By G.A.Ponsonby
The following piece is lengthy, but readers are urged to read it carefully then consider whether purchasing newspapers and paying the BBC licence fee is consistent with a desire for a fair and open democratic society underpinned by honest and ethical journalism.
Most followers of the referendum debate will by now have been alerted to apparent comments from Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who - if the BBC is to be believed - has stated unequivocally that a Yes vote will leave Scotland outside the EU.

The BBC headline accompanying an article on Rajoy's comments screams - Scottish independence: Mariano Rajoy says Scotland would be 'outside EU'.

Interestingly the headline isn't quite matched by one of the opening sentences from the BBC article which reads: "The Spanish prime minister has suggested that an independent Scotland would have to apply to become a member of the EU from the outside."

He either says Scotland will be out or he suggests Scotland will be out, which is it?

Offering some clarification is a former member of the Newsnet Scotland team who also happens to be a fluent Spanish speaker.  On his blog 'Wee Ginger Dug', he gives both the original Spanish, as quoted in El Pais newspaper, and the English translation.

"Desconozco lo que dice el libro blanco que se ha presentado ahora, pero lo único que me gustaría es que se presentasen con realismo las consecuencias de esa secesión. Yo respeto todas las decisiones de los británicos, pero tengo muy claro que una región que obtuviera la independencia quedaría fuera de la UE. Es bueno que lo sepan los escoceses."

"I don't know what it says in the White Paper which has been presented today, but all I would like is that the consequences of that secession are presented with realism.  I respect all the decisions of the British, but I have made it very clear that a region which obtained independence would be outside of the EU.  It's good that the Scots may know that."

There are several versions of this translation doing the rounds and it's interesting that the BBC's version is markedly different to that of El Pais.  One key sentence stands out from the English translation of the Spanisn newspaper and the BBC.

According to El Pais, Rajoy said: "…, but all I would like is that the consequences of that secession are presented with realism."

In the BBC version, this sentence has the words "to Scots" appended to the end.  Possibly the difference arises from innocent misreporting or variances with the spoken word and issued press statement, but it is a crucial difference and one that lends weight to the narrative being presented by the BBC and the rest of the media.

But the thrust they try to portray is that this is a new intervention by Rajoy, which it isn't.  As all of the reporters already know, Spain has its own problems to deal with in the shape of Catalonia, and everything Rajoy says on this is with the Catalan situation in mind.

That he helpfully repeats variations of these comments to aid his Westminster counterpart David Cameron is not surprising.  In November 2012 Newsnet Scotland exposed a secret meeting officials from Rajoy's party held with the Scottish Conservative party.

Our article followed comments from senior PP figure Esteban González Pons, who had revealed that a meeting had taken place between himself and senior figures from the Tory party in Birmingham in October.  According to Mr González Pons an accord had been reached that would be ratified at a later meeting in Madrid.

According to the newspaper El Periódico de Catalunya, the Partido Popular officials had planned to meet with Scottish Conservative and Labour politicians in December order to agree a united front against independence.

The newspaper reported that:

... a senior figure in the Spanish Conservative party, the Partido Popular (PP), will fly to Scotland to meet with Scottish Conservative and Labour politicians in order to agree a united front against independence.

The leading conservative attended the conference of the British Conservatives in Birmingham, where he met with the principal leaders in order to agree a position.

The vice-secretary of Studies of the PP, who has planned a trip to Scotland the coming month of December in order to meet with Conservatives and Labour, complains that the CiU [the party pressing for a Catalan referendum] has undertaken the path of "political magic" in this moment of grave economic instability.

In the article, Mr González Pons was quoted as saying: "Catalonia and Scotland are different regions and have different problems, but the response has to be a joint one."

So secret talks - not reported in the Scottish media - have already been held between Rajoy's party and what the Spanish press describe as "British Conservatives", the leader of course being Prime Minister David cameron.

The timing of Mr Rajoy's latest politically partisan and heavily loaded statement, a day after the launch of the Scottish government white paper, tells us all we need to know about this 'intervention'.

Indeed look closely and you'll also note that another lie is being perpetrated by some unscrupulous reporters - that Rajoy has now confirmed Spain will block a newly independent Scotland's attempt to retain its current EU membership.

