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Casting the clout

Posted on January 20, 2014 by

The latest in the UK government’s “Scotland Analysis” series of independence briefing papers was released this week on the back of William Hague’s visit to Glasgow.

haguealexander

At 119 pages, the EU and International Issues paper is nobody’s idea of a slim pamphlet, but it’s remarkably light on meaty content.

Almost all of the expensive (we assume) report relies on the twin assertions made in the first of the series back in February 2013: first, that Scotland has been extinguished as a country in the eyes of international law and has no right to anything, and secondly, that Scotland would have to renegotiate its entry to the EU from scratch. Indeed, the rUK’s attitude to Scotland’s claim on its overseas assets is explicit:

“An independent Scottish state would not be entitled by right to any UK diplomatic premises, equipment or staff” (p43)

We must assume, then, that the value of all of those would be knocked off our share of UK debt. But let’s leave that to one side and look at the paper’s core premise – that we’re better together because of the strength and influence of UK diplomacy, which claims to give Scotland a wee corner of a seat at all the top tables (even if we never get to say anything). The paper makes the usual claims about the extent of the UK’s influence via its diplomatic service:

“The UK’s diplomatic global network represents Scotland worldwide, employing over 14,000 people in 267 Embassies, High Commissions, Consulates and other offices in 154 countries and 12 Overseas Territories around the world.

The costs of developing an independent Scottish diplomatic network to replicate the quality of the representation currently provided by the UK, as the Scottish Government has stated it intends to do, would be a significant cost to the Scottish taxpayer without replacing the reach and access currently provided by the UK.”

The Scottish Government may well wish to “replicate the quality”, but it has never said it intends to replicate the quantity. Westminster never quite seems able to get its head around the fact that an independent Scotland may wish to do things differently, and that includes the scale and focus of its overseas representation.

Large UK diplomatic missions employing more than 150 FCO staff include Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan (p.27, 2011-2012 figs). Of these, only Islamabad features among the list of Scottish missions Scotland’s Future considers immediately necessary, and it’s highly unlikely to require the 310 staff the FCO currently employs there.

On the contrary, Scotland’s Future says:

“Similar countries to Scotland (eg Denmark, Ireland, Finland, Slovakia and New Zealand) have between 50 and 100 overseas missions, and 1,100 to 2,700 staff. The Government estimates the running costs of our initial proposed network of 70 to 90 overseas offices at £90 million to £120 million. This is expected to be below Scotland’s population share of the UK’s total expenditure on overseas representation in 2016/17 giving opportunities for savings.”

But won’t such a reduced presence lose us all that precious UK “clout”? Well, to answer that we should probably see how it’s all getting on in this age of austerity.

ifsfigs

Above is the IFS (yes, that one) projection of the cumulative cuts to UK expenditure by department from 2010-2015. Over those five years, we can see that the Foreign Office is going to be hit almost as hard as an unemployed immigrant – it’ll have lost more than half its spending power by the end of the next fiscal year, and is scheduled for a further 6.3% cut (9.3% in real terms) in the 2015-16 spending round. Yet in 2012 Hague announced the opening of eight new embassies across Asia by 2015.

It looks as though the influence is being stretched thinner and thinner, while the “clout” is becoming more and more feeble. When Putin’s official spokesman described Britain as “just a small island…no one pays any attention to them“, the comment obviously hit closer to home than was comfortable. The effect of continual cuts was picked up by the Foreign Affairs select committee in 2011 before the latest round (our emphasis).

“We conclude that reductions in spending on the FCO, if they result in shortfalls in skilled personnel and technical support in key countries and regions, can have a serious effect in terms of the UK’s relations with other countries, out of all proportion to the amounts of money involved, especially in relation to the UK’s security and that of its Overseas Territories.

It follows that cuts to the core FCO budget even of 10% may have a very damaging effect on the Department’s ability to promote UK interests overseas, given that these will come on top of previous cuts to the FCO’s budget in the very recent past.”

It’s difficult to resist the conclusion that a small, focused, sensibly-resourced Scottish diplomatic service is likely to be far more effective in promoting Scotland than remaining part of a flaccid, overextended, under-financed network which cares little (if at all) for specifically Scottish interests. But you won’t find that opinion analysed in Westminster’s latest “Scotland Analysis”. We wonder why.

