Westminster Cannot Block Scottish Independence 640

Boris Johnson’s facetious, point-scoring reply to the formal request from the Scottish government for agreement to a second Independence referendum is an act of extreme arrogance. An off-the-cuff campaign remark from a single politician has no weight in weighing the will of a nation, and I presume Johnson is not arguing that every political statement Nicola Sturgeon or Alex Salmond has ever made has the force of law.

The “once in a generation” remark has no more force than “die in a ditch”. It is not contained in any official document, and appears in neither the Edinburgh Agreement nor the Smith Commission report. For Johnson to base his refusal of a vital democratic step on such a flimsy pretext is extremely arrogant. It is born of colossal self-confidence. He is perfectly confident the highly centralised Westminster system will allow him simply to ride roughshod over Scotland.

Johnson is of course right. You may be surprised to hear that I agree with the analysis of McHarg and McCorkindale published today that a legal challenge arguing the Scottish Government’s right to hold a referendum is a waste of time, not least because if such legal challenge looked like succeeding the Tories would simply pass Westminster legislation outlawing the referendum explicitly. There is no doubt whatsoever that such legislation would be upheld by the UK Supreme Court under the doctrine of the Sovereignty of (Westminster) Parliament.

I also have no doubt that a futile and time-wasting court action is going to be a key part of the Scottish Government’s approach in response to Johnson, of pretending to do something about Independence a few more years.

McHarg and McCorkindale are quite right on UK Constitutional Law, which is where their expertise lies. They know very little about public international law and still less about international politics.

The truth is that UK Constitutional Law is as irrelevant to Scottish Independence as Soviet Constitutional Law was to the question of Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian Independence. The UK is disintegrating and not the smirk of Johnson, the frippery of the UK Supreme Court nor the witterings of lawyers can hold it together.

Independence is not a matter of domestic law. It is a matter of international law alone. Independence is the existence of a state in relation to other states. It is gained not by any internal process- internal process is utterly irrelevant, and in 95% of cases does not involve a referendum – but by recognition of other states, formalised through the General Assembly of the United Nations.

I touched on these points in my brief statement at the AUOB press conference after the march on Saturday.

In its judgement on Kosovo, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) specifically confirmed that the agreement of the state being seceded from was not necessary for Independence. That is the position in law, whatever any UK court may say. Indeed it was the UK government itself that put this argument most clearly to the ICJ in the Kosovo case.

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. 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 a state has the right to declare Independence without the agreement or permission of the original state and its political or legal authorities.

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. 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.

So the key question is, could Scotland get recognition from other states for a Declaration of Independence? The attitude of the EU will be crucial and here Catalonia is obviously a key precedent. But it is one that has been totally misunderstood.

The vast majority of the politicians and functionaries of the EU institutions viewed the actions of the Francoist government of Spain in assaulting the people of Catalonia who were trying to vote, with extreme distaste. But they held their noses and supported Spain. Because over 20 years experience as a diplomat taught me that the EU functions as a club of member states, who will support each other in almost any circumstance. So Spain was supported.

But the UK is shortly going to stop being a member. It is Scotland, as a potential member with a long history of valued membership and a firm intention to join, which will have the natural support of the EU, the more so as there will be a strong desire to get Scotland’s fishing, energy and mineral resources back within the bloc. The disintegration of the UK will also be encouraged as a salutary lesson to any other states that consider leaving the EU. The political forces within the EU are very, very strongly behind recognition of Scottish Independence.

Once the EU decides to recognise Scotland (and crucially it is not a decision that needs unanimity in the EU vote, an extremely important and overlooked fact) the rest will be easy. The UK is detested in much of the developing world for its continued refusal to decolonise Diego Garcia, for the Iraq War, and for the whole history of colonialism.

So how should Scotland proceed? My advice would be to declare Independence at the earliest possible opportunity. We should recall all Scottish MPs from Westminster immediately. We should assemble all of Scotland’s MEP’s, MP’s and MSP’s in a National Assembly and declare Independence on the 700th Anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, thus emphasising the historical continuity of the Scottish state. The views and laws of London now being irrelevant, we should organise, as an Independent state, our referendum to confirm Independence, to be held in September 2020.

The key criterion which governments have traditionally used to recognise another state is control of the state’s internal territory. (They do not have to use that criterion, each state can recognise on whatever basis it wishes, but that is the usual one cited). This is where the Catalonian Declaration of Independence failed, the Catalan Government never managed to enforce it on its own ground.

There is going to be no process of Independence agreed with the British government. We have to take Independence, not beg for it. At some stage, there is always the danger that the British government may try to react by sending in the British Army to enforce Westminster’s will. If we believe we are an independent nation, we have to be prepared to defend ourselves as an independent state should the worst happen. Calling a confirmatory referendum as the first act of the Independent state would make it difficult for Johnson to justify sending in the British Army to try to prevent it, but we cannot rule it out. Hopefully that will not involve anyone getting killed, but we must be plain that Westminster will never voluntarily allow us to leave and may physically attack us if we try.

I appreciate this may all sound very unpleasant and confrontational.

We have two alternatives now – we stand up for ourselves and our inalienable right of self-determination in international law as defined in the UN Charter, or we grovel before Johnson’s smirk and try various “legal” and “constitutional” avenues in terms of the UK’s utterly irrelevant domestic legislation. Which will get us nowhere, slowly.

The time has come for Scottish Independence. With a referendum denied by no fault of ours, we must seize the moment and take the Independence for which they will not let us vote.


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640 thoughts on “Westminster Cannot Block Scottish Independence

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  • DiggerUK

    The argument here over the relationship between states under international law does not seem appropriate in the Scottish independence argument. Opposing or different states are not involved here.
    There only appears to be one state, that is the British/UK state. England, Wales, north of Ireland and Scotland are not independent states, they’re separate countries within one state. Some are in that state by conquest, some by treaty.

    The EU is not an intergovernmental organisation, it acts in its own interests as such a state in self defence of that state. The evidence for that was quite clearly demonstrated in the closing of ranks against the Spanish boot on Catalonian necks. Hoping for the EU to allow Scotland to become a vassal state just seems to be anything but independence as a free nation and state…_

    • Hamish McGlumpha

      And your argument (DiggerUK) is based on just what expertise?

      The author here has considerable knowledge and expertise on just these very matters. I know whose views carry more weight with those of us with a modicum of intelligence.

      Like most Scots, whilst I’m not a massive fan of the EU, pooling sovereignty with other European nations, is infinitely more attractive than occupation and dominance by an overbearing un-reformable British imperial remnant state over which Scotland has no electoral say (given the relative sizes of the respective countries).

      As rampant English xenophobic, atavistic nationalism plays out in ever more grotesque form, the drive for Scottish independence will become accordingly more urgent. No nation needs to ask the occupying state permission to gain independence, otherwise the dozens of smart countries who have gained independence from Britain (in reality England) would never have achieved that happy state.

