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It is Sturgeon who would take Scotland out the EU

Nicola SturgeonThe Scottish TV leader debates have been revealing. Where the SNP have had to defend their actual government record, Nicola Sturgeon has come over as tetchy, and the audience skeptical. However, the point that gripped me was that Scotland’s First Minister talked of a London Tory government taking Scotland out of the EU, against the will of the Scottish people.

It is my belief that during last year’s referendum, YES campaigners seemingly sought to hoodwink the electorate about the potential risks; and thus inhibit people from making an informed decision. The half-truths about currency and expected North Sea Oil revenue revealed a tendency to adopt the most optimistic outcome as not only likely, but almost inevitable. The issue of EU membership is another area where the Scottish government, the SNP, and the official YES campaign sought to pour sand in the eyes of the electorate, and the SNP keep on doing so.

Scotland has been a member of the EU, and its predecessor organizations, for 40 years; but it has been so as a member of the United Kingdom, and should Scotland become independent, then it would be rUk that is the successor state that inherits the existing membership, and terms of membership, including the opt-outs negotiated by previous UK governments, over, for example, rebates, and Schengen.

If the UK seeks to leave the EU, then the whole of the UK would leave the EU, and any part of the UK subsequently seeking to re-enter the EU would need to apply anew. There is no provision in the existing law and treaties for deciding whether Scotland would be permitted to continue with EU membership without interruption, and on the same terms as the UK, or to allow Scotland to stay in the EU if rUK leaves. The YES campaign took a very bullish approach to this:

As explained in its “independence roadmap” and in its white paper “Scotland’s Future: Your Guide to an Independent Scotland”, the Scottish Government proposes to agree the terms of Scotland’s continued membership of the EU between the date of the referendum, and the proposed date of independence on 24th March 2016.

In that way questions relating to our ongoing EU membership can be settled before we become independent. Scotland already is part of the EU – so there is no doubt that we meet all the requirements for membership, and with our energy and fishing resources it is clearly common sense, and in the interests of the EU, that Scotland’s place in the EU continues seamlessly.

Even the UK government’s expert European legal adviser has accepted that this timetable is “realistic”. So Scotland’s EU membership will be secure by the time we are independent.

However, in a letter from Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission sent to Christina McKelvie, Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s European and External Relations Committee this March, her official view spelt out that:

The Treaties apply to the Member States. When part of the territory of a Member State ceases to be a part of that State, e.g. because that territory becomes an independent state, the treaties will no longer apply to that territory. In other words, a new independent region would, by the fact of its independence, become a third country with respect to the Union and the Treaties would, from the day of its independence, not apply anymore on its territory.

Under Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union, any European state which respects the principles set out in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union may apply to become a member of the EU. If the application is accepted by the Council acting unanimously after consulting the Commission and after receiving the consent of the European Parliament, an agreement is then negotiated between the applicant state and the Member States on the conditions of admission and the adjustments to the Treaties which such admission entails.

This agreement is subject to ratification by all Member States and the applicant state.

In the event of independence the Scottish government would therefore need to negotiate, and seek agreement from all 28 existing members. Many of these member countries may favour the approach advocated by the Scottish Government, but it is reasonable to suppose, as Ruairi Quinn, former president of EU’s finance council has predicted, that, for example, Spain and Belgium might ‘veto an independent Scotland’s EU membership’

Certainly, the continuity of Scotland’s EU membership cannot be guaranteed, and the terms of its future accession would need to be negotiated. Any negotiations may well also reveal that Scotland, divorced from the UK, does not have a strong bargaining position; and some areas might be highly problematic, and – for example – commitments to keep an open border with England may conflict with requirements that other EU states might seek relating to Scotland joining the Schengen area.

