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Dodgy Data #3: The Times of London

Written by on 4 March 2020

Last week the Times headlined an academic report – Scotland’s EU Blueprint – about the ease or otherwise for an independent Scotland to join the EU. This is the headline:

We did an expose of this on the Daytime Show on 21 Feb. You can listen to it here:

So to summarise: when you read the article what you find is very different from what the headline implies. In the first paragraph the Times tells us:

An independent Scotland would have to ditch the pound and embrace the euro to ensure its membership of the European Union, an academic has said.

Quickly followed up with this:

an independent Scotland would have to commit itself to joining the euro and that any attempt to secure a permanent opt-out “would surely be unacceptable to the [European] Union”.

But in the very next paragraph we find this

No time scale would be placed on the process to begin using the single currency, however.

We also learn that it’ll take about three from a Yes vote to transition to full independence. And probably a further two years to get to the point of joining the EU. The report goes on to say:

As a member of the bloc for 47 years as part of the UK, Scotland would be ready to meet most of the requirements and has an economy that is “manifestly capable of forming part of the union economy and responding sufficiently to its associated demands and forces,” Mr Salamone wrote.

And then we get to the report’s amazingly positive statement :

Joining would be economically and culturally beneficial and would allow a small country to have a larger voice on the world stage, the report said.

Most people won’t get to the actual article behind the Times paywall. They’ll just see the headline. They’ll see it on Twitter, Facebook, pro-Union website. And indeed that is what happened. Scotland in Union tweeted it. So did Scottish Tories. No surprise there.

So if you see mention of this headline, tell them that the headline is Unionist propaganda, that having to join the euro is an old chestnut that’s been well debugged, and that the article and the report is actually pretty encouraging about Scotland joining the EU. Oh and give them the link to this post!