Scotland, and the real meaning of “Independence”

LionrampantA Correspondent writes:

Scotland has been informed that if it were to vote to leave “The Union” it would be required to re apply for membership of a number of bodies including the World Bank, NATO etc etc.

In addition the Scots would need to re-apply for membership of the EU and the Human Rights act and the thought suddenly occurred that in the extreme case of the EU blocking the repatriation of powers to Westminster, could not England, Wales and NI simply exit the Union and thereby chose whether or not to reapply for EU membership or indeed any other membership? 

Alas, no, it is not that simple.

When states sunder, there is an immediate issue to be resolved: are the new entities that emerge either (1) ‘successor state’ and ‘new state’ or (2) both ‘new states’?

To give two recent examples, let us look at the USSR and Yugoslavia.

In the former case, Russia was recognised as the ‘successor state’ to the USSR by all and sundry with little argument. The rest on the periphery, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and the rest all became ‘new states’.

In the latter case, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia disintegrated into no less than six states, each of a broadly similar size. Serbia-Montenegro tried to assert itself as ‘the successor state’. It was rebuffed.

The importance of this is as follows. The ‘successor state’ has to do nothing in terms of its international relations and commitments on a formal level. It remains bound, in international law, by all the treaties that the ‘predecessor state’ signed and was bound by and has all the international attributes of the ‘predecessor state’. In the case of Russia it inherited, for example, the USSR’s seat on the Security Council of the UN and with it, the veto.

The former Yugoslav states all had to apply to become e.g. members of the UN in their own right. This was because all were ‘new states’.

As a matter of customary international law, some conventions apply regardless of signature e.g. The Geneva Conventions I-IV and their Protocols.

In the case of the United Kingdom, were Scotland to become independent, it is inconceivable that the United Kingdom of England and Northern Ireland, given its population and economic size and position in the world, would not be treated, for the purposes of customary international law, as the ‘successor state’. Thus the UKENI would remain as a matter of customary international law adherents of and bound by all the treaties signed by the UKGBNI and would assume its place e.g. on the UN and all other bodies (e.g. the WTO).

Scotland, as the government advisers have indicated, however, would become a ‘new state’. As such it would leave the EU forthwith and would have to apply to become e.g. a member of the UN. It would have to apply to become an EU member from the outside. Upon entry it would have to adopt the Euro unless it could negotiate an opt-out (unlikely), would have to sign up to the European Convention on Human Rights, accept the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, join the Fiscal Union (and thus get approval from the EU for its budgets) and accept the acquis communautaire. It would find itself because of its minimal size and influence unable to secure the sort of opt-outs that the UK has secured over the years.

Declaring ourselves to be a ‘new state’ might seem like a nice way of exiting the EU. In my view it would for ever cost us our permanent seat on the Security Council and our UN veto. That would be a very high price to pay. And being treated in the same way as Macedonia or Kazakhstan or Scotland would be deeply demeaning to our status and permanently damage our standing in the world.

The net result is that in the event of Scotland going, the UK would sail serenely on…

Meanwhile the assertion by the Scot Nats that EU membership would continue without interruption, that they could negotiate the terms of membership from “inside” the EU, that they would not have to adopt the Euro, etc. etc. is all a lot of dishonest blather by Salmond.

And in the event that Scotland finds it outside the nest, they will find that it takes more than just a few months to negotiate membership of the EU and that Spain and others faced with secessionist movements may well opt to veto entry pour encourager les autres.

Were Scotland to be allowed in, however, it would have a currency whose monetary and fiscal policy underpinning would be determined not in Edinburgh  but in Brussels.  Its budgets would have to be submitted to Brussels for approval by unelected foreign bureaucrats. Its foreign policy would be conducted by Baroness Ashton of Upholland. Its energy policy would be determined by Brussels. Its criminal law would be mastered by Brussels. It would have the European Court of Human Rights as its final court of appeal. Its defence policy would be determined in due course by Brussels. And so on….

What sort of independence would that be, might one ask?

But then, of course, the Scots know a bit about being told what to do by the French, do they not?


Michael Greaves, Ukip Party Secretary

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