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Lawson’s Dice

Nigel Lawson I’m talking about. He’s looking to throw a ‘one’ and vote for the UK to come out of the EU.

Over the years this blog has had some pretty critical things to say about the EU, perhaps exceeded in lack of compliment only by its critique on UKIP and other right wing politicians.

My locus has never been a political one but rather a matter of pragmatism. I see the EU as clumsy, unworkable and interminably bureaucratic. On a basic level, quite how societies and cultures as diverse as Sweden and Greece, or Denmark and Portugal were supposed to live under the same laws and regulations as one another, remains an affront to common sense. Add the UK and France into that mix if you like. Chalk and cheese could have been coined for the two nations.

And don’t start me again on the Euro…..

So uneasy as I am about quoting Nigel Lawson, I’m going to anyway.

“Over the past decade, UK exports to the EU have risen in cash terms by some 40%. Over the same period, exports to the EU from those outside it have risen by 75%.

He calls the EU a ‘bureaucratic monstrosity’

“Not only do our interests increasingly differ from those of the eurozone members but, while never “at the heart of Europe” (as our political leaders have from time to time foolishly claimed), we are now becoming increasingly marginalised as we are doomed to being consistently outvoted by the eurozone bloc.”

Of course Lawson is making his pitch because of recent gains by UKIP in the English council elections and much of the right wing rhetoric is down to the welter of regulation being placed on the City of London by Europe. He is also acutely aware of the Tories’ promise to hold a referendum on EU membership should they gain a majority next time round.

However, the groundswell of anti European sentiment currently abroad (sic) in England but also in other parts of the UK doesn’t look like abating any time soon.

I’m wondering what effect this will have on the referendum that definitely is taking place here next September? The EU, its institutions and leading lights have been very frigid indeed to the idea of Scottish Independence.

Scotland’s trade with the rest of the UK is over £40 billion. Its trade with EU countries outwith the UK is less than £10 billion (Scottish government figures).

Alex Salmond has nailed his colours firmly to Sterling as a post independence currency – despite the current unwillingness of the coalition government of the UK to entertain that notion.

I wonder though if Salmond is playing the long game here? A yes vote to the UK or the remaining UK leaving the EU would look more likely at this stage than a yes vote for Scottish independence.

It is inconceivable that a post independence Scotland using Sterling could remain as part of the EU (even if it were able to negotiate its way in in the first place)

That’s why I think that Eck and co will be studying the pronouncements and rhetoric from London on the EU very closely in the coming months.

And I won’t be surprised if it shapes their thinking more than a little.


5 Responses

  1. Lawson’s Creak?

  2. Lawson is *right*.

  3. Iain McWhirter gets it spot on here…


    It’s ALL about the City of London.

  4. Ian McWhirter writes well, however his basic premise is wrong. I think its ALL about UKIP.
    I do wonder about ‘Yes’ inclined Scottish commentators sometimes. Whilst they are right to be suspicious of Lawson Johnson et al, they seem reverentially silent indeed defensive about the EU and its leading lights (Van Rompuy, Barroso etc) who have been openly hostile to the idea of Scottish independence.
    Whilst they seem discontent about (declining) remote rule from Westminster, they seem content with (increasing) remote rule from Brussels and Strasbourg.

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