Letter to The National, 31/05/16
Jim Sillars has been received much coverage in recent days for his anti-EU views, most recently where he stated that the SNP’s position doesn’t add up. In my view it is some of Jim Sillars claims on the EU which simply don’t add up, and I suspect that he is being given column inches and airtime on the basis of the position in Scottish politics that he once had in order to attack the SNP and by extension the independence movement.
Mr Sillars claims that if an independent Scotland were to apply to join the EU they would be rebuffed, and I quote “as they were in 2014”. Call me Mr Pedantic but while various bigwigs within the EU said that that would be the case (Mr Barroso springs to mind) the EU as an organisation was never asked the question directly, because that privilege is retained by the UK government. They refused to ask it out of fear of what the answer would be, so Scotland was never rebuffed at any time, and the question remains unanswered.
Mr Sillars also claimed that a BREXIT vote was not a trigger to a second independence referendum as this was not specifically stated in the 2016 manifesto. I’m pretty certain that the term “significant and material change in circumstances” kind of covers that, unless Mr Sillars believes Scotland being taken out of the EU if it votes to remain is insignificant and immaterial.
As someone who has voted for the No2EU party in the past I am more than receptive to arguments about why the EU is failing and about why it may be virtually impossible to reform it from within. However I would like those arguments to be honest arguments, and not inaccurate ones which are voiced for short term gain which will no doubt be used both now and in future by those forces opposed to Scottish independence.