The final death of the Spanish veto myth

There’s one thing that this blog has been saying consistently ever since I started writing it in 2013, and that’s that Spain would not veto an independent Scotland’s membership of the EU. I don’t want to blow my own trumpet, but this blog has been a lone voice in Scotland arguing from a position of someone who actually speaks Spanish and actually understands Spanish politics – qualities which are all too lacking in Scotland’s mainstream media. The anti-independence media in Scotland was desperate to believe in the “Spain would veto you” myth, and refused to examine it critically. That failure meant that the media in Scotland was doing a gross disservice to the people of Scotland.

Yesterday, we got the definitive word from the horse’s mouth. The Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said quite explicitly that Spain would not veto the EU membership of an independent Scotland. Now you might think that the demolition of one of Better Together’s favourite scare stories might be news. You might think that the utter destruction of one of the biggest sticks used by opponents of independence to scare people off the idea of an independent Scotland might be worthy of a few column inches and headlines. You might imagine that it would merit even a tenth of the space and airtime that the Scottish media has devoted to opponents of independence who don’t speak Spanish and who know bugger all about Spain and Spanish politics telling us not to get above our station because Spain would slap us down.

You would of course be wrong. With the honourable exception of The National, which is Scotland’s only pro-indy newspaper, the rest of Scotland’s media has chosen to ignore the story. The Herald and the Scotsman prefer to lead with the “news” that Scotland in Union have produced a poll which asks a non-standard question and gets a non-standard result so that they can crow about how there’s supposedly a massive lead for no – although even that vanishes to a lead within the margin of error in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It’s a well established fact that if you alter the question in a poll you can get an answer more to your liking, so it’s hardly surprising that Scotland in Union did just that. Scotland in Union’s poll has scarcely any more credibility than voodoo online polls.

The Herald and the Scotsman don’t mention the comments of the Spanish Foreign Minister at all, despite the fact that during the independence referendum campaign both papers leapt upon the words on any minor Spanish politician that they could find who was willing to tell them what they wanted to hear. Neither was the story mentioned on the lunchtime Scottish news on the BBC.

The Scotsman once gave a front page lead story to comments from a politician called Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca, who was a marginal figure within the Spanish governing party at the time, and who has since flounced off to form a far-right extremist party of his own which attracts very few votes. But an interview with the Spanish Foreign Minister in which the man in charge of Spanish foreign policy directly addresses the question of EU membership for an independent Scotland? Apparently that’s not very interesting to the vast bulk of the Scottish press. No doubt someone from Scotland in Union will pop up in a few months or weeks to assure us all that if Scotland becomes independent then Spain will veto Scottish membership of the EU.  Because they know better than the Spanish Foreign Minister what Spanish foreign policy is.

Back in 2014 and all through the independence referendum campaign the Spain would veto Scotland story was, and it still remains, one of the British nationalists’ favourite scare stories. Scotland, they tell us, wouldn’t be allowed into the EU because it’s too wee, too poor, and too vetoed by Spain. Even now, after Brexit, and after a number of Spanish politicians have gone on record to contradict the myth and to state that Spain would have no problems accepting Scotland into the EU as long as Scotland’s independence is negotiated and agreed with Westminster, as would be the case, opponents of independence still pop up to warn Scotland against daring to seek independence because “Spain would veto you.”

Every realistic scenario for Scottish independence proposes that Scotland would negotiate its independence with Westminster following a vote in which a majority of the Scottish electorate had chosen independence. In an interview with Politico magazine, Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said that if Scotland became independent within the framework of the UK constitution, then Spain would have no problems with this, saying, “If Westminster is in agreement [with Scottish independence] we’re not going to be more papal than the pope.” He then emphasised that the case of Scotland would not be comparable to the independence of Kosovo, which Spain doesn’t recognise.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, despite the Serbian constitution expressly prohibiting the secession of any part of Serbian territory, and for this reason Spain will not recognse Kosovo. Spain likewise has a constitutional prohibition on any part of the territory of the Spanish state becoming independent of Spain. Article 2 of the Spanish Constitution states that Spanish territory is “one and indivisible”. Proponents of the “Spain would veto Scotland” myth constantly cite Kosovo, yet here’s the Spanish Foreign Minister himself explicitly ruling out the comparison.

