sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul

Wings Over Scotland


A letter from the European Commission

Posted on December 12, 2012 by

What with all the hoo-ha about what Jose Manuel Barroso did and didn’t say about membership of the EU this week, we decided – what with being proper journalists and everything – to take matters into our own hands in an attempt to get to the truth. Caroline Winchester is the European Commission’s Press & Policy Officer at its Scottish office in Edinburgh. We emailed her directly yesterday. (Emphasis added.)

Dear Caroline,

As you’ll be aware, the Commission’s President has recently found himself at the centre of much interest from the Scottish and UK media with regard to his recent comments on a potential independent Scotland’s relationship with the EU. The press has almost without exception reported his comments as referring specifically and explicitly to Scotland. Some examples include:

“The SNP Government was on collision course with the European Commission last night after Nicola Sturgeon refused to accept a ruling by the body’s president that a newly independent Scotland would have to apply for membership of the EU.” (The Scotsman)

“An independent Scotland would be outside the EU and face joining the euro if it wants membership, the president of the European Commission said yesterday.” (The Scottish Daily Express)

“Barroso: it’s ‘obvious’ independent Scotland must re-apply for EU membership” (The Herald)

“José Manuel Barroso: Independent Scotland not EU member” (The Telegraph)

“Scotland will be made to reapply for EU membership after independence, says EU chief” (The Scotsman)

“Barroso: no automatic entry to EU for Scotland” (The Times)

These interpretations seem to be clearly at odds with the President’s actual words, which appeared to repeatedly and expressly state that he was speaking in generalities, and NOT specifically about Scotland’s particular and unique constitutional situation.

I wonder if you could clarify the Commission’s view in the light of this apparent confusion. Did President Barroso intend his comments to be interpreted or inferred as being applicable to Scotland, or have the publications in question drawn unwarranted conclusions from what he said and misrepresented his statements?

Yours sincerely,
Rev. Stuart Campbell

Ms Winchester’s reply on behalf of the Commission arrived a few minutes ago. It’s short, remarkably similar to other recent comments issued by the Commission, and absolutely unequivocal. (Emphasis ours again.)

Dear Rev. Campbell

Apologies that I did not reply yesterday. Yes, the Commission has not ever commented on specific scenarios and has been very clear that it will only give its legal opinion in response to a specific scenario put from a Member State.

Kind regards
Caroline

So there it is. However much the Scottish and UK media pretend otherwise, the European Commission’s official position is that they’ve all misrepresented President Barroso’s comments, and that he in fact expressed no view about Scotland. We really don’t know how much clearer it could be.

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68 to “A letter from the European Commission”

  1. Jp says:

    Remember the unionist code: never let the facts get in the way of a good scare story.

      

  2. Turnip_Ghost says:

    That’s good for us. Thankfully, you get more visitors that The Scotsman appears to ;-)

      

  3. Doug Daniel says:

    Isn’t that nice that she apologises for not replying yesterday? I’m still waiting for some MPs and MSPs to even acknowledge I’ve sent them an email about stuff…

      

  4. Training Day says:

    Stu, can you forward that reply to John Boothman at BBC Scotland?  I’m sure he’ll welcome the clarification. 

      

  5. cath says:

    This is fine as it goes, but nowhere near good enough. Given the prominence afforded to this propaganda and the way it’s been used, the EU need to come out far more strongly than a few words in a letter like that. A huge amount of damage has been done this week, much of it to the EU.

      

  6. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    The BBC at least corrected themselves. The original text on their Barroso interview said:

    Jose Manual Barroso, President of the European Commission, tells the BBC an independent Scotland would have to apply for EU membership.”

    The story on that page now says:

    The president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, has said that any new independent country would have to apply to join the EU.”

    I keenly await the rest of the media making similar alterations.

     

      

  7. Fightback. says:

    @Doug Daniel.
    Same experience here Doug. Rather disappointingly (in my own experience at any rate) the SNP doesn’t seem to be any better than anyone else as regards replying to, or even acknowledging receipt of, emails and/or letters.
    I emailed Ms. Goldie, Tory MSP and their previous leader, a couple of years ago and she came back to me within a day with a courteous reply. I think this kind of response is something some of our nationalist MSPs ought to pay attention to. A simple acknowledgement would often suffice.
    Nobody likes to get ignored. We had an SNP councillor here with a 400 odd majority some years ago in this part of Perthshire and he steadfastly refused to answer his mail or his telephone. At the next election he lost his seat and a Tory won it with a 400 odd majority. Sic transit gloria mundi.

