Sunday, 16 December 2012

A Debacle

Too much to do today for a long blog.

I am, as my Twitter followers will know, a devotee of Strictly Come Dancing but it was my office Christmas "do" last night so into an already hectic day I need to find time to watch last night's show before tonight's results programme. Then there is, of course, the Sports Personality of the Year, for which I would enthusiastically endorse Jessica Ennis, were that certain not to be the kiss of death. And then the penultimate episode of Homeland.

And before that I've suddenly realised that some of the people I'm meeting up with next week are likely to expect presents. Which I've not yet got.

So, were it not for a promise made, I would have forgone "the blogging" altogether.

But I did make a promise and that was to respond in some way to the new Nationalist line on Europe first articulated in .Jeff Breslin's  piece in last week's "Comment is free" section of the Guardian and, as it turned out, the similar line taken by Daniel Kenealy in the Scotsman and subsequently by Nicola Sturgeon in the Scottish Parliament.

They all essentially said: "Alright, we might not automatically be members of the EU in the event of a vote for Independence, but why wouldn't they let us in? We've got oil and lots of fish." Fish, for some reason, features big in this argument.

The increasingly incoherent Blair Jenkins, who must surely shortly receive the dreaded "vote of confidence" from his Board, seems to have tried to make the same argument when debating, or probably more correctly appearing with, Alistair Darling on Friday's Daily Politics. And do you know, they are probably right.

Except they are asserting a counter-position that nobody actually holds. Nobody, to the best of my knowledge, has ever said Scotland would be refused entry. What they (we) have always said is that the key issue is terms and timescale of that entry.

And here is where things start, from a Nationalist perspective,  to fall apart.

First of all, it is inconceivable that all the necessary negotiations could be concluded in the period October 2014 to May 2016 when it remains the position of the SNP (but interestingly not the Greens) that the first "Independence" Election will be held, particularly since most of the major players, will supposedly also be engaged in negotiating with the English over Independence and (essentially) the Americans over NATO during the same period. never mind actually running Scotland.

And the problem with that, as I've already pointed out, is that the May 2016 Elections would otherwise become a second referendum, which, if Unionist Parties won a majority would lead to the whole Independence project grinding to a halt. Some of the madder Cybernats reacted to my pointing this out on Twitter by suggesting these elections would then just have to be postponed, ignoring the fact that Countries where elections are postponed would be unlikely to be allowed into the EU on any terms.

But that's just the start of the Nationalist dilemma. For it remains their position that not only will they be in the EU, they must be in the EU. Now, that's no basis for any negotiation.

When I was drafting this blog in my head, I was intending to give some examples of that but I was beaten to it by this piece in today's Scotland on Sunday. You'll see it shares the recurring fish theme.

So I'll just give one further very obvious example. It has always been the objective of the UK Eurosceptics (as opposed to the out and out "outers") to secure a situation whereby the UK not only does not currently join the Euro but effectively secures an outcome whereby, while continuing to enjoy the benefits of the single market, it never will join. And it has always been the objective of the European integrationists to deny them that option. This is big politics, much bigger than the position of one small peripheral Country. Against that background it would be a complete non-starter for Brussels to contemplate two multinational currencies within the boundaries of the EU, not least because it might give other non-euro Countries a strategic alternative to the Euro. Yet the SNP (again not the Greens) propose that Sterling becomes precisely that!

And before anybody thinks we could just have our own currency they should consider why that has been rejected as out of the question by such a die hard Unionist as John Swinney, Standard Life anybody?

The Nationalists must know that the idea that we can not only not join the Euro but even keep Sterling while still being happily invited into the EU is nonsense, or at least surely they must know that.

But again, we are just asked to stick our fingers in our ears, and hum "Flower of Scotland" very loudly. As we are over the USA being entirely relaxed allowing into NATO a Country insistent on the closure of the strategic submarine base of their principal ally; or indeed the English continuing to enjoy a benign attitude to a Country whose departure (on a different Nationalist narrative) will remove a substantial subsidy it has been providing to them for years.

By the end of the week, the Nationalist spinners had moved on to try and  portray this debacle as at least meaning more people were beginning to consider what a Yes vote for Independence might mean. In that one respect I agree with them but not in a way that would make them happy.

1 comment:

  1. I think the most telling thing for the SNP is that they will no longer be in the position of defending the indefensible. Honestly admitting that it us all up for grabs is a saner ground for them rather than the Salmond strategy of winging it.

    The danger is that the SNP will hope to have buried this issue or simply make it boring for another 18 months.

    But looking at the last 9 months of the Yes campaign it would be very easy to get complacent. The campaign has been an utter disaster and should it go belly up the recriminations from aggrieved supporters will surely be aimed at their shambolic leaders.