Another issue is that burning question in UK/Spanish relations…not Gibraltar (why the UK wants to hang onto a seedy Monkey infested rock is beyond me…I propose to swap it for a bottle of Sangria to each UK household! :yes:) but the Scottish Referendum. If youve listened to the media youd be under the impression that the Spanish are against Scottish independence. Actually, why hear is nothing of the sort! Catalonian independence and Scottish independence are, as many Spaniards will point out, entirely separate issues. Indeed I suspect the Spanish sense the danger of trying to link these two matters, as it only adds fuel to the fire in Catalonia.
Indeed, speaking of Scotland, opinion polls now suggest that the margin between the two sides has narrowed to the point where just a 5% swing could tip the scales. I would argue that the SNP have failed to close the deal with the case for independence as they are being somewhat unrealistic. I would question whether it would be possible to negotiate and implement independence within 18 months, or indeed even desirable to do so. And dont get me started on the ridiculous idea of keeping the UK pound (just issue your own currency like every other country in the world!).
However the Tories have screwed up royal. Rather than fighting the campaign on practical grounds theyve instead tried to fight it on wishy, washy issues such as pointing out there will be no team GB in the Olympics (yes Im sure the Scots will be devastated when they realise that Chris Hoy and Andy Murray will be competing for Scotland instead of team GB ), or the fact that Scots will have to make an international call to ring England (they are aware the EU is talking about getting rid of roaming charges altogether?) or whether there will be dog border controls to stop people taking their pooch South for the weekend (who let the dogs out? |-|).
Inevitably, many Scottish are seeing through this as childish drivel and this is driving more and more the way of the SNP. Its not so much a case of the SNP winning the referendum, but the Tories risk losing the referendum, despite the SNP best efforts to screw things up.
And in a demonstration of the Tories supreme arrogance, its been revealed that the Tories have not made nor enacted any contingency plans to deal with the consequences of a successful yes vote. They have just assumed theyll win! However, as Robert Peston of the BBC points out, this is a fairly audacious gamble. The danger is that in the event of a close run thing this could lead to market jitters (which would effect trade in London probably more than in Scotland) and could lead to a full scale run on the pound.
And since were talking about it, referendums are fickle affairs. During the lead up to the 2001 Nice treaty referendum in Ireland, the government held a comfy 10% lead in opinion polls, right up until polling day…when they lost by about 54%! So the present lead for the no camp in Scotland is practically waver thin. A small percentage of those dont knows waking up referendum day and voting yes could easily swing things.
But again to return to this EU related question. At the risk of sounding like Nigel Farage, but it would be wholly outside of the EU mandate to deny Scotland membership, as the EU president suggested, on grounds that it might influence matters in Spain. This amounts to the EU being used to resolve what is an internal matter in member state. Or more specifically an attempt to link the internal matter in one sovereign state with an unrelated matter in another sovereign state, some that is well outside the remit of the EU.
Now while unfortunately the Spanish government seems to be trying to use the Tory playbook for dealing with Catalan (which explains the sudden popularity of Catalan independence ;D, its a bit like Osborne taking financial advice from Berlusconi!), the rest of the EU isnt going to be happy with that…indeed I suspect even the Spanish people wont be keen. Recall that the bulk of the EU would be either neutral on this matter (Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, etc.) or indeed bias towards Scotland and they idea that they would allow the EU to be made smaller just so that Tory euroskeptics (who are talking of leaving anyway!) or the Spanish can score a few points on domestic matters is just bonkers.