Scotland/England Maritime Boundaries

by craig on January 11, 2012 9:17 am in Uncategorized

According to existing Westminster legislation, English waters stretch at their North Easterly point to 56 degrees 36 minutes north – that is over 100 miles North of the border at Berwick, and North of Dundee.

In 1999 Tony Blair, abetted by the Scottish traitor Donald Dewar, redrew the existing English/Scottish maritime boundary to annex 6,000 square miles of Scottish waters to England, including the Argyll field and six other major oilfields. The idea was specifically to disadvantage Scotland’s case for independence.

The pre-1999 border was already very favourable to England. In 1994, while I was Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, I had already queried whether it was too favourable to England. I little anticipated that five years later Blair would push it seventy miles North!!

I should explain that I was the Alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and was number 2 on the UK team that negotiated the UK/Ireland, UK/Denmark (Shetland/Faeroes), UK/Belgium, and Channel Islands/France maritime boundaries, as well as a number of British Dependent Territories boundaries. There are very few people in the World – single figures – who have more experience of actual maritime boundary negotiation than me.

The UK’s other maritime boundaries are based on what is known formally in international law as the modified equidistance principle. The England/Scotland border was of course imposed, not negotiated. It is my cold, professional opinion that this border lies outside the range of feasible solutions that could be obtained by genuine negotiation, arbitration or judgement.

It ignores a number of acknowledged precepts in boundary resolutions, most important of which is how to deal with an inverted right angle coastline, as the Scottish coastline is from Elgin to Berwick, with the angle point around Edinburgh. It also fails adequately to close the Forth and Tay estuaries with baselines – by stark contrast to the massive baselines the UK used across the Thames and Stour.

It is essential that Scotland is not conned into accepting the existing England Scotland maritime boundary as a precondition of any independence referendum. This boundary must be subject to negotiation between equal nations post independence, and in my opinion is most likely to end with referral to the International Court of Justice. I have no doubt the outcome would be a very great deal better for Scotland than the Blair-Dewar line, which would cost Scotland billions.

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90 Comments

  1. Same old same old
    .
    War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields
    by Michel Chossudovsky
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=11680
    .
    written during the Cast Lead shoah.

  2. There will be many lies thrown from Westminster in the run-up to the referendum: we must take them apart. But the mis-deeds of the past must also be shown for what they are.

    Thanks for this, Craig.

  3. Ah, perfidious Albion again and will probably stay perfidious “Till a’ the seas gang dry, my Dear”.

  4. Actually I meant outcome not income in the last sentence – but in fact its true either way!

  5. willyrobinson

    11 Jan, 2012 - 9:54 am

    This blog is always interesting. It’s a pity the graphic at the end of the pdf you link to is so poor, though it’s perhaps telling that it doesn’t show the land border between England and Scotland. Any chance of a better image?

  6. OT:Iran car explosion ‘kills nuclear scientist’ in Tehran
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16501566

  7. “Until 410 million years ago, the area of land now recognised as Scotland was separated from England by an ocean wider than the present-day North Atlantic – the Iapetus Ocean. When the two halves of Britain, which were part of separate larger continental land masses, began to drift towards each other, so the Iapetus Ocean began to close inexorably. The seaway between the converging continents narrowed until they collided and mountains were squeezed up in place of the vanished ocean. The two ancient continents, originally on opposite sides of the vast ocean, were now joined along a line known as the Iapetus Suture which runs almost parallel to Hadrian’s Wall.”
    http://www.snh.org.uk/publications/on-line/geology/scotland/continents.asp

  8. Hi Willy,

    Have been looking for a better graphic with no luck so far. Extending out to sea the line of the land border as it reaches the coast seems to be a prime part of the rationale behing this boundary, though that is not normally an important factor.

    It is also worth bearing in mind that a decade of opinion poll evidence shows consistently that the people of Berwick council district would want to join Scotland. That actually makes a big difference to the maritime border.

  9. We have a track record for imposing boundaries without consultation or representation, going back to the Empire. And there are still disputes (often not acknowledged until the relevant countries’ independence) to be settled – look at the border between Southern Sudan and Kenya. So I’m not surprised at this.

    After all, Scotland is the classic case of internal colonisation. With Wales just behind – and wait until the Welsh start demanding payment for all that lovely Welsh water!

  10. I am glad this matter has been raised and by such an authoritative figure.

    My recollection is that the Blair/Dewar Axis did this by Order in Council while parliament was in recess. It is of very doubtful legality and the boundary will have to be negotiated on independence.

    They may have slipped up. My recollection is that crime on the rigs was tried in Selkirk Sheriff Court. I don’t think they changed this. Indeed I don’t thnk they could have changed this by Order in Council. The Border Sheriff Courts may still have jurisdiction over this part of the North Sea. Does anyone know? I don’t.

