The Scottish Parliament Does Have the Right to Withdraw from the Act of Union 437

The London Supreme Court last week not only confirmed that the Westminster Parliament could overrule at will any Scottish Government legislation, irrespective of the Scotland Act and the Sewell Convention, but it also ruled that Westminster had already successfully done so, by retrospectively passing provisions in the EU (Withdrawal) Act that overruled the Bill on the same subject, within the competence of the Scottish Parliament, that had already been passed by Holyrood.

Not content with that, the London Supreme Court confirmed that London ministers may, by secondary legislation, under the Scotland Act decree laws for Scotland that are not even passed through the Westminster parliament.

Which leaves Scotland in this extraordinary situation. English MPs or English ministers in their London Parliament can, at any time, impose any legislation they choose on Scotland, overriding Scotland’s parliament and Scotland’s representation in the London parliament. Yet, under the English Votes for English Laws rules of the London Parliament introduced by the Tories in 2015, Scottish MPs cannot vote at all on matters solely affecting England.

That is plainly a situation of colonial subservience.

I am firmly of the view that the Scottish government should now move to withdraw from the Treaty of Union. Scotland’s right to self determination is inalienable. It cannot be signed away forever or restricted by past decisions.

The Independence of a country is not a matter of domestic law it is a matter of international law. The right of the Scottish Parliament to declare Independence may not be restricted by UK domestic law or by purported limitations on the powers of the Scottish Parliament. The legal position is set out very clearly here:

5.5 Consistent with this general approach, international law has not treated the legality of
the act of secession under the internal law of the predecessor State as determining the effect
of that act on the international plane. In most cases of secession, of course, the predecessor
State‟s law will not have been complied with: that is true almost as a matter of definition.

5.6 Nor is compliance with the law of the predecessor State a condition for the declaration
of independence to be recognised by third States, if other conditions for recognition are
fulfilled. The conditions do not include compliance with the internal legal requirements of
the predecessor State. Otherwise the international legality of a secession would be
predetermined by the very system of internal law called in question by the circumstances in
which the secession is occurring.

5.7 For the same reason, the constitutional authority of the seceding entity to proclaim
independence within the predecessor State is not determinative as a matter of international
law. In most if not all cases, provincial or regional authorities will lack the constitutional
authority to secede. The act of secession is not thereby excluded. Moreover, representative
institutions may legitimately act, and seek to reflect the views of their constituents, beyond
the scope of already conferred power.

That is a commendably concise and accurate description of the legal position. Of major relevance, it is the legal opinion of the Government of the United Kingdom, as submitted to the International Court of Justice in the Kosovo case. The International Court of Justice endorsed this view, so it is both established law and the opinion of the British Government that the Scottish Government has the right to declare Independence without the agreement or permission of London and completely irrespective of the London Supreme Court.

I have continually explained on this site that the legality of a Declaration of Independence is in no sense determined by the law of the metropolitan state, but is purely a matter of recognition by other countries and thus acceptance into the United Nations. The UK Government set this out plainly in response to a question from a judge in the Kosovo case:

2. As the United Kingdom stated in oral argument, international law contains no
prohibition against declarations of independence as such. 1 Whether a declaration of
independence leads to the creation of a new State by separation or secession depends
not on the fact of the declaration but on subsequent developments, notably recognition
by other States. As a general matter, an act not prohibited by international law needs
no authorization. This position holds with respect to States. It holds also with respect
to acts of individuals or groups, for international law prohibits conduct of non-State
entities only exceptionally and where expressly indicated.

As I have stressed, the SNP should now be making a massive effort to prepare other countries, especially in the EU and in the developing world, to recognise Scotland when the moment comes. There is no task more important. There is a worrying lack of activity in this area. It may currently not be possible to spend government money on sending out envoys for this task, but if personal envoys were endorsed by the First Minister they would get access and could easily be crowd funded by the Independence Movement. I am one of a number of former senior British diplomats who would happily undertake this work without pay. We should be lobbying not just the EU but every country in Africa, Asia and South America.

My preferred route to Independence is this. The Scottish Parliament should immediately legislate for a new Independence referendum. The London Government will attempt to block it. The Scottish Parliament should then convene a National Assembly of all nationally elected Scottish representatives – MSPs, MPs and MEPs. That National Assembly should declare Independence, appeal to other countries for recognition, reach agreements with the rump UK and organise a confirmatory plebiscite. That is legal, democratic and consistent with normal international practice.

There will never be a better time than now for Scotland to become an Independent, normal, nation once again. It is no time for faint hearts or haverers; we must seize the moment.