Of course for those committed to independence, any risk, and almost any cost, will be justifiable. This is also true of the SNP’s claim that it would be possible for Labour to be routed in Scotland, and yet the SNP still be able to wave a magic wand to keep the Conservatives out of office. Despite some previous precedents, if the Conservatives are the largest party,the current constitutional convention would give them the momentum to form a minority government. The SNP seem to be weeping crocodile tears about how dreadful a future Conservative government in Westminster would be, while their supporters wage a shrill and aggressive campaign demonising Scottish Labour as “the Red Tories”, and promising to “drive them out”, creating the conditions for Conservative victory at the UK government level.

Without a number of victories for the Scottish Labour Party, then it is highly likely that it will be David Cameron and not Ed Miliband who forms the next government. If Scottish voters want a Labour government, they are going to have to vote for one.



  1. This is clearly a good analysis, and the message that the SNP has been pulling the wool over people’s eyes is clear. But is it getting across in Scotland?

    The SNP is saying you can have your cake and eat it. Like UKIP elsewhere, the real message is vote for a minor party, get the one you don’t want.

    The tory press are making this point clear south of the border to the UKIP voters, its not difficult to find clear messages to UKIP voters their vote aids Labour. But is the SNP aids Cameron message getting across north of the border?

    Trevor Fisher.

    1. Robert says:

      Rubbish if the SNP wish to take Scotland out of the EU they will ask the people to make the decision, a referendum and if the people vote yes then you cannot argue, the people have spoken as they did in the referendum for independence.

      It tickles me that people will allow Miliband to make a decision for them without even asking them.

  2. David Ellis says:

    What a hatchet job by a genuine hack. Anybody who thinks that the unity of the British working class is represented by the Westminster Union and its wretched Houses of Parliament or that the unity of the European working class is summed up by the existence of the EU is barking. If the EU makes it impossible for an independent Scotland to join then there is something wrong with the EU and instead of shrugging our shoulders we should be seeking to renegotiate its founding treaties in line with socialist principles and not the neo-liberal ones which are in any case tearing it apart. Labour is ruling out a Coalition with the SNP because it would rather prop up Cameron on a confidence and supply basis that undermine the British ruling classes’ austerity drive. Labour and the Tories will collaborate in the next parliament not just on Trident renewal but on austerity too.

    1. Mukkinese says:

      The idea that Labour would “prop up Cameron on a confidence and supply basis”, is the kind of insane assertion that merely proves the point of the article…

      1. David Ellis says:

        Boy you are going to look silly.

      2. Robert says:

        They got together over Scotland did they not, of course labour and the Tories would get together .

        The differences within the party these days is not that different.

        1. Mukkinese says:

          They both disagreed with independence. So wat?

          The SNP voted with the Tories in the Scottish parliament more than once. Does that make them “fellow travelers”?

          You want so much to believe that the SNP are the greatest thing since sliced bread that you are willing to accept any old nonsense about other parties…

          1. Robert says:

            Well yes they seem to be a better Choice the Murphy and Progress, have you not noticed the people are agreeing.

            Labour is the party of working people not welfare or benefits and since Scotland seems to have some of those .

            But Miliband as leader when Blair speaks Miliband acts. no thanks you vote for them

  3. David Pavett says:

    Andy Newman says that the SNP “seemingly sought to hoodwink the electorate” about the threat posed to EU membership by Scottish independence. And clearly he thinks that it is more than ‘seeming’ since he adds that the SNP actually “sought to pour sand in the eyes of the electorate”. Moreover, the SNP, according to A.N., says that it can “wave a magic wand to keep the Conservatives out of power” but that they “seem to be weepìng crocodile tears about how dreadful a future Conservative government would be”. And all this is accompanied by the “shrill and aggressive campaign” to demonise Labour. If shrillness characterises the SNP approach it would seem that it is not alone.

    But having presented the SNP as an entity with which needs to be approached with a barrage of invective what we get is an argument to which the SNP would clearly have a comeback but which is presented as if it were an open and shut case.

    I agree that the SNP selects just those arguments and data which support its case while ignoring the rest. This technique however is hardly foreign to the Labour Party and so should not come as too much of a shock to Labour supporters.

