Questions to which the answer is ‘Er…’

Before defenders of the Union get used to the idea of being on the defensive all the time, let’s just remind ourselves that the case for separation hasn’t yet been made as far as the people of Scotland are concerned.

There are a number of pertinent questions that can’t simply be dismissed with a wave of the saltire and a reference to “negativity”. So here is the first in a series of posts aimed at eliciting some answers where until now there has been only fluff and spin.

We know plenty of nationalists read this site and it is at them these questions are aimed. Can they answer them? Watch the comments thread to find out.

Question number 1:

The SNP mantra is that Scotland should control all its domestic affairs. Given that the EU already makes up to 50 per cent of all member states’ law, why don’t the SNP support withdrawal from the EU as well as withdrawal from the UK?

Got a question which you suspect our nationalist overlords would rather not be asked? Email your suggestion to

Related Posts

41 thoughts on “Questions to which the answer is ‘Er…’

  1. Simple answer, the SNP feel that Scotland is under represented in the EU, often never being represented directly in talks about matters such as fishing when even land locked smaller countries had a say. Obviously the government of the union in Westminster could handle this better, but as it has shown almost no willingness to do so indepdendence is the only route that offers better representation to the Scottish people.

    As set out in the white paper, Choosing Scotland’s Future, the SNP believes that Scotland will have better influence on these matters were it independent.

    So this is a question to which the answer is: read what the SNP have written!

  2. If you want a serious discussion, why are you trying to skew the question in such a cack-handed manner?

    The SNP mantra is that Scotland should have the power to decide how its domestic affairs are run. This is quite clearly not the same premise as your lazy/ignorant/misleading pre-amble.

    Presently there is a majority in the SNP that believes it would be in the best interests of Scotland to continue to be an EU member post-Independence. I happen to believe that that is presently what the majority of Scots would think too.

    Whether that majority persists in Scotland long-term is debatable and I wouldn’t be surprised if a post-Independence Scotland moves to a a non-EU member of EFTA as per Norway and Switzerland fairly quickly.


  3. All I can see with both SNP and their supporters is dictatorship and them trying to rob Scottish Labour supporters of freedom of speech. It seems just because SNP literally runs Holyrood that their supporters can dictate to all others who do not support SNP. What they are in danger of doing is running many no Scots out of Scotland in their overly Nationalistic attitude. Its fast becoming an embarrassment to Scotland having what seems like SDL-esque SNP supporters stalk all over the internet seeking out Scottish Labour and their supporters as if they think bullying might have them jump ship in fear. There are resident SNPrs that sit on the Daily Record website waiting for any article relating to Labour and shoot down,insult and intimidate people who do not agree with SNP. Alex Salmond should be concentrating on his own supporters along with stamping out Sectarianism because this kind of SNP intimidation is equally as bad! SNP does not hold the right to fly the Saltire, any person representing Scottish Labour and their supporters have as much right as them. Last I remembered I was born in Scotland, am very passionate about Scotland but I’m not ramming it down everyones throats like SNP supporters do………Scotland is a multicultural land and it certainly does not need numbers to diminish because of this anti everything else other than Scottish people and SNP.

    1. So am I right in saying that you are of the opinion that those of us who support independence (and not all pro-independence people are SNP voters by any means, quite a few are Labour voters) do not have the right to voice our feelings on publications that have the sole aim of spreading malicious fallacies about us but it’s ok for the pro-Unionists to say whatever they like on any forum? Wow! Labour and democracy have never stood so far apart from each other!

