Scotland's First Minister, and leader of the SNP, Alex Salmond
Scotland's First Minister, and leader of the SNP, Alex Salmond

Alex Salmond, leader of the SNP and once again First Minister of Scotland, has said that he wishes his nation (by which he does not mean the United Kingdom) to have greater influence in the European Union.

Among his proposals, for example, is the idea that British delegations to the EU should include Scottish ministers and officials.

While not a bad idea in itself, one can only describe the idea of Scotland having greater influence in the EU as a fantasy.

Should Mr Salmond ever get his way and become Prime Minister or President of an independent Scotland, he would in effect be the ruler of just another EU province and a rather minor one at that.

The United Kingdom is one of the largest contributors to the European Union as well as being one of the more powerful nations in it.

Despite this the United Kingdom often has its needs and wishes overruled by the great EU leviathan (or octopus as former UKIP leader Lord Pearson used to call it).

The Common Fisheries Policy for example, could not have been more damaging to the British (and Scottish) fishing industry, even if it had been intended to be so.

Then there are the fortnightly bin collections by local councils, which are increasing in frequency and unpopularity. These in many cases have been forced upon local councils by EU regulations on landfill, which while well suited to places such as the Low Countries which have a shortage of landfill, are not quite so necessary for Britain which has no such shortage.

Moving on there are the financial regulations, which are often perceived as not being aimed at protecting consumers, but as being attempts to undermine the Anglo-Saxon City of London's status as a world leading financial centre. Indeed it seems that sometimes not a week goes by without London financial newspaper City A.M. decrying the latest EU attack on the City.

Britain also seems incapable of resisting EU demands for money. Whether the EU asks for a bailout for one of the PIIGS or simply an increase in its own budget, the supposedly euro-sceptic government of David Cameron always finds itself paying up, even as it reduces spending increases at home.

Now if Britain, a nation of over 60 million people and one of the big four European nations, cannot make its voice heard in the EU, what chance does Mr Salmond really think an independent Scotland, a nation similar in size to Slovakia, would have?

Mr Salmond is a clever political operator, but here he must know that he is no match for the power of the EU.