Like many Scots I have
lived and worked in England and Wales. Unlike many of them, some
800,000, I did return to Scotland to work and run a business. I later
emigrated to Canada where I now live.
To be frank I got to the point where I didn't like Scotland as there
seemed to me to be a lack of vision in Government and Business. Being
something of an historian I could see that Scotland had actually
benefited enormously from the Union of the Crowns. In fact in the period
1790-1820 a staggering 130 Scots were MPs representing seats in England
Look at the number of Scots who were Prime Ministers of the UK and had
seats in the Cabinet from Foreign Secretary to Treasurer and many other
portfolios. Scotland took the lead in building the British Empire
overseas. We were the people that went out and did the hands on jobs.
I campaigned to "leave" the EU as over the years I found that the EU was
no longer relevant in a Global world where global organisations were
making the laws.
I like reading news from all over the world to try to understand what is
happening in the world and how it might impact Scotland as my work is
all about the history of Scotland and the Scots at home and abroad. I
have been working on this now for some 20 years.
Over the past several years I have been looking at the EU to see what it
is doing for the UK first and Scotland second. I have to say that I
really can't see any point in that organisation at all and is why I
campaigned to "leave".
Let's look at some points...
UK votes to Leave the EU by 52% to 48%,
Scotland votes to Remain by 62% to 38%.
Marine Le Pen is generally thought to be favourite for winning next
years French Presidential elections. She wants to take France out of the
EU and if she wins will have a referendum.
Here is what she said after seeing the Brexit result...
Marine Le Pen: After Brexit, the People’s Spring Is Inevitable (28th
PARIS — IF there’s one thing that chafes French pride, it’s seeing the
British steal the limelight. But in the face of real courage, even the
proudest French person can only tip his hat and bow. The decision that
the people of Britain have just made was indeed an act of courage — the
courage of a people who embrace their freedom.
Brexit won out, defeating all forecasts. Britain decided to cast off
from the European Union and reclaim its independence among the world’s
nations. It had been said that the election would hinge solely on
economic matters; the British, however, were more insightful in
understanding the real issue than commentators like to admit.
British voters understood that behind prognostications about the pound’s
exchange rate and behind the debates of financial experts, only one
question, at once simple and fundamental, was being asked: Do we want an
undemocratic authority ruling our lives, or would we rather regain
control over our destiny? Brexit is, above all, a political issue. It’s
about the free choice of a people deciding to govern itself. Even when
it is touted by all the propaganda in the world, a cage remains a cage,
and a cage is unbearable to a human being in love with freedom.
The European Union has become a prison of peoples. Each of the 28
countries that constitute it has slowly lost its democratic prerogatives
to commissions and councils with no popular mandate. Every nation in the
union has had to apply laws it did not want for itself. Member nations
no longer determine their own budgets. They are called upon to open
their borders against their will.
Countries in the eurozone face an even less enviable situation. In the
name of ideology, different economies are forced to adopt the same
currency, even if doing so bleeds them dry. It’s a modern version of the
Procrustean bed, and the people no longer have a say.
And what about the European Parliament? It’s democratic in appearance
only, because it’s based on a lie: the pretense that there is a
homogeneous European people, and that a Polish member of the European
Parliament has the legitimacy to make law for the Spanish. We have tried
to deny the existence of sovereign nations. It’s only natural that they
would not allow being denied.