      I just assume you are a Britnat troll? Possibly employed as such?

    • DiggerUK

      “closing of ranks against the Spanish boot on Catalonian necks”…….should read…..”closing of ranks supporting the Spanish boot on Catalonian necks”…_

    • Cubby


      Being a member of the EU will always be a thousand times better than Scotland being under Alister Jackboot the Tory Governor General against Scotland. Sadly too many English people have colonialism so engrained that they think it is a normal mindset.

      The Uk is the dirty fag end of the British Empire. Not many mourned the demise of the Empire throughout the world and not many will mourne the end of the UK.

      • Glasshopper


        The Scots were at the very epicenter of colonialism, and no re-writing of history by Scottish racist bigots will change that.

        Once again we can see the seething bigotry and racism at the core of this so-called Independence movement.

        • Keith Jones

          You must be using the usual lowest common demoninator logic to denote an obvious call for independence on behalf of Scots as ‘bigotted’ and ‘racist’ – usually a clear flag of a right winger to throw out such tripe and degrade freedom into the self interest mindset people like you a tied to. I am English and understand the anti-Empire rhetoric and a desire to be free of the surging alienating right wing xenophobia infacting our ‘nation’. If they want it let them have it!

          • Glasshopper

            Not all Scottish racist bigots are nationalists, but it does seem to be very common. Actually, i would be delighted if those kinds of people left our country, but it seems unfair on the decent majority.

          • Cubby

            Keith Jones

            A post of integrity from an Englishman. Nice to know that there are still decent people in England throughout all this Brexit racism.

            “If they want it let them have it” yes it’s called democracy and self determination.

            Johnson and Jack both telling Scotland recently that democracy in Scotland ended in 2014 is colonial fascism. The SNP have won the last nine elections in Scotland.

        • David

          Yes, we were, but unlike a large percentage of the English population we have moved on and into the 21st Century.

          If you like the “two-party” state, house of Lords, useless nuclear weapons, and deluded notion that we’re a bigshot on the global stage, you should find a time machine and go back to the 50s.

          If the UK government was actually interested in the good of people all across the islands then I’m sure many wouldn’t be bothered about pursuing independence. That’s clearly not the reality.

          Are you not insulted when a Tory MP brags about bringing jobs to her region that were essentially bribed away from Scots? Are you not insulted when the man who boasted about a pound being better spent in London than in Glasgow is now “our” PM? If you’re not, then I submit that you’re just a selfish and self-serving prat who should stay out of politics and just keep feathering your own nest in whatsoever way you find fit.

          Also, anyone with a functioning brain can see where the racists and bigots in this debate are concentrated (orange order, fascist salutes, etc., etc.). Most pro-independence Scots are outward looking and welcoming to foreigners – much more so than the population in England. The fact that you are keen to suggest the opposite leaves only two options: either you are a cretin or a wilfully dishonest shill.

        • Cubby


          “I would be grateful if those kinds of people left OUR country”

          What country is that then and why is it yours? The colonial mindset in all its glory.

          I thought the UK is a Union – precious Union even according to many Britnats. The most successful Union ever in the world according to the great liar Johnson.

          I live in my country Scotland.

          PS as regards racism we are subjected to anti Scottish racism on a daily basis via English tv. So GIRUY.

          There is no doubt that many individual Scots enriched themselves by taking on the values of the British Empire just as many do to this day e.g. Michael Gove Jackboot licker extraordinaire but the country of Scotland was treated as a colony by Westminster throughout this period just as it does today. So GIRUY again.

  • Gary

    UDI requires overwhelming support on the ground. So far I don’t think we have it. Not everyone who supports a referendum wants independence, although I’m sure 99% do. Not everyone who wants Independence wants UDI though and there is the sticking point.

    Support has to be overwhelming and it’s difficult to get that when Westminster controls the media outlets. Scant coverage was given to the reasons why the S30 request was reasonable but MASSIVE coverage has been given to the reply and why that was ‘reasonable’ It doesn’t REALLY matter that people in rUK think we’re wrong but it DOES matter that the majority will accept this propaganda as actual news.

    We’ve come a LONG way in the past 8 years, support nearly doubled, a newspaper that will print actual news and the begrudging acceptance by those in power that they can’t pretend we don’t exist anymore.

    Still though, the propaganda of Scotland as poor country persists IN Scotland. Add to this the much increased capability of Westminster, via it’s security forces, and they can promote thoughts and disputes even within the movement itself (as they are now) They are (a little) more subtle than they once were, still as vile.

    When support is high enough, we can do this, but it’s hard to bring supporters on board with no access to mainstream media…

    • Hans Adler

      Don’t underestimate the value of reactance. If Westminster does not permit a referendum, that is one of the strongest possible reasons to vote for independence in an ‘illegal’ referendum.

      • Cubby

        Hans Adler

        I know you probably meant well but there is no illegal referendum in Scotland. Sorry but you are being taken in by media lies and Britnat politicians lies. If it is illegal where is the law, what is the punishment and who decides who is guilty. I won’t hold my breath waiting.

        This is just an attempt to conflate the situation in Spain with Scotland and it is nonsense and propaganda at the same time.

        Claim of right.

        • Hans Adler

          A referendum can well be illegal under national law but legitimate and therefore in a sense legal under international law. That was arguably the case in Catalonia, and it could well happen in Scotland.
          The Westminster parliament is can overrule the Scottish parliament. If I remember correctly, a judgement that Craig Murray reported here on his blog some time ago said not just this, but even that the British government can make laws for Scotland and overrule the Scottish parliament. So it is trivial for Boris Johnson to create a Catalonia situation in which the police use force to prevent a referendum — if that’s what he wants.

          • Hans Adler

            Ooops — I forgot the main point. I used scare quotes around the word *illegal* for a reason.

          • Cubby

            Hans Adler

            ” can make laws”. that is the point it is not illegal at present even though the Britnat media and politicians keep repeating the lie that it is. He would have to overrule the claim of right to do so.

    • Andrew Paul Booth

      Work should be done on developing new media for Scotland.

      Regarding “propaganda of Scotland as poor country”, I see no reason why, in time, Scotland couldn’t be like Switzerland (running a Scottish Pound and with a similar relationship with the EU), given Scotland’s natural, including maritime, and human resources and particularly if parts of the London financial centre can be enticed to move to Edinburgh.

  • pete

    Re “die in a ditch”

    I would personally prefer if Johnson first carried out his earlier promise to lay in front of a bulldozer, then, by all means, carry on with the ditch option, if that is needed.

    I can understand Boris’s desire to leave the EU, that last thing he wants is to hear from renegade members like these Catalans: https://www.euronews.com/2020/01/14/catalan-separatist-leaders-take-up-mep-seats-in-blow-to-madrid or anyone else who feels that a Union, of whatever shade, has passed its sell by date.