    And yes, Scotland’s membership of the EU post-independence would not be seamless. On the other hand the oppositional noises from Spain and Belgium regarding a future Scottish membership almost certainly have more to do with their current internal political problems than with the decision which would actually be made in the circumstances of a majority of Scots voting for independence. How imaginable is it that the EU would refuse EU entry to a new nation based on majority support of its people and which meets the entry criteria?

    I don’t see how Schengen is an issue since the UK has opt-outs from the agreement and the SNP says that Scotland would seek the same opt-out status. Moreover, if post-independence UK were to leave the EU the political atmosphere in which that would happen would likely to be one in which its border controls would become tighter rather than looser. There could be complications but it is by no means clear that these would be insurmountable and sufficient to keep an independent Scotland out of the EU.

    Overall this argument seems to me to be, like the bulk of Labour arguments against the SNP, just more scare tactics. I say this without being an SNP supporter. It is just that these tactics fall short of genuine political debate about independence based on positive arguments about remaining in Britain. As such I think that they are more likely to help the SNP cause than to harm it. The Labour Party, along with the Tories, nearly blew it in the independence referendum campaign, which brought the SNP to requiring only a 5% swing to achieve its goal, by arguing in this way. It seems that the lessons from the awful “no” campaign have not been learned.

  4. Robert says:

    Nice to have a political party which talks to all the people not just those lucky enough to be in work.

  5. swatantra says:

    The suggestion that the ‘working class across Britain’ are united’ is a myth; there are as much divisions and factions and infighting and one-upmanship within the working class in Britain, as exist in any other bodies, that its sometimes a wonder that the whole façade doesn’t fall apart. And only 1 in 7 working people are actually union members anyway, so who is working class these days?
    The other myth is that the SNP would take Scotland out of Europe. Best to declare Scotland Independent unilaterally first, and then apply for EU Admission, fast track, as the only way. Scotland’s place in Europe cannot be contested by anyone; it has more right to be in Europe than say Ukraine.

    1. James Martin says:

      So you think being a trade union member equals being working class? Well in that case France, with even less trade union membership density than the USA must have very few workers at all, non?

      But class of course is separate to being in a union (and let’s face it, unions also have plenty of middle class members also). Because as we know both France and the US each have a significant working class (although the later has for decades been led into the dead end of Democrat support by their own union sell-out leaders). But the UK is unique in having not only a united union movement with one coordinating body in the TUC that is not based on either religion or narrow party affiliation (unlike most of Europe), and a political party in Labour that was formed by the unions and still is linked to them.

      But back to the nationalist nonsense. You see I think this is a rubbish article because I actually want the end of the EU bosses club (along with it’s NATO military wing) and its replacement with genuine internationalism and fraternity. However I also oppose the narrow reactionary and divisive nationalism of the SNP. So faced with an article that seeks to demonise the SNP by saying they risk the EU… I just laugh.

  6. Rod says:

    I live down south and I’ve been struck by the number of people in my social circle who, while usually not particularly interested in politics, have said they wished Nicola Sturgeon was standing in our constituency.

    Andy’s analytical shenanigans may succeed in melting all that is solid into air and thus may be an intentional promotion of disillusionment with the political process. But you can’t beat straight-talking and regrettably that’s a skill that is absent within today’s Labour Party.

    1. Andy Newman says:

      Sturgeon is of course not standing in any constituency. The SNP group of MPs will be led by the much more unloveable Salmond.

      It is also possiblethat Salmond would use his position to exacerbate antagonism between England and Scotland, as a mechanism of making independence more likely

  7. Stephen says:

    “How imaginable is it that the EU would refuse EU entry to a new nation based on majority support of its people and which meets the entry criteria?” .. not very. But how many existing member states will be arguing that Scotland gets to keep UK VAT opt outs – not many. How many will be saying “yeah Scotland you can stay out of the Fiscal Compact and the Stability and Governance Treaty?” even fewer.

