Has the EU a Future without the UK?

europe_on_the_globe_2171In recent weeks much attention has focused on the emerging policy of UK’s new International Trade Department, with Secretary of State Liam Fox’s recent speech setting a clear preference for the UK moving towards WTO rules, resulting in the response from former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg that this approach to so called “free trade” was “delusional” [1] . Liam Fox’s comments on the future of the EU after the UK leaves have been equally controversial. In an interview with the Spectator, quoted in the Telegraph [2] , he warned Europe, and the Eurozone in particular, that its future was seriously at risk:
“The EU’s architecture is beginning to peel away. It’s going to sacrifice at least one generation of young Europeans on the altar of the single currency, and you can only rip out the social fabric from so much of Europe before it starts imploding”.

There are many reasons why this statement is controversial – diplomatically offensive, politically naïve certainly , also an inaccurate description of the situation in many Eurozone countries. But the interesting part of this statement is that it echoes some comments being made within the EU itself, particularly by those of a social democratic allegiance, about the way in which policy needs to change in the EU itself. Rather than look to the UK Conservatives for guidance, though Germany’s SPD is in fact looking to Scotland for inspiration on how to tackle populist sentiment through a focus on core social democratic values.

The UK is not the only country where the national social democratic party is struggling to recover from an electoral hammerblow. The removal from office of Spanish socialist leader Pedro Sanchez this week [3] after serious losses in regional elections has deepened divisions on the left in Spain on how to respond to what now seems to be the certain third term in office of the right wing PP Government led by Manuel Rajoy. In the last year centre left parties have lost 11 out of 12 national elections in the EU and in a number of countries such as Ireland Greece and Poland centre left parties are polling in single figures.

In Austria, a country where since the second world war power has in effect been shared through permanent coalitions between the centre right and centre left, the establishment is struggling to deal with the massive growth of the right wing populist FPO party which nearly won the Presidency in 2016 before the second round elections were annulled because of mistakes in counting postal votes (the election has been reset for 2 December this year). Social Democrat Chancellor Christian Kern, a highly regarded former CEO of Austrian Railways and a strong supporter of German Chancellor Merkel’s refugee policy, has been vocal in recent weeks calling for a radical change in the way in which the centre left position themselves in the debate over the future of the EU. In a recent article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine [4] he lamented the fact that EU citizens had lost faith in the ability of Europe to deliver economic and social prosperity and called for a new European agenda for the future, including how to create more growth and jobs and ensure access to economic well-being. In particular he stressed the importance of making Europe into a project that has the support of all and does not just serve as a model of the elites, with the aim of preventing the rise of right-wing populism from tearing apart European unity from within?

Kern’s analysis focused on the way in which neoliberal apologists and conservative politicians have sought, with some success, to reframe the financial and economic crisis as a crisis of the European welfare state, thus fanning insecurity and concern about migration and refugees. He called instead for a strong focus on economic investment ( including a doubling or more of the Juncker investment plan) and innovation to recreate dynamism and growth in Europe. He also praised the European Commission for its work to tackle the worst abuses of tax competition by governments and multinationals and for a greater focus at European and national level on demonstrating fairness in the way the political system works for ordinary people.

It is striking that this approach echoes the analysis by Michael Broeling, international officer of the German Social Democrat Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (political foundation), who visited Scotland before the May 2016 Scottish Parliament elections. In an article in the Suddeutsche Zeitung on 15 May entitled “Social Democrats, look to Scotland” [5] . Broening suggests that Labour’s poor result in May 2016 did not reflect the overall performance of the centre left in Scotland. The SNP, which won nearly 50% of the vote, was clearly in the vanguard of social democratic parties in Europe and was one of the few which was succeeding in delivering success at the ballot box. His view was that the SNP had clearly established its distance from the prevailing market liberal philosophy by delivering in its previous two terms on promises such as resisting infrastructure and health service privatisation and promoting social inclusion. He looked positively on manifesto commitments such as action on climate change, delivering on the living wage and developing childcare. He highlighted in particular the inclusive approach to civic nationalism [6] and Scotland’s welcoming approach to migration and refugees, contrasting with the position in other parts of the UK and Europe. Overall he believed that the pragmatic approach being shown by

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gave hope to those elsewhere in Europe that a centre left alternative to right wing populism can deliver electoral success.


1. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/sep/29/liam-fox-looks-to-wto-in-hint-at-hard-brexit-stance
2. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/28/european-union-will-implode-when-britain-leaves-says-liam-fox/
3. http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2016/10/01/actualidad/1475353087_409450.html
4. http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/f-a-z-exklusiv-oesterreich-fordert-mehr-investitionen-in-der-eu-14430705.html Republished in an English translation by David Gow in Social Europe https://www.socialeurope.eu/2016/09/europe-must-become-fair-again/
5. http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/aussenansicht-patriotismus-fuer-alle-1.2987281
6. See Sir Neil McCormick’s “Questioning Sovereignty: Law, State, and Nation in the European Commonwealth (Law, State, and Practical Reason)” OUP 2002

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  1. Ron norman says:

    The problem occurs when you dig a little deeper though.
    Nicola Sturgeon clearly has an agenda which focusses on her gaining power as leader of a devolved, independent Scotland.
    Under the surface the SNP is really neolibcon.
    The real socialist agenda is spouted by the Common Weal.

    1. Graeme Purves says:

      Like all social democratic parties, the SNP has been influenced by neoliberal ideology, and that has been reflected in the rhetoric of some of its leaders. With neoliberalism on the wane, it is unlikely that that influence will persist. The great majority of the party’s members are left of centre, communitarian in outlook and environmentally aware.

      1. Jeff says:

        Correct, Graeme, see past the policies you don’t agree with, play the long game and realise that the SNP is a means to an end – the only way to our independence. Then vote for who you want after we achieve that. (How often are we going to have to repeat this one?).

  2. john young says:

    Common Weal for me,really sound/sensible ideas,SNP too much like all the previous parties be they left/right/centre,the mould has to be broken.

    1. scrandoonyeah says:

      It will never be broken without indy

  3. Frank says:

    I’m not convinced that the SNP is a social democratic party. It may present itself as being social democratic but ultimately it is a populist national party currently tasked with the every management of a neoliberalism. I say that as someone who has voted in SNP in the last two general elections.

    1. Graeme Purves says:

      Woooh! All is not what it seems! Spooky huh? Call for Scooby-Doo!

      Do try to keep up, Frank! Neoliberalism is a busted flush. It is being abandoned by global elites in favour of national chauvinism.

      1. Frank says:

        My position Graeme is informed by historical materialism as opposed to the newspaper clippings of the last week…

        1. Graeme Purves says:

          Good luck with that!

          I find the Spartist trope that the SNP is some sort of sinister deception quite laughable. The SNP is simply a manifestation of the aspiration that Scotland should function as an independent national polity. What you see is what you get, warts and all.

  4. Clive Scott says:

    What is it with those who criticise the SNP for not being left enough or (absurdly) being too right wing? The SNP is the only means through which an independent Scotland will be won. After that happy day dawns you can argue the finer points of left/right/centre. Until then, get real, vote SNP and only SNP at every election.

    1. c rober says:

      I disagree slightly , should Slab decide to listen to the people , rather than their bosses in the South , then it can also be supplied with them. But I reckon Thatcher will have been resurrected by then by a Korean cloning lab to make Britain Great again , and by Britain I mean England.

      1. Donald McGregor says:

        There is a bit of me that sadly thinks we will absolutely NEED slab/blis for indy.

        Remember the question we answered in 97?
        “Do you agree that there should be a Scottish Parliament as proposed by the (labour) Government?”

        We were voting yes to agree with the labour party – the party of UK government and at that stage ‘yes’ was still a little scary, a little thrilling, but we were being offered opportunity by the UK establishment to think it!

        I reckon we need a comforter for many, to allow them to feel less revolutionary, more consensual, in voting yes. Despite their utter dreadfulness atm the ragged remnants of labour in Scotland could easily deliver on that – kez could transform her place in my life and yours, and her place in history by simply and calmly changing her policy in a post-brexit looming landscape.

        Chances? Who knows. I’m trying not to guess as I don’t want to disappoint myself.

      2. Donnie MacLachlan says:

        c rober wrote:

        “I am getting really tired of “proud,SNP voting Scots” who now say that that an independent Scotland would not be a good idea because we would be ruled by Brussels instead of London.”

        I think you miss the point here, these people above you highlight do not exist, they are unionist trolls sowing doubt and misinformation to muddy the waters. They did not exist pre EU vote, they don’t exist post EU vote!

        Think about it logically, you vote SNP all your life to get an independent Scotland, that independence was and is to be within the EU. All of a sudden the SNP are handed a politcal advantage, i.e. Scotland votes radically different from England and votes to remain in EU. This vote of the Scottish people can then be used to secure a second referendum on independence, one that we will win.

        And the hypothesis is that those who have sought independence all their lives are now saying, no we don’t want independence we prefer to stay in the uk. There is not even mention of how Scotland would obtain its independence from a far right tory government with the uk out of the EU!

        In other words these people do not exist or are in tiny numbers, they would choose to cut off their nose to spite their face.

