09 June 2015

S4M-13404 European Union Referendum

The Presiding Officer (Tricia Marwick): The next item of business is a debate on motion S4M-13404, in the name of Fiona Hyslop, on the European Union referendum.

... ... ...

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP):

It might be just as well for me to declare at the outset a personal and family interest, since my niece, who is a scientist, lives and works in Sweden. Jo enjoys her time there, and Jamie, my nephew, lives and works in Denmark, where he is a teacher. I have a great-nephew and a great-niece who, in Danish, are halfdan—in other words, they are half-Danish and half-Scots. If it had not been for the freedom to go and work in Europe without any great difficulty, I suspect that the history of my family in modern times might have been a bit different.

We have heard a bit about who can vote. The answer for Christian Allard is extremely straightforward. The Liberal party has eight members of the House of Commons and 101 members of the House of Lords. Pro rata, that means that the SNP can appoint probably 707 members to the House of Lords, and I propose that Christian Allard be the first of them, because he will then meet the necessary requirements to allow him to vote.

Let us go a bit deeper into the bill that the Tories have brought before us. We discover some interesting things. While Christian Allard might not be allowed to vote, he is allowed to be a permitted participant for the referendum. He can register a campaign, contribute all his worldly wealth, go into hock if he wishes, and campaign for a particular result. By the way, that provision includes 16 and 17-year-olds. They can establish campaigns and be permitted participants. They are allowed to influence the outcome but not to be part of the outcome. That is a quite bizarre way of bringing forward legislation. Christian Allard would consider the matter carefully and cast his vote appropriately, and that would be true of many of our citizens.

Even more bizarre, we come to the situation of the citizens of Gibraltar, who are allowed to vote in European elections in the extended constituency of South West England. They will be allowed to vote in the referendum. That is fascinating. By the way, peers who are not even UK or EU citizens but who are electors in the City of London will be entitled to vote.

The bill—this tawdry piece of paper from the Tory Government—is riddled with inconsistencies. It denies the vote to citizens of Europe who have the greatest stake in the referendum and who contribute mightily to the economies of the UK and of Scotland, while many of the parasites—simply by owning property in the City of London—can participate and set up campaigns on whichever side of the argument they are on. A totally bizarre bill is before us.

I do not stand before members as an uncritical supporter of the EU. Representing fishermen in Scotland, I of course share with them the discomfort that, when a fishing boat that is registered in Scotland goes out, it is covered by our regulations, but it can be alongside and in the same place off our shores as, for example, a Spanish boat that is working to different legislation. We have to fix that, but we can do that and we are making some progress.

I am going to really live dangerously. Last week, I lived dangerously when I quoted Alastair Campbell, who spoke excellent sense when he described Charles Kennedy as somebody who spoke “human”. However, I am going to go even further and quote Margaret Thatcher, which is really living dangerously.

In June 1975, in the debate after the result of the previous European referendum, Margaret Thatcher said:

“we join” the Prime Minister “in rejoicing”—that was a favourite word of hers—“over this excellent result ... We are particularly pleased ... with the strong ‘Yes’ from each of the” constituent nations “of the United Kingdom”.
—[Official Report, House of Commons, 9 June 1975; Vol 893, c 31.]

She recognised the importance of achieving that support from each of the constituent nations. Perhaps the Tories should consider what their dear leader said in 1975 when considering the position that they now wish to take.

I hope that the Labour and Liberal amendments resonate around the chamber but, because they would delete important things from the Government’s motion, I suspect that we will not support them. For my part, I would be happy to support their contents, if not their deletions.


Stewart Stevenson
does not gather, use or
retain any cookie data.

However Google who publish for us, may do.
fios ZS is a name registered in Scotland for Stewart Stevenson

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP