Monday, 15 September 2014

Another question Salmond can't answer

C'mon Alex - if you're so smart, pin the Saltire to where it will be in 2016

Can't do it? So you're asking people to vote for a country without a currency, without an embassy in the world, and with not a single international trade and economic relations treaty in place, and no prospect of an answer to any of them before your split date of 2016? You foolish, deluded, irresponsible little man.

Clicky to make big


Wildgoose said...

Scotland has already set up at least two separate embassies that I know of - one in the EU. This was done years ago. And as EU members Scots would be entitled to use the embassies of any other EU member.

Don't forget, Scotland is currently a member of the EU and the rules for leaving the EU are set out in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, namely that there is a two year long negotiated withdrawal. Seeing as Scotland wishes to remain in the EU, that suggests that the EU would have to actively throw a long-standing member out for them no longer to be so. Does that sound like the ever-expanding EU to you?

And if you argue that it is the UK that is a member of the EU, not Scotland, then as the UK will no longer exist we won't be members either. Sounds great to me, but I can't see the EU allowing us to escape that easily.

Raedwald said...

Sorry to rebut;

1. Your assumption that Scots in trouble abroad may need consular assistance, and that in the absence of Scots representation in-country could turn to another EU member, is correct - but I was referring more to the role of embassies in representing Scots interests to the nations to which they are accredited

2. The EU have made it clear that an independent Scotland would cease to be a member of the EU, and would have to join the queue to accede, whilst the UK, albeit 92% of the former size, would continue as before.

You are an intelligent commenter whose contributions I value - what on earth is making you believe this rubbish?

DeeDee99 said...

He can't answer the questions but SNP supporters don't care about that.

They simply want to cut the ties to the governing class in Westminster and Whitehall.

And let's face it, so does a significant proportion of England.

G. Tingey said...

"And as EU members..."
Scotland is presently PART of a country which has EU membership.
If they vote "YES" then that ceases on 19/9.2014, doesn't it.
It's not a matter of "withdrawal" because they are a new nation-state, supposedly & will have to negotiate to join - & be allowed to - & have to use the Euro.
Etc ...
SEE ALSO Readwald's point #2

That's the dirty little secret, isn't it, that the ConDemLabs' can't admit?
IIRC J Paxman has just made the same point in the "Torygraph".

oops - maybe they haven't noticed ....

Seth the pig farmer said...

Given the wording of the question on the ballot, Salmond does not have a free hand. A yes vote requires him to deliver an independent Scotland. He would not have a mandate mess around with various constitutional changes on a personal whim.

Any surrender of Scottish sovereignity would require some sort of validation at the ballot box.

It is one of the many contradictions of this process. Salmond wanted separation from England, but is balloting on independence, while offering (in that he is offering anything at all) a version of limited devolution from the UK and EU.

Bizarrely, having won concessions from Westminster for devo-max he is pressing on for a vote that will deliver disaster whatever the outcome for Scotland generally and him personally.


hatfield girl said...

Presumably the Court of Justice of the European Union is the body that would determine the status of Scotland, after secession, vis a vis the European Union.

"The national courts in each EU country are responsible for ensuring that EU law is properly applied in that country. But there is a risk that courts in different countries might interpret EU law in different ways.

To prevent this happening, there is a ‘preliminary ruling procedure’. If a national court is in doubt about the interpretation or validity of an EU law, it may – and sometimes must – ask the Court of Justice for advice. This advice is called a ‘preliminary ruling’."

I am not aware that any such preliminary opinion has been asked, or even can be before secession. Scotland's status is unique in that no other country (the UK that is) has been through these circumstances.

Opinions have been expressed but nothing is definitive. Furthermore, no government asks for a legal opinion all the time; rather there is a reliance on legal advisors warning a government if something it is doing might be legally improper. The default position is keep going till stopped. So it's not unreasonable that the Scottish government hasn't taken a single, formal legal opinion on its eventual EU status. Neither has the Westminster government (who, indeed, may well be the responsible government to do this at the moment).

For the reasons Wildgoose notes (and many others such as the command of EU citizenship by all Scottish citizens and the importance of the 'democratic principle' in the acquis communitaire) Scotland might reasonably expect to remain in the EU while its statuses were renegotiated.

All this applies to other international treaties as well. There is no definitive ruling by (presumably) the ICJ or any other appropriate body.

It could be argued that it's ALL opinion being expressed by interested (ie political) participants and onlookers.

You are certain Raedwald that Scotland will be put out of the EU?

The discussion on this is on your blog which is why I write this here, but if you'd prefer I'll be quiet or argue on Angels.

Anonymous said...

... and being outside the EU, the Commission has said no new members for at least 5 years.

Plus, joining the Euro and Shengen would likely be conditions of accession, assuming the Euro still exists.

Plus, being outside the Euro all the treaties that Brussels has signed on behalf of it's members would cease to apply.

It's going to be one almighty mess.

Wildgoose said...

You may think it is "rubbish" that Scotland will remain part of the EU after the UK breaks up but I genuinely don't see why.

There is no precedent for any given outcome.

Why when the two Kingdoms disunite should the Kingdom of England remain a member but not the Kingdom of Scotland? Is this some bias on the basis of population size?

The governments of both parts after the schism will wish to remain. Why should one be welcomed and not the other?

We may see Belgium break up in the near future with Flanders either becoming independent or acceding to the Netherlands. Who knows which part will get Brussels. Does the EU want to set a precedent that could remove the EU capital itself from the EU?

Do you really think that France, Spain and others won't use this as an opportunity to alter the existing arrangements of the rump UK?