      

  8. Doug Daniel says:

    @Fightback – as it happens, the non-reply that most sticks in my mind was my local SNP MSP. It’s not like I wasn’t asking a serious question either – I can understand why unionist MSPs might ignore emails that are clearly from a pro-indy person just trying to annoy them, but clearly that wasn’t the case here.

    On an unrelated note, I was just thinking that the Proclaimers wouldn’t have had such a big hit if they’d sang “if you goooooooooooo will you bring baaaaaaaaaack, a letter frooooooooooom the European Commission?” 

      

  9. Cuphook says:

    Sorry, but a Press & Policy Officer sticking to the official line doesn’t mean you get to change your name to Scoop.

    I know he left things wide open with regards to Scotland (mibbes aye and mibbes naw) but Barroso clearly crossed the line in that interview when he stated that rUK would be a continuing state. He therefore owes us the duty of explaining our position as citizens post independence.

    I know you think that he was ‘speaking in generalities’ and that it was all hypothetical but the reality is that he was asked to comment on a country ‘like’ Scotland. There is no other country in the EU going through the political process taking place in Scotland and the UK. He knew that he was commenting on Scotland and if he didn’t want his comments misunderstood then he should have shut up

      

  10. Erchie says:

    What a nice person and VERY PRECISE this Ms Winchester seems.
     
    Kudos to her for her precision

      

  11. AnneDon says:

    I agree, Cuphook.  He could have said exactly what Ms Winchester said on her e-mail.

      

  12. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Barroso is Portugese. He was questioned in a tangled manner which could have confused a native English speaker. The Commission has repeatedly cleared up what he meant. You can argue he was bamboozled into giving a technically grammatically inaccurate answer, but even at the time he said OVER AND OVER that he wasn’t speaking about Scotland specifically.

      

  13. cath says:

    Whatever he actually said though, Stuart, the words have been twisted and used as propaganda all over the front pages of UK media, and within the BBC – its state broadcaster.
    So unless the EU is happy for itself to be used and represented in that manner, then it needs to come out in a forceful way and say it DOES NOT agree, or does not appreciate being used in this way, or whatever.
    If it doesn’t do that then it has to be assumed they implicitly agree with the propaganda, or don’t care enough to clear it up for the benefit of people in Scotland who will be voting on a proposition. At the moment that proposition is going to be that we’ll remain in the EU.
    If this is really the EUs final word on it, that currently doesn’t look like a good proposition, or one the Scottish government should be going with for their white paper.

      

  14. Cuphook says:

    I’m not sure that you can dismiss it as a language problem. And do we really want the EC president addressing complex issues if his language skills aren’t up to it?

    If a journalist from Pig Monthly is interviewing a farmer who doesn’t want to talk about pigs but agrees to discuss other sty living, mud frolicking livestock what do you think that they’re talking about?

    I’m still waiting for a reply to my email from Barroso. I’d better check that I didn’t inadvertently mail someone like him.      

      

      

  15. JLT says:

    Hi Rev,

    Apologies for what I am about to do (talk about something totally different). Rev, did you get my email the other day there. It discussed George Osborne’s agreement with a company to go ahead with Fracking in Scotland. For those of you who don’t know what Fracking is, this is when you extract gas from old shale banks deep underground. Drill heads are dug several thousand feet undergound, and then water, sand, and chemicals are used to cause a mass explosion. This releases the gas, which can then be extracted.
    The only problem with Fracking is that it is an enviromental disaster. It was tried out near Blackpool last year, and it is believed it caused a minor earthquake there. The other thing is that it can affect the natural water supplies deep underground. There is a film called ‘Gasland’ that the oil and gas companies tried to bury, and stop it from being shown in cinemas and DVD (you can check youtube). In it, houseowners in the US, turn on their taps, hold a lighter to it it, and the tap bursts into flames. It pours water and flames in one continual stream.
    Now, I’m not suggesting that this would happen here (but who knows!!), but as said, it is enviromentally dangerous. Cancer rates in the USA have gone up where people live near these Fracking sites.

    Rev, I emailed the Scottish Government on Sunday, and got a reply from Ms Sturgeon’s Office (they said they would get back to me, and gave me a reference number). We need to know what the Scottish Government intends to do or say about this. Seriously guys, look at the headlines for the Sunday Herald and the Guardian on Sunday. This is scary, scary shit. The Central Belt (which has been pencilled in) is one giant shale bank, and 80% of Scots live on top of it….and it is coming…all thanks to one George Osborne, and his Tory pals…   

      

  16. Luigi says:

    JLT, I think we should tell them to frack off. No fracking in Scotland!
     

      

  17. Luigi says:

    Don’t frack with Scotland!
     

      

  18. Ayes On The Prize says:

    I’m getting a bit fed up with how, we in the YES camp  deal with , Brown, Darling etc and their ever willing cheer leaders in the press and the BBC. 