    Ian Hamilton

  11. Perhaps Scots can understand how the Argentinians felt about the Malvinas, which prior to Thatcher’s exuberantly costly war, in all senses of the word costly, in order to protect islands 7,000 miles away which before the war everybody thought were in Scotland!

  12. “It is also worth bearing in mind that a decade of opinion poll evidence shows consistently that the people of Berwick council district would want to join Scotland. That actually makes a big difference to the maritime border”
    .
    It might, were it not for the fact that Berwick is in England and won’t be included in a referendum.
    .
    Which raises another issue. If the referendum result showed that there was a clear majority of Scots in the bordering Lowlands who voted to remain in the UK, would they be able to do so, thus necessitating a redrawing of boundaries both maritime and on land?

  13. “Malvinas”
    .
    John Goss, thanks for bringing that up. The scots should also be aware that by going for “independence” they MAY lose any claims to the vast antarctica mineral resources that may lie beneath the ice?. Lets face it, the argentinians ain`t going to get the islands back with that prize at stake!. I don`t approve of any of what is going on, I view us all scots/english/argentinians as being just humans beings, living on one world, we should not be doing all these terrible things to each other. I only mention all this as sadly it is the reality.

  14. MJ There is no evidence of a particularly strong attachment to the UK in the Borders. But I have no problem with the idea of border adjustments in either direction. Long overdue in Ireland/Northern Ireland too.

  15. Better quality graphic showing 1987 and 1999 boundaries (but not much of the land border): http://clip2net.com/s/1tuDw
    (Original file is behind a weird url at http://www.databydesign.co.uk/energy%5Cukdata/maps/infrast.jpg)

    Dept of Energy & Climate Change map showing oil/gas facilities and national boundaries (1.6MB pdf):
    http://www.og.decc.gov.uk/information/bb_updates/maps/infrast.pdf

  16. ceedee

    Thanks – I have added the first of those images to the post

  17. In your experience as an arbitrator/negotiator in these types of disputes where would you recommend the boundary be drawn?

  18. And do you have any examples that could be shown to reinforce your opinion?

  19. Banquo,

    That is a long discussion – there are numerous precedents from all over the world. The Cameroon/Nigeria determination by the International Court of Justice, and the Gulf of Maine US/Canada judgement also by the ICJ, are perhaps particularly relevant in a number of ways.

    Frankly I could draw a line on a map which I think its the fairest boundary, and I can draw a line on a map which I think should be Scotland’s opening position in a negotiation or court case. The two would not be the same. But either would be very very far from the current Westminster imposed boundary. The key thing now is to repudiate that boundary, and then go for negotiation or court, rather than propose your exact alternative now.

  20. Given that Blair & Dewar are both Scots, their redefinition of the border in 1999 seems very fair to me.

    As far as North Sea maritime borders go, the principle that the dividing line goes out to sea following the angle of the land border seems pretty well established- looks at how the German slice of the North Sea follows the angles of the Dutch/German & German/Danish borders respectively-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Sea_oil

    Much grating & knashing of teeth north of the border this morning !

  21. The last 5 feet of the border heads south east at an 85 degree angle. Does this mean Scotland gets the Isle of Dogs?

  22. Oldmark,

    Just not true. Ther German/Danish North Sea maritime border breaks at quite an angle from the land border.

  23. Thanks for that Craig.
    I had been wondering.

    Was this similar to Blairs dirty deeds in the desert with Ghadafi ?
    They’ve drawn a ridiculous border where the water off St Andrews is actually English.
    Apart from the reasons behind the change which you’ve given and are most plausible, what were the reasons for changing boundaries when we are all one Kingdom ? makes no sense ! Suddenly Scottish fisherman have no say what happens in the waters they fish, and on it goes till you get to oil.
    Good old England !! You can always rely on them to play fair, support the underdog and above all be Gentlemen !

  24. On a comedy note I’d leave Berwick well alone if I were you – they’re still at war with Russia! Ho ho ho. ;-p

  25. Take the war criminal with the bloodied hands out to sea in a helicopter to the stolen area and drop him out in the style of the Pinochet gangs who did the same to opponents of that nasty regime. Then he can swim for it.
    ~~~

    Sky News have just had Lord Bell of Bell Pottinger on supporting Cameron. Darling wishes to see a referendum soon.
    ~~~~
    Bell Wikipedia In December 2006 Lord Bell successfully lobbied on behalf of the Saudi government to discontinue the Serious Fraud Office investigation into alleged bribes in the Al Yamamah arms deal. Lord Bell has also performed public relations work for the authoritarian government of Belarus and for the Pinochet Foundation (Fundación Pinochet).

