The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

How not to lose the EU referendum

Posted on May 27, 2015 by

The UK’s forthcoming referendum on EU membership was enshrined in the Queen’s Speech today, and it seems likely that the “Yes” side will be those arguing for the UK to stay in the EU.

That’s a good thing. However, it’s difficult not to get flashbacks to 2011 when various unionist idiots were insisting that the Yes option should have been “Yes to the UK”, effectively holding a referendum on whether people wanted things to remain the same.


For us pedants, holding a referendum in order to ask people if they’re happy to leave things as they are feels instinctively odd, because if nothing else, it implies that there might be something wrong – a bit like someone randomly coming up to you and asking if you’re okay sitting where you are, making you suspect someone must have done something to the seat.

But it’s just as well, because the pro-EU side is going to need all the help it can get to avoid falling into the same pitfalls as the pro-UK side did last year. And unlike the “Better Together” campaign, the pro-EU campaign won’t have a 30%+ buffer in the polls to insulate it against being led by incompetent buffoons.

The Yes campaign will have the same major advantage that the No one had last year, namely people’s inherent resistance to change, and it’ll also have one of the Yes campaign’s biggest advantages, in that the opponents will be negative, reactionary idiots – the loudest proponents of a “Brexit” will be the same people that even the No camp had the sense to try and keep at arm’s length last year, ie UKIP.

But these benefits will be tempered by the disadvantages inherited from last year’s No campaign. It’s still difficult to make a no-change argument without coming across as a party pooper. “Don’t eat 10 delicious pizzas per day because you’ll die of heart disease” is clearly excellent advice, but it’s still an inherently negative argument.

This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if the campaign was composed solely of progressive voices like the SNP and Greens, but unfortunately, the loudest voices on the Yes side this time will be the same idiots who managed to turn people off the Union in droves – not just pro-EU Tories like David Cameron and George Osborne, but also the negative, frightened, patronising captains of the business world.

(This time round they’ll have much more legitimate reason to be scared, of course, but they’re the Chief Executives Who Cried Wolf and their greed-driven hectoring will play right into UKIP’s hands as the fake party of the beleaguered working class.)


The media landscape will also be different this time. Whereas the independence referendum saw the media speak with (almost) one voice against independence, this time it’ll be much more split. The likes of the Sun and the Daily Mail will almost certainly be arguing for an EU exit, whereas the likes of the Guardian, the Herald and the Record will suddenly find themselves arguing for a Yes vote.

Media plurality is obviously a good thing, but it does present a potential problem – the press loves a good scare story, so instead of promoting positive reasons for staying in the EU, there’s a very real danger that the Yes side will get sucked into trying a repeat of last year’s Project Fear campaign.

Do folk who argued for Scotland to become a full member of the EU in its own right want to be dragged into telling people that an EU exit would be disastrous because we’d be taken out of a market of 650 million into one a tenth that size, that many businesses depend on cross-border trade to survive, and that we’d be putting up needless barriers between ourselves and the rest of Europe?

For those who want to remain in the EU, it’s important that the “Yes to EU” campaign doesn’t become characterised by reactionary politicians and newspapers screaming Armageddon if the UK dares to leave the EU – if nothing else, the argument that being outside the EU instantly leads to a basket-case economy would be just as absurd as arguing the same for being outside the UK.

While Yes campaigners last year could point to Ireland to disprove many unionist myths, this time around No campaigners will have several European countries to use as examples that being outside the EU doesn’t automatically lead to financial doom – and for obvious reasons it’s imperative that Scottish independence campaigners don’t fall into the trap of denouncing the likes of Norway and Switzerland.


The problem will be compounded by the difficulty of coming up with purely positive arguments. It’s not that they don’t exist, but people’s awareness of what the EU does is staggeringly low, mainly because the only time people ever really hear about the EU in the UK press is when it’s doing something wrong.

The anti-EU argument may essentially boil down to “IMMIGRANTS BAD” with a side order of “BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS BAD”, but those are exactly the arguments that the majority of the UK’s electorate voted for just weeks ago, so it’s difficult to see how a positive case based on freedom of movement and things like the EU Working Time Directive will suddenly move them.

So it’s important for pro-EU campaigners that the likes of the SNP don’t make the same mistake Labour made and team up closely with the Tories (of any variety) in any official Yes grouping – in fact, if they want to win, it’d probably be best if the Unionist parties just stayed the hell away from Scotland altogether and left it to the professional positive campaigners.

But even that pales in significance to the most important thing of all: keeping Douglas Alexander, Blair McDougall, John McTernan et al as far away from the Yes side as humanly possible. The polls are starting off pretty much neck-and-neck this time, and losing 20+ points over the course of the debate would be a catastrophe. If we want to stay in the EU, we can’t afford to let “Better Together” anywhere near the campaign.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 27 05 15 15:27

    How not to lose the EU referendum | Politics Sc...

  2. 27 05 15 15:32

    How not to lose the EU referendum | Speymouth

160 to “How not to lose the EU referendum”

  1. handclapping says:

    So our slogan is “Better Together … Yes!”.
    That should do it

  2. Joemcg says:

    I wonder what will happen if England does vote to leave the EU but Scottish votes keep the UK in?Curious how that would play out!

  3. David Mooney says:

    Joemcg says:

    27 May, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    “I wonder what will happen if England does vote to leave the EU but Scottish votes keep the UK in?Curious how that would play out”!

    It would almost certainly instigate another Independence referendum. Tis true Nicola said so.

  4. Doug Daniel says:

    “I wonder what will happen if England does vote to leave the EU but Scottish votes keep the UK in?Curious how that would play out!”

    That’s probably the ideal scenario, really. Makes the point about the different directions Scotland and rUK are going, without having to actually drag us out of the EU in the process.

  5. Osprey MacIntyre says:

    ‘The problem will be compounded by the difficulty of coming up with purely positive arguments.’

    A thought: while I admired the Yes campaign’s overwhelmingly positive nature (‘with Independence we can do this, this and this’, ‘seize the opportunity’, that kind of thing) I do wonder if we’d have done a fraction better if we’d wielded the claymore now and then.

    Not running a Project Fear, doom and gloom, fire and brimstone plagues of locusts campaign, but playing on the wastefulness, greed and incompetence of Westminster politicians, their imperial delusions and attacks on the poor WHILE making the positive case for an independent nation…I don’t know. Might an 80/20 positive/attacking balance have got us over the line, or would it have hurt us?

    And the same for the EU campaign – we need to highlight the benefits of the EU, but would it harm the campaign to chuck in a few reminders of what might happen if we leave? Or would we turn into No Better Together Thank UKOK?

  6. Dan Huil says:

    The queen purrs. The rest of us boke.

  7. Fiona says:

    @ Osprey MacIntyre

    I do not think that we would have done better with negative campaigning at any level, or in any proportion. The campaign did a great job in closing the gap, though it was not enough. But more importantly, the positive approach inspires people and I think that is a lot to do with where we are now.

  8. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

    You needn’t worry about the SNP going anywhere near the tories on this one.

    It’s just not gonna happen.

    Cameron and the Yes/IN tories will be somewhat occupied anyway desperately banging on about renegotiation and imaginary concessions to try and appease the lunatic right-wing of their own party as the splits and chaos engulfs them.

  9. Ken500 says:

    YES EU will win, especially in Scotland. Faradge is a crook who has been illegally funding a poltical Party with public money for years. He should be in jail.

    Nicola now talking to Europe. Five years until a YES Independence Referendum. Happy days.

  10. Osprey MacIntyre says:

    @ Joemcg

    I wonder what will happen if England does vote to leave the EU but Scottish votes keep the UK in?Curious how that would play out!

    Other than it being bluiddy hilarious, you mean?

  11. Tony Armstrong says:

    If this referendum follows the same tone as last years I’ll be voting NO, I’m sick fed up of troughing self-interests telling those at the bottom what’s good for them.

    I hope to god the SNP don’t shoot themselves in the foot during this referendum campaign.

  12. jackie g says:


    Charlie looks like he has lost the will to live in that photo 🙁

    Is he thinking oh please make it go away


  13. Fiona says:

    Unusually for an independence supporter, I am opposed to the EU at present. I cannot stomach the fact that it has become a vehicle for the plutocrats to stamp on citizens, and despite its other virtues that it is its main purpose now.

    More importantly, it seems to me that the concessions which Mr Cameron seeks are all aimed at removing what is left that is positive about the EU: free movement of labour; human rights legislation; social legislation and protections.

    The EU, to me, had two aspects: the market/economic element: and the social/progressive side. I like the latter, and hate the former. The former is now dominant in europe, as it is here and maybe less so than here – but the direction of travel is the same. Yet some remains. Mr Cameron will get rid of those bits and keep the worst. And then he hopes the UK will vote to stay in. I want no part of that

  14. jackie g says:

    oops missed a bit

    Answer’s on a postcard please 🙂

  15. As I wrote in a recent blog post, I think David Cameron (together with 95% of the Tories) will campaign in favour of leaving the EU.

    It all adds up: (1) His choice of electoral franchise, (2) the changes he’s demanding from the EU, and (3) his obvious desire to keep the Tory party together.

  16. Fiona says:

    @ Thomas Widmann

    I don’t. His paymasters want to stay in, I think. That is the ace of trumps

  17. frogesque says:

    We can be a strong, eloquent voice round the table in a family of nations or we can be the ugly in-law kept gagged and silent in the kitchen making the tea.

