A tale of three countries and two referenda


          Listening to debates this week on whether Scotland should stay in the UK or not, I have been struck by the irony of the situation.

          Ever tolerant England agrees that Scotland should only stay in the union of the UK if most of her people are happy to do so. England will not stand in the way of a referendum for Scotland. Indeed, many English people want Scotland to get on with it and have the referendum as soon as possible. Unionists amongst us want the issue resolved, as we only want a union with volunteers. English people who would like Scotland to leave also think an early decision would be a good idea.

          Meanwhile many English people have no wish to be part of a country called Europe, governed from Brussels. Instead of Brussels encouraging a referendum and understanding English feelings, the EU does everything  it can to suppress Englishness,even  refusing to recognise the country and taking it off all its maps. The EU seeks to balkanise us, regularly criticises us for daring to be Eurosceptic, and generally conducts itself in a high handed and undemocratic manner.

         Our main political parties go along with the SNP idea of a referendum over the future composition of the union of the UK just in Scotland, and also go along with Mr Salmond’s delayed timing, as he pores over polls to see if he can ever find a time when he might win it. The three main parties also refuse England the referendum it wants on our collective membership of the EU through the UK.

          The issue of the UK’s membership of the EU is of course thrown up in the air by the possible exit of Scotland from the UK.  Technically if Scotland leaves our union, the UK has ceased to exist. Scotland says she will seek her own membership of the EU. That poses the interesting question of whether she will be able to without offering to join the Euro. That in turn raises the issue of how she could offer that as her current plan under the SNP is to remain in sterling using the Bank of England.

               Meanwhile, many politicians seem to  want us to believe the rest of the UK minus Scotland would continue with exactly the same terms of membership of the EU as the whole UK currently enjoys. Why? Surely the rest of the EU would want us to accept fewer MEPs, and the UK would need at the very least to negotiate new financial arrangements that reflected a smaller country.  In practice most English people would regard any exit of Scotland as an excellent opportunity to have a very different relationship with the EU than the UK currently suffers. The EU should not take for granted continuing membership of the residual country.

              The three main parties will discover, as the debate on Scottish independence gets on its long and twisting road, that the problem of England and the issue of the EU has to loom large in the debate. The EU may think it can sit it out and refuse to comment on the EU consequences of any Scottish withdrawal. This unsatisfactory cop out will not wash. The Scottish debate is likely to radicalise the English more. More will want England minus Scotland to be treated better, and will want to break the stranglehold of unloved EU government over the English regions, as the EU refuses to recognise the stronger sense of identity that is emerging in England as Scottish nationalists wrap themselves in the saltire.

           The many detailed complications coming out about how Scotland would leave the UK union serves to turn the spotlight on all those areas where England thinks she gets a bad deal from the existing union, as well as from the EU. England needs her identity to be recognised, and the UK needs to be properly self governing again. The Scottish debate  should allow others of us to argue that it is not just the position of Scotland in the union that is up for question, but the UK’s subservience to the ever more powerful EU and the poor treatment afforded England.  It makes the case for a referendum on EU matters even more compelling.

         Last night the BBC allowed a debate on the UK’s future in or out of the EU. Evan Davis chaired it well and allowed those arguing for the UK to leave and have a new relationship based on trade and friendship to make the case and appear sensible. The BBC format, of course, gave the main position to an avowed Europhile, who trotted out all the usual lies – apparently the EU has  kept the peace in Europe since 1945,  they would not allow the UK any changes to its current arrangements, they would retaliate successfully if we left etc etc. Sir Stephen, the pro EU anchor man,  seemed reluctant to talk about the main project of the EU, the Euro, and seemed unable to grasp the simple fact that when it comes to trade and money the rest of the EU has much more to lose from UK exit than the UK does.


  1. alan jutson
    August 12, 2012

    What you suggest appears logical in every way.

    Even if Scotland decides to stay with the union, we should still have an English Parliament, so that we can have some independent government without interefence from the other nations within the Union.

    Indeed the above would be treating the population of Englannd just like Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

    Its all so Logical it will never catch on.

    1. Stephen Almond
      August 12, 2012

      “Even if Scotland decides to stay with the union, we should still have an English Parliament…”

      Really? You want another layer of politicians, advisors, staff, expenses and the rest? Another grand parliament building?

      1. Single Acts
        August 12, 2012

        Can I have a vote on Scots independence since a ‘no’ vote (and them staying) presumably means I continue to pay for our tartan cousins?

        From Hampshire this morning I wish the Scots Nats Bon Voyage and let us know in how many years (after the socialism you like without someone to loot) you’ll need the food aid to start?

        1. Denis Cooper
          August 12, 2012

          “Bon Voyage”?

          Do you expect that after independence Scotland would sail away?

          It wouldn’t; it would still be there as the northernmost third of the island; so with your poor opinion of the Scots in effect you’re actively looking forward to England having a land border with a failed state, and a failed state which would be free to make whatever treaties it liked, including military pacts with the enemies of England.

          Not to worry though; when the Chinese army comes down from its bases in Scotland we may be able to repeat the brilliant deception that turned the Jacobites back at Derby in 1745, long before they get anywhere near Hampshire.

      2. alan jutson
        August 12, 2012


        No you use the exactly same buildings, but without those Mp’s from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland being present.
        They after all they will all be in their own areas for the majority of the time, given they all love devolution and want ever more powers for themselves.

        The full UK Politicians need only to get together, when full Uk debates are under discussion.

        Why on earth would you want more buildings when fewer people will be going to meetings and debates.

        1. uanime5
          August 12, 2012

          How are you going to ensure that UK politicians that don’t belong to England are going to be informed of UK debates? If they’re not given enough notice expect them to be very hostile to remaining part of the UK.

          1. Gewyne
            August 12, 2012

            Text, email, letter, Maybe a diary or schedule of some sort – I know, I know things must be so hectic with everyone walking around not knowing whats happening all the time – how ever does Parliament manage ?

          2. uanime5
            August 13, 2012

            Gewyne you completely missed the point of my comment. Sending someone a text or email for a meeting that will start in 1 hour when it takes them 3 hours to get to Parliament won’t work.

            If the non-English MPs aren’t going to be in Parliament then they’ll have to be informed days or even weeks in advance of anything that concerns them so they can arrange to travel to London.

        2. Stephen Almond
          August 13, 2012

          “No you use the exactly same buildings, but without those Mp’s from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland being present.
          They after all they will all be in their own areas for the majority of the time, given they all love devolution and want ever more powers for themselves.

          The full UK Politicians need only to get together, when full Uk debates are under discussion.

          Why on earth would you want more buildings when fewer people will be going to meetings and debates.”

          Do you really think that sort of thought will be followed? Point out a couple of occurrences of careful, well managed, economically conservative action by our many layers of ‘rulers’.