None of this is applicable to Scotland, as there is no constitutional prohibition in the UK on independence votes, and no constitutional bar on a part of the UK becoming independent. In fact, British Prime Ministers have repeatedly recognised the right of Scotland to independence. This happened when David Cameron signed the Edinburgh Agreement committing the British government to accept the result of the independence referendum of 2014. It also happened in the 1980s when Margaret Thatcher stated that if Scotland wanted independence then all it had to do was to return a majority of SNP MPs to Westminster.

Today, yet again, we see the blatant partiality and selective reporting of the Scottish media in full action. We now have a definitive statement from the Spanish government on Scottish independence its attitude towards the EU membership of an independent Scotland, and it is received with silence by the great majority of the Scottish media. You can bet that had Josep Borrell said the opposite, or even if he had merely hinted that Spain might have a minor issue with Scottish independence, then it would have been headline news in the Scottish media and would be the leading story on Reporting Scotland.

I’ve said it before and it’s worth repeating. The biggest obstacle to Catalan independence is the Spanish constitution and the intransigence of Spanish governments. The biggest obstacle to Scottish independence is a Scottish media which revels in stories which oppose independence, and ignores all those which are good for the independence cause. The great majority of the Scottish media doesn’t serve all the people of Scotland, it only serves that part of the Scottish population which opposes independence. It serves Scotland in Union, not Scotland.


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40 comments on “The final death of the Spanish veto myth

  1. James Mills says:

    Despite the anti-independence media , despite the lies of Tories , labour etc.. despite the slanted questions in polls on ‘separation’ – despite all of these , it is astonishing that independence is so close – in fact if a vote was held tomorrow I feel confident that ‘YES’ would win !

    • Jan Cowan says:

      Totally agree, James.

      Thanks, Paul, for making the situation clear. Such knowledge is extremely useful in reasoned argument.

    • Robert Harrison says:

      3 we didn’t have last time 1 as many yes groups as this 2 our own daily paper to counter the britnats 3 a starting point so close to victory plus they can’t use there vow after breaking the one that snacthed there victory from the jaws of deafet last time round and with better together lie going up in smoke no way they can win unless the votes rigged which is why we need a new voting system ASAP to stop that can’t take any chandles with those southerners interfering again.

  2. It is not possible to inform the pro-Union electorate of certain things because the Great British Meeja Machine withholds coverage of it. Even if Unionists do get wind of things by other means, they are likely to reject it because they will not accept the source as truthful and accurate.

    Without restrictions on the ownership of our media outlets – dead tree / online mainstream press, and radio and TV broadcasting – here in Scotland, I cannot see that changing in any way. “Reserved matters”, certainly in the case of broadcasting.

    I understand that foreign capital holdings in Norwegian media are normally restricted to 1/3 of the total unless there is official agreement to increase the amount. This is not to say that Norwegians are not allowed to consume media products from non-Norwegian sources – just that Norwegians can be sure that Norwegian media outlets are in majority Norwegian hands.

  3. Sandy W says:

    You’re right to claim the credit on this one, Paul. Always looked to your Blog for the truth and supporting arguments against the ‘Spain will veto your EU membership’ brigade. Well done.

    However, to be fair to our esteemed (cough, cough) media, perhaps they are preoccupied today with the story that Spain will veto the Brexit deal without agreement to discuss Gibraltar? Or the story that France might not agree to it without guaranteed access to fishing water?

    Myself, I’m just pondering whether now might not be an opportune time for Greece to demand the return of the Elgin marbles…

    • mogabee says:

      That would be the icing on the cake!! I am having trouble stopping laughing as it is. 😀

    • Illy says:

      OOFT!

      I wonder if Greece would make any brexit deal dependent on their return…

      Certainly shows the power of small countries in the EU there.

      Which country was it that got their trade delegation refused entry visas into the UK again?