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    71 to “Casting the clout”

    1. pmcrek says:

      International “Clout” is hilarious, a country thats had to spent 236 years out of the last 300 at war to enforce its demands, demonstrably has no diplomatic clout at all.

    2. Kenny Campbell says:

      Its clear, if Scotland has no rights as a successor state then it bears 0 responsibility for debt. You cannot have it both ways. We are either equal split states Scotland + RUK or we are not.

      If we are not then only assets based in Scottish geographic boundary belong to Scotland. Any debt in old state stay with old state.

      I’m easy to do it either way, the debt savings can hire a lot of advisory staff to fast track us into the various international bodies. As regards passports I’ll still be entitled to a UK passport regardless.

      So fine take your toys and pram, but make sure you credit card bill is in there.

      Legally Scotland in any case has zero responsibility for UK debt and Bonds cannot be transferred. I’m not sure why YES and SNP are not playing a much harder line on this.

    3. beachthistle says:

      When I was a UN official, I ran a meeting in Guyana attended by several ambassadors, one of whom was the UK ‘High Commissioner’. At the first tea break he came up to me and said
      “It sounds like you are from the wrong side of the border”.

    4. G H Graham says:

      Another example of Westminster talking out of its arse.

      While finger pointing at Scotland’s supposedly feeble economic ability to promote itself abroad, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is about to see its budget slashed by more than half.

      The truth is that Scotland’s world class products don’t need Britain’s embassy network to promote themselves.

      William Hague told us 2 years ago in the Daily Mail that the Foreign Office had no intention of promoting whisky if Scotland opted for independence …

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2090020/William-Hague-tells-Scotland-We-wont-whisky-break-away.html

      Hate to break it to you Mr. Hague, but it looks like the whisky industry doesn’t actually need your Foreign Office support anyway.

      Despite the rapidly shrinking clout of the British state, whisky exports are booming. According to the Scotch Whisky Association (http://www.scotch-whisky.org.uk/news-publications/news/scotch-whisky-exports-grow-in-value-and-volume/#.Ut1Tr1hFA5s) …

      By September 2013, the value of exports increased by 11% to almost £2 billion in the first six months. Export volumes were up 9% for the same period. And on an annualised basis, the value of exports rose by 6% to £4.5bn from £4.2bn in the 12 months up to the end of June.

    5. Kenny Campbell says:

      It seems to me that RUK seem to have put a cast iron belief on them being the continuity state. I think we should just say sure, you do that but understand what that entails. We take no debt from your messed up economy.

      On the plus side that photo shows Danny is chunking up a bit on all those Treasury dinners, so he is just a couple of years away from becoming a fat as well and an ugly bastard.

    6. Murray McCallum says:

      Andrew, I think you may have misheard our cherished Foreign Secretary, Danny Carmichael-Hague.

      He said political “pout”. It’s very British you know.

    7. ronnie anderson says:

      Casting the clout,its no May yet, is it lol.

    8. M4rkyboy says:

      I had a wee read at the FCO paper last week.I had a good laugh at ‘The EU is a Treaty-based organisation and the Uk-not Scotland-is the contracting party to the Treaties of the EU.’

      I laughed because the UK is a Treaty based organisation but the UK gov advice states that the Treaty doesn’t apply to the UK because the UK was not a party to the Treaty of Union!

      Here’s Carmichaels speech if anyone interested

      https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/independence-referendum-scotland-decides

    9. Atypical_Scot says:

      Amongst all these cuts, I hope they’ve set aside pennies for their new Scottish embassy.

    10. Dick Gaughan says:

      Putin’s comment is much closer to the truth than most BritNats would care to go anywhere near. They are still in deep denial that the days when Brittania ruled the Waves are long gone.

      All the “punching above their/our weight” guff masks the fact that they will bankrupt themselves through their absurd dreams of Imperial greatness, i.e., replacing Trident in a vain last-gasp effort to convince the rest of the world that they are still to be regarded as one of the tough kids on the block.