        Hence, the belief of most is that those who put forward this view on sites such as Bella are in fact tory trolls!

        Ignore them!

  5. bringiton says:

    It is a historical fact that “austerity” is a breeding ground for inward looking self interest within nation states.
    Those who try to conflate this with Scottish independence are well wide of the mark.
    Scotland is not a state (yet) and has very limited control over it’s affairs,that being mostly a “reserved” matter to Westminster,so the buck stops there.
    England has voted for isolation and Scotland has not but England rules OK.
    Should the EU come up with an acceptable package for an independent Scottish state,it will be very difficult for Westminster to argue that we are best served with it’s “union” going forward,or more likely backwards.
    I am getting really tired of “proud,SNP voting Scots” who now say that that an independent Scotland would not be a good idea because we would be ruled by Brussels instead of London.
    Just take a look at how the two independence referendums were conducted and decide which union offers Scots the most freedom within a multinational structure.
    Has the EU a future without England?
    500m people minus approx. 50m ?
    Go figure.

    1. c rober says:

      Austerity has been foisted on the masses by their elected , and as a result of the previously elected administrations nationalism in England has became the new religion , and is the same fiscal austerity that led to the rise of Hitler after WWI , and may well see the rise of Soviet Russia once more as a secondary result of exclusion.

      But again the anger being vented by your brexiteer is due to the same elected and their lack of investment prior to the crash , ie housing , schools , roads , employment , nhs and housing – and since. Simply catching the pensioner vote is becoming less of a way to have power , to keep it , especially so with referendums , treat the electorate like mushrooms long enough and you get a result you dont want.

      Austerity doesnt work , even if the goal is to inflate away debt , as does Blaming the EU for failed local fiscal investment , or to prevent immigration where policy could be aligned across the EU – but hasnt. IE Calais , which is somehow above the Schengen agreement on claiming asylum in country of entry , but this is also ignored by Greece , Italy etc on moving immigrants from outwith the EU northward to their desired destination. This too is creating the want for a referendum of EU membership in those states , I see it and talk about it with locals , along with other things like the realization that a common currency and taxation system is not a wide brush , and the local inability to devalue prevents exports – but empowers Germany/France mostly over the others for their EU internal sales instead,

      But outwith the Eu , in Westminsters control is somehow fairer to Scotland? Personally I dont think so , I still reckon Scotland would be better within the EU , and prosper for it with increased employment through company relocations from England – which is the very reason why it will never be allowed to remain in the EU under an UK parliament…. unless that hand is forced by the same brexiteer voters , ie let the English next referendum be to cast off the subsidy junkie Scots.

      Well if they shot themselves in the foot once?

      1. John B Dick says:

        A petition to the UK parliament could result in such a referendum being debated, maybe approved. You can cut and paste text from the Daily Mail about the ungrateful subsidy junkies.

  6. c rober says:

    Seems going by the comments , and the dislikes , that the SNP are on the wain , or indeed are beginning to be found out to be self serving career politicians – and ones further away from the remit they portray , ie socialist for socialist votes , land reform and indy from those wishing it aka the hard core long term separatist , and now all we need is more openly obvious Tory policy measures and they have the full set , well bar a few turbines for the vegetarian eco voter.

    While this has worked up to now , easilly granted due to the inept and Uk North Labour party branch , all it takes is a Corbyn moment of Scotlands own , with the party geared backwards to federalism , not centre right middle England vote carving of Nulabour , which the current entrenched selection altar still worship.

    The middle England vote , which doesnt work in Socialist worker Scotland , will continue the downfall of SLab under the current indecisive management – perhaps thats why the Geography Teacher ended up at the Reid lectures this week , to take back the socialist veneer from the SNP?

    And here in lies the rub , the Snp are getting just too comfy in their seats , and are on a course to create even more with a 2nd chamber. Yes you read that right , a party so long in complaining about the Westminster 2nd chamber , now wants a bloody Scottish one , its like feeding gizmo after bloody midnight , oot pops a SNP politician in waiting.

    I for one , being a former SNP supporter and near the knuckle hard core separatist , well I have found them out , many more are also doing so , and it is everyones duty to report them for their failures , it is in their and our best interests to police those that police us.

    For that reason I would like to see two questions on each electoral ballot proposed by Holyrood , for Council , National , and Scottish elections , where the population get to vote on something that matters to them , not just to allow the elected few to supposedly serve us by creating legislation for the benefit of wealth creation for the few. If nothing else it may mean we can rename a building , say to building McBuildingface and claim democracy at the people level wins , but on the other hand it may mean saying NO to Holyrood itself , regardless of whom is in control at the time , but I suspect that would be prevented from the off , whom in politics wants control ceded truly to the electorate?

