§ Madam Deputy Speaker (Miss Betty Boothroyd)
Mr. Speaker has selected the amendment standing in the name of the Prime Minister.
§ Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan)
I beg to move,That this House notes the continued and overwhelming rejection of the Conservative Party's colonial regime in Scotland, the willingness of the Labour Party leadership to place Trident submarines on the Clyde against the wishes of the Scottish Labour Conference and majority Scottish opinion, the results of the European elections which saw the Scottish National Party gain 26 per cent. of the vote and move into a clear second place in Scottish politics, the continued alienation of the United Kingdom from its European partners and the obstruction to European Community co-operation presented by the Prime Minister's little Englander attitudes; and recognises that the only constitutional change which can meet fully the need for economic and social progress in Scotland is independence as a full and equal partner within the European Community.The House will note that our motion refers to the Government's colonial attitude to Scotland. I know that his description of their policy programme has caused some anxiety to the Tory party in the past, and particularly to the Secretary of State for Scotland, who has been anxious to disavow a quotation of 8 March attributed to him by the Scottish Field:In fact the powers of the Secretary of State for Scotland are not unlike those of a colonial governor.If the Secretary of State maintains that he did not say that, the House will have to accept his word, although I am still perplexed about why the Scottish Field of all magazines should want to make up the quotation. However, the case for saying that the Tory party treats Scotland like a colony does not depend on quotations, accurate or otherwise: it rests on actions and facts.
The case rests on the actions of this Government in a range of policies, from the poll tax, to opting out in education, to the review of the National Health Service. In these areas the Government's policy programme is being imposed against the overwhelming body of Scottish opinion, using what the Secretary of State used to call—he does so less now—the "Gatling gun" of the Tory majority in this place and the army of political appointees north of the border who do the Tory bidding.
I was struck on Monday of this week by the irony in Brian Meek's column in the Glasgow Herald. He is something of a soulmate or confidant of the Secretary of State for Scotland, more so perhaps than is the hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Forsyth). Councillor Meek complained in the column about being bumped off the Lothian and Borders police board. He complained that the Tory party representatives on that board were being reduced from three to one, and said that it was disgraceful that the Labour party majority on the committee should abuse its powers in that way.
Councillor Meek may have a point in this case. The majority party on a committee should not use its powers to reduce the representation of minorities. The irony lies in the fact that I cannot remember Councillor Meek ever having written a column in the Glasgow Herald or 985 anywhere else in which he noted the complexion of, for example, the health boards in Scotland. Trade union representation and opposition party representation on those boards has been systematically reduced by this Government. We look forward to Councillor Meek regaling Scotland on the unfairness of this—
§ Mr. Harry Ewing (Falkirk, East)
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that 10 of the 15 members of the Forth Valley health board live in the constituency of the hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Forsyth)? Not one comes from the highly industrialised constituency of Falkirk, East and of the others, a small number are shared between Falkirk, West and Clackmannan. Is that the sort of bias to which he is referring?
§ Mr. Salmond
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman and aware of what he says. My colleagues and I recently met a Scottish Trades Union Congress delegation, which gave us the facts and figures of how this pattern is being replicated all over Scotland. So it was ironic that Councillor Meek mentioned the Lothian and Borders police board but did not refer to anywhere else in Scotland —or even to his own appointment as a prominent member of Livingston development corporation. I do not think that the new town of Livingston has ever elected a Conservative councillor in its electoral history. So throughout Scotland there is a colonial system of government imposed by the Tory majority.
§ Mr. George Robertson (Hamilton)
I was somewhat puzzled when I read the Order Paper because it says:This Opposition Day is at the disposal of the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, pursuant to Standing Order No. 13. The selection of the matter to be debated has been made by the Scottish National Party.I cannot help wondering whether there is a quid pro quo involved in the right hon. Member for Lagan Valley (Mr. Molyneaux) giving up this day. May I ask the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) a question? We know that the SNP is in favour of an independent Scotland in Europe and that it is also in favour of an independent Wales in Europe. Will the hon. Gentleman tell the House whether it is in favour of an independent Ulster in Europe?
§ Mr. Salmond
The hon. Gentleman demonstrates his ignorance of House procedures. I know that he has been here for some time but he has learnt very little. As I understand it, under Standing Order No. 13 the second Opposition party in the House is the Ulster Unionist party because of the name change and the disintegration of the alliance parties after the election. Just as in the previous Parliament it was the prerogative of the alliance to allocate the second party Opposition day, that is now the prerogative of the Ulster Unionist party. I must disappoint the hon. Gentleman. There is nothing more sinister in the Supply day than that. [Interruption.]
As the hon. Gentleman knows, I am a great believer in the self-determination of nations. I believe in self-determination for the Scottish nation, the Welsh nation and the Irish nation. I should be interested to hear at some time from the hon. Gentleman how he squares his support for self-determination for peoples across five continents with his refusal to accept it in the one country, Scotland, where he has any influence.
986 I was making the point that there is a colonial system of government in Scotland, imposed by Tory votes south of the border and implemented by Tory bagmen north of the border. In the argument about a colonial system of government, I can claim support from some sources in the Conservative party. Speaking in warning against colonial attitudes towards Scotland, the right hon. Member for Shropshire, North (Mr. Biffen), said on Channel 4 on 18 March that he found it quite insulting that anybody should say of Scotland:Oh, they can't possibly be a nation, they can't possibly have a national Government, they haven't got the population or the size',—it is an absolute nonsense of an argument, it is a patronising argument and on the lips of Englishmen it really is quite disgraceful because it's almost a proconsular argument, as though we were colonial peoples who hadn't yet got the resources for independence and that is complete and utter rubbish.Those were wise words that will stand the test of time. They were wise words not just for the English Conservative party but also for the Scottish Labour party because increasingly it is taking its agenda from politics south of the border.
A couple of months ago, in an idle moment, I turned on my television. There at Inverness was the Scottish Labour party in full flight in conference. The motion on the agenda was on unilateral nuclear disarmament. I expected a strong debate. Given the fundamental reassessment that is taking place in Labour ranks I expected a spirited exchange of views. No, there was not. So great was the unanimity within the Scottish Labour party that that motion—a hard motion in favour of unilateral nuclear disarmament—was passed without opposition, or at least overwhelmingly. That may reflect the consensus that exists in the Scottish Labour party. More realistically perhaps, the hon. Member for Clackmannan (Mr. O'Neill) did not think it worth while to argue the case at a Scottish Labour conference. For whatever reason, the Scottish Labour party reflected the consensus that exists in Scotland both for unilateral nuclear disarmament and against the Trident missile system.
The Labour party leadership in this place will not reflect that consensus. It will reflect the consensus between the two Front Benches, where the major differences are whether we shall have four or three Trident submarines stationed on the Clyde, whether the nuclear strike force will be increased by a factor of eight or four, or whether, as one delegate said yesterday at the Transport and General Workers Union conference, it is a Labour or a Tory finger on the nuclear button.
Presumably there are still left among Scottish Labour Members of Parliament some real unilateralists as well as some gut ones. Perhaps they should reflect on the Labour party's attempt to out-yuppie the Tory party. Just like the Tory party, Labour party policies are relegating the Scottish dimension to accommodate the requirements of an electoral system south of the border.
The Tory amendment to our motion makes the point that the SNP is also a minority party in Scotland. Perhaps there is no great difference between achieving 20 per cent., or a fifth, of the vote, which is what the Tory party achieved in Scotland last Thursday, and achieving 26 per cent., or a quarter, of the vote, which is what the SNP achieved in the Euro-elections. We feel that there are fairly substantial differences between us and them. One is that the SNP claims no mandate to run or govern Scotland until it obtains a majority of the seats and has a mandate 987 to negotiate independence. That is in clear contrast with the Tory party, which claims its mandate to run Scotland on a basis of 10 parliamentary seats, no European seats and a vote now reduced to 20 per cent.
Another substantive difference between the position of the SNP and the Tory party can be seen in the detail of Scottish opinion polls. Even at 20 per cent. of the vote, the Conservative party can at least claim that it is out-performing the support for the constitutional status quo in Scotland, which the latest MORI poll, in June, put at no more than 15 per cent. across Scotland. However, that is not the position of the SNP. Even with our vote rising to 26 per cent., we are under-performing when measured against the support for Scottish independence, shown in that poll to be 35 per cent., and when measured against the between 51 per cent. and 62 per cent. support for independence in Europe, shown in other polls.
§ Mr. Donald Dewar (Glasgow, Garscadden)
I know that the hon. Gentleman is fastidious in these matters, so I make this point for the sake of accuracy. Is not the support for a Scotland independent in Europe at 22 per cent. in the latest MORI poll? The hon. Gentleman has added another factor—Scotland independent outwith the EEC—to get his 35 per cent.
§ Mr. Salmond
I wonder whether the hon. Gentleman appreciates where his argument is leading him. Will he differentiate, in the devolution element of the poll, between his policy of independence from the United Kingdom, the Democrats' policy of quasi-federalism, the old devolution policy of the Labour party and the policy of David Martin, which is quite different from that of any of the other policies? We were given a choice between independence, devolution and the status quo. The figures that I have quoted are those recorded in the poll. I suspect that even the hon. Gentleman will not deny the figures of between 52 per cent. and 61 per cent. saying yes to a direct question of yes or no to independence in Europe, in three successive opinion polls.
§ Mr. Alistair Darling (Edinburgh, Central)
May I pursue the hon. Gentleman on the question of independence for Scotland inside or outside Europe? As I understand it, the nationalists see much of their appeal coming from the fact that they are offering Scotland independence within the European Community. If the terms for Scotland remaining in the EEC are renegotiated and found to be unsatisfactory, do I take it that the nationalist line is independence outside Europe, come what may?
§ Mr. Salmond
I shall be dealing with that matter later in my speech.
The SNP policy is absolutely clear. If we obtain a majority of seats in Scotland at the next general election, we will have a mandate to negotiate independence with Westminster—
§ Mr. Salmond
If the hon. Gentleman will contain himself, I shall answer his question.
The SNP will have a mandate to negotiate independence with Westminster and simultaneously to negotiate with the EEC. The constitutional settlement resulting from that will be put to the Scottish people in a referendum, so the Scottish people will decide. I do not 988 understand how, as a democrat, the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) could possibly object to that process—
§ Mr. Salmond
I hope that the hon. Gentleman will allow me to continue.
Despite the SNP's improvement to 26 per cent. of the vote, it is substantially under-performing, the support for independence shown in successive opinion polls. The SNP may not yet be winning the elections in Scotland, but it is winning the arguments—
§ Mr. Salmond
I have been very generous in giving way to Labour Members. I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman later if he allows me to develop a few more points.
During the European election campaign I was struck by the similarities—as I will no doubt be similarly struck in this debate—in the arguments of the two main Unionist parties—the Tory party and the Labour party, Tweedledum and Tweedledee. The response to the independence in Europe argument makes that especially evident. Both Labour and Tory spokesmen have claimed that Scotland would not be allowed to be independent in Europe; that somehow the nasty foreigners would keep out Scotland—
§ Mr. Salmond
If hon. Members will allow me to develop a few points, I might be generous enough to give way later.
During the European election, the SNP published substantive legal opinion from Professor Victor McKinnon and the French advocate Maitre De Roux pointing out that the conventions of state succession and the treaty of Rome—[Interruption.] I cannot understand why Labour Members are laughing, because we published legal opinion from other Europeans. I should have thought that the views of other Europeans on this issue were very important.
Both those substantive legal opinions pointed out that the laws of state succession and the treaty of Rome would keep Scotland within the Community during the negotiations. There was an intervention in the debate by Professor Emile Noel who, until 1987, was the Secretary-General of the European Commission. Indeed, he held that position for more than 20 years and is probably the greatest living authority on Community rules and procedures. As far as I know, he has no axe to grind on Scottish politics. On 5 March he said about Scotland:There is no precedent or provision for the expulsion of a member state, therefore Scottish independence would create two member states out of one … They would have equal status with each other and the other eleven states. The remainder of the UK would not be in a more powerful position than Scotland.989 Professor Noel expanded on those remarks in an article in The Scotsman on 12 June. At the same time, The Scotsman revealed what had happened to the Conservative party legal opinion threatened to be commissioned by Mr. James Proven, who had promised to make it the centrepiece of his re-election campaign in the north-east of Scotland. The Scotsman revealed that senior Tory sources said that the Conservative party had decided not to publish that opinion because it was "ambiguous" and could be "misinterpreted".
The greatest living authority on EEC procedures—[Interruption.] I am surprised by the laughter that greets the credentials of Professor Emile Noel—
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) need give way only if he chooses to do so.
§ Mr. Salmond
The position is that the greatest living authority on EC procedures volunteers support for the argument advanced by the SNP, while the Tory party cannot even pay someone to make their particular argument.
§ Sir Nicholas Fairbairn (Perth and Kinross)
If, without payment, another living authority on that subject may comment—if the greatest living authority in France pronounces the concept that Scotland is already a member state, in order to make the point that there could be no objection to its being a separate member state, the whole basis of that opinion is false.
§ Mr. Salmond
The hon. and learned Gentleman should have read Professor Noel's article, for I am certain that he is well aware of Scotland's status and, having been the European Commission's Secretary-General for 20 years, of the procedures, regulations and likely reactions of the European Community.
§ Mr. David Curry (Skipton and Ripon)
Does the hon. Gentleman distinguish between legal opinion—all those whose views he quoted are either lawyers or officials—and political reality? How many years does he envisage that the negotiations would take to complete? Does he accept that the last thing that countries such as Spain and France, with their separatist problems, want is to see the principle of separatism introduced into the Community? Negotiations would be long, painful and difficult—and the hon. Gentleman might not be in power by the time that they were completed.
§ Mr. Salmond
If the hon. Gentleman had familiarised himself with the subject of today's debate, he would know that Professor Noel's article dealt with that aspect. Professor Noel wrote that Scotland's membership of the Community would be accepted, and that any negotiations would concern only matters of detail. I quote again from the article about Professor Noel in The Scotsman, stating that hehas confirmed his view that an independent Scotland would be entitled to EEC membership, with negotiation on the detail and not on the principle.The suggestion by the hon. Member for Skipton and Ripon (Mr Curry) is deeply insulting, because it implies that Scotland has nothing of value that the Community 990 would find attractive—such as 80 per cent. of Europe's oil reserves and 40 per cent. of its fish reserves. Even more insulting—to other Europeans also—is the argument, made against all available evidence, that other member states would somehow want to flout the democratic will of the Scottish people.
