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Possessed under law

Posted on February 12, 2013 by

In an intervention that could in time-worn political terms be described as “brave”, the Secretary of State for Scotland insisted yesterday that recent legal advice to the UK government means an independent Scotland would not inherit the UK’s existing international treaties but would still nonetheless inherit a share of the UK national debt.

The UK Government’s understanding of new legal analysis on the implications of Scottish independence is in their view proof that the most likely outcome of Scottish independence would be the continuation of the UK as the existing state under international law and the creation of a new state of Scotland.


However, the report’s authors declined to rule out the creation of two completely new states or the resurrection of the Scottish state that existed prior to 1707 – although both outcomes were deemed unlikely by Westminster. But just in case anyone wasn’t yet adequately confused, the report’s authors went on to say this (our emphasis):

Assuming that Scotland would be recognised as a new state, albeit a successor state to the UK, it is difficult to see how Scotland could evade the accession process for new states in the EU treaties.”

So this new “definitive” legal advice doesn’t in fact rule out any of the only three options available, and in fact defines Scotland as both a “new” and a “successor” state, seemingly contradictorily. But what does all this mean? To try to shed some light, let’s look at what international law says on the subject of borders, treaties and debts.

Subject to any contrary agreement of the states involved, succession to treaty rights and obligations upon a change in territorial sovereignty is governed by the 1978 Vienna Convention on the Succession of States in Respect of Treaties. The principle of Uti possidetis juris mandates the obligation to respect pre-existing international borders in succession cases.

In the 1990s the Uti possidetis juris principle was extended beyond de-colonisation situations to include the creation of new states as a result of the breakup of the Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. In all these cases it was agreed to continue the boundaries of the previous constituent parts of the state, transforming these internal borders into international frontiers.

This was reinforced by the European Community Arbitration Commission of the Conference of Yugoslavia in an opinion which stressed the need to respect the territorial status quo according to the principle, whereby “whatever the circumstances, even the right to self-determination must not involve changes to existing frontiers at the time of independence”.

From a Scottish perspective this is quite clear – the boundaries that mark where Scotland’s borders are within the Union are to be the new international frontiers after independence, and cannot be altered (by for instance partitioning off part of Scotland) by any state involved.

When a new state is created the “clean slate” principle is applied, whereby the newly created state need not succeed to the treaties of its predecessor, and would not inherit any of the obligations, rights or debts of that parent state upon independence.

The Vienna Convention is specific on the issue of succession in the case of secession by making a distinction between “newly independent states” – that is, successor states where “the territory of which immediately before the date of the succession of states was a dependent territory for the international relations of which the predecessor state was responsible” – and states separated in a non-colonial context.

The “clean slate” principle is simple: that a new state ought not to be bound to treaty obligations which it has not expressly agreed to assume after it has gained statehood. In a colonial context it was deemed that those states should not have their authority or their territory or both burdened with debts, concessions, commercial engagements of various kinds or other obligations continuing on from the earlier colonial regime. The “clean slate” country will have no obligation to take on board any debt in such a situation unless it voluntarily accepts to do so.

Under the convention the “clean slate” principle only applies to colonies, whereas successor states in a non-colonial situation must normally follow the principle of the continuity of treaties, being bound by the treaties of their predecessor states.

So which is Scotland? A new state or a successor? It cannot be both, so if classed as a new state would not be bound by the treaty obligations or debt of the predecessor state – a situation that would see all of Scotland’s fixed and natural assets remain with the newly independent country but no current moveable assets (eg military equipment) or liabilities (debt) either.

This could prove quite a boost for the Scottish economy, in that it would wipe out all of Scotland’s share of the UK national debt (which according to GERS costs Scotland £3.7 billion in interest payments alone per year), while retaining a large asset base in the form of oil and gas revenues, as a basis for borrowing money on the international markets in order to replace the assets lost during the split from the UK. However the report’s authors also say that:

“There would be an expectation that an independent Scottish state would take on an equitable share of the UK’s national debt. How an ‘equitable share’ would be calculated is open to question and would have to be negotiated.”

To argue (as the UK Government is in effect doing by insisting that we would be a new state) that Scotland is a colony of the UK, and yet simultaneously to be asking it to voluntarily take on part of the UK’s debt when we leave seems, well, rather optimistic.

The report also claims that it’s “at best inconclusive” as to whether Scotland would remain a member of existing international organisations such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the EU. But as one of the report’s authors noted:

“EU membership will come as a matter of negotiation and UN membership will be straightforward. But in the case of the EU there are things to negotiate such as the British opt-out and financial contributions, as those aren’t automatic. There are things to negotiate and I’m not suggesting that this process is going to necessarily be very difficult.”

Whether a successor state becomes a member of an international organisation by virtue of the predecessor state’s membership, or if it must apply for admission as a new member, is an issue that the Vienna Convention leaves that up to the decision of the international body involved. In the case of the UN every state – except Russia on the breakup of the USSR – has had to reapply for entry, with Russia retaining its hold on the coveted permanent seat on the UN Security Council as a result.

So why would the UK deliberately undermine the long-held view that the UK is a political union of different countries? The answer may be seen in a passage from the report stating that “Since the rUK (remainder of the UK) would be the same state as the UK, its EU membership would continue”, and that after independence, representatives of the UK Government would enter negotiations on the terms of independence “as representatives of the continuing state of the UK“.

From these two snippets it appears that the repositioning of the Act of Union as merely an enlargement of England is an attempt to retain sole-successor status in the same manner as Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Westminster government is so desperate to keep hold of the permanent Security Council seat that they’re willing to undermine the constitutional arrangements of the UK in order to ensure they keep it in the event of a Yes vote.

Where does this leave Scotland? If we vote Yes and Westminster succeeds in having us declared a new state then according to existing precedents we will have no debt and a lot of negotiation to do. But if we vote No then we may signal acceptance of our newly-identified status as part of “Greater England” in the eyes of the world.

Voting No has just become far more serious than merely being stuck with the status quo – it now represents a serious threat to the very existence of a Scottish identity.

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    96 to “Possessed under law”

    1. Gallowglass says:

      The last two paragraphs are quite chilling, I hadn’t really thought long term on those points.  Although to be fair, and while I do genuinely share your concerns, given the UK’s lack of written constitution and the fact that these papers are often denoted with “opinion” I trust that we can always shift the AoU 1707 ‘dynamic’ back the way.  Serious times, but it’s the press we need to be dealing with.  Except, we’re pretty powerless to it..

    2. Repeating thoughts from an earlier post
      It seems to me that the reason the opinion goes into these implausible contortions is that ANY other scenario requires Scotland be considered a signatory to an international treaty, and inevitably leads down the road of dissolution to the end of the United Kingdom. 

      It also means of course that both Scotland and England would be treated as successor states, and therefore both would have to renegotiate terms with the EU, from within the EU. 