    ~~~
    I see the Bell Pottinger connection to oil and gas here.
    .

    Oil & Gas UK appoints Bell Pottinger Public Affairs
    1 November 2011
    .

    Oil & Gas UK, the industry representative for offshore oil and gas, has appointed Bell Pottinger Public Affairs to provide public affairs counsel.
    .
    The team will be led by Claire Jakobsson, Director of the Energy Unit at Bell Pottinger Public Affairs. Claire Jakobsson said: “We are delighted to be working with Oil & Gas UK. There is a huge amount going on in this sector. The debate on the future role of oil and gas in the energy mix and the industry’s contribution to the UK economy continues to be prevalent. We want to help ensure that the voice of the offshore oil and gas industry is heard.”
    ,
    Trisha O’Reilly, Director of Communications at Oil & Gas UK, commented:
    .
    “Oil & Gas UK works closely with its members and the Government on a range of issues that have an impact on the activities of the industry and its future success, and we look forward to working with Bell Pottinger to help us deepen and extend the political debate”.
    .
    http://bell-pottinger.co.uk/news-articles/oilandgas

  26. Is this document of any relevance to the current situation?
    .
    Prospective Anglo Scottish Maritime Boundary Revisited http://www.ejil.org/pdfs/12/1/505.pdf
    written in 2001 by a law lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University, Mahdi Zahraa.

  27. ^Excellent document. Thanks. It shows the complexity of the argument. Presumably the Scots had input into the Blair government decision?

  28. Scotland has also been ‘conned’ in another way if we take a hard look at the UK oil industry, arguably the most value added industry in Scotland at one time. The ‘Barnett Formula’ might have benefited the Scottish purse in Treasury allocations however the absurd asymmetry of the UK/Scottish oil industry prevented the evolution of a powerful cluster of energy administration and professional services within main Scottish towns such as Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee.
    .
    Such important expertise would have given Scotland a powerful voice in the global economy. Scotland I believe may have argued for a better more intelligent perspective towards mediation and renewed energy negotiations with the Middle East and even Iran instead of the illusionary wishes and demands of the US Neo-Cons and British subservience.
    .
    As an example the recent energy negotiations in Iraq and Dubai and their legal implications involved expertise from Washington and London. Risking shouts of ‘flip-flopping’ my faith resides in Scottish justice in such matters and future relationships between the West, Russia, China and Iran will certainly in my opinion benefit from an independent Scotland.

  29. Donald Dewar of the huge privatized portfolio – and how much of a tosser would you need to be in order to be cuckolded by Derry Irvine.

  30. Craig

    Boundary negotations (and arbitration, if necessary) are covered in the Scottish Government’s August 2007 document, “Choosing Scotland’s Future: A National Conversation: Independence and Responsibility in the Modern World”:

    ” …[3.15]…Any issues concerning the borders of an independent Scotland, particularly the continental shelf, would also have to be negotiated, but in a manner that respects the governing principles of international law in such matters.
    .
    3.16 These issues are likely to be dealt with in an overall agreement between the United Kingdom Government and the Scottish Government, enshrined in legislation enacted at both Westminster and Holyrood, to allow both Parliaments the opportunity to consider and agree matters affecting both Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
    .
    3.17 At the beginning of such a process of negotiation, arrangements should be agreed for arbitration under the principles of international law of any issues which the parties find themselves unable to resolve by mutual agreement.”
    .
    I have sent you an email about possible interest in this domestic international issue by the International Boundaries Research Unit (IBRU) at Durham University.

    .

    For the Beyond Petroleum future of all parts of the present UK there’s a useful Atlas of UK Marine Renewable Energy Sources at http://www.renewables-atlas.info .

  31. For those who are genuinely interested, this is an excellent introduction to the principles and difficulties involved
    http://www.un.org/depts/los/nippon/unnff_programme_home/fellows_pages/fellows_papers/dundua_0607_georgia.pdf

  32. I’m sorry, delimitation of sea boundaries turns my mind immediately towards Palestine and human rights.
    .
    OT agreed (I’m upset) – the marine ‘buffer zone’ restricts Gazan fishermen from accessing 85% of Gaza’s fishing waters agreed to by Oslo.
    .
    In the Gaza-Jericho Agreement of 1994, representatives of Palestine agreed to 20 nautical miles for fishing access. In 2002 the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan empowered Catherine Bertini to negotiate with Israel on key issues regarding the humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and a 12 nautical mile fishing limit was agreed upon.
    .
    Since 2009 the limit is three (3) miles. OK – off my chest – thank-you.

