The Scottish Referendum

 

Britain succumbing to schizophrenia!

 

In an article published in the Belgian paper “La Libre Belgique” under the heading “Should Scotland regain its independence?”, one can read the answer given by the Scottish Labour MP, Ken Macintosh, campaigning for the “No” to the following question:

 

“What would be the difficulties facing an independent Scotland?”

 

“The main problem would be that we would be weaker. The United Kingdom is an economic entity and the Scots trade by far more with the British than with the rest of the world. By becoming independent we will be raising barriers between us and the United Kingdom. I fear bank delocalisation and problems in the financial sector. Separate fiscal and social security systems will also generate harmful obstacles. It is not only Scotland that would be weakened, but the entire United Kingdom. It is important to understand that we are part of a greater whole and that one should work together for the common good. Choosing independence is making the wrong political choice, it is economically damageable and it will create barriers that will handicap our country. It is returning to 19th century politics while we are in the 21st.”

 

This position is clearly also the one that is promoted by the English Conservative and Labour parties as well as by the Liberal Democrats who have all despatched their leaders – including David Cameron himself – to support the “No” vote to the withdrawal of Scotland from its union with England. One can safely conclude that this quasi unanimity of the political class reflects the wider English public opinion.

 

Let us now transpose this text within the framework of the Referendum on British Membership of the EU that should be held in the United Kingdom (or maybe only in England?) in 2017 if the Conservatives are returned to power in 2015 and for which current opinion polls predict a clear majority for withdrawal.

 

“The main problem would be that we would be weaker. The European Union is an economic entity and the British trade by far more with the Europeans than with the rest of the world. By becoming independent we will be raising barriers between us and the European Union. I fear bank delocalisation and problems in the financial sector. Separate fiscal and social security systems will also generate harmful obstacles. It is not only United Kingdom that would be weakened, but the entire European Union. It is important to understand that we are part of a greater whole and that one should work together for the common good. Choosing independence is making the wrong political choice, it is economically damageable and it will create barriers that will handicap our country. It is returning to 19th century politics while we are in the 21st.”

 

It behoves the leaders of UKIP and other Euro sceptics to explain the coherence of their position. Of course, should the “Yes” win in Scotland,  it could reinforce the position of the Euro sceptics but they should then have the courage and honesty to clearly campaign for the “yes” right now instead of hoping to have their cake now and then eat it later!

 

Brussels, September 11th 2014

 

 

Paul N. Goldschmidt

Director, European Commission (ret.); Member of the Steering Committee of the Thomas More Institute.

 

 

__________________________________________________________________________________

Tel: +32 (02) 6475310                                 +33 (04) 94732015                         Mob: +32 (0497) 549259

E-mail: paul.goldschmidt@skynet.be                                            Web: www.paulngoldschmidt.eu