The impact of that Barroso letter

Andy McSmith

letter 225x300 The impact of that Barroso letterIn the long argument over Scottish independence, the letter from Jose Manuel Barroso published this week will stand as a seminal moment. The SNP leadership is hastily seeking clarification, but the message from the President of the EU Commission is unequivocal – if Scotland leaves the UK, it will also cease to be a member of the EU, until such time as the EU’s 27 member states have accepted an application from the new Scottish government to rejoin.

Given the problems that Spain, for instance, has from separatist movements, agreement cannot be taken for granted. What Barroso has written about Scotland would apply equally to Catalonia.

What Barroso’s letter does not convey is the simmering fury of EU officials over the behaviour of Alex Salmond, who has repeatedly claimed that an independent Scotland would automatically stay in the EU. They have kept quiet until now to avoid being seen to interfere in an internal issue for the United Kingdom until they received a direct request for information from a committee of the House of Lords.

In Scotland, this issue is so sensitive that it has produced the peculiar spectacle of a newspaper apologising for being too quick to tell the truth. Last Thursday, The Scotsman carried a report by its correspondent, David Maddox, which accurately paraphrased Barroso’s letter. On Friday, after a furious reaction from the SNP, the Scotsman retracted, saying “We understand that Mr Barroso’s response has not yet been sent to the committee. We apologise sincerely for the error.” The Barroso letter arrived on Monday.

While the date on the letter is a detail of no great consequence, Alex Salmond’s repeated, false assertions that an independent Scotland would have automatic EU membership have huge implications. The Scotsman has nothing to be sorry for.

  • Latimer Alder

    Just getting up on my way to work at 5:20. That’s why there’s a bit of a gap between my posts.

    It’s spelt W.O.R.K. Down here in England we do quite a lot of it. Different from Scotland where you do G.I.R.O or B.E.N.E.F.I.T instead.

    And I’m sure you must regret that we don’t have a say. Because if we had you wouldn’t need to wait until the Anniversary of Bannockburn for your precious independence. You could have it as an early Hogmanay present. English Referendum tomorrow..overwhelming majority in favour……Scottish independence by the end of next week…all done and dusted by Christmas sighs of relief all round.

    As I spend quite a lot of time in Scotland and have followed the discussions reasonably closely, the bit that you fail to recognise is that in England we don’t care what you do. Scottish independence is not a big deal for us. Few have heard of Alec Salmond. None have heard of the other ‘leaders’. And 95% wouldn’t blink an eye when you go. Probably 90% won’t even notice. Simply put we don’t give a sh*t.

    So your statement that

    ‘your view of Scotland’s place is having to change whether you like it or not (AWW Bless)’

    is meaningless. I care about as much about Scotland’s ‘place in the world’ as I do of Albania’s or The Philipines. You seriously overestimate the importance of your ‘nation’ if you think that anybody outside Scotland really cares whether you stay or go.

    On reflection, that may be quite harsh. I’d miss the broadcasts of ‘Inside Scotland Today’ from Rab. C Nesbitt. And the English rugby team need somebody to warm up against before the serious games start against Italy, France, Wales and Ireland….


    For someone who doesn’t care you seem to have:
    a) a lot to say about it
    b) a lot of xenophobic insults which you wish to put across
    This would suggest to me that something has hit a nerve??

    I wish England all the best in the future and I am sure it will be fine. Most English people I have met have been lovely. I am sure you can be too.


    By the way, as of yesterday unemployment in Scotland is at 7.6% as compared to UK 7.8%

  • Latimer Alder

    As the great PG Wodehouse once put it

    ‘It is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine’

    I think you have amply confirmed the wisdom of his words.

    Toodle pip!

  • Latimer Alder

    Sure. Unemployment statistics reflect those actively seeking work.

    But there are plenty of other benefits sufficient to support those who aren’t seeking it and Scotland’s rate of claim for those benefits is higher than the UK average.


    I have no grievance I am perfectly happy with how things are going. I think you will find it is you that is expressing your feelings and they are not feelings of tolerance and joy.
    I will think positive feelings and send happy thoughts your way.


    Don’t hide behind other benefits your prejudice about Scots not seeking work is shown to be false. Be a man and look into your soul and ask why you must denigrate others.

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