      3. ralphmalph
        August 12, 2012

        If done correctly you could reduce the number of politicans.

        Westminster is for the English politians. Then you cancel all MP’s from Scotland, Wales and N.I. and just leave the MSP’s, Welsh assembly members and NI assembly members.

        Then you allow the individual national parliments to debate in their own buildings (no travel and expense) on issues that are of UK importance. Then the votes from the national paliments are added up on a percentage of population basis. i.e if Scotland has 10% of the population it has 10% of the votes to be cast on a UK decision.

        So a reduction in total number of politicians in the UK as a whole, less expenses, a tory majority for English only decisions and by deault over the rest of the UK, Labour cauterised, Lid Dems decpaitated. what is there not to like?

        1. Denis Cooper
          August 12, 2012

          “What is there not to like” could include it being totally unworkable if you actually want to keep the United Kingdom together.

          1. JoolsB
            August 13, 2012

            Who in England would want to keep the ‘United Kingdom’ together in it’s present form anyway? Except our self-serving politicians that is.

            It is no longer a ‘union’ of equals but one where the biggest part is treated appallingly and dicriminated against at every turn and where unlike the three devolved nations, has absolutely no-one standing up for it. If we had, maybe our young wouldn’t be the only ones to face £9,000 tuition fees and lose their ema, maybe our sick wouldn’t be the only ones to pay prescriptions charges and exorbitant hospital parking charges and maybe our elderly wouldn’t be the only ones required to sell their homes should they need care. If England had someone standing up for it, they might also demand equal funding for their constituents and demand the UK Government stops selling English assets to plug the UK deficit.

            Cameron obviously thinks shafting England is a price worth paying to keep this ‘union’ together and insulting says our grievences should not be nurtured by daring to want to discuss some form of self-governance for England despite ‘self-determination’ being his favourite word for other countries. Well it’s not a ‘union’ which I and I imagine a lot of other people in England wish to keep together.

            For all those who refuse to take their rose tinted glass off and choose to cling to the notion that we are somehow united need to see that the ‘union’ in it’s present form is anything but and totally unsustainable to the people of England and unless our ‘Unionist’ politicians open their eyes and take their fingers out of their ears, it is the tolerant people of England who will eventually say enough is enough.

            The only way forward is an English Parliament within a federal structure but the longer our politicians refuse to acknowledge this great democratic deficit which exists and continue to push the status quo as a price worth paying, the more likely England will eventually just want out at any price even if that means independence.

        2. uanime5
          August 12, 2012

          The point of UK decisions is that they’re debated by politicians representing different areas in the UK, not 4 different institutions debating the issue as if the other 3 didn’t exist. All this plan will do is further divide the UK.

          Also how are amendments going to be debated?

      4. JoolsB
        August 12, 2012

        Firstly, why should England be denied the same democratic rights and recognition as the rest of the the UK enjoys and secondly, if anything, an English Parliament would mean less cost not more. For a start, there are 119 Celtic Mps at Westminster who for 90% of the time have absolutely nothing to do since all domestic decisions are taken irrespective of them at Holyrood, Cardiff or Stormont so to justify their existance they meddle in English only matters which have no affect on their constituents, the people who voted for them. Only a handful need to be retained for the few reserved matters and as for a building for the English Parliament, the House of Commons would be perfect.

      5. wonkotsane
        August 12, 2012

        Not more politicians, just different politicians. Why would we need 600 British MPs with 75% of their job being done by an English Parliament? Replace the House of Lords with a federal British government and you’ve got a half a billion pound a year cost saving according to a paper submitted to the House of Lords by former MP Christopher Gill many years ago. There is no extra government, just different people doing it so there’s no need for a net increase in politicians or for new buildings.

        Even if none of this were the case and it would mean more politicians, more buildings, more expense then yes, I still want an English Parliament.

      6. Old Albion
        August 12, 2012

        There are some explanations below that illustrate there is no need for more politicians and buildings.
        However i have to remind you. This argument was completely ignored when the Scots and Welsh were given their buildings and extra politicians. It only seems to be an issue when England demands parity,

      7. Terry
        August 13, 2012

        I want equality withmy fellow citizens. Whatever that takes we need and we need it urgently

  2. Ian
    August 12, 2012

    A confederate UK of four parliaments plus a big one (currency, defence etc) might be the best solution, and could even show EU countries the way ahead.

    Such a union of equals would of course imply the scrapping of the Barnett formula for maintaining Labour support north of the border.

  3. Denis Cooper
    August 12, 2012

    Some people, especially some English people, delude themselves the break up of the UK would be a good way for its component parts, especially England, to escape the clutches of the EU.

    Obviously it is the present UK, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which is one of the sovereign High Contracting Parties to the EU treaties, and obviously if it was agreed that Scotland would revert to being an independent sovereign state then the EU treaties would have to be revised to take into account the forthcoming dissolution of Great Britain.

    The delusion is to assume that the present strongly pro-EU English political elite would do nothing about this, but would simply stand by and watch while the fragments of the UK accidentally fell out of the EU.

    Of course that wouldn’t happen, because it would be a ridiculous way to proceed: instead, once the decision to break up the UK had been taken and a projected date for that to happen had been set the formal process of amending the EU treaties would commence, and the necessary treaty amendments would be negotiated and agreed and ratified and would stand ready to come into legal force at the precise moment of final separation.

    Given that all parts of the UK are at present in thrall to anti-democratic pro-EU party politicians, by far the most likely outcome would be a negotiated seamless transition from having the present UK as a single EU member state to having two separate EU member states, each with its own budget contribution, its own representatives on the European Council and the Council etc with its own voting power, and its own MEPs etc.

    However it would be open to the other EU member states to demand a price for agreeing to facilitate that transition, and repeal of the UK’s euro opt-out protocol would be an obvious target for governments which share the stated view of the German government that all EU member states should adopt the EU’s currency.

    If the English people wish to leave the EU then by far the greatest part of their task is to sweep away the English politicians who are determined to keep the UK in the EU; pressing for the UK to be broken up is not the way to get England out of the EU and is simply playing into the hands of the euro-federalists.

    Reply: Given the current mood there would be risk for the pro EU elite in seeking such changes, as they would need ratification by Parliament and arguably would trigger a referendum under the Referendum Act Parliament has passed. It is difficult to see how Scottish members at Westminster could vote on any measures to get the residual UK back into the EU.

    1. Denis Cooper
      August 12, 2012

      The question of MPs elected in Scotland voting “to get the residual UK back into the EU” wouldn’t arise, because neither the newly independent Scotland nor the residual UK would ever be outside the EU.