  33. Thanks for the link Mary.

    The conclusion here seems to be that the English domain in the North Sea extends as far as the Auk field, and not the Fulmar field as I stated on the other thread.

    The report you link to also discusses the implications of any possible secession from Scotland of the Orkney and/or Shetland Islands. These islands have been ‘British’ since 1707. Prior to that, for how long were they actually ‘Scottish’ ? (My understanding is that they belonged to Norway until at least the mid 14th century). Both sets of islands also have a good percentage of English immigrants in situ. Interestingly, the Bloc Quebecqois blamed their narrow defeat in the independence referendum in the 90s on recent immigrants who wanted to keep links to Canada. Will history follow a similar path when the Scotch referendum is held ?

  34. James Irvine

    11 Jan, 2012 - 3:04 pm

    OldMark

    Thanks for your concern for the people of Orkney and Shetland. It is interesting that this concern of English people towards them only appears when the issue of Scotish independence comes up, and is always articulated in terms of oil and gas reserves and no other aspect of the life of those people or the islands.

  35. Oldmark: Before the Viking conquests of Scotland , England and Ireland the Picts were living on both Islands.
    The Normen Conquest of England was carried out by Vikings settled in France.I think we’ve all got a bit of Norwegian or Danish blood in us.

  36. Ed L 2.23 pm
    Wasn’t Cherie Booth/Bliar smitten too with the old Lothario? LOL
    http://the-tap.blogspot.com/2007/09/whats-bothering-cherie-blair.html

  37. @James_Irvine:
    .
    > It is interesting that this concern of English people towards them only appears when
    > the issue of Scotish independence comes up
    .
    I see the point you are making, but you wouldn’t want to be making race-baced generalisation, would you? I think there are plenty of English people who want Scotland to be independent simply because (or if) that is what people living in Scotland want. We’re not all bad, you know.

  38. James Irvine

    11 Jan, 2012 - 4:07 pm

    Jon

    Apologies, it wasn’t meant to read like that.

  39. Just wondering if the English can have a referendum for independance from Westminster too

  40. That link cheered me up Mary. The ‘bare’ facts of Nude-Labour or Rude-Labour perhaps. [chuckles]

  41. Friends

    We must guard against being drawn into a bad tempered war of words against ourselves. We are brothers and sisters on these islands. We have built a world together and we have fought together. We have created a common culture, cultures high and low and together we have travelled across the globe and suffered and shined in all the continents.

    The truths of our mutual situation are many sided. The Scots have right on their side when they say they have a claim to the oil and gas of the northern sea. The Scots have right on their side when they state, as no one can contradict, that they are a free and independent nation, not only right but history. Scotland is a nation unto itself, with the power and ability to govern itself like any nation great or small.

    But the story does not begin or end there. Britain is a geographical space and our enemies, present or future, would make no distinction between the coast and the land between Berwick and the ancient citadel of blue and white power. The constitutional binding of our nations is a deep and legitimate concern for the followers of Albion and no one should ever gainsay the glorious majesty of the estate and parliament of Westminster as if this were only a seat of oppression and not a space where the reigns of history have not pulled the world along.

    The facts of two nations, three nations, even four are our own to digest. Their mutuality cannot be separated. Can you imagine the history of anyone you know so that the Scottish and the English can be pulled apart?

  42. “the Scottish traitor Donald Dewar”
    .
    LOL
    .
    and “the British traitor Craig Murray”

  43. I found this map and its associated legend on the site CeeDee linked to:
    .
    http://www.databydesign.co.uk/energy%5Cukdata/uk.htm
    .
    http://www.databydesign.co.uk/energy%5Cukdata/indexmap.htm
    .
    http://www.databydesign.co.uk/energy%5Cukdata/legend.htm
    .
    Yes, the URL is odd, containing a mix of forward and backward slashes. Only Microsoft use backslashes in web addresses, and the site is running the Microsoft IIS server (bad). The site seems generally broken, most links don’t work.
    .
    However, I think I may have found infrast.pdf:
    .
    https://www.og.decc.gov.uk/information/bb_updates/maps/infrast.pdf

  44. What does this prove? They are a load of lines on a map? I thought that the thoughts of this blog were against the instrumentalization of human relationships. We are supposed to be against the causing of disputes based on the delineation of the ownership of this or that carbon fuel which while it may keep the lights going for a few years more or may cause the exchequer to earn this or that money is not really the pull and push of history, which is a story of hopes and desires of identity and passions.

