Vote leave to stop the EU super state, says campaigner Nugent

EU colour (1)

Brian Nugent, 63, a hospital porter and member of Scottish Left Leave, agrees with the SNP wanting independence from the UK but not the logic of wanting to be part of an even bigger, incorporating union, the European Union. 

Mr Nugent was chairman of Yes Shetland in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and was involved in the 2015 general election and 2016 Scottish parliament election campaigns to elect Danus Skene. A founding member in 2004 of the Free Scotland Party, a pro-Scottish independence party wanting to withdraw from the EU, the party has since disbanded. He joined the SNP in 1974, but resigned in 2003 after the SNP dropped a referendum pledge on membership of the EU on achieving independence.


On 23rd June I will vote to leave the European Union (EU).

The main reason is that the EU is not democratic. Secret trade deals – Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) – are made in our name but not necessarily for our benefit. Results of referendums on treaties were ignored when they did not give the correct result and now EU voters are no longer asked their opinion.

Laws come from unelected appointees in the commission. The EU interferes with democratically elected governments.

Brian Nugent
Brian Nugent

Many in the EU talk about the European project which has a long term aim of political integration but have voters in the EU ever been asked about the United States of Europe?

The contents of the TTIP between the US and the EU and the CETA between Canada and the EU are secret, few people know the contents.

One of those who does know the contents is Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU commissioner for trade. In reply to John Hilary, director of War on Want, about the three million petitioners against TTIP across Europe she said: “I do not take my mandate from the European people.”

These deals are being pushed forward in the name of voters in the EU but without reference to the wishes of voters in the EU. If voters have no input then who is driving these deals forward and with what aims? Well, no one knows because, in that time honoured phrase, we will not be told because of trade confidentiality. The EU has nothing to learn from the Masons.

TTIP is a bilateral “free trade” agreement involving powerful industry lobbies. This involvement, and the secrecy involved, is where the suspicion that business is running the show and coming after health, food, public services and the environment arises.

Another way of looking at talk of harmonising regulations and standards is that protection for consumer rights is being shelved for corporate profit. Corporations will be able to undermine democracy with the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). This is a mechanism that will allow corporations to sue governments in secret international trade courts if governments enact policies that could reduce present and future profits.

The NHS, along with other public services, will come under threat as corporations will have the right to bid for all government spending. Health will become about profit rather than health needs. Referendums in the EU have proved problematic.

The Danes voted down the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. This rejection was considered a blow to European integration although the EU carried on regardless with Denmark holding another referendum in 1993 and getting the result right second time round.

In 2005, referendums on the EU Constitution held in France and the Netherlands voted down the constitution. But not a problem for the EU, they rebranded the EU Constitution as the Lisbon Treaty and stopped holding referendums. Why consult voters when they cannot get the result right?

The EU is made up of the Commission, the Council of Ministers, the Parliament and the Court of Justice .


The Commission can also punish states that break the rules or for non-implementation of laws with fines or can withhold EU funding.

The Commission are the civil service of the EU with 30,000 staff and 28 commissioners who are the unelected appointees of the member countries. UK governments tend to appoint Tory or Labour party hacks like Neil Kinnock or Leon Brittan.

Usually, civil servants administer policy but in the EU the Commission are the only ones in the EU that can propose policy – new laws from unelected appointees only! In theory, the Council of Ministers and the Parliament can reject laws.

The Commission can also punish states that break the rules or for non-implementation of laws with fines or can withhold EU funding. The Commission also has the right to scrutinise member state government budgets, what might that lead to?

Robina Barton argues cooperation is the best approach – click here.

The Council of Ministers are the representatives of the 28 member governments, depending on the situation these might be the Prime Ministers or the relevant government ministers for whatever is being discussed.

Claims are made that this is democracy but governments are elected on domestic issues. At a British general election political parties talk about domestic issues, they do not talk about their policies for running the EU.

There are 751 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) the only directly elected people in the EU. Iain McWhirter said their job used to be to heckle. Under the Lisbon Treaty, the powers of MEPs have increased marginally but they only react to policy coming from the Commission when parliaments usually produce policy.

The Court of Justice is the final arbiter in legal matters and prevails over any national court. The “acquis communautaire” is the accumulated body of EU law and obligations since 1958 to the present day, 80,000 plus pieces among them judgements of the Court of Justice.

Sovereignty is the supremacy of authority or rule as exercised by a sovereign state but the problem is that sovereignty has been lost to the EU or as Jeremy Paxman said, “sovereignty has slipped away quietly”.

The question then is does sovereignty matter? This is the major issue in the referendum, vote leave to bring back decision making or vote remain to have decisions made for you elsewhere.

Sovereignty of democratically elected governments used to be unassailable but in the recession the EU applied enormous pressure in November 2011 to replace the governments of Italy and Greece.


The question then is does sovereignty matter? This is the major issue in the referendum, vote leave to bring back decision making or vote remain to have decisions made for you elsewhere.

Mario Monti became prime minister of Italy, head of a government of members of what were described as technocrats, unelected technocrats. Lucas Papademos became the EU placeman in Greece as leader of a technocratic government there.

The priority of the EU has been to protect the Eurozone. The populations of Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain have all been made to suffer to protect the bankers that created the recession and the EU prestige project currency.

Do you want to be a member of a country called Europe?

The European External Action Service is in place, it is the diplomatic wing of the EU. The EU integration project is steaming ahead. Vote leave.


Add Your Comment
  • John Tulloch

    • June 6th, 2016 14:13

    Well argued, Brian. You make the national case for leaving the EU very clearly, indeed.

    Local issues are important, too. Shetlanders will be wise to consider Shetland’s vital interests when voting. In particular, we are hugely dependent on fish and fishing, our biggest industry, which contributes a third of Shetland’s GDP.

