28/02/2012 Newsnight Scotland


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leaving others to fight it out for Tonight on Newsnight Scotland., the


first official pronouncement of the European Commission on what status


an independent Scotland would have in the European Union. We will talk


to the Catalan member of the European Parliament who have been


pressing for answers. And if you do not want independence,


then you can have devo-max, the new Scotland Bill, you can have Menzies


Campbell's proposals from the Liberal Democrats or you can have


whatever emerges from the civic Scotland campaign. And you can now


have something called the Pope last, we will be asking what that might


be and whether this is all getting a bit silly -- something called


devo-max. There's been a debate going on for


some while about what an independent Scotland would be in


the European Union. Would it continue in membership or would


Scotland have to apply for membership? In a moment I will be


speaking to the Catalan member of the European Parliament tried to


get answers from the European Commission that first here's David


Allison. There is some flash photography in this report.


Your Scotland, your referendum. Alex Salmond is casting a long


shadow with his plans for an independence referendum in 2014.


And interest from foreign media means impact has been felt well be


on Scotland. When he held his press conference at Edinburgh Castle last


month, to launch the SNP's administration consultation process,


the First Minister was aware that countries such as Spain were paying


particular interest to what he had to say.


The media from Madrid would also be from the Basque region and


Catalonia to report back what it Now a Catalan MP wants answers from


the European Union. Ramon Tremosa, a liberal politician with a


background in economics submitted a written question to the European


Commission last month. In it, he points out that the UK has been


part of the European Union since 19 Another person had the task of


coming up with an answer from the European Commission and the rest of


the UK as well as Scotland. He says the commission is not able to


express any view given up the view and terms and result of any future


referendum are known as is the nature of possible future


relationships between the parties concerned and those parties and


European Union partners. As a fairly non-committal response


but does indicate that he and the President of the European


Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, say EU membership for Scotland as a


political issue rather than constitutional. In the Catalan


capital of Barcelona, the moves for a Scottish referendum and his


impact across the EU were being closely watched while in the Basque


country, tongue in cheek demands from pro-independence campaigners


have prompted headlines like this even here in the Scottish media.


Madrid it remains particularly wary although the Spanish Foreign


Minister was quoted at the weekend He said that no one would object to


consented independent of Scotland. But Spain recently did block moves


by the former Yugoslavia Republic of Kosovo to get EU membership


because it was based on a unilateral decision and so in


Spanish eyes was completely different. Since the SNP won a


majority, it has taken a while for Westminster to react. Now it


appears that the union is starting to take notice.


Just before we came on their eyes but to the Catalan MEP, Ramon


Tremosa that you saw there. He is a member of the majority party in


Catalonia. I began by asking him why he put this question to the EU


Commission. There are a lot of parallels between Scotland and


Catalonia. Like in Scotland, the opinion polls in Catalonia show


increasing demand for independence. We have, depending on the polls,


some give a 40% in favour but other polls give 50 present, 53% in


favour of independence and it is a clear majority feeling in people.


Unlike in Scotland, there is a huge majority, near 80% of cattle and


population, which wants real, fiscal federalism. -- near 80% of


the Catalan population. Collecting all the taxes and this includes all


the Spanish speaking people in Catalonia so I think we follow all


the debate and we admire how democracy exists in the United


Kingdom. With a British Prime Minister accepting the referendum.


Just to make clear to people, one of the issues in Spain is, as I


understand, is it written into the constitution that people in


Catalonia or the Basque country can not have a similar referendum?


but this constitution was written just after Franco died. The


military powers had a lot of employment -- had a lot of


influence. The Basque country was not a prude and Catalonia existed


in extension. -- the Basque country was not approved. This is why...