      1. Theres voicing opinions and downright bullying people by presuming that everything SNP says is the right way. You want to take away from other Scots and other people living in Scotland the right to not want to agree or vote for SNP. SNP supporters are like hunters who track down those who oppose Independence and SNP. Its disgusting in all honesty and you are just another pushy SNP supporter who tries to bully folk into agreeing on Indepdence. Its past the election, SNP won so why do you still hunt in packs across the internet gunning for Labour supporters. I speak from vast experience in the bullying mentality of many SNP supporters and it makes me ashamed of what they are doing to Scotland. Give it time because people can quickly turn against SNP just as they did Labour and trust me, you aren’t winning brownie points for SNP or Independence. You have the right to comment but you do not have the right to bully people over the net! I used to think it was just the Torys that did that but SNP have overtaken them in arrogance. I’ve been Labour for over 30 years but I have lost faith in them because of the control that Central Labour have had over the years but if I were ever to stop being a Labour member hell would freeze over before I voted SNP…..and all because of the arrogance and intimidating nature of many of their stalking followers.

        1. I was also a born and bred Labour voter, I lost faith in them after Blair took us into Iraq (even before the WMD dossier was shown false I was convinced it was to control oil but dressed up as a liberation force) and then came the release of a document in 2005 that had been buried for decades. That was the final straw for me but I must admit I’ve always had a desire to see Scotland independent. A view that has always been held by many Labour voters, it’s not just the SNP who want self-government for Scotland.

          1. You do realise, I assume, that while there are probably a few Labour voters who want independence, they will be outweighed many times by the number of SNP voters who don’t? You did realise that? Well, okay, just checking.

          2. Weirdly there’s no reply button alongsider Tom Harris’s comment, so I’ll put this here.

            Tom, surely you have studied the way in which support for independence does not fall along party lines?

            The last public figures I can find are these published by scottish affairs in ’02. It is instructive that more Labour voters than Lib Dem supported independence through later period, and also that whilst the SNP had a clear group who didn’t support independence it had consistent majority support for it’s view. Meanwhile, both Labour and the Lib Dems received a quarter of their votes from nationalists. I would presume that it is that group that have deserted Labour and the Lib Dems fastest but that they have been joined by further voters.

            I presume if you have more recent figures to discuss Tom, you will cite them to further the debate. I wouldn’t want either side to cite a fact it doesn’t have the figures for.

          3. “whilst the SNP had a clear group who didn’t support independence it had consistent majority support for it’s view. Meanwhile, both Labour and the Lib Dems received a quarter of their votes from nationalists.”

            In other words, a majority of SNP supporters want independence and a majority of Labour and LibDem votes don’t. I assume you’ve alerted the media?

    2. This frustration seems somewhat misplaced as the article specifically solicits comments from SNP voters. To say that they are in danger of running non Scots out of Scotland due to their “overly nationalistic attitude” is baseless.

      I’ve voted for Labour in the past, but I’ve always been very much aware that the SNP’s nationalism is based on civic-inclusion and is not racial in nature. To suggest otherwise is disingenuous, and does you a disservice.

      You’re correct in your point about the flag. The SNP does not have, and has never had, sole right to fly the Saltire. Others presumably choose not to of their own volition.

  4. I’m late to the party in answering this one. As Oscar and Alex rightly pointed out, all pro-independence folk (not just the SNP, and certainly including a quiet minority inside Scottish Labour) advocate having the power to decide how our country’s affairs are run, and having proper, direct representation in the EU. This is not equivalent to the premise of your question; and no doubt intentionally so.

    Who hides behind the admin user name? 🙂

  5. “Got a question which you suspect our nationalist overlords would rather not be asked”

    Something like, how did a democratically elected government manage to get 67 seats and a clear majority, in a parliament deliberately set up to prevent a SNP majority while the all conquering Labour party amassed an astounding 37 with most of them through the assisted places scheme.

    On questions to which the answer is er,

    Perhaps it is a desire to take control of our own country and particularly the economy, to be like any normal nation. What difference is there in Scotland being part of the EU and the rest of the UK being part of the EU?

    The bigger question unionists should ask themselves is why you do not think your country is capable of being a normal nation? Why are Scots in demand round the world for their skills and expertise yet we are unable to do what every other country does.

