Monday, February 24, 2014

Bullying from Westminster and Elsewhere

On the very same day the Scottish first minister, Alex Salmond, wrote a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron complaining of "bullying" from Westminster, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (left) made an imperious claim that it would be "extremely difficult, if not impossible" for an independent Scotland to join the European Union. He said it would have to apply for membership from scratch, and would struggle to win the approval of all 28 member states. 

I think it is a preposterous comment to come from the pompous officeholder. The whole history of the European Union has been about expansion, about growth, about involving new members, about bringing more countries into the fold of the European Union. I don’t think any member state had suggested it would seek to block an independent Scotland from becoming an EU member. Barroso should keep his own opinion to himself, period. 

Barroso's comments on February 16, 2014 came on the heels of UK Chancellor George Osborne’s statement that ruled out an independent Scotland sharing the pound with the rest of the UK under a currency union – the Scottish Government's preferred option. 

And then there was an "astonishing" claim by a Tory source that a 'Yes' vote would not automatically mean Scotland becomes independent. 

These are bullying tactics aimed to swing the vote against Scottish independence. And I expect it to get worse as the September 18, 2014 referendum date draws closer. 

It was a nerve-racking thriller but thank God, Liverpool prevailed and managed to beat Swansea 4-3 on Sunday to tighten their grip on fourth place in the EPL. 

The Swans had barely got going when Daniel Sturridge fired their hosts in front in the second minute, and Jordan Henderson followed it up with a second in the twentieth minute. 

But just as Liverpool threatened to go into overdrive, a sweet Jonjo Shelvey strike (23) and a Wilfried Bony header off Martin Skrtel (27) levelled the scores. 

Sturridge headed in his second from Luis Suarez's cross in the thirty-sixth minute but Bony again pulled Swansea level from the penalty spot (47). 

Liverpool sealed victory when Henderson found the net in the seventy-fourth minute with his second attempt after Swansea goalie Michel Vorm saved his initial shot.

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