  8. Andy Newman says:


    “I don’t see how Schengen is an issue since the UK has opt-outs from the agreement and the SNP says that Scotland would seek the same opt-out status.”

    How would that work. The SNP has clearly stated that there would be no border controls between rUK and iScotland.

    UK is not in Schengen, and the Irish Republic has been therefore required to opt out of Schengen in order to maintain an open border with the UK.

    iScotland would have to opt for either open border with rUK, or Schengen membership. But no accession country has been allowed an opt out of Schengen.

    This is of course not to say that iScoland couldn’t negotiate an opt out of Schengen, but it would need unanimous agreement from all existing states in the EU.

    What is not substantively in dispute, despite some sand being blown in peoples’ eyes, is that iScotland would be an applicant country, not a successor state to the UK.

    1. David Pavett says:


      The Schengen agreement came into being in 1985. The Schengen Convention was agreed in 1990. Cyprus joined the EU in 2004 and was allowed an opt out because of the special conditions pertaining to a divided island.

      1. Andy Newman says:

        Fair point, I had overlooked the rather marginal case of Cyprus.

        However, the issue of Schengen is illustrative that the SNP promised the voters that they would deliver an open border to rUK, without pointing out that this would require an opt out of Schenegen, and that would need to be negotiated as part of the article 49 accession process. It is not in the Scottish govt’s gift to make promises on behalf of the EU.

        The terms that the SNP promised are extraordinary:

        See Tomkins:

        (1) to continue the UK’s opt-out from the euro,
        (2) to continue the UK’s opt-out from the Schengen free movement area,
        (3) to continue to benefit from the UK’s budget rebate and
        (4) to continue to benefit from the exemptions from the EU’s VAT directive which the UK negotiated for itself.

        No accession state has achieved such.

        And Scotland would not have the institutions, such as broadcasting and bank regulatory bodies to conform to the EU’s governance requirements.

        1. David Pavett says:

          My point all along is that trying trying to beat the SNP on the grounds of relatively complex technical arguments is not working and is not likely to work. Neither is pretending that Labour, by contrast has a clear stance. Finally, treating the SNP as liars and or idiots won’t further the case against its policies.

          I am not an SNP supporter, although the appalling state of Scottish Labour and the poor quality of its parliamentary candidates would give me real problems if I lived there.

          The SNP position on the EU is full of wholes (just like Labour which advocates reform but can’t tell us what it has in mind). Schengen is a problem for the SNP but probably not insuperable. The SNP is less than fully open about the issue (a problem Labour members know well) but it makes a case which may or may not be convincing but is not best dismissed as “utter rubbish”.

          And while Labour supporters dwell on this matter the SNP surge continues. I just heard a Labour candidate in Glasgow saying that he couldn’t understand Labour’s losses to the SNP. People like that are clearly in the wrong job.

          Labour’s efforts to make itself into the ‘nice party’ of corporate capitalism have not gone down well in Scotland. Many want to believe that there is an alternative. The SNP give the impression of being such an alternative and even if that is false telling people that it is just awful as Labour probably won’t bring them rushing back.

  9. Andy Newman says:


    Andy’s analytical shenanigans may succeed in melting all that is solid into air and thus may be an intentional promotion of disillusionment with the political process.

    No, what I am doing is to say that in the event of Scottish exit from the UK, or UK exit from the EU, the process would be subject to law and constitutionality.

    There would be a great deal at stake, and it simply would matter what the legal relationships were – in terms of who were the substantive successor state, and who wasn’t.

    Scotland is part of the UK, and its membership of the EU is as a part of the UK, and the EU offers no recognition to Scotland’s devolved national status within the UK.

    In the event of UK exit from the EU, then even were the Scottish people to chose that they wished to stay in the EU, then this could only be achieved by i) leaving the UK, and ii) reapplying as a new accession country to the EU.