  6. Why do nats feel compelled to invade webpages that clearly aren’t going to be to their liking. Instead of engaging with the question they label it “lazy/ignorant/misleading ” or something else to that effect. Why do all nats believe that any dissenting opinion is a heresy that must be crushed. Whatever happened to freedom of speech. Why the SNP demand”full autonomy” yet seem to want to cede power to europe is a contradiction and if someone wants to ask the question they should be allowed to do so without being demonised.

    1. Could it be pershaps that many Scots prefer a role in the formation of policies at the EU than no role in deciding our future in Westminster? The EU membership allows the countries to opt in or opt out. So far the unionist dominated governments will not allow that option.

      Perhaps someone can explain to me how the EU passing 50% of the laws that affect the UK is any different than it doing so for an independent Scotland? The EU impact appears to be the same whether Scotland is inside or outside the union. The real difference is that inside the union, Scotland is virtually powerless to manage its own future as without the support of over half of the English MP’s, an action will not pass. In an independent Scotland, only Scottish representatives will make the decision.

      Rather than see these questions as threats( as some here do), would it not make sense to use them as a opportunity to dialogue and discusss ideas and potential solutions.

      1. Yep, cause Scotland doesn’t send any MPs to Westminster and if it did none of them would have any power, certainly not being Prime Minister or Chancellor or Home Secretary…

        No, wait… .hold on…

      2. And with only 6 MEPs, an independent Scotland is powerless to prevent the EU passing legislation which affects it. Even at ministerial level, there is qualified majority voting.

        In short, an “independent Scotland” will only be noticeably different if it leaves the EU.

    2. This is very typical of them….they invade and abuse especially if you comment on something they don’t like. Many years ago I used to quite like SNP even though I was a staunch Laborite but I loathe them now and its down to many of their supporters. They really do make me shudder, I’ve had so many experiences of it in the last 8 months. They lurk and pounce on anything relating to Labour and even now that SNP are back in power they are still haunting every Labour site/forum they can find. What they will eventually do is alienate the decent SNP supporters and those that were once Labour. As I mentioned before I fear the SDL are in danger of growing through this over obsessed Labour stalkers. In all honesty they should not be allowed on this website, this is for Labour supporters who want to improve Scottish Labour but the SNP stalkers come on Labour forums soully to destroy the conversations and chase away members. Again it seems to be that they think only SNP have the right to be Scottish and that no one else has a right to support Scottish Labour.
      Admin, we are here to help make changes within the Scottish Labour party but if you allow these SNP supporters on you will only land up losing the Labour supporters who come on here. Mark my words most are only on here to annoy, insult and anger people on here. They have their own forums which they should go to instead of trying to spoil this one.

  7. MJL

    Perhaps to answer questions such as this one,

    We know plenty of nationalists read this site and it is at them these questions are aimed. Can they answer them? Watch the comments thread to find out.

    Now if you would like the answer to every question asked and every post here to be, yes isn’t the Labour party in Scotland wonderful, then you should all really be talking to yourselves, you might convince yourselves May 5th never happened.

    On May 5th the Labour party got a lesson it should not forget, but probably will if the articles and the replies are anything to go by. This country has moved on a lot since 1999, but Labour has not moved with it. This country will move on even further over the next five years of SNP majority government. We will have greater powers and more financial control over our own country, that is a given. What is not is whether Labour wants to join in moving Scotland forward or just sit on the sidelines and girn.

    Does Labour really want to side with the torys and Lib/dems and hold Scotland back? and have they thought through the long term consequences of being the torys little helpers in Scotland.

    1. “the torys little helpers” first off its spelt Tories. Secondly I don’t seem to remember anything about this in any Labour manifesto.

      The questions here are not “aimed at nationalists”, they “will be aimed at nationalists”. That’s a pretty big distinction. This is supposed to be forum for those of a Labour persuasion to discuss. Yet reading through the comment threads all you find is nationalist abuse. Do you people really have nothing better to do with your time than this. Honestly why do you do it? There are plenty on SNP affiliated websites you can go on to. Go there and tell everyone just how much you hate the Labour party.