The Guardian has the headline - Scottish independence: Spain blocks Alex Salmond's hopes for EU transition.  In the Herald, Magnus Gardham writes: "Meanwhile, Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy dealt a blow to SNP claims that the usual, lengthy EU membership procedures would not apply to an independent Scotland."  The Scotsman has a similar take.

Some of those followers will know that the British media, including the Scottish media and especially including the BBC, have done their best to make membership of the EU a central issue of the independence debate.

On Tuesday, on the day of the white paper launch, BBC reporter Gavin Hewitt was apparently hawking around Brussels trying to solicit 'helpful' comments about Scotland's EU status in the event of independence.  This is nothing new, Hewitt was up to the same prank at the time a letter was reportedly being prepared by EC officials in response to a request from a House of Lords Committee.

Readers of this site may recall that in December 2012 the media – including BBC Scotland – actually jumped the gun on the letter.  This poor journalism married to an anti-independence agenda, was exposed by Newsnet Scotland after we sent a simple question to the offices of Jose Manuel Barroso, whose official confirmed the reports were "incorrect".

Hayley Millar asks 'How big a blow' was the letter

The letter in fact did not claim what the newspaper and the BBC said it would.  The Scotsman newspaper was forced to issue a correction.  Sadly no such correction was ever forthcoming from BBC Scotland whose then political reporter Raymond Buchanan had helpfully reported for duty that Monday morning repeating the same line from the Scotsman. 

A letter was indeed eventually sent, but it served as a reminder of the poor journalism that masks everything us Scots have to contend with when it comes to media reporting of the independence referendum.

This media inspired EU campaign started in earnest over a year ago when a poorly conducted interview by BBC presenter Andrew Neil was cited as evidence that Alex Salmond had lied over having received legal advice on the EU.  The main cheerleader was the BBC, but pretty much every news outlet ran with the same spin, and a stick was duly created that has been used to beat the Yes campaign with ever since.

The latest so-called intervention from Rajoy has been carefully timed in order to try to drag the independence debate back onto areas Unionists feel most comfortable.  The Spanish politician's comments made their way into two televised debates last night and the usual line was subsequently trotted out by those who oppose independence.

However the media's enthusiasm for headlining statements from figures outside the UK that can be interpreted as damaging to independence is matched only by a reluctance to report comments deemed helpful.

Two episodes stand out as examples of the journalistic corruption that has infected traditional media reporting of the EU as it relates to an independent Scotland.

The first may in fact be about to hit the headlines again and involves the BBC's handling of an interview with the then Irish European Minister Lucinda Creighton.

In a January interview, the Irish politician told BBC Scotland reporter Raymond Buchanan that she believed a newly independent Scotland would have to apply for EU membership and that the process could well be lengthy.

The interview was broadcast on Reporting Scotland also contained comments from Scottish Secretary Michael Moore who was heard to say that a newly independent Scotland would find itself "outside the EU having to negotiate its way back in".

There then followed what many viewed as misreporting of Ms Creighton's remarks by the BBC reporter who said that both Ms Creighton and Mr Moore "shared" the same view and that these views "chimed".

The broadcast, which featured on BBC Radio and TV, led to attacks on the SNP and Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon by Unionist politicians who claimed the Irish politician's comments undermined SNP claims on the EU membership of an independent Scotland.

However in a surprise move, responding to calls for clarification, the Irish European Minister issued a number of statements in which she made it clear her views on the EU membership of a newly independent Scotland were not as claimed, in agreement with Mr Moore, but were in fact in line with those of the Scottish government.

Dismissing claims that she shared the views of Michael Moore, she said: "I was asked about the future of negotiations with the EU in the event that Scotland votes for independence.  I thought that my reply was largely in line with that of the Scottish Government.  I certainly did not at any stage suggest that Scotland could, should or would be thrown out of the EU.  Scottish people are citizens of Europe."

The Irish Minister said that she believed that the SNP's position, that EU negotiations would take place and be concluded whilst Scotland remained a continuing member, "summed up the situation quite well".

"My understanding is that the Scottish Government has already committed to a negotiation with the EU between 2014 and 2016, if you vote for independence in 2014.  If my interview suggested something other than that, this was not my intention.  I think my comments have been misconstrued - if so I sincerely regret this."

