Tuesday 29 January 2013

Your Scotland, Not Your Referendum.

So, King Eck's Prime Minister has taken it upon herself to inform European foreign ministers that SNPland would like to distance itself from those nasty English Tory Europhobes. Apart from the sheer chutzpah of it, yet again the nationalists are showing their true colours by extolling the virtues of one union, while ignoring the same virtues in the other.
Following Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech on Wednesday I would like to make the position of the Scottish Government clear as regards the European Union and Scotland’s place in it.
As you know, a referendum will be held in Scotland in the latter part of 2014 on the question of independence for Scotland.  The Edinburgh Agreement signed by the First Minister and the Prime Minister on 15 October last year sets out an agreed path towards that referendum which will be adhered to by both the United Kingdom and Scottish Governments.  That agreement is important in the European context as it provides reassurance to Member States that the outcome of the referendum will be respected by both sides and that in the event of a vote in favour of independence the Scottish and United Kingdom Governments will work together constructively to implement the democratic will of the Scottish people.
Actually, your so-called "Edinburgh Agreement" (no, not that one) says that the two governments are committed to continue to work together constructively in the light of the outcome, whatever it is, in the best interests of the people of Scotland and of the rest of the United Kingdom. Perhaps La Sturgeon needs reminding that the Scottish Government also promised to work constructively after the democratic will of the Scottish people has rejected independence?
Like all other nations in the EU, Scotland benefits greatly from the peace and security provided by membership. Our citizens enjoy freedom of movement and the right to work and study in other Member States. The ability to trade within a single market of 500 million citizens is a central aspect of our strategy to stimulate growth by increasing international trade.  The European Union continues to be Scotland’s top overseas export destination, our exports to the EU are up by around 15 per cent to over £11 billion according to figures released this week.
And of course, Scotland also benefits from the peace and security provided by its membership of the UK.  Our citizens have even more freedoms and rights in the other countries of the UK.  And the rest of the UK is Scotland's top export destination, full stop. In fact, more than twice as much as the rest of the world put together.
However we understand that those reform ambitions can only be achieved through dialogue with Member States from within the EU.  That is why we do not support the holding of an in/out referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership.  We have no intention of leaving the European Union.  On the contrary we will seek to be a constructive member of the Union working with other Member States to maximise the benefits we have enjoyed as members for over 40 years.
Is Cameron not trying to reform the EU through dialogue with Member States from within the EU before having his referendum? Would we enjoy the same benefits as the 20th largest and newest EU Member State as we have done as the third largest and one of the oldest? And how about seeking to be a constructive member of that other Union, working with other member countries to maximise the benefits we have enjoyed as members for over 300 years?
I sincerely hope that if the Prime Minister comes to hold an in/out referendum, by that time Scotland will be an independent Member State and will be playing its part as a valued and active partner within European Union.
"The people who live in Scotland are the best people to make decisions about Scotland's future." That's what the Scottish Government said in Your Scotland, Your Referendum.  But obviously Scotland's future in the EU is a matter reserved to party ideology, so we won't be needing a referendum on that.

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