    Your words are greatly appreciated, I hope the struggle for Scottish independence is not discouraged by the endless heaps of dung flung in its general direction.

  • Ross

    I wonder if the Scottish nationalists who celebrated Johnson’s resounding victory, seeing it as guaranteeing an independent Scotland, now realise the depth of their folly? Te merits of the arguments on both sides are relevant, Johnson has no intention of agreeing to another referendum, and the SNP have no mechanism by which they can force him to do so.

    • lysias

      Lloyd George had no intention of agreeing to Irish independence. Until events forced him to change his mind.

    • Cubby


      ” the SNP have no mechanism by which they can force him to do so” and how exactly do you know that for sure.

      Also how do you know that what has happened is not exactly what the SNP have planned for?

  • Dungroanin

    Any referendum WILL be subverted just like the previous one (& brexit) – unless a wholly independent and internationally supervised balloting system is in put in place.

    It is great that the hardy Scots gathered in abysmal weather conditions – but all future protests and actions would gain more participation in more clement weather.
    Though the French haven’t stopped, they have too much momentum for that after a good year of it

    Time to reclaim revolutionary spring from the ‘Color’ specialists.


    (I made the # up)

  • Mary Goodall

    Scotland is a Country. Not a County of Westminster England. Scotlands People are Sovreigh. They Decide not Westminster. There is nothing in the Treaty of the Union of Crowns that says either party must get
    Permission to leave. permission to leave.Scotland was independent before. It will be again.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    All good in theory, Mr Murray, but you need to address a few elephants marching up and down Sauchiehall Street, Princes Street and several other Scottish thoroughfares:

    1. What will your attitude be to the criminal Scots residing in England, purporting to promote Scottish nationalism, yet fully engaged in the illegal surveillance of English people who have a right to exist in their own nation free of psychopathic Scots interfering in areas nothing to do with them whatsoever?

    I trust you will not respect the right to legal due process of Scots who made death threats to those Englishfolk who were strongly against the Iraq war?

    I trust you will not describe as ‘human decency’ a Scottishness which demands £100k of free consultancy as an interview presentation, then puts the provider of such free consultancy under electronic surveillance, does everything to destroy everything they try to do in a place of work and generally behave like a psychotic queen bee bitch brought up as an only child and having serious issues to do with men courtesy of one failure of a father?

    I trust you would have short shrift with senior Establishment Scots engaged in full scale electronic hacking of minds superior to theirs whilst trying to purport that they are upstanding members of senior society?

    I trust you would ask Fraser Nelson to decide between his Scottish ancestry and his support for the execrable White Helmets?

    I could go on a long time with this list.

    There are millions of decent peace-loving English folk and hundreds of thousands of seriously nasty Scots. Particularly Scots who are fully paid up members of the very security services who promote, promulgate and enforce the attitudes of imperialism, racism, hegemonic domination and generalised inhumane sadism that you so rightly rail against so frequently and so volubly.

    My experience of the Scots is not the same as yours. I have seen the underbelly of scottishness and I would not recommend it to anyone on earth.

    There are actually more English people who want a state like the one you describe for Scotland than there are Scottish folk wanting it.

    So maybe there should be cornered off a part of England able to be free of Old Etonian rule; not linked to money laundering through London; not beholden in any way to Unspecial Relationships with the rogue state the USA; and not required to be a part of an EU that would not recognise democracy if it had it rammed up its backside.

    • craig Post author

      After Independence, the behaviour of the Scots in England will be a matter for the government of England.

      The truth is extremely simple. The English do in very significant numbers support the Conservative Party. The Scots do not.

      • Ananna

        The Tories got 25.1% of the vote in the last election… 28.6% in the one before.

        According to the last census only 2% of the Scottish population regard themselves as just English and another 2% as having some other combination of UK identities excluding Scottish. Even if you try and assume that every single one who doesn’t count themselves as Scottish in any way voted Tory… a lot of Scots still voted Tory…

        • craig Post author


          There will be Tories in an Independent Scotland, they just won’t be allowed to run things.

          I quite accept that about 25% of Scots are Tories. As are about 48% of the English. To claim that is not a significant difference is stupid.

        • Cubby

          Ananna and Craig

          Whatever the Census may say in my experience some Scots when push comes to shove say they are British not Scottish particularly Tory voters. A lot of them are working class Tory voters who buy in to the sectarian side of being British i.e. Catholic hating and Irish hating and of course Rule brittania, the British Empire and the Queen.

          So Ananna what I am saying is that a lot of Tory voters will see themselves as British first of all not Scottish and that is nothing to do with Tory tax policies.

      • Hamish McGlumpha

        Cubby, it is not ‘racist’ for a colonised nation ruled by a foreign country, and a government it did not vote for, to wish the foreign government to go away.

        It is not racist for a nation to demand self-determination – just normal.

        It IS racist, to have such a degree of belief in a colonising nation’s exceptionalism, that it cannot even see its wish to dominate other peoples, and the atavism that underlies that, as something that is NOT normal, and to fail even to recognise its own exceptionalism as nationalistic, expansionist , imperialist and pathological.

        The truth of this is understood in Ireland, India, Kenya, Pakistan, Palestine, Egypt, Zimbabwe, and even nowadays in Canada and Australia – to name but a few.

        Scotland is belatedly waking up, and once we have made sufficient amends for our own subaltern role in England’s evil empire, we will be fit to join the world’s free, successful small nations.

        And if we wish, to pool our sovereignty with like-minded European nations.

        • Hamish McGlumpha

          Sorry Cubby – just noted that your comments are addressed to Mr Jaggar – who might be even by some to fit my description above.

          Whatever happened to Mr Jaggar allegedly at the hands of some ‘Scots’, it is wrong to extrapolate that beyond the alleged perpetrators.


          • Cubby


            No problem. I agree with your post. I would just add that although many Scots enriched themselves by taking on the values of the British empire I would add that Scotland as a nation has always been treated by the Westminster empire (commonly called British, as did these type of Scots call themselves British in the past and today) as a colony to be exploited and controlled..

          • Hamish McGlumpha

            “I agree with your post. I would just add that although many Scots enriched themselves by taking on the values of the British empire I would add that Scotland as a nation has always been treated by the Westminster empire (commonly called British, as did these type of Scots call themselves British in the past and today) as a colony to be exploited and controlled..” Cubby.

            Agreed Cubby – and those of us who know the history of the clearances (Highland and Lowland) – the forced emigration, the devastation of rural societies, the forced internal migration to the hell-holes of industrial lowland Scotland, the expunging of Gaelic and Scots from our tongues, the economic conscription of generations of ‘Jock’ cannon fodder, and the continued subjugation of our people, land and culture and daily insults from Westminster, know the truth of which you speak.