    • Les Bremner says:

      A few years ago, when a religious artefact from Ethiopia was discovered in a cupboard in St.John’s Episcopal Church in Edinburgh, they offered it to the Ethiopians who then came to Edinburgh and, amid great rejoicing, received it. The British Museum was then asked if they planned to do the same with the five which they had, and I can still hear the reply, “We would consider lending one to them, if they agreed to look after it.”

    • Oh stop! My supply of popcorn is running out.😂😂

    • Les Bremner says:

      It is probably easier to produce a list of countries which Westminster has not offended.

  4. Please blow your own trumpet and keep blowing it.I can depend on you for straight talking and for keeping me sane.

  5. Macart says:

    They’re over invested by this point, I’d say. Both the pro Westminster parties and their media. They’d rather watch populations suffer than own responsibility for where we are and where we’re headed. Even when faced with a mountain of evidence which conclusively proves their stewardship, their legislation and their narratives, have brought misery to hundreds of thousands. They cannot and will not retract their past statements or actions. As for apologies? Take a wild guess.

    As I said on the last thread: “The point of independence isn’t simply to avert Brexit (though, y’know… ANY TIME NOW WOULD BE GOOD!). Brexit is merely another example. A.N. Other symptom of what truly ails you. The system of government and the practice of politics that is Westminster is the illness. Legislation and politics that deliberately places major demographics of its own populations in harms way. Legislation that alienates, impoverishes and starves by someone else’s choice.”

    The questions people should be asking themselves are – What kind of person or institution would do this to those in their care and consider it acceptable? What kind of country do I want to live in?

  6. Andy Anderson says:

    Proven right again Paul, well done.

    I always knew you were correct from my own research. It is not hard to find the truth on issues like this. You have to want to finds out. A problem with the MSM. Even if they knew the truth it does not help their NO campaign they so love.

    Last week I was in Funchal, Madeira with friends. One night in a restaurant we were chatting away about Brexit and Indy when a fellow Scot from an adjacent table, he had been earwigging, stood up at our table and stated “Bloody hell, I hear enough crap about independence from you people at home, all I read is Independence this and that”. Well we sorted of look at each other. I said it was nice to hear a British Nationalist showing a bit of an interest in the subject, silence. Then I said we do not have access to the media, what you read and hear comes from a biased pro Union media. It is they that keep going on about in a distorted negative way. It is they that must be annoying you. He walked out with his partner still at their table!! Made our evening, glasses of whisky all round.

    I raise this minor historical event to once again highlight the effect of the MSM. As you say Paul it is our single biggest problem.

  7. robert harrison says:

    Seeing as your speaking of the Scotsman and the siu seems the britnats are drooling over the Scotsman latest headline that 60% of Scots back the union yet read beyond and it’s contradictions even before the half way point as the article says the opposite of headline (definitely owe wings over Scotland for that on) as Brexit pushes independence up even with siu trying to fix the poll to get the results they want oh how desperate they have become.

    • Andy Anderson says:

      I am hoping for a few opinion polls from good sources that contradict this. They of course will get little reporting anywhere.

  8. Liz g says:

    Aye and you were also correct in that, the only veto Spain was actually threatening was the Westminster Brexit deal

  9. […] Wee Ginger Dug The final death of the Spanish veto myth There’s one thing that this blog has been saying consistently ever since I started […]

  10. Frank Gillougley says:

    Brilliant, Paul, but no doubt this as well as the demolition of every other shiboleth will go unrecorded by the media, as was the status of Barroso and his criminal ilk after 2014.

    I actually find it helpful now just to recategorise the ‘newspapers’ as unionist propaganda sheets.

  11. mikeinkwazi says:

    Reblogged this on mikeinkwazi and commented:
    facts that ruin a well abused story

  12. Colin Dawson says:

    “The biggest obstacle to Scottish independence is a Scottish media which revels in stories which oppose independence, and ignores all those which are good for the independence cause.”

    Is this because the UK Government is using DSMA Notices to control what the mainstream media says in relation Scottish independence? There is, after all, no greater threat to the very existence of the UK than Scottish independence. Successive UK Governments have a track record of suppressing information that might support the case for independence. A good example of this is the McCrone Report which was classified as top secret and hidden for over thirty years.

