An argument as rank and rotten as a two year old fish

We’re having a bit of a drama. Not the kind like you get on the X-Factor where the outcome depends on a talentless and shallow chancer with bad hair whose ego is inversely proportional to his abilities, but an actual crisis, where the outcome depends on a talentless and shallow chancer with bad hair whose ego is inversely proportional to his abilities. Scotland stands on the precipice and looking down into the chasm below us we see a Brexit Britain ruled by Boris Johnson. We’re looking at a Borisexit, a nightmare land where workers’ rights are curtailed, where immigrants are demonised, and where the UK government is headed by a man who once claimed that a pound of government spending was better spent in Croydon than in Crieff. That’s the fate that awaits us if we don’t do something about it.

Some of the auld bogeymen from the last indyref have reared their ugly heads again warning us not to do anything about avoiding the Borisexit. That didn’t take long did it. Already certain Unionists dahn sarf are musing that Scotland will not dare hold another independence referendum because we’ll have to reapply to join the EU, we’ll have to adopt the Euro, we’ll have to join Schengen, and in any event Spain will block our accession so as not to give the Catalans any ideas.

The entire point of a second referendum is precisely so that we don’t leave the EU. We are, for now, members of the EU and a large majority of Scots have said that they want to remain so. The Scottish government is about to embark upon negotiations with an EU which has just told the UK government that Britain will not be getting an amicable divorce from the EU. The EU and its member states are not disposed to do Westminster any favours, unlike the last independence referendum when Brussels was highly reluctant to do anything which could be seen as prejudicing the interests of a UK which was very much a member state. This time they are quite likely to be more than happy to use Scotland as leverage, as a means to beat Westminster over the head and to make the UK’s exit from the EU as difficult and as painful as possible. That gives Scotland a huge advantage.

There is no reason in theory why the EU cannot allow Scotland to continue as a member of the EU as the inheritor of the UK’s membership. In fact it would be no skin off the EU’s nose to allow Scotland to continue to enjoy two of the UK’s opt-outs, the opt-out on the Euro and the opt-out on Schengen. Allowing Scotland to do so would not cost the EU anything, and would make any pro-EU deal that the Scottish government puts to the people at another independence referendum a whole lot more attractive. It lays to rest three of the Better Together’s scares from the last time. Scotland won’t be forced to adopt the Euro, won’t be forced to join Schengen, and there will be no question of a Spanish veto because Scotland will not be acceding as a new member state and so be subject to a potential veto. Scotland will go into the next indyref as an EU member that wishes to continue as an EU member and it will be an independence vote that guarantees our membership.

In any case, the Spanish wouldn’t veto Scotland this time for the exact same reasons that they wouldn’t have vetoed Scotland’s membership of the EU if we had gone for independence in 2014. Anyone who understands the fundamentals of Spanish politics knows that, and it was to the immense shame of the UK media that they didn’t bother to explain it or report on it in 2014.

The fact is that Spain would not veto Scottish membership of the EU because by doing so the Spanish government would destroy its own argument against Catalan independence. The Spanish constitution does not permit any part of the Spanish state to become independent unless there is a referendum on it in the whole of Spain. That clause means that Madrid will not allow Barcelona to hold a referendum on Catalan independence within Catalonia. Spain likewise refuses to recognise the independence of Kosovo because the Serbian constitution forbids Kosovan independence, and so Serbia argues that Kosovo’s independence is unconstitutional. The Catalans claim that this is mere waffle from Madrid, and the truth is that Madrid just refuses to recognise the right to self-determination.

However Scottish independence, when it comes about, will be entirely constitutional within what passes for a UK constitution. It would be recognised by the Westminster government and the independence process would be carried out in accordance with the British constitution, just like it was in 2014. For Spain to veto the accession of an independent Scotland to the EU just to spite the Catalans would give the Catalans the proof they require that Madrid’s refusal to grant a Catalan referendum is in fact because Spain doesn’t recognise the right to self-determination after all. And by blocking Scotland, Madrid will have destroyed its own legal case against Catalan independence and given the Catalans the excuse they require to internationalise their dispute with Madrid. So for that reason alone, Madrid will recognise Scottish independence and will not block Scottish accession to the EU.

