2007 - 2020

Europe in Scotland #EU2

aidez-lecosse1In the second of our series inviting European citizens living in Scotland to reflect on the Brexit crisis, Jean-Loup Rebours-Smith contributes. #EU2

I’m originally a French citizen but I have now lived in Scotland for 16 years and would gladly offer my views on the matter you raised in the article entitled “Scotland is a European country”

How has the Brexit vote altered your view of Britain?
If anything it has cemented the idea that Britain as a country is well and truly dead. There is so much dichotomy between Scotland and the rest of the country that the united implied in the country’s name exists only on paper

How has the Brexit vote altered your view of Scottish independence?

I have been a fervent supporter of Scottish independence since 2013 and if anything this vote has truly cemented the idea that in order for Scotland to thrive, or even simply survive, independence is the only way we can achieve that.

What are your fears about what will happen as a result of Brexit?

The Westminster government isn’t exactly well-known for its respect of human rights. It is also unwilling to provide guarantees to those of us who were born in a different European country that our right to live and work here will remain protected regardless of the outcome of the negotiations. So the fear really is to be told to pack our bags and go back to a place I no longer call home.

Would you support Scotland to remain a member of the EU?

Absolutely. As many experts have outlined, you cannot have economic cooperation without freedom of movement. The EU isn’t perfect but it can be reformed. The failure of TTIP which was powered by the relentless people protests across many EU nations are proof of that.

What are the consequences for you, your friends and family?

I have a 7-year old daughter who may not have the opportunity to go and study in a different country like I was fortunate to do because of Brexit. This opportunity gave me the chance to better understand other nations and other cultures and appreciate the fact that it’s ok to be different. My wife, who is American, has had the right to live and work here for the past 11 years because of my EU citizen status. She’s now forced to look into spending thousands of pounds to acquire British citizenship to safeguard our future here. We work hard, pay our taxes and contribute to society and have done so for as long as we’ve lived here, yet this vote has made us feel like pariahs in the greater context of this so-called United Kingdom. We’re grateful for Scotland’s open and repeated words of welcome but until the Scottish Government gets devolved immigration powers, or better still, independence these will remain nothing but words as we have no trust that Westminster listens to what Scotland has to say.

Comments (38)

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  1. Gralloched says:

    I was born In N/E England. Spent over half my life in Scotland. Returned to England. ( Family obligations ).
    I’d witnessed the Thatcher revolt against the rule of the people, by and for the people, and the imposition of her rule of the money, by and for the money. Scotland made a massive mistake in the 1979 referendum. You’ll live with the consequences of that forever. See the McRone report.
    You made the same disastrous mistake in 2014.
    Get out ! Run for your lives !

  2. greatelephantcensus says:

    “There is so much dichotomy between Scotland and the rest of the ”

    Indeed. Scotland’s deficit as a % of GDP is 9.5%, and increasing. The UK’s is 4%, and decreasing.

    At the same time, Scotland receives a fiscal transfer of £16bn to make up the shortfall between its tax receipts and its spending (you’re welcome).

    And also at the same time, social attitudes surveys show that Scots are keener on tax and spend than the rest of the UK (why not, when someone else is paying the bill!) … and have (in fairness) similar attitudes to tax. Scots are keen on tax, as long as ‘someone else’ is paying it. “I am taxed enough / too much already”. “Don’t tax me, tax them!”. A far cry from the Nordic Utopias, with higher direct and indirect taxes across the board, paid by most people.

    “cemented the idea that in order for Scotland to thrive, or even simply survive, independence is the only way we can achieve that”

    Scotland will only ‘survive’ if it is ‘independent’. i.e. in the absence of independence, Scotland will collapse? Be destroyed? Economically? Culturally? Socially?

    This is part of an advanced mature western liberal democracy, using a successful model of state-regulated capitalism, with free at the point of delivery education and healthcare?

    With an economy that performs more or less similarly to the rest of the UK (though receipts don’t cover the higher cost to serve)

    But without ‘independence’ it will ‘collapse’ and be ‘destroyed’.