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437 thoughts on “The Scottish Parliament Does Have the Right to Withdraw from the Act of Union

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  • flatulence'

    The more I see campaigning for indiref2 or independence, the more I think a general election is coming and the players are trying to divide Labour’s vote, using the Scottish.

    • Mistress Pliddy

      Exactly. One has to question the motivations behind everyone pushing this weird agenda. Manipulation is fast being developed into a fine black art by governments, which makes the tedious 1984 seem like a spring fair.

      • flatulence'

        I was going to agree with you completely apart from ‘weird’, because I’m not anti indyref2 and didn’t want to offend. But the comments here are insane. Building walls! Sabre rattling about the enemy that might fight to stop a coup, ignoring the million or so Scottish brothers and sisters they’d have to fight within that wouldn’t want it (assuming the 1st ref was corrupt, otherwise it could easily be twice that). And meanwhile talk on the massive story on the institute for statecraft is dead. What Corbyn did today isn’t mentioned. It’s bizarre and so I must agree with you entirely.

  • R Knight

    First the Scottish Parliament needs to grow a backbone – closely followed by the electorate.

  • Edward Francis Henry Chisnall

    This requires careful consideration with a view to thoughtful action. What is the position with regard to a written Constitution for Scotland or Bill of Rights. I would like to study the information you have sent me in detail and add to my desire to append meaningful comment or even participate in some respect, as my credentials and experience allow. This would be a momentous thing. A true renaissance of Scottish identity.

  • Userfreindly

    Agree with the Spirit of Craigs post but not the approach to take.

    As was mentioned the latest Supreme court rulings and the tactics of the English government changing the rules of the game after the fact and overriding Scottish law is prpbably in itself grounds to say that the treaty of Union has been broken. What will the SNP do, do they want to go for Infy really or not? Lets say they do, then until now they have stated that Brexit conditions should be fully clear. Nicola also stated she will make an announcement ‘soon’ tm.

    I do think SNP MPs should walk out early in the New year. SNP is completely sidelined and ignored so they should take some direct action.
    Then what? SNP already has a mandate for indy ref 2 passed by the Scottish parliament and needs to b usd during this term. By all means create an assembly but in // use that mandate and do not even seek London permission. Citing ‘Claim of Right’ and mandate begin the process which BBC will broadcast as open to legal challenge’. SNP needs to sate the terms, question and date for the 2nd referendum.

    Note: Needs to be done in Q1 2019 while English government is already in Chaos.
    Note 2: Not going to happen but Postal votes should be BANNED TOTALLY from said referendum as wide open to large scale fraud.
    Note 3: Scotland is NOT Catalonia, we are ina Union by tearty and any side can untreat. If England tries to send police / troops to stop it, it will not end well. Scotland Ref will not be UDI. We are a recognised constiutient of a 2 Country(Kingdom) treaty. Nevertheless other international countries have to recognise it as Craig is right to insist. But…. a)England have run out of favours/friends b) Now have Zero support for UK as a member state of EU, c) Opportinity for many UN countries for payback to perfidious Albion d) UK influence worldwide is at its lowest for 100s of years.

    • Muscleguy

      Unlike Spain there are no federal police, certainly no paramilitary federal police. The police and other emergency services in Scotland are Holyrood controlled so cannot be used by Westminster in that fashion. So if WM was to go down the Madrid route it can only use troops.

      Scottish troops will not be reliable so they will have to be English/Welsh and as such would look like invaders. The British army had trouble controlling Belfast, they will have even more trouble controlling Glasgow, let alone Dundee. Also how will Scottish troops react to all this? Especially home on leave seeing their families treated by other troops.

      The chance of it all going wrong and those troops sent in, under the TV cameras, having to deal with tooled up police and Scottish troops. It would be Petrograd like and thus a PR disaster for WM. I credit WM with being too savvy for that. The tanks may have crushed Red Clydeside but that won’t wash any more.

      WM’s only hope is compliant courts and it is clear they cannot rely on the Scottish courts and if we move quickly we can always appeal to the ECJ, with Cataln interest and possibly an amicus brief as well, perhaps dragging in other movements, Corsica etc. The legal route is dodgy, there is expert opinion that the original Section 30 order can be taken as open ended so we don’t need another one. Sturgeon may be of this opinion but doesn’t want it all to end up in court so would rather a new one being issued but may go there if May continues to be obdurate.