The argument about constitutional legitimacy is the main reason Spain won’t block Scottish membership of the EU, even if Scottish accession was to be subject to a potential veto, which it won’t be. However there is another reason closer to the heart of the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy that Spain won’t block Scottish accession to the EU. Interestingly, during the last independence referendum Rajoy was asked three times in an interview with El Pais newspaper whether he would veto Scotland, and three times he refused to reply. He refused to reply because he didn’t want to encourage Scottish independence by telling the truth.

Mariano Rajoy comes from Galicia, and represents the city of A Coruña in the Spanish parliament, the Cortes. The mainstay of the local economy is the fishing industry, and big fishing interests are the main funders of Rajoy’s own local party. The Galician fishing fleet depends on its access to Scottish waters in order to feed Spain’s enormous appetite for seafood, and any attempt by Spain to veto Scottish membership of the EU would threaten that access. Rajoy would then find that his local party’s bank balance was as empty as the fish counter in a Spanish supermarket. He’s not going to let that happen.

So don’t believe anyone who tells you that Spain will veto Scotland’s membership of the EU. It’s an argument that’s as rank and rotten as two year old fish.


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52 comments on “An argument as rank and rotten as a two year old fish

  1. Ann Rayner says:

    Thanks for giving us some hope after 36 hours of doom and gloom.

  2. Diane says:

    Think it was Croydon and Clydebank not Crieff but I’m nit picking 😀

  3. […] Wee Ginger Dug An argument as rank and rotten as a two year old fish […]

  4. cuddyback says:

    Spot on. And of course the Spanish response also depends on tomorrow’s general election results… not looking good for Mariano. @marianexit? @raJoyDimision?

  5. Jan Cowan says:

    Great that we can rely on your knowledge of Spanish politics, Paul. Thank you.
    So, we are most definitely on our way. YES!!

  6. Macart says:

    Never even crossed my horizon.

    These NO-bodies haven’t a leg to stand on. Not on currency adoption, EU opinion (laughs arse off) and not on international relations.

    Every single threat, every pledge, every assurance made by Better Together and the Westminster parliament have been exposed as fudges at best, or downright lies over the past 21 months. The last pillar of their argument and in fact a core pledge of their entire campaign, turned to ash in the early hours of Friday morning.

    Basically what I’m saying is they can a’ get tae…!

    We’ve no time for their bollox this time round and they have absolutely ZERO credibility to call upon as an opposition. They have NOTHING to offer as bribe that could be remotely believed by the Scottish electorate and they’ve pretty much shot their bolt on the scaremongering front.

    So when they’re quite finished wasting everyone’s time, we could perhaps get on with the task of repairing the awful clusterfuck they’ve dropped on Scotland’s population.

  7. Tinto Chiel says:

    “The entire point of a second referendum is precisely so that we don’t leave the EU. We are, for now, members of the EU and a large majority of Scots have said that they want to remain so. The Scottish government is about to embark upon negotiations with an EU which has just told the UK government that Britain will not be getting an amicable divorce from the EU. The EU and its member states are not disposed to do Westminster any favours, unlike the last independence referendum when Brussels was highly reluctant to do anything which could be seen a prejudicing the interests of a UK which was very much a member state. This time they are quite likely to be more than happy to use Scotland as leverage, as a means to beat Westminster over the head and to make the UK’s exit from the EU as difficult and as painful as possible. That gives Scotland a huge advantage”

    Agree absolutely, and your comments on the Spanish position are spot on too.

    And yet, listening to the English Establishment voices on Pravdasound4 today, Paul, we are being dismissed with all the utterly ignorant certainty which is the sine qua non of these condescending dorks.

    Boy, are they in for a surprise when the FM turns the EU tables on them.

    What’s the German for schadenfreude?

  8. BampotsUtd.wordpress.com says:

    Reblogged this on Bampots Utd.

  9. Sandy says:

    Actually becoming a little less concerned by Boris being in charge. I think his lack of celebration and vague noises about no need to trigger Article 50 speak volumes. He didn’t expect to win, he only wanted to run a close race and ensure he was next PM and not Osborne. He’s clearly no real leader and I think the establishment will drop him like a hot brick for the trouble he’s caused (hopefully the same will be true of Cameron and he can kiss goodbye to the highly paid directorships he was looking forward to).