  45. There are some English posters here and elsewhere who tend to be rather racist and unpleasant about the Scots – or ‘Scotch’, as they say – a word apparently intended to be as offensive as ‘nigger’. Although this sort of thing is depressingly common across websites and political forums, I want to report that it isn’t typical of the Englishman in the wild. To begin with we have plenty of ODEs (Ordinary Decent Englishmen) posting here – but I can report wider experience.
    .
    I’ve spent much time in England, working, playing and living. My first school was Broadlane in Nantwich, and when I first attended school in Scotland I arrived with a broad Cheshire accent (not yet entirely erased, I’m told). In later life my experience of English people has usually been that they’re not much exercised by the idea of Scottish independence – ‘if that’s what the Jocks want, let them have it’ is the commonest reaction, perhaps occasionally delivered with a a wee bit of sadness but no recrimination.
    .
    It’s my hope, and I know it’s Craig’s too, that Scottish separation and the ending of the UK as we presently know it will help the ordinary Englishman at least as much as the ordinary Scot. I’m interested and encouraged by Mark Golding’s feeling that perhaps the benevolent rippples could spread even wider. Who knows. However here in these islands some sort of revolution is needed and I can’t imagine any of the posters here carrying scythes and cudgels – so why not just encourage the Scots to have a go at kicking the broken machine?

  46. @lloyd jones
    .
    All wonderfully sonorous and declamatory. But what’s Ed Miliband’s speech writer doing here?

  47. “There are some English posters here and elsewhere who tend to be rather racist and unpleasant about the Scots – or ‘Scotch’, as they say – a word apparently intended to be as offensive as ‘nigger’.”
    .
    There are some Scotch posters here who tend to be rather racist and unpleasant about the English, insisting among other things that the English are racist if they chose to adhere to the traditional vocabulary of their own language.

  48. As a brit in Ulster, the prospect is daunting, anything could happen here. But the fruits of the combined Union continue to be war and avarice.
    .
    If the Scots could break the Union in an untimely manner before our planned war ON Iran, they might be able to pull themselves and others out of it. Would that it were – time for a revolution.

  49. O/T but maritime as it concerns the Free Gaza voyages and the evil of Obama’s state of AMERIKA.
    .
    HR bill 3131 is “in committee” according to this website http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h112-3131
    under the “full text” number 21. Our captain on the Free Gaza boat, the first boat into Gaza in 41 years, John Klusmire, is specifically named as violating Greek orders. But it’s much more than that, as you can see below:
    .
    “To direct the Secretary of State to submit a report on whether any support organization that participated in the planning or execution of the recent Gaza flotilla attempt should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization and any actions taken by the Department of State to express gratitude to the government of Greece for preventing the Gaza flotilla from setting sail in contravention of Israel’s legal blockade of Gaza, and for other purposes.”
    .
    (21) Greek authorities boarded ships and took into custody several individuals, including Captain John Klusmire of the ship Audacity of Hope as it violated Greek Coast Guard orders by setting sail without permission.
    .
    We are gathering names of those of us who will INSIST on putting our own names on this bill if our representatives do not remove John’s. If you are an American citizen and you want your name added to this evil bill, please email me directly, and I will send the names on to the American contingent. The only way we can defeat something like this is if we are all willing to stand up for John and stand up for justice.
    .
    Greta
    .


    Greta Berlin, Co-Founder
    +33 607 374 512

    {www.freegaza.org}

  50. Comment 52 on http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/north_sea_oil_revenue_report_stark_reading_1_1989457

    .
    Vote ‘NO’
    Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 11:32 PM
    Over 18 months, Alex Salmond tried to block 4 separate FoI requests concerning correspondence he had had with RBS boss Fred Goodwin. Forced to do so, it showed Salmond egging on Goodwin in the purchase of Dutch bank ABN Amro. RBS was in competition with ‘English’ bank Barclays. Salmond reported that an RBS victory was “in Scottish interests”. Successful in overpaying for what became an asset-stripped liability it was the deal which broke RBS. So, despite being holed up in his backwater pretendy part-time pariament, all the evidence shows that the SNP under Salmond is as guilty and caused as much chaos as Brown or any other Labour politician.

    !!

  51. Misc. musings

    11 Jan, 2012 - 8:10 pm

    Am I alone in wondering whether DC does not appreciate the possible benefits to ‘conservative England’ of Scotland becoming independent:

    1) obviously, easy future election victories for conservatives in England;

    2) split the UK into rich and poor, like a sovereign version of a pre pack, leaving Scotland with its welfare and public sector costs to the EU / Germany and repackaging the wealth in England;

    3) if England & Wales then departed the EU ( neither Scotland nor the UK remnant would automatically still be a member of the EU, or would they ?) but Scotland remains in the EU (as it would be likely to want to) then there be an official English boot out of Europe, but a Scottish boot (and therefore an unofficial EU boot ) in Europe, which with a bit of back room negotiating could benefit both SNP and conservatives.