      May got her lucky, Fluffy Mundell to reply to the SNP letter asking which she preferred a referendum or the SNP using a GE as an independence plebiscite (doing a Sinn Fein). He waffled but it should have concentrated minds in No10. We effectively served notice that absent a Section 30 we have other options and we are not afraid to use them but you might not like them, at all.

      We have Tories galore saying in the past that a majority of MPs would do it. Saint Maggie of Finchley said it, Ruth Davidson said it etc. etc. This can be thrown in their faces.

  • Muscleguy

    Such envoys should also visit Australasia. I cannot speak for Australia but I think the current NZ govt at least would also be in favour of an independent Scotland if it was done properly. NZ, Australia and Canada all became independent by gradual degrees. Moving out of the UKs orbit and ambit by degrees. It all started with Dominion status whereby they stopped being colonies and became in essence Devo Max states.

    NZ ended up declaring war on Nazi Germany before anybody else in the Empire/Commonwealth did by dint of being so close to the International Date Line. The important thing is that it was required to do so. Something which unfortunately Devolved Scotland, Wales or NI are not required or empowered to do so. Which means they have fewer powers than NZ post 1920. Most powerful devolved status my foot.

    • Robyn

      Nice idea, Muscleguy, but Australia still has an English woman as Head of State. NZ too, as I recall. No point looking to Australia for anything except for support of the status quo.

    • Muscleguy

      But it will be offering a positive vision of the future while the No camp will be offering chaos with English Brexiteers running things, the artistocrats and oligarchs getting even more bloated and xenophobia becoming a national religion.

      It will be hard for most Scots to reject the positive vision, providing it is also viable and pragmatic. The attraction of holding onto Sterling will wane as it loses value due to Brext and the Yes vote, as that happens a ScotPound as a petro currency looks like a solid bet. Even if we decide to leave most of what is left in the ground for the future. It will still be there, still be known to be there.

      We still have a positive balance of payments, possibly even better than counted as many Scottish exports have to go to English ports to find an appropriate export exit and thus is often booked as an English export. Post independence we will be able to capture much more of that as well as improving our port infrastructure.

  • Hairy Jack

    The only thing I think we can be certain of in this voyage to BritNat fascism is that indyref2 is a dead duck.

    There is no time to logistically implement such a vote before Brexit now, and afterwards Scotland will be forever ‘forbidden’ – the UK autocracy has just this week proven it will strip powers and amend laws at will in pursuit of its ‘ein volk, ein reich’ vision.

    Another critical issue people don’t seem to grasp is how the fallout from the Brexit referendum would be used to undermine yet another plebiscite. I’m not sure how anyone can look at that vote and seriously think an indyref is a good idea! And I say this as a lifelong yesser.

    Fundamental constitutional changes can now be seen to be the complex multilevel processes they always were – they are not single issues – and it is fundamentally dishonest to suggest independence can be rendered upfront into a simple and transparent yes/no binary choice that is comprehensible to the electorate.

    Look how well that idea has been served by the Brexit liars – they took a weak mandate and have exploited it for their own self interest. The MSM would have a feeding frenzy with this point, using it to sew enough doubt in the minds of the willingly deceived about SNP politicians’ personal integrity and motivations to scrape the union through again. The media in this country is shamelessly partisan and an intellectual disgrace, and in such an environment the UK will always prevail ‘democratically’ through shock and awe tactics.

    The only way to consult the public about indy is through a general election. Same as for all other general policy and political value judgements – you elect a party on their prospectus, and trust them to deliver that basket of changes. Anything else is a major triumph of hope over fear… and delusion over reality.

    The fact that the SNP generals still seem stuck in the heady days of 2013 is also profoundly depressing (and infuriating). Either they’re doing this deliberately as a strategy to confound their opponents… or they’ll be as much to blame for what is about to unfold up here as all the other failed political vehicles when the lights go out.

    • Christopher Rogers

      Hairy Jack,

      As far as I’m aware Sturgeon has a mandate by dint of the fact the SNP won the Scottish Assembly Election, and recent Court Rulings have undermined the Assembly’s powers, despite being promised full DevoMax at the time of IndyRef1, so please be careful about which elections we are discussing, be it UK-wide Westminster ones, or Devolved Assembly ones as in Scotland & Wales.

  • Ernest Ross

    Hi Craig,
    What a bloody great wee read there.
    Now I know why WM prior to sept 18th 2012 got international countries to back NO… (To speak out against Scottish independence).

    Thank you Craig for all this research you do.