Today's debate is about how Scotland's interests can best be represented in Europe and how Scotland can best be governed at home.
§ Mr. Home Robertson
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for introducing to the House the important views of Professor Noel, although I must confess that I had not heard of him before. Why is the hon. Gentleman making those important arguments in this "colonial" Parliament, as he refers to it, when he has an opportunity to make them instead before a body that does represent the people of Scotland—the Scottish Constitutional Convention?
§ Mr. Salmond
If I were the hon. Member for East Lothian (Mr. Home Robertson), I would not boast about not knowing the name of the person who has been Secretary-General of the European Commission for 20 years, for that displays his ignorance of European politics.
§ Mr. Salmond
The hon. Member for East Lothian knows very well that the Scottish National party is willing to have its arguments judged by the Scottish people, but it is not prepared to have a veto placed on them by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar).
The case made in Scotland by the Tories is remarkable. They say that somehow Scotland is better represented by English Tory Ministers chosen by the Prime Minister than by Scottish Ministers chosen by the people of Scotland. In reality, in most cases Scotland has no representation in Europe. In the two years to the end of 1988, out of 151 Council of Ministers meetings, representatives of the Scottish Office attended only five—and then in a junior capacity. Of the 95 major ministerial speeches made over the same period on Community topics, Scottish Office Ministers managed none at all. That is how influential the Scottish Office is in European policy determination.
Perhaps, as Member of Parliament for a constituency in north-east Scotland, I can take some consolation from the fact that the five meetings that Scottish Office Ministers managed to sneak into were all concerned with the fishing industry. In the House last week, however, we were given a working example of the priority that the Government allocate to that industry. The mid-year Council meeting made some fundamental decisions affecting the future finances of the Scottish fleet, and refused to act on the low Scottish North sea haddock quotas. The Government did not even consider it worth while to make an oral statement to the House, substituting a written answer in which the Scottish case was dismissed in two sentences. The fact is that Scotland is not represented at the top table where the real decisions are made. We are not represented but misrepresented by Tory Ministers who share neither our political values nor our industrial priorities: that is the reality of our provincial position in the Community.
991 When we had a similar debate last year, the Secretary of State for Scotland was unwise enough to unload some of his prejudices on to the House. He told us that the small countries of Europe rarely, if ever, hada decisive role to play in the major issues that affect the Community."—[Official Report,July 1988, Vol. 136, c. 1089.]I found those remarks interesting and later in the year I tested them by putting down some questions to the junior Foreign Office Minister, whose post was formerly held by the Secretary of State for Scotland. I received entirely different answers to similar questions.
This is what the junior Foreign Office Minister said about the role of small countries in Europe:All member states, irrespective of their size, play an important role in the process of development of the Community.She also said:The treaties … provide for all member states to contribute on an equitable basis to Community decisionmaking."—[Official Report, 31 October 1989; Vol. 139, c. 483–484.]There we have it. The official position of the Government is that small countries have an important role to play—except, of course, Scotland. We have the opportunity to build a consensus with our European partners, as all Community states must do, but that is something of which the Prime Minister is manifestly incapable.
Within the European Community, Scotland would have twice as many MEPs as at present, a Commissioner as of right, votes on the Council and a turn to lead the European Community through the presidency of the Council as a full and equal partner. We would have real influence in Europe to match real power in Scotland. That is the other side of the "Scotland in Europe" argument, and the argument for independence.
§ Mr. Nigel Griffiths (Edinburgh, South)
If Scottish representation were expanded, would the new representatives sit with the current Scottish MEP, Mrs. Ewing, with the Gaullists and others on the Right wing? Why has Mrs. Ewing not resigned from that grouping?
§ Mr. Salmond
The hon. Gentleman is manifestly out of date. The groupings in the European Parliament are currently being negotiated, and I am sure that Mrs. Ewing will continue to represent Scotland's interests. The hon. Gentleman will find that she has a superb voting record across a range of social and economic issues in the European Community. Clearly his lack of confidence in her is not shared by the electorate of the Highlands and Islands, who returned her to the European Parliament with a resounding majority.
I want to examine three examples of the domestic power that independence in Europe would give. At present the United Kingdom is pursuing policies that are not in Scotland's interest. The first example is monetary policy —the interaction between interest rate and exchange rate policy. No one in Scotland—not even, I suspect, the Secretary of State at his most effusive—would claim that the Scottish economy was overheating; the best that can be said is that it has undergone a slow recovery from the oil recession of 1986. Yet the monetary policy being applied in Scotland is designed to combat an overheated economy.
Can the Secretary of State tell us how inflationary pressures on the south-east of England will be eased by the imposition of penal interest rates on fishermen in the north-east of Scotland? How will a cost squeeze on 992 Scottish industry help the problems of the balance of payments? For Scotland, a high interest rate is not just a blunt instrument; it is the cure for a disease from which we do not suffer.
A recent paper from the Scottish Centre for Economic and Social Research pointed out that an independent Scotland we could look forward to low interest rates and a stable exchange rate regime as part of the exchange rate mechanism of the EMS, regardless of whether sterling decided to join.
My second example is that of Wang leaving Stirling. Let me say to the Secretary of State that there seems little point in throwing a tantrum at Wang executives: I suspect that lecturing them will be as effective as lecturing Caterpillar executives has been in the past. Clearly the relationship between a country and multinational companies has little to do with size. The strength of a bargaining position depends not on the size of the economy—otherwise Wang would not be on its way to Limerick—but on the strength of the overall economy. [Interruption.] I see that Conservative Members do not take my point. Let us take the example of Norway in the 1970s—a country of 4.5 million people which managed by general agreement to negotiate a deal with the international oil companies far superior to that negotiated by the United Kingdom. The bargaining position of the Norwegian Government was helped by the strength of the country's economy.
§ Dr. John Reid (Motherwell, North)
The hon. Gentleman might also reflect on Ireland in the 1960s. Through massive tax handouts, Ireland was able to bring in multinational companies for about 10 years; they disappeared as soon as the 10 years were up. The issue is related to size and economic muscle as well as to the wealth of the Government.
Can the hon. Gentleman answer a simple question? I have been wondering since I came into the Chamber why the hon. Gentleman moved the motion, rather than the leader of his party. Until now I had assumed that it was because the hon. Gentleman was considered to be better equipped to outline the intellectual basis for independence, but—knowing the attributes of the party leader, and having heard the hon. Gentleman's speech—I have had to abandon that assumption. Will he explain why he moved the motion?
§ Mr. Salmond
The hon. Gentleman may not know that the duties of my hon. Friend the Member for Moray (Mrs. Ewing) have been curtailed over the past week by illness in the family. I shall not take the matter any further than that.
§ Mr. Salmond
No one would argue that multinational investment is not an important factor; it can be extremely valuable. The question is whether it is the sole arm of economic strategy, as it appears to be in Scotland at present. The key to a robust economic policy is building on resource strength, skill strength, areas of natural advantage and the promotion of indigenous companies. Those are exactly the economic policies that would be open to a Scottish Government.
If we had a Scottish Government this year it would he faced with a substantial budget surplus. Even hon. Members who suffer from the most dependent mentalities 993 should not be surprised at that: after all, the United Kingdom Treasury is awash with funds at present. But there is a substantial difference. The United Kingdom Treasury is boxed in by inflationary and balance of payments constraints. Those constraints would not be faced to the same extent by an independent Scotland.
The Scottish National party has published our proposals for the economic regeneration of Scotland. I look forward to the Labour party publishing similar proposals, or indeed any precise programme. The SNP's policy proposals would create 78,000 jobs in the first year as we embark on a regeneration strategy for the Scottish economy, projecting Scotland on to a higher rate of growth and employment.
§ Mr. Dewar
Will the hon. Gentleman, who has been talking about the budget that he has done for an independent Scotland in Europe, comment on the letter dated 14 June 1989 which appeared in The Scotsman from a well-known supporter of the SNP, Professor Malcolm Slessor, in which he said:In fact, a financial forecast of what Scotland would be like as an independent country is about as meaningless as one of Chancellor Lawson's pieces of star-gazing.
§ Mr. Salmond
I commend the hon. Gentleman to read the SNP's economic plans for an independent Scotland.
§ Mr. Salmond
In that case, he may have obtained some useful ideas and will now give us a clue about what the Labour party proposes for its first year in government for Scotland. I recall the Labour party's programme at the last general election, when it worked out its jobs plan for Scotland by dividing by 10 the figure that it promoted for the United Kingdom as a whole.
§ Mr. Salmond
The alternative to the economic regeneration of Scotland through independence is to continue at the lower end of United Kingdom growth and to fail to provide decent employment for all our people and a decent living for that one third of the Scottish population who currently live in poverty. Labour Members in particular should reflect on the fact that the working people of Scotland are those who pay the economic price of the union.
This debate is a platform for the SNP, building on the substantial case that has already been promulgated for independence in Europe. For the Unionist parties, it should serve as a warning. Some of us, a growing number, have a broader ambition for our people than shoehorning Scottish priorities into the requirements of the English electoral system. The economic and political union with England has served its purpose. It will come under increasing pressure. It offers nothing which can stand comparison with the challenge and opportunity of independence within the wider Community of Europe.
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Malcolm Rifkind)
I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and add instead thereof:notes the continued success of the present Government's policies in securing for Scotland record living standards and 994 the advantages of membership of the European Community within the United Kingdom, alongside a strong defence of the United Kingdom's essential interests, and the rejection of the Scottish National Party's policy of independence in Europe by the overwhelming majority of voters in Scotland at the European elections; and recognises the potential damage to the real interests of Scotland underlying the constitutional change advocated by opposition parties.The hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) made it clear in the early substantive part of his speech that he accepts that the European elections were a severe rebuff for the central political strategy of the SNP over the last year—that is, the policy of independence in Europe.
During the election campaign, Mrs. Winnie Ewing was quoted as saying that Scotland's relationship with the European Communityis the central issue in this election campaign.As the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan was frank enough to admit, about three quarters of the electorate refused to support the policy that his party had said was the fundamental and most important element in its whole political strategy.
In the motion, the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends refer to the change of policy that the Labour party is contemplating in regard to unilateral disarmament. I say as an aside that it is a matter of considerable interest that the only parties in Scotland nowadays that appear to be prepared to advocate support for CND and unilateral disarmament are the SNP, the Communist party and the Greens. I am sure that that is an aspect that the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan proclaims as loudly and clearly in Banff and Buchan as he does in Glasgow or in the House.
I have noted that he and his hon. Friend the Member for Moray (Mrs. Ewing) are sometimes less euphoric in the north-east of Scotland about their belief in unilateralism than they would suggest when they proudly present themselves as the new Clydesiders when they are campaigning in Glasgow Central, but I pass that by.
It is not appropriate for the hon. Gentleman to attack the Labour party for a change in policy, and certainly not during a debate on the European Community. We might have had some reference from the hon. Gentleman to the fact that for many years he and his hon. Friends were not the ardent enthusiasts for the European Community that they now present themselves as being. He and his hon. Friends bitterly opposed "Scotland in the European Community" and they spent the whole period of the referendum on the European Community advocating, unsuccessfully, that the people of Scotland should vote no.
§ Mr. Michael J. Martin (Glasgow, Springburn)
Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman recall that at the time of the referendum, the hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Sillars), Margo MacDonald, who had just left the House, and the hon. Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor) campaigned all over Scotland saying that the European Community was undemocratic and that this country should have no part of it?
§ Mr. Jim Sillars (Glasgow, Govan)
I have no objection to anyone reminding the House or any other forum that I campaigned against entry to the European Community. It was not, however, on the basis that it was undemocratic but on entirely different grounds—for example, that it would be injurious to the economic situation of the United Kingdom at that time, and therefore injurious to Scotland, 995 and it is easy to prove that. Is the Secretary of State aware that at that time people such as I said that if we went into the European Community, we would have to accept that a page of history had turned and that there would be no going back from that position?
§ Mr. Rifkind
Let us explore that, because the hon. Gentleman makes an interesting observation. I have been reading the document he published entitled "No Turning Back"—[Interruption.] More than one document has been published under that title, I hasten to assure my hon. Friends—at least, I hope that is the case, because otherwise this is even more sinister than one might have imagined.
In the alternative version of "No Turning Back", the hon. Member for Govan invites his readership to consider what has changed. We are entitled to ask why he and his hon. Friends, who were passionately hostile to the European Community in the past, have now seen the Community as the salvation of all of Scotland's interests. Is it a change brought about by conviction or by opportunism? He says in that document:Bitter though the pill may he to swallow, it is quite irrelevant whether in 1972 and again in 1975 we were correct in opposing entry. We are 16 years down a very different road than any ever travelled before. There is no turning back.Later he says:Like it or not, we are in the European Community.If that is the principle—that after 16 years it is now irrevocable and there is no turning back—on what basis does he say after 250 years that it is appropriate to try to disintegrate the United Kingdom?
If, as a matter of principle, the hon. Gentleman believes that Scotland's membership of the United Kingdom after 250 years is fundamentally against Scotland's interests and that it is right and proper, as a matter of principle, to campaign for the dissolution of the United Kingdom, why is he so willing to accept that after a mere 16 years, his position of principle has ceased to be relevant and that he must accept, however reluctantly, that Scotland should be in the Community?
Why will he not campaign for an independent Scotland outside the Community, as that is what he and his party were campaigning for at that time? The reality is that the conversion to Europe has nothing whatever to do with the European Community.
§ Mr. Rifkind
No, I will not give way.
The reason for the conversion is also outlined in the same document by the hon. Member for Govan. Saying that they must deal with the charge of separatism, he comments:It is the label which Unionist parties stuck upon the SNP.He goes on:The SNP was never able to overcome the problem. It was forced into ever more sophisticated rebuttals of the separatist charge, but in a sense the more it explained, the more convincing the label appeared.The hon. Gentleman is correct in his view, and the attempt to present some new doctrine of independence in Europe is no more than a weak and flabby attempt to suggest that our membership of the Community has somehow changed the fundamental realities of the situation.