  52. The RBS matter referred to above was covered on Channel 4 news tonight.
    .
    Salmond was interviewed about the referendum.
    http://www.channel4.com/news/vote-on-scottish-independence-in-2014-vows-salmond

  53. There is an internet site called the Scottish Democratic Alliance who have been going on about this boundary change for years.
    I was not then fully aware of how and why the change had been made and could not, using charts and navigation instruments, find a lot wrong with the border as it seemed to be based exactly on the equidistance law.
    I visited their site a few weeks ago and it is now more explanatory. There is a dispute about that part of Berwick to the North of the river with claims that it is still in Scotland although administered from South of the river.
    Now with further comments from Craig and Ian Hamilton regarding baselines and the Law it seems that there was indeed some skuldugry taking place.

  54. Hi Rob Royston

    Thanks for the heads-up on the Scottish Democratic Alliance. Their website contains an interesting pdf discussion document with maps which can be had at

    http://scottishdemocraticalliance.org/international/scotlands-national-borders

  55. It’s a longterm objective of the World Government to break up the current nations into larger number of parts. Iraq, Turkey, UK etc etc etc. It’s easier to prevent any strong rebellion once all are fractured.

  56. Craig

    Here is a link to the offshore assets.

    I’m not sure how accurate it is but it may be of help.

    http://og.decc.gov.uk/assets/og/data-maps/maps/infrast-off.pdf

    Regards

    Dave

  57. @John Goss
    “Perhaps Scots can understand how the Argentinians felt about the Malvinas, which prior to Thatcher’s exuberantly costly war, in all senses of the word costly, in order to protect islands 7,000 miles away which before the war everybody thought were in Scotland!”

    @Mary
    “Take the war criminal with the bloodied hands out to sea in a helicopter to the stolen area and drop him out in the style of the Pinochet gangs who did the same to opponents of that nasty regime. Then he can swim for it.”

    Clearly their love of fascists grabbing land by force and abusing human rights started well before Saddam.

  58. Dick the Prick

    11 Jan, 2012 - 11:06 pm

    Gosh it’s a toughie – guaranteed Tory and English control of an English Parliament for a generation or just watching a bullshit audit whilst fat Jock bastard politicians line their pockets. All I can see is costs being borne by me – a Yorkshire sheep shagger, by jocks and miks, taffys, joes and english dumb ejeets who pay their taxes so politicians can talk bollox. I dunno, none of my business really. I’m just a bit bored of it already. Scotland has the best landscapes, whisky and golf in the world – what the fuck is gonna change?

  59. Tapestry – see my reasoning at 2:06pm and thanks for this link from your blog:
    .
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99nvx3m2fbQ

  60. ‘Thanks for your concern for the people of Orkney and Shetland.’

    James Irvine- My concern is disinterestedly academic, and was sparked merely by the discussion of their possible succession from Scotland contained in the academic paper Mary linked to.

    FWIW I’m neutral on the subject of Scottish independence per se- and if the break-up of the UK kills the great power posturing of our political elite stone dead, then that for me is a positive outcome. Where I seem to have antagonised Caledonian sensibilities is by challenging the (mistaken) assumption that Scots independence necessarily means Scottish ownership & control of all North Sea hydocarbons due north of a line across the sea parallel with Berwick on Tweed.

    And also, FWIW, my suspicion that the Northern Isles have been ‘British’ for longer than they were ‘Scottish’ also seems correct. Scottish sovereignty over the Isles was secured only in 1470, so they were indisputably ‘Scottish’ for only 237 years.

  61. Oldmark
    .
    Given that Blair & Dewar are both Scots
    .
    This nonsense about Blair has really taken hold, hasn’t it? He was born in Edinburgh, true, but left as an infant. His father was partly raised in Glasgow, true, but was originally from Yorkshire. That is the sum total of Blair’s connection with Scotland.

  62. The pdf is a good find and shows a distinct blob of oilfeilds switching sides with new labour’s border shift.

    Jinglyjangly’s link (click crab) is intresting background.
    .
    “Scotland’s border with England was fixed in the year 1237 by the Treaty of York. That treaty has never been rescinded. There was a tidying-up agreement between the two kingdoms in 1552 about the so-called Debateable Lands in the west, but otherwise the now completely definitive Scotland-England terrestrial border has never legitimately been altered in almost eight centuries.”

  63. alan campbell

    12 Jan, 2012 - 5:39 am

  64. 3,500 jobs are going at RBS (just announced) yet the ex-ABN Amro executive John Hourican who is now head of investment banking at RBS is set to get a £4.3m bonus.
    .
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2084466/RBS-boss-John-Hourican-set-4-3m-bonus-bank-plans-sack-5k-staff.html?ito=feeds-newsxml
    .
    It was the acquisition of ABN Amro that broke the back of RBS under Goodwin and Matthewson.