    You are being a touch melodramatic, n’est pas?

    “The Westminster government isn’t exactly well-known for its respect of human rights”

    Yes it is well known for its respect of human rights. All things being relative, the safety and security offered by the UK to the people who live here is makes it one of the most desired destinations in the world. Why else would millions of people be queuing up to come here?

    “It is also unwilling to provide guarantees to those of us who were born in a different European country that our right to live and work here will remain protected regardless of the outcome of the negotiations. So the fear really is to be told to pack our bags and go back to a place I no longer call home.”

    You need to calm down and stop being so melodramatic. There is absolutely no chance this is going to happen. Who would we get to do all the work that you do? It certainly won’t be done by the tens of thousands of unemployable doleys who live in the city i live in. Calm down. At the very least, anyone already living and working here will retain all their rights.

    You are being very melodramatic. Or, more likely, you are trying to fuel manufactured hysteria and grievance for your own ends i.e. Scottish ‘independence’.

    “As many experts have outlined, you cannot have economic cooperation without freedom of movement.”

    Really? Is that how trading blocs other than the EU co-operate with the trading bloc of the EU? Or how ‘third countries’ like Norway co-operate with the EU, without being members of the EU? All without ‘freedom of movement’?

    I think you are talking nonsense but I am prepared to give you a chance to explain what you are talking about.

    “The EU isn’t perfect but it can be reformed.”

    Really? How? “The EU” is the LEADERS of the soon to be 27 member states. And those 27 are more of less united in their desire for full economic, social and political integration. And they are more or less united on ideas like TITP. That will happen, sooner rather than later.

    The prime purpose of the EU and freedom of movement is to serve the needs of Capital. It is not there to “promote social cohesion” or any of that baloney. Do not be naive. You either accept that or you don’t.

    And actually, what the majority of (those who voted in) the UK has said is: ‘we don’t accept it’. We don’t accept a model where one country can suck talent from another, without recompense. We don’t accept a model where one country can dump its unemployment problem on another. We don’t accept a model with absurd asymmetry of power, where one country (Germany) can inflict whatever ‘austerity’ on other country(s) (e.g. Greece) it choses. We don’t accept a model where a currency union without a fiscal union, or debt union, or social (yet) union can inflict untold misery on states outside the core when there are global convulsions.

    The UK has said to the Government: go and develop another economic model, because we refuse to accept this one.

    “I have a 7-year old daughter who may not have the opportunity to go and study in a different country like I was fortunate to do because of Brexit. ”

    We don’t yet know that will be an outcome of Brexit. Calm down.

    “This opportunity gave me the chance to better understand other nations and other cultures and appreciate the fact that it’s ok to be different.”

    It sounds like you came from somewhere horribly intolerant. Was that somewhere in France?

    “My wife, who is American, has had the right to live and work here for the past 11 years because of my EU citizen status. She’s now forced to look into spending thousands of pounds to acquire British citizenship to safeguard our future here.”

    If that was always your plan, really you should have been sorting out citizenship anyway.

    “We work hard, pay our taxes and contribute to society ”

    Wow, aren’t you a Special Snowflake!

    “yet this vote has made us feel like pariahs”

    How? And in what way has ‘the vote’ made you ‘feel like pariahs”? You are just being melodramatic to drive hysteria and grievance for your own ends (Scottish independence)

    “but until the Scottish Government gets devolved immigration powers”

    No chance. What is to stop people using a different set of immigration arrangements in Scotland to get into the UK, then disappear, then move to the (other) part of the UK they really wanted to move to, where their social, ethnic etc. group exists (and they can benefit from the UK’s public services and nice things.

    Understand: immigration will NEVER be devolved to Scotland. No chance.

    “or better still, independence”

    Polls haven’t moved in two years. About 10% of the Scottish population see ‘independence’ or another referendum as a priority. Most Scots see being part of the seamless integrated UK economy as a benefit.

    You would be better calming down and waiting to see what happens, instead of getting all hysterical.

    Though Of course, hysteria and grievance is what you are seeking to drive with your melodramatic, virtue signalling piece.

