European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso’s message to Andrew Marr that it would be “difficult, if not impossible” for an independent Scotland to join the EU merely confirms what he has in fact been saying for years; that is, as an accession state, Scotland’s membership in the European club would have to be accepted by all its members including those, like Spain, that have an interest in keeping us out to send a message to their own nationalist movements.
Once again, the SNP’s claim that Scotland would enter seamlessly into the EU upon a ‘Yes’ vote has been shown to be pure fantasy. Barroso’s comments underline the fact that a newly independent Scotland would face a tortuously long process to regain its European membership.
In the meantime, what would happen to our farmers’ single farm payments? What would be the position of the 160,000 people who work in our financial services sector? Exactly what conditions of membership would be foisted upon the Scottish people?
There’s no reason for Scotland to embark upon this uncertain path. We already enjoy the fruits of EU membership as part of the UK and we mustn’t throw away our seat at Europe’s top table in pursuit of Alex Salmond’s pipe dream.
Struan Stevenson, MEP, The European Parliament, Rue Wiertz, Brussels
Bedroom tax victory a sign of Scots unity
Bravo to those who marched, held public meetings, organised petitions and lobbied Holyrood to end the “bedroom tax”.
This pressure, coupled with the expediency relating to the coming referendum, has pushed Labour to support the Scottish Government’s plan to increase funding to insure that not one Scottish household affected by this Westminster tax will have to pay. This has effectively defeated the bedroom tax in Scotland.
We have started the ball rolling. Now it must be defeated at Westminster. I wonder what else Scotland could achieve if Labour supported the SNP more often, or dare I say it, Labour supported independence.
Jack Fraser, Clayknowes Drive, Musselburgh
No to independence here but not the UK?
As a Welshman I find the attitude of Unionists like Cameron, Miliband, Farage and Carwyn Jones towards Scottish and Welsh independence not only imperious but also inconsistent and illogical.
They believe that being governed from London by a parliament consisting of 533 English, 40 Welsh, 59 Scottish and 16 Northern Ireland MPs is wonderfully democratic and reasonable.
These Unionists assert that the huge revenues collected in ‘Britain’ should be distributed according to priorites decided in London (and a small proportion in Cardiff and Edinburgh). Yet they passionatley object to other nationalities in Brussels deciding the preferences of English folk.
I am no more of an Englishman than Mr Cameron is a South African or Mr Miliband is an Eskimo.
It is surely reasonable and democratic that the English, Scottish and Welsh nations should have separate parliaments coexisting, as equals, in an adult, peaceful, and cooperative spirit.
Maldwyn Lewis, Porthmadog, Gwynedd
Referendum throws up more questions
I was born in the Netherlands, came to England in 1961, to Scotland in 1962 and applied for and was granted British Citizenship in 1989. That was, for me, a major decision. After an absence of over 15 years my wife and I have returned recently to Scotland and live a short distance from the Scottish/English border. Though we have followed the pros and cons of independence, there remain for us many grey areas and below are a few.
If Scotland votes for independence I will have to make another important decision: do I stay British or will I become Scottish?
And if I become Scottish what will happen to my state pension and how will its future value change in relation to the British state pension?
And if I decide to remain British – if that is allowed – what happens to my National Health status; which country will pay for my medical expenses? And will I be allowed to vote?
The answers to these questions are of course not only of interest to me but also to the many citizens born in England and who live in Scotland.
And what about the people born in Scotland, like my children, but who live outside Scotland – can they elect to be Scottish or British and what are the implications if they decide one or the other?
At present when I land at Edinburgh Airport from Amsterdam, Paris etc. I need to show my passport. If Scotland becomes independent and joins the EU it will have to accept the Schengen agreement, ie no borders between (most) EU countries.
That means if I fly from Amsterdam or Paris into Edinburgh I will not need to show my passport. When I come from Amsterdam or Paris etc. into London I will have to show my passport at the UK Border, just as at present. These checks at the UK Border are made, I assume, for very good reasons.
Is it, therefore, not likely that when I want to do my weekly shopping across the Border in England I will be asked on the English side for my passport?
Pieter van Dijk MBE, Woodlands Park, Foulden, Berwickshire