      Their posturing is now looking like the feeble bluster of the playground bully whining at an empty playground.

    11. Kenny Campbell says:

      “Their posturing is now looking like the feeble bluster of the playground bully whining at an empty playground.”

      Yes but why is it not getting a reaction from YES/SNP that really kicks it into touch. This softly softly approach of not scaring the horses is not working. Where is the gutsy rebuff, challenge them straight. Keep this up and we’ll drop the debt commitment. In current environment a lots of people might say, YES why not.

    12. William Duguid says:

      This will be the Foreign Office that hosts St George’s Day shindigs at its embassies around the world, but doesn’t bother with promoting St Andrew’s Day?

    13. Andy-B says:

      UK Embassies underfunded, overstretched, with a dwindling budget, with a fixed core of promoting London at heart, vote no a you too could be part of this wonderful network.

      Scottish oversea embassies look more appealing by the day.

    14. ronnie anderson says:

      FCO,promoting Scotland,whit the fuck does Hauge know,Scot,s are world wide,in every corner of the world, so is our National Drink,an am noo talking Irn bru,as for the pish talk about introduceing the Haggis to the World Mr Hauge, RABBIE BURN,S HIZ U WEIL BEAT,he,s even done a poem on you n your political classes, A ODE TAE A LOUSE.

    15. Schiehallion! Schiehallion! says:

      Looks like you just whisked away the clout and revealed … a bygone bunny in a threadbare topper!

      The Magic of the Wings. Woh.

    16. Alasdair Stirling says:

      The latest in the UK government’s Scotland Analysis series suffers (like its predecessors) from being a ‘fallacy of presumption’ and/or a ‘fallacy of weak inference’. That is: they fail to prove their conclusions because they either rest their proof upon the conclusion itself and/or provide insufficient evidence to prove the conclusion.

      For example: in the latest release under the heading ‘Protecting British citizens abroad’ sections 1.36 to 1.51 first consider the UK’s existing consular services then those that might be available to the citizens of an independent Scotland. However, despite in section 1.39 setting out some statistical detail about the services of the existing UK consular service, the analysis makes no attempt to identify the number of Scots accessing those services nor does it provide any detail about where those services are delivered.

      If we assume that Scots are no more or less likely to require consular services than their English, Welsh or Irish brethren we may assume that Scots account for approximately 10% of the activities set out in section 1.39. However, in the absence of a country-by-country breakdown of the UK consular activities, we cannot say whether the 90 or so consular locations speculated to serve the interest of independent Scots would be sufficient to meet their needs. It is all very well for the UK government to assert the merits of its consular service, but without comparative evidence they fail to prove the merits of that service over that which we might expect as citizens of independent Scotland. This is therefore, a fallacy of weak inference.

      The Unionist media and commentators routinely assert that the Scotland analysis papers are authoritative are well argued (which, in fairness, some of the points made are) when in reality they are, by in large, rested on weak arguments and generally fail to prove their conclusions. It remains a mystery to me why we have given them such an easy ride.

    17. MajorBloodnok says:

      Truth is that the rUK has already bankrupted itself precisely because it believes its own propaganda about its superior way of doing things (pshaw! No need for modernisation or an educated workforce here!), imperial grandeur (take that brown peoples!) and its inalienable right to insult foreigners and push them about willy-nilly.

      Basically, it is steadily becoming clearer that the UK has been busted flush since the end of WW2 and the discovery of oil in Scottish waters has only delayed the inevitable. I mean what state was the UK ecomomy in in the early 1970s? Only the oil money saved it, and that will soon be out of reach.

    18. Craig M says:

      Substitute all of the paper for “Danny wants to keep his job in London with all the bells, whistles and lifestyle that go with it” and you’re getting near the truth.

    19. pa_broon74 says:

      When it comes to all the bluster about UK clout and team GB being a world player, its noise mostly coming from or noise about the FCO (with all its diplomatic gravitas, real or imagined) and the MOD (with bombs, bullets and big metal things.)

      Not wishing to sound wishy washy, but if countries like the UK or the USA, or any of the other major expansionist-flavoured nations just wound their fucking necks in a bit – the entire planet would be better off.