      THAT was the can of worms this half-baked confection is meant to keep tightly shut.

    3. Elizabeth Broadly says:

      Spot on. We vote No and we agree to the Unionists description of us as subjects of a greater England. I for one am not having that. I am Scottish, my country is Scotland and no-one takes that from me. 

    4. The refusal of the NO campaign to delineate the consequences of a NO vote evinces their contempt for the democratic process, for the Electoral Commission (whom, until a few days ago, they asserted was She who must be obeyed), and for the people of Scotland.

      Consequences of a NO vote? Even before this legal opinion was published the answers were fairly obvious.

      Top of the list of consequences are further Westminster-actioned cuts, into the foreseeable future, regardless of the party in power there. 

      There will be we know, a re-jigging of the Barnett formula leading to a substantial reduction in the block grant, further divesting Scotland of the monies needed to maintain existing services.

      This will mean an end to prescriptions free at the point of service. 

      The end of at-home services for the elderly.

      The end of free tuition for university students.

      The end of free bus passes for the over-sixties.

      The Unionist parties will argue a no vote gives them a mandate to implement the following:

      The repatriation of devolved powers back to Westminster to neuter Nationalist power (curtailing “SNP mischief-making”) to put an end to the Scottish Question once and for all.

      A vote NO will mean the effective end of the Scottish Parliament stripped of power and its diminution to a wee pretendy parliament (thus proving Billy Connolly right after all).

      Scottish representation in the Westminster Parliament will be reduced to 50 MPs initially and will continue to decline as Scotland’s population continues to comprise a smaller and smaller portion of the greater English state.

      Per their current existing confidential agreement, there will be concerted and coordinated efforts by Labour and the Tories to end Scotland’s status as a country within the UK, and to recast it as just other northern region of Britain. That prediction has now been given added weight by the legal opinion.

      Precedent gives us every reason to be concerned that, if we remain and ever again become uppity, Westminster may retaliate with a policy of managed decline of Scotland’s economy a la Geoffrey Howe et Liverpool during the Thatcher regime.

      The unacceptable risk is that this nation will be permanently subsumed as a neglected and reviled low-opportunity Celtic backwater of a Greater England. Again, this opinion gives this added credibility.

      These are the outcomes that would likely follow a NO vote in November 2014 and it will well serve Scots to remember it.

    5. Indion says:

      Yesterday, ‘Vote No, Get Nothing’ turned worse: ‘Vote No, Be North Britain’.
      From alienation to alien nation inc, with ‘No’ turning back to burnt bridges and scotched earth for the slake of the nUKo seat and oil. 
      Still, I’m sure BBC Scotlandshire is delighted with this confirmation of its provincial status and will be celebrating with a wee dram pint or two of bitter together.
      [Rev Stu, please delete previous] 

    6. douglas clark says:

      Thanks for that Scott.

      It may be a merely trivial point to make but the Scottish / English border is impermeable at a political level. There are absolutely no cross border constituencies.

      That, of itself, makes it plain that Scotland is an entity, whether a state or a country I shall leave to others. However it is a unit, no matter which way you look at it. It is also what makes a referendum on Scottish independence a pretty straightforward concept at a constitutional level.
      The stakes have been raised quite substantially this week. From the point of view of the ‘No’ Campaign it seems to me to be an own goal of enormous proportions. They are now claiming that our nationality is a joke or a chimera. That ought to move a few more waverers into the ‘Yes’ camp.

      The Scottish Skier analysis becomes more believable by the week.

    7. Dcanmore says:

      Well when you think about it, Scotland only exists with us and is kept alive with us Scots for generations. I have two Korean friends and one from Singapore that had never heard of Scotland till they came to the UK and studied some of its history (and my input of course). My Swiss friend believes that Scotland is nothing more than an upstart region. Darling, Wilson and Dalyell’s so-called anti-devolution International Socialism of the Marxist brand believe there is no Scotland thus no borders within the UK. Scotland only exists in the past with these people, as a place or culture and their doctrines are explicit. North Britain is what it is all about and if we have a NO vote then North Britain it shall be. They do not care for Scotland, its culture and achievements are all supposed to remain in the past in the minds of these men.
      I was never taught Scottish history at my High School. I got revolutions, everybody’s bloody revolutions, French, American, Russian, English Civil War, Spanish Civil War, American Civil War and so on. No Scottish heroes though. In geography I got to know The Netherlands and Switzerland intimately, but not Scotland in any respect. In English class I was taught poems, plays, short stories and long-form literature and none of it was Scottish. In primary school if I, or my classmates, would utter a Scottish word such as ‘aye’ and ‘ken’ we would receive a swift rap over the knuckles with a wooden ruler and a firm correction in diction thereafter by the teacher. This was the 1970s and 80s where we were told that Scottish education was better and more enlightening than English education, and yet I was never educated in anything that was of Scottish origin! Anything Scottish belonged to the cringe, shortbread tins, tartan trews and the White Heather Club and my old Granny and Great Aunt who would sing Flower of Scotland every Hogmanay and being told it was a rebel song.
      Out of that came a lot of young Scots who couldn’t care less for the place, they were embarrassed to be Scots, didn’t know much about their own country, didn’t want to know … “but hey we won the Falkland’s War, that’s what it’s all about, and oh don’t forget the World Cup ventures circa 1974-98, that’s enough isn’t it? We hate the Tories though!” They wanted to be somewhere else away from the dump, the crumbling housing estates and dead-end jobs (if you can find one that is). Many didn’t make it out and are now cuddling their pint of whatever every Thursday evening at the local pub between 6.30 and 9pm, same place, same seats, same back page fitba arguments. They’ll never vote for independence because in their heads it might mean giving up what meagre existence they have, no effort, no vision, no future, keep what you have even if it’s nothing. Most of these people were my friends back in the 80s and 90s. I couldn’t play my part in the weekly routine for long, too political I am. I went back to college, got myself trained up, re-educated and never looked back. I became Billy-Big Boots after that, especially when I started to make more money than most. Sadly, what I had done in getting up off my backside and create a proper career and life for myself, starting out as a labourer and ending up as a production journalist, any one of those guys could have done, anyone of them. But they see themselves psychologically as being too poor, too wee and too stupid. Having some sort of twisted pride with that, the ‘a kent yer faither’ attitude that is supposed to bring people down a peg or two.
      That is perfect for Labour in Scotland, creating bitter little proles that hate their lives. Darling, Wilson and now Curran, Lamont and Davidson et al in ‘Scottish’ Labour are supposed to channel that hate and hopelessness into votes against the Conservatives. They have done nothing in 40 years to make peoples lives better, it’s the power of hate, the energy that propels them to power. That is the script, hate the Tories and Labour get in. It has all gone wrong for them now. Labour has done it’s best to destroy a cultural Scotland, Tory pals destroyed an industrial Scotland, turning it into an empty vessel devoid of anything meaningful other than nice scenery. A future under New Nu Neu Labour doesn’t have a Scotland in it, there is no purpose for it apart from the cash it generates, but that is not meant for the Scots either!
      I love my country I call Scotland, I had to leave Scotland to fully understand where it’s at. It is clear to me now how much needs to change. If we do get a YES vote it will take a couple of generations to realise the dream of the kind of country we want, at least that is energising and a future we can all work towards. If there is a NO vote then it will only take months for the nightmare to kick in, and the those narcissistic lickspittal politicians will dance on the grave of Scotland with glee as they fashion a new North Britain.
      Apologies for the lengthy rant. And thanks to my, now deceased, parents for teaching me Scottish history and the role of Scotland’s sons and daughters in the wider world.

