Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Alex Salmond is accused of a 'lack of candour' by leading constitutional lawyer Professor Neil Walker of Edinburgh Uni, Yes Scotland can’t win on spin

Dear All

I have always like law as a subject, very interesting in certain areas such as contract law, criminal law and human rights law.

The independence debate on the Yes Scotland side is sinking fast, the issue of trust and having a truth telling style is sorely needed.

Assumption needs to be replaced by factual evidence and transparency.

The row of whether Alex Salmond is a ‘liar’ is pretty important, because without trust and honesty, why would anyone believe a bloody word coming out of his mouth.

There seems to be a rather unfortunate view held by some in the ranks of the Scottish National Party that they are really clever and oh so smart.

The Yes Scotland campaign is a shambles because it is stuffed with Salmond and Sturgeon’s cronies.

Recently I read Patrick Harvie MSP wasn’t happy, surely he must have known he had signed up to a ‘pig in a poke’?

Now we are seeing others such as Neil Walker, he is one of the country's foremost constitutional lawyers; he has waded into the debate to accused Alex Salmond of a "lack of candour" over an independent Scotland's European Union membership.

In brief the SNP position is bullshit, they rely people who have no say in whether an independent Scotland would get automatic EU membership as a lifeline.

Opinion which is used to justify speculation; and that is all they are doing speculating.

Professor Neil Walker, of Edinburgh University, has criticised the First Minister's "complacent assumption" that joining the EU would be "nae bother" and happen exactly on the SNP Government's terms.

That would be sheer delusion on Salmond’s part; we wouldn’t be rejoining the EU because Scotland was never a member in its own right previously.

Walker says that there would be "tough choices and difficult compromises" in any future negotiations with Brussels.

It is in effect a statement that Scotland wouldn’t be a member, since a member wouldn’t have to renegotiate in the first place.

I do however disagree with him that because we are at present EU citizens that would automatically continue, what happens if other EU members put in conditions that Scotland cannot sign up to?

What if another EU country uses its veto as France did to Britain in the past?

Right and wrong do not come into it; this is a political decision first and foremost.

Salmond is under pressure to explain SNP Government claims a newly independent Scotland would automatically "continue" in EU membership on the same terms as the UK.

And the elephant in the room is the opt-out from the single currency.

The Euro which is currently a poison that runs straight through Europe creating turmoil in the Southern Countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy. That requires a special solution to fix, I favour splitting the currency in two, Euro North and Euro South. It has also been suggested elsewhere by others.

Anyway Mr Walker wrote:

"Alex Salmond has done himself no favours with his lack of candour on the question of legal advice on the pathways to EU membership, and by the complacent assumption which seemed to lie behind this. His attitude, like that of some of his political opponents, has contributed to an atmosphere in which the question of a right to continuing or renewed membership is seen in unhelpfully black and white terms.

"Either future membership on the part of an independent Scotland is 'nae bother' – something which will happily unfold according to the nationalists' own agenda – or it is a path strewn with dangerous, unpredictable and perhaps insurmountable obstacles. Regardless of the legal niceties, the true state of affairs it is clearly neither of these extremes, but something in-between."

He added:

"What is absolutely clear - is Scottish independence would require substantial renegotiation of the terms of membership of the European Union."

A spokesman for the First Minister:

"Scotland is already part of the European Union and has been for 40 years – an independent Scotland will continue in EU membership, as many eminent experts have testified, and this latest contribution adds to that expert opinion”.


"As Professor Walker points out, it is ridiculous to suggest Scotland and its five million-plus EU citizens would be deprived of that existing status while the EU has continued to welcome so many new members from central and eastern Europe in recent times. Oil-rich, energy-rich, resource-rich Scotland will be a full and valued partner in the EU, with a seat at the top table to look after our own vital national interests and able to negotiate its terms of membership from within."

If a parent company (UK) pays for me to have a golf membership, and then the subsidiary  company (Scotland) decides to leave, my supposed rights to keep that membership because I had it before don’t exist.

This is simple contract law at its heart, there is no contract except via the UK Government; this also throws up a question of does EU law apply in the interim if Scotland becomes independent and joining.

I suspect sweet FA has been done by Salmond and Sturgeon on that front either.

Professor Walker is right more candour is needed, unfortunately some people aren’t very bright; the proof is how far the independence campaign has sunk due to stupidity.

If you think you are living in the shadow of better days, you are either simple minded or pished!

Didn’t George Laird state early on that truth must be told in advance to any and all questions without regard to embarrassment?

Yes, sadly he did, the Yes Scotland campaign is on its knees which is handy since the people of Scotland look an odds on certainty to ‘f*ck it right up the political arse’ in 2014!

'In terms of the debate', naturally!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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