      To avoid legal and practical chaos there could be no hiatus when Scotland had left the UK but had not yet concluded new treaties permitting trade (etc) either with the residual UK or with the member states of the EU, and similarly for the residual UK.

      Once it had been decided that Scotland would separate from the UK there would be a period of years while detailed arrangements were agreed and given legal form.

      As the independence of Scotland would involve matters which are specifically reserved to the present Parliament for the whole of the UK the central measure would surely have to be an Act of that UK Parliament, but maybe subject to endorsement by an Act of the Scottish Parliament using powers specially delegated from the UK Parliament for that purpose.

      Part of the preparations for final separation would involve negotiating a treaty to make the necessary amendments to the EU treaties – the need for such an amending treaty is self-evident, not least because the word “Scotland” does not even appear anywhere in the present EU treaties, Scotland being subsumed into “Great Britain” throughout:


      A way would have to be found to manage an orderly process of negotiation with other EU member states, one possibility being for the UK Parliament to empower the Scottish authorities to appoint persons to negotiate on behalf of Scotland, either separately or as part of the negotiating team appointed by the UK authorities; and as this would once again involve reserved matters the finally agreed amending EU treaty would then have to be approved by the UK Parliament, but maybe also with endorsement by an Act of the Scottish Parliament; and the amending treaty would come into legal force at the exact instant of the final separation of Scotland from the rest of the UK.

    2. James Matthews
      August 12, 2012

      “pressing for the UK to be broken up is not the way to get England out of the EU and is simply playing into the hands of the euro-federalists”

      Breaking up the UK is one way of looking at it. Dumping a recalcitrant, substantially disaffected, blackmailing, manipulative and expensive partner is another, and looked on from the latter perspective can be accounted a desirable end in itself.

      As to it playing into the hands of the euro-federalists this is just scare mongering. The English population is far more euro-realist that that of Scotland (many of whom see continued English membership of the EU as an essential element in the financial success of Scotland, whether nominally independent or not). If we ever escape from the EU it will be because of popular demand in England, but if our political class are no longer looking over their shoulders at Scottish constituencies it will help them come to terms with it.

      1. Denis Cooper
        August 13, 2012

        “The English population is far more euro-realist that that of Scotland”


        Page 5:

        “There is very little difference between Scotland and the UK as a whole on attitudes to Europe.”

        Page 7:

        “It is often believed that within the UK, Scotland is one of the most pro-European areas. The evidence within this review suggests that on the whole this is not the case, with people in Scotland reporting broadly similar Eurosceptic views as people in Britain as a whole.”

      2. JoolsB
        August 13, 2012

        “If we ever escape from the EU it will be because of popular demand in England”

        Since when did our politicians take any notice of popular demand in England? If 100% of the population of England demanded a referendum on the EU and 100% demanded an English Parliament, our ‘I know best’ PM and our elected politicians would carry on doing what they do best – IGNORE US.

    3. wonkotsane
      August 12, 2012

      Devolution isn’t independence if that helps your concerns about breaking up “Great Britain” (presumably you mean UK as GB is a geographic term and we probably don’t have the technology required to cut the northern half of this island off and tow it out to sea, as tempting as that may be).

      1. Denis Cooper
        August 13, 2012

        We already have devolution, and we are now talking about independence so that Scotland would revert to being a separate sovereign state and would be recognised as such by other sovereign states around the world.

        The name “Great Britain” was first proposed by James I and VI after the Union of the Crowns in 1603, and in 1604 he proclaimed himself to be “KING OF GREAT BRITTAINE, FRANCE, AND IRELAND … “.

        But that didn’t go down well in either England or Scotland, and it wasn’t until the Union of the Parliaments in 1707 that the two kingdoms were finally united into the Kingdom of Great Britain.

        If Scotland became independent then Great Britain would cease to exist as a political entity, even if the two separate kingdoms continued to share the same person as constitutional monarch and head of state.

      2. Adam5x5
        August 13, 2012

        we probably don’t have the technology required to cut the northern half of this island off and tow it out to sea, as tempting as that may be

        No. But we do have the technology to dig very large canals through countries (Panama) which has the same effect.

  4. Gerry Dorrian
    August 12, 2012

    What Salmond consistently refuses to discuss is that Orcadians and Shetlanders have always considered that they are British and not Scottish. This would have consequences for the oil he so fetishises.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      August 12, 2012

      It’s hard to believe that such an important and long term decision, with ramifications right and left for all of us, could be based on short term oil (and that’s begging the question of ownership). Salmon does not have much of a view of Scots’ intelligence. I go to Scotland regularly and see no enthusiasm for the EU or the Euro. All I ever see is jocularity along the lines of Kilts are better than Morris Dancing. And as for an independent Scotland using the Pound, that is simply fatuous given the recent experience on the Continent and I don’t think the Scots are going to buy that either, nor even close.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        August 12, 2012

        What you don’t read about is what’s most important viz Scotland and England speak the same language and you have to pass through England to get from Scotland to the Continent. It is also entirely relevant to emphasize that our common currency ye Pound Sterling has worked and does work well. What we and they really need is for the whole of Ireland to revert to Sterling and for the whole of Great Britain and Ireland to be united once more.

    2. wonkotsane
      August 12, 2012

      The Orkneys and Shetlands could join a British confederation which is a much more logical step than a British federation.

      FAO Mr Redwood: if you want, I’ll happily point you to the case for a British confederation I wrote some time ago which you can ignore, republish or link to at your leisure

  5. Old Albion
    August 12, 2012

    It is extremely difficult for English opinion to be considered in all of this. When politicians in Westminster, even those representing English constituencies. Refuse to ever mention the words England/English when discussing English affairs.
    Cameron was recently embarassed by a woman suffering from cancer who complained “the NHS would no longer fund her treatment’ Actually it was the English NHS who would no longer fund her treatment. Not that anyone bothered to mention that important fact.

  6. The Prangwizard
    August 12, 2012

    Thank you, I believe you are moving towards my view. England is the only nation without its own parliament. There can be no debate about self determination without accepting the principle, it is a basic right of peoples to govern their own affairs. As you say, if Scotland goes for independence there is no Britain, no UK. It cannot be disputed. The British are not the English and the English are not the British. England is a nation, Britain is a fiendishly complicated political construct, it is a State. England must be granted its own parliament. Could I ask you, do you agree that England should have its own parliament? Even without changes elsewhere the English are presently disenfranchised, if Scots can have the right to govern themselves why not the English? Why should Scots, Welsh and Irish MP’s vote on English issues now or in the future? It doesn’t work the other way round.

