Alex Salmond has repeatedly claimed that an independent Scotland would be given automatic EU membership as ‘a successor state’.
The universal impression he and bis colleagues gave was that they had legal advice on this matter but could not possibly comment on that because of their fidelity to the ministerial code. The assumption therefore was that legal advice informed these repeated declarations on EU membership.
And Mr Salmond never said : This is just one I made earlier.’
Now we know that they had not even sought legal advice – so the declarations on ‘successor state’ status for Scotland were informed by nothing more substantial than wishing on a star.
Interviewed – rigorously – by Bermard Ponsonby on Wednesday night [24th October] on Scotland Tonight, the First Munchster said that, yes, legal advice was now being sought on this matter. Asked if he would make that advice public, he swerved and said that ‘it will inform the White Paper for the Independence Referendum Bill’.
Ponsonby persisted in asking neverthless if Salmond would publish the legal opinion so that people could see for themselves the relationship between it and the way it had ‘informed’ the White Paper?
Mr Salmond said, again, that the opinion ‘would inform the White Paper’.
Given that we now know that the First Minister’s previous declarations on Scotland’s standing as ‘a successor state’ were informed by nothing at all, how will we tell the difference when it comes to the White Paper?
Because he says so?
He will have to publish the opinion or get used to having the length of his nose measured at regular intervals.