      What’s wrong with being a small country minding our own garden and occasionally reaching out to lend a hand for mutual (or not) benefit.

      On twitter, I see @HumzaYousaf ‘s position on intdev was being traduced by@MichaelMcCannMP. According to McCann, because its not devolved, Humza shouldn’t be doing it. Humza pointed out that ScotGov money is given and spent overseas and that Labour had an equivalent post…

      McCann thought it was ‘a deceit’.

      I wrote a blog post about Norway and its Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I don’t like including links, it seems a bit self-serving, but it has some useful info on Norway’s FO and equivalent DFID.

      http://fazzledown.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/back-to-business.html

    20. rab1 says:

      @beachthistle-Thats a defining quote if ever I heard one!

    21. gerry parker says:

      @Atypical _Scot
      “Amongst all these cuts, I hope they’ve set aside pennies for their new Scottish embassy.”
      Yes indeed – it could be very expensive for them to set up an embassy here, any people on Gruinard will need full bio-hazard clothing so they’ll need to take this into consideration too.

    22. James123 says:

      Great quote from Hague in today’s Daily Record. When asked about his opposition to devolution in 1997 at which time he claimed Scotland would become “a high tax ghetto” he said “Thankfully, Scots have been proved much more resilient than might have been said in 1997 and I am delighted about that.”

      Yeah that’s not patronising at all is it. Basically he’s saying “We thought you Scots were complete idiots and would make such mess of the little power we were handing over, imagine our surprise that you’ve made such a good job of it.”

      http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/william-hague-lectures-scots-independence-3034342

    23. Gordon Smith says:

      Some time ago there was a flurry in London that changes to classification of foreign aid (Peacekeeping) meant that “Peacekeeping” was now under the International Development / foreign aid budget – not MOD?

      Is that right?

      Is this why there is such a large increase? Military spending under another heading?

      It must have been done for a reason. Would be interesting to see what was the result of that change?

    24. Schiehallion! Schiehallion! says:

      @ James123

      Basically he’s saying “We thought you Scots were complete idiots and would make such mess of the little power we were handing over, imagine our surprise that you’ve made such a good job of it.”

      And somewhere in his heart of hearts (if that’s anatomically possible for a politician) he must have been thinking, “Yeah, and bah goom who was I to be telling them?”

    25. Dick Gaughan says:

      @Kenny Campbell

      The problem in going for the throat – my natural inclination, by the way – is that whatever anyone from the Yes side says will be ignored or misrepresented by the MSM.

      Given that, more and more, whatever information people are getting, they are getting from online sources. Whether we like it or not, this is the battleground we have to fight on and on this one we have a distinct advantage with sites like Wings etc.

      We are really in a guerilla war against a foe who, to use the cliche, are fighting last year’s war with last year’s weapons. Here we can expose their lies for what they are, we can mock them, lampoon them, make them look silly and they do not control the medium so cannot control the debate. All they can do is bleat about how horrid and cruel these “cybernats” are – without realising that fewer and fewer people are listening.

    26. Atypical_Scot says:

      Gerry Parker;

      I know just the site for them, a riverside location at Dalgety Bay…,

    27. Creag an Tuirc says:

      OT: to lighten the mood a wee bit. Last night Andy Murray won his match in the AO. Afterwards he picked up his broken raquet and headed to the crowd, there was a sea of hands trying to grab the raquet, Andy kept pulling the raquet away from the hands until an old guy waving a saltire and wearing a Scotland top appeared, Andy made sure the auld yin got the raquet 🙂

    28. Murray McCallum says:

      I wonder if the government does cost:benefit analyses before making cutbacks?

      It maybe gives an insight into the implied value that Westminster places on diplomacy and/or the UK’s ability to do it.

    29. James123 says:

      @Schiehallion! Schiehallion!

      And somewhere in his heart of hearts (if that’s anatomically possible for a politician) he must have been thinking, “Yeah, and bah goom who was I to be telling them?”

      He’s Up T’ Bloody Tree

    30. kininvie says:

      @ Pa Broon

      Don’t be so bloody diffident! That’s a great piece you linked to. Send it straight to the Rev and ask for full frontal exposure.