  7. Paul Danon
    August 12, 2012

    A new EU-member will have to join the euro straight away. The union’s ruled that there can be no more opt-outs from anything, including the currency.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      August 12, 2012

      Re “No more opt-outs”, as ruled by the Union, is that the European Union or the Union with Scotland we are talking about? The Union with Scotland has successfully been around for hundreds of years compared with the ephemeral and failing EU. Why should we care what the latter think? I vote for immediate abrogation.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        August 12, 2012

        Further to no more opt outs “including the currency” are we sure that there hasn’t been a change of mind by Germany in particular on this? Instead of compulsory opt-ins, they would do better with a few compulsory opt-outs or am I making the silly assumption that the EU could ever learn from its mistakes and change its mind?

        1. Denis Cooper
          August 13, 2012

          But as a condition for being allowed to join the EU Croatia has just been required to pledge itself to also join the euro at the earliest opportunity.

          The EU accession treaty for Croatia was signed last December, and apparently Cameron had no problem agreeing to that condition being imposed.

          Even though the Tories’ allies in the Czech Republic are saying that they now want their country to be relieved of that legal obligation, and even though in due course Croatia would reach the end of the euro conveyor belt and would then become yet another country lined up against us in the highly federalised eurozone that the UK government wants to see created.

    2. Mark
      August 12, 2012

      Presumably Scotland would have to spend a number of years outside the EU showing it met treaty criteria to join. No big budget deficits, etc.

      1. Adam5x5
        August 13, 2012

        You mean like Greece did?

        1. Mark
          August 13, 2012

          Isn’t that why the Germans might insist on it?

  8. Timaction
    August 12, 2012

    The mainstream parties have lied about the EU for over 40 years and cannot be trusted. It is only now that they have grudgingly admitted that the EU has powers over us.
    The only solution is to get out of the EU and leave them to it. Trade and friendship nothing more. We don’t want or need to pay £10 billion net for membership to get a £50 billion annual trade deficit with them.
    Our gutless leading politicians need to realise the game is up. Do as we want or we will vote for the only real patriotic party of the people. We are not beyond democracy and politicians will be judged by what they do not what they say!!

  9. Mike Stallard
    August 12, 2012

    Fair is fair.
    If the Scottish are to be allowed a referendum on independence, we should be allowed a referendum on independence from the EU.

    Anyway, I feel in my bones that Alex Salmond’s case is past its high water mark now. The Scottish James I and VI was completely right in my opinion: there is no future for Scotland without England and the rest of us.

    1. A different Simon
      August 12, 2012

      It should not be conditional on whether the Scottish have a referendum .

      The Falkland Islanders have had a referendum as David Blair loves to point out .

      1. wonkotsane
        August 12, 2012

        Everyone gets a referendum apart from England. Scotland has had two and is about to have its third, Wales has had three, Northern Ireland has had god knows how many, the Falklands have had referenda, Gibraltar has had referenda … only the last colony of the British Empire, England, has yet to have a referendum on its own future and it sure as hell won’t change under the Vichy Tories.

    2. Leslie Singleton
      August 12, 2012

      James VI had a very clear idea of the relative merits and wealth of Scotland and England and sensibly rushed down and stayed here first chance. Admittedly there was no oil then but the oil is by no means necessarily Scottish (I wonder how much Scotland invested in its derivation) and will in any event run out soon. How long “soon” is has to be reckoned in comparison with the long term (“irreversible”?) nature of the decisions to be made. The SNP only gets votes because the other parties are so useless.

    3. Denis Cooper
      August 12, 2012

      But under a schedule to the Scotland Act 1998:


      “International relations, including relations with territories outside the United Kingdom, the European Communities (and their institutions) and other international organisations, regulation of international trade, and international development assistance and co-operation are reserved matters.”

      So for all those purposes “we” necesssarily include “the Scottish”.

  10. oldtimer
    August 12, 2012

    All good points, cogently stated. Yet while the prevailing Westminster group think prevails it will be very difficult to shift public opinion in a decisive way – that is in a way that induces the change that you seek. It seems to me that two possible triggers for that change could be the collapse of the euro project – or a substantial contraction in its scope – and/or a significant pro-UKIP vote at next years MEP elections. Regarding the latter, I suspect that UKIP will poll a greater share of the vote than they could expect at a general election and perhaps enough to jolt one or more of the main Westminster parties from their present complacency. It is a long game, as you know better than anyone else.

  11. Brian Tomkinson
    August 12, 2012

    Is this the latest bait? A referendum on the EU if Scotland votes for independence? Sorry, but it won’t work. We are weary of the mealy-mouthed diversions. It is clear that under the present leadership your party is determined that we stay in the EU and is happily subservient to its masters in Brussels. In that regard they are no different to Labour and the Lib Dems – and in almost every other regard, come to think of it.

  12. Lindsay McDougall
    August 12, 2012

    You amaze me. You simply aren’t setting the bar high enough for Scottish independence. What makes the Scots think that they will have the right to continue to use sterling if they leave the Union? Tell them that if they leave they have to adopt their own currency or join the Euro; sterling is not an option. How do we know that the Scottish wish for independence is ‘settled and preponderant’ if the conclusion depends on a single referendum. Let the SNP gain a majority of Scottish MPs at Westminster in 5 successive General Elections. That would be ‘settled and preponderant’. And you English should be telling the Scots that you would not defend an independent Scotland; their defence – and its enormous cost – would be borne by them.

    In the meantime, it’s high time that the Barnett formula was reviewed. I’m more than a little tired of Scots saying that they provide free University Education (to everyone in Europe except the English) when they use English money.

    Come on, guys and gals. If you are true Unionists, it’s high time that the SNP were on the sharp end of some very rough wooing.

    1. alan jutson
      August 12, 2012


      Do not forget Scotlands large percentage of the UK debt.

      This still has to be discussed.

      Some may have second thoughts when the true costs to each Scottish family is exposed.

      1. Andy
        August 12, 2012

        The debt has to be divided up following the Barnet Formula. That is, after all, how the debt was accumulated.

      2. Nick
        August 12, 2012

        Quite. A Barnett formula share of the debt to be precises.

      3. Leslie Singleton
        August 12, 2012

        It is my understanding that Salmond reckons that the Scots do not have to take on their share of the debt. What a profound fellow he is–wanting the good news with none of the bad.

      4. Lindsay McDougall
        August 12, 2012

        Yes, indeed. The bail outs of RBS and HBOS and the role of the great clunking fist might be evaluated.

    2. Denis Cooper
      August 12, 2012

      There would be nothing to stop the sovereign Parliament of an independent Scotland passing a legal tender law so that sterling would continue to be the currency used in Scotland. But it could not pass an effective law to give Scotland representation on the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee, or to give Scotland any other kind of influence over sterling including whether it would be abolished, without the agreement of the Parliament of the rest of what is now the UK. The central bank of an independent Scotland could issue its own banknotes denominated in Scottish pounds, but they would not be the same pounds as the Bank of England pounds unless it had been agreed between the two countries that they would be treated as being the same, which in all probability could only be done under such restrictive terms that Scotland might as well go the whole hog and adopt the euro, accepting a virtually complete surrender of its newly-regained monetary independence. Which is what happened with the Irish Republic, after a relatively short interlude when it was issuing its own currency, the punt, without any linkage to sterling.