    You mentioned the so-called ‘Aquis Communautaire’, the body of existing EU law. That was specially adapted for the UK joining – the Common Fisheries Policy was passed into law SIX HOURS before the official acceptance of Britain’s application!

    Thus control of Shetland’s (all UK) legendary fishing grounds passed automatically to the EU on joining – quite a heist!

    The U.K. Government was ‘sandbagged’. They had no option but accept it or call the whole thing off. So they rolled over and accepted.

    The result? Several tens of £millions a year, at least, going to other EU and non-EU countries including, notoriously, Faroe, whose vessels now take more mackerel from Shetland waters than our own fleet.

    With such friends in London and Brussels, who needs enemies?

  • Brian Smith

    • June 6th, 2016 17:56

    Boris Johnson observed in October 2014 that ‘[TTIP] is Churchillian in that it builds transatlantic links, it is all about free trade, and it brings Britain and Europe closer to America. The idea is to create a gigantic free-trade zone between the EU and the US … There is absolutely nothing not to like about the TTIP.’

    Vote with Johnson and Farage if you like, Brian, but don’t imagine that will be a strike against TTIP. The Leave campaign is a campaign of the far right.

    • John Tulloch

      • June 7th, 2016 9:55

      Surely, it’s the British public who will decide the political nature of government if Britain leaves the EU, Brian S?

      There were both Labour and Tory administrations prior to Heath taking us into the EU, as there have been since and doubtless, will be again, irrespective of whether we ‘geng or bide’.

  • Jimmy McDaid

    • June 6th, 2016 20:08

    Very good a nationalist who knows that a leave vote will trigger another independence referendum. I’ll vote remain only for at reason.

    • John Tulloch

      • June 7th, 2016 10:12

      You might want to reconsider that voting logic, Jimmy?

      An independence referendum will not happen if Scotland votes “Leave”. There will only be a referendum if the UK votes “Leave” and Scotland votes “Remain”.

      Shetland’s vital interests require a “Leave” vote – we voted ‘No’ in 1975 – especially, if the UK votes to stay in. That will send a strong political message that Shetlanders do not accept the EU’s hi-jack of our fishing industry, described in my comment above.

      Even staying in the EU, alternative arrangements may become possible but certainly not if we tell them we all think everything about EU membership is ‘hunky dory’.

      • Brian Smith

        • June 7th, 2016 17:59

        Shetland voted No in 1975, but on the lowest turnout – 47 per cent – in the United Kingdom.

      • John Tulloch

        • June 8th, 2016 10:38

        Thus demonstrating, Brian, that the EU (EEC) was a strange, remote entity that most Shetlanders neither understood nor thought relevant to their lives in Shetland.

        Those who understood the damage being in the EU would do to Shetland – including the council – gave it a resounding ‘thumbs down’.

        Had not the oil industry and its accompanying moneys to SIC/charitable trust oil funds come along immediately in the wake of us joining the EU, Shetland would be in a sorry state, today.

        It’s a shame the SIC and Shetland Fishermen’s Association are ‘faered’ to speak out this time because of potential retribution – a touch of ‘Uriah Heep’ syndrome – OIOF all over again!

        All the more reason to vote “Leave”.

      • John Tulloch

        • June 8th, 2016 10:59

        I noticed David Cameron simply dusted off the good old sound bites from the Scottish referendum campaign and re-issued them, verbatim, on last night’s Q&A session with Nigel Farage on ITV.

        Farage made a key point during the debate, namely, that people working for the authorities e.g. Bank of England governor Mark Carney, toe the line and say we will be worse off economically outside the EU whereas those who have left post e.g. his predecessor Mervyn King, say the opposite.

        He also reminded us that these same organisations quoted by Cameron got it wrong (spectacularly) in the past regarding e.g. the joinin the ERM and the euro, itself.

        I recall learning (Open University) that the forecasts of European finance ministers were once pitted against those of chimpanzees – and fared rather badly!

        Quelle surprise!

      • Brian Smith

        • June 8th, 2016 17:55

        It is so boring to have to read UKIP propaganda locally as well as listen to it nationally.

      • ian tinkler

        • June 8th, 2016 21:48

        Perhaps you should concentrate on Unison literature Brian Smith. You may embarrass yourself less that way. Hate to see you bored, just stick to ignorant of Unison affairs.

      • John Tulloch

        • June 9th, 2016 0:00

        Bored, Brian? Then you’ll no doubt be pleased to regale us with your version of the answer to my question, which I’ve asked many times previously of you, Jonathan, Danus, the SFA and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all and have yet to receive a reply, far less, a credible answer:

        “Why is Shetland ‘better off in the EU than out’, while our fishing neighbours, Faroe and Iceland, choose not to join?”

    • Gordon Harmer

      • June 8th, 2016 6:16

      Sorry Jimmy but Brian’s argument is bang on and only serves to vindicate his argument for Scottish independence by contradicting the hypocrisy of those who want away from the UK but wish to stay with the EU. By advocating a leave vote in Scotland Brian is going against those who will vote to stay in the EU in Scotland just to push for a second referendum if the rest of the UK votes out. He deserves respect for his stance even by those who want the UK to stay together; he has not minced his words in his article and I for one (probably for the first time) agree with him.

  • ian tinkler

    • June 7th, 2016 11:46

    Further to John Tulloch’s comment, a strong Shetland vote to leave the EU , in the event of Scotland voting to stay in, would greatly highlight Shetlands independent nature to be clear of a Nationalist Scotland. I can see no way if this referendum triggered YES2 (indie vote, not shared SNP MP mistress!) Shetland in all mortality could be dragged out of the rUk into a third world Scotland.


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