Más cambia, más se vuelve la misma cosa

We had one of those blows for Nicola Sturgeon again, in case you hadn’t noticed. Nicola receives more blows than a tin hut in a hurricane, but unlike the tin hut, she’s still standing. Esteban González Pons has figured in the pages of this blog before. He’s the spokesperson of the right wing Spanish party Partido Popular in the European Parliament, and in 2012 at the British Conservative party conference in Birmingham he met with Ruth Davidson and other Scots Tories to discuss creating a European wide alliance of right wing parties opposed to independence movements.

Following that meeting, he claimed that he was due to have a second meeting to further the proposal, due in Edinburgh in December that year, and he told the Spanish press that he’d be meeting again with Ruthie and other Scots Tories, as well as with representatives of the Labour party in Scotland. It’s safe to say that it’s news that Esteban González Pons is not a fan of Scottish independence in much the same way that it’s news that Ruth Davidson doesn’t want another independence referendum.

The pan-EU alliance is a bit of a bust these days, what with the Tories supporting Brexit and sailing the UK off into a red white and blue obscurity and the fond hope that Donald Trump won’t bully Britain but will pick on someone else. The Partido Popular is no longer disposed to do the Tories any favours, but they’re still keen on discouraging Scottish independence. The difference between Scottish independence and Catalan independence however, is that the Partido Popular know they can’t do much about the former apart from bluffing and threatening before the event. After Scottish independence actually happens through legal and constitutional processes, Spain will have no option but to accept it as a done deal. The EU knows that, and so does Esteban.

There’s been some more bluffing and threatening this week, as dutifully reported by a British Unionist press. Esteban has been mouthing off about Scotland again, and about Gibraltar. On Monday representatives of the government of Gibraltar and Fiona Hyslop, representing the Scottish government, were invited to address the EU parliament about Brexit so that MEPs could get to hear the opinions of two parts of the rapidly diminishing British Empire which are opposed to Theresa May’s idiotic Brexit plans. Well I say “plans”, it’s more of a fond wish and an exercise in foot stomping. It was an opportunity for MEPs to hear the views of the Scottish and Gibraltarian parliaments, and for Scotland and Gibraltar to maintain some of those bridges to the rest of the continent that the Tories are trying to set fire to.

Surprisingly enough, Esteban wasn’t hugely pleased, and got into a bit of a strop because if the EU Parliament starts inviting representatives of Scotland and Gibraltar to voice their opinions, and indeed to acknowledge that they have a right to have opinions which are different from those of the British government, who knows where it might all end. It might end with the EU inviting representatives of the Catalan government to voice their opinions about how the Partido Popular in Madrid are behaving like reactionary anti-democratic authoritarians, and that would never do.

In fact that’s exactly what the EU had done the previous week, sending the carnaptious Esteban into canniptions. The Catalan President Carles Puigdemont had been asked to speak about a Catalan independence referendum. Esteban sent a ferocious letter to other MEPs demanding that they refuse to attend, and insisting that the meeting would have no more effect than having a bit of a conflab over a couple of copas de vino in a bar. His letter was ignored of course, and Esteban is still nursing the bruises from his rejection. So he decided to have a bit of a rant about Scotland and Gibraltar.

Still hurting from the previous week when his letter got a the same reception from the EU that a Syrian refugee gets from Donald Trump, Esteban got into a bit of a strop when Fiona Hyslop addressed the Constitutional Committee of the EU Parliament. “Brexit means Brexit, and therefore, if Scotland becomes independent it will have to put itself at the end of the queue,” he insisted, “behind Albania, Serbia, Montenegro or Turkey.” And again he repeated the line of the Spanish government that the EU can’t enter into discussions with sub-state entities like Scotland, but only with the British government.

This is one of those occasions when a politician prefers to talk about a fictitious scenario which isn’t likely to happen in the real world because the real world scenario is far less comfortable for them. He was of course speaking about a situation where Scotland becomes independent after the UK has left the EU, by which time Scotland, like the rest of the UK, will be outside the EU exactly like Albania or Serbia currently are. He said nothing at all about a Scotland that votes for independence before the UK has formally left the EU, when Scotland will still be an EU member, because he doesn’t want to acknowledge that this is a far more likely scenario and one in which very different rules will apply. The British Unionist media which reported his comments don’t want to acknowledge it’s a more likely scenario either. But the EU Parliament knows that it is.  And so do supporters of Scottish independence.