  • Gordon Ross

    Please contact Dr Mark Mcnaught. He has all but finished the final draft Scottish Constitution.
    Go to;

  • Morag Sievwright

    I agree with you. I want to move forward with our elected Scottish Government leading the way. At least, I’d like to hear from our First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, why the Government does not favour or recommend this move at this time. There is a wall of silence about Independence which isn’t healthy either. It creates unnecessary unease in the movement.
    Better to share with at least members of party but more effectively, more inclusively, with supporters of Independence.

  • Welsh Sion

    Wales’s “Acts of Union” with England (“The Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542) were repealed by the Westminster Soon be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of their repeal.

    Looking forward to a similar repeal of Scotland’s ties to England in the near future.

    Best regards.

  • Bill Purves

    In July the Westminster Parliament voted unanimously to uphold the Claim of Rights, doing otherwise would have broken the Treaty of the Union of Parliaments. Thus upholding that the people of Scotland are sovereign.

  • Lindsay Morrison

    I agree with you Craig. Now is the moment and I doubt we will ever have another as my feeling is that the Tories are poised to get rid of Holyrood as soon as they’ve secured Brexit as evidenced by the large increased staff at Mundell’s Scottish Office.
    Your strategy seems well thought out and the best possible route to independence. If I as a 64 year old retired lady can do anything to help let me know. We are already SNP members.

  • Big Jock

    They are testing us by stretching the elastic and seeing how far they can go before we snap. We are letting them do this over and over with no actual consequences.

    Nicola if you can’t do this then step aside. Our country is being humiliated and we are scunnered with the diplomacy tactics. Stop talking and start acting, it’s not a Twitter war!

  • Allan Dickson

    I agree wholeheartedly with this approach. Going to Westminster to get their “agreement” is a fool’s errand. If there were any chance of a referendum succeed in WM would do everything possible to delay, obfuscate and flat-out lie to wear us down. No more referenda; let our leaders and representatives show leadership.

  • ADKC

    If this was so easy then no-one would have a problem with Crimea leaving Ukraine and becoming part of Russia, the Donetsk Peoples Republic and the Luhansk Peoples Republic would already be free and independent of Ukraine (and free to become part of Russia if they so wish), and Catalonia would already be an independent state.

    In all the above cases the colonial entity de-legitimises the political body representing the independence/freedom movement. The lack of a recognised “legitimate” governing entity appears to be sufficient to prevent the international legal recognition by the UN of an independent state. Of the above the only entities achieving any success where those who where prepared to use, and proficient in the use of, arms and militias).

    What will obviously happen, should Scotland move towards declaring UDI, is that the UK government (the English colonial ruling instrument) will de-legitimise the Government of Scotland (just as Spain did to Catalonia).

    The reason why this path is chosen by the colonial power is that Countries do not have a right to independence, only Nation States have this right. And for a National State to exist it must have a defined area and a recognised government. It’s effectively a Catch 22 situation.

    There are only two paths to independence for Scotland. To get the British Government to agree to independence (unlikely) or to fight for independence (likely to be suppressed by British Armed forces but unlikely to be needed as westerners are probably to soft for this kind of step).

    In the meantime I would expect the British State to begin to surreptitiously de-fang the Scottish Parliament and diminish those politicians who advocate most strongly and effectively for independence. Unfortunately, I fear Scotland has lost it’s best chance for independence.

    • Andrew Ellis

      You’re wrong. Self determination is a jus cogens or peremptory norm of international law, and it is available to any “people”. The right is not unlimited, but your interpretation is faulty. Scotland (and indeed Catalonia) have a defined area, historical claims to self-government / independence and in the Catalan (& Quebec) cases a linguistic aspect.

      There is no agreed definition of the term people, but it is quite clear that the Scots people (and indeed the Catalan people, Estonian people, Slovenian people, Kosovar people, East Timorese etc etc) qualify as a people. Your comparators of Crimea and other parts of the Ukraine are misguided, and not applicable to cases like Scotland, Catalonia and Quebec. The fact that there is no precedent for part of a western liberal democracy to secede makes the way they will be treated, and the process leading to it, distinct from de-colonisation situations.

      Craig is right that the claim to self determination (since it is a jus cogens) supervenes any legal prohibition or constitutional ban by the metropolitan power. Thus the Spanish governments claim that Catalan independence, and the holding of referendums without the consent of Madrid, are functionally impossible due to constitutional prohibition is impermissible under international law. The same would ultimately apply in the event Westminster tried to prohibit either further referendums on independence, or the declaration of independence which came in response to the majority voting for it in a vote to a clear question.