    It’s not just what they are saying, it is the mere fact that they only have to open their gob which is duly reported, broadcast, printed and  boom - it”s out there. 

    The Yes Campaign, is therefore obliged to re act, to defend, to explain our sorry selves. 
    Unionists have  claimed Independence  can  mean higher fuel bills, nae East Enders or nuclear armageddon,  it doesn’t seem to matter what – I feel  we are always on the back foot.

    I know it’s still early days but can’t we take the fight to them ?

     Can’t we  set the pace ?

     Was it FDR who said, you have nothing to fear except  fear itself ?   

    Show the crucial undecided  vote out there, that taking responsiblity for your own affairs is a wonderful POSITIVE. 

    Open peoples minds to a Scotland, that speaks for herself.  The more we do that , the more the propaganda and downright lies of the unionists will be self evident, and ultimately self defeating.  

    Let us take the high ground.

     We should be leading this debate, not  appearing almost like we are apologising for it.

    Our message should always look to the future. To  a Scotland taking her full and rightful place ,  to a world were we leave the old discredited union behind us.

      

  19. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    @JLT

    The process that Dart Energy are going to use in lothian is not fracking but rather low pressure recovery.

    They pump out the water from the coal seams and as such reduce pressure and cause methane to be released and collected.

    The system is nowhere near as damaging as fracking but does require some nifty water treatment before its disposed of.

    But as for ACTUAL fracking… well thats a different story.

    The implications there are that they may inadvertantly damage the water table and render it contaminated for generations. With the onset of water as a global commodity I wouldnt reccomend this.

      

  20. John Lyons says:

    Frankly, the Yes campaign should use this as an opportunity to debate if we actually want to be in the EU at all. There are other options, and the way things are going, if it’s in the EU and you have to have the Euro or out, I’ll take out please. And I think some other member states must be considering the same. Tories in England can’t be the only people in the whole of Europe who think maybe this union is a bad idea….

      

  21. cath says:

    I know what you mean Ayesontheprize but how can we do this any more than we already are?
    The yes campaign is producing – via blogs like this, National Opinion, the Yes pages etc as well as many Scottish government initiatives – loads of really positive reasons for independence, and loads of positive debate.
    The problem is the mainstream media are entirely on-side with the unionists, so front pages, the BBC etc are always looking for the most anti-indy, anti-SNP spin they can put on absolutely anything.
    The thing is, once you do enter the debate and start looking underneath all the propaganda, it’s absolutely clear which debate is winning and has all the heart, soul, passion and truth in it. The question is not so much how can we take it to “them” – presumably them being the media and No camp – but how do we get enough people to engage with the real debate that they see through the crap?
    And to be honest, I think the No camp are underestimating people’s intelligence by a long way on this. Remember Labour spent years being totally negative and bashing the SNP, with the press largely on-side and the result was an SNP landslide. I think people do see through this kind of bizarre negativity, and when they do it backfires. That’s my hope anyway.

      

  22. Aplinal says:

    @John Lyons

    re: the euro.  In principle ALL new members have to commit to the Euro AT SOME POINT.  In reality, there is a simple and effective ‘get out of gaol card” which is a minimum of two years in ERMII, which is VOLUNTARY.  So, Sweden has not joined ERMII and so will never join the Euro – and what’s more, have made this clear to Brussels.  They are not being asked to leave!

    The EU is a practical union.  And in the same way, the practical ‘solution’ is that on the ending of the treaty of Union, there will in effect be two ‘successor’ states.  

    I would also welcome some more information about why the EU, as opposed to, say, EFTA/EEA is the best overall option.  I am generally positive towards the EU, but the recent years’ in-fighting and failure to address basic inter-national cooperation is becoming more than a little frustrating. 

      

  23. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    The more I think about this issue the more I’m convinced it will backfire badly on the NO campaigners and their media puppets.

    We are all aware that there is no process to expel EU citizens. Let’s be realistic they can’t  do it as in one foul swoop millions of scots will be denied their human rights, protected by a variety of EU laws. To do so would be blatantly illegal.

    I think it will cause the EU an administrative headache that they’d rather not have-but that’s life. The REAL nightmare for them is Catalonia, assuming Madrid refuse a referendum. If they do the Catalonian Parliament will have no choice but to  proceed  without Madrid’s permission. In the event of a YES vote and Madrid refusing to recognise the legalality, they will have to declare UDI and approach the UN.  

            

      

  24. JLT says:

    Scott Minto

    Cheers for the extra info on that. A couple of questions still arise from this new type of ‘Fracking’ though

    1. Was this the method used in the Blackpool area?
    2. Are they still using Chemicals (and God knows what else)?
    3. And how enviromentally safe, is it?