    As hard as it may seem for those dye hards to stomach , the SNP are not the messiah returned , and need policing as a result.

    For generations Scotland did the same of Slab , voting blindly if not blinkered for Labour , and said nothing of 14 years of promises before 14 years in power , like reopening shipyards and creating more council housing that never happened under a labour Govt watch. The voter repeated putting the cross on the ballot paper regardless , well until after indy where eyes were truly opened come the following election …. but I suppose that voting for the SNP means criticism is somehow not allowed , well after all its in the members handbook for its politicians , google it its not snp bad but fact – so why not apply it to the voters too?

    So I expect better of those that vote SNP today , after all SLAB still refuse to listen to why it too is failing at the polls , perhaps they actually still believe that bloody song , “things can only get better” from nulabour .

    Those that want to keep and have a better SNP , well they should listen to outside of it, and not simply accept the party as divine , not all SNP badders are anti SNP they are perhaps trying to preach to the zealot instead of the choir.

    3 deselected MPS should at least offer scrutiny , along with watered down land reform , LDP geared towards ignoring communities over profits for developers , house building geared towards affordable housing that isnt affordable locally. But where theres politics theres current and future millionaires is there not?

    Around a third of SNP politicians make money through housing , either as land lords personally or by partner holdings , partners in solicitors or are developers , but we still allow them to create housing policy , including removing RTB instead of putting the money back into creating more housing…. but we should we just be thankful for our lot , or that its not the English that are making the legislation?

    1. bringiton says:

      leaving aside the SNP bad stuff.
      Has the EU a Future without the UK?

      1. c rober says:

        I dont think it really matters to the EU , combined totals for exports sure , but individual states its unbalanced , ie Germany large importer and exporter to UK as is France , but the rest not so much. So basically no real interest from the other members , no real effect apart from a few basis points in gdp.

        So yes no Uk means no difference to the wider unit , and I have investments in the EU in my portfolios , as well as properties. The latter being a little more of a problem with the EU bringing back visas , free movement of money , the removal of free movement affects me more than most voters financially. While I can adjust financial portfolios to markets , I cannot adjust the EU policies.

        Funny how you see SNP bad , there was as much said of Labour or indeed Westminster in my post. Why dont the snp bad repliers resort to destroying the facts instead , because sometimes they simply cant , and doing the party policies of a)Blame Westminster or b) Be cry SNP badder in action to appear the victim?

        Snp bad is when an English National paper goes on about SNP using First Class tickets on a shuttle that has none. http://wingsoverscotland.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/expressflights-1.jpg , thats snp bad in action.

        1. c rober says:


          Problem is your expecting them to do the job of indy , but it wasnt just project fear last time that aided in the failure , so should we just sit back and allow the blame train to increase in numbers to all elected positions- including the creation of an upper house? Thus support failure to supply?


          East Lothian eh , you wont get an argument from me about Slab or Nulabour failures in the housing supply anywhere in Scotland … however the use of AH to mean both bought and social rented is a voting ploy , where one assumes it means social , the other cheaper bought.

          If the SNP were serious about supply rate look at K.Gibson , a private landlord just like his MP wife whom on the housing committee at holyrood , whom said that only SNP can deliver Social housing in the ARdrossan Herald … where the maths showed it was private rented not SNP supply along with decreasing birth rates , where to defeat the 50k on council waiting lists at the supply rate means completion taking over 100 years – excl bad stock removal on top of that and its replacement.

          Graeme Purves

          No its my opinion that exemptions from housing policy creation of legislation should be based on whether there is a conflict of interest as an ecxemptive reasoning , ie landlords , solicitors , or developers should not be on any elected housing steering group. At this point it is worth noting that many , not just SNP politicians have failed to declare those personal holdings until after committee selection.

          The SNP and Holyrood are far too keen to trump housing supply being better than labour of old , and it goes unquestioned , specifically the admitted use of LDP not for housing need but for council tax income or employment for a few private developers…. as local incomes , when its nearly always external commuting trades.

          Were they so keen on social rented they would be supplying it , and preventing Councils from selling off land to private developers rather than to use it themselves to affirm both social and affordable owned through shared sites – ie Maryhill and Dumfrieshire , where one at least partially funds the council stock , rather than developers pockets. As a side note , if you read the complete unabridged LDP documentation , from its inception and its external review – it clearly states the purpose is to aid developers , and in the review to increase it through easing planning including removal of AH portions entirely , but is portrayed as listening to communities to supply housing , where in fact what they mean by listening to – unless it says no.

          I am no SNP badder , I have just removed my blinkers. IF you follow the party blindly it is in no ones interests. But of course we could always let them continue to blame Westminster , or Labour instead.

