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Wings Over Scotland

Selective hearing

Posted on February 28, 2013 by

There’s an interesting story on the BBC website this morning on the subject of EU membershi- WAIT! COME BACK! Honestly, it really IS quite interesting!


The UK state broadcaster’s Scottish outpost has undertaken what could under certain conditions be described as journalism, by conducting a survey of 27 EU member states (plus imminent newcomer Croatia) to find out their view of what an independent Scotland’s status would be. 23 of the 28 either ignored the Beeb’s request or wouldn’t commit to an opinion, but the teeny Baltic state of Latvia (pop. 2.2m, EU member since 2004) pluckily threw its 2-Lats-worth into the debate.

The BBC reported Latvia’s position thus:

“Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said, in the event of Scotland becoming an independent country: “The procedure of admitting a new member to the EU would have to be followed. All the chapters of negotiations have to be opened, duly negotiated and then closed.” On whether the rest of the UK would continue as an EU member, he said: “I understand that the commission and colleagues from EU legal services are also currently considering that. I think we need solid legal opinion on this.”

Now, there’s quite a bit of news in there, but it’s not contained in the first two sentences. The Scottish Government’s position has for several years been that negotiations would be required, and the minister’s personal view that Scotland would be treated as a new state is only an opinion – as pointed out elsewhere in the piece, Slovakia’s response was that “In the end, it is a political decision made by all the member states”, rather than a matter of law.

(Curiously, the article was originally titled “Scots EU member application ‘needed'”, but now goes by the rather more neutral “Scottish independence: Scotland and EU membership”, although the original can still be seen in the browser header.)

But the second part of the quote is new – and rather dramatic – information. The UK Government recently published a paper asserting that the rUK would definitely assume a successor-state role at the EU in the event of Scottish independence. Yet here we have Mr Rinkevics directly stating that the matter is in fact actively under consideration by the European Commission, rather than being a done deal.

For good measure, his comments also contain an implicit but clear criticism of the UK government, which has repeatedly refused to clarify the situation by making an official request to the Commission to issue a definitive statement, despite the Commission explicitly saying that it will do so if asked.

One might reasonably expect, then, that were any headlines to arise from the BBC’s investigations, they might be “DOUBT CAST OVER rUK’S SUCCESSOR STATUS IN EU” (broadsheets), or “CAMERON GETS A KICK IN THE BALTICS” (tabloids), since those are the only remotely new developments in the story. As it happened, we could only find two news outlets covering the subject today.

“Independent Scotland ‘would have to apply from scratch to join EU'”
(The Telegraph)

“SNP U-turn over EU membership for independent Scotland”
(The Herald) (guess who?)

Hey ho.

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    57 to “Selective hearing”

    1. Albert Herring says:


    2. Dave Smith says:

      It’s the same as Fr f***s sake! ūüėČ
      Still; it appears to be good news. Can’t wait till Scotland can engage directly with Europe rather than through the sclerotic arteries of a dying Westminster state.
      Thanks again for your expert dissection of the news, Stu!

    3. kininvie says:

      If you go back to the transcript of the Hardtalk interview that caused all the original fuss: Interviewer: ‘Would it (rUK) have to renegotiate its terms?’ Barroso ‘No. No in principle no.” The ‘in principle’ was of course ignored by all the MSM, but I thought then, and still think, that Barroso was indicating that nothing was set in stone (in other words the rUK position is open to challenge). And there may well be circumstances where such a challenge might be useful to other member states (or even the EC itself). So I read the Latvian comments as diplo-speak for ‘people are looking at the political ramifications of rUK status’.
      I am also convinced that there will be no ‘solid legal opinion’ until the referendum is won, and decisions have to be taken. As I’ve said before, self-determination of peoples vs integrity of nation states is a toxic issue for the EU, and, in the event of a won referendum, the EC will be desperate to present arrangements between Scotland and England as a domestic matter, setting no precedent. There is little doubt that rUK could successfully claim successor state status under international law…..but EU membership (or re-negotiation thereof)¬† is a different matter

    4. Jeannie says:

      I heard a bit of this on the radio this morning and Latvia’s foreign minister also pointed out that as Scotland is already a member of the EU and therefore already complying with European laws, the process of Scotland becoming a member in its own right should not be a lengthy one.¬†

    5. Ray says:

      That line about the rest of the UK and the uncertainty over their status jumped out at me like a sore thumb, but I immediately came to the same conclusion as Stu has regarding coverage of it, sighed and moved on.