      Seriously, lots of us on here write blogs or articles of one sort or another. I don’t think it’s abusing the Rev’s hospitality to provide links (correct me if I’m wrong, Stu) and we can all always do with further reading.

    31. Grant_M says:

      Another bemoaning reduced UK “clout”… Sir William Patey: “As a proud Scot [Brit] I can’t understand the logic of reducing our country’s [UK] influence in the world.”

      http://archive.is/1cfcv

    32. Albamac says:

      OT:

      All 16 chapters of The Claim of Scotland in one pdf

      Haven’t put a link on scotspot but I’ll get round to it. 😉

    33. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      William Duguid says:

      Not sue because in Peking, I had a free pass to a St Andrew’s Day celebration wit Miss China, in mini kilt, but after that I am not sue. Maybe it was something to do when Scots present had to pay a big sub.

      ““`just kidding, if you think “i could / would remember that in public?

    34. pa_broon74 says:

      @Kininvie.

      I’m happy to be a part of the background burble of pro-indy feeling. If ever I yuck up something earth-shattering, I’ll maybe send it in.

      I did a thing about The Scotland Institute and panicked because it got over 600 hits really quickly. I thought I was going to be sued about something I said…

      Not quite in the same universe as the Rev’s stats, give it a few decades (maybe deploy who ever Better Together use to count attendees at their seminars) and I might get there.

      😉

    35. Craig P says:

      It only takes one person, who knows and cares what they are writing about, to trump a whole department of civil servants who possess neither quality.

      Keep it up, Stu 🙂

    36. kininvie says:

      @pa broon

      You haven’t got decades; you’ve got eight months. The piece on NORAD is impeccably linked, sourced, justified. Have the courage of your convictions for God’s sake: send it in. You can always hide beneath the bed on publication day!

    37. Murray McCallum says:

      I bet Billy Fizz Hague could visit 14 UK diplomatic missions a day?

    38. gerry parker says:

      @ Murray – I’d like to see a cost/benefit analysis on the house of lords.

    39. ronnie anderson says:

      o/t, Awe gee jist when ah wiz gitting ready tae vent ma bile,on the Bbc, the fucked it up wi a positive story on Scottish inginuity.

      Heriot Watt Uni, have developed a phototonic lantern telescope,changeing telescope,s since Galiliao time.

      Whit,s that the said, To Wee, To Poor, To Stupid.

      next week i,ll be a british invention.

    40. Ken says:

      The whole argument about Scotland no longer existing begs the question, where the hell are we living? Do we occupy a bit of what is now England and if we do vote for independence, will we be thrown out of the family home and have to rent?

    41. Talking of flaccid and overextended, former diplomat Sir William Patey goes for a Project Fear bullshit Bingo full house in this piece on Huffington Post.

      Proud Scot – Tick
      Clout – Tick
      Too wee – tick
      Separate – tick
      Size queen – tick
      Liar – tick (The UK has the largest and most effective diplomatic network in the whole world – bigger than the USA? I think not).
      The best of both worlds – tick

      Well, thanks Sir William, that’s got you a Full House in Project Fear Bullsh*t Bingo.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/sir-william-patey/scottish-independence-international-influence_b_4621766.html

    42. Murray McCallum says:

      Gerry, the HoL would come under an ‘all cost no benefit’ specialist study. However, listing all the costs would consume too much time and paper and therefore prevents the exercise ever being done.

      I’m maybe not being unfair on the HoL.

      A step towards HoL cost reduction could involve raising the height of their clocking-in stations (so they get their expense benefits – Ermine Seekers Allowance) 6 feet higher up the walls.

      However, I have been reliably not informed that this may prove unfairly advantageous to the Church of England Bishops as they could levitate to clock-in.

    43. Michael says:

      Now now, you really have to stop this, ‘why do we give them it so easy’ type of stuff, chaps. The deal is this – proven by tons of research and whatnot. Voters can’t stand argie-bargie and they hate negativity. They just switch off. Mostly they can’t be arsed with issues that don’t have a direct effect on them. The areas that No are most focused on – EU, currency, etc. – are the ones voters can’t even be bothered listening to. No point in getting involved in some rammy on these matters because everyone switched off 6 months ago anyway. it’s the ‘noise’ that counts – voters hear, ‘moan, groan, misery, mump mump, moan’ from one side and ‘improved childcare, renewables, better Scotland’ from the other. That’s how politics work. The person who said that the other side are fighting last year’s battles with last year’s weapons is right. Let them get on with it – they are sure to lose.