Your Thoughts on Brexit
What fears or hopes do you have about your own country, whether you are
in Europe or elsewhere, after Britain’s decision to exit? Share your
Brexit wasn’t the European people’s first cry of revolt. In 2005, France
and the Netherlands held referendums about the proposed European Union
constitution. In both countries, opposition was massive, and other
governments decided on the spot to halt the experiment for fear the
contagion might spread. A few years later, the European Union
constitution was forced on the people of Europe anyway, under the guise
of the Lisbon Treaty. In 2008, Ireland, also by way of referendum,
refused to apply that treaty. And once again, a popular decision was
When in 2015 Greece decided by referendum to reject Brussels’ austerity
plans, the European Union’s antidemocratic response took no one by
surprise: To deny the people’s will had become a habit. In a flash of
honesty, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker,
unabashedly declared, “There can be no democratic choice against the
Brexit may not have been the first cry of hope, but it may be the
people’s first real victory. The British have presented the union with a
dilemma it will have a hard time getting out of. Either it allows
Britain to sail away quietly and thus runs the risk of setting a
precedent: The political and economic success of a country that left the
European Union would be clear evidence of the union’s noxiousness. Or,
like a sore loser, the union makes the British pay for their departure
by every means possible and thus exposes the tyrannical nature of its
power. Common sense points toward the former option. I have a feeling
Brussels will choose the latter.
One thing is certain: Britain’s departure from the European Union will
not make the union more democratic. The hierarchical structure of its
supranational institutions will want to reinforce itself: Like all dying
ideologies, the union knows only how to forge blindly ahead. The roles
are already cast — Germany will lead the way, and France will obligingly
Here is a sign: President François Hollande of France, Prime Minister
Matteo Renzi of Italy and acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain
take their lead directly from Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany,
without running through Brussels. A quip attributed to Henry Kissinger,
“Who do I call if I want to call Europe?” now has a clear answer: Call
So the people of Europe have but one alternative left: to remain bound
hand-and-foot to a union that betrays national interests and popular
sovereignty and that throws our countries wide open to massive
immigration and arrogant finance, or to reclaim their freedom by voting.
Calls for referendums are ringing throughout the Continent. I myself
have suggested to Mr. Hollande that one such public consultation be held
in France. He did not fail to turn me down. More and more, the destiny
of the European Union resembles the destiny of the Soviet Union, which
died from its own contradictions.
The People’s Spring is now inevitable! The only question left to ask is
whether Europe is ready to rid itself of its illusions, or if the return
to reason will come with suffering. I made my decision a long time ago:
I chose France. I chose sovereign nations. I chose freedom.
Marine Le Pen is president of the National Front party in France. This
essay was translated by John Cullen from the French.
And there is more from around Europe...
Last night’s Danish referendum rejecting Europe once again may yet be
imbued with a similar significance if David Cameron’s fails to win the
forthcoming referendum on Britain’s membership of Europe. (4th Dec.
So likewise Denmark may also vote to "leave" the EU.
EU referendum for Austria if there are no reforms (27th June 2016)
Presidential candidate Norbert Hofer calls for an Austrian European
Union referendum if there are no significant reforms in the next year,
after Britain votes to leave the union.
Austria presidential poll result overturned
(1st July 2016). This is a moral victory for the far-right,
anti-immigrant and Eurosceptic Freedom Party, which launched the legal
challenge last month after alleging "terrifying" irregularities.
Brexit: Poland, Hungary lead angry rebellion against EU’s old guard (June
A continental split opened up over the response to the Brexit vote as
Poland and Hungary led calls for a new-style European Union amid fury
that the founding member states were trying to call the shots.
Italy’s perfect storm could topple the EU (June 29, 2016)
The Italian banks have been smashed. Italy’s biggest bank, Unicredit,
has lost more than 30 per cent of its value since the vote and more than
60 per cent since the start of the year.
Renzi, under pressure from the surging popularity of the Eurosceptic
Five Star Movement, is trying to seize the moment created by Brexit and
the effect it might have on other EU countries disenchanted with the
state of the union.
Now that is just a snapshot of what is happening in the EU countries. So
given the above why should we remain in the EU? Does it not make a lot
more sense to leave? The whole EU is now in melt down and I doubt it
will survive in it's present form.
As to the widely quoted
immigration issue. Anyone living in Scotland should be able to
stay in Scotland. I think what most people that were concerned
about immigration were looking at the million and more immigrants going
into Germany. Once registered as EU citizens they have free movement
within the EU including the UK.