    8. steven luby says:

      Looks like you have just proved that if Scotland was to become independent then the sea borders that the then Scots Gov allowed to be moved will stay in place. Will be interesting to see what other long held borders and beliefs will change in the coming months.


    9. orpheuslyre says:

      The referendum question needs to be altered in light of the legal advice.

      The UK government says in its document that the legal advice is intended to to provide firm transparent information to the Scottish people. They say that the legal advice is foundational to everything else.

      They should be taken at their word. The have stated that Scotland is an after-echo of the history of old Europe, with no greater political reality than the long-forgotten Kingdom of Bohemia. 
      That is uncommon frankness, but it is the legal opinion and we should respect it. They say that Scotland was extinguished and that the present UK is Greater England in the eyes of the law, and in the eyes of the world

      So the question should be altered to the following: Should Scotland become an independent country, or remain a part of England?

      That is a question reflecting the legal facts as they are known, and will conform to the UK/English government’s assertion of the necessary virtue of a choice made in full awareness of the facts.

    10. M4rkyboy says:

      Sorry for interrupting the otherwise reasoned discussion on the other thread with my emotional outbursts Rev.I have been looking forward to these documents since last year and i had no idea what they were going to contain.
      My emotional reaction was my fears being confirmed in black and white.

    11. Peter says:

      @ orpheuslyre :

      Actually, to me it sounds more like the question should be “Should Scotland become an independent country, or become a part of England?”

      Because up untill yesterday, there wasnt the slightest hint of Scotland being considered as “a part of England”.  The very concept of equal participatory nations of the UK ended yesterday and Scotland was merely annexed by England as a colony.

    12. JLT says:

      Personally, we have to remember that the document that came out yesterday is really just opinions.
      The truth of the matter is that in 1707, Scotland and England created a …UNION. We did not secede our nationhood to become a provence of England, and nowhere did it say that England would be the dominant partner. They were to be equal partners.
      Yesterday was just the Unionsist blowing a trumpet. They are out to protect their own interests now. It was almost an admission that they fear that Scotland will breakaway in 2014.
      Opinions….assumptions….nothing more than that. And I have no doubt Salmond and Co will tear it to shreds…

    13. M4rkyboy says:

      Half my primary school received speech therapy to stomp the Scots out of us.
      Gala day we would hold union jacks and wave at the queen on her hay throne.
      No Scottish history but plenty Waterloo and Trafalgar.
      My English teacher would make you write lines on the board in front of the class while theatrically correcting the Scots out of you in a form of ritual humiliation.

    14. Silverytay says:

      page 2 of the Sun today has about a 1/4 of the page dedicated to micky moore’s assertion that an independent Scotland would be responsible for its share off the debt .
      Within the article there is a comment from our good friend Dr Matt Qvortrup that an independent Scotland can not be a new nation and still be responsible for the debt .
      kinda knocks the unionist bullshit on the head .

    15. ianbrotherhood says:

      @christian wright (1.52) & Dcanmore (4.16)
      Nicely put, both.
      We can leave AS/NS and others to disentangle the legalities and the trickery. Here, on the ground, it’s a battle for common sense and simplicity – the paper issued yesterday is every bit as much a wind-up as Jeremy Clarkson’s face replacing Scotland on the big map, and we’d be mugs to fall for it.
      Let lawyers, practising or otherwise, play parlour games with this – the rest of us should concentrate on convincing our families and friends to start getting their heids around what’ll happen to us if we don’t vote Yes. I’ve been tempted to mention the Thatcher regime’s treatment of Liverpool but held back – Christian is right to bring it up, and anyone who doesn’t know, or can’t remember what happened should do some reading, check some of priceless archive material available via Youtube, and get genned-up on what Tories traditionally do to anyone who dares confront them

    16. Oldnat says:

      The UK, of course, has never ratified the 1978 Vienna Convention (doubtless in anticipation of the circumstances they are now in).
      In the absence of anything else, it is perfectly reasonable for the lawyers to use it in constructing their legal opinion. For the UK Government to do so, however, para 2.12 is hypocrisy of a nature that would surprise only those who don’t know Whitehall!
      If the UK are saying that they would accept the Convention as the basis on which negotiations would take place, that’s fine – but they don’t. They pick and choose from the lawyers opinion to construct a propaganda document.
      What would make sense is for the Yes campaign to widely publicise that the UK Govt HAS accepted the Vienna Convention (whether it meant to or not).

    17. CameronB says:

      If there is no such place as Scotland, why has so much money been spent on a pointless political charade? How does this apparently arbitrary decision square with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

    18. alasdair says:

      So what does this all mean for the maritime borders?

    19. Oldnat says:

      Both the previous and current maritime borders were creations of the UK Parliament, and were there for administrative purposes – eg where did Scots Law apply.
      The current borders are roughly where the international Convention on the Continental Shelf would put them – though the base line calculation may be flawed, so I hope the Scottish Government has a good geographer working on that!

    20. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      From a Scottish perspective this is quite clear – the boundaries that mark where Scotland’s borders are within the Union are to be the new international frontiers after independence, and cannot be altered
      That means that maritime boundaries shall be as they were in 1999 on the advent of devolution (which can now not be altered except by agreement of Holyrood under domestic law)
      However, that is not to say that the border line cannot be taken to international arbritration at a later date based on a reasonable interpretation of deliniation, just that to begin with we will have only what we have now.

    21. Albalha says:


      So what does this all mean for the maritime borders?   

      Well if the devolution settlement is anything to go by, one wonders.

      The ‘The Scottish Adjacent Waters Boundaries Order 1999’ saw us lose thousands of miles of sea, gifted to Westminster.

      The US Int Lawyer Scheffer in his recent interview was rather downbeat about it in an otherwise positive analysis, from the perspective of a YES voter. 