  65. @ Mary, I think Mathewson had left well before the troubles started. I’m trying to think of th chairmans name at the time.

  66. what a great link to Cherie’s ups and downs, I never understood what attarcted her to such a wet rag as Tony.

    Agree with Crab, this opportunity is too good to let pass, Independence must mean revolution, lets get rid of centralised politicas that is easy to knobble by foreing interests.

  67. “Scottish sovereignty over the Isles was secured only in 1470, so they were indisputably ‘Scottish’ for only 237 years.”

    By that reasoning, any other part of Scotland ceased being Scottish in 1707.

  68. Thanks for correcting me Rob. I knew I had got the wrong name but should have checked. Fred the Shred took over as CEO from Matthewson. The chairman at the time of collapse was Sir Tom McKillop who should have stuck at AstraZeneca.

    .
    This is the current list of gangsters-in-charge as I call these boards of directors. They are all interchangeable and always have connections to other companies. A magic roundabout.
    http://www.rbs.com/about-rbs/g1/our-board.ashx

  69. For pure comedy value, here’s the Torygraph’s argument as to why Scotland should not become independent: because the Scottish taxpayers couldn’t afford to bail out RBS by themselves.
    .
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/9008246/An-independent-Scotland-would-struggle-for-AAA-rating.html

  70. ‘By that reasoning, any other part of Scotland ceased being Scottish in 1707.’

    Only if ‘Scottish’ & ‘British’ are mutually exclusive categories. I used inverted commas since both terms carry ideological baggage, especially north of the border- and even more so across the water. Clearly the Northern Isles have been both ‘Scottish’ & ‘British’ since 1707, but may revert to being exclusively ‘Scottish’ if Salmond wins his referendum.

    ‘That is the sum total of Blair’s connection with Scotland.’

    Except for the fact that he went to achool at Fettes, read for the Bar in Derry Irvine’s chambers, shared a flat at that time with Charlie Falconer, & had a bagpipe playing Anglo-Scot as his chief PR man ! Rather a lot of Scotch connections there, I think.

  71. Hi Sam, I hold a fairly considerable number of shares in RBS, so I have poured a lot of hard earned money down the pan already. No one has ever sent me a report that points to where all the so called debt is or what they are doing to collect it or write it off. You would think that in the age of computers it would be easy to send an explanation, maybe a pdf. document. It makes me wonder if the fiqures they bandy about are indeed true. There is a court case in the offing about Rights Issue shares that were sold to us fraudulently. If the shareholders win, wouldn’t you expect some highly paid financial fraudsters to be arrested? I’m not holding my breath, either way.

  72. The concept of independence is illusory. All nations are under threat from World Government. Agenda 21 of the UN specifies the end of all nation states. Scotland and ROUK would be more easily overwhelmed by globalists once broken down into smaller more consumable units. The only political units able to resist global power are national political entities, which is why the globalist agenda includes the dismemberment of nations. Cameron is a complete backer of the global elite power agenda. An ‘independent’ highly indebted Scotland is very much an objective for the banking elites.

    A reduced Great Britain would find the Falklands Islands resources removed from her ownership, and placed into the hands of corrupt biddable South American regimes as the next step, once Scotland is split away. we all lose, once the globalists have got us separated.

  73. I see why the political elites support land grabbings elsewhere such as the former Palestine. All cos their heads is deep into a much closer one :(

  74. @Demeter

    “Just wondering if the English can have a referendum for independance from Westminster too”

    Not sure about that. But a referendum on an English Parliament would be nice!

  75. If anyone looks at the order to which you link they will find that it was issued for the purposes of the Scotland Act 1998 and was made under powers given under that Act, which gave devolved powers to the Scottish Assembly. Should Scotland obtain independence then it doesn’t take a genius to work out that the Scotland Act 1998 and the order will have no force and will have to be replaced by something else (especially to one of the 10 or less people who have the most expertise in negotiating maritime boundaries – a riduculously arrogant claim btw – given that I supect rather more countries than the UK are involvved in negotiating maritime boundaries)

    So what we have in reality is just a load of nationalistic flag waving and trying to whip up border disputes – a source of more wars in this world than I would like to mention.

    BTW I suspect that someone who was born in Norfolk and is half English probably should throw the traitor lable around too easily. Gordon Dewar was an honourable man who campaigned for and delivered devoltion for Scotland just as he promised.