Interestingly however, and this is a point that a British Unionist media ever eager to find something to blow Nicola Sturgeon with didn’t pick up on, Esteban didn’t say that the Spanish government would veto EU membership for an independent Scotland. So much for that Spanish veto threat then. Not even the spittle flecked Esteban could work up any enthusiasm for it. This is not unrelated to the fact that this particular so-called threat exists solely in the fevered imaginations of increasingly desperate British Unionist politicians and their supporters. Because, let’s face it, if you’re relying on Mariano Rajoy to be the saviour of the UK then the British gemme is already a bogey. No member of the Spanish government has ever said that they’d veto Scottish membership of the EU if Scotland attains its independence legally and constitutionally. It’s a testament to the persistent misinformation in the Unionist media that this still requires stating. And then they complain about fake news.

However for the British Unionist media this week, the news is that a Spanish MEP with known anti-independence views has made a statement in the EU parliament that can be construed as being unhelpful to Scottish independence, and not that that same Spanish MEP was slapped down by an exasperated Danuta Hübner, the president of the Constitutional Committee of the EU Parliament who made it clear to him that the rest of the parliament clearly did not share his views and that they found his tone unhelpful and disrepectful. In one report in the Spanish press, Hübner was reported as not hesitating to picar el crostó with him, which literally means “pick the crust”, or in more idiomatic English, “have a bone to pick”. It’s clear that the Spanish MEP was being slapped down and that he was the one who came off badly in the encounter, not Fiona Hyslop.

As the headline in the Spanish paper put it, El Parlamento Europeo da un toque a González Pons por ir contra Escocia y Gibraltar. Da un toque is a Spanish idiom meaning to allow a phone to ring out without answering it. In this context it implies that the EU was telling González Pons to pay attention but he wasn’t listening. The slap down for Scotland is reported in the Unionist press, but not the slap down for the man who made the comments. Here’s the link to the report in the Spanish press. http://www.elnacional.cat/es/politica/parlamento-europeo-gonzalez-pons-gibraltar-escocia_134718_102.html

That’s the British Unionist media and Spain for you, más cambia, más se vuelve la misma cosa. Which is Spanish for plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. They’re not about to pick up the phone to anything which they can’t spin as a blow for Nicola Sturgeon.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-31st-jan-2017

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15 comments on “Más cambia, más se vuelve la misma cosa

  1. […] Wee Ginger Dug Más cambia, más se vuelve la misma cosa […]

  2. Macart says:

    Thought I recalled the name Pons.

    Did anyone mention to the poor fella that there is no queue only compliance or non compliance with EU charter and legislation? Might also be worth pointing out that Scotland already ticks all the right boxes, seein’ as how we’ve accrued forty years of EU rights and sich. 🙂

    We may not be the member state by name, but our population are already EU members by proxy and as we are aware by this point, there is no machinery for forcing EU citizens or states out of the EU against their will. That would be the never tested and unprecedented part of the process we’re going through right now. One ‘union’ opts to part ways with another union, but the partner of the first union wants no part in the parting of the ways. ( Owowowowowowow! Sore heid. 😀 )

    Now in the event that triggering Brexit triggers an indyref and in the event of Scotland choosing indy, that poses quite the opportunity now, doesn’t it?

    Popcorn and sherry at the ready. 🙂

  3. Mike Fenwick says:

    WGD … Last night Newsnight included an interview with Guy Verhofstadt. If you, or any of those who follow your posts, didn’t see it, I suggest it is worth seeing in total. But very particularly at around 34.14 … where he talks about his thoughts about the EU making an offer to those in the UK who did not want to leave but who wished to remain … like all politicians it is carefully worded … but very interesting despite being so.

    • andygm1 says:

      Interesting that when Verhofstadt started to veer into territory where the question of Scotland might come up, Evan Davies got very uneasy and started to try to cut him off.

  4. Alastair Gunn says:

    The “back of the queue” claim fails on another point too, namely that there isn’t a queue! At least, not in the sense that no country can enter the EU until all the countries that joined the queue before it have joined. It’s more a process really – If you meet the entry requirements, want to join and the EU wants to join then you’re invited in.

    e.g. Turkey’s been “in the queue” since 1987, hasn’t joined yet (and it seems increasingly unlikely that it would be allowed in!) but plenty of other countries (some of which didn’t even *exist* in 1987!) have joined since then.

  5. Steve Bowers says:

    Strangely enuf there’s quite a lot of EU money being spent in Montenegro, lots of signs saying Built with funds from the EU and stuff like that

  6. bedelsten says:

    Mayhem’s visitation to the land of the free while holding hands with the tangoed Mussolini had something of the whiff of embarrassment one gets while having tea and cucumber sandwiches with a maiden aunt who, while bending down to light the fire, lets off a massive fart.

    But that was long ago, almost last week. Mayhem then tried some cold Turkey, visiting another authoritarian – what’s this, a theme? Lie back and think of England? Then no leeks in Wales.