    Far from being a “fast track” process, Scotland lacks many of the national institutions that are regarded as necessary to comply with the aquis, and would need to both establish them, and then operate them in convergence with the EU for a number of years before accession.

    They would also need to join the Euro. This is a non-negotiable aspect of EU Aquis for accession states.

  10. Andy Newman says:


    an argument to which the SNP would clearly have a comeback but which is presented as if it were an open and shut case.

    Well they didn’t during the whole of the indy referrendum debate have any come back to the irrefutable argument that they would have to reapply to join the EU as an accession state, and that they would have to accept the whole of the Acquis, and go through a convergence period to do so.

    Law is law.

    1. David Pavett says:

      Andy, I think that they did. You can agree or disagree with their evidence but I don’t think that it can seriously be argued that they had no comeback.

      1. Andy Newman says:

        The SNP position is flim flam quoting a number of people without elaborating the argument.

        Their arguments have been comprehensively dealt with by Adam Tomkins.

        Can you find a convincing refutation from an independence supporter that actually addresses the issues raised by article 48 and article 49, and the difficulties that Scotland would have of adopting the acquis?

        For example Scotland simply doesn’t have the institutions required and would have to establish them and demonstrate their operation for a number of years before they can accede. This has been the case for other new states, and therefore unless we assume that the other stTes will make exceptional provision for Scotland, then the SNP’s approach of uninterrupted membership are optimistic.

        The issue is being honest about the risk

        1. David Pavett says:

          Here is a piece dealing with articles 48 and 49 with regard to EU membership of an independent Scotland. It is by a constitutional lawyer who clearly has studied the issues. He may be right and he may be wrong but pretending that no case is being made or shouting “utter rubbish” when it is made is not helpful.

          And, as I suggested in an earlier reponse, trying to halt the political advance of the SNP on such grounds rather than by demonstrating that Labour has a better political programme is poor politics. In fact one might even imagine that those who argue in this way are themselves not convinced that Labour has a better political programme to argue for.

      2. Andy Newman says:

        Here is Adam Tomkins refutation of the SNP’s EU argument:

        The point is that the SNP do not actually engage with the constituiona argument at all, they just optimistical state that the indy timescale would give time to sort it out

  11. It is an important debate but nowhere near as important as the budget issue. I have seen no refutation by the nationalists of the argument that they have a massive hole in their budget which they have misled people about, or that their position that they can have their cake and eat it rests on their forcing Labour to bail them out.

    Its curious as well that with oil revenues crashing they are getting an easy ride by the media down here, and that the Greens, who logically should be opposed to burning oil should be supporting both separatism and the exploitation of oil revenues to the point of extinction.

    So two parties that are not being honest in my view. However from Stafford it is impossible to see how this is playing in Scotland, but the impression is of a squeaky clean nationalist party which is playing many of the major issues under the table. Is this so?

    trevor Fisher.

    1. David Pavett says:

      Trevor, there is a reponse here .

      1. Robert says:

        Did not labour and the Tories give a promise to the people of Scotland for a full hand over of powers.

        What it is now because they think labour would go back strong and because they would not hand Scotland another referendum for maybe 25 years they are now going back on the offers.

        It wil;l be interesting if the SNP wipe out labour what they will do to demand another referendum on Scotland and I think because labour and the Tories are fast going back on the offers for a full hand over of powers.

        Maybe they will need to go to courts to get the referendum if labour are left will a tiny number of MP’s.

      2. Andy Newman says:

        Trevor, there is a response here .

        utter rubbish.

        Here is a thorough refutation:

  12. thanks this is useful. If the figure of 52% of scots for SNP and 24% for Labour is accurate, Labour will get toasted at the election. Their argument about fiscal targets being the priority – repeated by Tristram Hunt on Newsnight tonight 14th April – is clearly suicidal in the Scottish context and their failure to oppose austerity is equally self defeating. Hunt knew the script and made some headway on the Tories £8 billion on the NHS but overall I had to turn it off. Nothing which could make anyone in Scotland vote Labour.

