Wednesday 14 November 2012

Guess who?

In an economic crisis millions of people suddenly decided to turn to an unconventional leader they thought had "charisma" because he connected with their fears, hopes and latent desire to blame others for their predicament.
Who are they talking about?

Alex Salmond?

No... Adolf Hitler.

(Told you there'd be Nazi references...)

Saturday 3 November 2012

Wishful thinking and the EU

So, after everyone else has offered their tuppenceworth on the debacle of the SNP's arrant wishful thinking on European Union membership, Union Jock has felt obliged to offer his.

In the lamentable absence of any real attempt by the SNP to determine the issues and obstacles facing an independent Scotland and EU membership, the nationalists have been clutching at any passing straws. They have naturally latched on to Graham Avery's written evidence on the foreign policy implications of, and for, a separate Scotland to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee. But his is only one of 14 submissions to the committee, some of which directly contradict his views. And even Avery admits that Scotland would be unlikely to be able to negotiate opt-outs from obligations such as the Schengen Agreement, something the nats haven't been trumpeting quite so much.

Avery appears to be in part using the common nationalist argument about Scots being existing EU citizens and how it would be unthinkable to deny them this citizenship against their will. But those of us in Scotland who are British (and hence EU) citizens could (if we wished) surely remain so, until and unless our UK citizenship was withdrawn from us - and that could only be done by an act of the UK parliament. A Scottish declaration of independence would not in itself change our citizenship. As a historical precedent, after Irish independence in 1922, Irish citizens remained (as far as the UK was concerned) British subjects until after the British Nationality Act of 1948 was passed, and even then existing British passport holders, anomg others, continued to hold their British status.

The SNP still seem to be clinging to their dubious assertion that both Scotland and the rest of the UK would be considered successor states by the EU and other international organisations. Nationalists like to point to the 1978 Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of Treaties, which decrees that states which result from "separation of parts of a state" are to be considered equal inheritors of the treaty rights and obligations of the original state. But that's not an EU convention, and it hasn't even been adopted widely internationally. In fact, only four EU countries (Czech Republic, Cyprus, Slovakia and Slovenia) have ratified it.

Precedents for multiple successor state are rather thin on the ground - as today's article in The Economist point out, in the cases of the UK and Ireland, India and Pakistan, the Soviet Union, Ethiopia and Eritrea and Sudan and South Sudan, there was only one successor state recognised internationally. In the rather more symmetrical case of the break-up of Czechoslovakia, neither the Czech Republic nor Slovakia were considered successor states by the UN. Certainly, the recent statements by prominent European figures such as Barroso, Garcia-Margallo and Reding give no indication that they are entertaining the possibility.