            Now’s the day and now’s the hour.

  • Alex Birnie

    With every fibre of my being, I wish that your argument was sound Craig, but it’s not. I agree with everything you say about international recognition and international law superseding national law. I agree that the Kosovo situation demonstrated that fact.

    However, there is a glaring hole in your logic, and that is the meaning of the word “Scotland”. When the representatives of the Kosovans claimed the right to be an independent country, there was no doubt in the international community that they truly were the representatives of the vast majority of Kosovans. When you talk about “Scotland” should be doing this or that, what do you mean?

    If Nicola Sturgeon declares independence, she’s certainly doing it on my behalf, but what about my nephew, who is implacably opposed to the break up of the UK? Who will be speaking for him? He has every right to point out that there has only been one clear-cut plebiscite on Scottish independence – in 2014 – and he voted with the majority. To what political result can we independence supporters point, as justification for a Declaration of Independence, when the only referendum held to date was a defeat for the seekers of independence?

    No international body is going to recognise the independence of a state, when there is extreme doubt as to the wishes of the majority within that state. I believe that their is now a majority for independence, but I can just hear the retort “well, he WOULD believe that, wouldn’t he?”.

    There is no way round putting the horse before the cart. We absolutely must have some kind of plebiscite that shows to the international community that we Independence supporters are in the majority in Scotland.

    I don’t think that a referendum is the answer. In my view, the SNP and Greens leadership should take the bull by the horns, and publish – asap – the manifesto for the 2021 election, which should consist solely of something along the lines “A vote for the Scottish National Party (Green Party) will be a vote to authorise the elected Scottish government to declare Scotland an independent country, and to start negotiations with Westminster for the division of assets and liabilities”.

    The unionists can’t boycott such an election. If a majority of SNP/Green MSP’s are elected under those conditions, nobody, not Boris Johnson, nor any of his cronies, would be able to say that the resultant government doesn’t have the democratic right to exercise the manifest will of the Scottish people.

    • craig Post author


      which part of the bit about holding a confirmatory referendum in September 2020 was too hard for you to understand?

      • Alex Birnie


        Hence my remark about “putting the horse before the cart”.

        Declaring independence, THEN finding out how many people want it, is an almost perfect example of putting the cart before the horse.

        You ignored my basic question. On whose behalf would Nicola Sturgeon be declaring independence? Yours and mine? Certainly! But what about my nephew? Who will be speaking on his behalf?

        Democracy is important. It is too easy to become blinded by fervour for “our” cause, and to forget about how many support our cause. If we haven’t conducted some kind of plebiscite, justifying a Declaration of Independence, if the declaration isn’t firmly based on democratic grounds, then it could lead to disaster, even bloodshed.

        I totally and wholeheartedly disagree with your “hell mend them” approach, wrt no voters. We have to use persuasion to gain a majority. Strong arm tactics, or parliamentary chicanery won’t lead to a Velvet Revolution.

          • Fredi

            so what would be so wrong about a confirmatory referendum

            Doh, Because you nationalists might lose it,

            … again.

          • Alex Birnie

            Opinion is divided on this. Was it democratic of Heath to commit the UK to membership of the Common Market, without asking the public first? IMO, it was not. Just because a Tory arrogantly does something is not sufficient reason for repeating that arrogance.

            Once someone gives me a reason for putting the cart before the horse, I’ll listen carefully, but no good reason has been mooted for doing so, even by Craig.

            Talking a step back and trying to see the issue from the opposing view is required by many of the “enthusiasts”, IMO.

        • Cubby


          You sound like a British Nationalist to me but maybe I am wrong perhaps you are an English Nationalist.

          We certainly ain’t fascists. like some Tories.

          • Alex Birnie


            Yes, it’s possible that we would lose a confirmatory referendum, or indeed any plebiscite on independence.

            That’s democracy. However, we are willing to take the chance, because the rewards are so great for success, and of course, one of the lesser rewards, would be tha fact that we wouldn’t have to read any more silly remarks from cretins.

    • bevin

      “When the representatives of the Kosovans claimed the right to be an independent country, there was no doubt in the international community that they truly were the representatives of the vast majority of Kosovans.”

      There was considerable doubt. There was doubt too that the “Kosovans’ wanted to be independent of either Albania or the United States. And there was never any doubt that the Kosovans who governed the province/state had no interest in democracy and were gangsters inclined to committing crimes.

      • Alex Birnie

        You are missing the central point. There was no doubt that the vast majority of Kosovars wanted shot of Serbian rule in Kosovan. I’m not arguing about the politics or graft, simply the fact that the Kosovans wanting separation from Serbia were in the majority.

        The situation in Scotland is very different. There are no ethnic issues, no religious divides. There IS however doubt as to numbers. I don’t even care too much about international recognition. I want to live in a country founded on democracy, not political chicangry as Craig is advocating.

  • Lawrence

    Well except if a legal challenge is made in 2020 then the impartial European Court of Justice will be the final arbitrator of justice and not the Westminster controlled English Supreme Court

  • OS

    Eine Sezession lässt die UN ausdrücklich zu. Ich erinnere mich, dass man zu Zeiten der Gründung der EU davon sprach, “Europa soll ein Europa der Regionen sein” Leider wurde das niemals realisiert, dann gäbe es m. E. weitaus weniger Probleme allein mit den Balkanregionen, mit Katalanien, sogar mit Tirol, selbst das 3 geteilte Belgien!

    Also welcome für Schottland in Europa! Meine Freunde in Irland sollten sich ein Beispiel daran nehmen.

    “Unabhängigkeit für Schottland”
    “Freiheit für Julien Assange”

    [ The UN expressly permits secession. I remember that at the time the EU was founded, people spoke of “Europe should be a Europe of regions”. Unfortunately, this was never realized, so there would be Far fewer problems with the Balkan regions alone, with Catalonia, even with Tyrol, even the 3-way divided Belgium!

    So welcome to Scotland in Europe! My friends in Ireland should take this as an example.

    “Independence for Scotland”
    “Freedom for Julian Assange” ]

  • fwl

    Astounding to propose declaring independence in the face of a referendum which rejected independence and a retrospective referendum to ratify!

    But it’s also pretty pointless unless you have an operator with the skill of DC you ain’t going to manage it – thank goodness. It’s so arrogant. It was once in a generation and yet now you propose a declaration before a referendum.

    What about the majority who voted No in the last vote?

    What if Westminster said: “fair enough your independent”!

    Scotland would have left with no deal, no currency, no alliances, no allies, no security, no funding, no trade and a massive welfare bill to fund. What a climate that would be to host a confirmatory referendum. The result in such a vote would destroy Scottish Nationalism for several generations.