    Trevor Fisher

  13. They would not go to court on a ‘Full Hand over of Powers” as this was never promised. THis would mean independence and the referendum was about independence – and it was voted down.

    However the myth that the main parties offered independence and this was rejected would be very useful for the nationalists who would love this to be thought north of the border. That they lost the referendum is also an inconvenient historical fact that is being lost, partly by the incompetence of the Westminster parties. If the Lib Dems leaked the memo about what Sturgeon told the French ambassador. more fools them

    The SNP have understood what Machiavelli said was the key lesson of politics 500 years ago, and their ability to manipulate reality is awesome. But lets get it clear – full hand over of powers was rejected in the referendum and is not on the table.

    Trevor FIsher.

    1. Robert says:

      They made a hell of a lot of promises labour’s Brown and the Cameron’s Tories in the coalition no vote, you have to keep those, if not look out.

      Lets wait and see how the next election 2016 changes labour, bet you will hear labour screaming we want more powers.

  14. andy newman is right, the SNP never actually give a proper response to any question. There is now a strong case for amassing all the evidence in one place, but in a rather more sophisticated way than Trotsky’s the Stalin School of Falsification. People will however believe what they want to believe, facts are never decisive, and Labour is managing to ignore the facts on the massive unpopularity of Austerity and the nonsense of making fiscal targets the key to their politics.

    Michael Meachers new book does a good job of amassing the evidence on the Failure of the Westminster bubble on austerity, it s time some similar effort was made with the SNP. And the Greens are also getting away with murder. In Scotland, they support the wasting of North Sea (sorry, Scottish) oil

    Has there ever been a time when the political class in Britain has been more low grade greedy and duplicitous operators? Not since Lord North lost the American colonies can I see any parallel with the current bunch for not being trustworthy.

    Trevor Fisher

    1. Andy Newman says:

      In particular, the SNP blurred the lines over the question of whether iScotland would inherit EU membership by virtue of its former relationship with UK.

      This is a nonsense.

      British subjects who reside in Scotland are citizens of the EU by virtue of their UK citizenship, and because the UK is in the EU.

      However, Scotland is not a state, and specifically it would not be the successor state to the UK, een if the UK sought to leave the EU.

      The sleight of hand from the SNP is to imply that they would have continued membership, and could gain the concession they want from Article 48, the treaty revision process.

      This is ridiculous, as it would allow every one of the existing member states to also introduce the treaty revisions they want, and to have a veto, in many cases by referrendum.

      1. Robert says:

        I suspect Scotland is classed as a country same as Wales now, it was stated to be a country three years ago not a providence . If Scotland was to get independence I believe within a very short time it would get a seat.

        No good debating this I doubt Scotland will leave the Union but independence within the Union.

        1. Andy Newman says:


          Both Scotland and Wales and nations, and have devolved status as such within the UK.

          Neither England, Northern Ireland, Wales nor Scotland are states within the EU. For example, they do not have a seat on the Council of Ministers. They are members of the EU by virtue of their membership of the UK.

          When you say

          If Scotland was to get independence I believe within a very short time it would get a seat.

          Given that the EU is a transnational institution with a constitution bound by treaties between 28 states, then good will is not enough, there needs to be a legal and constitutional mechanism.