    Let’s make sure it is our ‘turn’ that’s heard.

  18. heedtracker says:

    If we want to stay in the EU, we can’t afford to let “Better Together” anywhere near the campaign.

    Already BBC r4 are running How To Brexit campaign advice stuff. Radio 4 says that BetterTogether left it way too late for their last 2 week Vote NO or else Project Fear tidal wave. They say a lot of big UKOK banking business threats of impending independent Scotland catastrophe were not really heard properly, they have to start going at it much earlier.

    So get ready for a lot more of this and not 5 days before EU ref day either.

  19. Doug Daniel says:

    Osprey – “And the same for the EU campaign – we need to highlight the benefits of the EU, but would it harm the campaign to chuck in a few reminders of what might happen if we leave? Or would we turn into No Better Together Thank UKOK?”

    Depends what you’re trying to win. If it’s just this one referendum, then we’d be as well turning the negativity dial up to 11. But if we want to ensure an enduring relationship with the EU, then we need to steer clear of the kind of stuff BT came out with.

    Mind you, we’d probably be independent by the time the results of such a backlash came to fruition in rUK…

  20. Fiona says:

    @ heedtracker

    Deutsche bank has already started, and so have the CBI.

  21. Doug Daniel says:

    Thomas – interesting theory, but the government always makes its preference the Yes option, so I think that tells us which way Cameron will be campaigning.

  22. Martin Wood says:

    “I wonder what will happen if England does vote to leave the EU but Scottish votes keep the UK in?Curious how that would play out!”

    Since the Indyref stoked the fires of anti SNP/Scottish rhetoric in the press darn sarf… would conclude the English would take an immediate vote to eject us from the UK…

    and that would be a shame really? probably not! – no need for indy ref2

  23. Chic McGregor says:

    “If we want to stay in the EU, we can’t afford to let “Better Together” anywhere near the campaign.”

    They would at least require a name change to ‘Better Apart” surely?

  24. Luigi says:

    This will allow Farage to say:

    “NO THANKS!” to Europe.

    Oh Dear, hope it doesn’t backfire.

  25. john king says:

    So what’ll happen if there is a clear divide between Scotland and England we wishing to remain they wishing to leave triggering another independence ref, will they replay that old 78rmp they like to play about how we’ll be out on our arse if we have the audacity to go independent they in a last act of spite vote against Scotland’s inclusion just before they leave themselves?

  26. R-type Grunt says:

    @ Osprey

    It would make no difference. The media decide how people think. Simples.

    For my own part I couldn’t give a stuff what way the vote goes. If we vote to stay in then that’s good because that’s what I want. If we vote to leave then that triggers UDI for me & that’s also what I want.

    The SNP must not, under any circumstances, be seen to share a stage with any of the UK parties. If they do so they run the real risk of losing the mass support they currently enjoy.

    One more thing – even although I’ve lived in this country for 49 years I won’t get to vote. That’s Britnat democracy for you. I want no part of it and so I won’t be campaigning either way.

    Good luck Scotland.

  27. Valerie says:

    Good piece by Doug, I have never heard a decent argument for leaving the EU, except those mentioned by Doug, and its a very thin argument for me.

    Watching Harman in parliament just now, and the SNP have good seats, and very recognizable by their white roses!

  28. Genghis D'Midgies says:

    We’ve already heard a pro EU person on a TV debate saying the UK is ‘too small to go it alone’ or similar. It brought back the sickening lies of the Indyref’s No campaign but seemed even less credible.

    At this point I’m not sure I will vote at all. Voting on the same side as some of the cretins who continue to undermine Scotland might be too much.

  29. Murray McCallum says:

    Totally agree with Doug regards positive campaign. I think the SNP (or any other Scottish pro-EU party) should run a purely Scottish-based campaign.

    At least argue:

    1. The benefits of Scotland remaining part of the EU (either as part of UK or on its own), e.g. size of market, human rights + link to Scottish law, freedom of movement, etc
    2. The contribution Scottish companies make to the EU market, i.e. we get to highlight our exports, energy production, excellent universities, etc that are disproportionate to our population size.
    3. How Scotland being a member in its own right could actually increase benefits, e.g. agricultural subsidies direct to Scottish farmers, Scottish fishing bodies negotiating directly with the EU, …

    Basically, seek to highlight a positive vision for Scotland within the EU.

    I noticed that a UK labour leadership contender on Newsnight was fearful of Labour playing *any* leading role in a pro-EU campaign. She feared a UKIP backlash after the referendum.

  30. Doug — I grant you that (and of course the question was completely unknown when I wrote my blog post), but we’ll see. I think Cameron will pretend to prefer to stay but will then blame stubbornness from his EU counterparts as the reason why he’ll have to campaign in favour of leaving.

    He can’t come out in favour of a Brexit straight away, or his donors will crucify him, but if he campaigns in favour of continued EU membership, the Tory party will split.

    Only by pretending to be in favour of EU membership at the moment and then turning to the other side later can he keep the Tory party together (and I think that’s more likely to be his real priority).

  31. Luigi says:

    Doug Daniel says:

    27 May, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    “I wonder what will happen if England does vote to leave the EU but Scottish votes keep the UK in?Curious how that would play out!”

    That’s probably the ideal scenario, really. Makes the point about the different directions Scotland and rUK are going, without having to actually drag us out of the EU in the process.

    Ideal, yes, but highly unlikely. The huge disparity on population size would require Scotland to vote overwhelmingly to stay in and England to very narrowly vote to leave the EU. I haven’t crunched the numbers, but you are looking at something like 60:40 Scotland and 49:51 England to remain in the EU.

  32. Luigi says:

    The SNP must not, under any circumstances, be seen to share a stage with any of the UK parties.

    I fully agree.

  33. Lesley-Anne says:

    I think I have one main concern over this E.U. referendum thingy.

    As we are all well aware Labour jumped into bed with the Tories during the referendum and they paid the ultimate price for this at the General Election. I would hate to imagine the prospect of a similar fate happening to the S.N.P. in the 2020 General Election as a result of them backing a YES to the E.U. alongside the Tories.

    I really do hope that, for the sake of Scotland, the S.N.P. can fight for a YES to the E.U. at arms length from the Tories. The last thing that S.N.P. voters need or want is to end up being labelled as Tories pets just like Labour were during the refrendum.

  34. Muscleguy says:

    @Martin Wood
    The interesting scenario is one where EWNI narrowly vote to leave but Scottish votes to stay swamp it. The Major Blimps and Little Englanders will go apoplectic. We may find ourselves out as a protective measure. Whereon EWNI will rerun the referendum and leave.

  35. Petra says:

    Apologies O/T

    Is anyone watching Politics Scotland?

    Mundell was asked (twice) if he had known anything about the Carmichael memo before it was leaked (or words to that effect).

    He wouldn’t give a DIRECT answer but rather just kept on saying that the Inquiry Report had shown that only Carmichael and his special advisor knew anything about it. Well that’s a lie for a start as we know that the wee ‘unnamed’ memo producer must have known about it too, lol… Unless Roddin (or Carmichael) both wrote and leaked it.

    Anyway Severin Carrell (Guardian), in the studio, seemed to be totally gobsmacked by Mundells evasive responses and said something along the lines of ‘I don’t think that’s the last we’ll be hearing about that.’

    I’m so glad that the question has been put to Mundell.

  36. Andrew Abel says:

    I love the EU, I really believe its a wonderful thing, although it isn’t perfect, and I can easily talk for hours about the excellent things it does and stands for…

    …but do I want to be on the “Better Together” side with those goons from the unionist parties? No I do not. I think we need a distinct Scottish campaign. If we get one launched early under the SNP banner, the Unionists will refuse to join us. So that solves that problem!

  37. Chris Baxter says:

    Salmond is already being accusing of hypocrisy by sharing the same platform as Tories by joining Osborne in saying Yes to EU. And those charges are correct.

    The SNP need to campaign with their own (and others like them) and steer clear of the scumbags.

  38. Rob James says:

    Yep, they will attempt to use another scaremongering campaign, but it’s Slab I’m worried about. How on earth are they going to fit SNP Bad into the proceedings if we’re on the same side?

    The SNP must campaign separately with a positive campaign and not be afraid to admit that there are areas which are not beneficial, but stress the need to renegotiate terms,(whilst highlighting how beneficial these negotiations could be for an independent Scotland, without appearing to relate the two ideals).

    It is an opportunity for them to further educate the electorate.

  39. Chris Baxter says:

    My post earlier: apologies, Stu, I missed that paragraph where you pointed that out.

  40. Peter A Bell says:

    Comparisons with the independence campaign are simply too contrived and pointless. They risk falling into the trap of imagining there to be meaningful parallels between the EU and the UK.

    What has to be said about the EU referendum is that is makes little sense as a referendum. A referendum must be a clear choice between two options. What we are going to be offered is a choice between being a member of the EU and… what? What is the alternative? Nobody has told us. Nobody has described a viable alternative. And it is unlikely that anybody will.

  41. Lesley-Anne says:

    I am actually in the same boat, figuratively speaking 😉 , as you Fiona. In fact there is one additional factor that I would add to the reasons why I am edging towards NO in this referendum is the fact that for the last 8 -10 years, if not more, the E.U. have failed to have their annual accounts thingy signed off.