      Reply: There is also the question of who bails out Scottish banks or keeps them liquid if they keep the pound.

    3. wonkotsane
      August 12, 2012

      We all know most Scots want independence but know that they can’t afford to cut themselves off from the English cash cow.

    4. forthurst
      August 12, 2012

      How do you prevent the Scots using pounds? Or, like the Irish who pegged the punt, they could introduce their own scunt and peg it to the pound.

      As to defence, surely that would not be too costly if it should transpire they don’t have as many enemies in the ME as we do, what with having to fight al CIAda in one country and ally with it the next etc.

      What the Scots need to watch out for would be an EU oil grab which they’ve tried before, bearing in mind they already own all our fish.

      The Scots are probably being quite naive in imagining the EU serves a la carte and moderates the bill.

  13. Andrew Johnson
    August 12, 2012

    Fret not Mr. Redwood. The Scots are an eminently sensible nation. I think the majority view will be that it is better to remain part of the United Kingdom. However, I do think there is a majority for further devolution and more subsidy (payment from the oil revenues) from the rest of the Kingdom. When you look at the socialist idyll the Scots Nats are creating – someone has to pay for it. Since the English are already paying for so much in GB, the EU, and various Middle Eastern wars, what’s another few billion to keep the Scots happy?
    I do find it puzzling from a democratic viewpoint, that when there is a referendum, Scots not resident in Scotland will not be able to vote, and the English, Northern Irish and Welsh voters views will not be sought at all in a corresponding referendum. This democracy thing is really good don’t you think?
    As regards an English parliament, that may be something to work towards, but in the meantime, all English MP’s should pressurise the Coalition to introduce leglislation banning, Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh Mp’s from voting on purely English matters, which is the current situation. This would effectively give an English parliament for those times when it is needed.

  14. lifelogic
    August 12, 2012

    I listened to this usually BBC debate. “The BBC format, of course, gave the main position to an avowed Europhile, who trotted out all the usual lies” indeed. I am sick to death of the absurd BBC line on the EU, the Green Religion and the cutting to hard to fast nonsense. They do huge damage many people actually believe the rubbish they push.

    I did not think Evan Davis chaired it well. He seemed just superficially impartial to me, with the usual BBC bias underneath. I could not discern a single rational argument on the pro EU side. Can the proponents actually believe what they say – it is so absurdly irrational – I tend to think they are just paid sales people – they could not be stupid enough to believe all they spout, surely?

  15. JoolsB
    August 12, 2012


    Here’s an idea that seems an alien concept to most politicians, who seem to have decided without asking us, what England wants and doesn’t want. We are told we are better off in the EU and we are told we don’t want an English Parliament despite all the polls suggesting otherwise. How about next time the UK Government asks Scotland, Wales & NI yet AGAIN how they wish to be governed, maybe they could extend the same courtesy to England and ask us if we too would like our own legislature, albeit within a federal structure.

    Cameron gave a cast iron guarantee on the EU and along with previous Tory leaders he also promised to address the West Lothian Question and yet now in office, he has reneged on both. He has allowed Clegg to kick a commission into the WLQ (why do we need a commission?) into the longest grass ever obviously never to be retrieved until after 2015 and why can’t the Barnett Formula which discriminates against every man, woman & child in England be looked at until after the deficit has been sorted out which in Cameron’s own words could be as late as 2020?

    The Lib Dems have broken their promise on boundary reforms in return for the vote on AV and yet surely if the WLQ and English Question was addressed, boundary reviews would not be as important to get a majority and nor would the duplicitious Lib Dems be needed. England would be allowed the party of her choosing to govern her and without the Europhile LibDems around throwing tantrums at the very thought of discussing Europe, surely we could also be allowed what poll after poll says we want, an in/out referendum on Europe.

    Cameron, our Liberal PM has let us down badly on both the EU and the English Question. A lifelong Conservative all my life who spent weeks campaigning in 2010, I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling betrayed and for the firt time ever will not vote Tory in future unless Cameron changes his pro-Europe, anti-English stance which of course nobody expects.

    All he has to do is offer a referendum on the EU and another to ask England if she would like the same level of self determination and representation as the rest of this ‘union’ currently enjoy, (which sadly none of our elected MPs to their shame are demanding either), to get my vote back but it seems he’s more interested in appeasing his Lib Dem chums (and Alex Salmond) to care about what his constituents and those who voted for him want let alone in the name of democracy deserve.

  16. wg
    August 12, 2012

    A few things.

    Lindsay above thinks that Scotland would have a choice on what currency they will use – I think that I’m correct in believing that under the present EU system, any country joining the EU has to adopt the euro.

    The second point is that if a basically-Labour Scotland leaves the UK and lessens the chances of another Labour government in England, a Labour-supporting North of England may wish to go the same way rather than be forever run by a Conservative-dominated South.

    The EU has to tread carefully her on whether or not to support Scottish independence; areas such as the Basque region are also itching to be free of their ‘mother’ countries.

  17. Nick
    August 12, 2012

    When does England get the vote? The vote on whether or not Scotland should be part of the Union.

    The irony of the Scots wanting to stay in, and England voting to kick them out.

    Ah yes, we don’t get a vote on issues do we. That’s for politicians to dictate.

  18. waramess
    August 12, 2012

    Just give the Scots their referendum on independence. It really is difficult to see why this should be other than an emotional problem. Oil maybe ;but that is not an honest reason.

    Give them the referendum they require and then the independence should it be sought and move on otherwise all arguments in favour of demo cracy (people power) fade into oblivion and we become very much a Statist society.

  19. Leslie Singleton
    August 12, 2012

    You are usually meticulous in your accuracy, which on this subject it is not merely pedantry to ask for. It jarred with me that you at one point used the term “England without Scotland” where I think you meant “the UK without Scotland”. Big difference and in any event there is no such thing as the former.

    Reply: I meant England as I was writing about the way Scottish nationalism is stimulating English nationalism.

  20. KBW
    August 12, 2012

    Your post is very good even for a Tory, I have to confess you are rational and reasonable and even handed, unlike the union. However your blog does attract the usual pathetic bleating from the little Englanders such as we see with Single Acts, who trots out the subsidy junkies myth and all on English taxes when you and I know that there is no such thing as English taxes. The treasury is the UK treasury in to which Scotland contributes, WE PAY 9.4% of UK TAX, BUT ONLY HAVE 8.4% OF THE UK POPULATION. In the most recent year, 2009/10, the UK’s deficit was 7.6% of it’s overall wealth.