She added: "As SNP Westminster Leader, Angus Robertson said 'Negotiations on the terms of membership would take place in the period between the referendum and the planned date of independence', and that 'The EU would adopt a simplified procedure for the negotiations, not the traditional procedure followed for the accession of non-member countries'."

"I think that sums up the situation quite well." She added.

More controversially, Ms Creighton complained that her original comments had been "taken out of context" and "perhaps manipulated".

In an official statement to Newsnet Scotland, she said: "I think my comments have been misconstrued or perhaps manipulated by some quarters.  I sincerely regret this."
She added: "I regret that my words seem to have been spun or taken out of context."

In agreeing with the Scottish government's official timetable for post-referendum EU negotiations, Ms Creighton became the first foreign European Minister to publicly back the SNP's EU stance.  Despite this, and her claims that her views had been misrepresented, the BBC refused to report them.

The crucial clarification of her views was also ignored by every other Scottish news outlet.  Next month the BBC Trust will make a ruling on claims the broadcaster employed a news blackout of Ms Creighton's remarks.

The second example involves pressure from the Spanish Government which led to EC officials issuing false statements over remarks made by a Vice President of the EC.  Remarks which very clearly helped the pro-independence campaigns in both Catalonia and Scotland.

Just over one year ago, with the EU entering the independence fray and headlines screaming that a newly independent Scotland would be expelled, Newsnet Scotland ran one of our best journalistic scoops when we caught the European Commission lying after pressure was exerted by Madrid.

EC Vice President Viviane Reding gave an interview to a journalist in which she poured scorn on suggestions from Rajoy that a newly independent Catalonia would be expelled from the EU.

Reding, the Luxembourgeois vice-president of the European Commission - who was on a visit to the Andalusian parliament - was asked whether international law meant that Catalonia would have to leave the EU in the event of the region achieving independence.

According to the journalist, Federico Durán Basallote, Ms Reding responded to his question by dismissing the suggestion, saying international law said no such thing.

Transcripts of the interview appeared in an article published by the Spanish based newspaper Diario de Sevilla.  According to the newspaper, asked whether international law would mean Catalonia having to leave the EU and re-apply for membership, Ms Reding replied:

"Oh come on, it [international law] doesn't say anything like that. [our emphasis] Please, resolve your internal political problems in Spain.  I trust in the European mindset of the Catalonian people."

Ms Reding's interview was a severe blow to the credibility of the Spanish and UK governmental claims, both of whom were insisting that Catalonia and Scotland would be automatically expelled from the EU on attaining independence, and would have to re-apply for entry.

However, soon after the article appeared in the Spanish newspaper, pressure from Madrid and the Commission forced a swift retraction from Spanish newspaper editors.  According to the Commission, Ms Reding had been misunderstood, and more importantly mis-quoted.

Following the publication of Ms Reding's interview, the European Commission, through the office of its representative in Spain, Federico Fonseca Morillo, embarked on a media campaign to re-write Ms Reding's interview to expunge her comments on how international law might apply to Scottish or Catalan independence.

According to the journalist who carried out the original interview, the Madrid Government was furious at Ms Reding's remarks, which undermined the contention of the Spanish government that an independent Catalonia would be expelled from the EU and have to re-apply for membership.

The Spanish government then exerted pressure on the office of José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, to force them to withdraw Ms Reding's comments about international law.

In a letter, published in the Spanish language edition of the Economist magazine on 8 October, Mr Fonseca Morillo explicitly denied that Ms Reding had uttered the sentence in question, and complained that it had been "extrapolated" into reports on Ms Reding's interview.

In his letter Mr Fonseca Morillo said:

"I have read with surprise the article which affirms that Vice President Reding said that the Vienna Convention does not specify that a new state resulting from another European state must leave the EU. I wish to clarify that Reding never said this, although some media outlets have extrapolated it from an interview in various Andalusian newspapers."

Newsnet Scotland contacted the offices of Ms Reding and Mr Barroso asking about Ms Reding's original comments and were told unequivocally that she did not make them.

What the EC officials did not know was that the journalist who interviewed Ms Reding had also recorded the interview – a recording Newsnet Scotland obtained.

We exposed the story in our powerful exclusive article published on October 18th last year.  The article, which contained the recording in question, made headline news in Spain with particular attention from Catalonia where it made broadcast news.