    6. Doug Daniel says:

      I see the BBC are still peddling their bullshit version of Lucinda Creighton’s comments on the matter.
      Isn’t it funny how countries like Latvia get the “LOL!!! They’re not a proper country!! LMFAO!!” treatment until they say something that the media likes the sound of?
      Anyway, as Jeannie says, on GMS the guy was pointing out that Scotland already complies with the entrance criteria, and as such it wouldn’t be a lengthy process. Gary Robertson did his best to make the guy to come out with an actual number to hopefully be able to say “ha! Take that, Salmond!”, but he wouldn’t be drawn into it.
      I suspect that’s about the most any EU nation will say on the matter. We’re going to have to rely on people recognising that common sense and political self-interest will prevail in this, and we’ll not be out of the EU for a single day. Although I don’t know why, because the UK never does other countries any favours.

    7. Morag says:

      I heard him, and he kept using words like “theoretically”.

    8. Marian says:

      In the real world what gets the Unionists and their chums at the BBC and Herald and Scotsman all excited is not shared by the vast majority of Scots who are content in the certain knowledge that Scotland’s continuing with membership of the EU will be a mere formality.
      However this is not what the noise from the Unionists and their chums us all about.
      What they are really trying to do is chip away at the public’s perception of the honesty and integrity of the individuals within the leadership of the Independence campaign by continually casting doubt or clouding over things that they have said, in the hope that eventually the People of Scotland will not believe what they say about independence.
      All along it has been transparently obvious that the Unionists are playing the man and not the ball hence the constant attacks on Alex Salmond and now Nicola Sturgeon. Blair Jenkins will also get the treatment along with Alan Grogan and anyone else who stands for independence such as celebrities etc.
      The Unionists and their lackeys behave this way because they have nothing else to defend the present Westminster system of Government with.

    9. Jeannie says:

      I’m driven near insane by the constant questioning of whether we’ll have to apply to join the EU or not.¬† We’re already in the EU so I tend to read it more as we’ll have to give them an idea one way or the other of whether we want to stay in or get out, otherwise how are they supposed to know what we want to do?¬† If we indicate we want to stay in, they’ll take that as our application and process it accordingly.¬† If we indicate we want out, a formal process to that end will be commenced.¬† But during the process, either way, my reading is, that we’ll still be in as there’s no formal process for kicking anybody out.

    10. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      I think that things are starting to turn, slowly in our favour.
      For me the most interesting statement this week was that the UK will announce that an Independent Scotland will be able to use sterling, providing we accept annual debt restraints e.g a target of 3% of GDP? I think AS has already stated that would be sensible?
      If this is accurate then it’s a hell of a ¬†u-turn from their scaremongering stance. Combine that with the UK’s loss of AAA rating. The EU dimension is no longer a scaremongering issue for them considering Cameron’s threat of a referendum¬†¬†¬†

    11. pmcrek says:

      Ok, Scotland doesnt qualify currently as an EU state, therefore the Scottish Government cannot request clarification from the EU on Scotland’s status in the event of Independence. The UK Government cannot also because they know what the answer will be already and it would seriously damage one of the main lies of their anti-independence campaign.
      However, there are a few EU countries with citizens in Scotland working/studying etc.. Poland would spring to mind immediately. Perhaps Poland could ask for the clarification on behalf of their citizens working and studying in Scotland? Would this not be a no-brainer for the Polish Government given the uncertainty surrounding the future of many of their own citizens currently living in Scotland? Could the SNP or Yes Scotland convince the Polish Government to seek clarification for us?

    12. DMW42 says:

      As often reported, every comment coming from the EC or other member state makes it perfectly clear that the UK government should make an official request.
      It’s therefore time for every Scottish MP, no matter what their own personal opinion, or party stance, to get off their ar*e and, in the interests of their constituents, (whom they’re there to represent), demand that the UK government make the f n request.
      If they don’t, its an abdication of their responsibility and they should be recalled.

    13. gerry parker says:

      Given their international reputation for honesty, integrity and balanced reporting – If you were a small country in the EU would you talk to the BBC?

    14. The Man in the Jar says:

      Nicola Sturgeon on her recent visit to the EU. Reaffirmed Scotland’s wish to remain part of the EU.
      NNS did an article on this on Tuesday 26th.