    • robert Hughes

      For God´s sake , will you stop parroting this absolute nonsense of ” once in a generation ” as if it was holy writ , rather than what it actually was , namely , a throwaway remark made precisely once by one person – apart from which , SNP politicians are there to reflect and represent the views and wishes of the people who support them , it´s these people who will determine the direction Scotland will ultimately take , along with any Green / Labour and non-aligned member of the public who desires to see an Independent Scotland

      • fwl

        One person? His name now forgotten? Already? That is unfair on Alex. It was no throwaway remark. It was a commitment by the SNP leadership, or if it was not then your statement means we should treat representations by SNP leaders as potentially untrue and opportunistic.

        But the main point was that if Scotland just declares independence and seeks a confirmatory referendum then unless it is held within 24 hours the glamour of the euphoria will see the moonlight turn to moonshine and without a deal with Westminster, no allies, no security, no defence, no funding, no trade, a welfare bill and some cousins looking aghast at the Nuclear scenario – well……

        • robert Hughes

          Show me please the written ” commitment by the SNP leadership ” . I should say , I don´t suscribe to the idea of UDI , for the reason you state in your first comment – what about those who voted NO in 2014 ? – neither do I suscribe to your total negativity regarding Independence , which strikes me as just another variant on the ” Too wee , too poor , too stupid ” Scottish – Cringe mentality that has held the country back for – wait for it – generations

          • fwl

            I’m not totally negative about independence. I like small sized countries. I thinks Scots are exceptionally resourceful and have been the backbone of much British success for a long time, but I do sincerely hold the belief that this island surrounded by water makes for a country. I accept that NI should in time join Ireland. I support devolution. I don’t like nationalism. I respect Craig and am grateful for the books he has written, but his polemic on Scotland can be annoying at times. Cheers.

          • David

            But fwl… you’re not Scottish. You don’t understand; you don’t even realise how colonial “I think Scots are (great), but…” sounds!

            WHY is it good for Scotland to be run (in almost all the important ways) from London? That’s not normal, it doesn’t make SENSE.

      • Fredi

        will you stop parroting this absolute nonsense of ” once in a generation ”

        But that is precisely what it was, and you lost.

        • Cubby


          You are a liar. Unlike in the H of Commons there is no restriction on me telling the truth. So Johnson is a liar not as big a liar as Trump but getting there. However Johnsons followers are just as big a bunch of diddies as Trumps followers.

    • Cubby


      You are a liar like your master Boris. There was no commitment to once in a generation referendum.

      Boris did promise to die in a ditch – still waiting.

  • Michael Droy

    “Independence is not a matter of domestic law. It is a matter of international law alone. Independence is the existence of a state in relation to other states.”
    In which case you not only have to back Catalonia, but you also explicitly back Crimea’s right to declare both independence and subsequently merging into Russia. You and I might strongly support the latter, but it is a brave politician that does.

    Secondly discussing independence from a Brexited UK is tricky. All the claims that Scots have made for 3 years now – that nobody was able to explain what we were voting for, apply equally to any independence referendum in the next 24 months.
    Scotland would not just have to join the EU, but the border with England would have to become a customs border. All the issues with NI apply to a Scotland in the EU.

    Finally Boris is right – once a generation (or at least 15-25 years) is about right.
    Imagine the absurdity of a Scotland that exited Britain in 2014 considering a new referendum to re-join 6 years later.

    • Mrs Pau!

      My feelings when I read this were much the same as Michael Droys, if no agreement is required legally from the country being “left”,, it opens a whole can of worms. Indeed I posted a short piece below, before I read Michael’s post, pointing out Catalonia and Crimea are examples where the greater state being left, Spain and Ukraine, challenged the constitutional right of the breakaway states to right to leave unilaterally. Is it really true that any breakaway region anywhere can just unilaterally declare independence and set up as a separate country? Setting aside the more complex issue of the UK and its lack of a written constitution, most countries do have one which covers their boundaries. I cannot believe that these boundaries have no legal validity.

      • Michael Droy

        I think Craig has been a it disingenuous to say that International law has any real meaning here. Yes acceptance by other countries is what really counts in practice. But acceptance largely depends on the larger state’s relation with the rest of the world. Kosovo was accepted as independent because Serbia was treated as the guilty party by much of the world (thanks to a Syrian level of disinformation). Crimea is not accepted “legally” as independent because Ukraine are seen as being the innocent party (thanks to an even greater level of disinformation). Nevertheless because a much bigger power, Russia, is able to effective manage the situation Crimea has in effect managed self-determination in practice. Taiwan is similar to Crimea – Taiwan has US backing as an independent country – nothing else matters unless(until?) China challenges the US on this.

        For Catalonia or Scotland the challenge is the same, can they get international acceptance for a breakaway? For Catalonia, breaking away without Spain’s approval is going to be extremely difficult. The EU can’t acknowledge Catalonia without expelling Spain.
        If the rest of Britain opposes Scottish devolution (and it might well) then I really don’t see how “International law” can help Scotland. No one is going to tear up their UK relationship in order to maintain a Scottish one.

        • Cubby

          Michael Droy

          There ain’t no UK at all if either of the two parties to the Treaty of Union end the Treaty. It no longer exists.

          There are other inaccuracies in your anaysis as well.

  • Deepgreenpuddock

    Well here we go. We are getting to the nub of the matter. I have not a scintilla of doubt that the article above is correct, about legality, but I sense the mood of the Tory government to be implacably determined to hold on to Scotland.The prospect of an EU member state right within ‘England’ must be quite challenging and would utterly destroy whatever ideas the westminster fascists might have vis a vis their economy. I don’t for a moment doubt that the army will become an instrument of this quasi fascist cabal in Westminster. One can speculate endlessly but i don’t doubt that every dirty trick will be deployed to undermine the independence movement, including judicious covert assassination of key individuals . Regretfully I would have to suggest you are a target, All I can say is please take care.

    • David

      sometimes “The Bunker” just implements a soft assassination, prima facie: https://inews.co.uk/news/scotland/alex-salmond-accused-of-14-offences-against-10-different-women-over-seven-years-1318023


      but it continues…. as factuality ….. so So please, lets take assassination out of the picture amongst adults who should just be talking around the table must be considered against a backdrop of Epstein/OPCW/Skripal/Carter-Page/Steele where full-bandwidth UW/IW exists (unconventional warfare/irregular warfare)

    • David

      more actualité, French 2012 General Elections, you might recognise some of these names from this OSINT ( open-source thanks to wikileaks )

      (S//NF) Analysts in XXX’s Office of Russian and European Analysis (OREA) closely watched the Oct 9th and Oct 16th Socialist primaries and will be closely monitoring the April 22nd and May 6th 2012 Presidential elections. Of particular interest is President Sarkozy, the Socialist Party (PS), and other potential candidate’s plans and intentions for these elections. Analysts assess that the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), the current ruling party, is not assured of winning the presidential election and, as a result, analysts are interested in the electoral strategy of the non-ruling parties listed below. Additional information on these topics will help analysts assess, and prepare key XXX policymakers for, the post-election French political landscape and the potential impact on XXX-France relations.
      (S//NF) These requirements are NOFORN due to Friends-on-Friends sensitivities.
      (S//NF) French political parties and persons of interest include:
      A. (S//NF) Socialist Party (PS)
      B. (S//NF) National Front (FN)
      C. (S//NF) Union for a Popular Movement (UMP)
      D. (S//NF) Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK)
      E. (S//NF) Nicolas Sarkozy
      F. (S//NF) Martine Aubry
      G. (S//NF) Francois Hollande
      H. (S//NF) Marine Le Pen

      and was anyone “soft assassinated”?
      How will Scotland be different?