          1. scrandoonyeah says:

            I have never been blinkered about a person’s need to feed their ego, as well as their wallet. May’be that is where you and I differ.

    2. scrandoonyeah says:

      I vote SNP for one reason only…….yeah, you’ve guessed it, but have never been a member. You do a disservice to the thousands like me who look on the SNP for to deliver a function….yeah, you’ve guessed it again….

      then we can look at how Scotland should be governed.

    3. Cairnallochy says:

      The last SNP administration in East Lothian built several hundred houses for rent. The present Labour/ Conservative coalition has built none and has made clear its intention not to do so. I would be interested in the situation in other authorities. Also, was RTB money always – or even usually – ploughed back into new housing stock ?

      1. MBC says:

        Local authorities were never allowed to use right to buy money for new houses. Might have made more sense if they had, as today’s social housing needs aren’t necessarily those of 40 years ago. More singles, etc.

        1. c rober says:

          Agreed , but that was before a devolved parliament , where such legislation could have been created. If you have came across any of my other posts you will see this is where I repeateadly hold Holyrood and the SNP to task , ie the failure to use the tools at hand – Scots law , to be the thorn in the side of Westminster.

          You are obviously knowledgeable enough to know where that RTB money went though until the establishment of Holyrood – Westminsters coffers , and under 14 years of NuLabour was there any change in that? No , you see unlike I may be portrayed I am not blinkered , Brown/Blair forever the socialists , forever the promisors of new council housing at the party level in Scotland failed it…. the final nail in their party coffin was the Judas gene during indy.

          But are you also clued up enough to know where the 3 billion announced last October for AH , where the lions share is social rented monies is coming from? Its a Westminster Loan over the long term to be repaid. Something that has escaped the usual channels in reporting. But over 30 years of RTB just how much do you think Westminster got from Scotand RTB , I reckon about 10x that. Cap in Hand indeed. It was also Westminster telling councils to doze council homes , Liverpool however , a hard labour council eventually realised to be a thorn in Westminsters side by offering their stock instead from £1 as homes for life to private owners , but somehow this escaped the Nulabour Westminster terms of office and of course those in Holyrood.

          And this is where the SNP , Holyrood should also be gearing towards – removing the wealth of the banks on what is “home renting under the guise of ownership” – and before houses are sold off to pay for care services of the owners as brick piggy banks.

          For years if not decades I had came to the conclusion that RTB was bad , it was , well if the money was not used to create the lowest affordable tier of replacement rented housing where it was sold , as well as the most affordable home ownership rung , more so if it was paid for many times overs via rental. Shelter also thought the same , and eventually changed tune to a point , but where RTB was used not for profit making mahcine and instead as a house for life it did not remove the property from the chain as a result – until the demise of the owners – however it did remove the council rented income.

          Where this removal of rent mattered , well its the demolition of the POLITICAL UNIONISED power of councils by Thatcher , which if your old enough to remember the days of high council employment , where councils built and not instead paid builders to do it for them – thus kept money local , not instead to be exported outwith the locale to national developers , or to the banks that furnished the developers with loans.

          Mayhill and Dumfries council are showing the way with housing , one supplying plots to locals for AFFORDABLE self built , not holiday or commuter worker homes , the other supplying a site where social rented and affordable self build is the same site.

          North Ayrshire council on the other hand are keen on calling affordable bought housing where they are wooden sheds , i kid you not , so setting the social rental precedent , or for Glasgow commuter based executive homes using farmland without a defined need , conveiently ignoring SNP created legislation – in order to furnish the cost of Social rented outwith the local site area , which needs it , but in the larger Town of Irvine instead – This while selling off ANY land that could be used for council building to private developers , ie school land and former housing estates.

          While this could have been an accusal not unexpected of any Labour powered council , it was under the SNP watch. It was aided and promoted by its MSP whom penned a letter to the planning dept arguing for it , while on the housing committee in Holyrood stating a need for WANTED bought housing locally without ANY evidence – This despite his wife the local MP stating the opposite , thus being in sync with the locals and importantly the data – stating the actual housing need of social rented amenity being the acute need is not being met , which has not been given even one house from near 500 suggested on the LDP use of farmland , where only 25 percent is AH of the bought type only , not social rented , and unaffordable to those that work without Glasgow commuting in a high unemployment area based on Holyrood data.

          So if we dont police the policy makers , that ignore the rules they create , ignore those they portray to be empowering , then whom will , it wont be themselves will it?….. oh wait it now is.

    4. Graeme Purves says:

      Is your proposition that elected representatives shouldn’t be allowed to make policy or that solicitors shouldn’t be allowed to stand for elected office?