No Scottish news outlet ran the story, which at the time seriously undermined the credibility and indeed the integrity of the offices of both José Manuel Barroso and The Spanish prime Minister.

It would also have seriously undermined the campaign mounted by Unionists in Scotland and the wider UK who relied on Barroso and Rajoy in order to keep the EU exit myth alive.

The latest EU scares being perpetrated by Unionists and their media sympathisers are not journalism, they never were.  If it was journalism that was the driving force then our newspapers and broadcasters would have given equal prominence to the stories that Newsnet Scotland has listed, which in terms of newsworthiness - secret meetings and pressure from Madrid forcing EC officials to lie - were more deserving.

They would also report the very many statements from European officials which back the Scottish Government's stance on the EU status of an independent Scotland.  This includes the letter sent by an EC official, again reported by Newsnet Scotland, that makes clear there would be no legal barrier to Scotland negotiating its continued membership of the EU after a Yes vote.

Media coverage of this kind will pepper the independence debate, there's no question about that - the media machine is unashamedly pro-Union.  At Newsnet Scotland we have the embers of a counter to this media corruption and we urge readers to please click on the appeal image below and help us in our quest.

Newsnet Scotland hereby gives permission for this article to be republished by any media outlet or online blog, with or without a link to its source. Our aim is to circulate our content to as wide an audience as possible.


# Abulhaq 2013-11-28 13:44
Aside from the local media trouble-making aspect of this and the problems Rajoy has domestically, are Catalonia and Scotland constitutionall y identical?

Scotland and England were united by treaty. That treaty is generally ignored by the Brits but it is still extant. Without it there would have been no UK. With independence come into existence two new states.

Logic might prevail and both new states be considered "continuing" in so far as EU membership is concerned or they both might be considered new applicants. In the light of the British wavering on continuing EU membership expecting the more pro-EU Scots to wait around in wings is pure mischief making. I suspect the Catalans will give Señor Rajoy's pronouncement the treatment it merits.
# Legerwood 2013-11-28 14:31
Surely the fact that the Spanish minister refers to Scotland as a 'region' and then equates it to Catalonia is sufficient to discount and discredit his opinion. The two situations ate not equivalent in any way whatsoever. Scotland is not a 'region'.

Any criticism of the media should include the fact that they failed to point out this important fact
# EphemeralDeception 2013-11-28 14:48
Scotland is a region of the UK state in certain aspects. Eg it is a semi-autonomous region within the State.
However the difference between Catalonia and here is that geographically, in law (separate law system)and in other contexts: Scotland is a recognised Country. UK recognises us as a country and a region depending on context.

Constitutionall y Spain is Ironic. Spain was gifted Catalonia in the treaty of Utrecht. The English sold them out to Spain (part of a deal with France and NL during the Spansih Succession). England got Gibraltar and slave trade in exchange.

It all goes full circle. Spain want Gibraltar back but keep Catalonia. But if Spain Nullifies treaty of Utrecht to get Gibraltar they don't have same claim on Catalonia.

Spanish/UK relations are already poor.
A rumpUK may also embolden Spain re: Gibraltar.
# chicmac 2013-11-28 15:53
If the Catalans and those misguided Scots who have actually encouraged them had had the sense just to keep a low profile until after Scotland gets independence and attained EU membership, it would have been a much cleverer move.

Not only would it have made the denials of continued membership much harder to do, they could also use the precedent of Scottish membership much more effectively in a subsequent campaign.

However, that fox has run, whether it was set free solely by misguided nationalists or with the help of the sleekit hands of London and Madrid.
# Marga B 2013-11-28 18:11
chicmac - with respect, calling Catalan nationalists "misguided" is not helpful and also shows a lack of familiarity with a difficult situation in a fellow candidate for independence.

Catalan independentism owes no debt to the Scottish movement whatsoever and does not depend on their encouragement or otherwise, however welcome it might be.

