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Thursday, 17 May 2012

Out of the EU the easy way? Scottish Independence!

Page one from the Articles of the Treaty of Union between the Parliaments of England and Scotland.
It doesn't take a genius or a first in law from Oxford to know that if Scotland goes independent in 2014 then the UK is at an end.
As I have blogged before, the Act of Union 1707 is quite clear that the United Kingdom was the union of the two kingdoms of Scotland and England (which since 1536 has included Wales) into the new United Kingdom of Great Britain.
It follows therefore, as night follows day, that if that Union is dissolved then the Kingdoms of Scotland and England will re-emerge as seperate nation states.
The Northern Irish rump of the Act of Union 1801 with the Kingdom of Ireland would also dissolve automatically.
I suspect that the 1536 Act, incorporating the Principality of Wales, would soon follow but that would involve further legislation and not be automatic, since it is earlier and so is not founded on the 1707 Union.
The interesting consequence for English Nationalists, who overwhelmingly want to leave the EU, is explained in this article from the Daily Telegraph - I however would have entitled it:- 'England delighted to be out of the EU if Scotland Separates'!!
Britain 'forced to leave EU if Scotland separates'
"Scottish independence could see the UK kicked out of the European Union and forced to surrender its £3 billion annual rebate if it wanted to rejoin, a senior constitutional lawyer has told MPs.
By Simon Johnson, Scottish Political Editor
17 May 2012
Patrick Layden QC, a former Scottish Executive legal expert, warned that other EU countries could exploit separation to argue that the United Kingdom has ceased to exist as a member state.
Ministers in Edinburgh and London would then both have to reapply for membership, but he said they could be stripped of “ridiculous” privileges that governments on the Continent resent.
He highlighted the £3.3 billion annual rebate, negotiated by Margaret Thatcher, and the UK’s opt-out from the Schengen Agreement allowing free travel across 25 EU states.
Joining the European free travel area would mean removing border controls at airports, ports and the Eurotunnel, making illegal immigration harder to police.
Mr Layden told the Commons Scottish Affairs select committee’s inquiry into Scottish separation this is not a certainty but the final decision would rest with other EU countries.
His intervention is significant as for decades he has advised ministers in London and Edinburgh on European and constitutional affairs and only left the Scottish Executive last June.
Alex Salmond, the Scottish First Minister, has insisted that a separate Scotland would automatically retain EU membership along with all the UK’s opt-outs.
However, a series of legal experts have warned that Scotland would have to reapply and would have to negotiate its own opt-outs from Schengen and the euro.
Mr Layden told MPs that their populations would mean a separate Scotland and the remainder of the UK would be due more seats in the European Parliament but this would mean other member states agreeing to give up some MEPs.
“These aren’t insurmountable problems but if I were advising a government of another member state I might very well be saying to them ‘the Brits are chopping themselves in half but will wind up with more votes’,” he said.
“’We need to have an input into this to make sure our views on the matter are heard and expressed and a way of doing that is to characterise the process as the UK leaving the (European) Union and the two other states applying to join.’”
He said he would advise other EU members that this was an opportunity “of having a go at this British rebate, having a go at this ridiculous British exclusion from Schengen, having a go ridiculous British attitude to these JHA (Justice and Home Affairs) measures.
“There are all sorts of things that could get ‘tidied up’ in respect of other member states on the back of this.” He refused to predict whether a separate Scotland would have to join the euro.
The committee later heard evidence from trade unionist working in the defence industry that shipbuilding in Scotland would end after independence.
Duncan McPhee, Unite Senior Shop Steward at BAE Systems in Scotstoun, said that without UK defence contracts the shipbuilding industry in Scotland “would be greatly reduced, or in fact – finished”.


  1. If we split UK we would lose our position on the Security Council, leaving it and the Un in the hands of rogue regimes.

    1. When the Soviet Union broke up, Boris Yeltsin insisted that Russia, as the largest single republic, retain the permanent seat on the Security Council. England as principal U.K. nation should do likewise.
      Clive, Weston-super-Mare.

  2. The Welsh have to develop a legal training system and buildings for a national court system not dependant ion Engloand (as the Ludlow buildings and Monmouth asizes dependant on Oxford have been superceded. Given that they are more egalitarian, said legal system might include the fusion of Solicitors and Barristers into one legal profession (solicitor advocates)

  3. Why do you think the scotch will never get that pesky referendum?

    a. Because Mr Salmond would get the answer he doesn't want - a continuation of the union.

    b. See above.

  4. Wales was part of England. So Wales is part of the UK. Ireland joined the UK in 1801 when the Irish Parliament was dissolved. Most of Ireland left the Empire, and hence the UK, in 1949. Even if Scotland goes independent there will surely be a UK of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The term 'Great Britain' would simply be redefined to mean England and Wales, without Scotland, so the name of the union need not change either.
    I suspect the Telgraph article is an attempt by unionists to put the wind up the Scots and to deter them from voting for independence.

