Alex Salmond needs to woo, not bully, the rest of the UK

When voters go to the poll in September’s referendum they deserve to know how Scotland’s ministers will respond if they can’t get their way.

For years, if not decades, Alex Salmond has based his campaign for Scottish independence on building his stature within the minds of Scottish voters, and appealing directly to nationalistic tendencies.

As he prepares to deliver a major speech today on independence, the SNP should, if it is not already aware of it, accept that its audience is now bigger than the people of Scotland alone.

For Scotland’s voters to have any confidence in Salmond plans for independence, the Scottish government must persuade the whole of the European Union that it should be accepted as a member state whilst appealing to the rest of the UK that Scotland should be able to retain the pound.

On both points the omens aren’t good for Scotland’s first minister.

When voters go to the poll in September’s referendum they deserve to know how Scotland’s ministers will respond if they can’t get their way. Any failure to provide an alternative will lead Scotland into pursuing a radically different path to the fantasy dreams of the SNP without any democratic legitimacy whatsoever.

In his speech last week on currency union, George Osborne, followed shortly after by Ed Balls and Danny Alexander, made crystal clear that based on the advice received by permanent secretary to the treasury Sir Nicholas Macpherson, the remainder of the UK would not accept Scotland staying within the same currency.

Whilst in his response today Alex Salmond will launch a stinging attack on the chancellor’s position, it would behold him to accept some humble pie, and realise that all three of the UK’s main political parties are only giving voice to the views of the people they are there to serve.

A YouGov poll published over the weekend shows that 58 per cent of voters in England and Wales would oppose an independent Scotland using the pound. This is an increase of 15 per cent since the question was last asked in November. Salmond needs to woo, not bully the rest of the UK.

But there is something else far more curious that has emerged over the weekend.

Speaking to the Andrew Marr programme yesterday, the president of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso declared in no uncertain terms that it would be “extremely difficult, if not impossible” for an independent Scotland to join the European Union.

Accepting the fact that the SNP disagree with this view, it nevertheless raises the question as to why its White Paper on independence failed to outline the scepticism within the Commission about the prospects for Scotland joining the EU on its own. What else did ministers in Scotland omit to mention when they published their prospectus for independence?

Outlining the challenge faced by the Yes campaign on the European Union, the Scotsman’s leader column this morning notes:

“The Yes campaign now has to find a credible pathway through the deep uncertainties surrounding the status of an independent Scotland, and in particular to assure Scottish exporters that their interests will not be prejudiced. While there may be room to establish a status of Scottish exceptionalism to ease the evident concerns of Spain, that, as matters stand and with seven months to go, is starting to look a very tall order.”

Scotland needs a credible plan McB from Alex Salmond today. It’s doubtful that he’ll deliver though.

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58 Responses to “Alex Salmond needs to woo, not bully, the rest of the UK”

  1. Mark Myword

    You raise an interesting but arcane point. If the treaty is dissolved then do both states revert to the status quo ante 1707? Possibly, and your point would be valid; but the secession of Scotland does not require the treaty to be dissolved. It simply requires an Act of the Westminster Parliament to establish that Scotland becomes independent without reversion to the status quo. The treaty would become a dead letter – but would not be dissolved.

  2. Duncan Fraser

    I’d be quite comfortable with a currency union being put to a rUK referendum. I’m pretty sure there would be a reversion to previous levels of support for the idea, which stood around 70% in rUK.

    So we are agreed!

    See, this negotiation thing isn’t so hard when you make an effort to be reasonable.

  3. Alec

    No we’re not agreed. You’re showing your complete lack of seriousness on the matter. Your camp is having a tough enough job of persuading a much smaller margin in Scotland (based on Don’t Knows rather than No Fucking Chances as in an EWNI).

    And, even if we were agreed – which we’re not, because you’re not being serious – you’d still need the SNP Brains Trust to change from a mixture of bullying and completely detached expectation that an EWNI simply will fall into place.

    There. Will. Be. No. Currency. Union.


  4. Duncan Fraser

    ‘Haggis Country’?
    ‘local councillors’?

    Out of ‘love bombs’ are we? 🙂

    I believe I have a higher estimation of the good people of rUK than you do to be honest – most of them do not regard Scotland in such a contemptuous fashion, and their sensible wish to maintain good relations will lead to a good civil relationship post-Independence.

  5. Alec

    I didn’t come down with the last haggis boat. You cannot pull the race card on me.

    To be honest, I couldn’t care less what your personal view on Salmond is. Your right to express it is inseparable from mine.

    What you know about the hopes and views of the representatives and voting population of the rest of the UK clearly can be written on the back of a Lilliputian postage stamp.

    They. Do. Not. Want. A. Currency. Union.

    Wa-wa-wa, mummy the nasty boy’s not letting me play with his toys… grow a pair and accept it.


  6. Duncan Fraser

    Well, it’s been pleasant chatting to you. I read from your subtle dismissal that this interview is at an end.

    We will see who has the right of it soon enough perhaps.

    It would be a brave chancellor who would allow such a big decision to be tested by popular referendum, but I would applaud their democratic instincts.

    Alas, given Osbourne’s recent panicked back-alley retreat from journalists in Edinburgh, I kind of doubt he’s your man.

  7. Alec

    Again you show you are not a serious person, but a groupie for a bunch of deep mediocrities who – all things being equal – would make Aberdeen City Council look like shining wits and models of fiscal responsibility.

    The ‘Three Chancellors’ have ruled out a currency union. Fact. Not opinion, fact. Your opinion is that they either are bluffing or will be over-ruled by the electorate of EWNI, so time to man up and make your case.


    i. Cite credible opinion polls from EWNI that the electorate support a currency union.

    ii. Offer a Plan B for, just in case, this is not bluff and the electorate in EWNI also reject one.

    You can’t do i. because they don’t exist. In fact, a sizable proportion would just as soon see the whole of Scotland floated into the North Atlantic and offered to the Faroese whalers as harpoon practice… this isn’t something to demand sympathy for in face of those nasty English, it’s your and Salmond’s fault for shitting in said well.

    You can do ii. either because you are not a serious person, and nor can Salmond because he has been shown to be wholly without ideas.


  8. David Carr

    There’s a factual error IN THE OPENING PARAGRAPH!!!

    When I arrived in Scotland some 25 years ago, I had the same misconceptions.I soon learned,from an SNP worker, the the definition of Scot is ‘Someone who lives in Scotland and contributes to a Scottish community.’

    I’m English, he was of Pakistani origin, What Nationalistic tendencies. They are a broad church, left-of centre party.

    I’m not SNP. The bulk of the campaign is now to their left.

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