    More over I am less than impressed by the way M.E.P.’s expenses are paid. What I mean here is based on what has been covered by numerous television programmes, admittedly mostly Channel 4, regarding what M.E.P.’s get away with in terms of what they claim for travel expenses, for example, yet use alternative cheaper travel instead.

  42. osakisushi says:

    A few folk seem to think voting NO is at odds with supporting an independent Scotland.
    I don’t agree as Europe needs Scotland just as much as NATO does. Because of this, I feel we do not need feed at the EU trough as, while Westminster is sickening, I think the reality of Brussels is much worse.

  43. heedtracker says:

    Fiona says:
    27 May, 2015 at 3:03 pm
    @ heedtracker

    Deutsche bank has already started, and so have the CBI.

    It is interesting watching BBC r4 in particular advising how to win referendums but that’s how powerful they still think they are.

    BBC Scotland was the foundation of vote NO BetterTogether but then look at the new 56-57 SNP MP’s now in London.

    BBC brain washing is extraordinary, as this article explains how little we know about the EU. Almost all of BBC foreign news has always focused on the USA. In fact US news is practically English domestic. Last week I listened to r4 PM with the ever cringy Eddie Mair, explaining in depth middle class child care issues in Baltimore or Chicago maybe, for possibly 15 minutes of an hour long show.

    Very creepy outfit.

  44. galamcennalath says:

    Good thought provoking article. thanks, Doug.

    A lot of us believe the Tories intentionally, and successfully, shafted Labour during the IndyRef.

    Cameron achieved two birds, one stone – damaged Labour and delayed independence.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the mainstream pro-EU Tories try something similar – win an EU stay in result AND shaft some opposition. If they can damage the SNP then perhaps it will be a third benefit ie delay independence even further!

    Beware of Tories looking for a win++ outcome!

    The SNP will need to play this one very carefully. IMO, act alone and stay positive.

  45. Chic McGregor says:

    @Thomas Widmann

    The HRA/ECHR move can either be viewed as gross incompetence (dereliction of due diligence) or a crafty preparation of a back door exit strategy (which would back your theory), whatever the referendum result.

    They could even play victim and make it seem that Europe was forcing them out.

    Cameron stole a march on Labour, UKIP and the SNP with his referendum ploy.

    It must have effected anti-EU natural Labour supporters in the general election.

    It surely persuaded some UKIP support to vote for a referendum

    And during the indy ref, how many anti-EU/pro-indy switched or abstained when Cameron announced his EU referendum but the SNP said no EU referendum?

    BTW, I am very pro EU, but I am not blind to the referendum’s effect(s).

  46. seanair says:

    If Scotland votes Yes for Europe and England votes no, it wil be interesting to see the EU welcoming Scotland (fishing,oil, whisky), forgetting the previous stance that Scotland was not a member of the EU and would have to grovel to gain entry.

  47. Chris Downie says:

    I am an independence supporter, but say NO to the EU and YES to EFTA. If Norway, Switzerland & Iceland can not only survive, but thrive AND outstrip growth of most EU countries, then that alone is a compelling case for Scotland to at least consider. Sadly, it seems the SNP don’t want to do that and are parroting the EU line at every turn.

    As a side note, the EU were at best lukewarm (Juncker) about Scottish independence and at worst downright hostile (Barros, anyone?) so why are so many independence supporters so enthusiastic about jumping from one large, undemocratic “Union” to another, without at least considering the alternatives?

    Imho, we should embrace other emerging markets (China, Brazil, Venezuela – especially with our oil expertise) other than the EU.

  48. Chic McGregor, yes, I think you’re right with regard to the HRA/ECHR move.

    BTW, when trying to understand the Tories in general and David Cameron in particular, I find it very useful to look at what they do, not what they say (which is typically completely misleading).

  49. bjsalba says:

    It is interesting that Cameron is barring EU citizens but allowing Commonwealth citizens to vote. Takes us back a ways. Just exactly which immigrants was Enoch Powell talking about in his “Rivers of Blood” speech? Oh, yes, Commonwealth immigrants.

    It really doesn’t matter where outside the UK the big bosses recruit. It is always designed to force some workers to accept pittance wages. They will chop and change who is defined as other, but the objective is always the same. Lower wages for the masses, higher wages for the elite.

  50. galamcennalath says:

    If Scotland votes Yes, and England votes No …. will Scotland be considered the continuing state, and England the separating?

    That might mean Scotland gets the Security Council permanent seat, among other benefits. 😉

  51. unchillfiltered says:

    Absolutely no way that the UK will vote to leave. The Exiteers just don’t have the leadership required to seriously challenge the status quo. Farage and a bunch of Bufton Tuftons v EVERYBODY ELSE?
    We’re only having it because the Tories didn’t realise that Edstone was really rubbish instead of just rubbish and feared Ukip seriously splitting their vote.

  52. Robert Whyte says:

    Off topic but still news worthy.

  53. fraise says:

    Why dont the SNP MPs and Holyrood run a campaign on the positive aspects of EU membership. Acknowledging the need of reform of some aspects of the EU.
    This allows everyone to see the good and bad of the current EU system and how we can make a positive contribution as a member state.
    Also keeping the unionists at arms length from the SNP by running a Scotland only campaign

  54. Joemcg says:

    Luigi-those percentages you mention seem quite possible to me not highly unlikely.

  55. PictAtRandom says:

    “The anti-EU argument may essentially boil down to “IMMIGRANTS BAD” with a side order of “BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS BAD”, but those are exactly the arguments that the majority of the UK’s electorate voted for just weeks ago”

    How about an argument of BEGGING BOWL BAD? I wouldn’t want a Scottish Government to be subsidiary to any outside powers, so I’m afraid that this is where I may part company with a lot of people on the board. If the SNP is continuing to head in this direction then I hope that we’ll have some Real Nationalist candidates to vote for in 2016.

  56. Kenny says:

    O/T After thinking it over, the reason why the Guardian in particular is so desparate to defend Carbuncle over #Frenchgate demonstrates, to me at least, that this was a classic, UKOKestablisment “Better Together” set-up involving all three parties with the Tories as the head, Lib Dems as the body and Labour as the pawns-appendages ready to take to Twitter…

  57. Chic McGregor says:

    @Thomas Widmann

    To tell you the truth, my gut feel, is that while Cameron has gone through the same ’emotional husking’, public school, Oxbridge process as the others in the Tory government, his seems not to have been quite completed.

    There still seems to be a shred of humanity there.

    Not much more than a gut feel, as I said, but I think he could be playing the little Dutch boy here, trying to hold back the very much darker forces under and around him.

    Why did he appoint Ken Clarke as Lord Chancellor?
    (Certainly does not indicate Cameron was in favour of the HRA ploy)

    Did they try to get rid of Cameron a couple of years back?
    (Thwarted by him quickly announcing the sex scandal at No 10)

    Why did he announce he would step down sometime during this administration?
    (Delaying another coup de twats?)

    How much has his apparently right wing lurch been a forced one?

    Only time and memoirs (if we still allow publishing then) might tell.

    Meanwhile my gut has served me well in the past.

  58. Brian Powell says:

    If England did vote to leave EU but Scotland voted to stay the remains of Labour in Scotland would be in a difficult position.

    Their whole campaign in the Referendum was based on Scotland only surviving as part of the UK and Scotland having no chance of getting into the EU if not part of the UK.

    Pre EU Ref they would need to (a) oppose The SNP position of Scotland having a separate voice, so to keep Scotland as part of the UK, and (b) argue for the UK being part of the EU.

    But polls show people in Scotland want (a) as well as (b).

    If they argued for (a) pre EU Ref they would be accepting that Scotland should become Independent if England votes for out, but they had previously argued we would not get into the EU as an Independent country.

  59. Luigi says:

    Fiona says:

    27 May, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Unusually for an independence supporter, I am opposed to the EU at present.

    It’s not unusual, Fiona. The EU referendum will divide both nationalist and unionist camps. The challenge for us all will be to keep our focus and not allow our enemies to use Europe to split the independence movement. Something many of us have not yet considered but something that must be addressed. We need to find a way, to agree to disagree on Europe.

  60. BornOptimist says:

    I love Murray McCallum’s suggestion that the SNP (and any other Scottish pro-EU party) should run a purely Scottish-based campaign. This not only would help generate a better informed Scottish electorate but would also differentiate Scotland’s interests from those of rUK and prevent entanglement with any of the Unionist parties.

    Should make for a win-win campaign whatever the UK outcome.

  61. Iain More says:

    I see it all now and it will be “Too wee and too poor and too stupid to leave and you will ,lose your pensions and your jobs and the aliens will invade etc if you vote to leave!”

    I will stick a peg or two over my nose and vote to leave. I stated my view to vote to leave the EU. I will always be Yes to an Independent Scotland, whether that is in or out of the EU.

    Whatever, the Brit Political Establishment will rig it one way or another to make sure that each constituent part of the rotten UK will vote the same way. Look at the glee with which the Brit Nats welcomed UKIP winning a Euro seat in Scotland for instance.

    We see shenanigans already over who will/has the right to vote and who doesn’t. One thing I am cynically certain of, is that this will not be a fair Referendum whichever way the vote goes. The Brit Establishment will be out to get the SNP and Scottish left, mark my words on that.

