John Swinney Sinks Any Chance Of A Separate Scotland Joining The European Union
If he thinks that describing the president of the European Commission's views on a separate Scotland's ability to join the EU as 'pretty preposterous' is going to win Scotch nationalism any friends in the Eurocracy, he might have another thing coming.
To debunk Swinney's argument that Scotland will glide into the EU as it has been a member of both it and its predecessor institutions since 1973, it hasn't. The United Kingdom has. Although the Treaties of Union preserved Scotland's legal system, they reserved the conduct of foreign affairs to the Union. The BBC quotes Swinney as saying,
"The Spanish Foreign Minister said if there is an agreed process within the United Kingdom by which Scotland becomes an independent country then Spain has nothing to say about the whole issue.
"That indicates to me quite clearly that the Spanish government will have no stance to take on the question of Scottish membership of the European Union."
To my eyes, that merely means that the Spanish would have nothing to say about the outcome of a referendum on the future of Scotland within the United Kingdom - a totally different matter from whether or not they would have anything to say about a separate Scotland being able to walk into the European Union.
(And any SNP hack who cites the Catalans in support of their cause should be aware that the Spanish constitution states that the territory of Spain is complete and inviolate, and appoints Spain's armed forces as the guardians of its integrity; see John Hooper, 'The New Spaniards'. Catalonia is never going to secede from Spain because, by law, it can't; the only thing that's remarkable about Catalonia's nationalists is that they're even more egregious than Scotland's).
Game, set and match to Barroso.
What is on display from Swinney here is less of a bunker mentality than a bothan mentality. No matter how elevated their position, anyone who disagrees with the SNP is apparently wrong. Jose Manuel Barroso is wrong about Scotland's ability to join the EU. The Treasury is wrong about Scotland's continuing ability to use sterling. The Lord Justice General and apparently the Scottish legal professions in their entirety are wrong about the need to preserve corroboration. In all of these fields, Alex Salmond and the SNP are right and everyone else is wrong.
This displays a degree of self-confidence which can only be described as utterly terrifying.