      Your two choices are flawed. The first is simply factually and legally wrong; the second is just vanishingly unlikely, although in extremis any people which is denied self-determination is entitled to use force to secure its independence.

      The contest is far from over.

      • ADKC

        …and yet Catalonia is not independent? Why? Not because the Catalan are not a distinct people (they are) but because their Government was de-legitimised. Correct me if I am mistaken but I don’t believe that the UN, any government, or any supra-national body has recognised Catalonian independence?

        You are misunderstanding my point. There are two parts to the legal recognition of an independent state; the first is is the definition of a people/area (which I do not dispute in the case of Catalonia or Scotland [or the Russian part of Ukraine for that matter]), the second is the “legitimate” government of the people and the area seeking independence. What you fail to grasp is that the recognition of the “legitimate” government is required and this needs to be granted by the colonial government (such recognition can also be “granted” by the UN or the US and, in certain circumstance, other powers.) These powers can also de-legitimse bodies seeking independence.

        This is why the main political attack by the Colonial power on the body seeking independence is to undermine it’s legitimacy; it is not just PR.

        Your failure to recognise that the Russian areas of Ukraine have similar rights to independence just amounts to special pleading and defeats your whole argument. Donetsk, Luhansk and a number of other areas of Ukraine have as much right (perhaps more so) to independence as Scotland and Catalonia.

        I never said the “contest” is over; I just said the best chance had gone. But I would point out to you referring to the matter as a “contest” indicates that you are not really prepared for what an independence struggle will involve. And this comes back to how I started by post, I said that “If this was so easy…”, and that’s the problem, you’re expecting independence to be easy and are just not prepared for the individual, collective, mental, physical, disciplined effort that will be required.

        The best chance that Scotland missed, of course, is the referendum which was only granted because the British Government thought that there was no chance Scotland would vote for independence. The UK won’t make that mistake again. This is why Salmond has been besmirched, this is why the SNP political leadership don’t appear to that interested in independence (they’re probably just sock-puppets now), this is why it will be a long, long time before Scotland will ever gain another independence referendum, this is why the powers of the Scottish Parliament are being undermined, and this is why, should it be necessary, the Scottish Government will be de-legitimised.

        Did you know that Scottish independence was just a Russian plot to undermine Britain and the west? Nonsense of course, but do you see how easy it would be to de-legitimise a Scottish entity seeking independence.

        That said there is a 2nd opportunity for independence on the horizon. Northern Ireland has a defined right to vote for unification. It is likely that this right will be triggered within 5 years (or 10 years, at most). Scotland get the opportunity to piggy-back on that. Also, Corbyn, should he be elected, will be sympathetic (but will the Labour government as a whole be amenable). But these options tend to underline the current political weakness of the Scottish independence movement.

        • Andrew Ellis

          I’m not misunderstanding your point, your point has no merit. Recognition by the metropolitan power is not a requirement, though it may make general international recognition easier. Slovenia’s independence was recognised despite the objections of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. There are many other examples. Thus Spain’s refusal to countenance Catalan’s holding a referendum, still less becoming independent, with reference to the prohibition under the Spanish constitution is invalid. The failure of Spain to recognise a future Catalan independence declaration (or of the UK to recognise Scottish independence) doesn’t invalidate the formal declaration, or indeed facts on the ground if independence is attained in future.

          Similarly, I’m not saying that Russian majority areas of the Ukraine are not entitled to self determination, I’m querying the process by which this is being attempted (which isn’t legitimate) and your intellectually lazy assumption that these cases have much to tell us about very different scenarios like Catalonia, Scotland and Quebec. I don’t agree that the best chance of independence for Scotland is gone; that’s simply assertion on your part. I’ve never believed independence would be easy, nor am I unprepared for the struggle. Your somewhat fervid imaginings about de-legitimisation are just you erroneous take on the current situation. Scots have a choice; they can either acquiesce in the gelding of their parliament and remain shackled to a post brexit UK, or they can take power into their own hands.

          Thus far we have relied on UK assurances that they have no selfish interest in denying independence to Scots should the majority want it (or indeed the reunification of Ireland in similar terms). This only becomes problematic if Westminster tries to change the rules of the game, or “do a Madrid” by trying to stop the exercise of self-determination, roll back on devolution or try to make gaining independence functionally impossible as Madrid does with Catalonia by insisting on the agreement / permission of the rest of Spain.

          The supposition has always been (pace the precedents of 2 Quebec secession referendums & #indyref1 in Scotland) that in liberal democracies like Canada, the UK & Spain these matters would be settled democratically, peacefully and by negotiation. That supposition has been dented by Spain’s recent actions in Catalonia, but that doesn’t ipso facto mean we can expect the same here, or that we have missed our chance or even that we under estimate the challenges.