    22. Barontorc says:

      It is a rare bird indeed who will play games in front of an angry man and what this ‘official UK Government report’ serves to do is just kick more sand into our face. The import of this report and its now hastily so-called ‘opinion’ cannot be underestimated. It is proof positive that Scotland has been subsumed by England and there is absolutely no chance of Scotland being allowed its freedom to act on its own behalf if a NO vote wins the day. That means for ever and a day.
      I am minded to think that providence is smiling on YES. It is wholly unjust to implant governance by a large country over a smaller country through dint of subterfuge and enforced colonialism. Alarmingly, it is quite perverse at that since the 1707 Act of Union is  extant and the Declaration of Independence which preceeds it is also extant.
      So, in other words who they hell do they think they are! ‘Scot’s wha hae’, has never had more meaning.

    23. mogabee says:

       Frequently, over the past few months, I have encountered the following sentence; ” The SNP have wanted this for 80 yrs and still can’t tell us what Independence means”
       Well to me, they have not stopped telling us what it means, and now the UK government is pretty starkly showing us the reality of a NO vote!
       How does the better together campaign counteract this? Will they carry on regardless as they are currently and ignore the obvious?
      I feel confidant that Scotland’s people will NOT be shafted by our government, in fact it’s working out as they had planned…or even better!

    24. Scott says:

      A line has now been drawn and there is no going back.
      The UK Government yesterday produced a report which stated that according to law Scotland ceased to exist as a country after 1707 as England was enlarged to incorporate Scotland. 
      This now means that next years referendum is not about whether Scotland should be an independent country, but rather, should Scotland be a country or continue to be the largest county in England.

    25. ianbeag says:

      “From a Scottish perspective this is quite clear – the boundaries that mark where Scotland’s borders are within the Union are to be the new international frontiers after independence, and cannot be altered”   What are the implications of this interpretation in respect of the 6,255 square miles of the North Sea which were arbitrarily removed from Scottish jurisdiction by the UK government in 1999 and transferred to English territorial waters quietly and with no debate in Scotland?

    26. Marcia says:

      It would be interesting to hear what the Historians make of yesterday’s opinions of the Coalition, Professor Tom Devine and Co, come to mind.

    27. Albalha says:

      My morning tears of laughter, courtesy of the Twitter exchange between D Torrance and S Maxwell, turns out people are not countries and it’s no more complicated than a fruit salad being divided.

      Wonderfully absurd, on WOS Twitter thing.  

    28. Barontorc says:

      ianbeag – this will be quite acceptable under the new perspective outlined by UK Gov. Could the position be clearer, is it becoming any more stark, what will it take for Scots to realise what has happened?

    29. pmcrek says:

      Handy pic of the waters boundary act changes, the Northern Ireland side looks fine, but obviously the squinty line off the east coast is rather ridiculous. No chance would it stand up to international arbitration, but its not a massive problem though, it only represents a wee bit of our oil and fish that we would have to wait on for a while before we got it back.

    30. Craig P says:

      We did get Scots culture in primary school in the 70s and 80s, on one day a year – Burns Night. We had to recite a Scots poem in front of class. However it was usually the likes of ‘The Sair Finger’ or ‘The Wee Malkies’ – pure kailyard. By the time we were old enough (secondary school) to absorb proper culture, the opportunity was gone, about the only subject even obliquely relating to Scotland was geography.
      I believe that has largely changed now, that you can choose to do Scottish literature in school and a small amount of Scottish history is compulsory, which will be interesting as it should result in a more confident and grounded generation coming through.

    31. Boorach says:

      Simpleton that I am, to me the Act of Union was and remains a treaty between two separate countries to form a union of equals. Nowhere within the Act does it state that either would be seceded to or subsumed into the other.
      As the Vienna convention didn’t exist at that time (1707) it cannot and should not be applied retrospecively

    32. Munguin says:

      This ludicrous catchall is hardly going to improve the unionist’s credibility deficit. Not exactly what you would call definitive now is it. The only thing that is transparent about this is its contrived nature. However you look at it, it further robs them of credibility. You can’t have it all ways, we can’t be both a new state and a successor state. The former presumably so that the UK can continue as is and keep it place at all the top tables and on the Security Council, the latter I suppose so that Scotland takes with it a substantial proportion of the UK’s debt burden. It’s such an obvious fix though that it only serves to defeat their ends. We don’t zip up the back and can see such an obvious swindle for what it is.

      Make no mistake, what is at stake here is nothing less the extinction or the renaissance of the Scottish race.
      A NO vote means the inevitable and inexorable decent of our culture into obscurity and obsolescence.
      Our legal system, unique education system, and our NHS, of necessity dismissed and rejected as incongruous anachronisms, predicated on the once-held delusion of our uniqueness as a separate state within a state.
      If the people of Scotland vote NO they are endorsing and ratifying this legal opinion and choosing subsummation. 
      Given this legal finding, which incidentally, contrary to the view of some, is not simply just another legal opinion. Rather it is the legal framework within which our English government has affirmed it will act. 
      Though habit pulls us in the direction of referring to the “UK” and “Britain”, according to the English government, the original and continuing original name for this state remains “England”. We are all Englishmen.

      Scots voters who will vote NO really have to understand this and be ready to accept that they are and always have been English, that they owe allegiance and fealty to the English Crown and the English state. Scotland has not existed in three centuries, and if NO wins the day, there is no chance of it becoming independent in the lifespan of any creature breathing today.
      There will be if Scots ratify this finding by voting NO, no legal or arguable basis for FIFA to continue to indulge us by giving each home “nation” a place in world football. That is now unsustainable if we choose to remain Englishmen. 
      We cannot claim to be a nation anymore than Piedmont, or Brittany, or Cornwall, and there can be no expectation that we will be treated any differently by FIFA or UEFA, than they.
      One silver lining however, is that, were I running Celtic or The Rangers FC, I would be making a beeline today to the English FA and Championship League and Premier league  demanding immediate consideration for admission at some level, citing this finding (which is now our English government’s policy).
      On the basis of this opinion, the FA and EPL are in violation of English law, EU directives, EUFA, and FIFA regulations, in asserting these applications warrant no consideration because of the fiction of nations within a nation, now thoroughly debunked.
      EUFA and FIFA would no longer have cause to stand in the way of complete integration – in fact they are duty-bound to demand it.
      There needs to be a call for the immediate disbandment of the Scottish leagues and the SFA due to its blatant discriminatory practices in denying fellow Englishmen their right to be considered for inclusion in these “subnational leagues” and for inclusion in the northern regions team “scotland”.
      Now, what is one hundred percent certain is that in the event of a NO vote, given this legal finding released yesterday, the days of Scotland’s continuing independent membership in EUFA and FIFA at ALL levels of the game, are numbered.  

    34. Jeannie says:

      Just looking at that map and I’m wondering why it was so important to the Labour government at the time to make these changes.  Does anybody know what was in it for them, especially as they did it so quietly.  Presumably they ran it by their Labour colleagues at Holyrood?