  10. Sandy says:

    Was going to share this on Facebook with a Labour supporter who used the ‘Spain will veto Scotland’ line earlier. However, he appears to have blocked my comments, bit like Ian Murray did earlier in the year. They really don’t like having their scare stories criticised – not really sure whether they actually believe in Democracy, to be honest.

  11. Lorna Mcgowan says:

    The U.K. Does not have a constitution.

    • weegingerdug says:

      The UK has an unwritten constitution, which you could argue is effectively the same as no constitution. But that’s by the by. The point however is that Scottish independence cannot be argued to be unconstitutional, and therefore Spain cannot veto Scottish membership of the EU on those grounds.

  12. […] Source: An argument as rank and rotten as a two year old fish […]

  13. Great post, but eight wee words of it stand out for me. They are.. “It would be recognised by the Westminster government”.

    Legally, the 2014 Edinburgh Agreement is not automatically transferable to any other Scottish referendum.

    I hope you’re right, as the consequences could get messy, but there are already plenty, post Brexit, voices saying we had our referendum in 2014 (Ruth, Kezia etc … ” once in a generation blah blah” )

    We’re dealing with desperate lying psychopaths in Westminster, and it would play well to their core British audience to tell us to get back in our box. So I’m not convinced we can take Westminster recognition of Indyref2 as a certainty.

    Of course we can hold that referendum whether Westminster like it or not, but can’t force them to treat it with any more seriousness than an opinion poll.

    Their motivation to ignore it? They need to continue stealing from us more than ever, because what happened on Thursday has dropped the UK into as bleak an economic situation as it’s ever seen.

    • No more Mr Nice Guy, Donald. I refuse to be dragged out of the EU by the English. As for the ‘proud Scots’ threatening us,and collaborating with their English Masters, a nasty little Fifth Column.
      FFS I hear Blair MacDougall and Sarah Smith have been re-inflated.

  14. tartanfever says:

    Timely post Paul, I’d just been thinking about that Barossa interview on the Marr Show that did so much damage to the Indy cause. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t he coming to the end of his stint as EU president and looking for the new head of NATO job and a favourable word from Cameron to boost his chances ?

  15. robert.mcelvae@yahoo.co.uk says:

    I’m a Macduff boy. I remember the oldest pub in Macduff called the Macduff Arms closing many years ago. Fish landed late at night and early in the morning would allow a late licence to let pubs open to let fishermen buy a drink. All gone now very sadly. I once loved watching fish being landed late at night and chatting to the fishermen. Great your on the case of Scottish fishery policy.

  16. Macart says:

    Hillary Benn sacked overnight. Apparently outed as the main mover and shaker behind the roumoured vote of no confidence. No Brexit government in waiting with a cunning master plan to make Britain great after all and the Conservatives squaring up to stab each other in the back for the privilege of leadership.

    Don’t suppose they’ve even thought about their electorate yet or the carnage their pissing contest has left in its wake.

    Meanwhile in Scotland…

  17. Macart says:

    Originally posted this elsewhere, but worth repeating to have a quick recap on a rapidly changing set of headlines this weekend.

    Just catching up on news. Hillary Benn sacked overnight and Labour in chaos. Benn was apparently the main mover and shaker behind organising the rumoured vote of no confidence.

    So pretty much Conservatives and Labour falling apart before our eyes and the UKs social cohesion in full disarray. No leadership shown from Westminster as both parties indulge in an orgy of self harm and the economy taking a kicking on world markets.

    As Breeks posted earlier, what have they done? They’ve manipulated their own population to the edge of self destruction and for what? Who gets to sit in a big chair? Greed and pure self interest? Well… yes.

    Be clear on this. Both sides created this narrative, this culture of rage and mistrust. Both used the media to demonise and alienate demographics within their own society. Both created fertile ground for the haters and the rage which fueled their poisonous referendum and it was decades in the making. Decades of abuse by media manipulation, corruption, political ineptitude and short-termist policy.

    Right now many people are suffering, they’re afraid and they have a right to be. Promises unravelling literally days after the vote. No forward plan for the economy, no calming statements, no social cohesion, no leadership, no stability. By contrast our own government have been seen to act swiftly and decisively to meet the crisis both at home and with the EU.