    15. Robert Kerr says:

      There are four countries not accounted for. Can you name them and advise their response.
      Good for Latvia. We traded with her for many years as “Hanseatic” ports. Specifically Leith Dundee and Aberdeen.
      There is a modern equivalent see
      Kings Lynn in England has rejoined. We don’t need independence to do so. Good to see the hansa map of 1400 is printed with the appropriate designation “Koenigreich Schottland”.
      We go back a long way together. 
      Speed the day we are welcomed back.

    16. The Man in the Jar says:

      @Robert Kerr
      It is interesting that the Hanseatic ports and Baltic States recognise an independent Scotland as a positive. Indeed Scotland had a very long tradition of trading in that area.
      The other side of the coin is. Which Scottish port historically gained from the Treaty of Union in 1707 which “allowed” them to trade west across the Atlantic?
      Hmm! Let me think about that.

    17. HenBroon says:

      Berwick was once the busiest and most prosperous port in Scotland before it was stolen.
      The navigation Acts put paid to our excellent trading record with the Baltic states, the acts of Union put the seal on it as Scotlands mercantile and Naval fleet was re flagged as British (English.) Had Darien been a success England foresaw a tremendous challenge to their dominance and piracy of the high seas, by Scotland as did Spain.
      I sincerely hope that a future independent Scotland will work hard to restore Berwick to Scotland and restore her natural maritime benefits to this country. Berwick is perfectly placed to become a gateway to the Baltic and Europe once more, with all the potential to become a fast link for a thriving Scotland to Europe by passing  a truculent overcrowded England.
      Berwickers are very keen to be Scottish once more.

    18. HenBroon says:

      Gordon Brewers spluttering indignation on Newsnicht last night, when questioning Linda Fabiani, has to have been the most unprofessional piece of interviewing I have yet witnessed from him. At one point she punctured his balloon by saying “I don’t understand why you are confused Gordon.” You could see the red flush rising up his sweaty¬† greasy neck. The technique is when the SNP rep will not take his bait and say, “yes yes yes we are going to crucify Scotland with higher taxes so we can be like Denmark.” Brewer then does his two stroke scooter impersonation, “but but but but but but I’m confused.” What an odious pip squeak of a man he is.
      BBC Scotland could save loads of money by putting up a trained baboon to say, “The SNP are horrible, we all going to die, OK that’s all we have time for, quick look at tomorrows papers, Herald headlines SNP are horrible were all going to die, the Scotsman oh there are none, goodnight.” Roll titles cut back to London.

    19. Peter Macleod says:

      The BBC are driving me slowly round the twist with this and their pathetic excursions around Europe trying to find examples of ‘problems’ with plans for independence. First Bratislava on the break up of Czechslovakia where they found one who was all dewy eyed for the old ways and a couple of non specific criticisms. Thence to the fine city of Copenhagen to find people willing to criticise the generous benefits policy and the high taxation… but never once mentioning the high taxation also comes with substantially higher average wages than the UK average.

      The whole EU thing really grips my sh*t. They’re STILL saying Lucinda Creighton is critical of the SNP position when in absolute fact she said she was broadly of the same opinion on it. They are peddling every single contrary opinion to the SNP argument as fact when every single person coming out with it clearly states that it is an opinion and that the only definitive answer must come from the EC. Even Barrosso wasn’t giving an official position, that was just his opinion as well even if he is from the European Commission. The whole stupid argument could be stopped utterly with one little request from Westminster to the EC but oh no, the No Scotland campaign are making hay so Westminster has no intention whatsoever of spoiling that.

      Just to cap it off there was the barest mention of Nicola Sturgeon visiting Brussels and giving them the official Scottish Government position. But an article misquoting a foreign politician, that gets prominence for days.

    20. the rough bounds says:

      Yes Marian, they are playing the man instead of the ball. Their attacks were without cease upon Alex Salmond. Then they had to aim their fire at Nicola Sturgeon. Now they have to aim at Blair Jenkins. It’s getting more and more difficult for the Unionists to take aim.
      Remember that famous scene from the film ‘Spartacus’ when one by one every man in the slave’s army stood up and declared, ”I am Spartacus”.
      The Romans had no idea which man to go for.
      This is a perfect example of what we must all do in the lead up to the referendum.
      The more of us that take direct action and stand up to be counted then the more difficult it will be for the enemy to take aim.
      Get a Yes badge, stick it on your lapel, and face down the enemy. This is our chance to make history. Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon and Blair Jenkins simply can’t do it on their own.