Haviong said that, solidarity is always a better policy than gratuitous criticism in this kind of issue, would you not agree.
# willie boy 2013-11-28 15:56
The repeated bias and misrepresentati on by the BBC will become an ever larger cause of resentment.
# NoForMe 2013-11-28 16:33
If you check the actual video of Rajoy's speech, you will see that the BBC did not misrepresent it. The problem is that the El Pais statement was just a brief paraphrase of what Rajoy actually said.
# Abulhaq 2013-11-28 16:00
Question. Currently the Scots and Catalans are citizens of the EU. What criteria or mechanisms exist whereby citizens might be deprived of such citizenship without their consent?
# bringiton 2013-11-28 16:02
If we are to be ejected from the EU immediately following independence then at that point Scottish territorial waters cease to be part of the EU and any non Scottish fishing activity (including Spanish) would be illegal.
This would be in no one's interest and especially Spain whose fisherman rely heavily on access to our waters.
It would be unthinkable for the EU or NATO to lose access to the north east Atlantic and it just won't happen.
Germany and others would put intense pressure on any state trying to prevent Scottish accession.
The solution will either be to take the peaceful option on offer from the SG to conclude rapid negotiations or gunboats at dawn.
As everyone has commented,this outburst is aimed at Spanish domestic consumption and not Scottish but is being spun by the English press into an anti Scottish message.
# gerrydotp 2013-11-28 16:04
"The Spanish prime minister has suggested that an independent Scotland would have to apply to become a member of the EU from the outside."
But how and when does it go from being a member as part of the UK - to being outside?
If Scotland votes yes - then it will still be part of the UK, and its people therefore still part of the EU. When exactly will Scotland be ejected and be "outside"and its people stripped of European citizenship
# HistoryPHD 2013-11-28 16:30
Of course we shouldn't be surprised. There already exists a substantial body of legal opinion which supports the SNP position, including from lawyers such as Sir David Edward who are no converts to the YES cause. The uncritical alacrity with which this story was seized on has to be the clearest example yet of blatant bias from the media during the independence debate.

It doesn't take an intellectual heavyweight to see his agenda, or even go to the trouble of getting an accurate translation of his comments, let alone pausing to consider some of the subtleties of European politicking.

The two nations that will dictate the EU response to a YES vote are France and Germany. The French will cheer a Scottish YES vote, whilst the Germans and Scots have much in common. I'd wait to hear what they have to say before I uncritically/inaccurately parrot what the Spanish PM says.
# Abulhaq 2013-11-28 19:51
The Germans, after their support for the break-up of Yugoslavia which turned very nasty, are likely to keep quiet on both the Scots and Catalan case. The French not wishing to encourage their Catalans, Corsicans and Bretons to seek greater autonomy likewise. In the end it is up to us. An idea whose time has come is irresistible.
# IXL 2013-11-28 16:51
All of this is nonsensical posturing.
No one really expects Scotland, when its people vote YES to Independence, to be cast out of either Nato or the EU.
As "bringiton" has said, certain countries (eg Denmark, Canada, Germany etc) will bring tremendous pressure to bear to ensure Scotland is a full member of all the clubs.

I have to say also that more should be being made of the fact that we shall be nullifying the Treaty of Union, so it will not just be Scotland which is put into this position.
# staypos+ve 2013-11-28 17:17
We all have to accept that BBC Scotland is now playing it's part in the Better Together Campaign - the Heyley Miller comment this morning radio ''Salmonds blueprint in tatters'' was the final evidence .
# James01 2013-11-28 17:23
I see that the "Scottish independence: Mariano Rajoy says Scotland would be 'outside EU'" headline is now not featured on the front page of the BBC Scotland website, it has been replaced with "Salmond rejects EU membership fears" and now only appears as a sub headline.

It's quite disgraceful that the in-out referendum to come if Scotland votes no is never mentioned by the media, I mean how is that for a real scare story!
# gerrydotp 2013-11-28 17:37
IXL. Indeed - the Treaty of Union. Anybody give me an idea at what point after a Yes vote this is looked at and at what point does the UK cease to exist and split into its constituent parts.
# HistoryPHD 2013-11-28 18:29
Quoting gerrydotp:
IXL. Indeed - the Treaty of Union. Anybody give me an idea at what point after a Yes vote this is looked at and at what point does the UK cease to exist and split into its constituent parts.

