As Ian Bell points out in this Herald article, most of what the UK government paper says about Europe is conjecture. There is no certainty. The situation has never occurred before.
In fact countries have joined the EU from outside. They have had to comply (and in certain cases, not comply) with a list of requirements. Compliance has taken longer or shorter periods, dependant on the starting points on finance, legal matters, human rights, etc.
Two slightly different situations have occurred in the EU’s history:
After the Berlin Wall came down, East Germany, with its basket case economy and human rights from hell record was assimilated into West Germany to become jointly Germany. This was achieved in a remarkably short period of time, because West Germany, already a member as WEST Germany, undertook to ensure that EAST Germany would comply with all the EU requirements. In fact, a new state of Germany was allowed to enter the EU in short orders.
When Greenland became an autonomous country in the Danish kingdom, it decided to leave the EU. It was far away geographically; it had little farming at the time, and so benefited hardly at all from the CAP. It did however, have massive and very rich fishing grounds which were being depleted by EU fishing fleets. In the give and take of the EU, Greenland gave an awful lot more than it took.
The leaving was not easily achieved. The EU didn't want to lose this tiny nation of 55,000 people. It certainly didn't want to lose its mineral resources or its fish. It drew out the process of withdrawal, although there was never any chance of Greenland being refused.
Scotland, whilst perhaps not having the fishing resources of Greenland, has a lot of other things that the EU would be unlikely to want to lose. It is compliant in law, in human rights and with OECD estimating that it would be in the top ten per capita rich nations in the world, it would be a net contributor. Its citizens are already European citizens; they hold EU passports and driving licences. They are resident in countries all over the union, and citizens from all over the union work and study in Scotland. Does anyone think it likely that the EU would go out of its way to create problems for Scotland by not agreeing accession by 2016? Not just for Scots, but for all the other countries who have people working and fishing and studying here, and who have Scottish residents. It just doesn't make sense. Not when we know it can be done.
Even the UK government appears to have given up on the original argument that we wouldn't be allowed to join. What they are now trying to tell us is that it would cost us more money and that it would take years.
Mrs Thatcher, trying to face down the right wing xenophobes in her party, went to Brussels in 1984 to negotiate a rebate. She felt Britain, based on its greatness, had agreed to pay too much into the EU purse when it was, in fact the second poorest of the then 10 members
At that time a huge amount of the budget was spent on the CAP (around 80%) and Britain did badly out of that as it had a small agricultural sector by comparison with the other countries (being a cold and wet country).
Mrs Thatcher got her rebate but Britain, but in a no free lunch world, lost out on fishing rights, which disproportionately hit areas in the north of England and Scotland, where the Tories were less popular.
The rebate was and is funded largely by France and Italy and is extremely unpopular in these countries, and of course with the newer eastern countries joining the EU Britain is no longer amongst the poorest countries (even though it is the most indebted).
Of course Scotland wouldn't get that rebate (worth €5 billion to the UK, €50 million to Scotland). I doubt anyone expects it to. I wonder for how much longer the UK will get it, especially with Osborne's belligerent... "our way or the highway" attitude.
But already Scotland gets a bad deal from Europe, with 6 members of parliament (as opposed to Denmark’s 13), and our fishing, environment and farming business is carried out by and English minister with no knowledge of or responsibility for Scotland.
The other scare story is that we would be forced to join the Euro, but according to Osborne, so might the UK.
There are many reasons why that won't happen, of course, but as Mr Hague knows …or let’s say SHOULD know, whilst new members sign up to say that they will work towards Euro membership, there is no time frame for this.
One of the prerequisites of being in the Euro is that the country must have spent two years in the ERM (remember Britain had to withdraw from it as the pound fell through the floor). But there is no obligation on any country to join the ERM. Ask Sweden.
It’s so insulting to be treated like this Mr Hague… and even more insulting when you don’t even keep to what the government paper says (there MAY be… there COULD be), but replace this in interviews with certainties (there WILL be).
You're driving wedges between us by lying, Willie. We are beginning to think you hate us.