    35. Indion says:

      Doing down, it’s actually ‘Vote No, Be Nothing’ – which is an accurate reflection of the exclusive British establishment’s mindset towards the English, Irish, Scots, Welsh, Cornish, Manx and Channel Islanders.
      Freedom from the same old same old UK State is freedom to be best together as a family of nations in an all inclusive British Isles Union sharing optimal autonomy all-round.    

    36. orpheuslyre says:

      I found some of the terminolgy used in the Report quite curious. They refer to the UK as a metropolitan state. It looks like it has a technical meaning for them but as far as I can see the technical debate about the nature of the UK state is whether it is a Unitary State or a Union State. Following the definition of Rokkan & Urwin, it is the latter, even if Unionist politicians find it rhetorically useful to say it is the former.

      But the Report seems to be adopting a Unitary outlook as axiomatic for its arguments (a position, by the way, which completely rules out Catalonia’s own bid for independence).

      As I understand it, the term ‘metropolitan’ refers to the colonial ‘mother’ state. Scotland therefore, in their view, is a fully integrated part of the metropolitan state – which begs the question about the well-enough known history of Scottish semi-indepedence from 1707 until 183; or even until 1924 (after which it seems there was indeed a political drive to make Scotland part of a Unitary State, led by Ramsay Macdonald).

    37. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      Any attempt to say that Scotland was (and is) merely a sub-unit of an enlarged English state also runs into the problem of the Scottish Grand Committee and Scotland Office. Why were these necessary to be formed to rule Scotland if Scotland is merely an expanded England?

    38. Scott Minto “Any attempt to say that Scotland was (and is) merely a sub-unit of an enlarged English state also runs into the problem of the Scottish Grand Committee and Scotland Office. Why were these necessary to be formed to rule Scotland if Scotland is merely an expanded England?”
      Ah well, this is easily explained by the mass delusion of the theory of “states within a state”, now completely debunked by this finding, which all the Government’s learned scholars agree is a paragon of lucidity and perspicacity. 


    39. Let me add an addendum to the beginning of my earlier post. It should have read:
      “Make no mistake, what is at stake here is nothing less the extinction or the renaissance of a discernible Scottish race.”

      I did not mean we would physically perish.

    40. mato21 says:

      Oh how we derided Gordys North British comment on his nationality Now we find out he was right after all and it was us that were wrong
      Apologies all round are called for, for doubting him 

    41. Jeannie says:

      Thanks for the link.  I’ll have a wee look 🙂

    42. douglas clark says:

      Craig Murray used to negotiate this sort of thing. He has specifically commented on this issue here:

    43. cath says:

      “The very concept of equal participatory nations of the UK ended yesterday and Scotland was merely annexed by England as a colony.”

      Exactly. Which totally blows the argument that “we are in a union and it’s working well for us” right out the water. There is no union: we were subsumed into Greater England. Unionist should change their argument if they believe this expert opinion.

      One thing I do agree with the on though, is that I do hope the Scottish government will issue their own legal advice soon. I’m really interested to see the counter arguments – assuming there are any – and what they come up with. I imagine there will be a whole other argument as to what the Act of Union meant and still means.

    44. orpheuslyre says:

      Scott Minto.
      Yes, exactly.

      The UK document to which the legal report was an ‘annex’, talks at some length about that.
      In their view, which seems to see Devolution in retrospective telological terms that Macaulay would have warmly approved, devolution started in the 19th century and 1998 etc is part of a smooth continuum.

      That is somewhat at odds with what academic historians have said (and at odds with what actually happened in Ireland).

      And from a scholarly point of view, it seems the two lawyers argument about subsumption rests on a single, improbaly-titled, and rather aging source – Parry & Hopkins, An Index of British Treaties, 1101-1968 (1970).

    45. Albalha says:

      @jeannie Welcome!


      Here’s a link outlining what D Scheffer, who supports co successor states, said in a recent interview.     

    46. James Coleman says:

      God what a depressing lot are some of the commenters on this site. I have only recently been coming here because I think the Rev Stu’s articles and other contributions are very much what the YES campaign should be about. And in the beginning I read the comments to see who were my ‘friends’. Unfortunately many of the commenters are what I consider to be faint-hearts who tremble and sway with every bomb the NO campaign lands near them. And they seem willing to accept the biased views of the Westminster Government instead of using their God given intellligence to think for themselves. Yesterday was the last straw, when I found many commenters were taken in and made into waverers by the ramblings of little more than a child on matters of International Law, some even praising the writer.
      Well I will still come here and read the Rev Stu’s stuff because it IS important but I won’t be reading the comments any more, nor will I be commenting. It is just too depressing.

    47. James Coleman says:

      Please ignore this it is connected with me messing about with editing.

    48. FreddieThreepwood says:

      @ James Coleman
      Please ignore this it is connected with me messing about with editing.
      Eh, are you sure it was ‘editing’ you were messing about with? Bit early in the day, isn’t it?

    49. ianbrotherhood says:

      @James Coleman –
      Come on man, don’t let it get to ye. This is just another wee spat, some folk getting excited. It’s all good practice for when the real provocateurs show up i.e. the big-guns who make Grahamski look like an amateur mischief-maker. I daresay WoS will be high on their target-list, and when they start their shenanigans we’ll soon find out who’s just here having a laugh, who’s game for them, and who can’t stand the heat. More of us the merrier – we can collectively wave our bared bottoms at them as and when they appear.

    50. muttley79 says:

      If Scotland ceased to exist under international law, and was effectively subsumed into England, is it not very significant that not only did Scottish identity survive, but has actually strengthened as the union has gone on?  This and the fact that in reality the term “North Britain” was as unsuccessful as it was, at least in terms of popular sentiment in Scotland, should be very worrying for the No campaign and unionists generally.  In addition, the idea that Scotland was an equal partner in the union has now been shattered by the No campaign itself.  The inequality of status at the heart of the union has now been officially recognised.

    51. Macart says:

      They’ll never keep that position up you know. It would mean that England never won the world cup, GB did. Or indeed the rugby world cup, or the ashes. Is really the three nations tournament or the six? Can you in actual fact win both the grand slam and the wooden spoon at the same time? 😀

    52. Andy Simpson says:

      Don’t know why some are so down about this.Its brilliant,a gift to the YES campaign.The challenge is how to get as much of this out in the public eye.Its clear that they really do want to not only make us North Britain but a Greater England.If Scots vote no then I’m sorry frankly as a country we deserve it.
      However I have more confidence in the majority of my countrymen and women than that. Many may appear disinterested but get these insults out there and lets start rattling some cages.