    Personally, it might be a different form of Fracking, but I suspect that we don’t need it, nor want it. And remember, nobody from Scotland (general public) has been involved in any discussions with it.
    I live in West Lothian, which sits on a huge bank of shale. This is way inland, and nowhere near the Sea (for pumping water purposes as you mention – so where else will they get a huge amount of water – the River Almond ???). I would extremely pissed off if I got up one morning to find that they are drilling several boreholes in the fields near where I live.

      

  25. Embradon says:

    O/T Apologies!
    For the last three months unemployment in Scotland has been marginally above the UK average and BBC has gleefully said so on Radio Scotland headlines.
    This month it is marginally lower, so you might expect that to be mentioned. Aye right.
    “The number of people employed in the public sector in Scotland has fallen. The biggest drops were in the ‘nationalised’ banks and the armed forces.”

      

  26. mato21 says:

    Don’t fret Cuphook I too am waiting a reply Maybe he has been inundated with mail from Scotland

      

  27. Cuphook says:

    I suppose so. And then there’s all the mail from Scotland-like countries to deal with too.

      

  28. Braco says:

    This issue has been simmering in my mind for quite some time now. I had some interesting debates over on Better Nation but as they seem to prefer to be moderating my answers 2 days after comments are closed I hope you don’t mind me scavenging my last unread post, as it still really sums up my sad feelings about the EU’s (with hindsight) all too predictable stance.

    Craig, they seem to think a club depends on only one party to the agreement needing to be satisfied. Is it something to do with the word ‘Union’? It seems so strange, as my understanding of the EU throughout my adult life has been one of openness and development for each citizen of each member country. However, my experience in Portugal and now of the EU’s interaction with the current independence debate in Scotland, strike me as all too familiar and disappointing. It seems to me that all the practical idealisms that typified the EU at it’s peak are being dissipated through the monetary expediency of the ‘core’ economies. What’s worse is that it now appears it was always thus and only now has the mask slipped. I see parallels between the ‘Better No’ campaign’s reaching out to the Union’s long dead idealisms of the post war ‘British’ settlement, with the EU supporting mainstream parties here in Portugal’s constant rhetoric of a liberal, profitable and democratic force for the good, circa 80?s and 90?s. As opposed to the everyday realities of their struggling population. Sorry for the ramble. I am very pro Europe but only because I remember what I thought it represented. I think many in Scotland are at that stage with the Union. The EU has not many false moves left to lose my knee jerk support and my gut tells me, the same is true for many of those Scots still attached to the Idealistic concept of a post war ‘UK’.
    Since those two days and the EU’s willingness to allow it’s ‘President’s’ words to be used so cynically in favour of member states rather than their member citizens I am now officially questioning my pro EU principles. In my experience there is no way back after that thresh hold is crossed.

      

  29. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    @JLT

    The method used near blackpool was fracking not the low pressure extraction planned for lothian.

    (By the way the water isnt for injection, its extracted and then needs seriously scrubbed before dumping down the sewers or it will contaminate the river systems.) 

    Fracking involves putting steam, chemicals and sand down the wellheads at extremely high pressures in order to deliberately cause microfractures in the rock. These microfractures are then held open by the grains of sand allowing the gas/oil to escape.

    The problem is that when you are deliberately damaging the rock strata you can damage the bits protecting the oil/gas reserve from the outside world and “seepage” occurs.

    This can mean methane, H2S and oil leaking out into the wider environment. There have been issues in america where ground water and even tap water have been so saturated that they have caught fire. H2S is a bigger problem. Google it for offshore hazzards and you will understand.

    Further to this the chemicals used can also damage the water table and make it unusable for many years to come. 

    In a world in which fresh water is about to become a commodity I would seriously advise against it.

    In the USA they actually had to exempt Fracking from environmental legislation because it just wouldnt have passed. They called it the Halliburton exemption because it was Donald rumsfeild (I think, but may be getting confused with Dick Cheney) who passed it while in the white house after working for Halliburton before government and campaigning for the exemption.   

    Then there is the other issue that once you deliberately destabilise rock strata you can cause shifting i.e. mini earthquakes far from fault lines.  

    But you are right, Scotland on its own doesnt need this, the UK does so as to reduce dependency on Russia via the france pipeline. Thats why they are cutting deals with Norway and getting LPG sorted so that supplies from Qatar and Australia can also be sourced.             

      

  30. James T says:

    Scott Minto,

    Cheers for that Scott. You fairly know your stuff when it comes to Fracking.

    My fear is, Scott, that this has flown in under the radar with no consultation with the general Scottish public. The first that most folk will know about it is when the heavy machinery arrives.
    I just hope that we are not going to see damage to our environment, or landscape throughout the Central Belt.