      On an aside isn’t the chosen one his most saintly and good Alex Salmond MSP on a policy drive at the moment to tackle internet hate? Oh the irony…

      1. MJL


        Is telling Labour they lost big time on May 5th abusive? Did you not loss on May 5th? am I mistaken?

        Hate Labour where? No but am sorry about what Blair and Brown did to a once great party.

        I would say that as long as Labour runs away from debate with all political views in Scotland the time in the wilderness will be long, but to paraphrase Iain Davidson “who cares”

        Sorry my spelling of tory upsets you, but “Er”

    2. Scottish Labour can’t answer your question as they are just too divided among their own ranks on independence and those who do support it are keeping quiet lest the others turn on them the way Brown turned on Blair.

    3. I have faith that many of the Labour members are truly Scots nationalists in the civic, not partisan, sense. They do want what is best for the country but are not being allowed to express their views due to strict top down control from London and certain of the Scots leadership.

      I have spoken to many Labour workers who are strong advocates of full fiscal autonomy and would prefer that option be endorsed by the party. They feel a sense of frustration and almost fatalism that the party either cannot or will not be able to adjust to the changing views of the country. Many feel they are on the same slippery slope as the Tories were years ago.

      It is up to the Labour members to re-assert themselves in this debate over Scotland’s future. Some have done so on this site but have been slated by those who oppose any change at all. I wish them well and urge them to continue to press Labour until it becomes a truly scottish party.

      1. Labour do need to recapture the reforming zeal of ’97. At the moment the only party looking to the future is the SNP. I fail to see the case agaisnt greater fiscal powers (especially corporation tax), even Vince Cable agreed until he got an earful from Gideon. I simply reject the idea that in order for this to work we need independence. We don’t. In areas such as defense, foreign policy, borrowing, transport and a few other areas it makes sense to be part of a larger nation. The SNP hit the nail on the head when they say the Union as it is doesn’t work for Scotland. Where they are wrong is that the solution is not to take our football home like a petulant child whose team just lost. No the answer to reform the Union to fufil it’s potential.

        1. Your reasons for wishing to maintain the Union bring us back to the original piece. The EU, to some extent, provides an alternative framework for sharing defence, foreign policy and other functions currently exercised at Westminster, although even the most dyed-in-the-wool independentist must recognise that the bland, faceless EU lacks any of the emotional significance which attaches to the UK.

          But I don’t believe substantial reform is possible, certainly nothing much beyond the “parish council” level we’re at. If I’m proved wrong, I’ll be happy enough. I’d prefer independence, but I could live with “full fiscal autonomy”, or whatever it is called this week. It would only be a temporary pause after all. Nothing can be done to put the genie of English nationalism back in the bottle.

  8. It would be refreshing to see the sniping aimed at the SNP stop (it smacks very much of sour grapes) and for Scottish Labour to concentrate on learning why they lost so much support. Scottish Labour need to decide where they stand on Trident and nuclear energy plants (most Scots would like them gone), what their view of a future Scotland is and where they’d like to take us as a nation instead of only looking at the UK as a whole (what suits the English Labour voters does not suit the Scots), they need to decide if they are a regional branch of UK Labour or a separate Scottish Party (to outsiders it looks like Scottish Labour see Holyrood as a stepping stone to Westminster and not as a fully valid parliament in it’s own right) and stop making scurrilous claims about Scotland’s viability as a self-governing independent country. Even the most pro-Unionist economists say Scotland wouldn’t be any worse off financially by removing Westminster control and many say we’d be moderately better off.

    1. Do you have any polling data that Scots are against Nuclear Power. As for Nuclear weaponry, it no accident that since their creation there has been an era of relative peace.

      The sniping takes place because some SNP supporters don’t engage in discussion and simply post about how much they despise Labour.

      Good point about what the Scottish Labour party actually is. My own opinion is that it should be affiliated with UK Labour but an autonomous party.

      As for your comments about Labour MSP’s using Holyrood as a stepping stone to westminster, it’s painful to admit it but your largely right. I think this is just a hangover from the pre devolution days and will correct itself over time.