    44. Papadocx says:

      The only clout GRAND BRITANNIA has is what USA allows it to have and for that dubious privilege they have to grovel about carrying the Yanks swag bag and big stick to encourage the unwilling.

      Without the good old USA we could not defend the isle of white. Remember what our American pals called us in Iraq “the flint stones” or “knickers” cause were always on the bum. No disrespect to our service personnel, just the government who under funds them and embarrass them.

      The same media who ignore the referendum and spread lies about yes Scotland are doing the same with the military. Only the snobs in this country still think Britain is a force in this world, delusional.

      The kings new clothes – that’s the sum of it. THEY ARE A JOKE AND I DONT WANT ANY PART OF IT!

    45. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Haven’t put a link on scotspot but I’ll get round to it.”

      Fantastic work. Uploading to the Repository now. 🙂

    46. rockhaggis says:

      Link

    47. Taranaich says:

      There’s a big TV debate happening in my hometown of Greenock! I’ve applied, , but even if I don’t get on, I think I’m going to go over and hang out, see if there are any other Yes folk I should meet up with.

      Best thing is the guest list: we have Fiona Hyslop and Sanjeev Kohli for the Yes gang, and Alex Massie and ANAS SARWAR for the Nos! It isnae even my birthday!

    48. Ken500 says:

      Clout Hague/Akexander

      Baldy/Rodent

    49. Taranaich says:

      (Argh, stupid laptop got kejiggered up)

      Found out I didn’t get in: they somehow didn’t get the reply I sent in to them a few days ago. Bah. I’ll see what I can do to anyway, I’ll bring along a few materials.

    50. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @Taranaich –

      Where and when precisely?

      If you fancy, we could welcome arrivals like the SSP did at Stevenston, give out our leaflets etc. I’m up for it if you are.

    51. fairiefromtheearth says:

      Cmon guys you got to love wee Willy Hague all hes ever done is take take take, first he served in the armed forces tax payer funded, then he was a scrounger on the dole and then he makes it as a shill mp ready to say any old shite for his masters (the bankers of london) im suprised he can walk with balls that size.

    52. Taranaich says:

      Ian, that’d be grand! The site said for audience members to be available “between 16:00 and 20:30.” Guess we could book a meal at the beacon so we have a “legitimate” reason to be there? 😀

    53. Luigi says:

      Danny Alexander is looking and sounding more like a Tory with each passing day. Come 2015 (the date he cares about), the transformation will be complete.

    54. Les Wilson says:

      They all come up here and breach to us for a day then scurrie away. The obliging MSM give them wall to wall coverage,but the never face a debate.Tells you everything really.

    55. fairiefromtheearth says:

      papadocx yes it looks as if its the USA thats causing all the woes of the world but you have to dig a little deeper, think eisenhower and his stepping down speach where he spoke of the military industrial complex, the satanic mob we are up against have no country, they see themselfs as the rulers of the world, their names Rothchilds and the banking elite yes and the royal familys of europe. They put poison in our tap water and tell us its to help prevent tooth decay and it also lowers iq by 20 points, their chemispraying (alliminium particals, barium and a third compund i cant remember)it causes cancer, they deliver this through planes yes we are the cockroaches and when the populus finds out about the chemispraying they will say its to stop global worming. So to the new world order and the old one we aint done fighting yet, be afraid be very afraid we are coming for you.

    56. jingly jangly says:

      Posted this on another post the other day but its worth repeating. In case the rUK don’t leave the Eu then they will still have to give us Consular support in the event we need it outside the Eu and in a country where we don’t have our own Consular services.

      Now that would piss them off!!!

      Quote

      What happens to an EU citizen in a country outside the EU where there is no embassy or consulate of his/her own EU country? He/she is entitled to request the consular protection of any other EU country under the same conditions as the nationals of that country. Moreover, measures are being taken to further reinforce consular protection for EU citizens.