    Scotland’s was much lower, at just 6.8%.

    At the point of greatest financial pressure, Scotland was in a stronger financial position than the rest of the UK.

    As a share of UK totals, Scotland contributes more in tax revenue than we receive in spending.

    In 2009/10 we received 9.3% of UK spending but contributed 9.4% of UK tax.

    That means we contribute the equivalent of £1000 extra for every man, woman and child in Scotland.

    So don’t let anyone tell you Scotland is subsidised by London. Scotland is paying the price of UK policies.

    We are being burdened with extra debt because we are part of the UK. If Scotland had been independent we would have a smaller national debt today.

    And when we become independent, we will be able to pay off our national debt faster than the UK.

    Even on the UK government’s figures Scotland’s national debt is smaller than the UK’s.

    In 200910 our gross debt as a proportion of GDP would have been 4% lower than the UK and a massive 35% lower than the G7 average.

    Scotland would have collateral to cover any debt, in the £1 trillion wholesale value of remaining Scottish oil and gas reserves -reserves that even David Cameron has now conceded will be around for “many, many” years to come.

    Then we come to Ian who refers to a union of equals in a confederate UK. Getting close, we never have been equal as the UK parliament is dominated by England and team GB is regarded as team England.

    Then we come to the last chance saloon where poor Gerry Dorrian bleats his particular brand of Britnat lies and mythology on the Northern Isles. As a native Highlander who has lived and worked amongst these islands most of my life I can assure him he is just plain wrong. Even in the most unlikely scenario that these Islands were to stay with London after Scottish Independence, they would only enjoy Islands status which would preclude access to Scottish Territorial waters and the oil.

    Westminster interest in self-determination for small islands is directly related to power and money. Westminster wasn’t terribly interested in the right to self determination of the people of the Chagos Islands. The Chagos islanders didn’t have anything Westminster wanted, except their land. The islanders were cleared out of their homes and dumped in slums in Mauritius because the UK decided to give the islands to the USA to use as a naval base.

    However all of a sudden the national rights of Shetland and Orkney islanders are of immense concern to our Westminster masters.

    Orkney and Shetland became a part of Scotland in 1486 when Christian I, King of Norway and Denmark, pledged them as security against the payment of the dowry of his daughter Margaret, who was betrothed to James III of Scotland. All this happened long before the Scottish Parliament entered its shotgun marriage with Westminster in 1707. If we want to pursue the marriage and divorce metaphor, Orkney and Shetland became Scottish from a previous relationship. When we divorce Westminster, it doesn’t get custody.

    Fortunately for Scotland, and the Shetland and Orkney Islands, we are not a colony which Westminster can dispose of at will. Scotland is an equal partner in the Union of Parliaments, and if a majority of Scots decide that Union no longer serves our interests, all of Scotland becomes independent. Westminster doesn’t get to pick and choose the bits it would like to keep.

    However, even under the hypothetical circumstance that this occurred, Westminster wouldn’t be able to retain control of the oil fields anyway. These matters are regulated by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which the UK is a signatory. International law specifies that a state controls the continental shelf and associated mineral and fishing rights up to 200 nautical miles (230 miles or 370 km) off its shores. When another state possesses an island within the continental shelf of this state, special rules apply.

    The continental shelf off the Atlantic coast is Scotland’s to exploit and develop, even if Westminster clung on to Rockall. According to the Law of the Sea: “rocks which could not sustain human habitation or economic life of their own would have no economic zone or continental shelf.” Westminster could pauchle its way to keeping Rockall, but as far as oil and fishing exploitation rights are concerned, they’d be entitled to rockall.

  21. Alan Wheatley
    August 12, 2012

    I totally support the Union and wish Scotland to remain as an enthusiastic member.

    If the Scots want to leave, then so be it. But if that is what they think of the rest of us they can sort out their own defence, currency and so one. They can not dictate terms; better they will be told the terms of any future arrangement with England, Wales and NI.

  22. Alan Wheatley
    August 12, 2012

    Scottish Independence is a convenient issue to exploit in the “renegotiation” campaign. But while it keeps the topic bubbling (no bad thing) it is inconsequential in practical terms.

  23. Caterpillar
    August 12, 2012

    And whilst there may be “a debate on the UK’s future in or out of the EU” among many other serious issues, the PM seems more concerned about defining the UK future as one based on winning at sports/playtime. When the PM appears to have such an X-factor view of the country’s future, it is no surprise that serious issues of global economic and political relationships do not progress – ‘dear leader’ enforced sport for young children, that should solve the country’s problems, let’s not worry about the EU.

  24. Mark B
    August 12, 2012

    I have to say I had to read this article twice. A Westminster MP talking about issues relating to two unions. One, over 300 years old and another which would be lucky to survive 300 days.

    The thing is Mr. Redwood sir, are you alone in this belief, or are there others ? Because it is all well and good holding these views, which people such as myself are slowly coming around too, but all a lone wolf can do is ‘howl at the moon.’

    Indeed the break-up of the Union would be most advantageous to the ‘EuroFeds’. It would be almost a seamless way of getting the once intransigent UK into the Euro and under EU/French/German thumb.

    When will we be FREE ?

  25. Barbara Stevens
    August 12, 2012

    I think we should have more faith in our Scottish friends, commonsense will prevail. Going it alone, just to make Salmond a PM will back fire when the truth emerges of the true cost. Those who enjoy full employment will shoulder a higher burden than they do now, and those who pay taxes will see their contributions triple. Salmond is telling porkies. Its time he was challenged by his own and made to tell the truth.
    They will carry part of the national debt, whether they like it or not; they will have to defend themselves and our airforce will be removed. The Russians will love that, being able to fly over Scotland without interception!
    If you leave the club of the UK, you leave and take your chances, and no more cash would be made available, a thought that might just change people’s minds. We all work, play and defend these islands equally, and no one is forced to remain if they don’t want to; but we won’t be taken for fools.
    Our problem is the people we elect. They appear to lack gumption, moral fibre, and intelligence; and most of all putting us, the British first. Take Cameron’s stance on aid, he as no moral right to talk about foreign aid when we have any need here of any sort. Its our money, not the Tory party’s, or the governments. I’m sick to death of Cameron’s arguements, they are flawed; if this keeps up he won’t make the next election with a majority. If he wants to help the world’s poor he should do it personally, not use OUR money for his own personal dreams. We can all have sympathy, but we are not the world’s benefactors, and these countries should be made look at their own provision, not depend on aid. Our problem is making MPs see this, if they don’t then we must rid ourselves of them.

