With the Scottish vote for independence just a few short months away EU Perspectives examines the role-reversal effect this is having on some Conservative and UKIP politicians. A phenomena resembling a pantomime farce but which to all intents and purposes is masquerading as serious politics.
“I’m a Unionist head, heart and soul. I am not just proud of the Union because it is useful. I’m proud because it shapes and strengthens us all.”
Jean-Claude Juncker in a speech following his appointment to head the European Commission last week? Angela Merckel addressing German businesses leaders during the recent European Parliamentary elections? Herman Van Rompuy, outgoing President of the European Council, addressing EU Member States in a farewell speech?
Wrong. Try again. This ones a total outsider.
David Cameron. Yes! Would you believe it? Cameron the lion of Westminster, English freedom fighter and attempted slayer of pro-Union federalists, in a speech on Scottish Independence in 2012. The very same Cameron, who in the House of Commons last week, announced, to uproarious applause from his back-benchers, “…we’ve got to get Britain out of ever-closer union.”
But why? We’re confused Cameron. Are you, or are not, a unionist? Does Cameron himself get confused in the morning when he sits down to breakfast with SamCam in Nu 10 Downing Street?
Dave: “Sam, honey, remind me. Am I anti-union this morning and pro-union this afternoon? Or the other way round.”
Sam: “No! No Dave. Please sit up and pay attention. This morning you will be addressing a Scottish SME association in Glasgow so you are definitely pro-Union. North of the border it is important you give them the spiel about how important it is to share a common currency, to pool our economic interests to create growth and jobs and how great it is that we do not need common borders. Got it? Good. Pro-union.
This afternoon you’re back in Westminster for question time, where your back-benchers are slapping your shoulders for standing up to all those pro-Unionists in Brussels. There you have the talk about how you most definitely are anti-Union. Westminster does not want a common currency, we do not want to pool our interests for economic growth and jobs. We can go it alone and we most certainly want border controls to keep all those continentals out. Remember back in Westminster we want to keep the power we don’t want Scotland to have. That way we can tell the Scottish what’s what when they vote to stay as part of our 300 year old Union but not part of the, you know, “other” 50 year old Union. Don’t look so confused honey – it’s quite simple really.”
And d’you know what – David Cameron pulled it off perfectly. Sam must be so proud of him because on Wednesday, David Cameron went north of the border and told his audience
“I come across business leader after business leader – large and small in Scotland – who wants to keep our United Kingdom together and thinks it would be crazy to have border controls, different currencies and split up our successful United Kingdom.”
The farce does not end with the Camerons. Consider this,
A union of countries means sticking together during good times and bad. It means going to the aid of each other in war or financial disaster. A union of … countries is not just for a few years. You should not unpick it when you think you might have a few more years of higher tax revenue, or seek to put it together if you are down on your luck.
Again the reader may be forgiven for thinking that this is some kind of servile, badly composed drivel the EU propaganda machine likes to publish. You know, the kind that Michael Gove and the Conservative Party are determined English minds should not be sullied with. Once again no. These very words were written by one John Redwood, Conservative MP for Wokingham, avowed hater of the EU and scribbler of a book entitled “Just say No!”
In case you’re confused that’s “No” to the EU and the euro not “No” to the United Kingdom and the pound because when it comes to the United Kingdom Redwood is definitely pro-Union. In fact the union between England and Scotland can make Redwood quite sentimental and dewy-eyed. He likes to compare it to a marriage where countries have to work together through thick and thin with a rather dire warning for those who choose to break up a marriage union.
A union of two countries is not just for a few years. You should not unpick it when you think you might have a few more years of higher tax revenue, or seek to put it together if you are down on your luck. If, however, Scotland does vote for out, they should expect a new tough England to negotiate in its own interests as any spurned partner to a marriage does.
From the words of Mr John “anti-EU” Redwood himself then – any break up of any union can have dire consequence. Let us just for a moment re-arrange the wording and even Mr Redwood might be surprised at what it reveals. If, however, the UK does vote for out, they should expect a new tough EU to negotiate in its own interests as any spurned partner to a marriage does.
What then about all those kippers – you know the school-boy kids who think it’s really, really naughty to turn their back on the new EP President when the EU anthem is playing. (Seriously, just turning your back – how lame is that? Pull a moonie if you’re serious about playing naughty school-boys.)
But, we digress. What’s their view on this whole Scottish independence thing.
That’s hard to ascertain since the ukip.org website has been down for over a month now. From other sources, however, EU Perspectives has been able to ascertain that in 2011, ‘We, the People: UKIP’s straight-talking manifesto for the Scottish Parliament elections 2011’, UKIP, 2011, p. 4, states
“We the people shall Replace MSPs with Scottish Westminster MPs’
Ever since Farage was called scum by a group of protesters in Edinburgh however Farage has changed his tactics to suggest that the Scottish should not be voting for independence from the UK but should be voting to leave the EU. Which, judging by the mood of the English voter is exactly, what the Scottish will get if they choose to vote no to Scottish independence. They’ll keep the union between England and Scotland and lose the union with continental Europe.
The sad thing is that Cameron, Redwood and Farage have all been described as “highly intelligent.” Cameron got a first in PPE from Oxford but ends up getting his knickers in a twist about what it means to be part of a Union. Redwood’s writing has no inherent logic to it whilst Farage is an opportunist with a half-baked notion of what it means to be rebellious.
To conclude, let us give the last word to David Cameron,
I don’t believe that the people of Scotland any more than the people of any other part of the United Kingdom want to turn inward and away from each other at this time.
Quite. Such a shame then that Cameron’s ham-fisted handling of both Unions is resulting in the British electorate turning ever more inward rather than forward looking and multi-cultural.