    • Deepgreenpuddock

      I know it sounds extreme, but the stakes are huge.The first point is about the military. The ‘defence’ system is bound up very intimately with Scotland, with Rosyth and Faslane as well as other important military facilities such as Lossiemouth and Leuchars. There have been assassinations in the past when the state were fearful of events moving out of their control.
      The management of a change is fraught with risks.
      ?The other factor which would be deeply concerning for a Westminster government would be an independent Scotland picking up major investment related to the EU if Scotland rejoined the EU and the well laid economic plans of Johnson and his pals began to ‘gang agley’.
      It is difficult to predict but I guess that the Westminster establishment might well wish to intervene at the ‘referendum’ stage or in the event that certain figures were becoming highly influential in the political debate. The stakes are very high.High stakes create nervousness and a wish to ensure the dice fall the preferred way.

  • norman

    If SNP leaders were to declare independence unilaterally and begin to act as an independent government, it seems quite likely that unionist elements in Scotland would try to mount some kind of armed resistance, with or without the tacit support of the UK security estabishment.

    It’s not difficult to imagine loss of life followed by escalation and deepening bitterness.

    This would give the rUK military/security estabishment the perfect excuse to intervene militarily to “restore law and order” and “constitutional government”.

    Surely it would be preferable to hold another referendum first and, if independence wins the day, to explore every possible avenue to consummate the victory short of UDI.

    In seeking independence for Viet Nam, Ho Chi Minh and his comrades bent over backwards for years in attempts to accomodate the French in hopes of reaching an amicable and peaceful agreement on self-government. It was only when the French (and their local collaborators and later the Americans) finally refused to accept Ho’s peaceful overtures and began killing Vietnamese that armed conflict resulted, with catastrophic results for all sides.

  • Eric McCoo

    I am Scottish, independence neutral but with true seething contempt for the SNP and all their romanticised gibberish of which this is a particularly egregious example.The SNP utterly failed to make a case for independence in the once in a generation 2014 referendum. Their case is even weaker now.

    In my view, the Scots’ greatest weakness is hubris. In the 1980s there were endless riots on the streets of England. In Scotland there were exactly none. We are not brave, we don’t stand up for ourselves. Not for 700 years anyway.

    On Scotland’s headstone I would write ‘They liked a good drink’.

    • Ananna

      Looking at this… yeah there were a lot of English riots in 1981, ” Perceived as race riots between communities,” according to Wikipedia… so the racial divisions/demographics in England cities weren’t mirrored in Scottish cities… difficult to see the point you’re making? There was one Scottish riot… the 1980 cup final…

      • Magic Robot

        January 14, 2020 at 22:08
        It was a raid on the ‘Black & White’ Cafe by the Police that kicked it off.
        The riots were not ‘racial’ as snarky wikipedia would later re-write it.
        In fact, everybody who cared joined in.

          • Magic Robot

            A good insight to the root causes of the riots, is in a book by Stephen Inwood, ‘A History of London’, pub. about 1990’s. The social problems of the working-class crossed all race equally, although, owing to the higher proportion of Caribbean workers in London they were probably hit hardest there.
            ‘Oop North’ it was more generally the white working class in smaller towns that got involved, although in cities like Liverpool it was, again, mixed races.
            About the only city that was relatively untouched, was Birmingham, well known for it’s ethnic variety.
            As for wikipedia, our host wrote a compelling case for it’s content being manipulated.
            I only use it for matters that do not provoke controversy.

    • JOML

      Why rely on the SNP to make the case, Eric? Did you not carry out your own research e.g. read S&P’s report, which certainly made a positive case and in much detail (with and without oil).
      As for demonstrating, I’m glad Scotland didn’t have any race riots in the 1980s. However, come 1990, there was plenty of protests concerning the Poll Tax, with a certain Tommy Sheridan was jailed for 6 months.

      “Independence neutral”? I don’t think so.

      • Eric McCoo

        Thanks for the reply.

        These were anti Thatcher riots.

        The SNP were unable to answer simple questions on currency and EU membership in 2014. The answer is that there are no positive answers to those questions. Sturgeon has been cornered a few times in the last few weeks and unable to address issues put to her. It looks like setting up up the new government departments would be enormously costly.

        It seems to be accepted that the deficit would lead to pretty awful austerity and we’ve had enough of that already. Andrew Neil brought up a report on this by an SNP friendly academic. Later the self same academic claimed Andrew Neil wrongly quoted him. That turned out to be a lie and that’s why I despise the SNP and their supporters. Too many lies/fiction.

        I am independence neutral in that sense I have no fundamental issues with leaving the UK. The problem is that it had to happen at the height of north seal oil production when money would not have been an issue. Sturgeon is also an problem for me. Basically a second rate Tony Blair. If anyone thinks she is anything apart from a 100% establishment figure. Read this. The CFR is the epicentre of American global hegemony.

        First Minister speaks at Council on Foreign Relations

        First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

        Its a pleasure to be here in the United States, in Washington DC and of course here in this well respected organisation.


        • JOML

          So, despite despising the SNP and the majority of people wanting independence (neutral?), you relied on the SNP for answers rather than carrying out your own research. The SNP are not the future of an independent Scotland and you’d need to be very short-sighted if you think they are.

          I couldn’t care less about the SNP or any political party but I do believe in independence and self determination.

          Your hatred of the SNP is a distraction and of no relevance.

    • Cubby


      You are a total roaster.

      “Independence neutral” you’re having a laugh with that. Try reading your words below.

      Poll tax riots demos in Scotland before England.

      700 years aye right.

      I think you are a troll and a racist troll at that.

      • Eric McCoo


        I was being a little cheeky, yes. Especially at the end.

        I am not racist but I was raised in a council estate in a middle class family. I have increasingly reverted to my middle class upbringing as I’ve got older. I don’t have a sentimental bone in my body.I see Craig as an individual much more driven by his emotions than myself. I could never have risen to the rank of ambassador of anything but I would never have been a nationalist either. Nor would I get involved in political causes (these days). I think Assange is an unwilling MI6 stooge but in any case don’t do hero or martyrs.