  62. Chic McGregor says:


    I think Cameron did succeed in splitting it with his EU referendum vow during the indy ref. How many net indy votes it cost us is the only debateable point.

  63. Brian Powell says:

    That is people inScotland want the SNP position in (a) of having a separate voice.

  64. uno mas says:

    I am absolutely positive that the English public will vote with their wallets to stay in the E.U. when the German company that makes the Mini´s and Jaguars, the Swiss company that makes the Kit Kat bars, the American company that makes the Hp Sauce, the Dutch company that owns and operates the entire ICI operation, the Japanese company that manufactures the Qashqui and Juke, the Chinese company that makes the Weetabix breakfast cereal etc. etc….. all point out that they would have to have a serious review of their future investment and staffing plans in the U.K. were it to cease membership of the E.U. and lose the trading advantages that this brings.

    Napoleon was correct when described the English as a nation of shopkeepers.

    Can´t disagree.

  65. schrodingers cat says:

    I seem to remember a poll by Stu which showed that scotland was only marginally more in favour of the EU than england

    when the EU ref kicks off, every party, exept ukip, the bbc, and morst of the main newspapers in scotland and all of the multi nationals will come out for YES, which should ensure a YES vote in scotland, IT probably wont need or get such a strong turnout of snp/sg/ssp and generally the yes supporters actively campaigning. Scotland shouldnt need it.

    England may be a tougher nut to crack but i think when the MSM employ their campaign engine in favour of a YES vote, england will return a marginal YES vote too.
    If they dont, then this may be the event that nicola is talking about, the game changer. I suspect that any indy ref in holyrood manifesto next year will be conditional on a no vote in england and a yes vote in scotland.

    Even Charles Kennedy said on QT that if the UK left the EU, scotland would definately go indy, I think he is right. would charles kennedy campaign to stay in a UK which had already voted to leave the EU? what about Kezia? or Ruth Davidson?

    difficult to threaten the Indyref2 YES campaign with expulsion from the EU should we leave a UK which is already leaving?

    difficult to threaten the Indyref2 YES campaign with Big business leaving Scotland, when the same big business have spent the last 2 yers threating the UK of the same out come if they leave the EU?


  66. Terry says:

    Great piece.

    Agree with other posters too – keep away from the ukok parties at all costs. They will play the project fear card and we don’t need or want that. The SNP should keep it positive but also completely honest over the failings of the EU. They have won the trust of the people for honesty, positivity and keeping to their principles. So keep away from the Tories of all colours. They are toxic.

  67. Schrodingers cat says:

    uno mas says:

    “I am absolutely positive that the English public will vote with their wallets to stay in the E.U.

    I agree with this most likely outcome

  68. Kevin Evans says:

    So here comes another fear and smear campaign.

    Let them leave Europe then Scotland can leave them

  69. Joemcg says:

    If the UK do vote to stay in will this curtail independence for even longer? Maybe add years to another indyref? That’s what I fear the most.

  70. Fiona says:

    I used to think that rUK would vote to stay in. Still do, on balance. But there is this. The tactics are going to be exactly the same as in the Scottish referendum. We have already seen Deutsche Bank and the CBI and there will be all the other usual suspects. Yet they almost lost in Scotland and we had not seen it before.

    Even those who take little interest in Scottish politics in rUK have been aware of some of what happened and they will recognise project fear more easily when they see it. I think that will affect their response, though I do not know how much.

    Those who are for staying in Europe and are in Scotland will be very easily able to say “heard it” when these arguments are trotted out: with cites and links and everything.

    It should be an interesting campaign but those who wish to stay in Europe are going to have to change their game, at least enough to accommodate the “heard it” factor. And I am not sure they realise that either.

  71. Bob W says:

    @ Robert Whyte

    The caption on the photo of E.J. can’t even get Falkirk’s location correct.

  72. Fiona says:

    @ Joemcg

    Don’t see why it should

    It is true that if Scotland voted to stay and rUK to leave that would be a material change which would justify another referendum. But I do not think it is the game changing issue some folk think. Certainly is not for me, for I can live with either outcome on this, though I would prefer to leave the EU.

    I think we need to build core support for independence through slow and patient dissemination of the arguments. I do not particularly fancy betting self determination on a single issue.

  73. carjamtic says:


    QT from Aberdeen tomorro

    J NIcolson,A Massie,L Riddoch,R Davidson,C Falconer (Lord)

  74. Jim Thomson says:

    O/T – the crowdfunder has just passed £32k 🙂

  75. Jim Thomson says:

    Will this be a “once in a generation” referendum 😛

    sorry, couldn’t resist.

  76. Petra says:

    Chris Downie says ”I am an independence supporter, but say NO to the EU and YES to EFTA. If Norway, Switzerland & Iceland can not only survive, but thrive AND outstrip growth of most EU countries, then that alone is a compelling case for Scotland to at least consider. Sadly, it seems the SNP don’t want to do that and are parroting the EU line at every turn.

    As a side note, the EU were at best lukewarm (Juncker) about Scottish independence and at worst downright hostile (Barros, anyone?) so why are so many independence supporters so enthusiastic about jumping from one large, undemocratic “Union” to another, without at least considering the alternatives?

    Imho, we should embrace other emerging markets (China, Brazil, Venezuela – especially with our oil expertise) other than the EU.”

    I agree with you Chris to some extent. Last year I was hoping that if we had achieved our Independence and had to renegotiate EU membership we would have opted for EFTA (if it was at all possible); still trading within the EU and the World beyond.

    I would love to see Scotland rid itself of the ever-increasing, cumbersome EU Laws, rules and regulations and of course all three gravy train lines i.e. Westminster, House of Lords and the EU but that ain’t going to happen, so I’ll be voting to stay in the EU with a mind to it leading to Independence. Being lumbered with one out of three political dinosaurs would surely be an improvement on three of three.

  77. West_Lothian_Questioner says:

    I’ve got my YES badge on my jacket already… mmm hhmmm…

  78. Chitterinlicht says:

    Good sensible article

  79. fred blogger says:

    defo ban clapping, here’s a very suitable alt.

  80. ahundredthidiot says:

    Good to see a difference of opinion here on Europe, comfortably on the fence myself.

    Long way to, Plenty drama yet with member states. One eye on Greece, the other on relationship with Russia for me.

  81. Lesley-Anne says:

    Sorry for O/T here but it appears from Twitter that the FAMOUS 56 seem to be having quite a bit of fun at the House of Commons expense today.

    First of they have apparently been clapping … AGAIN 😀

    Now apparently some numpty Tory has claimed that this EVEL s***e does not need any sort of bill to be passed but just a change to Standing Orders. Well that was what HE thought until Alex Salmond stood up and raised a point of order, I think, and now Bercow is going to look further into this.

    All this fun at Tory/HoC expense and it is STILL only Wednesday. 😛

    The thing is now that Bercow has told the S.N.P. to stop clapping who will it be who reminds him that he wasn’t so upset about clapping on March 26th 2015?

    Methinks Bercow is showing more than a little disrespect himself to the elected members. Further on this “tradition” thingy. Who was it who decided NOT to follow tradition and continue with the wearing of the Speakers wig and gowns … oh that’s right Bercow.

    Methinks there is a bit of “one set of rules for the BIG parties and another set of rules for the SMALL parties” going on here.

  82. scottieDog says:

    Is there anything right about the picture above.
    For me I’d have favoured an independent scotland as part of efta. As we are still part of the uk I see great value in the protection offered by eu employment and human rights laws. The next 5 years will see an increase in corporate sovereignty in this country and I feel we need the influence of the eu to modestly protect us from the ruling classes.
    It is far from perfect though.

  83. scott says:

    Petra says:
    Apologies O/T

    Is anyone watching Politics Scotland?

    Mundell was asked (twice) if he had known anything about the Carmichael memo before it was leaked (or words to that effect).

    I saw that as well so we must keep up the pressure on Mundell for a straight answer if not he will be in the same boat as Carmichael,mind you I think Mundell had a hand in it as well

  84. Marie clark says:

    I really don’t want anything to do with a campaign run by the bitter thigither mob.

    I think folks on here are right, we have heard it all before, and can see straight through all their crap. I don’t even think that I want to be bothered listening to it all again. Time for the darkened room perhaps.

    I won’t worry which way it goes, but I’ll tell you what will be interesting for folk down here in Dumfries & Galloway. That’s all the farmers and big estates, the vote no mob, trying to pesuade the rest of us to stay in Europe. They would miss the grants you know.

    ah weel, what goes round comes round as they say.

  85. Fiona says:

    Oh well found, LesleyAnne. Tradition, huh?

  86. Peter says:

    SNP and Greens will have to find a completely seperate campaign on the referendum.

    I think I can safely speak for every activist in our particular branch when I say that we will not , under any circumstance campaign alongside labour , Tory or libdem activists for ANY reason.
    We will not leaflet with them , we will not canvass , we will not share hustings with them END OF

    I am pretty sure the party will not ask us to

    We may be putting forward the same argument but it will be in our own individual style and not as part of ‘better together 2’

  87. Fiona says:

    @ Scottie dog

    As I said above, the trouble with that is that Mr Cameron will try to negotiate those things away as part of his reform. Given the way europe is going he will probably succeed at least to some extent

  88. Lesley-Anne says:

    During the referendum I was like you Scottiedog and favoured becoming a member of EFTA. To be honest I still do. In my “single celled” outlook on Europe I think EFTA gives Scotland the *ahem* “best of both worlds”.