    1. Mic11 says:

      With the constant ‘calm down’ it sounds like you’re doing a Michael Winner advert. As for obnoxious, that’s a word more applicable to you than the author.

    2. Jean-Loup says:

      “calm down”? Can you be even more patronising?

      You, sir, epitomise all that is going wrong with this country. I’m afraid your unkind words are not going to make an ounce of difference in my views of the devide that Brexit has further entrenched.

      Scotland is my country, your defeatist attitude is certainly not going to change my wish to see it blossom away from the shackles of Westminster. We both know Scotland is paying more in taxes than we get back so don’t give me that doomsday scenario paid for by the Tories that Scots are too wee, too poor and too stupid to govern ourselves.

      No sir, I will not “calm down”. And I will certainly not be told off by the likes of you.

    3. John B Dick says:

      I see, it’s only about the money.

      Whether we should be independent or not is a matter entirely to be decided on financial issues, ignoring any possible improvement as a long term outcome of independence. Nothing about values. You can put a price on anything.

      Therefore nothing else matters. The UK Conservative government can privatise our Health and Education systems, renew Trident, sacrifice things important to us, (fish) for things important to them.

      We get money, so we should shut up.

      How much money is enough for this faustian bargain? Are we getting enough, and why do they want us to stay if we are such a burden.

      We should start a petition to the UK parliament, demanding that they get rid of the burdensome, ungrateful, Scottish subsidy junkies.

      Many in England would sign it.

    4. Steven Milne says:

      “hysteria and grievance is what you are seeking to drive with your melodramatic, virtue signalling piece.”

      Pretty much sums up the entire “independence” movement which wants Scotland to remain in an EU which is committed to ever closer political union.

      Why can’t the Nats simply say that they want Scotland to leave the United Kingdom rather than spouting paranoid fantasies about how Scotland has been oppressed and exploited by Westminster.

      I am afraid I can’t take an article seriously which contains quotes like:

      “Britain as a country is well and truly dead”

      “The Westminster government isn’t exactly well-known for its respect of human rights”

      “the Brexit crisis”

      If you want to see a real crisis take a look at Greece where a left-wing government in an EU member state attempted to implement “anti-austerity” policies until they ran out of other people’s money. This is the road which SNP want to take Scotland down.

      1. Crubag says:

        Jean-Loup is giving his Scoto-French perspective on the UK, and thanks for that.

        It would also be interesting to get his view on how globalisation and immigration is changing France and French politics. Does he think the France will stick with the EU or lookvto reform the EU/German rules on fiscal policy, on border controls?

        In France it looks like the presidency will be decided on these issues giving either a right-wing corporate or a right-wing populist government.

    5. Cloggins says:

      It’s a hoax, right? An obvious attempt from the editors to get the discussion going by listing the most gruesome unionist stupidities in a singe rant.

      1. Pilrig says:

        They’re on holiday from the Scotsman forum.

    6. Mireille Pouget says:

      Norway is part of the EFTA, i.e. part of Single Market AND has has to honour freedom of movement but does not have EU membership, so pays into the EU but does NOT participate in decision making process. Bad deal.

  3. Alan says:

    We don’t know what the deficit or GDP of an independent Scotland would be. The figures you quote are for Scotland in the Union. The latter depend on lots of assumptions, estimates, dubious inclusions and exclusions.

    As for the rest of your post: You need to calm down and stop being so obnoxious.

    1. greatelephantcensus says:

      Alan,

      “We don’t know what the deficit or GDP of an independent Scotland would be”

      Yes we do. If Scotland were to become “independent” tomorrow, we have a very good idea, as accurately as is possible, of what Scotland’s GDP and Scotland’s deficit would be.

      They are the GERS figures. These are:

      The Scottish Government’s OWN figures.

      Figures that Scottish civil servants have worked hard for many years to make as robust as possible.

      The Figures that the Scottish Government themselves used (from time to time) in their white paper on independence “Scotland’s Future”.

      “The figures you quote are for Scotland in the Union.”

      They are. And they show you the starting point that Scotland would have to go from.