The consequences for the rUK are one of the biggest unknowns and most glaring omissions in the whole debate. There is an interesting angle here. Strictly speaking England ceased to exist in 1707, although traditional whig constitutional theory is loathed to ever admit this fact. An argument can be made that with Scots independence the entire United Kingdom as constituted by the Treaty of Union ceases to exist, with the result that we have two new states, Scotland and rUK(or whatever they call themselves). There are many complexities to this which there isn't space to address here, but the assumption that all carries on for rUK as if nothing has happened in the event of a YES vote is one that seems faintly ludicrous.
# rabkae 2013-11-28 23:42
1707: Kingdom of England (Since C16th incl. Wales) + Kingdom of Scotland = Kingdom of Great Britain

1801: Kingdom of Great Britain + Kingdom of Ireland = United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland

1927: Parliamentary Styles & Titles Act = United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland

Act is partial correction - Post Irish independence, (demise of the Kingdom of Ireland), rUK title/flag should revert to pre-1801 style, with addition of N.Ireland, and take the form of the Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland

2016: Post Scottish independence, (reinstatement of the Kingdom of Scotland), rUK should title/flag should revert to pre-1707 style, with addition of N.Ireland , and take the form of the Kingdom of England & Northern Ireland.
# HistoryPHD 2013-11-29 10:26
Scotland won't 'revert' to its pre-1707 state after independence, that idea is preposterous and there are no examples in international law of such a thing happening given such a gap and the other particular circumstances. Professors Crawford and Boyle discuss this in the legal opinion they gave to the UK government on the international law aspects of Scottish independence, and on that area (though not on others) I agree with them at least. It's a silly technical argument anyway, but given there will be an interim constitution etc. there is little point in regarding the post-YES Scotland as anything other than a re-birth. I think we should embrace our history, but there comes a point when it needs to be left behind.

Is England still a kingdom though? What you say is certainly possible, but technically since the Union of the Crowns the monarchy is British, 'the kingdom of Great Britain and NI'. Scotland's independence will not alter this fact.
# rabkae 2013-11-30 09:49
Is it so "preposterous"? Precedence is hardly relevant given the circumstances of the union of three crowns in 1603, then two parliaments in 1707, and again in 1801.

But whilst we're on the subject, the 1814 union between Norway and Sweden, dissolved following a referendum in Norway in 1905, isn't too dissimilar, and is far closer to the Scotland/England situation than, for example, the more recent Czech Republic and Slovakia scenario.

I doubt the Norwegians regard 1905 as seeing a "re-birth" of their country, but I could be wrong.
# Tuathair 2013-11-28 18:12
Rajoy is definitely at it. No one seems to wish to explain the paradox that rUK is hellbent on keeping us in the union, while the EU is supposed to be desperate to get rid of us. If he has met Cameron secretly, they should both have decided on the same story. What next: watching Dr Who to become compulsory?
# Alan 2013-11-28 18:32
Somewhat more balanced background info can be found at:

Scotland's Place in Europe

UK faces EU re- negotiation over Scottish independence

An independent Scotland would face little European opposition to membership of the European Union

A Quarrel in a Faraway Country?: Scotland, Independence and the EU

The links above were found at
# MacSenex 2013-11-28 18:42
The under current is that the Unionists support the Spanish PM , the man who would deny Gibraltar it's democracy .
The raison d'être of the EU is the expansion of democracy. One might ask, who are the democrats?
The Spanish make far more money from Scots than vice versa.
# James01 2013-11-28 19:08
NNS is mentioned in this article in the Guardian

NNS is described as a nationalist website which is probably what the BBC would describe you as if this site were ever mentioed there, but when they run stories from The Scotsman, Herald etc they would never describe them as Unionist newspapers.
# Clootieblocked 2013-11-28 20:13
An interesting spin by Brian (of blether fame) on Reporting Scotland. He attempted to undermine the letter used by the FM at yesterday's FMQ's by
a) firstly stating it was not sent directly to the FM, then
b) stating that the recipient of the letter was a member of the SNP (including branch).

I would have thought that the content being true and valid would have received some coverage in this piece?.
# Roll_On_2011 2013-11-28 20:26
By the way GA the Guardian has another article - Independent Scotland should stay in EU, says judicial expert….

Aye GA and the writer Severen Carell even cites NNS with regards a letter:

“ The intervention by Sir David Edward – formerly the UK's judge on the European court of justice – came as the first minister produced a letter from a European commission official stating it was legally possible for Scotland to stay within the EU without having to reapply as a new member state.