          This would ether be through Article 48 (treaty revision) or Article 49 (Accession of new states)

          Article 48 would require a treaty revision process, that would get bogged down in the politics between the different states, who might introduce their own desired treaty changes, and some states would need to have a referrendum. This cannot be done “within a very short time”

          If it is done via Article 49, then Scotland wuld need to accede as a new state, and while Scotland as art of the UK does fully comply with the Acquis, iScotand would leave many of the UK governence institutions (for example independent broadcasting and bank regulation), and would have to set up brand new institutions to comply with the Acquis. Before it could accede, iScotland would have to establish these institutions, and then operate them for a sufficient time to demonstrate convergence with the EU. This cannot be done “within a very short time”

          It is somewhat depressing that the whole debate is conducted on the basis of wishful thinking, and any attempt to inject facts is castigated as “scare mongering”

  15. absolutely, andy makes sense. But there is little point people on a small blog site knowing the facts. If Left Futures is to make a significant contribution to this debate somehow we have to pull all the threads together and publish it, not necessarily as a hard copy, In fact better electronically,

    We can talk to each other for ever. Marx talked about philosophers explaining the world, the point being to change it. Nowadays he would talk about bloggers explaining the world

    The point is still to change it

    Trevor Fisher.

    1. David Pavett says:

      Trevor, people on this website, and on the left more generally not being likely to agree as to what the salient facts are. But, more importantly, this is not the central issue as you recognise in your earlier post about yet another appalling performance by Tristram Hunt. What matters is having a radical political programme that could attract those who have abandoned Labour for the SNP. The technicalities of Schengen are no substitute for this.

      P.S. Interpreting the world and changing the world were never meant by Marx to be counter-posed as an either/or choice. No one made more effort than him to get the interoretation right. His point I think was that the process of interpretation should arise from and remain connected to the task if changing things. My view is that trying to fault the SNP on technicalities if EU membership while Labour is still dancing to the austerity tune is pretty much the sort of detached interpreting Marx was tilting against.

      1. Andy Newman says:

        What matters is having a radical political programme that could attract those who have abandoned Labour for the SNP. The technicalities of Schengen are no substitute for this.

        P.S. Interpreting the world and changing the world were never meant by Marx to be counter-posed as an either/or choice. No one made more effort than him to get the interoretation right. His point I think was that the process of interpretation should arise from and remain connected to the task if changing things. My view is that trying to fault the SNP on technicalities if EU membership while Labour is still dancing to the austerity tune is pretty much the sort of detached interpreting Marx was tilting against.

        However, political debate is more multi-layered than this. It is possible and indeed necessary to both argue about the technicalties of Schengen and also to argue in a much more populist vein about the need for a Labour victory

        1. David Pavett says:

          Andy, I suggested that arguing technicalities should not be a substitute for putting forward a better political programme than that of the SNP. You have taken the latter to be equivalent to arguing the need for a Labour victory. That is not at all the same thing and it is the confusion between them that is allowing the SNP to run away with the prizes.

  16. I am always reluctant to reply to anyone who does not give a surname, but Robert either has inside knowledge or is seriously mistaken> There can be no election in 2016 unless the fixed parliament act is repealed.

    I am in favour of this, and if Robert (?) knows that will be the case, let us know how.

    Otherwise we have 5 years of garbage and yes, Salmond is about to come back and show that Sturgeon does not call the shots

    trevor fisher.

    1. Robert says:

      Then Dear boy do not answer, the election is of course for Scotland Assemblies and the Welsh assemblies I’m shocked you did not know.

  17. Andy Newman says:

    There can be no election in 2016 unless the fixed parliament act is repealed.

    There is an increasing disconnect between England and Scotland. For many Scots 2016 is seen as equally or even more important that this current general election.

    On Thursday 5 May 2016 there will be an election in Scotland to elect 129 members to the Scottish Parliament.

    1. Robert says:

      To some of us it a dam more important ten the one in a few weeks time to elect Cameron or Miliband.
      Jesus they can only talk for hard working peoples.

      I’m not voting in the mess which is called a general election for two puffed up rich kids playing at politics because to them it maybe the end of careers if they lose . 2016 is a dam sight more important to me then this one.

  18. Andy Newman says:

    two puffed up rich kids playing at politics because to them it maybe the end of careers if they lose

    What is this foolishness.

    Notwithstanding the devolved powers of the Scottish parliament, it will make a massive difference to the Scottish economy, among other things, whether or not Ed Miliband wins the election.