        What happened in Iran recently is complex and I refrained from any conclusions or judgement. The alternative media jumped in head first.

        • Cubby

          Eric Yoon

          “They liked a good drink” Racist comment! No excuses.

          You sound like a British Nationalist to me.

          You repeat the lie about once in a generation.

          In fact there is no end of lies in your posts. You are a roaster. You quote Andrew Neil the Britnat who lied about Scottish education and had to be admonished by the BBC for lying and you complain about SNP lies.

          All the lies come from Britnats and you are probably working for them.

  • Redshift

    Recognition of Scotland’s independence by EU states is not the most important factor. It’s recognition by the US that would dictate whether or not Scotland would take up a seat in the UN as a sovereign state and even if its citizens could continue to travel abroad normally and it’s banking system and businesses could transact internationally via SWIFT, etc. Whatever international law or norms may be carries little weight with the current American administration. My guess is its highly unlikely the US would be supportive for many reasons not least that it weakens the US’ principal lapdog (the UK) whilst adding strength to an adversary (the EU). Also it would lend support to increasing secessionist sentiment in various US states, particularly California and Texas, both of which would be viable countries in their own right.

  • Ilya G Poimandres

    I was wondering what, if any, the standard is for states joining others through referendum – does the accepting state also need to have a referendum?

    Anyways Britain is a rogue state. They will enforce their ‘rule based order’ on Scotland too. Better follow the law of the land, the Terrorism Act (2000) sections 15 and 1, and not pay taxes to the state terrorist!

  • Geoffrey Wilkins

    Get over it …. you lost !
    We demand we don’t have a rerun
    Once in a generation! Sound familiar?
    Thank God for a Tory Prime Minister who keeps her to her word!

    • nevermind

      You deserve what you are getting and, very likely, have voted for last year.
      I hope you have no grandchildren Geoffrey, because you voted to screw up their future and you have no rights to deny anybody their rightful Independence.

    • OnlyHalfALooney

      “lie down in front of a bulldozer”
      “rather be dead in a ditch”
      “no border between NI and the rest of the UK”
      “never told a lie in my political career”

      You pick a funny one to keep anybody to his/her word….

  • Mrs Pau!

    So if the agreement of a state being seceded from is not necessary for the secession to take place that seems to validate various national independence/secession movements eg in Spain and indeed in Crimea. I am surprised about this as the countries being seceded from, generally do not take this line but believe their agreement is needed. Are they all wrong legally?

  • Rob Pettitt

    Craig, it’s time to stop worrying about Scottish independence. Your skills are required to unravel the implication of all products of the western military industrial complex being delivered with software which can be hacked remotely by our current “allies” and presumably in time by our current “enemies”. Boeings should immediately be grounded, but what do we do about military aircraft, anti-aircraft missiles, Tridents, Fukushimas etc. Snowden told us that all our pocket devices are hackable to be used as surveillance devices. Why didn’t anyone explain that all devices can be hacked to be used in the endless quest for war and hence more sales of devices? Look at the latest reports on the Ukrainian flight possibly having its IFF switched off remotely. Believe that we are controlled by the psychopaths who will do anything, however vile, to stay in power. An independent Scotland which is still aligned with the Neocons will be no sanctuary.

  • SA

    “Independence is not a matter of domestic law. It is a matter of international law alone. Independence is the existence of a state in relation to other states. It is gained not by any internal process- internal process is utterly irrelevant, and in 95% of cases does not involve a referendum – but by recognition of other states, formalised through the General Assembly of the United Nations.”

    Yes of course this is the case. But this independence can be achieved through two channels in order for other nations and the international law to recognise this independence.
    1. Through violence, upheaval, external interventions or civil disobedience.
    2. Through peaceful means by a process which is prearranged and shown to be a democratic will of the majority of the people who wish to be independent.

    The argument by the Tories is that Scotland has been given a once in a generation offer to be independent and the majority voted to remain in the union. I know that since that time there has been a ‘material’ change in circumstances to justify a second referendum. But the problem here lies with the not-fit for purpose political system which:
    1. Allows huge majorities to be gained in parliament by less than 50% electorates voting for a party in FPTP system thereby converting parliament to a mere spectator role and a near dictatorship by the PM.
    2. The lack of a proper constitution including enforcements that must reintroduce the important principle of Habeas Corpus, now being flouted by extrajudicial executions of citizens and foreign leaders and any undesirables to the regime, as well as by the treatment of dissidents such as Julian Assange.
    3. The lack of proper oversight of the legislative lower chamber of parliament by a non-elected and rather toothless House of Lords and by the lack of a democratically elected head of state. We have a medieval monarchy ruling by birth in the 21st century.
    4. The international system through the UN does not work because it is either subject to veto by the 5 permanent members or completely bypassed by superpowers and their followers who have de-facto impunity.

    It is these structural problems in both domestic law and international law that Scottish independence is up against. If an effective way can be demonstrated to highlight and reverse these then Scottish independence may have an even higher significance for world governance than its importance to the Scots, important as that may be.

  • SA

    A good intellectual demolition of Johnson’s letter. Shows how shallow Johnson is and how he can only use simple slogans: ‘Once in a generation’, ‘get Brexit done’.

  • Athella

    Thank you, Mr Murray for the article.
    It is certainly correct to say that the ICJ found in Kosovo that there is nothing in international law to make a unilateral declaration of independence unlawful and Kosovo certainly fulfils the requirements of statehood (e.g. Montevideo convention). However Kosovo’s path to being a fully recognized independent state is far from complete (no UN membership etc). I also would suggest that the international law around self determination is a bit more complex than suggested here, e.g. the Quebec case and the internal/ external self-determination distinction and of course the recent Chagos ICJ case which seems to finally confirm that external self-determination as a right in international law remains firmly rooted in decolonization and that outwith that circumstance the application is very conservative especially balanced against the territorial sovereignty of an existing internationally recognized state.
    That being said I do agree that a unilateral declaration of Scotland is a valid option and that given the rUK relationship with the EU recognition from EU member states could be more forthcoming. But the big sell will be to the broader Scottish populace (I am a clear and committed supporter of independence) who may be wary of such a radical move.
    So I suppose my question is how would we begin to sell this idea (potentially risky as it is but ultimately worth it) to the people of Scotland and the Holyrood government who are in this respect at least not easily disposed to such a radical move?

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Whatever strategy Holyrood adopts for constitutional revolution, the day to day legislative agenda needs to get radical. Tories excel at attack politics aimed at inflicting real damage on “the enemy”, the Left is too often hobbled by a misplaced sense of “fair play”. Time to ramp up the animus. Some suggestions.

    Private education: Every morning the middle class English ghetto in my town decants its sprogs into busses headed for two Private schools. Holyrood has already legislated to impose full business rates on Private schools (active as of this coming September, I think). Other measures to make life uncomfortable would be welcome.