    First up we continue to gain from the European market place.

    Secondly we can gain from one to one negotiaited agreements with China, USA, South America or whoever. This is something I don’t think E.U. members can do.

  89. Rod MacKay says:

    Re platform sharing: at yesterdays business meeting at Tyncastle S Johnson( aye, that one) asked NS whether she would share a platform with the Tories on the EU. She replied that she did not plan to. National page 3.

  90. W Neilson says:

    One important reason I can see for leaving the EU is that we could escape TTIP (The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) which the EU Commissioners secretly proposed (until fortunately someone leaked what was going on) and are now negotiating with the US.

    Anyone who does not know why escaping TTIP would be a good idea should look at for example:

  91. schrodingers cat says:

    re- the baying mobs in shetland and orkney….can i suggest the local police invite these guys to help them out ?

  92. Effijy says:

    As I have stated many times before, Rupert Murdoch’s Sky, and his Sun newspaper have never supported the losing side in an election in my lifetime.

    Please do not read that I’m a supporter of mogul manipulation of the media. Only to point out how shallow
    Joe Bloggs is when he soon fills up with the constant misinformation drip flowing down the road to what is best for the big corporations profit margins.

    If Rupert says England are leaving the EU, the job is done.

    Let’s face it, if Scotland goes the other way, Johnny English wont give a jot! We are just a captured colony who are easily fooled and one with no real powers of protest.

    Westminster would not hesitate to send the army up here if it became necessary. I can see the BBC headlines, Scottish Terrorist infiltrators try to defy democracy and St George!

    Eleanor Bradbury can still go first though, with news of the latest A & E waiting times.Get your priorities right!

  93. Charles Edward says:

    This EU referendum is being demanded by an electorate inspired by ‘stealing our jobs’ international relations and prejudice.
    DC is making a big hoo – ha about representing his people’s.

    In reality international business and investment is holding off putting their plans into action with this major uncertainty.

    This is a big opportunity for Scotland to establish the understanding that Scotland is with The EU.

    Investment will flow into our country as a direct result.
    Reassuring our trading partners is important.
    DC has prioritised this issue because it is a huge gamble that most Big Brit business is not happy about and this is why it’s so urgent.
    Edinburgh should be be prepared to cease the opportunity.
    All the financial structures have the perfect gift to expand and establish a degree of independence in preparation.

    Cameron must be forbidden to associate the Scottish desire for independence with any proposed break from Europe.

    The Scots have alliances that pre-date DC’s knowledge of history and he shouldn’t be permitted to speak for people he doesn’t understand.

  94. desimond says:

    Tonight on The Europe Debate… David Coburn vs a 5 year old French Poodle.

    Paddypower has already paid out on the Poodle winning.

  95. Robert Peffers says:

    @scottieDog says: 27 May, 2015 at 5:01 pm:

    “Is there anything right about the picture above.
    For me I’d have favoured an independent scotland as part of efta.”

    I may well be wrong as I’ve not really studied the matter but Norway seems to gain all the advantages & disadvantages of being an EU Member state but still is subject to EU rules & regs, pays the same dues, but doesn’t get an EU vote.

    I read this though : –

    “The EEA agreement grants Norway access to the EU’s internal market while the country is to adopt most EU legislation related to that market. This essentially means that Norway is a practical part of EU when it comes to free movement of goods, capital, services and people.

    Free movement of goods means freedom from customs fee, where however food and beverage is excluded (because those are subsidised by the EU). Free movement of people means freedom of movement for workers between Norway and EU, and that Norway is a part of the Schengen Area.

    Norway has been granted participation rights (save voting rights) in several of the Union’s programmes, bodies and initiatives. These include security and defence areas like the European Defence Agency, the Nordic Battle Group, Frontex, Europol and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Whether or not the country should apply for full membership has been one of the most dominant and divisive issues in modern Norwegian political debate”.

  96. Ken500 says:

    The Anti EU Tories in Westminster will tear the Party apart.

  97. Anne says:

    Norway is a good or bad example, depending on your perspective. They signed up to most of the EU regulations, including agreeing to pay a large amount of money into the EU, in anticipation of their referendum to join being in favour. It wasn’t but they continue to be bound by this agreement. So pointing to Norway and implying that they get away without sending money to Brussels is simply wrong. They also have to align with EU legislation. Personally I hope we remain part of the EU because Scotland is an outward looking, in many ways continental, country. But mostly I hope scotland can become an independent nation within the EU in the not too distant future.

  98. frogesque says:

    We (Scotland) must absolutely call our an tune on the proposed EU ref.

    Make a positive case for Scotland that we welcome business and jobs, that we have a skilled, educated workforce and, providing companies are willing to pay reasonable taxes etc. then they can locate operations and HQ here.

    We have a vibrant arts, music and theatre in Scotland with a broard base base far beyond the tartan tin and granny’s hieland name. We have culture and country second to none with magnificent coasts, mountains and cities that are both big enough to offer variety yet small enough to still be intimate.

    We have world class links to America, Australia, NZ and elsewhere, ideal for trade and, by being open we can also encourage links to the huge markets in India, China and South America (Brazil in particular).

    We do not need Westminster to dictate our stance, we are quite capable of making our own voice heard, all we have to do is use it!

  99. Craig says:

    I am not a big fan of the EU in all honesty, if Scotland was independent and a member of the EU, I would vote YES to leave it but seeing that we are still part of the UK, I will be using my vote tactically to stay within the EU as England may vote to leave and if that happens, it will give us a mandate for another independence referendum.

    However, as soon as we get our independence, I would immediately ask for an EU referendum so we can leave the EU, not only will it piss of the EU, it will piss of Westminster as well.

    Just imagine the outrage.

  100. Fiona says:

    As I understand it Norway is not bound by the Maastricht treaty. If that is correct it is the most important thing Norway gains from its position outside the EU. Maastrich is the neoliberal charter for the EU, and the main reason that I oppose membership because Maastricht and subsequent treaties enshrine crazy economic policies and impose them on all member states. That is much more important that the contributions for free trade, which I have no objection to at all.

  101. galamcennalath says:

    BBC either lying, or ignorant, or stupid. Or any combination there off!

    Tonight they are describing the powers for Holyrood in the Queen’s speech as those “agreed last year”.

    They most certainly are not the Smith recommendations which all parties agreed to – they are the watered down version the last coalition proposed. This ‘homeopathic Smith’ is a Tory proposal and nothing else.

    And of course they build on that corrupt presentation by suggesting the SNP agreed last year, but now don’t.

    What annoys me is that there will be a percentage of Scots who still believe what the BBC tell them!

  102. G H Graham says:

    The unintended consequence of a EU referendum is that there may be a significant split amongst pro Scottish independence voters, thus reversing the SNP’s recent historic advance.

  103. Ken500 says:

    Scotland pays £1Billion (out of £54Billion+) to Europe and gets more back in CAP £1/2Billion (lowest in the EU), Investment Grants, (Renewable Grants) shared Defence costs. Scotland could have had access to £1Billion renewable Grants but were prevented because of Westminster indecision. The nearest biggest Market. (500million pop). Scottish fish and beef gets the best prices in France and Spain.

    Any deficit in Scotland is because of Westminster decisions. Trident/illegal wars, tax evasion, bank fraud, ‘loss leading’ cheap alcohol sold at less than production costs etc. The Tories took the additional hardship CAP payments given to Scotland, and gave them to wealthy farmers in the rest of the UK.

    EU guidelines have to be followed to trade with the EU. Scotland can still trade with the rest of the world.

  104. balaaargh says:

    My fear is that the unionists will bore us in to apathy like they did during the AV referendum.

    And the biggest anti-no argument is that in order to trade with Europe, we have to follow their rules, subscribe to their standards and chip in for the regulatory costs. Except without the power of veto our even a vote at the big table where the decisions are made.

  105. Ken500 says:

    EU has good social Laws, civil/human rights legislation. Restricts working hours for professionals e.g junior Doctors. Restricts (long hours ) for lorry drivers, prevents accidents. Advocates good working practices and maternity leave.

  106. DerekM says:

    Personally i do not think i know enough about the inner workings of the EU to make a rational decision on it,this is not because i dont care but because team GB have done their best to make sure we do not hear about it.

    I will vote to stay in the EU for one reason and one reason only a possible chance of independence for my country.

    And i will reserve my judgement on the EU until we can play a full inclusive part in the EU process,only then will we know as a people if it is any good or not for us.

    But i agree we should not get involved in any onion campaign they are toxic,but instead we should campaign on the the things we lose from the EU because of team GB greed ,if that means campaigning against another yes group then so be it,now is our chance to show the people of Scotland one more big team GB lie.

    But whatever we do we must stay in, i dread to think of what the tories will do if we leave,we need the EU Scotland if only to keep team GB off our backs plus i reckon we owe the French one 🙂

  107. Ken500 says:

    Scotland has a good NHS and education system, easy access to countryside, open spaces and leisure facilities. A ‘Right to roam’. That is an important consideration for firms relocating. Companies from countries outside the EU are looking for EU bases for subsidiary business branches.