      I am a Unionist myself but I have never bought into the idea that Scotland would cease the function if it became independent. Yes we would run the real risks of Ireland and Iceland but they have still survived the economic storm as would Scotland in the long run. Too many Unionists do try to “talk down” the Scottish economy and it is to their own cause’s detriment.

  9. MJL

    Re Nuclear power this is what you want.

    Our poll shows 52 per cent of Scots are against new nuclear plants, with 27 per cent in favour and 21 per cent undecided. Opposition is strongest among women, with 59 per cent of them against compared to 44 per cent of men. Young voters are also strongly anti-nuclear, with 57 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 against new stations, compared to 44 per cent of those aged 65 and over.

  10. I’m saddened to see that the Labour supporters on this blog would rather not engage with those who believe that Scotland should be an independent nation. And that they rather disingenuously dress nationalist supporting comments up as cyber bullying. I felt that was extremely odd after the author of the piece above seemed to invite comment from just that quarter. I’ve had a look through the blog now and unlike Tom Harris’s last blog there does not seem to be a comment policy. I also note that comments are moderated. I’m assuming that it would be at the point of moderation that bullying comments, or ones that are not appropriate for the ethos of this blog are removed. Tom, or whoever is in charge, if you don’t want me to comment on here you need only tell me once and I will cease to do so and will remove this blog from my own blog’s blog roll. It was only ever there in the interests of having a blog from all Scottish political perspectives.

    1. Manguin – if you look under “Contribute” you’ll see there is a reference to the type of comment likely to be deleted. Indeed, views from supporters of other parties are welcome. I think what depresses Labour supporters (and me) about most nationalists’ comments is the unremittingly negative tone they adopt: “I used to be a Labour member and they’ve always put themselves before Scotland and ignored Scotland and hate Scotland and what about the McCrone Report, etc…” That doesn’t qualify as serious debate, I’m afraid.

      Nonetheless, still waiting on this particular “Question to which the answer is ‘Er…'” to be answered.

      1. Not forgetting the “theres no such thing as Scottish Labour” attack. We are Labour members who live in Scotland and decide what we are going to do – if anything we’re ignored by Labour HQ, not told what to do.

      2. Tom, what about the replies of Alex and Oscar yesterday at 3.13, and 3.18? They seem like reasonable responses to this question.

  11. For Tom Harris and Admin:

    By expressing its existence in the form of an independent country rather than a national region of the United Kingdom, Scotland could expect to increase its influence in the EU by having additional MEPs and a seat at the top table.

    Compare the current situation with the island of Ireland which sends 15 MEPs to the European Parliament (12 from the Irish Republic and 3 from Northern Ireland) compared with 6 from Scotland. The Irish Republic also has a seat at the top table.

    Bear in mind that the population of the island of Ireland is LESS than that of Scotland. Don’t tell me that Scotland would not be better off within the EU as its 28th state.

    I suggest my comment above is not an “Er” response!

  12. Tom,

    I think you have had a number of answers above – just because you don’t like them, doesn’t mean that they are not answers. My own response is that withdrawal from the UK is about seeking to engage equally with other nations and to make decisions for ourselves about the extent to which sovereignty is shared across a range of dimensions and issues. Membership of the EU would be politically and economically important to a newly-independent Scotland but, crucially, we would have full and equal rights (and responsibilities) as a member state, alongside all the other member states. To argue that this is Scotland’s current position in the UK is nonsensical.

    But I also wondered if this question signals the beginning of the Labour Party’s move back to its 1960s/ early 1970s opposition to EU membership.

  13. “The SNP mantra is that Scotland should control all its domestic affairs.” I think the SNP position at some point in the distant past (at least 20 years ago) was for Scotland to be independent outside the EU and there is still a very small but vocal group within the SNP advocating withdrawal from the EU (as I’m sure there probably also is in the Labour party).