I genuinely don't see why you are so certain that Scotland, a long-standing member of the EU with its own MEPs, will be immediately thrown out of the EU if the UK breaks up.

Various EU apparatchics have pontificated but there has been no official EU ruling.

I don't think that recognising this uncertainty is "rubbish".

Budgie said...

The referendum is about whether Scotland leaves the UK. The Scot Nats cannot decide to demolish the UK - it is not their call to make, despite their hubris. Hence, as a number here have pointed out, the UK continues to legally exist, with all its treaties, albeit at 92% of its previous population, and Scotland becomes a new (or more properly, resurrected) country.

But "becomes" is the point. Scotland will not become an independent state on 19-09-2014, if the vote is for secession. It will take about 18 months for the actual transfer of sovereignty to be negotiated. Plenty of time for the Scottish government to negotiate with the EU as well as with the continuing UK (and others).

The reality is that the EU wants to break up the nation states. So, Spain not withstanding, the EU will "let" Scotland in. There will be a price to pay, of course. The EU is more canny than the Scots. The price will be the euro. In one move the EU and the Scots will dish the hated English, solve the currency question, bolster the power of the EU and the euro, and weaken the UK.

Budgie said...

Wildgoose, you are conflating two different things. It is false to state that "the two Kingdoms disunite". Scottish nationalists intend that Scotland should secede from the UK. But the UK consists of more than England, even after Scotland leaves.

Moreover the recognised legal authority which signed all the previous treaties, including with the EU, continues to exist in the UK government in London (see the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties).

However you are right that Scotland will not be "immediately" thrown out of the EU, as I have outlined above.

Wildgoose said...

Budgie, I tend to agree with your comment about legal authority continuing to exist at Westminster with respect to Treaties, etc. This would be much the same as applied to Russia after the breakup of the USSR.

The Kingdom of England incorporates the Principality of Wales - they were the parties who along with Scotland signed the Acts of Union in 1707.

Northern Ireland is in a limbo though. It is the rump of an 1801 Act of Union between Ireland and the UK of Scotland with England & Wales. I am pretty sure there would need to be Parliamentary Statutes to re-incorporate Northern Ireland into a rump UK and that will just open another can of worms. Sinn Fein has kept quiet for now - that would end immediately. Expect another "Border Poll" in Northern Ireland at the least.

And shouldn't England/Wales be allowed a vote to consent to continuing the Union with Northern Ireland?

Raedwald said...

Scotland's early membership of the EU? Sorry, it just ain't going to happen. The accession of a new member requires the UNANIMOUS consent of all 28 members - and Spain will never, never consent because the precedent will be set for Catalunya. Even without Spain, the UK could block it unless Scotland takes its full share of the national debt plus say a 20 year lease of Faslane ... but as I say, it just ain't going to happen.

Wildgoose said...

I suppose it all boils down to whether or not you consider Scotland to be an existing member of the EU.

If not, then you are undoubtedly correct. If they are, (and I point to the Scottish MEPs representing Scotland), then it isn't so clear cut.

Raedwald said...


The MEPs from Scottish Euro constitiencies are representing the UK; after Scotland leaves the UK, those seats will disappear. Scotland is most definitely not, absolutely not an existing member of the EU; there is no legal separate entity at present, it's just 8% of the UK.

Budgie said...

Raedwald, unfortunately you are relying on the continuing UK government being robust in the defence of the UK, willing to confront, and stand up to, both a new Scotland (if such is voted for) and the EU.

That should happen but it won't. There is just too little patriotism and nationalism at the rotten top of the UK. Political correctness where patriots are labelled "xenophobes" has seen to that.

Conversely, if we had a UK that was as nationalistic as the USA, then I believe we wouldn't be bothered by tinpot Scot Nats, or nutjob jihadists.

plantman said...

I think all the carefully considered comments re "will they won't they" be part of the EU, need to re-apply, be forced to adopt the Euro etc are based on interpretations of laws, treaties, international rulings and the like.

I submit that none of that counts a fig - the EU (in the shape of the Commission and the behind-the-scenes puppet masters) will do what it wants to serve the Ever Closer Union agenda that is the underlying motive force. Don't forget it has already taken legally indefensible positions without so much of a peep. How many honestly conducted legitimately proper referendums has it ignored and caused to be re-run because the results were not what was wanted.

Forget the law, forget principles forget conventions and treaties -this is the EU. The end justifies the means

Raedwald said...

Plantman - there is substance to what you say, but on the big question, a country can't become a member of the EU on a technicality, or by a legal wheeze. Without the absolute, explicit, positive consent of 28 separate nation states - NOT the EU - Scotland will not become a member. The nations of Europe have reserved this right to themselves.

Anonymous said...

Funny how talk of the UK leaving the EU would require many years of treaty re-negotiation and political changes yet Scotland leaving would seem to happen 'overnight'.....

Scaremongering? Shirley not....

Raedwald said...

Scotland wouldn't be leaving the EU because Scotland is not a member of the EU - the UK is a member and the UK is not leaving. Yet.


plantman said...

Raedwald a fair point and you may well be right. I simply cannot double-guess how they think they will be able to push the agenda forward after Thursday's events - but ratchetted forward it will be. I'm not sure that I share your "faith" in the 28 member nations debating the legal niceties or being driven by rational or logical decisions. He who pays the piper calls the tune and we know that it's the back room horse-trading that gets the decisions. A bit of subsidy here, a prestigious siting of a new agency there - it soon adds up.

Wildgoose said...

There's an interesting article on Reuters from yesterday which suggests that it will all be down to the politics: "It's the EU way," the official said. "Whatever politicians eventually negotiate can be made to fit the texts."