Today Scotland isn’t even worthy of consideration on the European stage. Scotland and her resources are administered by Westminster. London is who Brussels deals with and in practical terms rarely a thought is given otherwise. Scotland at present effectively has no voice in Europe. The interests of Scots are subordinated to general UK policy. This is Scotland’s Europe, 2012.
Scotland’s MEPs are mostly faceless amid myriad others, key committee roles and policies from fisheries and farming to oil remain decided by Westminster.
In 2012 Scotland has no opportunity for leadership in Europe, but she is full of promise.
Against this background the next half decade is fluid, dynamic and potentially vibrant, at least for Scots, should we choose. We can also lead Europe to a new path.
Europe is changing because Europe must. Most of us pay little regard to the backdrop of the EU and Eurozone crisis, it’s a news item, but not that significant as we deal with the turmoil of our daily lives and more personal crises.
The Europe we know is changing, and it’s changing quickly. Many are seeing it as Germany’s Europe, where the mid European powerhouse economy dictates to the rest of the EU, primarily through its financial support of the Eurozone. Germany is laying down the law, dictating social structure, welfare and benefits, her tentacles are seeping into every aspect of EU life as conditions of perpetual bailouts.
This perception of Germany is a myth based in reality. The Germans are certainly underwriting the EZ, but only because that’s what the EZ governments, these popular “democracies” desire. We the citizens demand benefits and safety nets, policies and welfare to elect our politicians, so our politicians promise them, even in the knowledge that our nations can’t afford them. Then our politicians turn to the German backed institutions of the EU or the global IMF for funding.
This is essentially underwritten by the parasitic banking system, where private banks are licensed to create money and lend it to us so that we have to pay interest on the money they create.
We have lived with this snake eating its tail since William Patterson first convinced William of Orange this was a good idea. With the concept that money and wealth can be “created” by private banking companies and not as a product of the work of the people there would always be a day of reckoning, and that day for Europe is now dawning.
Europe is now in a situation that will play out largely in a timeline with Scots independence, barring an accelerated disaster with Spain, Italy, Ireland or Portugal. The two, the EU and Scots sovereignty are interrelated and intertwined on a multitude of levels. Both scenarios are about money, power and the politics of fear.
It was the politics of fear that had the Irish confirm the latest EU treaty, it will be the politics of fear that will have the Greeks vote for an EU supporting party this weekend. Of course there could be an unlikely result where the Greeks vote to restore their sovereignty and steal Scotland’s thunder. Don’t expect such a result in Greece; the entire EU machine has directed its broadside of impending doom at Greece in recent months. Present indicators are that the Greeks will buckle.
The Greeks will join the other countries of the EZ who are now bailing each other out – it’s portrayed as neighbours helping neighbours. The problem is there’s only one truly strong neighbour, Germany, with the others all in varying degrees of onerous debt. We’re now seeing Spain’s banks being bailed out, Ireland has to use some of its bailout funds to help Spain – or it can try to borrow more. Italy is on the hook for almost 20B Euro’s as part of Spain’s banking package, and it has to borrow that money at 5% to lend it to Spain at 3%. That’s the EU rules. For those who noticed, Spain’s bailout euphoria only lasted a few hours this time. The banks and “investors” are always demanding more, and with governments in debt to them they are rarely told “no”, and then it’s often just for appearances sake with decisions quickly, quietly reversed.
This Spanish bailout is a good example, it means Italy who the markets are already avoiding, will have to find 2% of 20b each year to finance Spain, that’s 400 million Euro’s a year the Italian taxpayer has to eat, on top of financing their own debt and paying into the EU. The Italian taxpayer, like the Greek and Spanish are beginning to have second thoughts. Confidence in the EU and Euro is dropping and the drop can be expected to gain momentum. The UK is a microcosm of the EU.
Contrast this with Iceland’s experience; it dumped the debt on the bankers rather than the public purse. Iceland had two rough years but is now well on its way to sustained recovery. The markets are not avoiding Iceland. Iceland also held the bankers criminally to account.
The EZ and the UK by contrast has an overall negative debt ratio, a negative balance of payments and an overall contracting economy.
The EU, particularly the Eurozone, as it presently exists is lacking a single overall positive indicator which says the recession/depression will even have a potential of terminating. The politicians of the EU and the UK are using wealth that has only one foundation in reality, the future penury of the individual through onerous taxation. Our premiers and politicians are enriching a privileged few as they perpetuate an ideology of a United States of Europe.