      Consular protection for EU citizens outside the EU

      Consular protection rights of EU citizens

      Any EU citizen in a non-EU country where his/her own national state has no representation is entitled to protection by the diplomatic or consular authorities of any other EU state.

      EU citizens are entitled to protection under the same conditions as the nationals of that country

      http://ec.europa.eu/justice/citizen/consular-protection/index_en.htm

    57. Seanair says:

      Grant M/Roddy Macdonald
      Patey comes from a humble background in Edinburgh, so his idea of success is to get his “K” and all the advantages that brings in this dysfunctional union.
      Ambassador in Afhanistan,Iraq, Iran and Sudan—what clout has the UK exercised to bring them into peaceful, functional states? If I were he I would not be boasting about clout when it means the deaths of Scottish soldiers in far-off places chasing the approval of the USA.

    58. WHO WILL CHALLENGE THE FICTION OF THE UK GOVERNMENT’S LEGAL OPINION?

      The legal opinion published by HMG last year claims Scotland was “extinguished” when it was absorbed by England in 1707, and that the dispositive evidence to the contrary of Article One of the Treaty of Union can be discounted.

      With the best will in the world, this part of the document appears to be the work of a couple of incompetent chancers rather than the considered opinion of two learned academics.

      You might think this sort of barefaced mutilation of the truth was the work of rats, but you would be wrong, for there are some things you just can’t get a rat to do.

      No, this is the work of two practitioners of that most despised profession, paid handsomely to provide legal advocacy and the imprimatur of learned consideration, for a line of argument that does not withstand even the most cursory examination.

      It is quite literally laughable, and I do not see how it could withstand scrutiny by any impartial jurist. It is beyond me why the Scottish Government has ceded this ground without any apparent resistance.

      The United Kingdom of Great Britain is a legal and political entity formed by the Union of two and only two countries – the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England (incorporating Wales). It was created by a bilateral internationally recognised treaty.

      It is the case that upon dissolution of the Treaty of Union, its associated enabling acts of parliaments, and any subsequent contingent INTRA-state treaties and agreements derived therefrom, the United Kingdom of Great Britain will cease to be.

      Two and only two successor states will emerge from its discarded husk – the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England. There can be no continuing state of an extinguished voluntary union of two nations.

      Consider the tautology: When the Union is dissolved, the Union ceases to be.

      Scotland as a successor state, just like England, would retain EU membership, though there would have to be negotiations with both successor states and the EU to regularise their new status.

      Each will inherit the rights and responsibilities of any INTER-state treaties entered into COLLECTIVELY on their behalf by the (by then) defunct United
      Kingdom.

      Each successor state will be heir to their share of the accrued assets of the United Kingdom, and responsible for their share of the liabilities incurred by the United Kingdom during the tenure of their union.

    59. Boorach says:

      @ Christian Wright

      Thank you Sir for expressing exactly my opinion on the consequences of a ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum.

    60. Murray McCallum says:

      “It is beyond me why the Scottish Government has ceded this ground without any apparent resistance.”

      The silence on this does seem odd. I found this UK government paper particularly insulting. A public air brushing of history. It also sets the foundation for much of the UK government’s view in later papers.

      My thought is that the SG will not accept this one-sided interpretation if negotiations are not conducted on a reasonable and constructive basis. I think the SG are keen not to get into legal tit-for-tat (however painful it is to ignore what is being said) arguments because they can win the referendum by focusing on current economic and social injustices.

      It is hard to hear the country of my birth not existing 250+ years before I was born.

    61. Patrician says:

      @Major

      How true, they got a get of jail free card with the oil income and still managed to screw it up.

      Anyone who grew up in the 70’s can remember how bad it was then. By the end of the seventies it looked like some serious readjustment of living standards was on the cards but then the oil came on line and the day of reckoning was put off.

    62. john king says:

      Faeriefromtheearth says
      “the chemispraying they will say its to stop global worming”

      What! what are they spraying us for worms for?
      and why have we all got them?
      jesus what the hell did they put in our water ffs?

