster.

    If successful, decisions on all the important issues will be made by a Scottish government, for the people, by the people of Scotland.
    All sounds very grand!

    SO WHY, OH WHY are the SNP so keen to go running cap-in-hand to Brussels,
    and beg to join the EU?

    What happened to all those grand ideals of being in control of our own affairs?

    Having Brussels controlling every aspect of our lives doesn’t sound like independence to me.

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