    53. Patrician says:

      Try this little NLP experiment when talking to any undecideds you meet.  Refer to the 2 campaigns as “Yes Scotland” and “No Scotland”*.  I have been using this for some time with quite good results. The detail in yesterdays report now reinforces the aptness of the names.  
      *Don’t use “Better Together” or “No” campaign as these mask what they really stand for.

    54. Jeannie says:

      @Douglas Clark
      Thanks, Douglas

    55. Indion says:

      It is a gift, laying bare the Unitarist argument for all to be made aware of – especially true Unionists so persuaded by its core message as to be minded to vote Yes for the win-win outcome of independence and union: the former being Scotland as a sovereign state again; the latter in a confederal association – the social union – of our family of nations in the British Isles.
      As ever though, independence is the prerequiste, as ultimately real power is always taken and never given. The sole purpose of the UK state is to remain in being and – for those captured by it – concession would be a deriliction of that duty. 

    56. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Don’t know why some are so down about this.Its brilliant,a gift to the YES campaign.”

      I agree, but it’s also vital that people DO present a cautionary alternative perspective, which is why now and again I ask people to keep it civil. We shouldn’t scare commenters off by leaping down the throat of anyone who says “But what if you look at it this way?” As ianbrotherhood says, dissent is absolutely crucial in keeping our minds sharp and avoiding traps. Mr Cowie, kininvie and the like will always be welcome here no matter how much I might disagree with their assessment of something at any given moment.

    57. Indion says:

      …. as ‘dereliction’ would be abandonment too!

    58. Indion says:

      Jings, fingers need to be as quick as wits around here!

    59. Indy_Scot says:

      Seriously, the more I think about it, if we don’t sort out this farcical situation next year, then they might as well turn Scotland into a large farm, round us up and process us for Tesco Everyday ValueBeef burgers.

    60. Jeannie says:

      OK, daft girl question, but there’s something I’m not getting here. 
      If I’m understanding correctly, from yesterday’s discussion, Scotland is a country but not a state as defined by international law. And that means that the drawing of boundaries between the countries which are part of the UK is considered a matter of domestic rather than international law, (I think). And we know that the UK government, presumably within that domestic law, redrew part of the maritime boundary between Scotland and England in 1999 at a time when there was a government in Holyrood. Presumably then, boundary alterations must be a reserved matter.
      But, if this is a reserved matter and what Tony Blair’s government did was perfectly lawful, what’s to stop them doing something similar at any point in the future, whenever it suits them?  
      And I’m still wondering why at that particular point in time, in 1999, it was so important to the Labour Party to redraw a maritime boundary which had been in place since 1707 and to set the boundary precisely where they did.  I’ve read that it was part of the devolution settlement, but I still don’t know why it was so important to the Labour Party at that time.  I can see that there were issues of oil, gas and fish, but am wondering if it’s also something to do with Defence?

    61. BillyBigbaws says:

      Just occurred to me (I’m a bit slow) that the document appears to rule out the possibility of a federal UK – a lot of the more liberally-minded No voters had pinned their hopes on a gradual evolution towards federalism after they had obediently ticked the wrong box. 

      But if the position of the UK government is that “there can be only one!” then hopes of federation are surely dead in the water?  They are saying quite clearly that there is one state, has always been one state, and can only be one state in the UK.  You can’t build a federation out of a single unitary state.

      So, hopefully, the more thoughtful of them will come aboard with us.

      @ James Coleman, it’s daft to make out that people seeking clarification of the UK Govt’s legal position on this are all big fearty surrender-monkeys.  Most of just want to know exactly where the UK Govt thinks we stand as a nation – it doesn’t mean we agree with them.

    62. Indion says:

      Rev Stu at 2:34pm
      Indeed. Mr Cowie’s as contributions from others are crucial to understanding confirmation of the Unitarists mind set and absolute determination to preserve the UK state as a continium in any event.
      They neither want nor need to be one of two successor states, for example in order to apportion the still growing UK national debt. The Sco Gov’s offer to take on our whack will be spun by the UK as being forced too.
      However any of us might hope for the best, it will only come about through thorough planning and execution for the worst. I see no sign of that not being the case. The Sco Gov continue to open up the political space for the Yes campaign in the public space. We are here occupying part of that spreading space.
      It’s public perception that dictates the politics for lawyers to put a legal stamp to.    

    63. BillyBigbaws says:

      @ Jeannie,
      They had been planning to move the marine boundary since 1977, under Callaghan, but somehow never got the opportunity (or the means?) until devolution.  The motivation seems to have been purely about oil and gas, but I could be wrong on that.  I’ve no idea why it took them so long after they had identified the “need” to do it, or why they wanted a Scottish Executive in place before they went through with it.  If the UK can arrange it’s internal borders and classify it’s assets however it sees fit, what possible obstruction could they have met in 1977? 
      Callaghan had a lot on his plate that year, but I don’t know why Anthony Crossland’s plan to shift the marine boundary went on hold right up to 1999. 

    64. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      They redrew the border IN 1999 the day before the Holyrood assembly opened.
      Since then the sewell convention protects scots borders by requiring Holyrood to agree to any changes, but as with everything devolved, power devolved is power retained. The UK government cant (at the moment) under domestic law alter the borders further without Holyroods consent, but could legislate for that in further Scotland Act amendments at a later date.
      For the purposes of the referendum the borders shall be as per the 1999 limits upon independence and an Independent Scotland would have to take those borders to international arbritration afterwards if it felt it had a case under international law.

    65. Rabb says:

      The arrow of time from Devolution to independence has been explosive in recent years. We have went from the discussion of a devolved parliament in the 1800s to finally getting a vote in 1979. We were robbed of this the first time round but it didn’t go away as hoped and in 1997 we voted overwhelmingly for devolution.
      The timeline is speeding up rapidly towards independence now. We went from a devolved LabLib government to an SNP government in 2007 quickly followed by what was supposed to be impossible in 2011 (A mojority SNP government). Fast forward 3 years on from their and the people of Scotland will decide on whether or not to end the union lock stock and barrell.
      In my opinion, Labour knew fine well that the “line in the sand” that a devolved government was supposed to address would not be enough.
      Redrawing as much of the boundary as it could get away with without alerting suspicion was the UK insurance policy.
      As many have already stated, this does not stand up to the scrutiny of international law. They may get a few years contested revenue from fishing, oil & gas but ultimately they will need to hand it back.
      Just my humble opinion 🙂

    66. Ron says:

      So that’s it then –  a‘Yes’ vote makes Scottish history – a ‘No’ vote makes Scotland history?

    67. Jeannie says:

      Could it have been because after the 1979 Devo vote, they thought the threat had gone away?
      By the way, it feels quite, I don’t know – liberating – typing out your name. 