  26. Bert Young
    August 12, 2012

    It is North Sea oil and not Scottish oil ; the logistics of diverting the on-shore facilities in Scotland to locations in England are pretty straightforward ,so, the argument of Mr.Salmond of the value of North Sea to the Scottish economy , would go out of the window . Recent polls show that over 60% of Scots want to stay in the UK ; they also show that they want no more of Europe than we do ; put together I think this spells Scottish independence is most unlikely . The overall focus has to be the in-out referendum on Europe and not on other political issues .

    I do admire your efforts on a Sunday Dr.JR. Do you never give it a rest ?

  27. Stephen Gash
    August 12, 2012

    You mention English regions John. There is none because they have been comprehensively rejected by the English and are persistently the most unpopular option for, what is euphemistically called in modern UK political parlance, “localism”. Instead of honouring their pledge to abolish regions the Tories are strengthening them with regional pay and benefits.

    The English gave the Conservatives a massive victory in England in 2010 and a humiliating hammering to Labour. In return the English have been rewarded with this coalition government being even more anti-England and pro-Scotland than Labour. The Green Investment Bank being located in Scotland is just one example. Scottish banking failure rewarded with English banking jobs. It should have been located in Leeds, the UK’s second largest financial centre and this used as leverage for HS2 being extended to Leeds as a consequence. It’s called joined up thinking.

    The Scottish parliament bribed Amazon to relocate from its proposed Northumberland location to Scotland, the “north west region” being unable to match the SNP’s funding figure, thanks to Barnett largesse.

    Never mind the savage defence cuts hitting England much harder than Scotland.

    Tories need to realise their naturally constituency is in England and start favouring the English for the first time in 305 miserable long years.

    Many northern England seats went to Tories in 2010 after decades of Labour control. It is highly unlikely Conservatives will hold on to them. In or out of the EU, Conservatives need to focus both eyes on England if only for their own political survival.

  28. David Langley
    August 12, 2012

    I listened to the debate on i Player, the audience seemed split on their in/out preference regards the EU project. It comes over strongly that very few people really understand all the lying and deceit that happened to get us where we are today. The big payoffs to EU workers far outweigh the benefits to our MP,s. The fact that the EU thinks of us as just an 8% vote and we are just a region of the EU gives Scotland its sense of why not us being a region too, just as powerful, just as important as England. It gives our people a sense of its all over now, we are no longer masters of our own destiny why not just give in and accept we are controlled and managed as a mere region as many are within the federation. Our daily lives are harmed by the pretence of government by you our legal and elected representatives. If we are ruled by the EU surely most people would see you as largely irrelevant and guilty of just taking coin for no reason but passing on rules and directives from our real masters. Perhaps that is another reason for the contempt or worse indifference that is shown to politicians by many. The growing realisation of what has been given away. I believe in our free will as a nation and that has been largely demonstrated by the outpouring that happens when we have our English celebrations. Perhaps its a subliminal reaction to the frustration of losing our National purpose and freedom of government and expression of our traditional values.

  29. Derek Emery
    August 12, 2012

    According to Spiegel Angela Merkel wants the EU to move to closer union beyond that possible by the constitution. A debate towards holding a referendum on transferring power to Brussels is gathering momentum in Germany.

    In contrast in the UK a majority want a referendum on membership with around 50% wanting to leave according to polls. See a collection of poll results at http://www.democracymovementsurrey.co.uk/dyk_pollwatch.html

    I can’t see any vote in the UK on transferring more powers to Brussels going down well with the public. You would be in lead balloon territory as that is the direct antitheses of what the public would want of the relationship. The top of all three parties want to stay in but they will never sell transferring more power to Brussels to the public.
    When it happens there will have to be some form of new relationship with the EU as the public will not brook the total loss of democratic accountability that moving to a closer union would mean.
    EU parliament is a joke with real power with unelected commissions appointed by national leaders and rubber stamped by parliament. It means giving up sovereignty and being ruled in effect by a German-French alliance of unelected commissions. I suspect the UK public value their democracy rather more than most of the EU do theirs.

    Scotland is a side-issue. If they want to join this club let them. However the power of Mr Salmond will be negligible in the new club. He will have no choice but to rubber stamp decisions of the Franco-German commissions. I’m not sure he will even retain enough power to rubber stamp their decisions once power has been handed over.
    I can’t see Scotland being high on their agenda.

    1. uanime5
      August 13, 2012

      Firstly France and Germany only have 2 of the 26 commissioners, so they can’t force through anything.

      Secondly the European Parliament can reject or amend anything they don’t approve of. They don’t rubber stamp everything.

  30. uanime5
    August 12, 2012

    Firstly the English regions were created by John Major based on WW2 rationing regions, not the EU. These regions were created because the EU gives aid to regions, rather than the country, to prevent this aid all being spent in one place (such as the capital).

    Secondly the UK will lose much more from leaving the EU than the EU will lose from the loss of the UK because the UK loses access to 26 markets, while the EU only loses access to one. 53% of the UK’s exports go to the EU but no EU country has more than 10% of their exports going to the UK.

    1. S Matthews
      August 13, 2012

      Why would it make much difference to our exports, in or out of the EU? The EU, Germany mostly, has more to lose by initiating a trade war of any sort. The WTO would have something to say I reckon.

      BTW that figure of 53% is simply wrong.

  31. Antisthenes
    August 12, 2012

    “want to break the stranglehold of unloved EU government over the English regions”

    Many English people would also like to see the stranglehold that Scottish MPs have over English affairs broken as well. No less true of Northern Ireland and Welsh MPs. Even though I am Welsh I see the unfairness inherent in the current devolved assemblies and parliaments system as England does not have it’s own legislature so that non English MPs can interfere in English affairs.

    My preferred solution would be for “devomax”.

  32. Durotrigan
    August 12, 2012

    Whilst not wishing the UK to break up, the possibility of this occurring raises some interesting questions not only for England’s continued membership of the EU, but of its potential role in the UN. What, after all, would happen to our position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council? Would England inherit this membership upon the same basis that the Russian Federation inherited its membership from the dissolved Soviet Union? Such a supposition would appear to be doubtful.

    As for the EU’s desire not to recognise England and to break it up into regions, the BBC seems to be rather happy to contribute towards this goal, as exemplified in its recent series presented by Michael Wood – ‘The Great British Story: a People’s History’. It was notable how he was keen to highlight the revival of Scottish, Welsh and Cornish identities and to “celebrate” multiculturalism through reference to the various immigrant “communities” that have established themselves in our country during recent decades, yet ignored England and Englishness, preferring instead to stress regional identities. Moreover, through referring to the Welsh as “the original British”, Wood seemingly betrayed the subtext of his series that we are all “a nation of immigrants” and that the fragmented English are just one tribe amongst many who happen to live on the island of Britain. Surely music to a Eurocrat’s ears?