    There is a well known SNP member who is regularly a delegate at conference who seems to raise this almost every year, much to the exasperation of the party hierarchy and most of the ordinary members. But Independence in Europe has been a core concept certainly since the early 1990s, and certainly since Alex Salmond has been SNP leader, I think this is the settled will of the SNP nowadays.

    I’m perfectly comfortable for an independent Scotland to be part of the EU, as an equal partner along with England and other European nations, and to me the question asked in the original post is fairly redundant. Can you imagine how ridiculous it would be to suggest that because Labour and all unionist parties want the UK to be in charge of it’s own domestic affairs that they are advocating the UK should withdraw from the EU?

    Also have to draw attention to part of the original posting “We know plenty of nationalists read this site and it is at them these questions are aimed. Can they answer them? Watch the comments thread to find out.” And when some nationalists do provide an answer to the questions asked on the post, is it really the appropriate thing for a lot of readers jump up and down, screaming and stamping their feet, just because they don’t like the answers we give.

    So if some don’t like the answers given then what’s the point in asking the question and asking for responses in the first place. I’m sure that’s not the intention of the people running the website, who do genuinely appear to want to provide the opportunity to have an honest and open debate on the issues. It’s just a shame some of the unionists giving their responses do not seem to get this point.

    1. I think what you meant to say is: “The SNP object to pooling our sovereignty in a political union where we have a massive amount of influence and where we share a common language, culture and history with our partners, yet we have no problem applying to re-enter a political union in which we would pool our sovereignty and be a very small player.”

      Funny, isn’t it, that you object to political union in one context but not the other. Why is that, I wonder…? Hmm, that’s a real mystery…

      1. Your words, not mine – I don’t think you’d be at all surprised to hear when I say that is not the way I see things at all.

        I’ll try and draw one parallel very quickly. Can you see the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania rushing to leave the EU, give up their sovereignty and rejoin the USSR or become part of an increased Russia? Thought not.

        Like the USSR was, the UK is an unbalanced union, completely dominated by its largest member. After the collapse of communism with little else holding it together it was inevitable the USSR would break apart, just as it is only a matter of time before we see the UK – a similarly unbalanced union with little keeping it together – go the same way.

        One advantage of the EU is that it is indeed a political union, but not one in which the larger members always impose their will on the smaller ones. In devolved Scotland we do get to decide some of the small day to day things in our country, but the really big decisions like the tax rate, the economy, whether or not we go to war etc. are made by another country on our behalf, and there is no escaping the fact that UK elections are won and lost in the central and southern part of England, so whatever they vote for, Scotland gets, unionists defending this should remember that now and again this means we get a Tory government and all the spending cuts they like to impose on us.

        The fact that all smaller nations within the EU all have equal influence is one of its strengths. Scotland should be in the same situation as these small European nations, I don’t know how anyone can justify Scotland only having 6 MEPs when we really should have 13.

  14. Funny the subtitle says Labour Hame, where Scottish Labour can discuss but all I see is the Nats taking over yet again and ramming Independence down Labour supporters throats. I DON’T WANT A BREAK IN THE UNION! This website will die a death because of the NATs who will continously take over all threads and no Labour members and supporters will want to come on. Then again this is probably what they want, the last thing they want is people getting passionate for Labour again especially now we want to get back to grass roots Scottish Labour. In Fife at the threat of it being Luechars that is lost that will increase an even great number of already highest unemployed in Scotland. Thats what is keeping our kids in fuel poverty, NO JOBs thanks to Salmond, in my opinion he has ignored Fife for bringing in jobs because its been Gordon Brown’s backyard!!!That was until near election when he wanted the votes and that was only a piddly amount.
    Mark my words Admin, these resident Nats will drive others away like they have done all over the net, just check the Daily Record articles relating to Labour for one. I bid you goodbye, have had my fill of NATs to last me a lifetime thanks to their harrassment and bullying of me and many other Labour supporters in last year

    1. Elaine – I hope you’ve noticed a new approach to moderation of comments. Where a Nat has something remotely positive or relevant to say (which is rare) we’ll let their comment through. Otherwise their comments are binned.

Comments are closed.