Logically, the Scottish National party must be against both the United Kingdom and the European Community. The basis of that party's policy during the first 40 years of 996 its existence was that for any alternative Government or Parliament to take decisions in the name of the Scottish people that were outwith Scotland's control was against Scottish interests. On that basis, the hon. Member for Govan and his hon. Friends seek to dismember the United Kingdom. They do not seek to reorganise the United Kingdom. They wish this Parliament at Westminster to have no power over Scottish interests and to be unable to legislate or determine policies that would apply to Scotland. Therefore I have to ask the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends why they believe that a United Kingdom Parliament must inevitably act against Scottish interests, whereas the Parliament in Strasbourg or the Commission in Brussels will be the new salvation for Scotland and its destiny.
§ Mr. Sillars
I should have thought that the right hon. and learned Gentleman, of all people, given his minority position inside the British Cabinet, would understand the clear difference between this place and Strasbourg. This place exercises legislative control over Scotland. Strasbourg does not. [Interruption.] Strasbourg exercises no legislative control over—[Interruption.] Before the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) gets too worked up, let me tell him that I have not finished the sentence. There is nothing comparable to this place in the power that it exercises over Scotland. The hon. Gentleman knows that full well.
§ Mr. Rifkind
I advise the hon. Gentleman to re-read his own document in which, under a chapter headedIncreasing the powers and influences of the Parliament",he calls for the European Parliament to be given fiscal powers to impose new taxation on the peoples of the Community. Will he explain that, in the light of his earlier comments? I shall gladly give way to the hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Sillars
If the right hon. and learned Gentleman reads it out, which he has not done, he will see that that is a suggestion for developing the powers of the European Parliament at the margins, on the basis that—
§ Mr. Sillars
Yes, of course on the margins. The hon. Gentleman has not read the document, either. Why he interjects without having read it is beyond me. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. Sillars
It would be a means of increasing the powers of the European Parliament. Even if that were accepted, because it is not party policy—[Interruption.] The last people who should laugh are Labour Members. The Labour party frequently publishes the equivalent of Green Papers and pamphlets and says that the ideas contained in them are the personal points of view of this group, that group or that individual and that they do not bind the Labour party. If it is good enough for the Labour party, why is it not good enough for other parties? The fact remains that 99 per cent. of the power that the right hon. and learned Gentleman's Government wields in Scotland comes from this place and from no other part of western Europe.
§ Mr. Rifkind
The hon. Gentleman invites me to read out what is in the document. I cannot resist the invitation. On page 19 he says that the European Parliamentshould have a tax raising ability used to supplement the budget allocation for policy initiatives. In its earliest days this could be a limited power.Elsewhere in the document he says:Of course an increase in the powers of theEuropeanParliament means a decrease in the powers of the member states.What the hon. Gentleman, in this brave new world, is suggesting is that Scotland should withdraw from the United Kingdom Parliament because that has the power to legislate for and to tax the people of Scotland and that the United Kingdom Parliament should be replaced by the European Parliament which would have a comparable power—a power which would grow over the years to come.
The hon. Gentleman believes that Scottish interests, because we are a minority in the House, have not been well represented over the years. We have over 10 per cent. of the membership of the House and our population is 5 million in a country of 55 million. He is suggesting that a Scottish Government and the Scottish people—representing 5 million people out of a European Community of over 320 million people where, on the basis of their population, their representation would amount to only 1.5 per cent. —would have more power in the European Parliament and that that would provide better protection for Scottish interests. It shows that the hon. Gentleman is living in a land of dreams and mystery that bears no relationship to the world in which the rest of us live.
Another factor that the House should be aware of and that the hon. Gentleman will have to live with—
§ Mr. Rifkind
I shall give way in a moment.
The hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends present a case that is based on the proposition that, somehow, Scotland is in a unique position as a national minority without full rights within the European Community. They know perfectly well, however, that there is a multitude of peoples with their own national identity throughout western Europe who do not have representation on the Council of Ministers, who do not have the power of veto that he is so anxious to obtain and who are not full, individual member states of the European Community.
The hon. Gentleman is proposing no less than the fragmentation of western Europe and the European Community. He believes that the French, the Germans and the Italians would be prepared to accept the fragmentation of the United Kingdom, with each state becoming a member of the European Community. He does not see the implications of such a proposition for each of the national minorities—for the Basques, the Catalans, the Corsicans and the Bavarians. National minorities exist in virtually every state of the European Community. The hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends can be seen once again to be living in a land of total unreality.
§ Mr. Andrew Welsh
As the right hon. and learned Gentleman is speaking for all those Governments, he should well understand that Scotland is in a very different 998 position. I should like to know from the Secretary of State for Scotland, in his great defence of the Scottish people, how many times he has attended the Council of Ministers.
§ Mr. Rifkind
The hon. Gentleman seems to be unaware of the fact that our political philosophy is different from his. When I was a British Minister in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office I attended the Council of Ministers on numerous occasions. If ever I believe that it is appropriate for the Secretary of State for Scotland to attend a Council of Ministers meeting I shall do so. We are Unionists because we believe that Scottish interests, and those of the rest of the United Kingdom, are best served by a strong United Kingdom Government who can bring about major achievements for the United Kingdom as a whole. I do not expect the hon. Gentleman either to believe or to accept that proposition, but that is the basis of our philosophical differences.
§ Mr. Rifkind
Only last Thursday I met the Scottish Fishing Federation. At no stage did it make any of the carping comments that the hon. Gentleman likes to make —far from it. It welcomes the opportunity to have close and continuing co-operation with the Scottish Office. That point is well recognised.
§ Mr. Bill Walker (Tayside, North)
Does not my right hon. and learned Friend agree that the humbug and hypocrisy of "No Turning Back" is fully exposed when one looks at article I of the Act of Union, which says:That the two kingdoms of England and Scotland shall upon the first day of May which shall be in the year one thousand seven hundred and seven, and for ever after, be united into one kingdom by the name of Great Britain"?The words are "for ever after." That, surely, is no turning back.
§ Mr. Rifkind
My hon. Friend is correct. It is not just Conservatives or Unionists who are quite successfully able to rubbish the arguments of the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond). I think of the remarks that have been made by Mrs. Isobel Lindsay, a senior member of the hon. Gentleman's own party.
§ Mr. Rifkind
Perhaps I may quote her remarks before I give way to the hon. Gentleman, when he will seek to distance himself from them. In September of last year, Mrs. Isobel Lindsay said:In the new weighted voting system for the Commission which applies to many vital decisions Scotland would only have three votes out of 79. We would also of course be on the outmost periphery. Anyone who talks in glowing terms of Scotland's capacity to influence key economic decisions in the European Community is being more than a little unrealistic.I now give way to someone who is a little unrealistic.
§ Mr. Salmond
The House missed the Secretary of State's answer to the fundamental point raised by the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker). Perhaps he will repeat it in a moment. In regard to the quotation, I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has studied majority voting procedures. He will realise that neither the large states nor the small states operating together can 999 have majority voting on the Council of Ministers. I am sure that the people of Scotland would rather have three votes on the Council of Europe working for us than 10 votes working against us.
§ Mr. Rifkind
The people of Scotland did not think that when three quarters of them voted against that policy in the European elections.
§ Mr. Rifkind
As many hon. Members wish to take part in the debate, I hope that hon. Gentlemen will excuse me if I do not give way.
Members of the Scottish National party put a lot of effort into the European policy that they thought would save them. Mr. Gordon Wilson, the chairman, said:The SNP believes that the Scots will choose independence in Europe. But let the people decide.The people have rejected that overwhelmingly.
§ Mr. Rifkind
I shall not give way. No doubt the hon. Gentleman will wish to make his own remarks.
While hon. Gentlemen representing the SNP have been the subject of some ridicule because of their independence in Europe policy, in one way I am sympathetic to them. If there is anything more absurd than independence in Europe it is "Independence in the United Kingdom"—the slogan of the Labour party. That policy has not only caused some mystery, concern and curiosity among my right hon. and hon. Friends, but I understand that the shadow Foreign Secretary, the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman) has also found that extraordinary new policy a source of mystery. When he was asked his views on independence in the United Kingdom, he was quoted as saying,It seems to be an irrelevant fantasy. Perhaps someone would be kind enough to explain it to me.I hope that when he is taken into a corner and it is explained to him—
§ Mr. Rifkind
When one of my hon. Friends was trying to intervene earlier, the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Brown) kept barracking him and told him to seek an opportunity to speak in the debate. He should practise what he preaches.
In the gentlest possible way, I hope that, when Labour's interesting new policy has been explained in a way that is comprehensible to the right hon. Member for Gorton, it may also he explained to the House. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) is usually a careful user of words. He does not normally indulge in tautological nonsense. He does not normally invite Conservative or Opposition Members to accept a policy which is a grammatical absurdity and a political nonsense. If this is to be an exception we are entitled to know why.
§ Mr. Donald Dewar (Glasgow, Garscadden)
We are all agreed that Europe is important, our links with Europe matter and our developing role is also of vital importance. I suspect that that is not necessarily true in other parts of the Conservative party.
I cannot resist giving the Secretary of State a quotation which he will say I should not take too seriously, but it comes from a good source, Scottish Tory News, and it has a splendid photograph of Lord Goold looking masterful on the front page. On the back page it has an account ofThe Scottish Conservative Party's Annual European Educational Trip, affectionately known as Bob Balfour's Bus Tours (and nick-named 'The Daughters of the Revolution Give Loathsome Johnny European One in the Teeth') … The Tour, the purpose of which is to educate Party members about the functions of the European Parliament, … is heavily subsidised by both the EC and the German Christian Democratic Union".The tour includedVisits to SHAPE headquarters, the European Parliament buildings in Strasbourg, and numerous Bier-Kellers".It was "very informative" and hadonly … one minor setback, when a mad Frenchman crashed his car into the back of a bus. But slight casualties apart"—that must be a reference to Mr. Alasdair Hutton and Mr. James Provan—the trip was immensely successful, churning out many a born-again European amongst the Scottish Tories.It then invites people to apply to 3 Chester street for the next trip later this summer.
The opening paragraph was:They came. They saw. They couldn't muster up the strength to conquer, so they went away again.That is a perfectly fair comment on the Scottish Conservative party.
There is some reason for the lack of enthusiasm in Conservative circles about 1992 and the integrated market. After 10 years of Conservative rule and after many years of an apparent economic miracle, so we are told, the United Kingdom has a visible trade deficit with the other 11 members of the EC, which in 1988 was £13,500 million —an unprecedented record of failure, representing more than two thirds of our visible trade deficit. I make that point at the outset, because when we talk about the structures, the theories and the constitutional arguments, we cannot ignore the simple fact that under the Conservative Government we have had a disastrous time in Europe and we are at the wrong end of every piece of European economic arithmetic.
The motion is no more than a worthless swirl of unconnected ideas and prejudices. It is tempting to ask people to examine not what the SNP says but what it does, but that assumes a certain consistency, at least in its aims, which is becoming harder to justify. In a quote which will certainly be familiar to hon. Members representing the SNP, I wish to refer to the views of Dr. Flora Isles, the group secretary of the SNP group on Tayside regional council. She said:The Party has apparently no firm policy on anything, and frequently changes it to suit the circumstances at any one time: or sometimes it appears to have several different policies on one issue.I could not identify or define the problem more succinctly if I spent some time on the drafting.
I cannot talk about it at any great length, but there are interesting parallels between the European situation and 1001 Dr. Flora Isles's problems over the poll tax. I hope that SNP Members will answer the relevant question put by Dr. Isles when she said:The Party had better decide now whether it wishes to continue to have councillors. It certainly cannot beg people to stand as candidates and then expect them to plunge themselves and their families into a state of financial disaster.I understand from the chairman of the group, Councillor Frances Duncan, that the SNP policy supremo, Mr. MacAskill urged them that theymust not go down the surcharge road.The gap between rhetoric and reality is one of the problems in Europe and in the SNP stance.
Apparently the great turning point on Europe was the much heralded SNP conference this year at Inverness. It was much heralded. Mr. Gordon Wilson, who one or two of us may remember is the leader of the SNP, said of his policy:This is a bridge and what we are seeing is a narrowing, rushing stream now broadening out.He continued:Rather than grasp a nettle, the party has grasped a thistle.That must have been rather an uncomfortable experience, but I am not sure whether it explains with any great clarity why the SNP has changed its position.
It is interesting that it was reported that at the SNP conferenceMany doubters were won over by an amendment that any Scottish government would put the terms of entry to the EC to the Scottish people in a referendum.That has been acknowledged today by the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond), but it is a little odd that a party which is banking everything on the total irresponsibility of suggesting that there is solution for the country except as an independent nation in Europe has to buy support at its own party conference by promising a referendum on a self-evident truth. That suggests a certain dash of expediency which is difficult to justify.
We then have the saga with which we are all familiar of the seats where the SNP MEP—that used to be a plural concept—will sit. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Sillars), in a BBC programme on 2 June was pressed by me, among others. He made it clear that Mrs. Winifred Ewing had been wrong for all these years and would be dropped overboard without a backward glance. She would have to decamp and she would be told so. He also made it clear that he would not sit with the Socialists. He said that he would not sit with the British Labour group and that he would not sit with the French Socialists because they were soft on terrorism and were not worthy of his support or friendship.
He then said:Our executive are actually going to discuss this. [Laughter.] Oh yes, oh yes. We are going to review our position.The implication was that it would be reviewed so that when people put crosses on ballot papers, they would know exactly what was happening. Matters have not worked out that way. We still do not know about the SNP's position, although we may hear a little more about it in the rest of the debate. We cannot claim to know where the SNP stands on Europe if we cannot find out even where its members are going to sit in the European Parliament.
