Friday, 16 May 2008
"Why Become Independent to Give Up Sovereignty?"
This post is the last three paragraphs of one of the same title which appeared recently on the blog 'HOTEL BRUSSELS', http://sentsq.blogspot.com/2008/05/why-become-independent-to-give-up.html, and my response to it -
"...Take Scotland, for example. It benefits significantly from European subsidies. Is this a coincidence? It has certainly convinced the Scottish National Party that Scotland can become a viable country if the United Kingdom is dissolved, on condition, however, that Scotland remains a member of the EU. Hence the SNP, which is currently in power in Edinburgh, aims for an independent Scotland firmly entrenched within the European Union.
In reality both SNP aims, dissolving Britain while at the same time strengthening the EU, are contradictory. Why become independent from London in order to give up one's sovereignty to Brussels? One may wonder whether the SNP really wants an independent Scotland at all since it seems ready to exchange one Leviathan for another even bigger and more dangerous one.
Perhaps if the Scots leave the United Kingdom to become a province of Europe, England can secede from the EU and, together with Flanders and the regions of Northern Italy, join Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway - the family of truly sovereign nations which are assembled in EFTA, the European Free Trade Association, and do not want to be part of the EU, the European superstate in the making.
This piece was originally published in The Washington Times on May 1, 2008."
and this is the comment I submitted to it -
"This item appeared in the FORUM section of 'The Washington Times' under the heading 'Politics Italian-style' and also in 'Brussels Journal' with the heading 'Why Become Independent to Give Up Sovereignty?'. The author is Paul Belien, editor of 'Brussels Journal'. I address my comments to the assertions made in paragraphs 9, 10 and 11. In paragraph 9 he writes -
'It has certainly convinced the Scottish National Party that Scotland can become a viable country if the United Kingdom is dissolved, on condition, however, that Scotland remains a member of the EU.'
That is total nonsense. The Scottish National Party was formed in 1934 predating the treaties which led to the European Union. When the Treaty of Union between Scotland and England, which created Great Britain, was agreed there were riots throughout Scotland. When Scotland regains its independence it is Great Britain which will be dissolved not the United Kingdom - it has never been a country.
'whilst the SNP formally campaigned for a No vote at the 1975 referendum on continued membership of the European Community the tone of its campaign was directed against being forced to join the Community as part of the United Kingdom...rather than opposed to EC membership on any grounds (Lynch 1996:35).'
- 'SNP: The History of the Scottish National Party' by Peter Lynch, pp 185-186, ISBN 1 86057 0038 or 0046.
In paragraph 10 he writes -
'Why become independent of London in order to give up one's sovereignty to Brussels?'
This clearly shows that an assumption has been made regarding sovereignty in Scotland without knowing the actual facts - under Scottish constitutional law sovereignty rests with the people -
'Besides, in the years when Scotland was kingless, another concept emerged besides that of the impersonal crown: ultimate power or sovereignty was seen to lie with what was called 'the community of the realm'.'
SOURCE: 'Scotland: The Shaping of a Nation' by Gordon Donaldson, p64, ISBN 0 7153 6904 0,
'The principle of the unlimited sovereignty of Parliament is a distinctively English principle which has no counterpart in Scottish constitutional law.'
SOURCE: McCormick v Lord Advocate 1954 (1953 SC 396),
'If the Scottish people expressed a desire for independence the stage would be set for a direct clash between what is the English doctrine of sovereignty and the Scottish doctrine of the sovereignty of the people.'
SOURCE: 'The Operation of Multi-Layer Democracy', Scottish Affairs Committee Second Report of Session 1997-1998, HC 460-I, 2 December 1998, para 27.
In 1707 Scotland was taken into a Union with England by a minority despite the views of the majority of the people of Scotland (at the time most people were not entitled to vote as democracy as we now know it did not exist) whereas continued membership of the EU would be subject to the consent of the people in a referendum.
In paragraph 11 he writes -
'Perhaps if the Scots leave the United Kingdom to become a province of Europe...join Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway - the family of truly sovereign nations which are assembled in EFTA'
Firstly, Scots have absolutely no intention of becoming 'a province of Europe', secondly he insults all other sovereign nations, whether in the EU or elsewhere in the world, by suggesting that 'truly sovereign nations' are in EFTA. Tiny Liechtenstein has a population much less than that of Edinburgh and is the only country outwith the Arab world which does not allow women to vote.
'We do not aspire to a centralised European super state, but neither will we be satisfied with a European Union that only exists as a market and that stands divided and impotent when human rights and international law are being violated. Neither will we accept a European Union that looks down on small countries and constitutional regions while allowing the larger member states or the economic and military superpowers to dictate the law.'
- Nelly Maes, European Free Alliance [of which the SNP is a member].