      1. c rober says:

        Graham , For short answer clarity ,

        Yes I do think that solicitors should be prevented from either standing for office if currently a partner in a legal company , or indeed further where a life partner is.

        Its too conveient to have legal income based politicians steer the creation of new legislation in the direction desired , aiding themselves financially – especially with housing . The same goes with property developers as politicians , whom therefore have at least a personal vote within the house , but perhaps more incredibly a steering role in housing creation within a committee – not just at the Holyrood level , but also at local council level.

  7. willstar says:

    Convince the pensioners to vote Yes in Indy#2 then Scotland will be free from Westminster at last. Trouble is the Tories will not allow another vote. Scots need to follow Catalonia’s lead on this and have a vote anyway, once the grey vote is locked in. T. May would then go into Long Shanks mode.

    1. John B Dick says:

      The SNP are, sensibly in my view, unwilling to risk another referendum unless they have good reason to believe they will win it. Current Coonservative branch office policy is that even if 60% want independence, and want a referendum, they will prevent them from having the opportunity.

      “Allow” is not an issue. In these circumstances to prevent a vote would not only be an admission that the argument had been lost, but also an admission that the UK’s claim to be a democracy is false.

  8. willie says:

    Ah well, if the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon are so bad, as so many keep saying here, we can ask look forward to Ruth Davidson and the Conservatives.

    1. John B Dick says:

      Maybe the SNP aren’t all that special. How much of a challenge is it to appear preferable to the other options? An ordinary man is a giant in the land of the pygmies.

  9. florian albert says:

    A major problem is that Scotland has a weak social democratic tradition. (The description ‘social democrat’ is often no more than a badge of virtue.) When the SDP left Labour, it had far less of an impact in Scotland than in England.
    At the heart of social democratic thinking is the acceptance of the market (capitalist) economy to provide the money for a welfare state. This has been taken for granted among European social democrats since 1945. Until the late 1980s, the Scottish Labour Party was committed to socialism.
    Scottish politicians, such as Salmond and Brown, eventually made their peace with capitalism. Unhappily, by this time, capitalism was dominated by financial services. This led to them becoming cheer leaders for Fred Goodwin and RBS.
    Since this model collapsed in 2008, the left in Scotland has been quick to denounce neo-liberalim. It has been slower to provide a new model which will provide the wealth for our increasingly demanding welfare state; i e to sustain a recognizably social democratic Scotland.

  10. MBC says:

    It’s interesting that the German social democrats are looking to Scotland. But I think the fact that right wing populism hasn’t taken off here as it has in other places where neoloberalism is hurting most, owes as much to local conditions in Scotland as anything the SNP are doing. The SNP are however a moderating force aiming at appealing to the greatest number of voters, neither left wing nor right wing.

    Thanks for this article. Informative.

  11. MBC says:

    UK was a net contributor so that will mean other net contributors like Germany will face paying more.

    Or re-ordering what they spend the money on.

    If UK can no longer afford to buy German cars, that’s a problem for German industry. Unless they lower the prices. And take less profit.

    UK often mediated between France and Germany. They will now have to combine more or slug it out more.

    1. c rober says:

      or currency mechanism is in their favour , last year when it was 1.40 euros to the pound the german car makers were reaping the benefits of exporting to the UK as a strong pound meant better buying power , today though perhaps the UK is gearing towards an export drive to get out of its long term funk , however with tarrfs from brexit perhaps being applied afterwards this is only short term.

      1. MBC says:

        But what do we export, pray?

        1. J Galt says:


          But no, the Australians are queuing up to buy our stuff – according to Nige that is……

          But what “stuff”?

          1. c rober says:

            Mibbe naw the Ozzies , but the Europeans. The pound is looking like nearing a 40 percent devalue by year end already over 32 percent YOY , and thats bargain sale time. Not that there is much to sell , other than Banks , state owned ones at least.

            The next biggest single thing left in the crown jewels is not for sale , the biggest uk employer , thus its biggest industry the NHS. Not for want of Westminster trying.

            However this is a good place to start to see where the vultures may be circling.


            Or just for a comparative interest civil service employment.


  12. Caroline Innes says:

    I don’t agree with everything here but I’m pleased that Kern and Boerning have stirred such a reaction in this site. We are close to the European mainstream ( the other main parties e g Christian Democrats, liberals and Greens are also watching Scotland closely) and we should do what we can to be part of that wider family and seek to influence its future. There will be a strong welcome for an independent Scotland in the EU.