    Hunt’n, fish’n and shoot’n: Introduce Strict liability for illegal practices on country estates. At present, if there is alleged raptor persecution the Game keeper (on minimum wage and a tied cottage) goes to court. The landowner (who directs the actions of the Game keeper) escapes prosecution. The practical impact would be minimal but the Tories would be driven apoplectic just by the legislation (think the tens of thousands of outraged gammons from the Countryside Alliance besieging Westminster over the fox hunting ban).

    Culture wars: Not entirely sure what the position is on having the Irish language to enter University is these days (EU students are obviously allowed entry without speaking Erse). It certainly used to be the case that a student had to pass exams in Gaelic to gain entry to the top Universities. Would it be possible to legislate to the same end in Scotland? Qualifications in either Gaelic or Scots. How much power does Holyrood have over individual University policy? The Private schools may hold their noses and teach Gaelic but never Scots (” ’cause it’s not a proper language”).

  • N_

    Independence is not a matter of domestic law. It is a matter of international law alone. Independence is the existence of a state in relation to other states. It is gained not by any internal process- internal process is utterly irrelevant, and in 95% of cases does not involve a referendum – but by recognition of other states, formalised through the General Assembly of the United Nations.

    An application for UN membership is considered by the Security Council first, which may or may not refer it the General Assembly.

    Which newly independent European country has joined the UN since 1950 without having had a vote – not necessarily a referendum – showing a clear majority for independence? Let’s have a look.

    The European countries (28) that have joined since 1950 are as follows:

    Albania 1955
    Austria 1955
    Bulgaria 1955
    Finland 1955
    Hungary 1955
    Ireland 1955
    Italy 1955
    Portugal 1955
    Romania 1955
    Spain 1955
    Cyprus 1960
    Malta 1964
    (Federal Republic of) Germany 1973
    Liechtenstein 1990
    Estonia 1991
    Latvia 1991
    Lithuania 1991
    San Marino 1992
    Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992
    Croatia 1992
    Slovenia 1992
    Czech Republic 1993
    Slovakia 1993
    North Macedonia 1993
    Andorra 1993
    Serbia 2000
    Switzerland 2002
    Montenegro 2006

    Removing countries which had either recently been occupied or were already widely recognised as independent, we get the shorter list of 13:

    Cyprus 1960
    Malta 1964
    Estonia 1991
    Latvia 1991
    Lithuania 1991
    Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992
    Croatia 1992
    Slovenia 1992
    Czech Republic 1993
    Slovakia 1993
    North Macedonia 1993
    Serbia 2000
    Montenegro 2006

    We can remove Cyprus and Malta which were obviously completely unlike Scotland insofar as they were British colonies or dependencies, as evidenced by their not sending MPs to Westminster. So we are left with 11 countries only, all of which had previously been part of the USSR, Yugoslavia, or Czechoslovakia:

    3 former Soviet republics in the Baltic region (joined 1991)
    6 former constituent republics of Yugoslavia (joined between 1992 and 2006)
    2 parts of former Czechoslovakia (joined 1993)

    To take a few examples: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovenia, Croatia, and Montenegro all had votes with majorities in favour of independence before independence was declared. That’s six out of 11. Someone might look at the remaining five countries if they can be bothered. The point is already proven that most European countries that have declared independence since 1950 have held successful votes first rather than having some vile nationalistic political party supported by only a minority of the population make a sonorous “declaration” of a bunch of old c*ck.

    There is a very clear way for the current minority Scottish government to achieve a referendum in the next few months that would be recognised as legitimate by most of the population (at least during the campaigning period and on voting day, because if the nationalists lose they would obviously complain afterwards that they were stabbed in the back by “Westminster”, “the London media” and other euphemisms for the neighbouring nation that most of them hate so deeply and that provides Scotland with one of its largest national minorities).

    As for the idea that Catalan independence is prevented only by wicked Spanish imperialist Francoists, that is a complete fantasy.

    Calling a confirmatory referendum as the first act of the Independent state would make it difficult for Johnson to justify sending in the British Army to try to prevent it, but we cannot rule it out. Hopefully that will not involve anyone getting killed“…

    but we must be plain that Westminster will never voluntarily allow us to leave and may physically attack us if we try.

    My guess would be that the British army recruits a larger proportion of the Scottish population than it does of the “Westminster” i.e. English population. Has anyone got figures?

    • Scozzie

      Czechoslovakia – no referendum was held and all the opinion polls at the time had both Czechs and Slovaks preferring to keep Czechoslovakia intact (albeit with some major reform). The break up was a behind closed doors (so to speak) negotiated break up between leaders. Not saying that Scotland will find itself in a similar position though….

    • Cubby


      Just like nearly all the Labour politicians you are not a Marxist or a socialist but an English or British Nationalist.

      Your comment that having a few MPs in the H of Commons means a nation is not a colony is just nonsense.

    • Hans Adler

      It’s not necessarily a very strong argument, but Scotland, unlike many of the countries on your list, has a democratically elected parliament that is legitimate also according to the larger state, and a government instituted by this parliament. If the Scottish government and parliament jointly declare independence, that will convey a great deal of legitimacy. Along with strong support from EU countries, this could perhaps do the trick.
      Of course, so long as it’s not clear how the US, China and Russia will react, there are a lot of uncertainties.

    • Lorna Campbell

      N: no part of a traditional democracy (I suppose the UK could just about fit that description?) that held a pre independence referendum won that referendum. They all lost, without exception. Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania all have minority ethnic Russian populations. Those ethnic Russian minorities all lent their support to independence in their respective host country. RUK voters in Scotland in 2014 did NOT vote for independence, quite the opposite; almost 75% (three-quarters) of all rUK voters in Scotland voted NO. Scottish Unionists lost the vote (47.3% against 52.7%) but the rUK voters’ vote coupled with the EU voters’ NO vote (57%) added to the Scottish Unionist vote took the NO vote to 55%. You work it out, genius.

  • Mickey Mouse

    That’s Stuart Campbell, and Craig Murray that have both lost the plot. Welcome to one-mans-daft-opinion blogs. At least the wonders of modern communications technology save them a lot of green ink.

  • Juteman

    Does Scotland even need to declare itself independent?
    Surely all it needs is for the Scottish Parliament to vote on cancelling the 1707 Treaty of Union, as England has broken said Treaty by dragging Scotland out of the EU against its will.

  • Willie

    Agree very much with this analysis. Let us take and not beg.

    As to international recognition independence is very much how others see you. However whilst the EU would it seems recognise an independent Scotland, it’s likely that Trump would oppose it, if only because of the EU and Trident.

    But yes, time to bring our MPs and MEPs back.

    And come the climate change conference later this year what better opportunity to show the world the biggest pro Scotland match ever.

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