    • weegingerdug says:

      No. The National has reported the story about the Spanish Foreign Minister. The rest of the papers have simply decided that it’s “not big news” – and they’ve clearly made that decision because it’s news which doesn’t fit an anti-independence narrative.

  13. Cubby says:

    I have said before and say here again if it wasn’t for the foreign controlled media in Scotland independence would have happened many decades ago.

  14. MI5 Troll says:

    I did get a (brief) good laugh today. I went into Ayr RS McColl for my lotto and the lady said “would you like a free Sun” which made me laugh. Thinking back though she still picked up a Sun and sort or barcoded it as I was leaving. I hope they are not pauchling their sales figures.

    • Richard Wickenden says:

      What I would have said if asked about wanting a free Sun (or any other MSM newspaper) is: “No I don’t – I already have enough toilet paper.”

  15. Andy Anderson says:

    Have a read of this on the subject of the MSN.

    http://www.businessforscotland.com/uks-political-media-bias-has-morphed-into-outright-propaganda/

    After Gordon’s comments you get the view from others.

  16. Rob James says:

    The ‘Scottish’ Media are disgraceful in their approach, (or lack of), to any Scottish success story. Take the Queensferry crossing for example; an outstanding feat of leading engineering technology and a beautiful addition to the existing bridges, completed on time and under budget. and what media coverage did we get? Nothing but carping and complaining. They make me sick.

    As for the polls? I’ve never been a big fan of putting my money on the forecasts of a polling company. Somebody has paid for that poll to be carried out. Who do they ask? Where do they ask? How do they frame the questions? I’m pretty certain that they don’t ask residents in our large housing estates about their political opinions, yet.It was some of these poorer areas in the likes of Glasgow and Dundee and the old industrial towns which voted Yes in large numbers in 2014.

    When the starting gun is fired, amongst their ammo, the SNP should highlight their intention to provide a welfare state fit for purpose and an end to Universal Credit which is causing no end of misery to those same people. That will provide the motivation for many to come out and vote who otherwise may not have.

    • Patience is a Virtue says:

      Who to believe? The Scotsman which states 60% of Scots would vote Remain in a new Indyref’, Murdo Fraser who says ‘absolutely no support for Indyref2 Nicola Sturgeon needs to dumpt her campaign now it’s not wanted.’ Pretty sure Murdo was around when the vote went ‘The Parliament at Holyrood approved another Referendum by 69 to 59 votes 28.03.17’ – seems to be very much ‘wanted’ by ‘many more’ than Nicola, unless of course you may think 59 is a bigger number than 69.

      ….(and) ..or… ….the Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell who ‘said quite explicitly that Spain would not veto the EU membership of an independent Scotland.’ .

  17. lawcom says:

    I find it even more astounding that no one actually knows EU process and procedure ? Scotland’s position within the EU has never been determined, there is no law or directive that was established to what happens in the event a member state splits.
    Therefore Scotland’s position within the EU will be decided by judicial review, in the European courts by European judges, no country will have any say and no unionist will have any say

    • Stuart Mcnicoll says:

      Well said. As for the UKSC reviewing the Court of Session decision, absolute no no, as far as EU law is concerned. All getting very interesting.

  18. markrussell20085017 says:

    It’s the front page story in the Torygraph tomorrow and the BBC have just ran the same line – the betrayal of the hypocritical Spanish. No mention of Scotland – yet.

    The online Torygraph comments are worth a read these days, particularly after a shit day.

    • Andy Anderson says:

      Good article Sam. I am going to send this to my address list along with the URL from Business for Scotland I highlighted above regarding the MSM. A third on our economy will also go.

  19. Andy Anderson says:

    Today’s Scottish Telegraph reports this correctly.

  20. vince cooper says:

    Maybe not reported in Scotland but it is the front page in today’s English print edition of the Telegraph. Not on their website. The headline reads

    SCOTLAND WILL BE FREE TO REJOIN EU SAYS SPAIN

  21. vince cooper says:

    Is there an email I can send can photo attachment of the front page?

  22. Cubby says:

    A lot of situations about Scottish independence can be summed up thus: British Nationalists lie and they always lie.

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