Basically you put the question because you would like to know, as


Catalans, should you have a similar vote what the situation would be of


either Scotland or Catalonia should either of them decide to become


independent? Yes, I wanted to intellectually know which would be


the answer of the European Commission. And as I could foresee,


at the European Commission said it was an internal issue of the United


Kingdom and if they were aware of any change, the United Kingdom


would make these steps necessary to deal with any situations. But I


wanted to go because in Catalonia, lot of people ask me about this


question so I put it to the commission. Are you satisfied with


the answer? The commission has basically said to you, about what


we don't really want to talk about this"! It is a polite and


democratic answer. The commission... I think that in Europe, everybody


knows that there will be a referendum in Scotland and if the


Scottish people vote easily and democratically, for independence, I


think that the rest of the European nations will accept a new state. So


this is why I asked all the MEPs from the political parties and we


are expecting... In Spain, I have doubts if the Spanish government


would accept a majority demand from Catalans or Basque people. Thank


you, it has been very interesting talking to you.


Thank you. So we were just getting used to the term devo-max being


bandied around and it led to a pressure group called Reform


Scotland and they have a go at selling as a new type of devolution,


devo-plus. Laura Bicker has been finding a out.


Basic choice is a good thing but what if you have no idea what on


earth you are choosing between? Devo-max or devo-plus. Do we know


what either would mean for Scott and? Under devo-plus, we would have


full control of income tax, corporation tax, plus some control


over welfare benefit. Devo-max has not been properly defined but it is


thought it would go further. We take on more welfare including


pensions, VAT, and national insurance. The mandate from the


people of the referendum is the best but just as tough and tax-


raising powers. Back at the launch of a new devo-plus brand today, it


seems not all the details have been nailed down. I pick the proposal


has been worked out, that is not to say that it will not be flexible


and changed going forward because we are getting lot of input from


Treasury and others about the details of the proposals and we


have to adapt. The broad philosophy is each level of government should


be responsible for raising the money that it spends. Individuals


from the Lib Dems, Tories and Labour have signed up although not


for all of the proposals. I am fully signed-up to the principle.


The overriding principle that each level of government should raise


the taxes that it spends because I think that way we address the


problem that Kenneth Calman identified, the lack of it


accountability. And they don't intend for the question of devo-


plus to be put to the people. have had a referendum on tax powers


for the Scottish Parliament. What devo-plus is about is extending


that. I think this question has been answered by people across


Scotland. They want to see their Palmer put more responsibility,


they want to see politicians doing things more responsibly. I think


the question has been dealt with. The Scots have heard a lot about


greater devolution over the past few weeks. The Prime Minister David


Cameron at the former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling both


talked about giving more powers to Scotland. But outside of devo-max


and devo-plus, you have the Scotland Development -- the


Scotland Bill making his way through Westminster and the


nationalists campaigning for independence. Choice can be a good


thing. But is this constitutional choice just a bit confusing? And


anyway, it's not even clear that the Scot would get a chance to


With me is the leader of devo plus. And that share of the Scotland Bill


Committee. Jeremy Purvis, what are you proposing it should be done?


You do not want a referendum. group is not seeking it. What do


you want? We want to persuade the political parties to adopt the


proposals we have outlined. That is a clear aim. You would say the vote


no to independence but you would hope to be able to say one or more


of the political parties have adopted your plan. We are hoping to


go further as a group. We can have a cross-party view and see if there


is a consensus for additional powers for the Scottish Parliament


to address a real fault line... are still in the Liberal Democrats?


I am. Are you hoping to convince them? Each party has its own


process and they will come to their own views. We wish to inform the


debate. We want to the parties to adopt the proposal. I would love it


to be if I have a vote in the referendum, I will vote no to


independence but I want that to be a vote for change. I hope they can


be a consensus for that. According to the Scotsman, best MP backs devo


plus. Your party loves this? -- SMP. A party is clear. We stand for


independence. You are also abjectly desperate for a second question to


be in the referendum because you know that is what people want.


stand for independence... It is nonsense you want eight-second


question. We want the single question because we believe in


independence. We have said everyone in Scotland have a view, there is a


consultation, people should respond to the consultation. We will look


at what people are saying. That is clear. What is not is what these


parties are now dealing with devo plus. There are questions in there.


They do not know whether they want a second question. He has just said


he does and that one! I have heard other reports. -- and doesn't want


one. If the position of devo plus and not to have a second question?