    1. Constitutionally Wales is part of the Kingdom of England as I explained. 1949 was simply a greater legal recognition of what actually happened to southern Ireland in 1922.
      While I don't agree that GB can equal England & Wales, nor do I think you would if you read the clear words of the 1707 Act, nevertheless you are correct about what the Telegrpaph hopes their article will do - does that mean we feel the same way - NO!

  5. anonymous "cowards"

    1. Hen, it is not absolutely straightforward to give your name unless you set up a google account, so personally I wouldn't take so strident a view on anonymity! Thank you for the comment though.

    2. Or you could do what I do and add your name to your comment!
      Clive. Weston-super-Mare.

  6. Why is it only the Scottish that get a say in breaking the Union?

    I think the English should be the people who choose wether the Union is dissolved or does our opinion not count anymore. As per usual the English voice will silenced or ignored!

    As for leaving the EU I think we deserve a referendum but all voting should be made compulsory - how can a decision be made with such frighteningly low turnouts at the polling stations?

    1. I bet Pogo that thr EU referendum would have the biggest turn out in British electoral history in favour of immediate withdrawal.

      Hence, we don't get one.

    2. I agree that the Torygraph is trying to put the wind up the Scots to make them scared of voting to go it alone. However, when the likes of smarmy English (when he chooses) multimillionaire Tories like Cameron try to blackmail the Scots into keeping the Union then you never quite know whether this will just drive them into the arms of Alex Salmond (not a pretty thought as he looks rather fat and sweaty). I don't quite understand this Ministry of Defence and shipbuilding lark as I thought the things that were still going to be done in common were foreign policy and defence. Surely the Scots aren't thinking of having their own navy and air force although, give the Scots their due, their army would still be something. As regards the EU I think the Scots have more to fear as Salmond would agree to the euro, Schengen, anything. I am still not sure about a big turn-out for a referendum as it would depend on who was on the X factor and whether their friends had just sent something on facebook. It would not surprise me if many potential voters had never even heard of the EU. Still look on the bright side, the euro has to collapse soon and there will be chaos on the continent. Anti-EU parties on the right and left are gaining in strength there. Let's see what the next Greek election brings. It may all just fall apart. Hollande and Merkel are not getting into bed together and the French-German axis, locking them in an embrace so they would not fight, which was the reason for the whole bloody thing, is weakening. The Holy Roman Empire fell apart for the same reason. Naming that place in Strasbourg ( or is it Brussels? ) the Palais Charlemagne was short-sighted as Charlemagne's sons fell out and the Empire split, as is about to happen again, hopefully.

    3. Greece really is the Gordian knot. There is no unravelling, it must be slashed. The Golden Dawn, Greece's nationalist front has totally lost all guile and spat out all the truths people here long to. If you look out the speeches and rants of their leader (particularly the one berating the media)you can see why they don't get any air time here.

      This bloke is really fed up, and so are many other Greeks. Greek men and women may show us the way back to real democracy again.

    4. The olympic torch is being carried past my house in a few weeks' time. I think of it being lit by the sun of Greece and a little bit of that sunshine passing close to me. The thought of it being a symbol of a democratic ancient Greece means more to me than the fact that it will ultimately end up in London to light the flame at the end of what will be the world's biggest multi-culti fest ( it will doubtles contain Scottish pipers and a Welsh Male Voice Choir but will there be anything English about it in the capital of what used to be England?) The world will look on in total bewilderment. Our children are no longer taught much of the ancient hellenic world as it is probably considered too Euro-centric, after all we are in Afro-asia now not Europe at all. Let us wish the Greeks well as they try to restore democracy and their ancient nation's proud heritage and shake off the shackles that Brussels, Berlin or Frankfurt are imposing on them. A lady told me today that her Spanish doctor cannot understand why the euro was ever brought in as it could not possibly bind so many different countries together. So the Spanish realise it as did the English and Scandinavians so steered clear, so why did those countries let themselves be steamrollered into it? A stupid question, they were never asked and never given a choice, the political and financial elites were determined to push it through, slowly but surely. Well, now, hopefully they are going to end up with egg on their faces.

  7. Robin, nice to see that someone understands that the UK dissolves with Scottish independence and both Scotland and "rump UK" become successor nations - you really need to inform the BBC and most of the English nation of that fact though (see story today about EC comment on Catalonia and what happens if a 'region' leaves its mother country). As far as the UN permanent seat goes, England is very welcome to it. I really do not see what good it does you, you follow US policy anyway, but if it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, like you still have an empire then I'm sure Scotland would be happy to oblige you. Better plan to get your nukes out of our country (and well away from our borders) in very short order after independence though because we will not be allowing them to remain - Scotland will be non-nuclear. Wouldn't want England to be in the embarrassing position of being the only permanent member of the UN without any nukes....the emperor without his clothes! :-)