1002 "Scotland independent in Europe" is not a simple slogan but an exercise in expediency. I agree with the Secretary of State to the extent that I believe that separatism has now been recognised as a desperate problem for a separatist party. That was frankly set out in August 1988 in the "No Turning Back" pamphlet written by the hon. Member for Govan. I do not want to bother the House with further quotations so I will say merely that it was in an extended passage entitled:A sharp reminder about separatism.It was clear from what the hon. Gentleman said that he felt that the SNP would not be able to remove people's doubts about separatism, about the self-interest it represents and about the destruction and dislocation that would come with it unless the SNP could find some way to persuade people that the party was an animal that had changed to a wholly different position.
What made the idea of Scotland being independent in Europe attractive was not the merits of the argument, but the fact that it could be camouflage and used for electoral advantage and to get over what the hon. Member for Govan clearly recognised were the major intellectual and political disadvantages of being seen as a separatist party. That is not the right basis on which a major shift in policy should be taken.
I do not know what the practical problems or possibilities of Scotland negotiating its entry would be if the people of Scotland decided that they wished to follow the advice of the SNP and, frankly, I shall not spend a great deal of time on the matter. I am glad that today we have not had the usual obscure arguments about the Greenland precedent and that we have not had to watch the hon. Member for Govan and his hon. Friends dancing on the head of a pin—a rather inelegant exercise. We heard about an eminent authority—indeed, the greatest living authority in the world. It came as a considerable relief to Labour Members that that person turned out not to be the hon. Member for Govan. There is normally an arrogant certainty about his views which suggests that he has at least convinced his friends and colleagues that he falls into that category.
Whether Scotland gets into the EC or not, it is obviously important that Scotland remains within the market which is the United Kingdom, whether that market is part of the European Community or not. Even the substantial number of SNP supporters who wish to be independent, but outside the EC, would agree that we have to have those arrangements. The reason is the dislocation and disruption to which I have referred. This week, there has been a great deal of concern about Wang and about the branch factory phenonemon. I believe that there would be a genuine problem even within the EC if we were an independent country which had deliberately distanced itself economically and politically from the rest of the United Kingdom, which could be a positive action of dissociation.
Presumably there would be a danger, for example, that any English company with factories in Scotland might see those factories as the first likely victims in the case of recession. We must also consider the dismemberment of social services and public utilities. What would happen to families in different parts of the United Kingdom who would suddenly be faced with a choice between competing nationalities? Although the pace of European integration may proceed, that would be the position for a long time.
1003 What trust can we put in a budget that depends on optimistic assumptions about oil revenues? If oil revenues are a key factor, we are entitled to ask what would happen if they went. The budget does not add up and assumes cuts in housing, local government and education. If one is launching an independent, separate state, one does not do so on special factors that will have only a limited life. One does not do so on a prospectus of 30 or 40 years.
The hon. Member for Banff and Buchan referred to Professor Malcolm Slesser, who is a well-known member of the Scottish Nationalists.
§ Mr. Dewar
The hon. Member for Govan describes Professor Slesser, rather patronisingly, as a nice fellow. I will repeat what Professor Slesser said:In fact, a financial forecast of what Scotland would be like as an independent country is about as meaningless as one of Chancellor Lawson's pieces of star-gazing.That is a pretty harsh judgment on the exercise in which the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan has been engaged for the past 12 months, but it is perhaps a good dose of reality when looking at that piece of make-believe.
§ Mr. Salmond
The hon. Gentleman and I have debated this subject before, not least on a "Left, Right and Centre" programme two months ago. The hon. Gentleman stumped off after the programme saying that it would never happen again. I do not know what would never happen again. I do not know whether he meant he would never discuss again the economics of an independent Scotland or would not appear on "Left, Right and Centre" to do so. On that programme, the hon. Gentleman failed wholly to discredit the view that there would be substantial economic opportunities for an independent Scotland. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will move on to tell us what areas of economic policy his new concept of independence within the United Kingdom would provide. Would it, for example, provide any control over monetary policy in Scotland?
§ Mr. Dewar
That was not exactly a ringing defence of the hon. Gentleman's budget and its problems. It was more a case of someone in a tight corner trying to counter-attack. All I can say to the hon. Gentleman—and I hope that he is not disappointed by this—is that I cannot remember the context of that conversation, but I must also say that I do not normally remember conversations with him.
It is intellectually bizarre to find a group of politicians who argue for Socialism in one country, as some members of the SNP have done honourably for some time, and who now embrace the Single European Act with an enthusiasm that makes Lord Cockfield look like a foot-dragger. One cannot rely on Scotland as a nation state with a fast-fading veto for protection in the European Community. One certainly cannot rely on Scotland being able to hold up the pace of change by using a veto in terms of the Luxembourg compromise. If that is the basis on which the SNP is arguing its case, it is out of touch with the times, and it is no more than a bad joke.
In its policy document in June 1989, the SNP produced what it described as the way in which one measures a nation's independence. It said that it is measuredby whether it controls its own economy through legislation and a range of economic powers.1004 It said that the chief of the essential tests of independence were:monetary and fiscal policy; exchange rate policy; overall public expenditure; trade policy".I do not agree because I think that that is too simplistic an approach, but if that is the test, it seems that we are in the business of what the report itself in the heading to that chapter called "bogus independence" in the light of what is happening in Madrid and in the European Community at present. It is also not sensible in terms of the tests that the SNP itself has set, let alone by the tests that others may have set.
I am genuinely surprised—and I say this with respect —to hear the hon. Member for Govan apparently arguing that of course he wants independence in Europe, as long as the European Parliament does not have any power, control or legislative authority over Scotland or any other part of the member state. I will, of course, read the Hansard report of his comments. That view is wholly incompatible with his own pamphlet a few months ago. He dismissed the pamphlet as a personal point of view, so if his comments today are the official policy of the SNP, which I presume they are, they are an extraordinary mockery of many of the points that the SNP has been arguing in recent debates and of its whole European stance.
§ Mr. Dewar
I will not give way. I want to bother the House with one more important quotation, in which the hon. Member for Lancashire, West (Mr. Hind) may be interested. It is from an authority that the Secretary of State also used, which is a respectable authority in nationalist terms. Mrs. Isobel Lindsay spoke at the Inverness conference of the SNP against the "Scotland independent in Europe" motion. She said that the resolution was dishonest because it implied that the single European market would have devastating effects under the status quo, but not for an independent Scotland. The conference report states:'This is a nonsense,' she insisted".That is the problem that the SNP faces. Isobel Lindsay has been my unwilling ally in this debate, but nevertheless she is an honest witness and records the matter fairly.
§ Mr. Sillars
Is the hon. Gentleman going to deal with another area of enormous interest to Isobel Lindsay, who has been as consistent on this issue as on the European issue, and consider that part of our motion dealing with the contradiction of the Labour party in Scotland saying "No Trident" when the hon. Gentleman is imposing Trident on Scotland because his right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition and the national executive have said that Trident will come to Scotland?
§ Mr. Dewar
I am not going to discuss defence policy today—[Interruption.]—because it is not the main thrust 1005 of this argument. However, I shall be delighted to discuss it on other occasions and I do not doubt that I shall have the opportunity.
Experience in Europe proves that one must be in the big league if one is to survive effectively. If I went around the 11 European Community countries—apart from Denmark—and asked, "Who is representing Denmark in Madrid?", I expect that the answer would be many blank expressions. Perhaps that is a cheap way of making the point, but it is an effective way. We must recognise that small countries do not have much clout or leverage.
The hon. Member for Banff and Buchan was being dishonest when he suggested that the recent MORI poll showed 35 per cent. support for the SNP's position, because on the issue of independence in Europe there was just 22 per cent. support—less than the Conservative party polled at the last general election. I should have thought that nothing could be more telling about the SNP's position. The Scottish National party will not win this argument because argument and information are the enemies of its case. It is asking the Scots to grasp at the appearance and trappings of power, but to surrender the reality of influence.
§ Mr. Dewar
Opposition Members do not join the Government in defending the status quo. A great deal is happening in Europe at the moment to which we in Scotland could relate effectively. Alliances are being built and contacts made. New power structures are beginning to emerge within the EEC. If one talks to the West Germans and to the men who are in the Länder, to the Basques and to the Catalans, one realises that their presence is now being felt and that they are now beginning to build their own methods of working together and in partnership with national Governments to influence events. If we in Scotland are to do that, our system must be reformed and we must be given the opportunity.
As is well known, the next Labour Government will establish a Scottish Parliament, which I hope will take advantage of those opportunities. The Scottish National party belittles that and calls it "the Bavarian solution". But having looked at the Bavarian economy and experience, I can only say that I should not mind seeing it repeated in Scotland in terms of employment and economic opportunity. The Scottish National party belittles that, but they would, wouldn't they? We should talk to those who are setting the pace in Europe. We should recognise the markedly greater powers—greater than the Länder and greater than those of the regions of Spain—that a Scottish Parliament would have within the framework of the United Kingdom.
When I make such points, I am accused of trying to have the best of both worlds, but why should we not have the best, if it is available? There is nothing wrong with that. 1006 Scotland should have the strength of being in full partnership with the United Kingdom. It should have the strength of proper independence within the framework of the United Kingdom. It should have the strength of being able to work with the rest of the United Kingdom within Europe, but it should also have the flexibility and the potential of a developing role, directly affecting European policy.
Our reforms and policies would give Scotland all that. They are right on the merits of the argument. I believe that they have the support of most Scots. We are determined to deliver and we shall do so at an early date.
§ Mr. Allan Stewart (Eastwood)
The hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) made a predictable speech, except in one regard. We shall have to check in Hansard and read precisely what he said, but I understood him to say that his party supported the Irish nation's right of self-determination. If he said that, I must advise him that that is precisely the policy of Sinn Fein and that it is something that we shall have to consider further.
I turn to the speech of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar)—
§ Mr. Stewart
I cannot give way to the hon. Gentleman because I must get on. Time is limited.
At the end of his speech the hon. Member for Garscadden referred briefly to the concept of independence in the United Kingdom, but he did not explain it. It was a ringing slogan, but his speech did not address its inherent contradictions in any way. He propounded the need for some kind of what he referred to as a "Parliament", although his amendment refers to a "Parliament or Assembly". It is clear that his party cannot decide even on the name of that great body.
During the Glasgow, Central by-election a grand meeting of all the candidates was called by the Campaign for a Scottish Assembly. It was attended by all the parties, except for the Scottish National party, which presumably was, not unnaturally, reluctant to subject its policy to sustained and public scrutiny. Then, as now, the proponents yet again disagreed on all the fundamentals.
§ Mr. Stewart
I shall give way later to my hon. Friend.
All those attending disagreed on the powers, on the taxation system and on the voting system for such a body. At the end of the proceedings, there was the usual Laurel and Hardy act, featuring two of the leading, self-appointed, non-elected great men of the constitutional convention movement, Canon Kenyon Wright and Mr. Bob McCreadie, the candidate of the Scottish Social and Liberal Democratic party, who subsequently became one of the most spectacularly non-elected candidates of recent British political history. When there was a vote—
§ Mr. Stewart
I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman later, after I have given way to my hon. Friend the Member for Lancashire, West (Mr. Hind).
At the end of the proceedings the vote was in favour of the position of the Scottish National party—although the 1007 party was not there. At that point, Mr. McCreadie stormed off the platform, abusing Canon Kenyon Wright, the chairman of the meeting. Indeed, Mr. McCreadie almost went as far as demanding that the canon be fired —[Laughter.] Yes, we are the party of the awfully good bad puns. That is yet another example of the more that one goes to the root of the slogans that we hear from the Labour party and from those who advocate an assembly, a parliament or whatever it should be called, the more the disagreements come through—
§ Mr. Stewart
I have said that I shall give way first to my hon. Friend the Member for Lancashire, West.
§ Mr. Hind
I am obliged to my hon. Friend, who will no doubt be aware that Conservative Members who believe in the United Kingdom and who feel that Scotland has an important part to play in it might consider the Act of Union in terms of a Scottish Parliament and question why an hon. Member such as myself, representing an English constituency, should have over 85,000 constituents, when many constituencies in Scotland are much smaller. I refer especially to the Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale constituency, which has just over 38,500 constituents. Will the Labour party's policy include trading some of the seats in this Parliament for some in the Scottish Parliament so that the United Kingdom as a whole could be more equally represented in this House?
§ Mr. Stewart
My hon. Friend has made a valid point. I hope that the Labour party will answer that question. Of course, Opposition Members will not endeavour to answer the more fundamental questions. I am not referring simply to those about numbers, but also the West Lothian question, which is wholly unanswerable.
Both my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State and the hon. Member for Garscadden gave the House some interesting quotations—
§ Mr. Graham
The hon. Gentleman referred earlier to the Constitutional Convention. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the people of Scotland would prefer to see the Scottish National party and the Conservative party and their representatives playing a meaningful role in the Constitutional Convention. However, it is well known throughout Scotland that Scottish National party councillors have no hesitation in entering into deals and agreements with Conservative members to run the council. As the hon. Gentleman knows, on Renfrew district council the Scottish National party formed a coalition with the Conservative party. The same happened in Glasgow district council. In nearly every authority in which the Scottish National party has councillors, those councillors have no hesitation in doing deals with the Conservatives so that they can run the council and implement near-Conservative proposals. I find it strange for a Conservative Member not to agree at least to work in the Constitutional Convention along with SNPs, Liberals and everyone else. We would welcome it.
§ Mr. Stewart
The hon. Member for Renfrew, West and Inverclyde (Mr. Graham) has raised the interesting point 1008 of the policy of the Scottish National party. The hon. Member for Garscadden has quoted rightly and properly from Dr. Flora Isles on the great Tayside controversy. No doubt, when winding up, the Scottish National party representative will wish to refute the allegation that it has put forward different policies in different parts of the country. All four hon. Members representing the SNP in the House will wish to proclaim from the rooftops how much they agree with Mr. Alex Neill, its candidate in the by-election, that it is the party of the Red Clydesiders, and that the mantle of Clydeside Socialist, Left-wing philosophy correctly belongs to the Scottish National party. Let that ring out around the hedgerows of Perthshire, Angus and Banff and Buchan.
§ Mr. Bill Walker
Does my hon. Friend agree that probably the SNP did so badly in Angus and Perthshire in the recent elections because the people did not believe that it was the inheritor of Red Clydesiders?
§ Mr. Stewart
I am sure that my hon. Friend is right. The advantage of the Conservative party, or for that matter the Labour party, is that we can pursue our policies and we do not have to remember which constituency we are in at the time. We have a consistent philosophy.
§ Mr. Brown
It is interesting to hear the chit-chat between the nationalists and the Conservatives, bearing, in mind that it is almost like when auld freens fa' oot—as they say in Scotland. We should remember that in 1979 the nationalists were supporting the Tories. [Interruption.] Perhaps they have learnt something, but they have not learnt enough about Europe. Europe is much larger than the area of the EEC. If the hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Sillars) wants independence in Europe, he will not get it in Strasbourg, but he will get it within that part of the world that can respond to Socialist policies.
I can say also to the Labour party, which is important to me, that if we back-track on the basic policies in Scotland, particularly on the poll tax, and kid people on—
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
Order. I must remind the hon. Gentleman that an intervention has to be a question and a pertinent comment, not a speech.
§ Mr. Stewart
The question of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Brown) would be better directed to the representatives of the Scottish National party than to me. In the Glasgow, Central by-election, day after day the Scottish National party reassured the people that it was a Socialist party and the party that had inherited the mantle of the Red Clydesiders. I hope that that makes the hon. Gentleman a little happier.
The Scottish National party has been, first, split on the issue of Europe and, secondly, has taken its current position for electoral expediency. There have been quotations from Isobel Lindsay. I shall quote another distinguished SNP figure, a former senior vice-chairman of the SNP, who said on 17 September 1988 in The Scotsman:1992 is about the free market economy. To those of you who think of yourselves as Socialists, have you given any thought to what you are being asked to give up?1009 The truth is that it has adopted its slogan of independence in Europe purely because, as the hon. Member for Govan said in one of his books or pamphlets,the charge of separation disappears.
§ Mr. Stewart
No, because so many other hon. Members wish to speak.
It has been put forward solely for electoral expediency. It raises, as a policy, two key questions: is it deliverable, and is it desirable? The argument put forward by the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan that it is deliverable rests on two assertions. The first assertion is correct. He is correct in saying that, if the Scottish National party gained a majority of Scottish seats, in practice it would have the right to withdraw and to negotiate to take Scotland out of the United Kingdom. Of course, Parliament can repeal the Act of Union at any time, but, in practice, if that happened, Parliament would say that the people of Scotland had elected a majority of representatives of the party whose objective, purpose and the reason for its very existence was to break up the Union. I believe that that is precisely what would happen.
I do not believe that the second assertion on deliverability is correct. It is no good quoting lawyers, however expert. The question is what the Council of Ministers would do. What would happen is that there would be the continuing member—the successor state to the United Kingdom—and Scotland would have an application on the table. It has been pointed out that there is a freeze on applications until 1993. I shall quote from the 1989 report of an independent Scottish institute, the Fraser of Allander Institute, which is not normally especially favourable to the Conservative cause. It said:the negotiations will take several years and Scotland would be lucky to join the European Community this century.That is the reality.
§ Mr. Stewart
No. I have already said that I will not give way again.
The second question is: is it desirable? My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State has spelt out the case against that very clearly this afternoon. My position has always been clear. Given the choice between the devil of a unilateral Scottish Assembly and the deep blue sea of an independent Scotland, I would give unequivocal support to an independent Scotland. A unilateral Assembly would lead to decades of constitutional chaos and then the break-up of the United Kingdom.
Scotland faces in practice a three-way choice at the next election. The choice is between the Conservative and Unionist party, which is for private enterprise and a stable economy; the Labour party, putting forward whatever brand of yuppie Socialism is then in current vogue and a constitutional hotch-potch which would lead to chaos; and the Scottish National party. If people believe in a Socialist Scotland outside the United Kingdom—I repeat, with an uncertain relationship with the European Community—of course they should vote for it, but not otherwise.
§ Mr. Stewart
John Maclean will not be an elector at the next general election. It will be no good people saying afterwards, "We did not mean it; it was just a wee protest about the Health Service," or complaining because the road was up outside their house. If people vote for the Scottish National party and for this slogan in sufficient numbers, the Act of Union will be broken. Let no one be unclear about that. I hope and believe that it will not happen. We should steadily and confidently counter the propaganda against the Union by those who argue that the Union does not work to the benefit of Scotland.
At the beginning of this Parliament the Labour party adopted the language and gestures of nationalism. I believe that it has initiated a partial retreat from that stance as it has begun to realise the dangers of that policy. Let us hope that that retreat into common sense continues.
§ Mr. Michael J. Martin (Glasgow, Springburn)
I am concerned at the way in which the SNP can present its case to the electorate one year and execute a complete U-turn the following year.
My intervention in the Secretary of State's speech was important as it is worth reminding the hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Sillars) that he visited the Rolls-Royce factory with Margo MacDonald and the hon. Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor). My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Brown) was right to say that we are not just talking about Europe, but the European Economic Community. The hon. Member for Govan once argued that the EEC is undemocratic and that Members of the European Parliament do not have any power and that that power rests with the Commissioners and the Council of Ministers. Why is it then that the only time we heard about independence within Europe from that hon. Gentleman was during the campaign in Glasgow, Govan?
§ Mr. Martin
I shall not give way, as the hon. Gentleman will have an opportunity to reply later.
Why did the SNP not use the slogan "Independence within the European Community" rather than "Independence within Europe" given that the hon. Member for Govan argued that we were not talking about Europe, but the Community? The SNP has been dishonest. There are aspects of the EEC that I do not like, but I firmly believe that if we are part of Europe, Scotland is stronger as part of the United Kingdom than as a separate state.
The SNP is also dishonest because its policy is not just about independence, but is anti-English. Everything it does and everything it stands for is directed by a hatred of the English. Why should we seek to break away from a country with which we have a common border and which is part of a small island? The SNP wants to fragment the United Kingdom, but Scotland would not have a chance as a single entity within the EEC. It would be out-voted by the more powerful nations and it would mean that England and Wales would become weaker.
The SNP reminds me of the party with which it claims to have links, the party of Quebec in Canada. The provinces of Canda are autonomous, but the party of Quebec wants to separate that province from Canada. It believes that such separation would make the province stronger, but the real motive for that separation is its 1011 hatred for the people it describes as the "Anglophones". The party of Quebec is more interested in fining a tobacconist because he refused to put a French sign up on his door than in anything else.
§ Mr. Martin
There is plenty on the record to prove that the SNP and members of the party of Quebec have met and regard themselves as fraternal bodies. If the SNP gets any power in Scotland the racial elements displayed by the party of Quebec will become apparent in Scotland.
§ Mr. Martin
I will not give way as the hon. Gentleman will have his own opportunity later.
We have already seen what happened when the SNP got some power in the city of Glasgow. In Glasgow we have a lot for which to thank the Salvation Army as it looks after the destitute, young children and many other needy people. The first thing that the SNP did when it won seats on the Glasgow district council—the proposal came from Mr. Stewart Ewing, the husband of the European Member of Parliament representing the Highlands—was to refuse a modest grant to the Salvation Army. At that time the SNP had wards in Easterhouse, Provan and the Drumchapel areas and it said that it would not vote for any proposals that would improve the lot of those who voted Labour. There is a piece of land still lying in my ward on which houses could have been built had it not been for the Nats aligning themselves with the Tories and refusing to build council houses in the Eastfield district of Springburn.
There is also a Fascist element within the SNP which the leadership will do absolutely nothing about. Consider the great victory won by my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. Watson) and let us remember what the SNP did. I have witnesses to prove that in Royston hill SNP workers encouraged young children to throw stones at Labour cars.
§ Mr. Martin
I will not give way, as I want this to go on the record to prove what type of people the SNP are.
§ Mr. Martin
I have already said that I have witnesses to the events that took place and I am willing to obtain statements from them.
There is a convent in Royston hill that looks after elderly people. It asked for Labour workers to come up to take elderly people who had a postal vote to the polling station. Those people were—in their 80s—we have them in every constituency—and they value their votes. As they were being taken into the polling station, SNP workers insulted them by saying that the Labour party had robbed them from the grave to get them to vote. That was the type of insult that they hurled at people who wanted to exercise their democratic rights.
§ Mr. John Maxton (Glasgow, Cathcart)
My hon. Friend, unlike myself, was not present at the count at Glasgow, Central. First, my hon. Friend the new Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. Watson) had to be brought in 1012 at a side door because the police could not guarantee his safety from the SNP mob outside. Some of us had to leave that count and we suffered racist abuse from that mob and were spat upon by people from the SNP.
§ Mr. Martin
I am glad that my hon. Friend mentioned that, because such things did not happen only at the Glasgow, Central by-election. Back in Margo MacDonald's time in Govan, when I was a young councillor, the agent for the Labour party had to he given police protection. Margo MacDonald came into the count bedecked with four big Highlanders in full Highland regalia as if they were her praetorian guard. Such actions demonstrate the type of people with which we are dealing, but the SNP leadership will do nothing about them.
If, God forbid, a majority of SNP Members are elected, the type of element seen at Glasgow, Central is bound to be elected. Such elections will be damaging to democracy in Scotland as well as damaging to the people of Glasgow and—
§ Mr. Martin
It was a form of corruption for the hon. Member for Govan to hold an anti-poll tax meeting on the borders of my constituency and that of the late Bob McTaggart when he told the people not to pay their poll tax when he knew full well that the Angus local authority, controlled by the SNP, was recruiting labour to implement that poll tax. It is corrupt and dishonest to attack Strathclyde regional council for its redundancies because it gave one of the best redundancy agreements I have seen in a long time—whereas, in Tayside, 900 cleaners lost their jobs.
§ Mr. Brian Wilson (Cunninghame, North)
Would my hon. Friend agree that, in any election campaign, the dishonesty of a leaflet is compounded when the leaflet's publisher does not have the guts to put on it the name of its party or its symbol, and that party is identifiable only in the tiniest print?
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
Order. I must caution the hon. Gentleman that we are straying a long way from the motion on the Order Paper.
§ Mr. Martin
I shall not give way.
It is dishonest to tell the people of Scotland that the SNP wants to fight to have more power in Europe when the SNP Euro-candidate in Glasgow could not get in quickly enough to fight to get into Westminster after the death of the previous Member. That shows how dishonest the SNP is.
I am glad to be able to put on record the type of element which the hon. Member for Govan joined when he deserted the Labour party. I am glad that he deserted the Labour party because we do not want his kind in the party. I hope that, at the very least, the media will take note of the type of people running around the streets of Scotland saying, "Vote SNP".
§ 6.3 pm
§ Mr. Bill Walker (Tayside, North)
It is always a pleasure to follow the honest approach of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin). Too often in these debates we listen to intellectual exchanges, but do not hear nearly enough said from the heart, and the Scottish people understand the feelings of the heart. I am sure that the hon. Member for Springburn is always respected by his electorate because he speaks from the heart.
I understood why the hon. Member for Springburn felt as he did about the SNP's attitude and the unsavoury elements which, sadly, exist within that party. There is no doubt that it has practised intimidation and lies, not only in his constituency, but in mine. It was asked whether such matters had been reported to the police; everything of which I speak has been reported to the police and has been dealt with.
At the last general election there was an SNP member at one of the polling stations in my constituency with massive badges and many credentials to show that he was entitled to be there—and with a shotgun. If ever there was evidence of intimidation, surely that was it. It was unfortunate for him that one of the first people to arrive at the polling station was an off-duty policeman who dealt summarily with the intimidator. Such practices are fairly common.
Anyone who has studied the SNP's position on independence in relation to anything must recognise that it is basically a separatist party which wants to break up the United Kingdom. It is asking the people of Scotland to give up all the benefits of belonging to Great Britain. We could spend a long time discussing the economic benefits, whether real, imagined or invented. However, I do not wish to spend too much time doing so. Like the hon. Member for Springburn, I wish to deal with other aspects of what it means to be part of the United Kingdom.
Since 1707, Scotland has retained its identity, history and culture, yet it has always played a massive part in the creation of British history, identity and culture. That is what the SNP wishes to rupture and destroy. Conservative and Labour Members and the Democrats, or whatever identity they have these days, have made it clear that we are parties of the Union. We may have different views about how we see the Union progressing, but we do not differ on the fact that we wish to retain the Union and this unitary Parliament.
In an intervention I drew attention to the wording of the Act of Union. People in Scotland constantly remind me about this Act, but I usually find that they have never read it. I do not think that any Act passed by this House is cast in stone because anyone who believes, as I do, in our democracy recognises that its cornerstone is that no Parliament is bound by decisions made by a previous one. This Parliament is paramount and, in conjunction with the other place, we can change the law as it affects the United Kingdom. Nothing is permanent.
However, in his intervention, comments and writing the hon. Member for Govan has made it quite clear that entry into the European Community is cast in stone, and there is no turning back. If that is his view of our relationship with Europe, surely that cannot also be the view of a man who wants to be a separatist and destroy the Act which created the Union.
§ Sir Nicholas Fairbairn
Secession from Britain inevitably means secession from Europe which would give the Scottish Nationalists the Scotland which they had before 1907—in Europe, but outside the market of the United Kingdom and, consequently, outside the market of Europe. Scotland was the poorest area because it was isolated at its own choice.
§ Mr. Walker
I thank my hon. and learned Friend for his helpful intervention, which neatly encapsulated the fundamental flaws in the arguments put forward by the separatist Nationalists.
We all know that the SNP's Govan by-election slogan, which should have read, "Separation in Europe" because, effectively, that is what it was asking for, was a policy put forward on the basis that the SNP has inherited Red Clydeside. Anyone who has made any attempt to win elections north of Perth will know that the Labour party has difficulty in doing so. In the mountain areas of the Highlands its members are lucky to save their deposits. Therefore, it would seem odd to suggest that the Red Clydeside flag should be flown by the nationalists north of Perth.
§ Mr. Walker
No, I shall not give way. The hon. Gentleman has already made about three speeches.