  108. Thepnr says:

    I absolutely support a Yes vote to stay in the EU. For starters the European Human Rights legislation would no longer apply if the UK was out of the EU.

    Rights that protect workers would also fall by the wayside and we would be left with another 3 or 4 years of the Tories delighted to introduce their own version of these laws.

    That’s not all, I totally agree with freedom of movement for EU citizens within the EU.

    All these are positives and I accept that there are negatives such as an increased level of bureaucracy. To be honest I can’t actually think of many more negatives in remaining part of the EU and would welcome any comments that would enlighten me in this regard.

  109. Fiona says:

    @ Thepnr

    Stability and Growth pact together with the Maastricht treaty. This means that no country is free to make its own economic policy and also that every country is required to follow the failed austerity agenda, no matter how damaging.

  110. Lesley-Anne says:

    O.K. folks hands up those who thought the Queen’s speech would be the highlight of the day? Come on now own up. 😉

  111. Gary says:

    As with so many things, it could well hinge on turnout. The angry right wing are good at turning out to vote. Mind you, Labour are good at stealing postal votes.

    At the moment, as I’m led to believe, the majority want to stay in. The longer the campaign goes on, the longer Westminster has to justify and explain why we should vote to stay. Will Dave learn lessons from the Indyref? Will he buggery! Their attitude is that we won last time, we’ll win this too!

  112. PictAtRandom says:

    I think we need to look very hard at people who use the T.I.N.A. / “Join our gang or else” argument – whether in London or in Brussels. Fragmentation is presented as a horror to be avoided but some degree of it can increase options for individual countries. There may be sentimental ideas about the Auld Alliance but an Scottish alliance with one or more major continental countries wouldn’t be any more balanced than the British Union.

    My preference would be for some sort of Maritime Alliance of northern and western European countries with populations of up to ten million – cooperating on things like energy, the environment and defence but not tending towards “ever closer union”. It would provide an alternative if political parties in different independent and would-be independent countries – which might sit at different points in the political spectrum – started putting a commitment to this in their manifestos. (If you’re going to change things on an equal and cooperative basis then you have to start somewhere.)

  113. Thepnr says:


    Stability and Growth pact together with the Maastricht treaty.

    Thanks for that, I need to go off and read up on these subjects to get a better understanding of how the EU operates. I truly do not have sufficient knowledge just a gut feeling.

    I was like that before the Independence referendum too. It pays to educate yourself and that is how I arrived at a Yes vote.

  114. Taranaich says:

    @Lesley-Anne: The thing is now that Bercow has told the S.N.P. to stop clapping who will it be who reminds him that he wasn’t so upset about clapping on March 26th 2015?

    He certainly didn’t tell them to stop clapping when he saw off William Hague’s little coup, either – nor did the previous speaker see fit to chastise MPs for applauding Tony Blair’s final PMQ:

    Complete lack of “respect” there, then.

  115. joe macfarlane says:

    Reason HRA dropped from Q speech , DC maybe hoping for an exit vote on Europe , no need then for any talks on HRA , surely a Europe exit would end it automatically.

  116. EphemeralDeception says:

    The first thing to understand here is what the hell people are actually voting for or against. There is so much confusion.

    There are about a dozen different European treaties and bodies and a great deal of links between them.

    Eg. This referendum is nothing to do with free trade. This is part of the treaty for membership of EFTA not the EU.
    Humam rights are not EU alone it is handled via membership of the council of Europe and the Uk has not stated there is a referendum on that too. Therefater there are other various treaties interwined with the EU in part.


    Also there is a good diagram on wiki showing the main bodies and links for each European State:

    Therafter, in any case, it is much simpler to enter the EU than to leave: its like a deal with Hotel California + the Masons. 😉

    For example: Freedom of movement. The law is managed by the Council of Europe members but mainly applies to EU states. However non states are also signed up. In addition the CoE has this agreement: European Pact on Immigration and Asylum. Just because the UK leaves the EU doesnt mean all migration will just stop. Then, in any case even in EU freedom of movement is only valid for 3 months unless the migrant can get a job.
    See also:

    The SNP, should at least better inform the Scottish electorate and should put a leaflet together to spell out what people are voting to retain or reject and what is simply not in scope.

  117. EphemeralDeception says:

    For people in Scotland who may want to leave the EU, please consider the following.

    All authority that the EU has over decision making in Scotland will pass back to Westminster not to Scotland.

    Westminster + Lords are much more right wing, more authoritarian and more downright corrupt institutions than the EU.

    So, a question to reflect on is: based on their track record will policies set by London likely be better or worse for Scottish residents than the EU ones?

    It boils down to: do people in Scotland want to hand back more power to Westminster? Do we really?

  118. john king says:

    I learned a new word today
    tomorrow I will be learning another word,
    I cant wait to find out what it means. 🙂

  119. Fiona says:

    @ EphemeralDeception

    You are certainly right that not enough is known. Our media do not inform, and usually only report EU stuff when it is both negative and can be made to look a bit silly.

    However if we withdraw from the EU we will indeed lose the common market. It is true that we could retain that if we reached an agreement with EFTA or some other equivalent arrangement: but it is not automatic.

    The decision to repeal the human rights act is not related to the EU referendum: it is a separate piece of proposed legislation. I am not clear what the fuss is about, to be honest,because we had those right before it came into force. It was just that we had to go to Strasbourg to enforce them, and now they are enshrined in domestic law. Leaving the EU would not change that, which is why there is a separate proposal. It is a mystery to me why anyone is objecting to the human rights law, and I have never seen a reasoned case against the provisions.

    Obviously immigration from outside the EU will not change if we withdraw from europe: but the free movement of european citizens will no longer apply. Can you cite for the statement that within the EU freedom of movement is restricted to 3 months if you can’t get a job: I was not aware of that. I know that you can receive unemployment benefit from your country of origin for between 3 and 6 months if you go abroad to look for work, but I do not think that your right of residence is affected by that.

  120. ronnie anderson says:

    @ Thepnr No accountability on expences
    never balanced the accounts in 40 years
    2 seats of administration
    2 lots of accomidation
    tranporting paperwork up & down the Autoban £10million & thats just of the top of my head.& your in for a severe headache trying to work awe that oot.

  121. DerekM says:

    one other thing i would like to remind folk about is our parliament,a lot of people still think this was down to Tony Blair and his benevolence towards Scotland, bullshit he was told by the EU to do it or else,without EU backing the first thing the tories will try to do is dissolve our parliament,we can not allow this to happen.

    And if anybody believes the establishment actually want to stay in the EU they are kidding themselves,they are desperate to get out,too many questions being asked that they cannot answer,i expect the onion yes camp to be a complete disaster prove me wrong onions.

    This is a dangerous time for us, team GB obviously want to return to the past where Scotland,Wales and NI do what they are told from team GB and have no influence on westminster,oh there is more to this than just an EU referendum.

    Oh and to all you Labour numpties out there, remember this time DO NOT TRUST THE TORIES!

  122. Alan McHarg says:

    I would ask those that want independence for Scotland but are not pro EU and would vote to leave the EU in the forthcoming in/out referendum, to think carefully. This is possibly the best opportunity for a second independence referendum in Scotland and I would ask you to put your love for Scotland and its future independence before your dislike for the EU.

    Let us remain in the EU now and vote appropriately as a vehicle to independence, and when we have that independence then we can review Scotlands position within the EU. At that point Scotland will have more influence in the EU and things may improve, only time will tell. However if things don’t improve as an independent nation we can review our position and have a Scottish referendum to decide Scotlands fait determined by the people of Scotland and only the people of Scotland.

    I believe this is very important to our nations future!

  123. ronnie anderson says:

    The happy clappy club in action.

  124. EphemeralDeception says:


    I read it here:

    Right to move and right of residence for up to three months

    All Union citizens have the right to enter another Member State by virtue of having an identity card or valid passport. Under no circumstances can an entry or exit visa be required. Where the citizens concerned do not have travel documents, the host Member State must afford them every reasonable means in obtaining the requisite documents or having them sent.

    Family members who do not have the nationality of a Member State enjoy the same rights as the citizen who they have accompanied. They may be subject to a short-stay visa requirement under Regulation (EC) No 539/2001. Residence permits will be deemed equivalent to short-stay visas.

    For stays of less than three months, the only requirement on Union citizens is that they possess a valid identity document or passport. The host Member State may require the persons concerned to register their presence in the country within a reasonable and non-discriminatory period of time.

    Right of residence for more than three months

    The right of residence for more than three months remains subject to certain conditions. Applicants must:

    either be engaged in economic activity (on an employed or self-employed basis);
    or have sufficient resources and sickness insurance to ensure that they do not become a burden on the social services of the host Member State during their stay. The Member States may not specify a minimum amount which they deem sufficient, but they must take account of personal circumstances;
    or be following vocational training as a student and have sufficient resources and sickness insurance to ensure that they do not become a burden on the social services of the host Member State during their stay;
    or be a family member of a Union citizen who falls into one of the above categories.

  125. Ken500 says:

    The European Court of Human Rights is separate from the EU. Separate Organisation with a commitment to self determination. EU and UN have a commitment to self determination.

  126. Fiona says:

    @ Alan McHarg

    Yours is a reasonable point of view and it is certainly something to consider.

