o homem é um asno

Surely the Barroso story isn’t…a story? He hasn’t said anything new and to anybody who has been following this for the last two years, this is status quo. The main point seems to be that he appears on a London television programme, one watched by London political hacks desperate for Monday morning copy and he says something easily spun into an anti-Salmond, anti-Scottish top line so who cares if it isn’t new? To be fair, to most of the knee-jerk hacks writing this stuff it will be new because they have no idea what has been said in Scotland’s far-off, indecipherable referendum catfight. And for the BBC the imperative is to publicise their own output rather than quibble about veracity. Interestingly, what is missing from the versions I’ve read so far is the question: Why? Why would Scotland find it difficult, perhaps impossible to have full EU membership?


This question isn’t asked because to a metropolitan observer, the very idea of independence is daft anyway so anything that backs up that prejudice goes unchallenged. If there is a variation in his latest deliberate attempt to influence the outcome of a vote in a member state it is that he puts the problem down, not to process, but to politics. Somebody, Spain he implies, will veto Scotland so therefore it is probably impossible for Scotland to get membership. But that country’s foreign minister has said they have no locus and no interest in blocking Scotland so long as independence is secured through a legal process. Presumably the Commission President doesn’t believe statements from his member states’ foreign ministries. (Does Andrew Marr receive any pre-interview briefings, or is he too important like Mr Naughtie?).

What was somewhat galling to those of us who are Europhiles and look to Brussels to provide some leadership on international matters, is the linking of Scotland with Kosovo, where a million ethnic Albanians fled or were forcefully driven out, more than 11,000 deaths have been reported to the UN prosecutor, nine Serbian and Yugoslavian commanders have been indicted for crimes against humanity and in one the accused were charged with murder of 919 identified Kosovo Albanian civilians aged from one to 93, both male and female. Kosovo declared UDI, it did not got through a legal process and is in such a relatively poor state that the EU is nursing it towards normalization. Does that sound like Scotland? The most outspoken country opposed to Kosovo’s recognition is Spain which objects to any EU or NATO initiative on which refers to it as a state.

Just where the comparison is found between Kosovo, created from the fire of war, and exemplary, modern Scotland, meeting every acquis and with a 40-year record of membership is hard to say if you are applying logic, rather than Barroso weasel words. Isn’t it also a little presumptious of Spain, a member since only 1986, to imply blocking us?

I’m still amazed that Barroso’s constant campaigning on behalf of the UK and thereby breaking the rules by interfering in a member state, goes unremarked. He always adds, after pointedly suggesting the Scots can forget it, that he doesn’t have a role and it is up to the voters. The way to do this according to the rules is to ask the legal services people to give a legal judgement and inform the Scots before they vote. Instead he gives us his oily smile and pretends he is acting independently. No complaints are made about this incessant political interference even though the British government objects to EU involvement in every aspect of life.

We should be ready for another EU intervention as the European Parliament is about to reveal its legal advice. This is interesting as we have Barroso for the Commission making his view known, now the Parliament and yet nobody has asked for legal advice from the Council which is the body responsible for membership. MEPs are pushing for this which sounds like a good idea and indeed, who knows, it may be. But be aware it is the direct result of campaigning but our stalwart Scottish Labour MEPs David Martin and Catherine Stihler who, along with their Tory chum Struan Stevenson, are furiously working the corridors to ensure their own country will be a pariah in Europe – such patriotism. Their joint letter got this under way and it was originally blocked because the legal people din’t want to get involved before any formal approach from the UK. But then it was forced through committee by Tories and Lib Dems and Socialists so there are grounds to be suspicious that they think they will get a negative ruling to suit their argument against their own country. We know from experience that the Unionist MEPs have no love of their own country being a force in Europe – our number of MEPs would actually increase – and they have studiously avoided anything that could be construed as constructive, democratic engagement with our  national referendum, preferring to play the supplicant role to Cameron’s British state interests.

The forces of authority are lining up against Scotland as once they did against devolution so courage and nerve is required. But I’ll tell you one thing that is now clear – the only way to earn respect in the world is to be a sovereign state in your own right because without that status you count for nothing, as Osborne and Barroso make abundantly clear. The only status they respect is independence otherwise they treat you like trash.