The SNP row that we see in Angus and Tayside at the moment has its origins in the fact that the SNP in the north of Scotland, certainly in my constituency and Tayside, has always tried to present itself as the party of the middle or middle Right, certainly of the Right. It finds it difficult to accept that it is now the party of the Red Clydeside inheritance.
§ Mr. Walker
Will the hon. Gentleman allow me to complete what I am saying?
That is why Dr. Flora Isles and other SNP members including one of my constituents, Councillor Francis Duncan, are so concerned. It has been said that, in a letter, Dr. Flora Isles made it clear that she did not understand the SNP's policies because it did not have any and seemed to have different policies for different places at different times. That has been put on the record by one of the leading SNP activists in Tayside.
Anyone who has studied the activities of SNP district councils will realise that the SNP believes that it can be selective about its policies in Europe or anywhere else. Its Members of Parliament in Europe can say there whether they agree with the legislation emerging from the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of Ministers. They will pick the policies that they like, just as they try to do here. Members of the SNP tell people in Scotland and elsewhere to reject the community charge, but in office it is a different story. The administration in Angus is busy collecting the charge and, more importantly, it is taking on more staff to ensure that it gets the money. That is the source of the confusion. The SNP is the party of all the people all the time with any policy, so long as it gives SNP members the chance to appear to be winning.
I am delighted to see the hon. Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. Watson) in his place; he put a stop to this nonsense. I do not agree with Labour party policy, but at least Labour Members told the people of Scotland what 1015 their policy was—in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Wick, Thurso and the Western Isles. Their policy is the same everywhere. The nationalists want to be all things to all people.
I am not depressed by the recent European election results, which we have carefully analysed in my constituency. They show that I would be returned with a comfortable majority. [Interruption.] I make no apology for saying that the first thing I do after every election is to analyse how the results will affect me. If other hon. Members were honest, they would admit to doing the same. Analysis is possible because the people who vote give us little green cards—hon. Members know about the different ways of doing this. Tayside, North had the highest turnout in the north-east and, as we know, in north Tayside the higher the poll, the better it is for the sitting Member. In parts of my constituency the turnout was higher than 50 per cent., and it was largely a Tory turnout. That is why I speak so happily this evening.
The election result came about largely because of the confusion, chaos, misrepresentation and downright lies and intimidation developed by the SNP in recent years. Now it is all coming home to roost. SNP Members are a sorry lot; they will have to live with what they have done and said and with what their supporters have done and said. I invite the Red Clydesiders to come to my constituency to speak every week, because they will push up my majority—
§ Mr. Graham
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the Red Clydesiders would probably turn in their graves at the thought that this lot—the SNP—are claiming to be the new breed of Red Clydesiders? Not long ago the SNP tore up the telegram from the Red Clydeside ship workers. Red Clydesiders must be appalled—their ancestors got results by voting Labour.
§ Mr. Walker
That needs no response from me.
I have mentioned history, identity and culture. Many people in Scotland who have connections with the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, the Army and the Royal Marines do not want their regiments, squadrons and ships disbanded and thrown away. How marketable in Perth and Perthshire would be the suggestion that we disband the Black Watch? What utter nonsense! Our British history, identity and culture are much more important than all the nonsense and fraudulent economic packages of which we have heard from the SNP.
§ Mrs. Ray Michie (Argyll and Bute)
I congratulate the Scottish National party on bringing this motion to the House, and on having consulted higher authority and taken advice that it should do so, so that we can all know what SNP Members mean by an independent Scotland in Europe. I want to concentrate on the constitutional aspects, not on personal matters. I hate nothing more than to hear Scots shouting at other Scots.
The SNP's argument for an independent Scotland in Europe is interesting, but fundamentally different from how my party sees Scotland's role in Europe. We view the Community as a group of interdependent states sharing a common political and economic structure, but largely composed of families of interdependent nations and regions.
There is no independence in the Community. On the contrary, when a state joins, it gives up some of its 1016 sovereignty to the institutions of the Community—to an extent, it "trades in" its independence, or part of it, for membership. The SNP plans to prise Scotland free from England, yet have it cede its newly won sovereignty to a body that would give England a continuing say in Scottish affairs. I hope that the SNP realises that whatever the merits of its case it could not be implemented without the majority consent of the Scottish people. I know that SNP Members have said that they would hold a referendum, but I am not yet clear about how they will become independent from the United Kingdom and then seek independence in Europe.
The SNP must remember what people in Scotland believe. The majority want to control their own affairs through a Scottish Parliament, but they do not want to sever their links and ties with the United Kingdom.
I have always been interested in the Labour party's slogan about an independent Scotland in the United Kingdom, but I am not sure whether it has yet explained what that means. We have yet to see full commitment by the Labour party to strong home rule. Historically, the Labour party has been lukewarm, if not actively hostile, to the idea of giving people greater constitutional control over their own affairs, particularly in Scotland.
I welcome the fact that the Opposition are now at last, after difficulties of their own, acknowledging the merits of the Liberal party's radical home rule policy, and that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) has been, if not on the road to Damascus, at least on the road to Bavaria. No doubt all will be revealed during the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention. If the Opposition can be converted to the overwhelming case for a fair electoral system, the Scottish people can be assured that their Parliament will not become a vehicle for imposing Socialism on Scotland. Those outwith the central belt would have no confidence in a system that produced simply Strathclyde writ large.
§ Mrs. Michie
I could dispute that, but I will not.
My party is the only true home rule party. Its policy is for a federal United Kingdom, with Scotland leading the way with the transfer of power from this place to a Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Unlike unionism or separatism, federalism is not a dogma. There is no federal model or blueprint that must be applied regardless of circumstances. The aim is to find the right balance between the states of the federation and between them and the centre.
With the restoration of the Scottish state within a federal United Kingdom the Scottish people would recover control of all their own affairs except those that they chose to leave to a federal Government, such as foreign affairs and defence. The division of function would be entrenched. Any disputes would be referred to a constitutional court for decision. There would be single-tier, all-purpose local authorities in order to avoid top-heavy costly Government structures.
Members of those authorities and of a Scottish Parliament would be elected by a modern electoral system of proportional representation that would reflect the diversity of views within Scotland. The first-past-the-post system is a dinosaur of a prehistoric constitutional era. We can see it here. The Government govern the United Kingdom with only 42 per cent. of the vote, yet they have 1017 a majority of 100-plus seats. In Scotland the Labour party has only 42 per cent. of the vote, yet it has 70 per cent. of the seats.
On home rule and Europe, it would be essential for a Scottish Government to have direct links with the European Community. At the level of the Council of Ministers that would mean that, on all matters affecting Scotland, a Scottish Minister would accompany the United Kingdom Minister and would be entitled to speak on Scotland's behalf. On matters that affected Scotland alone, the Scottish Minister would take the lead in negotiations and would be entitled to cast the United Kingdom vote.
§ Dr. Norman A. Godman (Greenock and Port Glasgow)
With growing monetary union, surely domestic Parliaments will have no control over the deliberations of the Council of Ministers. Over the next few years that must inevitably mean that more power will accrue to the European Parliament and this place will lose power.
§ Mrs. Michie
I agree with the hon. Gentleman that this place will lose power. We have seen how horrified hon. Conservative Members are about that possibility. I was referring to a Scottish Parliament and to the European Community. Fishing is an example which I believe should be in the control of the Scottish Office or of a Scottish Parliament rather than the United Kingdom Parliament. A Minister from Scotland should be responsible for fishery negotiations in Europe.
Local authorities and others are ahead of the Government's lethargic approach to Europe. I give it to Strathclyde region that it has had a representative in Brussels for the last five years. We have just heard the announcement of £400 million for Strathclyde. We shall have to consider the fact that the Argyll and Bute region is not to benefit.
§ Mr. Michael J. Martin
Surely the hon. Lady must admit that every local authority worker in Argyll was over the moon when that region came into Strathclyde because rates of pay went up. That is all the workers shouted about when they came into Strathclyde. At least they had something to aim for.
§ Mrs. Michie
The local authority workers may have shouted with joy, but I and my party are in favour of single-tier local authorities. Strathclyde has done well, but there are many things that it does not do. It is unfortunate that we are not sharing in the £400 million of expenditure. On roads, for example, Strathclyde region decided in 1976 that it would not adopt any roads in Argyll and Bute that had not been kept up previously by the council. That is bad for the development of business. I am still trying to persuade Strathclyde region to reverse that policy.
It is interesting to compare the antiquated regional policy of the Government with the more progressive and enlightened federalism of other European countries. In West Germany the 11 Länder have modern information offices and lobby centres. They also have two observers who attend European Community ministerial meetings. At least five Spanish areas, including Catalonia and the Basque region, have representation in Europe. That is what I want to see for Scotland when it has its own Parliament.
1018 The continued refusal of the Government and the Tory party in Scotland to acknowledge the wish of the Scottish people to control their own affairs never ceases to amaze me. The Conservative party has to answer some simple questions. Does the party recognise that Scotland is a nation? Does it accept that the Scottish people are entitled to determine their own affairs and that their wishes should be paramount? Is there not a great inconsistency when the Government proudly give self-determination to 1,800 islanders 3,000 miles away, yet arrogantly deny it to 5 million people 400 miles up the road?
The only sensible way of governing this country is to have a federal United Kingdom. The Secretary of State is a professed federalist, yet he has said that there is no demand for federalism. If we want out into the highways and byways of England and asked the people if they cared whether Scotland had its own Parliament, they would say, "Great; why should it not?" Some hon. Members representing constituencies south of the border think that we have over-representation. I am sure that many hon. Members would be delighted to see the back of us if we went to our own Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. They would have much more time to debate their own affairs and we would not have to debate our affairs more often than not at midnight.
Where does all this leave Scotland? We are being governed without consent. The Government always claim to act in the name of freedom and choice, but it is they who decide what the choices are to be. It was put very well in the document "A Claim of Right for Scotland":There is a profound hypocrisy in saying that the Scots should stand on their own feet while simultaneously denying them management of their own political affairs, and that denial is a clear deprivation of choice for Scots. Scots can stand on their own feet only by refusing to accept the constitution which denies them the power to do so.I wish that the Government would understand these words.
The Tory Government claim, and say in their amendment, that they are bringing prosperity to Scotland. Even if that were the case, that is not an argument for denying the Scottish people the right to have a say in their affairs. It is as though the Government think that it is sufficient to offer us financial carrots while beating us with a constitutional stick. The case for home rule is not solely or predominantly an economic one and no one should be misled into thinking that this is now the case. We cannot be bought and sold.
The most pernicious suggestion that I have heard is that the only options for Scotland are the status quo and independence. That is a dangerous game to play. Polarisation of the debate into one of unionism and independence may result in many people being pushed against their will and interest into the separatist camp. The Secretary of State would be gambling that the voters will decide that they are British first and Scottish second. That is a bet which he would not win.
§ Sir Hector Monro (Dumfries)
It is not often that I follow a ghost party, but I am doing so now. I commiserate with the hon. Member for Argyll and Bute (Mrs. Michie), who has been abandoned, not only in the election, but by her party tonight. It is not often that we have a Scottish debate at which none of the SLD Members or Democrats 1019 turns up. That shows that the proud words that she has been delivering about the Scottish nation do not hold true for her colleagues.
I am enjoying tonight because, from both sides of the House, we have had the best demolition job that I have ever seen. The SNP must rue the moment that it chose the subject for this debate and coerced the Ulstermen into giving it the opportunity to hold it. Throughout the evening, holes have been drilled into its policies, where it has a united one at all. Throughout its existence it has been a party of isolation with a determination to break up the United Kingdom. This slogan of independence in Europe is but a facade. Even in late 1987, it was recommending a referendum so that it could get out of Europe if possible.
The hon. Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin) mentioned the SNP's brash attitude to electioneering. Those of us who have been involved in elections over many years have been saddened by the attitude of the SNP and its workers. There has always been civility in Scottish electioneering, and the rudeness, incivility and near-riot attitude of the SNP supporters do it no good. Much of this has been activated by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Sillars). He changed his party three times. He has written a book called "No Turning Back", but that is because nobody will have him back.
The SNP staked all on, and crowed like a rooster about, independence in Europe in the latest election. The ploy fooled no one and failed miserably.
§ Sir Hector Monro
I accept that. One cannot win them all all the time.
We are coming to 1992, which is all about free trade and enterprise. Like the Labour party, the SNP has a Socialist doctrine in favour of Government controls and is opposed to the objective of Europe. During the 1974–79 period, the Labour Government had a great opportunity to take us into Europe with some enthusiasm, but they did not. They mucked up the common agricultural policy and did not get back one penny in rebates—something that we managed to achieve later.
We have not yet had an explanation of the Labour party's policy of independence in the United Kingdom, but I do not want to spoil our slightly more friendly relationship tonight.
In the European elections, the SNP flagship was the policy of independence in Europe, on which it hoped to win more seats, but it did not. The Scottish people did not endorse its policies. They were not taken in by the SNP budget, which was manifestly inaccurate. The income was grossly overstated and the expenditure was inaccurate. No person who thinks about the Scottish economy could do so without including in any policy the use of nuclear power. However, the SNP is dead against anything to do with nuclear energy, and so is against a nuclear deterrent, without which the United Kingdom and Scotland would be open to threats from another country. The SNP's opposition to that shows that it does not have its basic priorities right in terms of peace and defence.
1020 The Scotland about which the SNP talks seems to be different from the country in which we all live. It is difficult to recognise the reality of the picture of Scotland that it paints. The SNP runs it down and makes no allowance for great achievements by the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Prime Minister. Let us take the example of unemployment. In May 1987, 337,000 people were unemployed—13.6 per cent. of the working population. Today, 239,000 are unemployed—9.6 per cent. The figure has reduced by nearly 100,000 in two years, and by four percentage points. My constituency has seen a 40 per cent. drop in unemployment in those two years, which shows that the economy is working.
§ Sir Hector Monro
The Labour party came a rather bad second at the last election in Dumfries. I am not in the least bit worried about that.
There is no complacency in Scotland about unemployment. We have the Industry Department for Scotland, the enterprise trusts, the Scottish Development Agency, Government initiatives and employment training. All this is good for Scotland, but it is decried by the SNP. It is time that both that party and the Labour party made some effort to look at the good news in Scotland and how successful economic policies for the future of our country have been.