    21. Baheid says:

      HenBroon says: Brewer etc
      Just watched newsnicht on i player.
      He is always so desperate to put words onto any indi supporters mouth, (looking for a headline) ;
      SNP plans to introduce 60% tax rate.
      As Linda suggested, if you counted all the indirect taxes that we have in the UK you are probably paying equivalent to 50/60% anyway but getting very little back.

    22. John Lyons says:

      Isn’t it something like 68% of what you pay at the pumps for petrol or diesel is tax?

    23. Baheid says:

      John Lyons says:

      Petrol 132.9 per ltr =64%
      Diesel 137.9 per ltr = 66%

    24. Indion says:

      Baheid at 4:52pm et al
      As you say and inferred from others –¬†given the similar tax take in the UK –¬†there’s no reason an independent Scotland¬†should not seek to emulate¬†the Danish model if so minded. Hence the moves towards a real living wage.
      And – like the tannadice lad’s interview with the pragmatic US¬†ambassador, good to see the earmarked¬†SBC taking the opportunity to spread its fledgling foreign correspondent wings, even if ’twas a shot down crash & burn unitarist landing.

    25. Midgehunter says:

      Regarding the comments about Scotland and the Hansa, here’s a link to a very good book which is unfortunatelly long out of print but here as a PDF. (I’ve read the book .. :-))

      Scotland played a very active role in trade with the Baltic and Scandanavian countries and Scottish names are still to be found on these coasts. History is not just about Bannockburn and shortbread. If I had enough cash I could do an hour long tv documentary on this subject alone.

    26. Barontorc says:

      What we should not forget to factor into anything uttered by the MSM, BBC, Unionist politicos including Call me Dave and all under him, is, that they are proffering their ‘personal/party-pooper opinion’ only; the reality will hit home when it is appropriately tested by law and ‘legal opinion’ is accepted.
      It was almost a radical eureka moment when a blogger opined/suggested, that public ‘servants’ are just and only that – servants at the behest of the public and they are not ‘in power’, but have been ’empowered to serve’ the people.
      This is one area where the Scottish psyche is demonstrably weakest. Thanks to three centuries of domination by our ‘betters’, we somehow, accept any ‘official’ ¬†sh** ¬†thrown at us, without question, never mind flaming indignation.
      Well, the worm’s well and truly turned now – and at last! ¬†

    27. G H Graham says:

      Expect the Unionists to turn up the noise about Scotland having to impose Scandinavian levels of tax post Independence as if that in itself was a dreadful situation.
      Nevertheless, good old Bankrupt Britain has implemented so many taxes, unless one does some checking, its easy to lose sight of how much the Exchequor rips from people’s pockets through various tax mechanisms.
      When I added them all up, the total tax I pay is around 45% of my gross annual salary, arrived at from this unappetising list …

      Fuel (Diesel)

      Income tax


      Satellite TV

      Life Insurance

      Car Insurance

      House Insurance

      Fuel Oil




      TV License

      Poll Tax

      Road License

      The last three are fixed sum taxes, one of which is used to fund a propaganda war in Scotland by agents of the British state.
      And lets not forget the 20% applied to almost everything else I purchase at the shops including food & drink.
      When almost half of what I earn is siphoned by the British state to fund wars in Afghanistan, pay for Trident, lavish London with a royal pageant, build an entire Olympic village & world class sporting complex, reimburse expenses incurred by English Bishops who approve/disapprove laws that directly affect me, perhaps one of the slavish supporters of the “Better Together” campaign can explain why this tax regime is the best one they can come up with & why there cannot be a better arrangement for Scotland, no longer saddled with a corrupt FPTP electoral system, no longer funding dubious foreign war expeditions & no longer subsidising expensive public private partnerships which unfairly benefit shareholders of private corporations?
      Take yer time.