    1. Ther says:

      We know that the Spanish government is actively hostile to Scottish independence – for Spanish political reasons. France is likely to take a similar line.
      Is there any reason to think that the individual countries in Europe regard Scotland’s status as an important issue ? (It is not as if mainland Europe is a crisis free environment.)
      We, in Scotland, pay little or no attention to what is happening in countries like Finland or Portugal.

      1. Caroline Innes says:

        Hi Ther I think you’ll find that Spain and France won’t veto Scotland even if they don’t like it – they hate Brexit even more!

  13. Crubag says:

    Good article. I’d say the SNP were more centrist than social democrat, especially on the economic side. But like political parties of all colours they have no clear answer to the problems of globalisation.

    The success of the SNP has been a long time coming and can’t quickly be replicated. The context is a decades long degradation of Tory and Labour, out of touch and happy to take Scottish voters for granted, and with Labour finally falling like a rotten tree.

    A Greek equivalent like Sryzia/Pasok might be closer to it.

    1. c rober says:

      One should read some Greek views today on Syriza , not all is rosy those that voted for them seem aggravated , but MSM are conveiently ignoring news outside of the UK fluff as usual . But then again its not Turkey style news control yet.Austerity has not been blocked or improved , many already argue it has worsened as a result , and the riots on UK tv of a few years ago are increasing . But then again it was the same kind of politicians and their promise that has led to the debt problem in the first place , or is it 5th pace historical I forget.

      In my opinion the future for an independent Scotland perhaps lies in the rebirth of Slab towards aiding it.

      I know it sounds counter productive , but I feel that the eradication of Nulabour at the core , backwards towards a harder local socialism mandate of home rule , part of the original Labour party mandate , may well be what it needs – Especially so as the sentiment in the middle englander is EVEL , and that is a current increasing and thus so hard to ignore for English Labour to get into any sort of Government…. even with St Corbyn , whom wont touch that electoral hot potato , which he should , given the subsidy junkie status in the mindset of so many potential Labour voters and their desire to cast the jocks into history and reclaim England once more – win , win.

      1. Maria F says:

        “In my opinion the future for an independent Scotland perhaps lies in the rebirth of Slab towards aiding it”

        My opinion is completely different to yours on this, I am afraid. In my view of an independent Scotland there is absolutely not a place for Labour. Why?

        Because I blame every day on the selfishness and selfservitude of Labour the reason for Scotland not being independent now.

        I blame on the selfservitude of Labour the fact that rather than being independent now and in control of its own affairs, Scotland is being forced to endure a Conservative government it didn’t vote for. Thank you SLabour for that.

        I now blame on the selfservitude and apathy of Labour the fact that we have to endure a government that now resources to xenophobia to scrap votes down south. Thank you SLabour for that.

        I blame on Labour the losses of jobs, subsides for the renewable energy industry, frigates not being built, a devo max never delivered, dragging us to bomb Syria when Scotland voted against it and an EVEL announced just the day after the indiref1. Thank you SLabour for that.

        I blame on the selfservitude of Labour the fact that Scotland has been put in this position, where having overwhelmingly voted against leaving the EU, is now being forced by a government it didn’t give a mandate to, to leave the EU to a considerable economic, cultural and social detriment. Thank you SLabour for that.

        I blame on the selfservitude of Labour the fact that WMD, overwhelmingly rejected by Scotland, both in its parliament and also by the overwhelming majority of the Scottish MPs, are parked right on the middle of Scotland. Had Scotland become independent 2 years ago this would be a thing of the past. Thank you Slabour for that.

        I blame on SLabour’s selfservitude and disinterest for serving the Scottish people the fact that not one of the promises made to achieve a NO vote has been fulfilled. Thank you Slabour for telling the truth 2 years ago.

        I blame on SLabour’s selfservitude their passive attitude against biased reporting in the national broadcaster and newspapers that ignores the actual needs and wants of the people of Scotland and more than anything ignores what government they actually voted for. Thank you SLabour for that convenient complacency.

        I blame on Slabour’s selfservitude their refusal to accept the fact that probably now a 50% if not more of the Scottish electorate favours independence and yet, these selfserving careerists feel that they have the right to reject another referendum. Thank you for that consideration.

        So no. For me SLabour must vanish completely of Scotland because it will be a continuous reminder of what we could already have since 2014 and we don’t because of their selfservitude and them putting the interests of their UK party rather than the people of Scotland they are actually meant to represent.

        1. c rober says:

          Maria F

          Ironically I agree with you nearly 100 percent , which is why I reckon that a rebirth is its only option , clearing out the remnants of Nulabour and Subservience to the Greater party in England. IT needs to listen to the wind , but it didnt , partly through thinking that it is , sorry was , garunteed votes to be weighed instead of counted for perpetuity. However that changed , but sadly they have not , and D Hondt doesnt help that , through allowing the leaders on the list system they still steer the ship , partly for their masters.