  33. wonkotsane
    August 12, 2012

    John, every charge levelled at the EU or “Brussels” could equally be laid at Labour and the Tories. Your party is in power so why do we still have ever-encroaching regionalisation and sustained attacks on English culture and identity? Why is England still the only country in Europe with no form of self-government? Why are English people the only citizens of the UK that don’t have the right to decide how their country is run? Why do MPs elected in Scotland, Wales and NI still have a right to vote on matters that only affect England and which their constituents can’t give them a mandate on, having given that mandate to an MSP, MLA or AM? Why is there not one British government department with the name “England” or “English” in it despite roughly three quarters of what the British government does being devolved in Scotland, Wales and NI and therefore being de facto English government? Why do we still have a British Prime Minister and de facto First Minister of England who thinks we are “sour little Englanders”, who doesn’t want to be Prime Minister of England (his words) and who proclaims his pride in the “Scottish blood coursing through these veins” whilst slagging us off in Scotland? Why does England still have no national anthem to use at sporting events, having to use the British national anthem instead? Why does you Prime Minister never say the word “England” unless there is absolutely no way he can say “Britain” or “this country” in its place without it making no sense? Why is England sill the only net contributor of funds to the Treasury? Why is English north sea gas and oil still classed as being in Scottish waters despite the illegitimacy of the Continental Shelf Act which moved the maritime border, transferring English waters and resources to Scotland without asking us and contrary to international law? Why is Monmouthshire still legally Welsh, having been transferred to Wales without a referendum on the basis that it has lots of Welsh place names so it must be Welsh (an actual argument put forward during the late night debate attended by a handful of MPs which preceded the treasonous vote)? Why do so many quangos and organs of the British state still have Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish and British arms but no English organisation? Why have we still not had an EU referendum? Why have we still not had a devolution or independence referendum? Your party has been in power now for a couple of years and all of these things are in the gift of that pompous ass you call a leader to put right yet not one of these injustices and affronts to democracy has been addressed and he clearly has no intention of doing so. You do a great job John but unfortunately you do a great job (like Dan Hannan) of convincing people that the Conservative Party can be saved and that a Tory government is better – or perhaps just less bad – than a Labour government when really there’s nothing of any substance to separate any of the LibLabCon. It’s time you did the honourable thing and hung the Tories and that (Man-ed) Cameron out to dry.

    As for your contention that the UK would cease to exist if Scotland declared independence, you’re wrong – the Vienna Convention on the succession of States in respect of Treaties 1978 is quite clear that all parties would continue to be party to international treaties signed by the state they are succeeding unless the treaty expressly makes provision for successor states or there is no successor state (eg. by annexation or obliteration) or by agreement of the parties. The UK would continue to exist and both the UK and Scotland would continue to be members of the EU unless the EU agreed to release the rump of the UK from its clutches and let Scotland succeed in its place. The phrase “hell would freeze over” springs to mind both in relation to that and the likelihood of any of the LibLabCon working to make that happen.

    1. Denis Cooper
      August 13, 2012

      That UN convention only applies to the states which have acceded to it; the UK has not even signed it, and nor have most of the other EU member states; out of all the 27 present EU member states, only Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia are bound by it; basically it would count for nothing when there were negotiations on the future status of the fragments of the UK inside or outside the EU.


    2. Denis Cooper
      August 13, 2012

      Interesting assessment of that convention here:



      “Although the 1978 Convention is an example of progressive development of international law, the customary rules of international law on succession of States in respect of treaties apply to most States, yet they are not reflected in the text of the 1978 Convention. Therefore, it is not a reliable guide to such rules of customary law on treaty succession. Yet, albeit its late entry into force, practice following the end of the Cold War and decisions of the International Court of Justice may now have breathed a little life into a few of its provisions (see Application of the Genocide Convention (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Yugoslavia), I.C.J. Reports 1996, pp. 595 and 611-12 and Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros Project (Hungary/Slovakia), I.C.J. Reports 1997, pp. 7 and 72). But, they are unlikely to result in many States wanting now to be parties to the 1978 Convention. So, it may remain little more than an interesting historical document.”

  34. Martyn
    August 12, 2012

    John, I admire the concise way you have scoped the issues involved with this topic. But are there not some rather wider-range problems involved that have yet to be aired? In April 2008 Gordon Brown signed up to the EU Inter-Reg programme, at which point Eric Pickles, the Conservatives’ communities’ spokesman, said “We already knew that Gordon Brown had hoisted the white flag of surrender to the European Constitution. Now the Labour Government has been caught red-handed conspiring with European bureaucrats to create a European super state via the back door and Gordon Brown literally wants to wipe England off the map.”

    In agreeing with the Inter-Reg programme Gordon Brown caused England to be divided into three parts, each of which joined together parts of other countries in creating three EU “transnational regions”. Southern England joined the EU transnational region ‘Manche’ with Northern France. The ‘Atlantic’ region (western England, Portugal and Spain) and the ‘North Sea’ region (Eastern England, the Netherlands and parts of Germany) also came into being. Each of the new regions was to be run by a “managing authority” of unelected officials overseen by a director. A German minister claimed that this was aimed at ‘permanently overcoming old borders’ and so the English Channel became “The Channel Sea” and the words England and Britain were removed from the map of Europe. So far as I can see (and I could be wrong) these regions do not include Wales or Scotland, but a raft of what were English County Councils and assorted hangers-on now have a great time holding meaningful, in-depth, decisive (ho! Ho!) meetings around Europe at Heaven knows what cost to the taxpayer.

    I doubt that Scotland could actually afford to secede from the UK union, but even if it did that would have very little impact on, for example, the regionalisation of what was once England, because the arrangement did not involve the UK as a whole. A little off-topic – am I alone in remembering that in October 2004, when England was still on the EU map, that a A bureaucratic blunder in issuing the Eurostat Statistical Compendium with all the facts and figures on Europe removed Wales from the map of Europe and replaced it with the Irish Sea? The instantaneous howls of rage by Wales soon got the matter corrected, but when England was dismantled a deafening silence was heard throughout the land….

  35. zorro
    August 12, 2012

    It sounds like uanime5 may have been involved in that BBC debate!


    1. uanime5
      August 13, 2012

      Well I do like to use logic to bust the myth that the UK is essential to the EU because it’s a net importer.

  36. i albion
    August 12, 2012

    Mr Redwood every one in Westminster knows that Scotland is not going to leave the UK not now not never . But England has been put on a back burner and our MPs just don’t like mentioning that fact, time they did .Whatever happens to this dodgy Union we have at the moment England must have her own Parliament,

    1. Lindsay McDougall
      August 15, 2012

      The simple truth is that devolution is a disaster and should never have been allowed to happen. It would be so much easier dealing with the EU if we were united.

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