    28. Midgehunter says:

      Sorry, I forgot the link in ma comment …. (that’ll be another quid in the Revs communion box I suppose)

    29. Ananurhing says:

      On Ca’ Kay Adams’ trailer this morning, she was baiting listeners with the proposition that we too could have a utopic social democracy like Denmark, but only if our taxes were DOUBLED, yes DOUBLED listeners. Inane specious¬†pish!
      If taxes were doubled in this country, hundreds of thousands of households would become impoverished. Can’t say I’ve seen a lot of impoverished households in Denmark, or spoken to any Danes who wish to emulate the UK’s fiscal policies.
      Needless to say, I couldn’t bring myself to listen to the rest of her usual glib,¬†ill informed pap.¬†

    30. kininvie says:

      For the reasons I outlined, agitating for a legal opinion from the EC will seriously piss everyone off. We need goodwill in Europe (which Nicola’s speech was admirably directed to achieve), and jumping up and down about a legal opinion is not going to get it. As I said, because of Kosovo, Cyprus, Catalonia, Hungary, the EC has zero desire to set a precedent. The UK govt understands this. The Scottish govt. understands this. Our independence has to be a DOMESTIC matter, and the sooner we get our heads around this, the better for our smooth transition to an internationally recognised state….

    31. Indion says:

      Kininvie at 11:35am said:
      ” If you go back to the transcript of the Hardtalk interview that caused all the original fuss: Interviewer: ‚ÄėWould it (rUK) have to renegotiate its terms?‚Äô Barroso ‚ÄėNo. No in principle no.’ ”¬†

      That was the most significant part of the interview to me. Not only because of what you went on to say, but –¬†given completion of this year’s EU budget for the next¬†7 – in practice there is no way the rUK would not seek to renegotiate its terms at some stage to take account of Scotland’s contribution to the EU budget in its own right.

      Indeed,¬†Cameron’s¬†explicit riposte to Barrusso¬†from his proposed EU Referendum by end 2017 should have scotched any¬†notion that the EU¬†would have its present UK cake and eat¬†Scotland’s too.

      Kininvie concluded:

      ” There is little doubt that rUK could successfully claim successor state status under international law‚Ķ..but EU membership (or re-negotiation thereof)¬† is a different matter. ”

      I take it you meant ‘single’ successor state status: ie international recognition of rUK as the continuing state, with Scotland the new state to be internationally recognised.

      If so, I agree that should not preclude internal negotiations between rUK and Sco and external negotiations with the EU based in practice on both being successor states to the UK.  

    32. velofello says:

      @ HenBroon: I object to you conflating Mr Brewer’s spluttering but but buts with a two stroke engine.
      The two stroke cycle internal combustion engine is a very elegant concept – by a Scot I understand – and can be much improved by the installation of a reed valve in the inlet tract thus preventing the unfired air fuel mixture being blown back, swallowed if you prefer, down the inlet tract on the compression stroke.
      Moved me to musing whether BBC reporters have such a reed valve device fitted to ensure the don’t have to eat their words when challenged.I wonder what such a device is called in BBC speak?

    33. scottish_skier says:

      This whole successor state thing…

      I’ve been asking around and not one person has been able to answer this very simple question…

      ‘If the rUK is the sole successor state, what will it be called and what will its flag be?’
      This might seem trivial, but it does highlight a little problem with the whole successor state thingymjiggery.

      If the USA union came to an end, could e.g. Washington DC still call itself the ‘united states’ of america and fly the ‘union flag’? (Stars and stripes). I suppose so, but people would giggle.

      I’m trying to imagine Dave turning up to the EU, UN, G8 etc with his brass name plate saying ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’ (my emphasis) and wee¬†union flag (again my emphasis) even though said United Kingdom of Great Britain/union no longer exists.

      If the name of the state we live in today was e.g. ‘Republic of Britain’ and the flag the ‘British Tricolour’ or such like I’d not obviously be ‘flagging’ (ahem) this up…

      Oh and see that ‘Edinburgh Agreement’ thing… I assume if Yorkshire votes for an independence supporting party, then there’ll be no problem with Westminster signing the ‘York Agreement?’. Or is Scotland a bit different constitutionally…

    34. tartanfever says:

      SS- what we could do though, is we (independent Scotland) could adopt the Union Flag as our own, so that when we turn up to the UN or EU, we have the same flag as the Rump. 
      Imagine that – it’d be like two Hollywood starlets turning up to a red carpet do in the same dress. Thats would really piss them off.
      Or maybe we just keep the flag design but take out the red bits and make it all blue and white, kinda like Stella McCartney did with those Olympic sports outfits. Oh they would be seething.