    Cheers again, Scott   

      

  31. Oldnat says:

    Useful contribution from Aidan O’Neill QC.

    http://eutopialaw.com/2012/12/12/scotland-independence-and-the-eu-the-barroso-intervention/ 

    Again, if the Barroso thesis is correct we may then be left with the paradoxical consequence that an independent Scotland would not be entitled to be accepted as a Member State of the EU, but all its (formerly British) nationals would continue to be EU citizens able to enjoy the protections and privileges conferred by EU law while their independent Government incurred none of the responsibilities. That might turn out to be for Scots – in the words of Candide – “the best of all possible worlds” but it is not perhaps a result which, for example, Spanish fishermen suddenly deprived of access to the newly exclusive territorial fishing grounds of an independent Scotland outside the EU would relish. 

      

  32. pmcrek says:

    @Scott Minto

    Yeah fracking is a non-starter, there is already scientific literature appearing in the US studying and describing how earthquakes are caused by it.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/109/35/13934

      

  33. Vronsky says:

    Jeez.  We’re being threatened with something that it would be wonderful to have: exit from the EU (slaps forehead, sighs, opens next bottle). 
    I’ve just invented a new Unionist scare story: if Scotland <strike>becomes independent</strike> separates, you will be denied the freedom to push cocktail sticks through your eyeballs.  You really wouldn’t want that, would you?

      

  34. Keith B says:

    @ Oldnat
     
    If independence meant we were to end up with the situation that Aiden O’ Neill QC suggests, I think even David Cameron would say “I’d vote for that.”
     
     

      

  35. muttley79 says:

    This EU story just confirms my long-standing fears about the reporting of BBC Scotland and the rest of the media.  It is just like when Salmond gets accused of something.  They heavily publicise the claims, accusations that are made, usually by Scottish Labour politicians.  Then when he is cleared there is very little coverage of this salient fact.  The EU story continues the trend.  The No campaign’s claims are given prominence, and the media completely misrepresent, distort what the EU say.  Then when it is challenged coverage just fades away.  In this way BBC Scotland and the rest of the media carry on in this deceitful manner.  It is very difficult to prove that they are biased, but the pattern is becoming too frequent, and is getting more and more predictable now.  It is like having a conversation with someone who you know is lying, and they themselves know they are lying, but will not admit it.  Only a few journalists try and be objective. 

      

  36. Fightback. says:

    I’m starting to find myself drumming my fingers with frustration with the Yes campaign as it seems to be dragging its feet. Same with the SNP. Where are the huge billboards? Why are we always caught having to defend our corner? That damnable BBC Scotland with that bloody awful ‘Call Kaye’ programme is a national disgrace. Why isn’t the Yes campaign leadership bawling down the phone at that woman and giving merry hell to that comedy show that masquerades depressingly as a national radio station every morning?  WE are the ones that should be doing the attacking…not those bastards that are trying to sell our country out.
     
    I’d really love to think that we in the Yes camp are keeping our powder dry, or waiting till we see the whites of their eyes so to speak, but time is really starting to move on.

      

  37. Silverytay says:

    Fightback    I would imagine that the yes campaign will start the fightback ( excuse the pun ) next year . I am happy at present to sit back and let the bitter together vent their spleen at A.S and the SNP .  While they are concentrating their fire at A.S , the YES team are quietly getting on with putting everything in place to ensure a YES vote in 2014 .  The unionists are now getting so hysterical with their lies and scare stories that it will have the opposite effect to what they are hoping for . As my wife keeps telling me ! if you are going to lie you have to make it believable .  The unionist lies are now so outrages that very few people apart from die hard unionists take them seriously and we will never convert the die hard unionists . The real die hards will eventually move to England when we regain our independence as they would be totally lost without their beloved union . They same thing happened after the American war of independence when a lot of loyalists moved to Canada rather than live in an independent country .

      

  38. FairBairn says:

    Is it not the case that we are the United Kingdom. If the Queen will remain recognised in a potentialy independant Scotland, will we not be the United Kingdom, but with separate parliaments. I’m not saying that this will be the case, as I am not a politician or lawyer. I am asking the question.

    For as long as I first became aware of the prospect of an ‘independant’ Scotland, I also didn’t want to see the break up of what we had under the label of ‘The United Kingdom’. However, I had come to the conclusion that a United ‘States’ of Britain would be more practical. 

    Since the majority of the Irish counties had become an independant country, it was obvious that they still belonged to the idea of a Greater Britain. There was free movement, and many people had, and still do have family ties to North and South of Ireland. There are plenty of prominent Irish in the UK and they are welcome, plus they are not looked on as aliens or foreigners.