But the significance of that disclosure was quickly undermined after it emerged that Salmond's aides had downloaded the letter from a nationalist website, Newsnet Scotland, and had not been officially sent that opinion by Brussels. “
# xyz 2013-11-28 20:42
Why now? - The white paper - that's why now.

The collusion between agents of #ProjecFear and the Spanish PM seems clear enough. He is just another agent of that Project.

I don't think it's going to matter when it is widely known that a NO vote will result in devastating cuts in out pocket money, while as stated in the white paper: Over each of the last 32 years, estimates show Scotland has contributed more tax per head of population than the the UK as whole. Total Scottish tax receipts in 2011/12 (the latest year for which figures are available) were equivalent to £10,700 per head. This compares to a figure of £9,000 per head in the UK as a whole.
# theycantbeserious 2013-11-28 20:50
Where are the Spanish going to fish now? The government of an independent Scotland may frown upon a non-friendly nation fishing in it's waters.

Be careful Spain, as Scotland will be independent and it will be Holyrood and not Westminster that you will have to negotiate with.
# call me dave 2013-11-28 21:00
Scotland in EU set out here.

Can I recommend the excellent summary article by Mr Bateman on this subject.

Non, mes amis
# Breeks 2013-11-29 06:58
Better Together attack the First Minister for making presumption about issues he cannot be certain about, but there is an equally presumptious foundation to the status rUK will have.
The only distinction I see between two kingdoms ending a union is that one kingdom elects for change, snd the other is obliged to accept it. I do not believe that being a voluntary or involuntary partner in the breakup has any bearing on the nation status afterwards. If it was a marriage, both parties are divorced irrespective of who filed for it.
Any uncertainty about EU membership should logically be equally applicable to both emerging states.
# Breeks 2013-11-29 07:11
For example, if a married couple had joint membership of a golf club, their divorce would render a joint membership obsolete and both would need to arrange independent membership. No great drama, but I fail to see the logic in why the golf club would eject either player nor indeed stop them playing golf in the meantime.
# rabkae 2013-11-29 08:09
Anyone else note that the BBC article went from an initial near apocalyptal tone on the subject to, some 12 hours later, an almost neutral and factually correct piece when compared to earlier versions.

Is this a deliberate new ploy on the part of the BBC? Put the boot in early doors with the usual bias and distortion of facts, thereby planting the seeds of doubt in the minds of the undecideds, only to water down the article later on in order to deflect any criticism from the Yes camp?

After all, how many readers of BBC news online bother to re-read a story at 10pm, given they already read it at 10am, and have since heard it on other MSM outlets? Of course, the initial spin will have already had the desired effect by the time the BBC takes steps to make itself look, in their own words, "balanced".

Don't pay for this garbage!
# call me dave 2013-11-29 09:15
Spluttered my coffee but worth it.

GMS this morning and Naughtie in shock and spitting feathers trying to cut off and interrupt MacWhirter on currency and the EU.

Sensible comment from guests about Scotland being independent and welcome in Europe are not permitted and not what our license fee is for Mr Macwhirter!

The BBC will be putting him on the ‘z’ list for appearances.

Good for him! (on this occasion)

Patrick Harvie was a star on QT last night from Falkirk. Head and shoulders above everyone and cut through the bull sh#t easily destroying the 'better togethers' on the panel.

He is a huge asset to the YES.
# EphemeralDeception 2013-11-29 09:37
It is ironic that the UK are saying we have to negotiate with them for a long period in order to determine how we can leave the UK.

However at the same time,while we are in the UK and trying to complete negotiations to get out of the UK, they consider we are already out of the EU.

Furthermore, as they are not blocking our EU valid UK passports on day 1 of a YES, the position is obviously wrong and untenable. Plus they have the gall and insult our intelligence by refusing to formally request the EU to respond.

The UK state treating us as inferior does not help their campaign.
# call me dave 2013-11-29 11:31
The louder the MSM screams and the bigger the headlines are doesn't prove anything except that they are rattled.

Here is a blatant piece of unionist writing in the Telegraph BUT like the curate's egg good for us in parts there's a wee thread running through it, we could vote YES. The gap is down to 9 per cent..
STV debate mentioned too.

" This gruesome spectacle was only beamed into Scottish households – a shame, because David Cameron really ought to have seen it. It would have shown just how much trouble the Union is in."

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