    35. velofello says:

      Egos aside, England and Northern Ireland, the E & NI ¬†– Wales having been conquered by England – would seem to be the formal solution. Not fair on the Welsh a nation that hasn’t been extinguished like Scotland, just taken by conquest.
      E & NI does seem to be sticking out its chin for A&E jokes though.
      If there a procedure whereby a nation can unconquer itself peacefully then adding Wales, having freed herself from England, would yield, alphabeticaly, ENIW.
      Phonetically this inclines to sound as anyway!
      WENi?  sounds like weenie. A bit American for some tastes perhaps.
      England could of course go it alone and so leave the rest of us, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, in peace but that doesn’t fit with their imperialist assimiliation tendencies.
      i’ve tried, I’ve tried.

    36. scottish_skier says:

      TF: SS- what we could do though, is we (independent Scotland) could adopt the Union Flag as our own, so that when we turn up to the UN or EU…..¬†

    37. Chic McGregor says:

      Scotland had its own Union flag once with the Saltire superimposed over the George Cross.

    38. kininvie says:

      @scottish_skier The answer to your question is that a state can call itself whatever it wants and can fly whatever flag it wants (although there may be rules if a particular flag is already taken ūüôā ) So if rUK chose to style itself as the People’s Democratic Union of What’s Left, there would be no problem. But I imagine it will just continue with UK, which, if not strictly accurate, saves everyone from expensive changes to letterheads.

    39. Keith B says:

      @ velofello
      Whales, Ireland North and England. WHINE. Sorted.

    40. Chic McGregor says:

      scottish_skier says:
      28 February, 2013 at 9:40 pm
      TF: SS- what we could do though, is we (independent Scotland) could adopt the Union Flag as our own, so that when we turn up to the UN or EU…..

      They could call themselves ‘Former Country of the United Kingdom’ (a bit like ‘Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’).¬† OK it wouldn’t do much re a flag, but it could save them a packet on T-Shirt design.¬† ūüôā

    41. Morag says:

      Wales, NI and England.  Waningland.

    42. kininvie says:

      @scottish_skier Maybe more to the point is what an Indy Scotland might call itself. At the moment, the United Kingdom gets to sit right next door to the United States of America in all the international bodies, and so can pass notes, make jokes, get on camera all the time…. Should we choose to call ourselves the United People’s Republic/Monarchy of Scotland, we’d be able to elbow them out and pass notes and get on camera ūüôā OTOH, it might be better to sit next to China….any ideas for a suitable name?¬† PS This is not entirely frivolous. Such things matter – more than a little.

    43. scottish_skier says:

      @kininvie But I imagine it will just continue with UK
      The United Kingdom (UK) consists of England, Wales, Scotland (who together make up Great Britain) and Northern Ireland.
      They EU ahem ‘foreigner’ types are already fairly clued up. Probably better than some at home…

    44. Chic McGregor says:

      We could sit next to both and have a china on both sides. ūüôā
      OK non frivolous answer:
      I see only three real choices:
      With the first way out in the lead.

    45. Baheid says:

      English flag,
      Maybe a nice tea towel with a print of the queen ?

    46. velofello says:

      Baheid surely wins the prize – nice wee tea towel.
      I do like Chicmac ‘s chinas too, touch of the Rikki Fulton.
      Ever thought how readers of the Times or the Telegraph et al would respond? 

    47. Albert Herring says:


    48. Chic McGregor says:

      Thanks for second prize but did anyone actually get my FCUK gag? ūüôā
      On a more serious note, in another FB group (about saving Perth City Hall) someone posted a national film archive of Churchill being given the freedom of Perth in 1948 i.e. not long after WWII.  Personally, I would rather he had been given a similar freedom to that conferred by Dundee ie. freedom to leave without a seat.  However I want you to look at the film (its silent) and notice the UJs in use.
      See how narrow the St George was then?  Barely wider, if at all, than the other crosses which make it up.
      What about now?  where the UJ is sometimes not much more than a red flag with blue and white bits at the corner.
      It is symbolic of the last few decades IMO.

    49. Chic McGregor says:

      As pictorial backup to your message, have a gander at the perception of the British Isles  by mapmakers from Flanders/Low Countries in the Middle Ages.  Scotland is if anything seen as being bigger than England with more towns of note.  Admittedly, the disparity in population between Scotland and England then was nowhere near what it is now (approx 4:1) but still it is indicative of where their trade interests lay.

