Siol nan Gaidheal
United States of Euromart:
Nein Danke, Non Merci!
Where stands Scotland in Europe? A remarkably simple question in many ways but one with the usual myriad angles from which all Scottish issues have to be viewed. One need only look at a few salient issues, however, to get a fairly accurate picture of where we might be going. Ever since the Treaty of Rome was signed in 1960, paving the way for greater European collaboration and indeed integration, the Anglo-British political establishment has been riven by probably the single most enduring ideological quandary “these islands” as they love to call them, have had to face in centuries. Eurosceptics and lukewarm Europhiles have battled it out across party lines for the better part of three and a half decades, putting Mother England’s perennial distrust (at best) of and contempt for Johnny Foreigner at the heart of that country’s political orientation. Fueled by the wholly cretinous filth spewed by the Brit Press – not always tabloid it must be stressed – the English have consciously played a laughably self-important game of hokey-cokey with the rest of Europe. In, Out, In, Out, Fuck them all about. Problem is, and always has been, Britannia can’t bear not ruling the waves. Pushy Europeans here, loss of sovereignty there. Rich or what? This would be of little, if faintly amusing, import to Scotland were it not for the rather obvious fact that, as England’s colonial catamites, the Scottish Brits have had to beg for whatever material benefits UK membership may or may not proffer and take the consequences when UK policy in the EU is either obstructive, too lax, illegal or quite simple against Scottish national interests. British membership of the EU is guided primarily if not exclusively by the imperatives and priorities of England and its inflated urban population. Bans on Scottish beef produce, quotas on Scottish fisheries, the withholding of aid packages or development funding for peripheral rural areas in upland Scotland and our beleaguered manufacturing industry… examples amongst many of how Scotland continues to be excluded from the top table of European decision making. What London says, goes.
Tinpot regional delegations from Scotland’s Westminster-sanctioned assembly cannot in any reasonable fashion speak up for our country on a basis of equality with Denmark, Greece or even Luxembourg. The recurring insult of comparison for our historically sovereign Nation, the oldest in Europe, with German provinces and semi-autonomous Spanish vice-royalties is one which no Nationalist can possibly countenance. No such qualms for the Brits of all descriptions who scuttle along the corridors of power in Westminster and bureaucratic ineptitude on the Mound. Whatever England’s advantage or disadvantage in being foursquare in the EU, single currency or not, these cannot be relevant to our own needs. Their debate is not ours. However much their unspeakable beef and Yorkshire Pudding may be deservedly banned the length and breadth of the continent, however much their risible attempts at making wine may be over-regulated and however much rabies the foamy-mouthed “continentals” smuggle on to Blighty’s pristine shores, the truth is that Scotland must initiate its own debate on Europe with its own sovereign priorities as sole focus. Anglo-German talks, Anglo-French negotiations…. Mere symbolism? If England has problems in its “love-hate” relationship with the rest of Europe, what then Scotland? That difficulty for England, to quote or misquote an Irish parallel the SNP are hardly worthy of, would from the late 80’s be, according to Alex Salmond and his collaborators, “Scotland’s opportunity”. “Independence in Europe” was to be the new ideological foundation on which to counter the tiresome Unionist accusations of parochialism and navel-gazing. Moving us on to freedom with the historically important affinity most Scots have always had for continental Europe. A noble idea indeed. One which would make perfectly cogent reading for the vast majority of Scottish electors come any poll, were it not for the fact that, as ever, the SNP have manifestly failed to spell out, in simple yet clear and detailed terms, what exactly Independent National Statehood means in an international collective such as the EU, how we will get to that status (the mechanics or step by step guide), what it would entail for the citizens of such a sovereign country, and finally what concrete benefits we could reasonably expect to accrue from such participation.
As yet, we have the same sorry litany of platitudes and vague assertions, which play straight into the eager hands of the ready-to-disparage-and-ridicule Unionist establishment. The question is not; “Is Scotland part of Europe?” Of course it is. The question is; should it, on the assumption of independence, rush into an arrangement which daily removes from the focus of national state sovereignty for which the originators of the European project signed up to way back in 1960? Partnership and collaboration, exchange and co-operation are of course given in the 21st century of planetary interconnectedness. What Scotland needs to ask itself, and it isn’t getting any answers from an SNP which cannot even agree on the route to Statehood, is what kind of decision-making mechanisms will be open to a small, peripheral country, newly sovereign, in a Europe of corporate and banking priorities. National identity, military independence, separate legal and administrative entities, democratic representation, room for local environmental manoeuvre? Where do all of these fit in? Questions which some of the more sinister centralising tendencies of the EU cannot fail to raise over the coming years, whether our country achieves its necessary freedom medium or long-term. What kind of Europe do we want to be a part of? A diverse, culturally pluralistic mosaic of sovereign historic nations, independent in scope and deed, or a monolithic liberal-capitalist superstate, an Empire in all but name, with all the attendant leveling and totalitarian diktats that we, in Scotland, know only too well. The European debate, the real one, is about to begin. Siol nan Gaidheal will be proposing its own vision within the coming months.
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