"Vote for freedom and equality in Europe" - Winnie Ewing
The President of the Scottish National Party Dr Winnie Ewing today [Sunday] intervened in the European election campaign to urge the people of Scotland to vote for "freedom and equality of status" in the new European Union of 25 Member States.
Dr Ewing - who was the directly elected Euro-MP for the Highlands & Islands from 1979 to 1999 - said that with the EU dominated "more than ever" by small nations, there had never been a better time for Scotland to move towards Independence in Europe.
Speaking from her home in Miltonduff, Dr Ewing - who has recently published her autobiography, "Stop the World" - said:
"This election is an opportunity for the people of Scotland to look at the big picture of the European Union - an enlarged EU of 25 Member States, 19 of them small nations.
"And it is an opportunity to vote for the big idea of freedom and equality for Scotland, alongside all of the other historic nations of Europe. Independence in Europe is an idea that is as exciting as it is necessary.
"We have the situation of Malta - a country smaller than Edinburgh - being a full Member State of the European Union, and therefore having more of a say in EU decisions than Scotland does.
"That is good for Malta - but absurd for Scotland.
"And with enlargement into Eastern and Central Europe, a quarter of EU members are now landlocked. This means that countries such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia - without a single inch of coastline - have a voice and votes in deciding European fisheries policy, while Scotland has no voice and no votes.
"That is a ridiculous and ruinous state of affairs for Scotland - which only the SNP are committed to resolving by promoting our nation from second-class regional status to the premier league of independent European nations.
"The EU is dominated more than ever by the small nations - referred to by one commentator as the 'tyranny of the tiny'. There has never been a better time for Scotland to join them as a Member State in our own right.
"During my twenty years as an elected Euro-MP, time and again I saw Scottish interests sacrificed and betrayed by British Ministers who were pursuing the London-based objectives of the Westminster Government.
"If anyone suggested to the Irish that they should be represented in the EU by London, they would laugh at such a ludicrous idea. And so would the Danes if you said that Germany would look after their interests better than a Danish government can; or that the Slovaks should be represented by Prague.
"The small EU nations are big in ambition - and, like them, Scotland needs the clout that we can only get with Independence in Europe."