This United States of Europe is simply a project that most of those involved with can’t afford to see fail, for with its failure goes their credibility, careers and backers profits.
The single prop still holding up the EU is the one leg of a four legged stool, when the economic foundation is eroded, the natural wealth denuded and mortgaged, national assets stripped and sold or privatised all that remains is taxing the futures of the average citizen. The average citizen can only be taxed so far, have so much of their future mortgaged before social unrest commences. It’s that burden which has led to revolution, to upheaval, and to demands for only taxation with representation in the past.
Europe is about to undergo such a period. Scotland will also undergo such a simultaneous change, both are now predetermined. What is not set is Scotland’s path, it can be the opposite of Europe and the UK should her people choose, or it can mirror the impacts of the larger area. Everything is dependent upon whether Scotland’s course is within or outwith the UK. Indicators state that charting our own path will mean travelling in much calmer waters.
We can expect the Euro to collapse during the period of Scotland’s march to self determination, we can also expect the pound to lose approximatetely 20% to 50% of its value over the same 2012 – 2017 period; both relative collapses have already started. Both Europe and the UK are suffering from the same malaise.
The revolution within the EU will likely be peaceful for the most part, like the revolution that created the Euro. A two tier EU will emerge, with the EZ being reduced to a block largely consisting of the original EEC members, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Holland and Luxembourg. Italy, from a market perspective is ailing and questionable, but the potential for a viable reduced EZ certainly still appears to be present amongst the group. The EZ has a potential to retrench, reorganize and expand, but it has a relatively small window of opportunity.
Scotland within the UK is in the same position.
The scenario we can expect to develop as Scotland elects to once again to beat her own drum, putting her own needs forward within the international community instead of relying upon London using her “proxy” vote, all too often left in the envelope, is one of hope for other small EU nations.
We can anticipate the EU/Eurozone very reluctantly reducing to a more stable trading community with a substantial recovery of national sovereignty. A sovereign Scotland will help the retrenchment; it will enhance the viability and reduce the social unrest. Scotland will be able to demonstrate to Europe that smaller nations can repatriate sovereignty and recreate the levers of economic success without destructive revolution and terminal social decline.
This is the base scenario of what we can consider to be Europe’s Scotland in 2017 and beyond. Europe will be a continent struggling through the aftereffects of abysmal policy by Brussels and resurrecting national sovereignty on a nation by nation basis. The electorates will demand it.
A newly independent Scotland will be undergoing a similar, but peaceful upheaval as she finally stumbles towards prosperity in her own right, prosperity now delayed some three centuries.
That our future Scotland will be part of the new European framework in some fashion is without question. That she will be there on her own fair, democratically decided terms is also without question, for Scots have what Europe needs. It is those very needs that for good or ill will make Scotland a focus, a beacon.
Scotland has more than 40% of the EU fossil fuel reserves, our coal supplies are relatively untapped, and we have between 10% and 40% of the EU’s renewable energy potential by industry, with less than 2% of her population. Scotland can also be a net exporter of water and food to the remainder of the EU; we have an abundance of both. Scots stand poised for a boom of potentially unprecedented proportions.
As this decade of radical change draws down, Europe’s Scotland can be developing into Continental Europe’s powerhouse, it can be helping fill Europe’s breadbaskets, it can be culturally enhancing our fellow nations within the EU to a considerable degree.
Most importantly, the dissolution of the UK that can be engineered by the Scots in 2014, in peace, in friendship and with amity can shine a light for the rest of the peoples of the EU. We can show them that “stronger together” is a great ideal when nations remove trading barriers, but also that sovereignty reclaimed is democracy enhanced and the individual re-enfranchised.
Europe’s Scotland can be a place where the Greeks, Spaniards, Irish and Italians can learn that fear of withdrawal from the EZ is just that, fear. That it can be done in an orderly fashion, that it may not be painless, but will involve far less hardship than perpetually pursuing failed monetarist policies to ultimate bankruptcy and individual penury.
Europe’s Scotland will only exist for a short time, until she learns what Scots can teach her, that Unions must be equal, that proportionate representation between nations simply doesn’t work, for the smaller is always subsumed and the greater will accept no other form of Union. Slowly, after our referendum, it will again become Scotland’s Europe.
If we choose.