Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Scottish Independence and other, related, questions

There seems to be a difference of opinion developing in that there are calls for only those in Scotland having a vote on the issue, against the argument that everyone in the United Kingdom should be able to vote.

A letter in today's Daily Telegraph sums up the dilemma succinctly:
"SIR – Some have suggested that everyone in the United Kingdom should have a vote on Scottish independence. I don’t fancy having to deal with a similar argument when we have had enough of the EU.

Brian Gilbert
Hampton, Middlesex
What follows is purely conjecture, however were Scotland to vote for full independence and left the United Kingdom, what would the remainder of the present United Kingdom be called? It can't be given the name Britain as that is England, Scotland and Wales and it will be recalled the full name of the United Kingdom is United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Also consider, if Scotland were to subsequently apply for membership of the European Union, it would have to accept the euro as its currency and would also be forced to accept membership of the Schengen area. Because of this - and I believe I am correct - it would then be necessary for England to set up external border and passport checks at the new frontier.

Just saying...........


IanPJ said...

Where's Hadrian when you need him..

History repeating..but I would like to see the UKBA try to stop the flood of cheap booze and cigarettes coming over the border.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

IPJ: "Where's Hadrian when you need him" - I suppose the obvious answer is he has 'gone to the wall'!

With regard to UKBA - Who they? Another useless public funded organisation incapable of doing their job? Quelle surprise!

James Higham said...

The Barely United Kingdom of the Nine EU Regions and Northern Ireland.

cuffleyburgers said...

And suppose Scotland voted for the union and the ENglish voted to chuck'em out...

Just saying

WitteringsfromWitney said...

cb: I have to come back to the point made in the quoted letter - when - and if - we are given the chance to say whether we wish to remain in the EU, would you be happy with the rest of the EU having a vote in that decision?

Any referendum must, in my opinionm be one for the Scottish people - and only the Scottish people - to make.

I can but suggest you wait for the post I am in the process of composing.......?

Anonymous said...

The € for Scotland?
Why not.
Let em go.
Bad call for them though if they do that.
Albion,Ierne and Alba.
Ierne and Alba?
Independent nations, fine,as long as they are.

cosmic said...


There are considerable differences between the whole of the UK having a vote on Scottish independence and the whole of the EU voting on the UK leaving the EU. For one thing the UK government could repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and the Scottish parliament has no similar powers.

In practical terms it would have to be restricted to voters in Scotland who qualified to vote by some inevitably unjust measure.

This isn't a bit of fun; it's opening a can of worms and there will be all sorts of unintended consequences.

I have an idea that Scottish independence is largely about having an acceptable alternative to Labour or the LibDems and mostly about getting a bigger share of the UK cake so a referendum will disappoint Salmond, or apparently so.

As for Salmond, I find his idea of independence within the EU very interesting. It tells me that he's informed by his own prospects but still essentially wanting a teat to suck on rather than chancing it alone in a big bad world.

As to the idea of which is the successor state and membership of the EU and the Euro, we've seen enough to realise that the EU and the political establishments will quite easily overcome this problem and accommodate the remnants in the EU on their own terms.

The interesting development which might blow all of this off course is the fate of the Euro, which I would say, places a large question mark over all sorts of things. No one knows where it will end, but it's clear that it can't continue as it is.

A little time back Salmond was arguing that an independent Scotland had a natural place in the emerging Nordic/Celtic tiger economy including Iceland and Ireland. Amazing how quickly things can change.

Woodsy42 said...

@WfW "Any referendum must, in my opinionm be one for the Scottish people - and only the Scottish people - to make."
That would be the simple sensible answer WfW, but Redwood in his blog yesterday was asking about this and I wonder too. How do you define scottishness when the UK has been so mixed up for centuries?
Do you allow only everyone who lives and is present in Scotland on the referendum day? Would you also allow people born in Scotland but living abroad? Or maybe they must be both, or maybe either condition should entitle them?
Will there be a test for residence to exclude (say)asylum seekers housed in Scotland? What of now adult children born and living outside Scotland but to scots born parents? Or one scots parent? Is it perhaps enough to have one scottish grandparent? Do holiday cottage owners in Scotland get a vote as they pay tax there?
I commented on Redwood's blog that I thought everyone in the UK should have a vote, admittedly it was somewhat tongue in cheek, because it's an insoluble question - imagine the arguments it will cause. But also because I honestly do think the rest of the UK has a valid cause to give an opinion and should be consulted.
Scotland is undoubtably the biggest portion of the UK outside England itself and in the long term we are as affected as the Scots because it's more a division, and stage one of a break up of the UK.
Comparison with our being one of 27 countries in the EU should we want to leave it is not comparable.

Tarka the Rotter said...

How about 'The Kingdom of England'. It has a nice ring to it,don't you think? OK it could be The Kingdom of England and Northern Ireland at a pinch. Still sounds good. Wales isn't a kingdom so it is difficult to include it.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

c: Fair comment, however I still beieve it must be for the Scots alone to decide and on that we seem to agree. Anyone Scottish by birth or marriage - whether they live in Scotland or not - would be the simplest qualifying criteria?

Actually as I have maintained for yonks, there is no reason why Scotland could become self-governing whilst a the same time having the benefits of defense, foreign relations left with a UK 'parliament'. Under direct democracy - and I appreciate I am jumping ahead here - why cannot the 'government' be formed by each nation selecting three members from amongst their elected to form such a government, which would mean a 'government' of 12 each with equal voting rights (that is what happens in Switzerland, where they elect 7)

Personally I have this sneaking suspicion that the euro will survive.

W42: See comment above re being eligible for voting. Unless the 'third option' is included in any referendum then we probably are seeing the beginning of the break-up of the UK because the nationalists in Wales and Northern Ireland will not be slow in coming forward.

Woodsy42 said...

"the break-up of the UK because the nationalists in Wales and Northern Ireland will not be slow in coming forward."

That's exactly my point WfW. The referendum is just as much about independence for England as it is about independence for Scotland. Nobody in the Elite seems to have thought the consequences through, so Scotland alone will in effect have the right to vote on our future.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

W42: Ok, I see from whence you come - now.

It would appear, from recent reports that those wishing the UK to stay as it is are in the majority (at the moment).

Perhaps the English and the Welsh should have their own referendum - again with the devo-max, or third option, provided. However, it the result of any referendum - and how ever run - is for the UK to continue, then the Barnet Formula has to be seriously rethought.