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Scottish Independence and Scotland's Future
Ed Means Column
Why does the Scottish Government not understand that ‘Europe’ and the ‘European Union’ are not synonymous?


The Scottish Government is actively pushing for Scotland to leave the U.K. and take its place as an independent nation in the wider world. But yet the SNP blatantly presents its geographic naďvté to the wider world by frequently treating ‘Europe’ and the ‘European Union’ as synonyms. For example, here is an excerpt from http://www.electricscotland.com/history/mckelvie/140120.htm which appears in these pages:

The European Question

To any normal person living outside of the intricate academic theses over Scotland’s EU membership, the whole issue is impenetrable I know. Most people I speak to about it are inclined to say either that they don’t understand it or that they just aren’t interested.

I can appreciate why. Europe’s affection for acronyms like CAP, CFP, BEREC, ENOSA, EBA, EUSA and the like is off-putting in itself. You can get an idea here: http://tinyurl.com/octxfn5

But Europe is our largest trading partner, it is a bloc of more than 510 million people, it has the power and the legal systems to keep our rights protected, to give us free trade, freedom to live and work or be educated in any of the member countries, to have the same rights as the citizens of those countries have if we elect to reside there or even holiday there. It provides the legislation that overrules that of the individual countries on everything from the right never to be tortured to the commonality of road signs.

The affection for acronyms cited by Ms McKelvie is not universal in Europe and might be cringeworthy in non-EU European nations such as Norway, Switzerland, and/or Iceland. And note that the European Union and not Europe …” provides the legislation that overrules that of the individual countries …” Does Ms McKelvie not realise that she has just admitted that “independent Scotland” will not be completely independent as a member of the EU? It will merely have exchanged Scotland’s overlords in Westminster for overlords in Brussels.

Ms. McKelvie also tells us that “Europe is our largest trading partner, it is a bloc of more than 510 million people.” That sounds impressive except for the fact that the Council of Europe has 47 member countries with a combined population of 820 million. See http://www.coe.int/aboutCOe/index.asp.

Ms McKelvie is the Convenor of the European and External Relations Committee of the Scottish Parliament. It would be useful for her to understand all of her bailiwick, not just the European Union.


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