    As I said earlier today, I am not convinced that this is indeed a great opportunity for a second independence referendum, and certainly not for one we can win.

    I may be completely wrong, but I do not detect real passion for EU membership in those I am in contact with, even those who will vote to stay in. Rather people seem to have mixed feelings.

    If that is widespread, then I do not think that their stance on independence will be much influenced by the outcome of the EU referendum, whatever that might be.

    As I understand the argument, the idea is that if Scotland votes to stay in and is overruled by a UK wide vote to leave the EU, that represents a material change which might trigger a second referendum. And that is reasonable, indeed.

    But it is surely predicated on a belief that the people in Scotland strongly prefer EU membership over the union, and will therefore vote for independence to retain it. I don’t think they do.

    What I am sure about is that a second referendum which is not won will be a disaster. So I would very much like to see at least polling evidence which suggests that these issues are linked in just that way in the public mind. So far it seems that Scottish people are more positive about the EU than are english people: but really enthusiastic? That I don’t see.

    Over the course of the EU referendum campaign such feelings may come to the fore and if that is true then your point will be valid and I am happy to follow your advice in that situation.

    As things stand now I am not persuaded. I hope that makes sense to you?

  127. Fiona says:

    @ Ephemeral Deception

    That is in accord with my understanding, I think. There is no restriction at all on the right of residence. There is a restriction on access to public funds. That is why the whole argument escapes me because I keep hearing about these “benefits tourists” and so far as I can see they don’t exist.

  128. Ken500 says:

    The EU (50million) has greater power to negotiate Treaties (trade/aid) with the rest of the world. China/India/US. Stop the large continents from putting up barriers to trade with EU member States. In an attemp to ensure equal free markets. Rather than large foreign multinationals flooding other markets and their governments protecting their home markets, with tax tariffs etc.

    The Tories are trying protect the UK banking sector from adequate EU consumer rules to protect customers. Westminster continues to print money and increase the debt.

  129. Fiona says:

    @ Ken500

    Westminster continues to print money and increase the debt.

    If only Westminster would continue to print money. That would mean there would be no debt. Unfortunately they only did that to bail out the banks: for all other purposes they insist on borrowing and use that to justify austerity, which is their real goal

  130. X_Sticks says:

    I know! Let’s get Blair Jenkins to run the campaign. Oh, wait…

  131. ArtyHetty says:

    Actually, this whole damn things stinks. While people are struggling just to get by, facing ever increasing cuts to services and even discussions about their human rights being removed, those at the top have enough time, money and energy to distract by bringing an in/out EU referendum into the fore. Christ can we afford this crap for the next 2 years.

    Zero contracts, job insecurity, bad housing, ever increasing rents for the poor, who other than the SNP is challenging these things.

    We need positive action on things like climate change and poverty both nationally and internationally. I can’t stand 2 years of tosh from tories of all colours and the msm taking it upon themselves to steer any so called debate.

    Scotland needs wmd’s out, trident out and to fight for equality and a better deal for the poor, sick, jobless and disabled. I am sure those South of the border have concerns about many issues as well. EU not perfect by any means, but who knows what the tories will inflict on our vulnerable while this is going on. Sorry but I am already fed up with it, it just should not be the focus for the foreseeable future, important as it is to all of us.

  132. Effijy says:

    I’m after Independence via any route and at any price, but will probably vote Yes to retain the EU as I feel England will Say No and Scots vote Yes.

    This could open the door to removing Westminster corruption from our doorstep forever.

    I do question the cost of running the EU.
    The link below shows how Circa 117 million Euros could be saved
    by bringing a halt to this monthly relocation to Strasburg from Brussels, and keeping the EU Admin team in Luxemburg as opposed to having one Brussels HQ.

    We can’t afford to waste so much money for no real benefits.

    Also recognise the £millions Labour’s George Robertson picked up
    from the EU as a bogus NATO rep.
    Completely corrupt sum of money to a complete waste of time.

    How about the £10 million “earned” by Neil Kinnock, his wife, and 2 other family members over a 5 year period in jobs for the “boys” in the EU. Anyone think UK political failure deserves such reward?

    Can anyone tell me about a non EU member state in the West that
    isn’t doing as economically well as Greece, Spain, or Portugal?

    We have Councilors, MSPs, MPs, MEPs, could we get by with just having a few more MSPs and save fortunes removing 3 unnecessary tiers of politicians?

  133. Jim McIntosh says:

    27 May, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    “EU has good social Laws, civil/human rights legislation. Restricts working hours for professionals e.g junior Doctors. Restricts (long hours ) for lorry drivers, prevents accidents. Advocates good working practices and maternity leave.”

    And your point is? – Are you saying if we weren’t in the EU we couldn’t have any of the above. The same with commentators saying European Human Rights legislation would no longer apply if the UK was out of the EU.

    Does the EU have a copyright on these laws and rights?

  134. Fiona says:

    @ Jim McIntosh

    We could have them if we were independent. In this union and out of the EU, unlikely. Else what would be the point of leaving?

  135. Jim McIntosh says:

    27 May, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    “For people in Scotland who may want to leave the EU, please consider the following.

    All authority that the EU has over decision making in Scotland will pass back to Westminster not to Scotland.”

    Only if your strategy is “let’s stay in the EU in case we don’t get independence”. A bit negative don’t you think?

  136. Jim McIntosh says:


    So your strategy is also “let’s stay in the EU in case we don’t get independence”.

  137. Fiona says:

    @ Jim McIntosh

    I have already said that at present I will be voting to come out of the EU. Or, to put it more succinctly, no.

  138. Jim McIntosh says:


    “I have already said that at present I will be voting to come out of the EU. Or, to put it more succinctly, no.”

    Not sure why we’re arguing then 🙂

    BTW – I agree with your sentiment above, that it would be a disaster if we lost IndyRef2, however if it was called because of the EU referendum I think we’d have a fairly good chance of winning.

    1. Yes voters would still vote ‘Yes’.

    2. Most pro EU voters would probably vote ‘Yes’.

    3. Most immigrants would probably vote ‘Yes’.

    4. BTs main scare tactic of ‘too wee, too poor’ would be nullified as we would be in a bunch of nations much bigger and richer if we were free from them.

  139. Fiona says:

    @ Jim McIntosh.

    “We” were arguing because “you” attributed views to me which I do not hold. Never a safe thing to do

    I do not agree we would be likely to win a referendum called because of the EU outcome, for reasons I have already given.

  140. Chic McGregor says:

    A couple of clarifying points here.
    The UK or indeed an independent Scotland could leave the EU but remain a signatory of the ECHR.

    Nearly all non EU, European countries are, in fact, signatories.

    What is the more interesting case is that if the UK left the ECHR then that would inevitably mean leaving the EU.


    Well for a start, it is now a requirement of the EU acquis, that any new member states are signed up to the ECHR.

    Having joined the EU before this was mandatory, the UK can get away with leaving the ECHR and remaining in the EU but because certain aspects of the ECHR are now woven into EU treaties the UK cannot depart greatly from ECHR rulings without incurring punitive measures by the EU.

    There is no prescribed procedure for expelling a member state or region thereof from the EU. It would require an extraordinary conclave, a special summit of all the EU member states to perform that unprecedented act.

    However, those punitive measures go all the way up to depriving the UK of a vote on EU legislation at which point, or possibly even before that, continued EU membership would be untenable.

    And the EU would have no choice in applying all punitive measures in full or risk every other (right wing especially) state following suite.

    A UK which had left the ECHR, unless it effectively continued to mirror ECHR rulings anyway, making the move token, would effectively be forced to leave the EU.

    And, if the UK left in that way, it could only rejoin the EU by re-signing up to the ECHR.

    [An aside note is that a UK which was not an ECHR signatory would also find membership of EFTA equally problematic. The EFTA court, via the EEA agreement largely mirrors ECHR rulings as well.]

    The ECHR does not actually cover human rights issues in regard to self-determination. Those are rather covered under the auspices of various UN treaties like the ICCPR (Alegally binding treaty of which the UK is currently a signatory) and adjudicated when necessary by the ICJ.

    Yes its complicated folks.

    BTW sometimes in the above ‘ECHR’ means ‘European Convention on Human Rights’ and sometimes it means ‘European Court of Human Rights’ (its adjudicating body), the context should be clear though.

  141. Fiona says:

    That is helpful, Chic McGregor. Thanks

  142. DerekM says:

    come on people this is not about staying in or out of Europe,at the moment we Scotland are not included,the membership belongs to the UK as do the decisions,we have nothing except what the UK decides to give us,we have a ticket to watch but not to play.

    What we have to weigh up is what will the UK be like without the EU,will devolution come to a grinding halt considering it was the EU who pushed the UK government down this road,we would not have a parliament otherwise,we would not have 56 SNP MP`s because there would never have been a SNP government,no we owe the EU a lot are they the right vehicle for the future of an independent Scotland,i have my doubts but until we can be fully inclusive in the process as an independent nation there is no way to know.

    This is about the UK people and for the time being there can only be one decision from Scotland and that is to stay in the EU ,once we become independent then we can review our position on Europe to do so otherwise is just a waste of time since we are not actually in the EU as a member state.

