Friday, 6 December 2013

Not all that automatic really

That former UK Prime Minister John Major is opposed to independence of Scotland is no surprise to anyone.  I was, however, a little taken aback at part of the advice that he gave the Scots last week.  Were Scotland to become independent within the EU, he said “...she might regret the loss of automatic British backing”.
It sounds as though he really believes that the UK Government has in the past ‘automatically’ backed Scottish interests on each and every occasion.  I guess that will come as a surprise to many Scots.  And there’s a parallel in Wales where many, particularly in the agricultural community, feel that the UK’s position in EU agricultural affairs has been one which tends to pay rather more attention to the needs of large arable farmers in the south east of England than to the needs of hill farmers in Wales.
But perhaps we should be grateful to Major for drawing attention to one of the key issues which the Scots will have to face in relation to the EU when they come to vote.  Do they believe it better to have the government of a small country focused on the needs of that country arguing their case in Brussels, or would they prefer to leave the arguments to a larger country, which has more clout, but which focuses on what it sees as being the needs of that larger country, even if their position then runs counter to the best interests of the smaller country?
I know which I’d choose.  A government focused on the right issues is surely preferable.

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