    It seems to me that we should all join up again, but in more of a federation than majority rule from London.  It works in the US.  Also, it would allow those in NI who feel that they are ‘British’ to remain so, and it would allow the Scots, Irish and perhaps the Welsh to have much more control of their own destinies, but still have the strength of a common purpose with the rest of the ‘British’ family.        

      

  39. Angus McLellan says:

    This video was linked in the comments on Jeff Breslin’s Guardian/CiF article on the EU. Short and worth a look: http://www.ideasforeurope.eu/activities.php?id=10 There’s also a PDF of the presentation there if you’re alergic to video powerpointy things.

      

  40. Aplinal says:

    @Fightback

    I know it’s a bit frustrating, but in truth there is no need for the YES campaign to do much except some rebuttals until the White paper in 2013.  IMHO, the referendum will be won or lost in the last 4-6 months. Better to let the pro-dependency/Westminster party spit their bile and venom.  The law of diminishing returns will hit in soon, if it hasn’t already, and the only way to keep up the pressure is to have wilder and wilder “accusations” and lies.  

    The wilder they get, the less believable they become, and even if they had some serious arguments, who will believe them except their own diehard fans anyway.  

    Keep the faith!

    Saor Alba 

      

  41. Derick fae Yell says:

    having just been down to the shops this evening to  buy bottled water because the stuff Scottish Water is providing through the taps is so heavily chemically treated and stinking of bleach that even I with no sense of smell can’t drink it (though OK for cleaning drains) the sooner fracking improves the groundwater the better.  Can hardly make it worse. Right enough the old SW product is not actually bursting into fire – just no use for its intended purpose. Bah.  Yes yes off topic

      

  42. dadsarmy says:

    Thanks Rev, and thanks oldnat.

    Now let me see, according to a QC who specialise in EU law, if Barroso is right we get chucked out of the EU – but remain EU citizens?

    I’ll go for that, and vote we don’t reapply. We can have all the fish – and eat them too! Mmmm, tasty.

      

  43. molly says:

    It is interesting though that it is Westminster who holds the licenses for ‘fracking’ or the ‘dash for gas’, yet as already pointed out, this story has more or less been under the radaar 
    Several things concern me about this story .
    I was always brought up to believe that Stirling Castle was built upon a dormant volcano (as was Edinburgh ),when you read of the impact that some of this drilling and in particular fracking has sometimes several miles away from the site plus the outcome at Blackpool what would be the impact on this area of central Scotland or although fracking has been denied at Letham if you are messing about with ‘seams’ not that many miles away ,as the crow flies you have the Forth but you also have Longannet on  one side and eh Grangemouth on the other.
    Now I’m probably putting 2 and 2 together and making 5 but these kind of decisions are precisely why I WANT  Independence, so decisions about these Companies,who issues licenses  and more importantly about this land are made here , where the people who live here would have a say.
    Another thing that bothers me is ,would this be another scheme where a certain few benefit ,meanwhile the people living here would be at the mercy of say local farmers or property speculators selling up land to interested parties ,excluding the local population?
    Finally, one other thing bothers me about all this,where is our National Broadcasters priorities ? Surely in the national interest there should be an Investigative programme dedicated to these type of issues? It would appear  BBC Scotland can send a reporter to investigate a football club but not issues like this or Dalgety Bay .How poorly we are served   

      

  44. Scott Watson says:

    50 quid says FMQ’s will be mostly about this issue?

      

  45. JLT says:

    I was wrong about Blackpool having one minor earthquake due to Fracking. 

    I apologise sincerely.

    It turns out, that Blackpool has had TWO minor earthquakes.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20707574

    Great to know that this is all coming to the Central Belt, eh !!    

      

  46. JLT says:

    Molly,

    Exactly . This is flying so low under the radar, that you have to ask yourself why?

    I honestly believe that Westminster knows that this is so controversial, that if all the facts were put on the tables, then everybody in the UK would be howling from the rafters.

    What is surprising me, is that there is not a peep from the Scottish Government on this. Surely someone there is aware of this (I mean, Salmond is qualified as a Business Man in the Energy field….so surely he must have seen this coming over the horizion, and been prepared for it!!). I mean the SNP spout Green policy all the time. Fracking…is anything but ‘Green’!!!!

    I would have thought the Scottish Government would hold up something from the Scottish Law, and just tell George Osborne, to cool his jets ,’ehh…ye better haud fire there, Georgie boy…sorry, pal…but yir wee business adventure just hit the rocks’ (…no pun intended!!) 

      

  47. R Louis says:

    Fracking can be stopped in Scotland by the Scottish Government as they have final say on planning applications.  This is why no nuclear stations will be built with the SNP in Government (Labour are in favour of it).

