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Newsweek Scotland: An active debate

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Derek Bateman Derek Bateman | 14:50 UK time, Friday, 4 November 2011

Our coverage of the constitutional future in (or out) of Europe last week caused a bit of a flutter. We discovered that there's a whole community of people out there in continental Europe not only interested in Scotland's future but actively debating what might happen to oor wee midden...(presumably now growing herbs and garlic alongside the kale).

We've been in contact with an academic in Nijmegan - although he was interviewed from Antwerp - and one in Vienna who are both taking a close interest. They have good news and bad news for Alex Salmond - so I suppose that's also the case for David Cameron only in reverse, if you see what I mean. While one thinks the UK would be the successor state after independence and that Scotland would require to talk its way into the EU, there would be no obstacle with that, and the other thinks both the UK and Scotland are likely to be in the same equal position...outside the EU and negotiating access. Both experts agree that come what may both Scotland and the UK would become member states because there is a force majeur at work in the Union which trumps all European and international law.

By the way, didn't it sound strange to hear a British Prime Minister seeming to endorse a report by Citigroup advising global renewable companies to think twice before investing in Scotland? David Cameron clearly linked that to the referendum and that is what the report said. But it also told firms it was too risky to invest in Scotland NOW.

(Note to PM: We are not independent yet and you remain the Prime Minister of the whole UK. Might be a good idea when you speak on investment to urge firms to continue doing so... Unless you're conceding defeat to Mr Salmond of Edinburgh).

Mr Cameron was also busy glad-handing in Cannes where, gratifyingly, it rained. It rained, or something similar to rain, on the Greek bail-out too. We'll try to disentangle. We bring you Danish pensions which are some of the best in the world (75% of salary!) as a state-backed provider launches in Britain to take on our own top-up company. There'll be something on the new Tory leader - unannounced at time of writing but my money's on Murdo by a whisker - and Angus Macleod will make even the dullest morning blatts sound entertaining. Join me at 8.


  • Comment number 1.

    It was a disgrace and another error of judgement by David Cameron to stand at the dispatch box and say what he did regarding companies investing in Scotland especially from a banker who works for a bank with a track record for mismanagement and fraud as bad as Citibank The eagerness of the Labour party, BBC and major newsprint in Scotland to run with this story which, according to others better placed to comment, is nonsense What is it with people who would prefer to see Scotland fail rather than prosper These things are noted by the people of Scotland and will be remembered

  • Comment number 2.

    Good programme Derek. Found the piece on Danish pension set up fascinating. It just shows what might be achieved given an independent Scotland freed from the money grubbing motives of the City of London which has little regard for the welfare of individuals other than share holders.

  • Comment number 3.

    Why is it that you blog is not highlighted on the BBC Radio Scotland web page?

  • Comment number 4.

    Derek, at last some reasonable questions that failed to be asked by many of your colleagues I'm afraid to say, however, in response to the new Tory leader, I see the searching BBC journalistic probing deep here ( I wish), maybe thats because she is an ex-BBC employee ?
    All round a fairly neutral response from auntie beeb, 'she's been elected leader and she's got a tough job ahead' was the general consensus. Surely the headline should have read 'nearly half of tory party members want to leave London' - and given the fact of the elderly age of the average Scottish tory party member (the elderly tend to stick with what they know, not upset the apple cart) this is nothing short of a bombshell. Murdo may not have won, but boy, it was pretty close.

    I would have thought that another pressing question for Miss Davidson would have been to get her reaction to Mr Cameron's outburst of not investing in Scotland ?

  • Comment number 5.

    i see the UK Border Force are letting anyone into the country, unless you are a business looking to invest in Scotland and you'll be told to stay away..

  • Comment number 6.

    Interesting interview with Prof de Wael on the EU. However 2 crucial questions were not asked.

    1) EU rules require all new members to undertake to adopt the euro. Surely this would apply to Scotland? If so, would Scotland have to transfer its monetary policy to the European Central Bank in Frankfurt?
    2) French law requires a referendum in France on all future applicants. This law was principally directed against Turkish membership, but would it therefore be waived for Scotland?

  • Comment number 7.

    One other comment. David Cameron was right to point out that it is currently risky for companies to invest in Scotland. After all the current situation of business uncertainty is not his fault, but rather that of "Mr Salmond of Edinburgh".

  • Comment number 8.

    It was a venal disgrace. He put in jeopardy business deals, jobs and confidence in the Scottish economy.

    This all based on a report from the discredited, failed (or rather too big to fail) Citigroup. Convicted of all sorts of criminality from insider dealing to fraud in a BIG way.

    Cameron felt happy to do this because Scotland isn't that important to him, except for oil revenue and a place to stock WMDs.

    He wasn't criticised in England and the Brit nats up here all applauded his attack.

    He hasn't got many votes to lose in Scotland, why should he care?

  • Comment number 9.

    No7 - I can taste the bitterness from here..

    However, what might be interesting is the report from Citigroup (yes, that highly dodgy American Bank - you know Enron and all that, last week fined $285m for fraud in the US) and it's employee (the man championing the anti- Scottish investment line), Mr Peter Atherton ( as we have just found out, once worked in the Tory Cabinet in the 80's) are heavily invested in National Grid plc. Yes that very same company that charges Scotland to get it's electricity onto the National Grid and then uses that money to subsidise English regions to do the same. It's pretty obvious there is a vested interest to keep the 'status quo' regarding the current set up as it means more coffers for westminster at the expense of Scotland.

    Does that make any difference to your opinions ?..Nah thought not..You don't happen to live in England do you ?

  • Comment number 10.

    At the end of the day, it will be a political decision. If the EU member states choose to use the appropriate section of the Vienna Treaty, then Scotland would automatically be a member. If they decided to operate another model, then Scots would need to decide whether EU membership (on any other terms) was worth the candle.

    Fortunately, with our energy resources, we don't need to rely on candles!


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