    50. Barontorc says:

      Did I see David Cameron – UK PM, tonight on BBC sitting in front of a flag that looked awfy like a the dear old Union Jack, but with it arranged in such a way as to show no blue at all?
      Well I suppose if we’ve been ‘extinguished’ then there no harm in just folding the blue bits out of sight also!
      I’m almost convinced there’s a monumental con going on to stuff the Union and Labour with it.

    51. Macart says:

      Its a bit lke an old pub joke. There was a Latvian, a Czec and a Spaniard……….
      All with personal opinions and all wrong. It seems most likely that political expediency will settle the EU question, not law. The Rev has the right of it why no direct query from Westminster to the EU? I don’t think they’d like the answer. Why the ‘get Sturgeon’ push by Labour? They need her electoral coin devalued when the answer to question 1 is finally answered. Labour are well aware what the Cons are up to and they need Scotland a lot more than an arrogant tory south east. This past month we’ve seen a number of dominoes fall from ‘gonnae no’. The cost of independence, the triple A rating myth, the international negotiations myth and last but by no means least, could Scotland adopt the pound sterling? They’ve lost the argument and rope a dope has paid dividends. The only thing holding the whole rotten mess of the union on its feet is the media. We don’t have to beat political opposition (they’re knackered already), but we do still have to beat their machinery and that’s the hard one.

    52. scottish_skier says:

      Well with UKIP beating the Tories to second place in Eastleigh, getting rid of Scotland is now even more imperative to Dave.

    53. Macart says:

      Yep skier 9% for Labour was it? That’ll leave a mark on Mr Ed.
      Watch this space, the pattern of the past few weeks will continue to repeat. Labour spokesperson for ‘gonnae no’ will make a leading statement duly followed several weeks later by an ‘official’ government release rubbishing the claim and dropping said Labour spokesperson in crapper.
      Its becoming rather obvious that the tories are actively stabbing Labour in the back over the referendum issue. Apparently not better together then, even with ersatz partners.

    54. muttley79 says:

      Just read this opening paragraph from the Guardian’s coverage of the by-election result.
      Relieved Liberal Democrats have claimed a narrow victory in the Eastleigh byelection, fending off a surge by Ukip that forced the Conservatives into third place ‚Äď putting huge pressure on David Cameron to show he has a strategy to win the 2015 election.
      I wonder what Cameron’s strategy could be?¬† A permanent end to around 40 Scottish Labour MPs at Westminster would be a useful start though…

    55. DMW42 says:

      Going back to the ‘flag’ for rUK, I¬†think a white cross on a white background would be appropriate.

    56. muttley79 says:

      I saw from WoS Twitter that there is an article in today’s Herald saying:
      FORMER Labour First Minister Henry McLeish said he was inching towards considering voting Yes in the independence referendum next year.
      In a video posted on YouTube of a talk at Edinburgh Central Library, he said: “I’m often asked how will I vote? If I’m being honest, today I would vote against independence but my views are changing.
      “I’m being quite honest with you … I’m not sure what the Union stands for.”
      He added: “The problem is the Unionist parties are not in my view doing a lot to excite people about changing the Union, making it more relevant for the 21st century. So that’s the issue for me that may shift me from where I am to where I might be in 2014.”
      Mr McLeish, devolution minister in the 1997 Labour Government, was happy to transfer from Westminster to Holyrood and the SNP has tried to woo him politically.
      A spokesman for the Yes campaign said last night: “These are very welcome and open-minded comments by the former first minister. They underline that there is everything to play for in the referendum.”
      A number of Scottish Labour careerists will be almost choking on their cornflakes this morning…

    57. scottish_skier says:


      I remember many years ago watching one of those dinner party debates with Portillo et al. and Henry McLeish was there. Portillo and some prat were going on about how Scotland was subsidised by the English, would never have the guts to vote yes, couldn’t make it alone etc and while McLiesh sat there silently like a good little Scottish Labour party unionist, you could see the pain in his face.

      Then recently when he started being a critic of the pro-union campaign, even forecasting that they peaked in 2012 and it would be downhill from there on, I figured it was only a matter of time before this happened.

      He’s just the first.

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