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Scottish Independence and Scotland's Future
Scotland in Europe
The SNP-EU situation
By Dr James Wilkie

I am afraid that Nicola has a mental hangup on the EU, and no amount of reasoned argument is going to shift her from her fixed position.

The first question that has to be answered is: should Scotland be in the EU in the first place, and if so why. How would membership benefit Scotland? The SNP has never yet come up with an answer to this.

You don't join an international organisation just because it is there; there has to be a reason for the step, and the balance between advantages and disadvantages has to come out by a large margin on the advantage side to justify the expense and complications involved.

This pie-in-the-sky reference to one hoped-for advantage that is in fact completely illusory (as several commentators have pointed out, the EU budget is fixed at its present level until 2020) is a fair indication that the SNP cannot come up with a single concrete reason why Scotland should seek EU membership at all.

Even if the CAP subsidies to Scottish farmers Ms. Sturgeon claims were to be realised, they would still be no more than a fraction of our own money being returned to us. As presently a net contributor to the EU it would be much more economic to pay them ourselves rather than sending the money on a tour to Brussels and with luck getting a fraction of it back.

The subregional EU is not European in scope. It represents only half of Europe, despite its unjustified hijacking of the title. The other four major European institutions, with up to 57 member states each, are all-European in scope, with genuinely all-European parliaments.

Most people are unaware of how far the EU has been rendered redundant by globalisation and global governance. For example, recent research has revealed that some 80% of the EU's economic activity is now downstream of the global organisations where the policy decisions are now taken - the EU can only pass them on disguised as its own policy. It is the EU itself that is governed by "fax diplomacy" on policies that it has no power to alter.

All the EU and EFTA states are members of these global institutions like the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) or the all-important World Trade Organisation (WTO), etc. The difference is that the likes of Norway, Iceland or even tiny Liechtenstein have a full say in the formulation of economic policy, whereas the EU member states are forbidden to put forward their own cases under the EU "common policies" regulation and are represented by the EU Commission.

Fact is that, at the upstream decision making level, Norway and Iceland have more economic clout than any EU member state, and just as much as the EU itself. And still there are people who distort facts to disparage EFTA/EEA membership for Scotland. As I have stated elsewhere, they need their heads felt.

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