          In the final analysis, independence isn’t something you are given, it’s inherent right which you may have to take.

          • ADKC

            Slovenia’s independence was recognised because the western powers had an interest in breaking up Yugoslavia and because Slovenia had organised to maintain a well armed force that was outside the control of Yugoslavia. Slovenian independence was gained by declaring independence and then fighting a 10 day war (which the Slovenes effectively won). Slovenia were successful because they had already grabbed control and were well armed, befoore they declare independence. So the case you cite doesn’t stand up, unless you mean that Scotland will also fight such a war.

            You will not find a single case where independence was granted unless the power ceding control agreed, an external power applied pressure or considerable disruptive action was employed.

            It is laughable to say that the approach adopted by the Donetsk and Luhansk are illegimate. Those areas were under real threat from Kiev and they moved as they did to prevent their land and people being subject to military occupation and oppression. Surely, they did exactly when the Slovenes did; declared independence and deployed armed forces to defend the area from invasion? However, you put your finger on the issue: “legitimacy”. The UK will prevent Scottish independence on the grounds of legitimacy.

            You allow the possibility the UK may “try to make gaining independence functionally impossible”. And, I guess I am saying that is exactly what the UK government will do and have already begun this process.

            I don’t agree that independence is an inherent right (though I wish it were so) but I do agree that independence will have to be taken.

    • Harry Law

      ADKC, “There are only two paths to independence for Scotland. To get the British Government to agree to independence (unlikely) or to fight for independence”. The British Government have already agreed that the Scots have the right to self determination, why should they change their minds? Obviously a referendum cannot be held every year, for instance it could be held when it is clear through [consistent] opinion polls indicating that a referendum is needed or some other major political development [maybe leaving the European Union] but in either case independence for Scotland must be with the considered will of the Scottish population through a referendum and not because as an earlier poster said “because the stars are in alignment” Independence for Scotland is far to important a step to take because of the dislike of a particular [and possibly fleeting] government.

      • ADKC

        You just don’t understand British double-talk. It is meant that the Scottish people have the right to vote to reject independence, not to actually leave.

        A second referendum is just not going to be granted just like that; it is going to be a real struggle to achieve and there is precious little sign that this struggle has even begun.

        • Harry Law

          ADKC You seem to have a contempt for the Scottish electorate, you seem to think that they are so stupid that they have been taken in by “British double talk”, rather like Craig who in a shameful tirade against Scottish no voters [see ‘lack of forgiveness’] said “I am not going to reach out to you, No voter. You are either evil, or quite extraordinarily thick. You will forever be a long way beneath my notice. This will be the last thought I ever give you”. No voters need to be persuaded that Scottish independence is in their best interests. Not to be told they are stupid by falling for British double talk and otherwise vilified.

          • ADKC

            At no point did I express any contempt for the Scottish electorate. You’re the one that said “British Government have already agreed that the Scots have the right to self determination, why should they change their minds” I was just pointing out that this is just double talk and that the last thing the British want is for the Scottish people to choose independence. You’re the one that appears to believe the British double-talk, so if you wish to attribute contempt in my comments then it can only have been directed at you, not the Scottish people.

            I would have absolutely no agreement with the comment you attribute to Craig Murray but you need to take that up with Craig not with me.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Crimea was NOT part of Ukraine. ” It was created on October 18, 1921 as the Crimean Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic of the Russian SFSR. It was renamed the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic on December 5, 1936 by the VIII Extraordinary Congress of Soviets of the USSR.” (Wikipedia)

      Following the overthrow of Yanukovych in Feb 2014 the Kiev regime dissolved the Crimean Autonomous Republic Parliament and in March it returned to Russian Federation though the 1954 Transfer by Khrushchev is not regarded as being de jure.

      Cameron bought Scottish votes by transferring huge blocs of public spending from Northern England to Scotland just before the Referendum.

  • laguerre

    Me, being a bitter realist, I didn’t think that much of Craig’s declaration in the previous thread that the EU “enthusiastically” condemned independence for Catalonia. They were just doing standard EU policy of supporting EU states.

    If Scotland decides for independence, it will be after Brexit-Day. In this case, the EU will no longer be bound by its policies, and could well support Scottish independence.