          I touch base with some Slab councillors often , there is some there of the old guard , but wearing a new suit , by that I mean hardened yet young working class socialists – but what use is that demographic if its not within Either Westminster or Holyrood?

          I had hoped that the party after the whitewash of Westminster and Holyrood elections had learned the lessons , and decided to come in from the fold and accept Autonomy, One only needs to look at the U-turn on Broon , from Judas towards Scotland on multiple levels , ie project fear and selling off the North Sea to England , to then stating Eu membership is a clear reason for indy now.

          But had that mindset been in place in 14 well things would have been a lot different , but then again we can Blame him and Milliband for that – Where those elected cowards that followed the latter in his demands are now drawing the dole…. current Councillors though have managed to stay off the radar , well until next MAY , so may just be giving lip service to keep their personal income.

          Only last month I watched a Documentary on some of what may be considered the old gaurd of Scots labour , where they stated that the PARTY mandate overrides the local mandate , this means ignoring the electorate , the very people that vote for them. So its both the unemployed old gaurd and nulabour in other words ar the enemy of the party itself , so today a complete and utter destruction of the party is in the voters best interests…. but as I said earlier the leaders remain , so no change expected.

      2. Crubag says:

        I was thinkg Syzria in terms of quickly filling the void left by a collapsing dominant party.

        Corbyn might give the corpse a jolt,but he and his team are probably even more London-centric than the Tories.

        It probably needs a total collapse to trigger a new party.

        It hasn’t done it for the Tories though, and they actually were a separate party in their glory days – the Scottish Unionist party.

  14. Crubag says:

    And as to the question. A UK departure doesn’t immediately make thing worse for the EU, unless wounded pride is put ahead of economic self-interest.

    But medium term? I have then impression that the UK was often the scapegoat for deeper disagreements around deepening the union. Without the UK to argue for a looser union, there is now nothing to hold back a single defence policy or single budget to go with the single border or single currency. We may well find that UK “intransigence” actually covered for fundamental disagreements among other member states.

    Realistically, I think the union is now too large and diverse to find a solution to its economic or social issues.using the present governance mechanisms, but that could mean a retreat to a tighter corr or a dramatic loosening of ties.

    1. c rober says:

      Only today was i reading in the local language how France and Germany are to share military equipment and proposed bases , so your bearing fruit.

  15. Ron norman says:

    It was said recently that Germany, in particular, did not want the UK to leave because it puts France in clear second place in the EU. France and Germany do not see eye to eye, surprise, surprise, and the Uk provided a third strong view.
    The SNP have the same problem as UKIP, after the Brexit vote UKIP cannot find a reason d’etre. After an independent vote the SNP would have to actually run Scotland and they do not really have a plan for that which includes real democracy and sharing of power. By clinging to the EU instead of UK they will be able to blame all unpopular policy and laws on the EU. It would be interesting to see how long they could get away with that, it worked for the Tories for a few decades.

  16. Donnie MacLachlan says:

    Fog at Dover, continent cut off!

    The EU will manage fine without the uk.

    The uk is a billidgerant cuckoo seeking exceptions for just about everything, frankly europe have lost a pain in the arse, not something Europeans will fret over.

    Germans will sell their cars elsewhere, Germany’s chief concern will be to its remaining friends still in the club, not the pain in the arse walking through the exit door waving two fingers in the air.

    Scots chief concern should be to ensure we are sitting round the table with Germany and others waving goodbye and laughing at the comical exit a country disappearing into obscurity and endless inward recriminations.

  17. Alf Baird says:

    “mistakes in counting postal votes” you say?

    On trade, there is quite a lot that a savvy (even devolved) Holyrood government could do to develop what is left of Scotland’s trade, and also to ‘redirect’ imports more sensibly, see: http://reidfoundation.org/2016/01/sort-out-our-ports/

    Then again, there is state inertia and ignorance to overcome, or worse, e.g. Ministers look to state quangos for ‘guidance’! I would hazard a guess that the FM has not even discussed serious trade opportunities during her Icelandic/Arctic seminar. ‘Sharing tourist info’ was about it.

  18. J Galt says:

    Germany like the rest of the mainland EU should look east towards the world changing realignment that is the New Silk Road.

    Just as soon as a hopefully weakened US can no longer impose her will without question on the EU countries.

    The centre of power is moving east to Mackinder’s “World Island” (as he feared) and the days of the “Maritime” power of the US and her vassals such as England are numbered.

    The downfall of these bastards can’t come quick enough, just so long as we can separate ourselves in time to avoid going down with them !

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