  76. Ally from Perth

    12 Jan, 2012 - 9:14 pm

    Re the stealing of our territorial waters …i remember when this crime took place , of course there was virtually no reports on it in the Scottish Media ! . Are such issues not decided by the Mercador Principle ? . If so we should be able to challenge it in the appropriate International Court?.
    On the Banking myth….ie Scotland would have had to bail out the Banks resulting in our complete downfall… go away and look up Prof Andrew Hallet’s judgement on this one DEMOLISHES the contrived lies in an instant!. Alba gu bragh!

  77. I don’t know what the Scots can do about the media, it is all English or English-centric. They don’t even have a tv station. Very difficult for people to get pro-Scottish information or even unbiased.

  78. Anon,

    Very few countries have as many different maritime boundaries as the UK, which has boundaries with Ireland, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Denmark Faeroes then Ireland again. Not to mention France/Channel Islands, and then the waters of the dependent territories. So I repeat, very very few people in the world have as much experience of maritime boundary negotiation as me. I did not use the word expert, incidentally, you did.

  79. Sorry for arriving a bit late.

    As far as I know, the legal jurisdiction over the oil & gas fields is still as defined by the Continental Shelf (Jurisdiction) Order 1968. The 1999 boundary being discussed pertains to fishing rights and I find it a bit odd that the two maps I have seen published on government websites ( the one cited in an earlier comment and the one at http://og.decc.gov.uk/assets/og/data-maps/maps/infrast-off.pdf ) show borders which do not pertain to the oil & gas industry. The map cited earlier in these comments shows this 1999 border, and the map I have just cited shows a border which is clearly labelled as the RENEWABLES energy boundary. Why should official maps of the oil and gas fields show boundaries which are not applicable to the oil and gas fields? Could it be a deliberate misrepresentation?

    BTW, the Continental Shelf (Jurisdiction) Order 1968 sets the boundary as the line of latitude at 55° 50′ North, i.e. an east-west line slightly north of the eastern end of the land border.

  80. You only have to step back to see how almost “Nazi” like the SNP have been in whipping up anti-English hysteria across Scotland. Being English and having been working there for 2 years, I can confirm it’s well and truly alive despite the general “line” that it doesn’t exist. There is so much unfounded racism and hostility towards English, it’s quite disgusting.

    Scotland has benefited hugely from being part of the Union for the past 300 years. And it’s rather distasteful that suddenely it doesn’t suit them because there is some oil and they think they have 100% rights to it, and the rest of the UK shouldn’t see a drop. Well what about the flow of prosperity that has gone the opposite way. Huge invertment has been pumped into Scottish industry by the UK government for a very long time indeed. And make no mistake, all this independence chatter is about nothing but money.

    The same blood lives north and south of the border, but with a different accent.

    Apart from the mentions already about the dubious claim of Scottishness to the northern islands, England can also lay claim large areas of the southern “Scottish” lands. Just take a look at some history and you’ll see why. Therefore there is no justification to choose the period just prior to the union as a baseline.

  81. Holebender: “I find it a bit odd that the two maps I have seen published on government websites [...] show borders which do not pertain to the oil & gas industry.”
    .
    Judging from their website, either they’re incompetent, they don’t care ‘cos they think no one ever looks at their info, or both.

  82. Rikky: “There is so much unfounded racism and hostility towards English, it’s quite disgusting…
    The same blood lives north and south of the border, but with a different accent.”

    Please explain how one can be racist about people with “the same blood”.

  83. Because I know the law. I run a business and have to teach these issues to employees. Take a look and educate yourself.
    I also employ 3 scottish staff south of the border, and they don’t experience the same hostility. In fact one of them was quite astounded when he saw how I was treated (he was working with me), as he has been living in England for the past 10 years.

  84. Ricky, It’s generally believed that when we judge our neighbours we see a reflection of ourselves.

  85. Craig, thanks so much for this post. I have forwarded the link to those I know with a specific interest in the issue.

  86. “… abetted by the Scottish traitor Donald Dewar …”

    You might be right in your conclusions, but if Scotland elects to become independent and an international arbitration on the maritime boundary were to follow, which seems quite possible, we will find out. However, this introductory part of your text shows that your article is far more a product of emotion than logical analysis. I therefore do not trust your judgement on this.

    There is then of course the separate issue of how maritime boundaries are to be translated into revenues with respect to fossil fuel extraction.

  87. James Matthews

    16 Jan, 2012 - 9:53 am

    Do you have any evidence that acceptance of the maritime boundary has been suggested as a precondition for an independence referendum? If not you are just setting up a straw man to knock him down.

    That said, your thesis as to where the boundary might be is exactly what might be expected of a Scottish separatist. Fair enough, but do you not live in England and did you not fight fight an English seat at the last general election? Another Scot, it seems, so loyal to his native land tht he will do anything for it except live there.

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