    Meanwhile, standing in for the First Minister was Fiona Hyslop who attended the European Parliment’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs as Paul mentions. The whole session is here:
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20170127IPR60034/committee-on-constitutional-affairs-30012017-(p.m.)
    Remember to select the English translation. Scroll forward to 1:26 (one hour 26 minutes)

    Ms Hyslop mostly talked the meeting through the Scottish Government’s document detailing the various options for Scotland to remain within the single market ending with, almost, a plea that ‘This situation is not of our making, help’.

    From the session I take away:
    a) European politicians like the sound of their own voices as much as any other while the translators wearily provide a meaningful precis, often shortening a whole paragraph so a few words
    b) Gibraltar got a particularly hard time – but whether that is relevant to Brexit or just posturing is outwith my ken.
    c) There were various responses to Scotland’s situation ranging from, as Paul says, fairly incoherent ramblings to considered exposition while, in the middle, some passion, from which I take away the best response. ‘No member of the European Parliament will turn back Scotland…’

    Of course the meeting is widely reported in the MSM (not). Well, maybe, as another context-free meaningless ‘blow for Sturgeon’. Was the meeting important? Maybe. But, it took place and that is so much better than not taking place. Tik Tok.

  7. John Edgar says:

    Blow for May! Trump’s antics and May’s attraction to him “as opposites attract”, as May said, will rebound on them both.
    Too close to Trump within the speshal relashunship is dangerous.
    Since May games ages to process facts and viewpoints, she is always at the coo’s tail when it cones to responding, and that is usually as obscure as the Brahmin seer’s prophesies. Then events have moved on.
    What next?
    Await Trump’s next diktat.

  8. I urge some Scottish Tory Grandee to take away the packet of razor blades with which Ruth Davidson is playing before she figures out how to open it and cuts herself badly.
    I know, is there such a thing as a Scottish Tory Grandee? That would be the Golden Girl, ‘Big A”?
    At her sabre rattling best, Davidson urges (well, everybody else is ‘urging’ all over the place) our FM to stop ‘sabre rattling’ and get on with denying the will of the Scottish people, and instead of serving the people of Scotland, betray the electorate by bending over and offering her arse as a bike stand for Boris’ bike, and publically admitting that Scotland is an occupied colony of England and will do as it’s told.
    To go all Life Of Brian, what has Ruth Davidson, and for that matter David Mundell, ever done to serve the Scottish Public?
    No, I had a quick memory scan; nothing.
    She exists to thwart Scottish hopes and aspirations, and she and Mundell care more about English Brexit, than heeding the democratic will of their fellow Scots citizens.
    56 SNP MPs, NS and the SNP returned to Government for a third term, 62% voted Remain.
    I’ve observed before that we returned one each of the Unionist Red Blue and Yellow Tories, and suggested that we dip them in aspic and display them in the Holyrood foyer as a permanent reminder of our colonial past.. Yet we don’t matter.
    Do Mundell and Davidson care about the quite resounding results of Scottish plebiscites? Are they champions of what’s best for Scotland? Of course not.
    They are bought and paid for colony administrators. There instruction is to sit on the lid of the pressure cooker, until it inevitably explodes and sends them off into the dark oblivion where also-rans orbit the Earth.
    The 27 EU partners will be on our side, as it becomes clear that Scotland will remain as a EU member following Indyref 2, which should be held before the conclusion of Brexit talks in April 2019.
    Independent will therefore nbe an independent nation, and still a member of the EU.
    Nobody in Europe will feel they need to back May’s Brits in endorsing Project Fear 2.
    On the contrary, Indyref 2 will be welcome news in Europe.
    .Dugdale and Rennie? Ooft.
    .

    • John Edgar says:

      The last time Cameron got certain members like Borroso to pontificate and spread lies re Scotland. He was hoping to be made big chief in Nato.
      Others stepped in to se d sound bytes agin Scotland.
      Now HMG is parish on the Continent. Strange that Davidson who now supports Brexit which is anti EU in tone , is still using this Spanish guy to have a voice!!
      A paradox here!!
      I suppose that is in line with May promising DT that she would encourage her European colleagues in Nato in the EU to spend more on defence!! May has no role in the EU. She is out the out and the outside.
      Delusions of grandeur and entitlement.

  9. ‘Their’ instruction.

  10. Rgweir says:

    The Express have a story every day where Nicola gets slapped down,cut down to size and how the majority of Scots don’t like her or the SNP.

    • Robert Harrison says:

      Shows how desperate they are getting they know it’s coming yet they don’t know when and we’ll done Nicola on that playing them at there own game there hence the desperation by the old empire establishment in westminster

  11. Brian Powell says:

    The question I ask myself and on comment sections of blogs, is how did Scots let it get like this where all the media represent another Government, and a small elite in Scotland? Consider if all the media and TV companies in Catalonia were run from Madrid.
    Scots buy the papers.

  12. Craig P says:

    Thanks Paul for highlighting this. The more this mischief is known, the better!

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