    I cannot see why the Scottish Government should allow fracking in Scotland, as with the oil, every last penny will go to George Osborne in London.  So Scotland will suffer the damage and mess, whilst London gets all the money.

    Fracking is dangerous, unproven, and has caused numerous earthquakes and tremors in parts of the world where it has been done.  The final point is, Scotland has enough gas, and does not need fracking.

    If the Scottish Government allow this to go ahead, then it will further weaken my confidence in them.  I know of nobody in Scotland who welcomes this.

      

  48. Luigi says:

    Things do not bode well for the great city of Glasgow: “Nukes to the left of me, Fracking to the right, Here I am, stuck in the middle with you!”.
     

      

  49. molly says:

    Ah but Luigi ,who are the jokers ?

      

  50. velofello says:

    Some years back when the Uk, on our behalf, were test drilling for suitable nuclear waste dumps in Scotland, and denying it, there was much talk about them being spotted at Loch Doon in Ayrshire. Then there was an earth tremor running in a line from Newcastle through to Ayr approx.And we heard no more of test drilling at Loch Doon. Last heard they were spotted at Glen Etive.
    All rumours of course!

      

  51. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    Calm doon everybody!
    It’s an early xmas present from our pals down south. 

      

  52. Doug Daniel says:

    @Fightback – in truth, there’s little point putting too much effort into the campaign at the moment, for the simple reasons that a) it risks peaking too soon and b) it’s unsustainable for two years.

    The length of time between now and the referendum is, in my opinion, more about letting the NO campaign run out of steam than anything else (as well as simply getting people used to the idea of independence being a completely realistic option). The first few months were dominated by crud about the referendum process itself. Now we’re onto arguments about the process by which Scotland will join the EU. Once that’s dealt with, we’ll have the currency issue, and a couple of months will be wasted on that until it gets resolved somehow. Come spring/summer 2014, the scaremongering will be so tenuous that it’ll have scraped right through the bottom of the barrel. That’s when we attack. That’s when to start plastering advertising boards with Yes Scotland posters and the likes.

    It’s the Muhammed Ali strategy. Dance around for a while to let them exhaust themselves, and then, as they say in Glasgow, knock fuck out of them.

    However, having been to a Yes Aberdeen meeting last night (as was the estimable Mr Minto), it’s clear that the campaign is still very much in the information gathering stage just now, and getting local campaigns set up. Things should start kicking off in earnest next year. The past few months have been more about setting the scene, I think.

      

  53. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “It’s the Muhammed Ali strategy.”

    Weirdly enough, I was just thinking about “rope-a-dope” yesterday. I can’t imagine what the No campaign thinks it’s going to achieve by hitting such a hysterical level so far out from the vote, other than to exhaust both itself and the patience of the electorate.

      

  54. Juteman says:

    What other strategy could  they use Stu?
    It’s all they have. 

      

  55. Doug Daniel says:

    I think we need to work on the assumption that there’s not an awful lot of thinking going on in the No camp. Such is life when dealing with hysterical people.

      

  56. dadsarmy says:

    Here’s a question:

    If EFTA approves Scotland for membership, does the EU have to approve that also?

      

  57. Fightback. says:

    @Doug Daniel.
     
    Aye, fair enough. It just gets to me sometimes to watch that bunch of unionist diddies shouting their mouths off all the time and the newspapers printing their rubbish that I get upset.
    Meanwhile, I’ll just keep on donating to Yes Scotland.
    Fhein riaghladh.

      

  58. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    @dadsarmy – No. The EU has no say on membership of EFTA and via membership of Efta we would retain our membership of the EEA.

    @Doug – Was good to meet you at the Yes Aberdeen event. Will probably see you at more of these.

      

  59. Dal Riata says:

    @Doug Daniel

    “However, having been to a Yes Aberdeen meeting last night (as was the estimable Mr Minto), it’s clear that the campaign is still very much in the information gathering stage just now, and getting local campaigns set up. Things should start kicking off in earnest next year. The past few months have been more about setting the scene, I think.”

    That’s right Doug. I was at the Argyll & Bute inaugural meeting for the Yes campaign in Oban and the strategy you described above is correct. There will be Yes sub-groups set up in North-, Mid- and South-Argyll and Bute initially.  From those, meetings and events will take place, growing in regularity as the time approaches to the referendum in late 2014.

    By the way, at that inaugural meeting there were people who are SNP, Labour, Greens, Socialists, Women for Independence, members of various churches, the curious, the not sure, the don’t knows, teenagers and people of all ages. 