    63. kininvie says:

      @christian @murray

      A technical question for you both. What institution has the authority to repeal the Acts of Union?

      But moving on: The Scottish Government has never ceded this ground. It is merely not contesting it at present, and will not/cannot do so until it has a clear mandate for independence.

      It’s a card in the hand. Not an outstandingly high card, since all precedence shows that the state with the greater population is recognised as successor, and if you see the rest of the world trying to get to grips with the constitutional intricacies of 1707, then I think you are misguided. But still, it’s a card.

      How should it be played? After a Yes vote, the rUK will be desperate to shore up its economic and diplomatic position. The markets will be looking for stability, and all the countries will be going WTF? and asking rUK what’s going on. So Westminster will be looking to put out big-scale reassurance, and if Scotland is holding back that card and saying ‘we challenge your legitimacy’, there’s going to be a lot of uncertainty, and foreign ministries wondering how they can take advanatge, and, more to the point, questions raised among the lenders.

      So, Scotland plays the card and asks – what do you exchange the stability this gives you as a successor state for? And the answer – as has almost been conceded already – is fair shares of assets and debt, plus rUK support and recognition.

      There are other cards we hold of higher value – and Trident is the highest. But the chief value of the card about who is the successor state is short term avoidance of disruption. So it needs to be played in that context – the longer it is held, the more value it loses.

    64. CameronB says:

      I’ve written to the Scottish Law Society to ask if they have a position re. Scotland’s existence. I will share their reply.

    65. CameronB says:

      position? opinion. (editor) ;(

    66. Scottish Embassy : highly profitable series of popular whisky bars/restaurants/gift shops/occasional golf course found in every major city the world over Est. 2014

    67. @CameronB: “I’ve written to the Scottish Law Society to ask if they have a position re. Scotland’s existence. I will share their reply?

      Thanks Cameron look forward to that, though I’ll confess to holding the Scottish Law Society in only marginally higher regard than I do the authors of the original legal opinion.

    68. kininvie says: “A technical question for you both. What institution has the authority to repeal the Acts of Union?

      Short answer: Any one of the two parliaments. The Treaty was sanctioned by both parliaments and either of the parliaments has the right to rescind the agreement.

      Ultimately though, in Scotland the People are sovereign, not parliament, and their express view will be forthcoming sometime after 10pm on Thursday 18th September 2014.
      .

      The Scottish Government has never ceded this ground. It is merely not contesting it at present, and will not/cannot do so until it has a clear mandate for independence.

      I disagree. The Scottish Government has habitually talked about secession and leaving the UK. It has ceded the point that the UK will continue to exist after Scotland leaves. In doing so it has agreed with the assertions of London that England/UK will be the Continuing State.

      The only way for Scotland and England to be free of one another is by the dissolution of the union that binds them.

      This is self evident, yet the Government of Scotland, charged with the responsibility of representing the interests of the People, has singularly failed to usefully challenge the outrageous assertion that Scotland does not exist, that the territory describing the realm of Scotland is today and has been for the past 309 years, an integral part of England, and that consequently, we are all Englishmen and women.

      The Union Government by adopting the findings of this opinion, has officially denied Scots their homeland, their claim to nationhood, even their existence as a people.

      HMG has explicitly rejected the the people of Scotland’s claim to their portion of the accrued fruits of their labours over the past three centuries, manifest in the current cumulative wealth of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

      This exists in the form of its treasure, its institutions, its treaties with foreign states, and its commercial agreements with global business.

      The Government of England/UK has signaled its intent to commit larceny on a monumental scale against the Scottish people, and it is doing so without any apparent conscience or embarrassment, in broad daylight, in front of the eyes of the entire world.

      Where’s the outrage?

    69. tom says:

      The Irish embassy in Luxembourg is a small apartment in a modest apartment block in a modest part of town. If they need a place to host an event, they hire one. The British embassy is a mansion on a prime site in the city centre overlooking the vallé de la Pétrusse.

    70. Greannach says:

      If UKOK’s diplomatic “clout” (what a silly word to use in Scotland) is that great, how come the British doctor was murdered with impugnity in Syria recently? If their diplomatic skills are that great,how come they end up in so many wars?



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