  • Eric Carbis

    I think that overall that is the way forward. Some might not like it very much, however there’s been too much pandering to what the Westminster mob want & not enough from us fighting back against The colonialism that impacts daily life in Scotland. We need our Scottish Mps MSPs & MEPs right across the political spectrum to get behind the people who have elected them. Time to pushback, time is now to get off our knees & stand up for children & grandchildren #fightback

  • Quentin Kelly

    Great bit of work , just read this and feel much happier about Indy and how soon it should happen

  • Stuart Hood

    It’s the “if other conditions for recognition are fulfilled” in 5.6 that’s the fudge/get-out clause? What are they, how do you get them recognized, and by whom?

  • Graham Ennis

    Craig, this is absolutely excellent.
    Its the oil. They cannot give it up, nor the gas. It means the margin between survival or collapse of a Post Brexit state. That simple.
    That leave’s only one ominous outcome. The Scots will probably be forced down the same bitter route, like the Irish. So your idea of emissaries is essential. It has to discreetly start now. My understanding is that generally, the EU is very firmly on the side of Scotland. (Again, its the oil. UK has little oil left, except in the illegally seized Scottish territory that was annexed before the Start of devolution.)
    What is most likely, is that the Uk will almost immediately after BREXIT seize back the powers of the Scottish parliament. and leave it as a sort of English County Council. I might also dissolve the Parliament. and leave the Scottish Government powerless. All this is now being discussed in Scotland. This is a grim business. In practical terms, It requires that contingency planning is started now, inside the Scotish Government, but little sign of this happening yet.
    Ideas of mass public protest, Catalan style, and blocking in every way any kind of attempt at a direct rule, is essential. Otherwise, any chance of a free Scotland will disappear, after BREXIT, and the UK Governments rule will be de-facto.

    • ADKC

      Your post gets the thumbs up from me!

      I’m not so sure about the emissaries; foreign governments are not going to come to the aid of Scotland and it might direct effort that would best be devoted to building support throughout Scotland, including trade unions, opposition parties, grassroots, and community groups, etc.

      However, I do think you are putting your finger on the tremendous difficulties the independence movement face. The likelihood that the UK will seek to diminish Scottish Government seems obvious to you and me but barely anyone else seems to see the risk. Once the Scottish Government/Parliament is gone or powers greatly reduced it will have no legitimacy to call for independence.

      The solution (to stopping the erosion of the Scottish Government/Parliament) is as you suggest mass protest, but implicit in your post is warning that if this doesn’t materialise then the (explicitly stated) chance of a free Scotland will disappear.

  • Big Jock

    Sometimes what gets lost in this whole debate about sovereignty. Is that the UK only really exists as two United Kingdoms. Scotland and England. We are not a province like N Eire or a principality like Wales.

    We have as much right to dictate terms in the UK as England does. The problem is a numbers game not a sovereignty issue. England is massively over represented ,so it is not a union of equals. Scotland gets what England decides.

    To break free from the democratic dead end, we just need to turn around. If we play their game then there can only ever be one winner. Nicola is making a mistake thinking she can stop Brexit or engineer independence via Westminster.

    Instead we just need to move our Mps home. That is strike 1. Then we tell them we will not sit in Westminster ever again. We then declare Holyrood sovereign and hold a legal referendum as per the articles of union and claim of right.

    If WM refuse to recognise this. Then so be it let them come and try and shut down our parliament. England is no friend of Europe now! We have allies.People would see such an act as a devlaration of war on democracy.

    I am afraid getting independence is going to take some pretty hard work, and sometimes politically dangerous manoeuvring.

    It was never going to be ticking a box. This is England we are leaving and they don’t let their property go easily.

    • giyane

      The Tory boat has been sinking ever since Russia and Syria intercepted NATO missiles fired into Syria on 14 April this year. Blonde Hubris had momentarily taken out his finger out of the dyke and stuck it somewhere more interesting. He now joins Cameron in his gypsy caravan for weakest links. She has been shipping water ever since, in spite of moving the retired spies out of their retirement accommodation on the deck=chairs of the Titanic. Nobody should be fooled by Mrs May’s and her party’s performance with water up to their knees and sinking fast.

      I genuinely believe that before the commons vote in 35 days time she will have sunk. This time unlike last time the Tories disintegrated into a molted butter of tail-chasing tigers after Thatcher, the Tories will be dismantled and the Thatcher legacy shredded into the Atlantic. We live in hope.

    • ADKC

      Wales is an occupied and colonised country. Scotland joined with Britain in the Act of Union of 1707 and North Ireland joined with an Act of Union 1800.