94 thoughts on “o homem é um asno

  1. Pat Kane gave a good interview on CH 4. Amazing the difference simply allowing the person to speak makes.

    • Thanks chicmac. A good interview and at long last, fair to the YES campaign giving, as you say, Pat Kane a chance to put his side of the argument. Perhaps CH4 has seen the light.

  2. Let us all remember that J M Durao Barroso is leaving very soon. Incredible the reaction from the BBC man, but make no mistake Barroso was playing to Cameron and that gallery. His worry or scheme is to warm up to the British Government at a time when the UK becomes less and less cooperative in Europe. His other scheme is to keep all his options open for future employment! That’s for sure!

    • And remember, the Spanish would very much like to have the Rock. Rather like Spain owning Cape Wrath…..and I don’t think we Scots would be too happy with that!

  3. Another great clip chicmac, thanks again, keep them coming.

    Referring back to your previous clip and thinking about the surly ungracious attitude Patricia Ferguson adopted towards the mild, neutral and constructive approach taken by Graham Avery, you realise that there is a third answer to the question as to which loyalty people see themselves as having – loyal to Britain or loyal to Scotland. This third loyalty is neither of these, it is simply blind loyalty to Labour doctrine which for such as Patricia Ferguson transcends any other single loyalty or issue in the whole debate for them.

    This has all the characteristics of extreme sectarianism in its sheer uglyness and unreason. This is the truly poisonously bitter side of Bitter Together and Osborne seems to be heading relentlessly in the same direction. The bile created by this will be hard to eradicate when we are free but by God it needs cleansing.

  4. Well that’s one way of looking at it. Other thoughts include a question as to why the SNP won’t publish the legal advice it received. It would certainly have done so if it was helpful to their cause. Another point is that the UK Govt might well veto Scotland’s membership if Salmond tries to implement his threat to renege on Scots’ debt, or tries to insist on removing the weapons at Faslane.

    The reality is that the SNP is discovering there is no such thing as the “freedom” in the modern world to do what you want without regard for the wishes, interests and power of fellow actors. The incoherence of their obsolete project is truly astonishing:

    1. “We want to be free of your political union and independent, but insist you enter into a currency union that will by the very nature of these things require that we have no control over our monetary policy and thus we agree to cede our sovereignty and undertake not to have different fiscal policy from you. Oh, and yes, we know that means we can’t deliver the taxation and social welfare programme we’re promising and which is so often vaunted as the great prize of the freedom we want and the reason for leaving in the first place.”

    2. We want to be free of your political union and independent, but insist the EU let us join, which will require exactly the same monetary and fiscal constraints upon us and in addition will require us to move towards “ever greater” political union with 28 nations rather than the three entities we are currently engaged with.”


    3. We recognise we have absolutely no control over either of these decisions and have been told by all the players involved that they are either not going to happen or very unlikely to happen, but we don’t believe them (because serious political entities always behave in such a manner, right???) but we will continue to reassure our citizens that these people – on whose goodwill our future in part depends – are deliberately lying and can be forced to change their minds. Despite the fact that we represent a tiny proportion of both entities and have absolutely no bargaining power (see International Law, European politics and economic reality).

    Really, wake up and smell the coffee. It’s dead Jim.

  5. Great piece Derek. Hits all the nails bang on the head.

  6. I love this (from Guido Fawkes).

    “It may not be how they do things in Brussels, but Ms Reding should know that here people don’t take so kindly to being told what they do and don’t “need” by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats… ”


    England’s right say ‘Don’t tread on me’… ‘but it’s OK to tread on Scotland’.

  7. The tackling of the EBC is a dodgy one because it would take the spotlight off the target, independence! The other MSM allies would just ignore it so it would just be a sham. We don’t have to tell foreign journos what’s going on iIts as plain as the nose on your face, they are just following convention.

    As for Marr (a disgrace) and our old con artist Barroso.

    Was Barroso paid for this appearance on BBC (if so by who)?

    Was his expenses paid, by who and how much?

    Who arranged for him to be on the Marr show?

    Was this the main purpose of him being in London?

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