    The right of right are still in full party mode. They haven’t got their head out of their arse long enough to see to the needs of their own electorate FFS! There was never a Brexit government in waiting to carry leadership of the UK state forward in event of an out. The UK faces weeks and months of uncertainty as each party still has massive leadership battles to fight.

    So are we clear on just how urgent our own situation is yet?

    • Illy says:

      Actually, the *one* thing Corbyn needed to do in his term as Labour Leader was to clean out the Blairites.

      Maybe the thought of getting kicked out has woken him up to this?

      • Macart says:

        I agree, but as per usual timing seems a bit off. Day one in the job this problem should have been addressed. In a time of extreme constitutional flux? FACEPALM.

    • Golfnut says:

      Agree totally. Nicola has shown incredible leadership, effective crisis management should now be described as ‘doing a Nicola’.
      We need to push forward now.

    • Shagpile says:

      Indeed. I watched Tony Blair being interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN post Brexit. He was genuinely distraught, holding back tears and through quivering voice savaged the Brexit side. At the back of my mind, as I listened, I thought what did you, with your landslide majorities do to prevent the feeling of disenfanchisement? Pot and kettle?

      • Macart says:

        Pretty much.

        What we’re seeing here? A case of ‘reap what you sow’, springs to mind.

      • Guga says:

        You can be sure that the war criminal Bliar was not shedding any tears for the million Iraqis that he helped murder in an illegal war. If he was “genuinely distraught” about anything perhaps it was the possibility that even fewer people would believe a word he said and that he would stop getting paid vast amounts for giving lectures and making speeches.

        He still needs to be brought to trial and hanged for his war crimes.

  18. Shagpile says:

    Thanks once again for great article. Analysis of the Spanish position is bang on. Lots of rubbish printed in the MSM, BBC and other unionist bedfellows as they ‘ project fear’.

    If you want the truth, you have to look for it… on Schengen:

    “JOINT PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE

    20TH MEETING

    20 May 2003, Ålesund

    RESOLUTIONS

    Adopted pursuant to Rules 11 and 13 of the Rules of Procedure, 
    at the 20th meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Committee

    in Ålesund, 20 May 2003

    “7. Considers that all acceding countries should join the Schengen area as soon as possible; also considers, however, that this should result in the building of bridges with neighbors, not fencing them off;””

    On currency, why do they get away with peddling rot?

    Sweden, bound by treaty to adopt the euro will not be doing so anytime soon.

  19. markrussell20085017 says:

    At this rate, we’ll be sharing Independence Day with the Americans. And you thought SLAB had problems….

  20. Steve says:

    Great article and a lot to agree with there, however gotta say the last paragraph is more than likely to put off one segment of Scottish society for voting Yes – our fishermen ! I’m all for the EU, but they did make a mess of fisheries – but how much of that was due to Westminster negotiating or EU rules, I havne’t a clue.

    • Guga says:

      I think you’ll find that the English government did not allow any participation in the fisheries discussions with the EU by any Scottish government people or any Scottish fisheries people. After all, they couldn’t allow the natives from their Scottish colony to have any say in the matter.

    • Brian Fleming says:

      It was due to Ted Heath.

  21. Macart says:

    Wings making a heroic effort to unfankle the mess.

    http://wingsoverscotland.com/notes-from-the-madhouse/

  22. Dan Huil says:

    The main thing is that the so-called united kingdom continues to disintegrate.

  23. Not Convinced says:

    If I may make so bold as to add a little something to the excellent explanation above of why “The Spanish Veto” isn’t likely to really be a thing …

    The situations in 2014 and today aren’t the same. In 2014 it was the prospect of a part of an EU member state gaining independence and wanting to remain a member of the EU. Today it’s the possible case of a member state wanting to leave the EU, but part of it wanting to gain independence and remain part of the EU. I can see why the Spanish government might well want to discourage the former situation, so as to avoid giving any adventurous types in the Basque Region or Catalonia, but in the latter situation it has no real potential to affect the Spanish situation.

  24. […] Source: An argument as rank and rotten as a two year old fish […]

  25. […] membership allowing it to continue without a break while the fine details were thrashed out. The Unionist myth of a Spanish veto would finally be torpedoed, because staying in would be a matter for qualified-majority voting. […]

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