    68. Barontorc says:

      It is opening up to be a bit of a real hoot and God only knows how the No mob are going to sustain it, even within the UK.
      Do you think for a minute the Welsh will lie back and take it that they are really a district of Engerland? Aye right!
      Do you think the Northern Irish – those who aren’t committed loyalists and there’s approaching 50/50 there population wise, will be in any way for it ? Oh, really!
      Do they, even in their wildest dreams, imagine that any Scot will accept their country being subsumed by England, a country run by politicians they loath, whilst having cuts and draconian measures thrust down their throat for the privilege? Aye, fe** off!
      Even the Bitter Togethers will say ‘ you’ve taken this too far!’ 

    69. BillyBigbaws says:

      Haha, thanks Jeannie – though I must admit that it is not my real name.  The priest was spared from blushing at the baptismal font.
      Aye, I think you are probably right that after ’79 they felt, as was said in earlier times: “We have catch‘d Scotland, and we will bind her fast.”
      Then with the Scottish Parliament looming after the ’97 result, they revived the idea and rushed through the Adjacent Waters Boundaries Order.

    70. Jeannie says:

      @Scott Minto
      Thanks for that, Scott.  The way they did it leaves a really bad taste in the mouth.  What kind of people are they to do that to their own people.  WHAT they did was bad enough but to do it the day before the Scottish Parliament met reeks of the same kind of deception and self-interest that prevailed at the signing of the Treaty of Union. 
      They obviously didn’t agree with George Robertson then that devolution would kill independence stone dead. No wonder they tried to rig the voting system to ensure the SNP would never get the majority it would need to stage the referendum.  What a shower!

    71. Jeannie says:

      Hiya!  I hope you’re right -it certainly won’t be for the want of trying!

    72. ianbeag says:

      @ Jeanni
      Scott Minto
      There is a great swatch of excellent material, 23 pages, in the Scottish Democratic Alliance website archive about the plundering of the North Sea by Blair and Dewar. Here is a direct link
      This transfer of Scotland’s territorial water was an act of treachery and I have never seen evidence that the SNP has made any attempt to raise the issue in the intervening years by way of reclaiming the asset.  Is it too much to expect that this will be included in the catalogue of items marked for negotiation during the exciting period Autumn 2014 – 2016? 

    73. Jeannie says:

      Thanks for that, Ian

    74. Morag says:

      A‘Yes’ vote makes Scottish history – a ‘No’ vote makes Scotland history.
      Brilliant.  YesScotland needs to grab that.

    75. albaman says:

      Thats it then, we are not Scotland. SO what do we call this land we live on AFTER a yes vote?. my vote goes to “ALBA”no surprise there then.

    76. kininvie says:

      I was going back to check a few things in the infamous Annexe A – and lo and behold it is no onger available online as it is being ‘virus checked’. It didn’t seem to require a virus check yesterday…..
      What I was going to check, were the references (if any) to Norwegian Independence from Sweden in 1905, where Norway declared unilaterally in order to free itself from an incorporating union. Along the way I noted with sadness that the United Kingdom declared itself ready to defend Norwegian independence to the hilt, even putting some battleships on standby. Alas I fear their attitude to Scotland may be rather different.
      Thank you for your kind words above, Stu. I feel perhaps I should make it clear, since Mr Coleman & a few others questioned my credentials, that I have been a member of the SNP for 25 years plus, and my personal commitment to independence is absolute. But I’m also someone who from time to time is paid to analyse and write about political risk, and one of the first tasks in working out what is going on in a political confrontation is to look closely at the opposing strategies and legal weaponry. In our case, it is absolutely necessary to do this to look for the weak spots in our opponent’s case.
      At the moment, it seems to me that the UK govt – as others have pointed out – is fixated on retaining its current status in international law. The whole of Annexe A is directed to this end. Any suggestion that Scotland is other than a ‘new state’ immediately puts it at risk. So it’s a vulnerability, which the claim that Scotland was ‘extinguished’ is designed to cover. And because it is a vulnerability, it needs to be exploited if we can, so that we gain a bargaining position.

    77. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I was going back to check a few things in the infamous Annexe A – and lo and behold it is no onger available online as it is being ‘virus checked’. It didn’t seem to require a virus check yesterday…..”

      Someone mentioned that earlier, I wondered if it was maybe just their PC. Luckily, Wings Over Scotland’s head doesn’t button up the back:

    78. Inbhir Anainn says:

      Could I draw your attention to this article of 18th June 2007 from the The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland entitled The Union and the law.

    79. Highlander says:

      Thanks Inbhir Anainn.
      This summation brings it all into perspective:
      “The fundamental cause of the continued misunderstandings since 1707 has been the continuing failure of the Westminster Parliament, and its advisers and draftsmen, to appreciate that the Union was made by a treaty within international law and merely ratified by the parliaments of the two uniting states under their domestic laws, so as to put themselves out of existence and create a new sovereign state in lieu. The Westminster Parliament could possibly repeal parts of the two ratifying Acts, but that would leave the Treaty standing because it is part of international law affecting Britain and the whole world, and not merely part of domestic law.”
      For Westminster and their supportive legal experts to try to suggest that only Scotland was extinguished is beyond arrogance. It’s a blatant lie. There is NOTHING in the Articles or the following Acts of Union that suggest this. We’re used to being lied to in recent decades but trying to rewrite events of 300+ years ago is quite incredible.
      Please please can we just rid ourselves of this madness called the UK that seems to serve solely to undermine us!

    80. Don’t use “Better Together” or “No” campaign as these mask what they really stand for.
      Ah, I see you missed today’s official announcement of the change in the name from Better Together to “Better Subsumed”.

    81. Chic McGregor says:

      Since the two experts producing the report were maritime specialists and suspicion is therefore roused as to the agenda behind their muddying the waters (sic) on this issue I repeat the following:

      There is sleight of hand going on.  The question of whether Scotland has national maritime territories right now is NOT the issue, we know it doesn’t (Crown Estates, Fishing Rights, Oil Licenses etc. all controlled by London) the real question is what rights would an independent Scotland accrue on independence? And that most fallsd under the remit of international law rather than Westminster wishlists. 

      Neither does the question of what these rights are have to wait until independence. Indeed a detailed analysis of this has already been carried out and published in the European Journal of International Law.

      While there is some dubiety regarding which of the various methods used to determine maritime boundaries are utilised there are none which would allocate Scotland’s continental shelf rights to rUK/England upon independence.

      The following map summarises the options and reflects such dubiety as exists:
      Also note, that  the kite Unionists often try to fly regarding the case of the Northern Isles remaining in the rUK should they vote NO, the rUK then supposedly ‘retaining’ most of the oil rights, fails to get off the ground for two reasons.
      First, is precedent in international law.  The semi-autonomous nations of native Americans in the north of Quebec who are almost unanimously in favour of remaining with Canada tried to get multiple concurrent secession approved but the UN rejected it.
      Second, even if the Northern Isles became ‘English’ (or whatever national name the rUK will use) and this was somehow recognised internationally, under the international law of the sea, as a small archipelago enclave of a foreign country on Scotland’s share of the Continental Shelf they would only be allocated territorial waters close to their shores as detailed in the study and on the map above.