      Your comments about Wales and Northern Ireland could be interpreted as being high handed and lacking in respect towards Wales and Northern Ireland. More importantly (from your point of view) if you feel it is legitimate to put Scotland above Northern Ireland and Wales, then you shouldn’t be too surprised if the UK government feels it is legitimate to put the interests of England above that of Scotland.

      Other than your attitude towards Wales and Northern Ireland I would agree with everything you said.

  • SA

    “I have continually explained on this site that the legality of a Declaration of Independence is in no sense determined by the law of the metropolitan state, but is purely a matter of recognition by other countries and thus acceptance into the United Nations.”

    Let us examine this more carefully: Kosovo unilaterally declared independence not because there was a plebiscite but because the ruling junta installed by NATO did so. It was then recognised by the usual suspects and their vassal states. It is still a not a member of the UN. On the other hand Crimea had a plebiscite in which the great majority voted to secede and successfully did so. I guess if the ICJ was to examine the legitimacy of this secession, they would also come to the same conclusion that they did with Kosovo. But still Craig believes that the independence of Kosovo is legitimate and that of Crimea not. Is there some inconsistency here?
    Also it seems from what Craig states, that the will of the majority does not seem to play a part in the decision for independence and that he prefers the Kosovo model for Scottish independence: a decision by the ruling party.
    I also don’t know whether it is essential for the ‘international community’ to recognise the independence of a state. We know very well that these UN votes can be swayed by certain powers and certainly some of these same powers have acted on many cases against the will of the UN collectively and against UN laws.

    • giyane


      Of course the law is flexible, always has been and always will be. The fact is that the EU’s refusal to negotiate with Mrs May on the Brexit withdrawal agreement, and the vacuity of the agreement itself tells us that the EU does not want to make a deal with a no-hope British PM with no control over her party’s script. May is as incapable as an intoxicated driver who has forgotten how to use their gearstick, clutch or brakes.

      It could be worse. Craig could have had the triumphal pleasure of reminding us of his prediction that the failure of Brexit would be blamed on the intransigency of the EU. It is in the end going to be blamed on the Tory party, the Nasty party , that couldn’t even stick together with evostick. The inhabitants of the Tory benches in the HoC have wriggled out of their clothes and scarpered like mice back to their constituencies with their garments stuck to the bench.

      There is no functioning government right now so its completely irrelevant whether it’s legal or not by this or that international statute. Corbyn will have to give both Northern Ireland its apology for years of terrorist bloodshed and Scotland its centuries-lost freedom in order to float his new parliament. Something so basic and fundamental but which totally escapes the Tories’ self-imagined birthrights.

  • John Campbell .

    Brilliant , has Nicola been made aware of this ? . She is a lawyer , but maybe this is beyond her ken ? .The powers that be should get a bend on , in Scotland , and follow this up , and quickly . Thank you very much .

  • IMcK

    The 1707 Treaty of Union is an agreement between Scotland and England and I fail to see how International Law or Domestic Law can be used to override that agreement.
    Nor can I see how recognition of secession by other states overrides the provisions of the agreement.
    That recognition of secession under international law does not require the seceding state to have complied with the domestic law of the preceding state or for it to have the constitutional authority to secede, does not confer any authority of international law to override any prior agreement between parties.
    Similarly, as in the Kosovo case quoted by Craig, that declarations of independence are not prohibited under international law does not confer any authority of international law to override any prior agreement between parties.
    Such an agreement can only be overridden/dissolved/negated if either:
    i) Agreed to by both parties to the agreement or
    ii) The agreement can be shown to have been breached

    • Iain Stewart

      “It is no time for faint hearts or haverers (1); we must seize the moment.”
      Instead of fearing something about the SNP leadership or even forwarding this article to their MPs (2), all able bodied brave Scots (if there are any of us left) should be taking to the streets surely.

      (1) In Scotland a haverer talks nonsense: the correct word would have been switherers (if addressing a Scottish readership, though).
      (2) Imagine the continental news headlines: thousands of Scots email Parliament. No casualties reported so far.

  • GrigoryZinoviev

    So the Crimean Declaration of Independence from Ukraine in 2014 is okay then? Iit was followed by a decision to seek to become part of the Russian Federation, which was accepted by the latter.

  • James Hugh

    Thanks for this clarity Craig

    It’s helpful to have somebody who can help to cut through the perplexing complexity of this matter.

    On all fronts it looks as if Westminster wants to dissolve Holyrood by taking away all of it’s power and setting it up to look like a failure.

    This must be made clear somehow to the people of Scotland and the SNP and other supportive politicians must act when the time is right.

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