§ Sir Hector Monro
Do not spoil it.
The Opposition parties fail to notice the dramatic improvements such as the development of roads like the M74, which is starting soon, the A75 and the roads in the north-east, and new hospital buildings and home ownership, which is going like a bomb. The quality of life, which is so important in Scotland, is improving rapidly. Company profits are the highest that they have been for 20 years in the United Kingdom and it is from there that we get the investment to provide jobs for Scotland. All this is good news, but it would be destroyed by the SNP's policy of independence.
There is Unionism and cohesion in Scotland. It does not want to be over-governed, whether by an assembly, by independence or by breaking up the United Kingdom. We want consolidation and confidence for the future, a climate of expansion and an ever-improving standard of living. We are producing that. The SNP, the Socialists and the Democrats will destroy it.
§ Mr. Jim Sillars (Glasgow, Govan)
Earlier in the debate the governor-general asked me to explain why my party argues for membership of the European Community as distinct from the old Union, when Scotland has been part of the Union for a long time but part of the European Community for only a short time. The right hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine) put it rather well. He said:It is important that we understand the changing definition of sovereignty. If one changes the definition of sovereignty, power moves from old concentrations to new, which is a source of resentment. How could it be otherwise? We are at the heart of that dilemma because power is moving from this place, which causes a growing and legitimate concern."—[Official Report, 18 May 1989; Vol. 153, c 536.]1021 Indeed, it was in recognition of that change that I first spoke about independence in Europe on 3 May 1972, as reported in Hansard at column 531.
Leaving aside the SLD, at first sight there appear to be three options: independence in Europe, the status quo and Labour party policy. In fact, there are just two options: first, independence in Europe and, secondly, the two variants of Unionism. We must compare one with the other. I shall first discuss the Tory variant of Unionism. It requires us to accept a continued legislative incorporation in an integrated political system.
The hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) kept talking about the unitary state. Under the Tory party, that political system subordinates Scottish policy to that of England, as we are currently witnessing with the Government's policy of high interest rates to cool down the south-east. Scotland certainly does not need cooling down in the economic circumstances north of the border.
Scottish political power is non-existent within that Tory system. The governor-general is not Scotland's man in the Cabinet; he is Thatcher's man in Scotland, and the majority of people in Scotland recognise that. The power structure of the United Kingdom makes that quite obvious. The Secretary of State for Scotland—and I do not intend to be offensive—is a placeman. He does not command his position in the Cabinet from a Scottish power base. He does not tell the Cabinet what to do on Scottish policy; he is told what the policy will be and it is "Scottified" by the Scottish Office. He has no veto ability. He could resign and be replaced by the hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Forsyth), then the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Lord James Douglas-Hamilton) and then, ultimately, the hon. Member for Tayside, North.
The Secretary of State needs to develop a lobbying skill. It has always been the case that those who can lobby best make the best Secretaries of State. Of course, in European policy Scotland is not even quoted. I can sum up the Tory attitude to Scotland within the United Kingdom in a simple sentence—no power, little influence, a lobbying outfit; and within the European Community—Scotland cannot exercise any power.
The Labour party variant is slightly different. Its amendment contains the words "within the United Kingdom", which makes it clear that, like the Tories, its main purpose is to preserve the Union. It thinks that the best way to do that is through devolution—the devolving of power to a Scottish assembly. We must strip the Labour party of its camouflage of the slogan "Independence in the United Kingdom". It is no wonder that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) would not give way to any hon. Member wanting to question him on that slogan.
Stripped of that camouflage, Labour's policy involves a mechanism for the distribution of resources between health, education, housing, roads, local government, administration of regional funds—not the policy decision on how the funds should be created—and control of the Scottish Development Agency and the Highlands and Islands Development Board, which are currently within the Secretary of State's remit. Labour party policy contains no wealth-creation measures inherent in macro-economic decisions such as how to allocate 1022 resources between consumption and investment, interest rate policy, fiscal policy, oil policy, and depletion of oil policy.
Rumour has it that the hon. Member for Garscadden recently went abroad for the first time in 10 years and discovered the Bavarian solution, which is a bureau of information lobby, once again inside Brussels. In reality, the Labour party envisages a subservient role for Scotland within the United Kingdom. That becomes most evident in its defence policy. It is no wonder that the hon. Member for Garscadden did not want to refer to the part of our motion dealing with the question of Trident.
Scotland on Sunday on 12 March stated:Labour's defence review, due to be published in May, has run into trouble with the party in Scotland, which pledged unswerving support yesterday for unilateral disarmament.With Shadow defence spokesman Mr. Martin O'Neill listening, a succession of delegates demanded retention of unilateralism in the crucial review document which is expected to move the party into a flexible position on nuclear defence …In a clear warning to the leadership not to change course, the Inverness conference voted overwhelmingly to maintain the present defence policy. The unequivocal position backed by the Scottish Executive leaves leader Mr. Neil Kinnock and Mr. O'Neill in no doubt that a softening on unilateralism will be resisted in Scotland.That was the decision of the Labour party's Scottish conference in March, but we still await the resistance in Scotland. When it comes to a division of policy within the Unionist context set by the Labour party, there is no question who is the boss—he who lies south of the border.
We were told by the Labour party that it would entrench a Scottish Assembly and that once it was established there would be no possibility of this Parliament overturning it. We have seen the spectacle of Labour Members of Parliament going to the Scottish Constitutional Convention and signing documents stating that they supported Scottish sovereignty. That is very strange because on 19 June, when dealing with an SLD motion on civil liberties and a Bill of Rights, the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) attacked the idea of a Bill of Rights and said that the Opposition would not support the motion for two reasons:First, the main problem with a Bill of Rights in this country is due to the nature of the British constitution, which is unwritten … In England"—he does not pretend that it is the United Kingdom—there is no such system. Instead, this country's fundamental constitutional doctrine is the supremacy of Parliament"—[Official Report, 19 June 1989; vol. 155, c. 90.]The deputy leader of the Labour party attacked Charter 88 in an article in The Guardian in December 1988. He said:The attractions of a written constitution are obvious enough. Entrenched clauses"—which I thought was Labour party policy on an assembly——which can only be changed by complicated and protracted constitutional amendment—limit the power of government. It is impossible to incorporate those attractions into our system. British democracy is—for better or for worse—based on the absolute sovereignty of parliament.In other words, what Parliament gives, Parliament can take away.
Of course, the Labour party sings a different song north of the border, and says that the Scottish people are sovereign. Down here, when speaking to the bosses in London, it parrots the English constitutional view.
§ Mr. Darling
The hon. Gentleman has criticised an observation of mine about the British constitution and the doctrine of the supremacy of Parliament. I do not understand why he should criticise a statement of fact, whether or not he agrees with it. I note that in "Dod's Companion" he lists that he once studied law. He did not say that he had actually completed the course. I advise him to do so, because he will find that that is exactly what the British constitution states, whether or not he likes it. He cannot criticise people who simply set out the facts.
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will now answer the question that his hon. Friend the Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) would not answer: what will the nationalists do if they find that the terms for remaining in —or for entering—Europe are unacceptable? Is he advocating independence for Scotland alone with Greenland?
§ Mr. Sillars
The hon. Gentleman wishes to divert attention from the fact that the Labour party signed a declaration of sovereignty at the Scottish Constitutional Convention. I have read the policy review. It is reasonable for the Labour party to say that it will alter the British constitution, but it is not reasonable for it to say to the Scots. "We will alter it for you," but then come to Westminster and say that it cannot be altered and repeat time and again that the sovereignty of this Parliament is a constitutional fact of life. They cannot endlessly repeat that the sovereignty of this Parliament is a constitutional fact of life. The hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central cannot get out of that.
§ Mr. Sillars
I am sorry, but I am not prepared to allow the hon. Gentleman to intervene. The hon. Gentleman was always a good trade union leader, but he never had to negotiate with me.
There is a problem in delivering the Labour party's variant of Unionism, because it is fundamentally a Unionist party. It accepts the sovereignty of Parliament. It may tell the Scottish people, "We have conceived the idea of a Scottish Assembly, which we believe has great merit. We believe that it is essential for the Scottish people, but unless we can carry the vote south of the border we cannot guarantee to deliver it." That is the Labour party's position as a Unionist party. It made the same argument in respect of Trident, saying, "We do not want it, but if the Government say we must accept it, we must."
§ Mr. Sillars
No, I shall not give way, but I am reminded that the hon. Member for Falkirk, East (Mr. Ewing), who claims to be an old friend of mine, made the public statement that, come what may, there will be a Scottish Assembly after the next general election. When I wrote a nice letter asking what he meant by that, he replied that he would tell lots of people but would not tell me. On the basis of that old friendship, I shall not give way to the hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Sillars
No. I am reaching the end of my speech.
1024 Tonight, we have heard a defence of the Union from Conservative and Labour Members.
§ Mr. David Lambie (Cunninghame, South)
The hon. Gentleman did not serve in this House for 13 years.
§ Mr. Sillars
The hon. Member for Cunninghame, South (Mr. Lambie) has not spoken in this House for 13 years.
What is so good about that Union? Is it a paradise that we are supposed to be defending? A report entitled "The State of the Nation" claims that in Scotland homelessness has doubled, annual housebuilding has dropped from 9,000 new starts to 4,000, NHS beds have been cut by 3,000, while the waiting lists stand at 77,000, unemployment is up by 85 per cent., manufacturing jobs have been cut by one third, and 18,000 teenagers have lost income support because of social security changes.
The report also claims that the number of Scottish families that have had their gas cut off for being unable to pay their bills has risen by 20 per cent. Wages too have suffered. In 1979 Scottish workers were paid on average £7.30 a week less than those in the south-east of England. It has since risen to £39.50 a week. That is what the Labour party says in its document, "The State of the Nation". That is what the Labour party in Scotland has been defending.
The epitaph of the Labour party in Scotland came through very clearly in the debate. At the end of the day, when Labour is boiled down to its Unionist essence, it would rather have a Tory Government elected in England governing Scotland than an independent Scottish Labour Government in an independent Scotland. That is Labour's epitaph.
§ The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Mr. Ian Lang)
I must confess that I thought the debate would be somewhat pointless, based as it was on the fraudulent and meaningless slogan of independence in Europe—which is almost as meaningless as talking about divorce within marriage. However, the debate turned out to be worth while because it succeeded in extracting one substantive fact from the hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Sillars)—that his view is that after Scotland's separation from the rest of the United Kingdom, and after that curious sleight of hand whereby Scotland will somehow find itself to have become a fully fledged member of the European Community, the power of taxation over the people of Scotland should be in the hands of a European Parliament. Regardless of the Council of Ministers and of the view of a Scottish Parliament, the hon. Member for Govan seeks to impose the power of taxation on Scotland not from Westminster but from Strasbourg, giving it a greater power over Scotland than Westminster would have. The power to tax is one of the most important there is and clearly the slogan "subservience in Europe" is more appropriate than "independence in Europe" on that basis.
I am happy to talk about Scotland in Europe because I welcome comparisons between it and other European countries. Since 1980, Scotland has enjoyed faster growth than any other country in Europe. The Fraser of Allander Institute forecasts that the Scottish economy will grow faster than that of the United Kingdom in the next year. Its manufacturing productivity has grown in the current decade faster not only than in Europe but in the United 1025 States and Japan. Our exports grew again last year, to 50 per cent. of the total compared with 25 per cent. since we first joined the Community.
Scotland's manufacturing exports are higher per head not only than those of other countries in Europe but of Germany and Japan. Scotland enjoys lower unemployment than France, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Spain and Ireland, and it is falling faster. Scotland is playing a full part in Europe and is well able to stand comparison.
Scotland is also benefiting enormously from Europe. Although there is a 35 per cent. work force restriction on assisted areas under the rules of the European Community, in Scotland 65 per cent. of the working population are accounted for in development areas. More than one quarter of all European aid to the United Kingdom comes to Scotland. Over the past decade it has received about £730 million from the European regional development fund, £250 million from the social fund, £1.5 billion in loans from the European investment bank and from the European Coal and Steel Community.
More than £3 billion has been invested in infrastructure and in industrial regeneration. Under a succession of initiatives in recent years, special help has been given through the Glasgow programme to Tayside, West Lothian and the Western Isles, and through the agricultural development programme to the other islands. More recently, the £12 million RENAVAL programme has been established for the shipbuilding areas of the Clyde, and another £73 million is being provided for an integrated operation in the Highlands and Islands. That is the biggest operation of its kind ever in Scotland or in Europe.
Under the Strathclyde programme, £1 billion of European money, United Kingdom taxpayers' money and private sector money will be brought together in a carefully targeted and integrated programme to help the Strathclyde economy through training, infrastructure, technology, innovation, and its environment. All that has been achieved through the activities of the Scottish Office with the assistance of the United Kingdom's negotiating power in Brussels.
Scottish National party Members are always keen to compare Scotland with other small countries in Europe, but if they look to Denmark, they will see that Scotland has received six times as much from the European regional development fund since it was founded than has Denmark. We are preparing for the next major European event, with the arrival of the single European market in 1992. Scotland will benefit from that also as it's companies prepare for Europe. In 1979, only one thing was binding the European Community together—our money and a lot of red tape.
The British Government have helped to develop the Single European Act, deregulate Europe and open up new opportunities for Scotland, as for the rest of the United Kingdom. Just as the single British Act of 1707 benefited Scotland, so too will the Single European Act. The SNP's single Scottish Act would change all that, and overnight Scotland would become a small, irrelevant country left out in the cold. When Scotland came to seek admission to the European Community, the resounding answer from the other member states would be "Nein", "Non", "Nunta", "Niemals", and "No di certo".
1026 Interdependence is the key to the future of Scotland and of Europe—not independence, but the coming together of nations that our Conservative Government have persistently espoused and helped to develop. Scottish independence in Europe is a fraudulent conception. The Scottish National party is not internationalist but the party of little Scotlanders. Scottish nationalists are not free marketeers but Socialists. For years they fought tooth and nail against membership of the European Community, and now they are enjoying a death-bed conversion that carries no conviction. I urge the House to throw out the motion.
§ Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 5, Noes 297.1028
|Division No. 266]||[6.59 pm|
|Jones, Ieuan (Ynys Môn)|
|Salmond, Alex||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Sillars, Jim||Mr. Andrew Welsh and|
|Thomas, Dr Dafydd Elis||Mrs. Margaret Ewing.|
|Abbott, Ms Diane||Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n)|
|Adams, Allen (Paisley N)||Clark, Dr David (S Shields)|
|Alton, David||Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)|
|Amess, David||Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)|
|Amos, Alan||Clwyd, Mrs Ann|
|Arbuthnot, James||Cohen, Harry|
|Armstrong, Hilary||Colvin, Michael|
|Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)||Cook, Frank (Stockton N)|
|Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)||Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)|
|Ashby, David||Coombs, Simon (Swindon)|
|Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy||Cope, Rt Hon John|
|Atkins, Robert||Cormack, Patrick|
|Atkinson, David||Cox, Tom|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Cran, James|
|Baldry, Tony||Currie, Mrs Edwina|
|Batiste, Spencer||Darling, Alistair|
|Battle, John||Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Davis, David (Boothferry)|
|Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Day, Stephen|
|Benyon, W.||Dewar, Donald|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Dixon, Don|
|Bevan, David Gilroy||Doran, Frank|
|Blackburn, Dr John G.||Dorrell, Stephen|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James|
|Bottomley, Peter||Dover, Den|
|Bottomley, Mrs Virginia||Duffy, A. E. P.|
|Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)||Dunnachie, Jimmy|
|Bowis, John||Durant, Tony|
|Boyes, Roland||Dykes, Hugh|
|Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard||Eadie, Alexander|
|Brazier, Julian||Eastham, Ken|
|Bright, Graham||Emery, Sir Peter|
|Brooke, Rt Hon Peter||Evennett, David|
|Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)||Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)|
|Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)||Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas|
|Browne, John (Winchester)||Fallon, Michael|
|Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)||Fatchett, Derek|
|Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)||Favell, Tony|
|Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick||Fenner, Dame Peggy|
|Buck, Sir Antony||Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)|
|Budgen, Nicholas||Fishburn, John Dudley|
|Burns, Simon||Flannery, Martin|
|Burt, Alistair||Fookes, Dame Janet|
|Butler, Chris||Forman, Nigel|
|Butterfill, John||Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)|
|Callaghan, Jim||Forth, Eric|
|Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)||Foster, Derek|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Fowler, Rt Hon Norman|
|Carrington, Matthew||Franks, Cecil|
|Cash, William||French, Douglas|
|Channon, Rt Hon Paul||Fry, Peter|
|Chapman, Sydney||Fyfe, Maria|
|Galbraith, Sam||Maclennan, Robert|
|Gale, Roger||McLoughlin, Patrick|
|Galloway, George||McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael|
|Gardiner, George||McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick|
|Garel-Jones, Tristan||Madden, Max|
|Gill, Christopher||Major, Rt Hon John|
|Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian||Malins, Humfrey|
|Goodhart, Sir Philip||Mans, Keith|
|Gow, Ian||Maples, John|
|Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)||Marshall, David (Shettleston)|
|Greenway, John (Ryedale)||Marshall, John (Hendon S)|
|Gregory, Conal||Marshall, Michael (Arundel)|
|Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)||Martin, David (Portsmouth S)|
|Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)||Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)|
|Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)||Maude, Hon Francis|
|Grist, Ian||Mawhinney, Dr Brian|
|Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn||Maxton, John|
|Hague, William||Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin|
|Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Hanley, Jeremy||Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)|
|Hannam, John||Miller, Sir Hal|
|Hardy, Peter||Mills, Iain|
|Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)||Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)|
|Harris, David||Mitchell, Sir David|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Moate, Roger|
|Hayes, Jerry||Monro, Sir Hector|
|Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney||Moonie, Dr Lewis|
|Haynes, Frank||Morris, M (N'hampton S)|
|Hayward, Robert||Morrison, Sir Charles|
|Heathcoat-Amory. David||Moss, Malcolm|
|Heddle, John||Neale, Gerrard|
|Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael||Neubert, Michael|
|Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)||Nicholls, Patrick|
|Hill, James||Nicholson, David (Taunton)|
|Hinchliffe, David||Norris, Steve|
|Hind, Kenneth||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon|
|Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)||Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley|
|Home Robertson, John||Oppenheim, Phillip|
|Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)||Owen, Rt Hon Dr David|
|Howarth, George (Knowsley N)||Page, Richard|
|Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)||Paice, James|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)||Patchett, Terry|
|Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)||Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey|
|Hughes, Simon (Southwark)||Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth|
|Hunt, David (Wirral W)||Pike, Peter L.|
|Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)||Porter, David (Waveney)|
|Hunter, Andrew||Portillo, Michael|
|Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas||Powell, William (Corby)|
|Ingram, Adam||Prescott, John|
|Irvine, Michael||Raffan, Keith|
|Jack, Michael||Raison, Rt Hon Timothy|
|Janman, Tim||Redwood, John|
|Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey||Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn|
|Johnston, Sir Russell||Reid, Dr John|
|Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)||Renton, Tim|
|Jones, Robert B (Herts W)||Rhodes James, Robert|
|Jopling, Rt Hon Michael||Riddick, Graham|
|Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine||Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm|
|Kennedy, Charles||Robertson, George|
|King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)||Sackville, Hon Tom|
|King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)||Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)|
|Kirkhope, Timothy||Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert|
|Kirkwood, Archy||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)||Shersby, Michael|
|Knox, David||Skinner, Dennis|
|Lambie, David||Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)|
|Lang, Ian||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|Latham, Michael||Snape, Peter|
|Lawrence, Ivan||Speed, Keith|
|Lee, John (Pendle)||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark||Stevens, Lewis|
|Lilley, Peter||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)|
|Lord, Michael||Stradling Thomas, Sir John|
|McAvoy, Thomas||Strang, Gavin|
|McCrindle, Robert||Sumberg, David|
|Macfarlane, Sir Neil||Taylor, Ian (Esher)|
|MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)||Taylor, John M (Solihull)|
|McKelvey, William||Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman|
|McLeish, Henry||Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)|
|Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)||Whitney, Ray|
|Thorne, Neil||Widdecombe, Ann|
|Thurnham, Peter||Wilkinson, John|
|Tredinnick, David||Wilshire, David|
|Trippier, David||Wilson, Brian|
|Trotter, Neville||Winterton, Mrs Ann|
|Waddington, Rt Hon David||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Wakeham, Rt Hon John||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|Walden, George||Wolfson, Mark|
|Walker, Bill (T'side North)||Wood, Timothy|
|Walker, Rt Hon P. (W'cester)||Worthington, Tony|
|Wallace, James||Wray, Jimmy|
|Waller, Gary||Yeo, Tim|
|Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Watts, John||Mr. David Maclean and|
|Wheeler, John||Mr. David Lightbown.|
§ Question accordingly negatived.
§ Question, That the proposed words be there added, put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 30 (Questions on amendments):—
§ The House divided: Ayes 203, Noes 98.1030
|Division No. 267]||[7.11 pm|
|Amess, David||Durant, Tony|
|Amos, Alan||Dykes, Hugh|
|Arbuthnot, James||Emery, Sir Peter|
|Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)||Evennett, David|
|Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)||Fallon, Michael|
|Ashby, David||Favell, Tony|
|Atkins, Robert||Fenner, Dame Peggy|
|Atkinson, David||Fookes, Dame Janet|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)|
|Baldry, Tony||Forth, Eric|
|Batiste, Spencer||Fowler, Rt Hon Norman|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||French, Douglas|
|Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Gale, Roger|
|Benyon, W.||Gardiner, George|
|Bevan, David Gilroy||Garel-Jones, Tristan|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Gill, Christopher|
|Bottomley, Peter||Goodhart, Sir Philip|
|Bottomley, Mrs Virginia||Gow, Ian|
|Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)||Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)|
|Bowis, John||Greenway, John (Ryedale)|
|Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard||Gregory, Conal|
|Brazier, Julian||Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)|
|Bright, Graham||Grist, Ian|
|Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)||Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn|
|Browne, John (Winchester)||Hague, William|
|Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)||Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick||Hanley, Jeremy|
|Buck, Sir Antony||Hannam, John|
|Budgen, Nicholas||Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)|
|Burns, Simon||Harris, David|
|Burt, Alistair||Haselhurst, Alan|
|Butler, Chris||Hayes, Jerry|
|Butterfill, John||Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Hayward, Robert|
|Carrington, Matthew||Heddle, John|
|Cash, William||Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael|
|Channon, Rt Hon Paul||Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)|
|Chapman, Sydney||Hind, Kenneth|
|Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n)||Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)|
|Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)||Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)|
|Colvin, Michael||Hunt, David (Wirral W)|
|Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)||Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)|
|Coombs, Simon (Swindon)||Hunter, Andrew|
|Cope, Rt Hon John||Irvine, Michael|
|Cormack, Patrick||Jack, Michael|
|Cran, James||Janman, Tim|
|Currie, Mrs Edwina||Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey|
|Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)||Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)|
|Day, Stephen||Jones, Robert B (Herts W)|
|Dorrell, Stephen||Jopling, Rt Hon Michael|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine|
|Dover, Den||King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)|
|King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)||Portillo, Michael|
|Kirkhope, Timothy||Powell, William (Corby)|
|Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)||Raffan, Keith|
|Knox, David||Raison, Rt Hon Timothy|
|Lang, Ian||Redwood, John|
|Latham, Michael||Renton, Tim|
|Lawrence, Ivan||Riddick, Graham|
|Lee, John (Pendle)||Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm|
|Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark||Sackville, Hon Tom|
|Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)||Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)|
|Lightbown, David||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Lilley, Peter||Shersby, Michael|
|Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|Lord, Michael||Speed, Keith|
|McCrindle, Robert||Stevens, Lewis|
|Macfarlane, Sir Neil||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)||Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)|
|McLoughlin, Patrick||Stradling Thomas, Sir John|
|McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael||Sumberg, David|
|McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick||Taylor, Ian (Esher)|
|Major, Rt Hon John||Taylor, John M (Solihull)|
|Malins, Humfrey||Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman|
|Mans, Keith||Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)|
|Maples, John||Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)|
|Marshall, John (Hendon S)||Thorne, Neil|
|Marshall, Michael (Arundel)||Thurnham, Peter|
|Martin, David (Portsmouth S)||Trippier, David|
|Maude, Hon Francis||Trotter, Neville|
|Mawhinney, Dr Brian||Waddington, Rt Hon David|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin||Walden, George|
|Meyer, Sir Anthony||Walker, Bill (T'side North)|
|Miller, Sir Hal||Walker, Rt Hon P. (W'cester)|
|Mills, Iain||Waller, Gary|
|Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)||Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)|
|Mitchell, Sir David||Warren, Kenneth|
|Moate, Roger||Watts, John|
|Monro, Sir Hector||Wells, Bowen|
|Morris, M (N'hampton S)||Wheeler, John|
|Morrison, Sir Charles||Widdecombe, Ann|
|Moss, Malcolm||Wilkinson, John|
|Neale, Gerrard||Wilshire, David|
|Neubert, Michael||Winterton, Mrs Ann|
|Nicholls, Patrick||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Nicholson, David (Taunton)||Wolfson, Mark|
|Norris, Steve||Wood, Timothy|
|Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley||Yeo, Tim|
|Oppenheim, Phillip||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Paice, James||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||Mr. David Maclean and|
|Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth||Mr. David Heathcoat-Amory.|
|Porter, David (Waveney)|
|Allen, Graham||Bermingham, Gerald|
|Alton, David||Boateng, Paul|
|Armstrong, Hilary||Boyes, Roland|
|Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy||Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)|
|Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)||Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)|
|Barron, Kevin||Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)|
|Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)||Buckley, George J.|
|Callaghan, Jim||McAvoy, Thomas|
|Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)||McKelvey, William|
|Campbell-Savours, D. N.||McLeish, Henry|
|Clark, Dr David (S Shields)||Maclennan, Robert|
|Clwyd, Mrs Ann||Madden, Max|
|Cohen, Harry||Mahon, Mrs Alice|
|Cook, Frank (Stockton N)||Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)|
|Cook, Robin (Livingston)||Maxton, John|
|Cox, Tom||Michael, Alun|
|Cryer, Bob||Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)|
|Dewar, Donald||Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)|
|Dixon, Don||Moonie, Dr Lewis|
|Dobson, Frank||Nellist, Dave|
|Douglas, Dick||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon|
|Eadie, Alexander||Patchett, Terry|
|Eastham, Ken||Pike, Peter L.|
|Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)||Powell, Ray (Ogmore)|
|Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)||Redmond, Martin|
|Flannery, Martin||Reid, Dr John|
|Foster, Derek||Robertson, George|
|Fyfe, Maria||Salmond, Alex|
|Galbraith, Sam||Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert|
|Galloway, George||Sillars, Jim|
|Garrett, John (Norwich South)||Skinner, Dennis|
|Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)||Snape, Peter|
|Godman, Dr Norman A.||Spearing, Nigel|
|Gordon, Mildred||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)||Strang, Gavin|
|Haynes, Frank||Thomas, Dr Dafydd Elis|
|Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)||Vaz, Keith|
|Home Robertson, John||Wallace, James|
|Howarth, George (Knowsley N)||Wareing, Robert N.|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)||Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)|
|Hughes, Simon (Southwark)||Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)|
|Illsley, Eric||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Ingram, Adam||Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)|
|Johnston, Sir Russell||Wilson, Brian|
|Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|Kennedy, Charles||Worthington, Tony|
|Kirkwood, Archy||Wray, Jimmy|
|Lestor, Joan (Eccles)||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Livsey, Richard||Mr. Allen Adams and|
|Loyden, Eddie||Mr. Nigel Griffiths.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER forthwith declared the main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.
That this House notes the continued success of the present Government's policies in securing for Scotland record living standards and the advantages of membership of the European Community within the United Kingdom, alongside a strong defence of the United Kingdom's essential interests, and the rejection of the Scottish National Party's policy of independence in Europe by the overwhelming majority of voters in Scotland at the European elections; and recognises the potential damage to the real interests of Scotland underlying the constitutional change advocated by opposition parties.