      In all likelihood an iScotland would be required to make swingeing cuts that would dwarf the current austerity, or make substantial tax demands on ordinary people who’s salaries can be got at to tax. In reality, a combination of both.

      not the land of milk and honey promised in “Scotland’s Future”.

      “The latter depend on lots of assumptions, estimates, dubious inclusions and exclusions.”

      They are the Scottish Government’s OWN figures, which THEY use, and did use in “Scotland’s Future”. Observers will note that the Scottish Government have never complained about GERS, indeed Fat Salmond is on record on multiple occasions during the independence referendum as saying ‘we know this because its in the GERS figures etc’

      You are just another GERS denying fundamentalist. Just like my Separatist Nutcase brother, who ‘doesn’t buy it’ and ‘it is all part of a the conspiracy’. Who is a teacher!

      1. Alan says:

        You fit your own description of “GERS denying fundamentalist” to a T as you obviously haven’t read GERS. They are not “The Scottish government’s OWN figures”. The Scottish government is dependent on figures from UK government departments. There are numerous expenses that the UK allocates to Scotland that aren’t even in Scotland, never mind under the control of the Scottish government. For example, you’ll find that recent GERS reports include expenditures on the London Olympics and English HS2 rail links. GERS is a starting point for understanding the economy of an independent Scotland in the same sense that Ptolemaic astronomy was a starting point for Copernicus.

      2. Graeme Purves says:

        You clearly don’t understand the first thing about GERS figures.

        1. Haideng says:

          He clearly does understand GERS and GERS can be cross referenced using other data sources – try collating the regional figures at Eurostat – you end up with a very similar deficit figure. Now tell me what possible motive would they have for publishing misleading figures? This is absurd. You will never win a referendum with this nonsense. Other people aren’t idiots, they get it!

          1. John S Warren says:

            “Figures that Scottish civil servants have worked hard for many years to make as robust as possible”.

            Perhaps you would care to explain precisely what this proposition means, with “robust”, detailed and precise examples: generalities will not do; for example, “robust as possible”. What precisely do you mean by “possible”? What exactly is, and is not “possible”? Please illustrate by identifying specific GERS raw data sources, the precise reason it is selected, what makes it acceptable to be used in GERS (and the statistical, political or other criteria used to make the judgement): what is “possible”, what is not possible – and why.

            In the Bella Caledonia article to which I provide the link below, and which examines some of the history to which you refer, I can assure you that the sources used were impeccable (whatever you think of the opinion expressed by the writer).

            https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2016/08/24/gers-or-a-wayward-exercise-in-the-capricious/

            For the avoidance of doubt my interest in GERS is not with the headline deficit (it may be right, it could be higher, it may even be lower) but it is with the methodology, which is unsatisfactory: and that is intolerable if anyone actually cares to understand Scotland’s economy.

  4. Crubag says:

    “As many experts have outlined, you cannot have economic cooperation without freedom of movement.”

    This is a false linkage. Does China have freedom of movement (more precisely, settlement) with the EU. Or America? Or Japan? Yet economic cooperation with the EU exists – and these countries are doing rather well economically.

    (And within rEU, the Visegard countries look likely to demonstrate to the Brussels institutions (and the German government) that they see no connection either – they will refuse to accept immigrants, but they won’t give up membership of the single market.

  5. bringiton says:

    The European Union or rather the EEC was set up to try and prevent the destructive wars which had decimated the continent over previous decades.
    Trading was a means to an end and not the sole purpose of that union and the fact that we have not had a major conflagration during this time is testament to it’s success.
    The shopkeepers of England however had a different agenda as they saw the English Channel as providing isolation from any troubles across the water and were only interested in what they could buy and sell into that market.
    The EU referendum has confirmed that the shopkeepers have no interest in maintaining political links with mainland Europe and we now wait to see what sort of trading deal, if any can be done.
    This is the persona the UK/England now presents to the outside world and is not one I,as an outward looking Scot,share.
    The Unionist and Conservative party supporters here in Scotland are trying to obscure this fact by hysterical claims that a minority of Scots voted in the same way as the majority in England.
    This only works of course if you are in denial about how democracy works and that Scotland as an entity does not exist.
    I hope that an arrangement can be reached between the Scottish and English governments in terms of maintaining Scottish EU membership and some sort of trading deal with England but,given their recent history of only wanting to be in a union which they can dominate,I am not optimistic.
    Scotland needs immigration but as the recent example of the Brain family demonstrates,as long as England’s parliament is still in charge,it isn’t going to happen and our economy will continue to suffer.