The group is not seeking one. sounds to me like it is putting it


off. Are we have heard it all before. We heard it in the 1970s.


It took us 20 years to get our Scottish Parliament. The debate is


on and it is about whether Scotland should be independent. People can


contribute. Let me read you a paragraph. They have learnt a


strong body of opinion are lined up behind devo plus and the First


Minister could agree to include a referendum -- that in the


referendum. The First Minister has always said the consultation is


there, people can contribute, if they have a large body of opinion


coming up from six Scotland that a second question could be considered,


it would be considered. You may have Alex Salmond on your side, or


at least that the new. What about David Cameron? According to the


Scotsman, he was. I bet you're glad you are left -- you asked your seat.


-- Young lost. People should be making a clear choice. We hope as a


group of the choice between independence and devo max -- devo


plus. That is why we are hoping that the parties will look at this.


There will be a set of proposals. It is not just about... I can


appreciate a level of confusion may exist but that is why we have


established this, to be specific. Are you sure about what you are


watching for? One of the implications of the policies or the


policies you are outlining -- the proposals, is to do with the


British welfare system. There is no constitutional reason why a winter


fuel payments should be reserved by it the Treasury. Under your


proposals, as you know, the welfare system... Pensions will continue to


be reserved for Westminster. Scotland is doing badly compared to


the UK, UK taxpayers will continue through the benefits system.


Correct. That is a pretty important benefit. Does the 8th MP want to


disband the UK benefits system? -- SNP. You need to have the palace to


do it the best for the citizens. To say you are not going to include


pensions and to say the welfare system does not tie in with the tax


raising powers, I think that is creating problems. You see the


force of a point? One of the benefits of the UK is when


particular parts are doing badly, just as in the US, the whole of the


UK automatically through the benefits system, money is shovelled


into areas doing badly. In an independent Scotland, you would not


have that. A Scotland that was doing badly -- badly would have to


subsist on tax revenues. independent Scotland would be a


normal country, same as many other countries in Europe. It would take


its own in decisions to the benefit of citizens. There is no reason why


Scotland would do badly. Scotland is doing better than the UK at the


moment. Why do you think that is wrong? I think the way the UK


operates provides a risk and benefit system. When it goes well,


Scotland shares that but if there are difficulties, there can be


equalisation across the UK. Offaly, that is the benefit of being in the


UK. -- obviously. The F MP want to tell us they are not breaking up


the UK, it is a social union. -- SMP. We maintain social union.


does that mean? It is about being good neighbours. He does not mean


anything at all, then? I think the reality of this discussion is at


the Scottish National Party, if they had not won a good majority,


are we not be having this discussion. People would be trying


to kill devolution. Why not put your question... I know there are


problems with devolution but why not stick something on a


referendum? If you are a unionist and you want to shoot the Scottish


Nationalist Party, why not? It was nine years ago that David Steel


really is these issues. I wrote a paper on having more powers. This


predates the Scottish National Party coming to office her in 2007.


There are those who believe the party should be stronger. --


apartment. That is why we believe in the case for devo plus. A look


at tomorrow's papers. In the Daily Mail... Chris Huhne will pocket the


money despite being at the first Cabinet minister to be forced from


office. At the Guardian, activists killed in rescue of British


journalist from Syria. The Independent, hip replacements. That


For most of Oz, Tuesday was a cloudy but mild day, particularly


across the East. -- most of us. Most of us will have a grey start


tomorrow. Things will brighten up in the afternoon. In the north-east


of England, they will see decent breaks. Temperatures will lift to


14 degrees. It will stay cloudy for East Anglia. You could see brighter


spells later. The best of the brakes are likely further west. Are


a much sunnier day for south-west England. There are sunny spells.


Temperatures reached 11 degrees. In Northern Ireland, a similar day to


yesterday. Western Scotland keeps the blagged of cloud with a few


spots of rain. Staying rather cloudy for most of us, particularly


in the morning. Things will turn writable stop in London,


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