    82. Andy Simpson: “Don’t know why some are so down about this.Its brilliant,a gift to the YES campaign.”
      I do not think those spelling out the possible consequences of this opinion are “so down” as you suggest.
      Nor do I believe even one of them is unaware of the value of this absurdity to our cause. 
      What these good folks are doing Is spelling out a warning the undecided and waivering who will decide thie outcome of this referendum, should internalize before they put a cross on that ballot.
      Contributors are also using (least ways I am) the ancient art of reductio in absurdism to emphasize what a carnival-barking nonsense this excuse for considered thought really is.

    83. R Louis says:

      The points you make are quite correct.  The treaty is a treaty under international law, whereas the ratifiying acts from the English and Scottish parliament are founded within English and Scots law respectively.  This is absolutlely key to the nonsense from London.
      It is a real no-brainer.  The treaty never abolished Scotland, merely passed the authority of the Scottish AND English parliaments into the newly created Parliament of Great Britain.  It never even abolished the Scottish Parliament, which was merely adjourned.  As a consequence, the Westminster parliament only derives its authority over Scotland via the treaty.  No other document gives it such power.  For London to dismiss the treaty, because Westminster has chosen to arrogantly ignore some of its articles, is the most pernicious piece of twisted reasoning, proven to be false by the many, many other examples where Westminster has deliberately taken steps within legislation to adhere to the terms of the treaty.
      It is a piece of nonsense, and an absolute gift to the YES campaign.

    84. Barontorc says:

      R Louis, are you the Robert of one time NNS acquaintance? If so, good to see you’re back. If not welcome aboard.

    85. Deochandoris says:

      I’m so glad I found this place.  I dont have great political savvy but have an inbuilt compass for what is right and what is wrong.  I love reading the articles/comments on here that articulate for me all the intricacies of this minefield and help me understand better what I have always ‘felt in my water’ to be the truth 🙂 So thankful there have been folks like yourselves out there keeping watch:) I believe there may be a lot of others who are having the wool pulled over their eyes and they just need to have things explained in SIMPLE terms to get what Westminster is really trying to do to Scotland.  I also think that, possibly, some of the older generation are really scared of independence because they’ve had it instilled into them over their lifetime that they should be grateful for the crumbs from Westminsters table.  Dont know how they will be convinced otherwise?

    86. deewal says:

      Cameron and Co told a lot of lies and bullshit in their 2010 Election Campaign as well if i remember rightly. They will carry on doing their worst for as long as it takes.
      We should carry on doing our best.

    87. R Louis says:

      Yes, I am the same person, just cannot be bothered writing the name in full.  As you know, I stopped posting at NNS due to their policies (but that I guess is their prerogative), and shortly after started posting here.  Sadly, I cannot post as often as I previously could.
      Despite, not agreeing with the NNS moderation policy, I do still think that NNS, Bella, Lallands peat worrier and this site are ALL important.  No single site can cover everything, and Newsnet Scotland performs a vital role, in a different way to this one.
      There is an especially interesting piece on NNS this morning;

    88. KOF says:

      I’ve been tinterneting again.
      The modern UK Parliament can trace its origins all the way back to two features of Anglo-Saxon government from the 8th to 11th centuries. These are the Witan and the moot.

    89. Barontorc says:

      Robert, as was – good to see you back anyway – and hope your ire can be ably aired on this site. I have the same situation and feel it’s just bonkers the way its world turned around since some new broom came a-strutting. A pity to see the volume of comments dropping too, if I’m not mistaken. ATB!

    90. NorthBrit says:

      The decidedly unionist Lord Cooper appears to have had a quite different understanding of the effect of the Treaty of Union to the “experts”.  But then he wasn’t being paid to construct an argument to stop his client from being turfed off the security council.
      “…that Treaty is one under which both Scotland and England ceased to be independent states and merged their identity in an incorporating union. From the standpoint both of constitutional law and of international law the position appears to me to be unique…”

    91. The Acts of Union can only have force if the Treaty of Union is active – without the Treaty of Union they have no legal or constitutional force.

      A ‘yes’ vote ends the Treaty of Union and the mainland returns to having to sovereign realms with their own sovereign parliaments. Ed Balls let this slip in an interview when he stated if Scotland voted ‘Yes’ he hoped to be elected rUK Chancellor in May 2015 – not March 2016, note, May 2015.

      The legal and constitutional reality is the ending of the Treaty of Union requires all negotiations with regards the ending of the UK Parliament to be undertaken by the original signatories of the Treaty – the sovereign parliaments of Scotland / England and Wales. This legal and constitutional point was conceded on the UK Parliament at Westminster’s behalf by the Lord Advocate in 1953.

      As I have argued on my own blog in ‘The Scottish Breakaway’ and more recently in ‘Wee Things’ this legal advice and opinion is flawed as it requires two things which have never happened:

      1. A statutory bill of the Parliaments of Scotland and Westminster agreeing a Union of the Crowns, as opposed to the same head under two separate crowns
      2. Scots Law and constitutional practice agreeing to the solely English constitutional practice of the Crown in UK Parliament as being supreme – a state which would contravene the Claim of Right (1689) by which Elizabeth holds the crown of Scotland by denying the considered will of the people of Scotland which remains paramount. A constitutional position recently backed by the UK Supreme Court ruling in AXA and others vs the Lord Advocate and others as one of the reasons for refusing AXA and others case.

      By positing this UK Parliamentary legal view the Secretary of State of Scotland is taking upon himself to represent a view which is contrary to Scots Law and constitutional practice and is in legal terms ‘ultra vires’ because it refutes the core constitutional claim of the 1689 Claim of Right that the considered will of the people of Scotland is paramount, a status preserved by the Treaty of Union 1706 for all time and as Lord Cooper made clear in his famous 1953 judgement, in this case, all time meant exactly that.

      It is not over the top to state the current and many previous Secretary of States for Scotland have acted illegally in constitutional terms and have been in breach of the 1706 treaty of Union and the 1689 Claim of Right by assuming they spoke for the sovereign Scottish people and our considered will while acting contrary to our laws, constitutional practice and our considered will.

    92. John Meek says:

      I have to say I was lucky at Kilmarnock Academy in the late 60’s. My English teacher HAD to teach us Shakespear & Chaucer (yes – Chaucer!!) as part of the Higher exam curriculum I guess, but he also covered Burns beyond the ‘Supper’ trail & introduced me to Hugh MacDiarmid. Eternally grateful 🙂

    93. jok De Novo says:

      really enjoying reading the comments on this site.
      Another good reason for the yes vote..

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