  6. Thrawn says:

    After 16 years in Scotland I would hope you would consider yourself just as much Scottish as French…although given that every time I express the sentiment that I consider myself just as much British as Scottish your nationalist fellow travellers begin frothing at the mouth and accusing me of being self-hating or cringing…it is almost as if they can’t accept that people can hold different non-mutually exclusive ideas of identity in their heads.

    1. bringiton says:

      Not in England it seems.

      1. Thrawn says:

        You’ve obviously never met any Cornish or Yorkshiremen…

  7. Haideng says:

    What exactly is the point to this? I’ve lived in other European countries and still read their newspapers and media to get a different perspective on things than a British or Scottish one. The opinion on Brexit and the EU is pretty diverse and there are some interesting insights, angles that you rarely get over here. Non of these ‘EU responders so far have addressed any of these issues (you would think being French, the poster would give at least a general view of things from France instead of just polemics that confirm die hard nationalists biases.

    What is the point to this? This is not discussion.

    1. Alan says:

      Fair enough comment but we’ve only had two posts so far so it may be a little early to judge. I would agree that this series will be more useful if it promotes critical discussion and engagement.

      1. Haideng says:

        Fair enough point. It would be nice if there was a few posts that are a bit more thoughtful and nuanced. It is possible to hold multiple view points rather than only ever polemics.

  8. Haideng says:

    If this site is representative of the Yes movement then the Yes movement is stuck firmly up a cul de sac. It’s just endless tabloid fodder day after day.

  9. Haideng says:

    I have some advice for nationalists. If you want to move your agenda forward you really need to press the refresh button. Most normal people have switched off. To get their attention you need to change the tone, you need to get rid of those who seem to think Scotland is ‘their’ country, you need to get new and interesting nuanced, reasonable, non polemical pragmatic voices involved.

    Otherwise you’re going nowhere.

    1. bringiton says:

      Well,since in your opinion we are going nowhere,there should be no further need for your ridiculous comments.

      1. Haideng says:

        Jesus, this whole thing is no an utter joke.

  10. Haideng says:

    There will be no critical discussion here in the brave new Scotland. Only MY opinion and those opinions who confirm my opinion count. Welcome to nationalism.

  11. manandboy says:

    Kaifeng, you’ve stopped talking and started dribbling. You say Scots who think Scotland is their country should be ‘got rid of’. Whose country do you think it is?

    1. Haideng says:

      Nationalists who think Scotland is their personal fiefdom piss all other Scots off (those in the majority). End of Story. Now take your creepy totalitarian assumptions and think them through a little longer.

      1. Alan says:

        I hope your posts above aren’t what you consider examples of writing that is a “bit more thoughtful and nuanced”. If that’s what you really desire, maybe you should take the lead.

        1. Alan says:

          Comment above was directed at Haideng in case that wasn’t clear.

        2. Haideng says:

          This is pathetic. How did the very rationale possibility of a new framework for the UK + Scotland (possibly with Scotland as an independent state) descend into such banality?

      2. bringiton says:

        Well,I truly hope that it is the end of your story.
        Getting fed up with Britnats telling us that Scotland is not a country and that having an identity with that country is delusional madness.
        If you are so confident that your views are supported by the majority of Scots then,why are you still here?
        As for getting rid of Scottish nationalist,your proposal is straight out of the fascist handbook:

        Demonise
        Isolate
        Eradicate.

        1. bringiton says:

          Likewise response to HD.

        2. Haideng says:

          @bringiton

          Your intolerance is astonishing.

          1. Pilrig says:

            Aww shucks !

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