    And if people think i am pro European Union then they are wrong ,i have had about enough of unionism and neo liberalism to last me a life time,but this is about my bonnie Scotland and i will die for her or vote yes to staying in the EU lol

  143. Chic McGregor says:

    The EU have had a softly softly catchee monkey approach on the particularly thorny issue, in a European context, of self determination. I mean self determination here in the context of challenging the imperialist defence of ‘territorial integrity’.

    They only had to first really consider even the lesser issue of semi-autonomy when laying down conditions for ‘the expansion’ of the EU into newly Eastern Europe. That process may have required them to ‘put their own house in order’ and that may have entailed some pressure on the UK re devolution. I don’t want to get into whether that did or did not happen nor which pressure groups may or may not have been influential in that.

    But devolution is still not a direct threat to ‘territorial integrity’.

    The first involvement of any kind by the EU into that kind of area was only fairly recently in their part in sponsoring the indy ref in Kosovo and in supplying political face-saving salve to Serbia.

    A move which was still not within the legal remit of either EU treaty legislation or the ECHR.

    Although the ICJ (UN court) ruled that the subsequent UDI by Kosovo was not illegal.

  144. Chic McGregor says:

    Now I’m getting a bit confused. It’s late. I’ve conflated the Montenegro and Kosovan cases. It was in the case of the Montenegran referendum that the EU was a sponsor.

    Kosovo’s referendum was much earlier and their UDI happened while under UN control.

    Still same message though.

  145. CyberMidgie says:

    Perhaps Nicola Sturgeon should go directly to the EU and say, “Scotland wants to stay in. We could tip the balance on this. How are you going to demonstrate the direct benefits of the EU to Scotland?”

    Not the UK, not Westminster, Scotland.

    Perhaps a Directive requiring that devolved Governments be allowed to negotiate directly with the EU on issues that their regions are most affected by within their countries?

    That would get us a say in fishing rights and oil policy at the very least. We might manage to swing more influence over things like renewable power and policies affecting the Scottish food and drink industry as well.

    Too big a step for the EU? How about amending the Common Agricultural Policy, so that countries are required to pass the full subsidies allocated to their regions on to the regions in question, instead of being able to divert money between regions as they see fit?

    That would get Scotland its fair share of CAP subsidies, instead of the current situation where English farmers get more money per hectare than Scottish farmers do.

    I’m sure Nicola would be able to think of more things to suggest to the EU, so that the SNP can campaign for a Yes vote on the benefits to Scotland. That would help a lot in drawing a clear line between the positive Scottish campaign and the negative big business Tory campaign.

  146. Ghillie says:

    Apologies if i missed anyone mentioning this already:

    Nicola Sturgeon in Wednesday’s National, when asked by Simon Johnson of the Daily Telegraph, whether the First Minster would appear on a pro-Europe platform with like-minded conservatives, replied:

    ‘I have no plans to share a platform- I will be making a case as the SNP leader and the First Minster of Scotland for the positive case for Scotland and the UK’s future within the European Union.’

    As statesman-like as her predecessor.

    Crystal clear.

    For my part, my experiences to date relating to Scotland’s connections with the European Community have been positive, especially my personal contact with the many varied and multi-talented individuals who have graced our country.

    I do however need to learn exactly what I am voting for or against. I really do need a clear understanding of what is involved.

    It is all very well for folk to bandy about bunches of CAPITAL letters, but no use if I don’t know what they mean.

    I do however trust the Scottish MEP I met who was pasionate about the EU.

    On top of that an independent Scotland will have a very different voice in the European Parliament, one that can be heard without first requiring Westminster’s permission. As i understand it, at the moment, basically gagged and sidelined.

    And for now I trust my instincts.

    I believe Scotland should vote YES to stay in the EU.

    ( Plus It’s really cool that I won’t have to take down all the YES signs on my car or all over my home apart from needing to add alot of wee gold stars around the edges! =)

  147. Fiona says:

    @ Ghillie

    “No plans” is not always as clear as you think. We have seen this often. It rings alarm bells for me, no matter which politician says it. I apply the same benchmark to Ms Sturgeon as to the rest, although I trust her more

  148. Will Podmore says:

    Nice to see Wings starting the campaign on a positive note – “the opponents will be negative, reactionary idiots …”
    And repeating Clegg’s lie that “an EU exit would be disastrous because we’d be taken out of a market of 650 million into one a tenth that size ..”
    The EU is not a market. It is a would-be state. The EU contains potential customers for our goods and services and outside it, we could still sell to its members. 160 countries non-EU members trade with it quite happily and so could we.

  149. Jim McIntosh says:

    @Will Podmore

    Re your first paragraph above – If by ‘Wings’ you mean the readers and commentators on the site, I think you’ll find we will be split much the same way as the rest of the population, why wouldn’t we be?

    Admittedly there might be some tactical voting if it will forward the ultimate agenda of Independence, and I’m sure the No voters in rUK will highlight this if it’s No in England and Yes in Scotland.

    Re your second paragraph – I’ll have to go for a lie down as it’s the first time I’ve agreed with something you’ve written.

  150. Chic McGregor says:

    Yes, there are a lot of acronyms involved.

    Here is a list of them as they first appear in my two posts above. I have included even the obvious ones for the sake of completeness:

    EU – European Union
    ECHR – European Convention on Human Rights
    UK – United Kingdom
    ECHR – European Court of Human Rights
    EFTA – European Free Trade Area
    EEA – European Economic Area
    UN – United Nations
    ICCPR – International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
    ICJ – International Court of Justice
    UDI – Unilateral Declaration of Independence

    Note ECHR is used for both Convention and Court, although sometimes people use ECtHR to make the distinction clear.

  151. Yoda says:

    It simply staggers me the hypocrisy of what you are saying- arguing to remaining within a union just a year after denouncing another union.

    Wake up and see just how funny you look.

  152. Darktanyin says:

    The two most prosperous countries in Europe are Norway and Switzeralnd, neither of which are in the EU. Not a co-incidence I would suggest.

    Scotland has nothing to fear from a vote to leave the EU, as Westminster cannot exert any more control over us. Brussels, on the other hand, gains in power each year and will eventually be the centre of a U.S.E. Scotland, like most of the other countries will end up like American states. I personally, desire more for my country and it’s people.

    And the argument that Scots are more pro-Europe doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, as the last EU vote in the mid-70’s saw the Scottish vote 10% more anti-EU than down south.

  153. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “And the argument that Scots are more pro-Europe doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, as the last EU vote in the mid-70’s saw the Scottish vote 10% more anti-EU than down south.”

    You know the mid-70s were some time ago, right?

  154. Paul Dowling says:

    It is the UK that is the signatory member of the EU. Not Scotland. So Scotland cannot have its own EU referendum, and also cannot have a veto the referendum result. Sturgeon is as usual playing politics and trying to set Scotland against the rest of the UK which she doesn’t care less about. There’s no chance at all she’ll get her way on this and neither should she. Scotland voted last year to remain in the UK, so on this the UK will move as one nation.

  155. Ghillie says:

    Thank you Chic! That was really helpful =) It’s a start.

    I still have alot to learn about exactly how we fit into the the European Community, how Scotland has and will benefit and what bits might not be so great.

    But my REAL interest lies in what our participation in the European Community will be like when we are the fully INDEPENDENT Scotland we will be.

    Now that IS exciting!

    And come what may, if that connection falls into unhappy territory, then we can decide as a nation how we would like things to be.

    Fiona, it is quite right of you to pick up on the language used: ‘I (NS) have no plans to share a platform… ‘(with the Tories) And I am glad to see you are more inclined to trust NS than others. Me too.

    I think our Scottish Government will mount a campaign completely independent of any thing Cameron’s shower might have to say.

    Reckon they’ll copy though.

  156. Caroline Corfield says:

    Oo- Union

    United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

    European Union

    I see they have versions of the word Union in them, they must be entirely comparable situations.
    Why do people rely on semantics for their arguments?

  157. david hammond says:

    No result in a referendum can be relied on , neither that England would vote to leave the EU or that Scotland would vote to stay.Would here then be an argument for Scotland having argument veto to stop the English making them stay. The previous argument for Scotland having separate negotiations is a corker, the only winners would be the EU negotiater and what if the rest of the UK obtained better terms.

  158. Will Podmore says:

    The SNP proposes that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, not Britain as a whole, would each have to vote to leave the EU for it to happen. Each one would have a veto.
    So if the 1.6 million people in Northern Ireland voted by a majority of one to stay in the EU, and everybody in Britain voted to leave, we would stay in: Northern Ireland’s vote would overrule everybody else. A minority would defeat the majority vote.
    The SNP calls this a ‘double majority’ rule. In fact it is simple minority rule. When a minority can overrule a majority, there is no democracy. To accept the SNP’s proposal would be to submit to anarchy, to ultimatums by any minority.
    The SNP calls this a democratic protection. But their concern for democracy is very partial, a one-way street. It did not propose that unless all four voted to stay in, we leave. If it’s democratic to have a veto on leaving, why isn’t it democratic to have a veto on staying in? We must unite our country on class lines, not split it on ‘national’ lines.

  159. Will Podmore says:

    Of course, the SNP manifesto said, “we will oppose a referendum on membership of the EU.”
    So the SNP told us we had no right to a vote, now they turn round and tell us how to vote. They had no right to try to deny us a vote so now they have no right to tell us how to vote in the referendum they fought to deny us.

Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

↑ Top