    1. Robert says:

      What whether two rich Tories get elected i doubt it every much, people are now demanding more then Just Tory and Tory Lite

  19. there is indeed a Scottish election in 2016, and if Cameron wins then there will be a referendum on the EU scheduled for 2017. If the Tories are in power then the 2016 Scottish election will be a precursor and the big issue will be what mandate the Scottish parliament would have in the event of the UK voting to leave the EU.

    To avoid this can of worms, getting Miliband elected would be the first stage. Thus if the Scots are really arguing for the EU, then they should vote Labour, not for the SNP. However Labour is so totally incompetent they appear not to be arguing for this. They are stuck in the old New Labour triangulation model where they can take their working class vote for granted and go looking for tory votes.

    However on the bigger picture the politics of the UK have to be seen as fragmented with UKIP a major player – not in MPs elected but with some MPs, and maybe enough to hold the balance of power and force the Tories to hold an EU referendum. At which point the positions on the EU become very crucial, and both SNP and UKIP are damagingly misunderstood. THe Greens have also been criticized (on the Conversation there is a good critique)but they will not get enough MPs to matter. The SNP and UKIP certainly will, and they are two sides of a dangerous coin, both gambling with the future of the country,

    As Labour seems unable to understand what is happening north or south of the border, the independent left should write up and publish a critique. On Tuesday the Wolverhampton Express and Star (read a lot in south Staffordshire) had a front page headline article in which Ed Balls was promising the West Midlands that they would not be held to ransom by the Scots Nationalists. Its worth having a look at if it is on line. He has at last realized that they may have to rely on Scots Nats if he is to get into Number 11. But the implications of that are not yet understood in Labour HQ, and they have no idea what the implications are for governing if the Scots Nats under Alex Salmonds will be calling the shots,

    And that does affect the 2016 Scots elections.

    Trevor Fisher.

  20. reply to david Pavett

    I am not focused on the technicalities of the EU, though it is essential that where the SNP are glossing over difficulties they are exposed as dishonest. All politicians are economical with the truth, but the falsification of reality indulged in by the SNP and UKIP are gross. And they are the two sides of the same coin, separate and prosper. The Westminster bubble does not understand that the emotional appeal of both is trumping rational argument.

    Marx was clearly opposed to people who only talk about politics and that is the point of the third thesis on feurbach. However Marx himself was a politician, and he never updated the statistics in capital when the facts began to show his immiseration theory was wrong. The truth in politics is a moveable feast. One of the key issues now is to show that UKIP and the SNP are out of line with reality

    And then on to New Labour. The theory of triangulation is now coming apart. After 20 years, and we can I think agree on this, we have an opening to the left. But taking on UKIP and the other separatists in the SNP is an important task

    trevor fisher

    1. David Pavett says:

      Trevor, I think that you might agree that what is or is not out of line with reality is liable to be judged very differently according to the different sets of basic assumptions adopted (sometimes unwittingly). And I suspect that you would also agree that from the standpoint of a left critique of Labour many of its key policies are out of line with reality (e.g. on deficit/austerity, education, Trident, and much else besides. On some of those issues there is a plausible case that SNP policies are better aligned with reality than those of Labour. So, wanting to deal with the SNP by exposing its dishonesty and lack of grip of reality on one specfic issue is likely to unravel in the broader context.

      On a separate point I don’t think that the idea that Marx didn’t revise Capital in the light of improvements in working class conditions for political reasons will bear much examination. The book was a critique of the concepts of political economy and not a study of economic history.

  21. David Ellis says:

    When a loose Coalition of Labour and Tory MPs vote to impose austerity and Trident on the Scottish people despite the number of SNP MPs it elects it will be imperative that there is a party standing for the Scottish parliamentary elections in May 2016 that is prepared to stand for a unilateral declaration of independence and the replacement of the Union with a Federation of Sovereign States combined with a programme for the transition to socialism.

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