    As Sun Tzu said in The Art of War:

    “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

      

  60. Commenter says:

    @fightback, @Doug Daniel
    I agree with Doug on this and we just have to grin and bear (most) of it. However The YES people are not blameles. They need to sit down now and consider those aims for Independence where there is doubt as to what might happen and decide the best way of setting out such aims in a manner which does not raise constant hares.
    For example the YES people are perceived as having made a pig’s ear out of the “Independence in the EU” aim simply by being too definite about what it believed would happen in a situation where there are so many different opinions and other entities involved. The YES campaign may be right but it should still have been more circumspect and allowed in its statements that it might be wrong and have to re-apply for entry but if so that that would not be a problem.
    It is now making the same mistake over the £Sterling and a Currency Union with the rUK. The best way forward for the SNP would have been (should now be) to state it would seek such a Union with the UK but would only join it if the terms were favourable. If it did not join or was not allowed to join, then it would shadow the £Sterling until such times as a better alternative became available. Where there are doubts these should be accepted by the SG and the YES campaign and statements to that effect set out clearly.

      

  61. Luigi says:

    Doug, I sincerely hope that things kick off next year. There are lots of enthusiastic people out there but we still need to get organized. I missed last night’s meeting in Aberdeen, but after the previous one, I delivered a couple of bundles (a few hundred) YES Aberdeen leaflets and eagerly waited for more to be dispatched. Despite repeated promises over the past four weeks, they have still not arrived. Too near Christmas now to deliver them – people won’t notice. An opportunity lost.
     

      

  62. Colin Dunn says:

    @ Doug Daniel
    “I think we need to work on the assumption that there’s not an awful lot of thinking going on in the No camp.”
     
    I’d be wary of dismissing them quite so easily. UK Civil Servants are working away on ‘thirteen streams’ of research to counter independence, the first batch to be published in 2013. Underestimating them might be an error. If nothing else the large quantity of information they will put together can be used to scare and confuse the undecideds.
     
    http://tinyurl.com/c9f4m4r

      

  63. dadsarmy says:

    That’s what I thought sneekyboy. So it appears before independence we hev Eu and should hev independence efta ;-)

      

  64. dadsarmy says:

    Colin – I actually look at the 13 UK gov papers differently – it limits the debate. No longer will “NO” be able to make claims that fall foul of those papers. And also I’d expect the likes of IFS to study them, and the Scot Gov can do also, and challenge when neccessary.

    From the other point of view, the Scot Gov are producing 16 papers, and the same applies. It also highlights any discrepanceies, but puts a focus on the figures which mean, once challenged, any discrepancies will have to be explained by “accounting methods” or “estimates” or whatever.

    My feeling is that this works in favour of the YES campaign. Figures and URLs have been widely quoted by “cybernats” in forums and threads, but very very few by unionists. It seems to me that truth is well and truly on our side.

    It’s possible the UK civil service will be amongst the best of the YES supporters!

      

  65. Juteman says:

    I totally agree dadsarmy. Up to now the Unionists haven’t put anything forward to be challenged. Their tactics at the moment are simply to shout down Indy policies.

    It will be interesting to see the debate over whatever they bring to the table.

      

  66. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    As we all know, the democratic, international, cultural, social, environmental & economic cases for independence are unarguable. It follows then that the UK civil service papers will come out firmly for independence. Won’t they?

      

  67. dadsarmy says:

    A thought crosses my mind, I try to stop it but it does that occasionally.

    Anyway, it might be worth, in the vein of “know your enemy” of considering Cameron in his differenct roles. Perhaps as a person, though he rarely gets a chance of that in public. But more particularly as:

    a tory and an MP with his own views
    the parliamentary leader of the tory party
    the glue that holds together the far right of his party, with the rest of it
    the glue that holds together the coalition
    the prime minister of the UK, and the rUK
    the prime minister, real head of the better together campaign
    the prime minster of the UK as a whole
    the prime minister of the UK in the EU, fighting for various stuff
    the prime minister of the UK, prime statesman for the UK / rUK to the world

    A lot of contradictory roles, and which one(s) affect his performance at any time, and which one(s) affect his control of the direction over those white papers?

      

  68. dadsarmy says:

    Rev or sneekyboy

    I’m thinking that an article about preciesly that, no bias, diplomatic kind of, a straight discussion of his role in the campaign, and a discussion of how those UK government papers will be seen if falsified (better worded than that), would be seen by the rest of the UK, the EU, the US – and the rest of the world – if they are one-sided and based on lies.

    Since it would be “published” on the internet, it might turn out to be a bit directive – force them to be factual and open?

    Perhaps the sort of article Iain MacWhirter could be persuaded to publish or produce or even discuss in the Herald, if anyone has any contact with him …

      



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