Now Germany needs those
immigrants as she has a declining working population whereas the UK does
not. Take the Poles in Scotland. We should not forget that
Scotland has long ties with Poland. See the book "Papers Relating
to the Scots in Poland (1576 - 1798)" by A. Frances Steuart at:
In that book we read...
He [William Lithgow] continues to praise the
Land of Poland—which suited the Scottish adventurer—in an oft-quoted
passage: ‘And for áuspicuousness, I may rather tearme it to be a Mother
and Nurse, for the youth and younglings of Scotland, who are yearely
sent hither in great numbers, than a proper Dame for her owne birth; in
cloathing, feeding, and inriching them with the fatnesse of her best
things; besides thirty thousand Scots families, that live incorporate in
her bowells. And certainely Polland may be tearmed in this kind to be
the mother of our Commons, and the first commencement of all our best
Merchants’ wealth, or at least most part of them.’
The point I am making is
that it's new immigrants that most are concerned about as it's almost a
fact that some terrorist are getting into the EU through this mass
immigration. We need proper background checks to do what we can to
ensure only legitimate immigrants get into the UK and Scotland.
And Germany has taken charge of this by ensuring they get what they want
while billing the EU countries for her attempt to do a deal with Turkey
that is costing us billions.
SO ask yourself, given the above, why is Nicola Sturgeon so fixated on
being in the EU?
A clue to this can be found in the following story...
UK lacks expertise for trade talks with Europe, says top civil servant
(28th June, 2016)
An initial government review has revealed Whitehall has only 20 “active
hands-on” trade negotiators, and will be up against 600 experienced
trade specialists for the European commission, Sir Simon Fraser, the
former permanent secretary at the Foreign Office disclosed.
And how many "trade negotiators" does Scotland have?
To me this is the problem that Nicola Sturgeon is not prepared to
discuss as she is hoping that the EU will carry the weight of Scotland's
relations with the rest of the world.
Let us not forget that EU countries do not sit on any of the top tables
of the world organisations. Increasingly it is them that set our laws.
The sub regional EU is only a part player in an increasingly global
It is foolish of countries to identify their future with the EU. By 2050
there will be some 9 billion people in the world. The EU will then
account for only 6 per cent of the world’s population, as against 20 per
cent before 1950. Its share of the world’s gross product will have
shrunk to some 10 per cent by 2050, as against 30 per cent in 1950.
In the coming decades most growth in GDP, market size and investment
returns will tend to occur outside continental Europe. Most EU countries
will have a shrinking and ageing population. The EU in general is likely
to decline economically, politically and culturally relative to the rest
of the world, and in particular Asia, where the bulk of humanity lives.
The Commonwealth on the other hand is a great source to go after for the UK as Asia is
obviously the growing market of the future and in the Commonwealth are
countries such as, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, India, Malaysia,
Maldives, Pakistan, Singapore and Sri Lanka.
Already some 12 countries
have indicated their willingness to start negotiating trade deals,
including China, Australia, Malaysia, South Korea, USA – and there will
be more to come. Such deals will offer a tempting prospect to Scottish
businesses and our economy. Would Scotland, already trading nearly four
times as much with the rest of the UK than it does with the EU, really
want to miss out on these new opportunities when access to the single
market would still be possible?
In the Pacific we have Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand,
Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
In the Caribbean and Americas we have Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas,
Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint
Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and The Grenadines and Trinidad
In Africa we have Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi,
Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra
Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania and
And in Europe we have Malta and Cyprus.
In all 2.3 billion citizens.
The Commonwealth dates back to the mid-20th century with the
decolonisation of the British Empire through increased self-governance
of its territories. It was formally constituted by the London
Declaration in 1949, which established the member states as "free and
equal". The symbol of this free association is Queen Elizabeth II who is
the Head of the Commonwealth. The Queen is also the monarch of 16
members of the Commonwealth, known as Commonwealth realms. The other
Commonwealth members have different heads of state: 32 members are
republics and five are monarchies with a different monarch.
Member states have no legal obligation to one another. Instead, they are
united by language, history, culture and their shared values of
democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. These values are enshrined
in the Commonwealth Charter and promoted by the quadrennial Commonwealth
The Commonwealth covers more than 29,958,050 km (11,566,870 sq mi),
almost a quarter of the world's land area, and spans all six inhabited
continents. With an estimated population of 2.328 billion, nearly a
third of the world population, the Commonwealth in 2014 produced a
nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of $10.45 trillion, representing
17% of the gross world product when measured in purchasing power parity
(PPP) and 14% of the gross world product when measured nominally.
It's my view that a reconnection with the Commonwealth has great scope
for the future of the UK and Scotland and the Queen could do a lot to
help influence growing trade between us.
In addition I might add that while we might be out of the EU that does
not mean we are out of Europe. Indeed as the 5th largest trading nation
EU countries would obviously want to work with the UK to sell their
Currently the UK trade with the EU accounts for £227bn in UK exports to
against £288bn in imports. So we have a trade deficit with the EU of
£61bn. 45% of all UK exports are to the EU. Scotland sees the EU
as its largest export market but of that 70% goes to England alone.
The EU is in charge of trade policy. Trade negotiations with non-EU
countries are conducted by the European Commission on the basis of a
negotiating mandate from the member countries' trade ministers. For
imports from outside the EU, there is a "Common External Tariff". Member
states do not set their own tariffs.
So as you can see our trade with the EU is
by no means insignificant and will certainly continue.
So as an example, Scottish Steel is almost dead, but outside the EU we
would be able to impose tariffs on the dumping of cheap Chinese Steel
and thus help to protect our Steel industry.
Now that we have made the decision to "leave" there is little point in
looking back as we need to look forward. Frankly I think the future is
great for both the UK and Scotland but we need to get on our bikes and
work hard for what can be a glorious future.
We also need to get working to join these
global organisations. The following representative cross-section
of these specialised world organisations among many others that set
international rules and standards gives an idea of the commitment that
would be necessary.
CTBTO - Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban
FAO - United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation
IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency
ICAO - International Civil Aviation Organisation
IMF - International Monetary Fund
IMO - International Maritime Organisation
INCB - International Narcotics Control Board
ITU - International Telecommunications Union
OECD - Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
UNEP - United Nations Environment Programme
UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Org.
UNIDO - United Nations Industrial Development Organisation
UNODC - United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
UNOOSA - United Nations Office on Outer Space Affairs
WHO - World Health Organisation
WMO - World Meteorological Organisation
WTO - World Trade Organisation
National membership is in most such cases a
My view on Scottish Independence is simply that this is not the time for
an referendum. As Kevin in his
Chokka Blog has so well laid out the
finances of Scotland
based on the very latest GERS report it is clear that it can only be the loser.
As our deficit to GDP ratio is so large it is
doubtful if Scotland could survive and very doubtful that they would be
able to join the EU. The fact that there would have to be border
controls between Scotland and England would have a major implication on
Scotland's exporters and we have already seen a decline in Scottish
exports to England since the referendum.
That is not to say Scotland can't become an Independent country in the
future but certainly not in the next 10 years in my opinion. Instead it
needs to get over its fixation with the EU and help the UK make the most
of the opportunities that are now open to us. And we need to work hard
at producing trade professionals and diplomats that can work on the
world stage and ensure Scotland's voice is heard.
And so to conclude... the EU is no longer
fit for purpose and we're starting to see it's demise and it just seems
to me that Scots are far more focused on domestic affairs. That simply
means most have not been looking at where the world is going on
Globilisation and nor are they aware of the general discontents of
citizens of the EU. The media needs to start educating them on what is
happening in the world and in the EU. So if Nicola manages to
persuade the people of Scotland to have another referendum and is
successful in joining the EU (which in my view is highly doubtful) she
could well join just as the EU is falling apart.
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