Ah the House of Lords eh?
Unelected and generally now a bunch of retired MP’s that get a longer bit of, well, freeloading with their £300 a day ‘allowance’, of course we’ve seen a few of their lordships enter the indyref debate.
So firstly, they state that the rUK could delay the date of independence beyond March 2016. Bear in mind this is almost 18 months after the independence poll.
Next that elected Scots MP’s can’t act on behalf of rUK and that only the elected government can act, not a cross party group of negotiators.
That’d be a wee shame for Danny Alexander, presumably the others will have retired..
Now on what basis have they decided all this..
Yup , you guessed it on the basis that the ‘rUK’ is the ‘continuing state’ from the former United Kingdom.
Back to basics. United Kingdom – the Union of 1707 between ‘England’ and Scotland. ‘England’ includes Wales. Creating ‘Great Britain’
The 1800/1801 Acts of Union incorporated Ireland, but obviously the Irish republic repealed those acts on independence for it’s territory and only Northern Ireland remains in union with Great Britain
The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 amended things a bit to get to The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
I’ve seen the argument advanced that Scotland was extinguished in 1707.
I’ve seen the words ‘secede’ and ‘separatist’ used like the UK is a fully central state.
Before devolution Acts of Parliament unless they were finance or tax related, usually had their (Scotland) versions.
Usually, though not always, these were voted through at a similar time as the version covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Some separate legislation solely for Scotland was also created and various statutory instruments were also used.
So for Law Making, Administration, civil laws and criminal laws, Scotland had a different system in place.
We know the justice system was separate with the Scottish Courts even using the old parliament for their base, we know the rights of the Church of Scotland.
We know education was local, services local through the burghs and counties and that when Scotland was at peace, it was as much left to itself as long as goods and the taxes flowed south
Even the rebellions of 1715 and 1745, didn’t see the UK change how Scotland was run, but the subjugation through the red coats after any acts of defiance was plain to see.
The clearances and emigration took Scots away from the Highland Glens.
The United Kingdom, took it’s focus on foreign territories and empire, it never changed Scotland into being a part of England to incorporate it, as it did with both Wales and Cornwall.
There wasn’t an integration to create the ‘North Britain’ that possibly the elites may have wanted.
1999. Queen Elizabeth opening the Scottish Parliament, she mentions a formal parade from Parliament Square to the Assembly building, the connection with the old and new and the abilities of the Scots.
Does anything in there suggest a granting of a devolved parliament to a region or that Scotland fully folded into England after the Union.
No. It doesn’t.
The House of Lords are wrong and after a Yes vote, there cannot be an acceptance of ‘rUK’ position.
The phrase ‘rUK’ needs binned too.
The Union gets dissolved it goes back to it’s component parts.
There won’t be a United Kingdom after Scotland leaves, Great Britain becomes more of a geographic term.
The remainder is England (with devolved Wales) with Northern Ireland, possibly Cornwall – who knows how best to define it?
But it can’t be called Great Britain, it might be a United ‘Kingdom’ of ‘England’ and Northern Ireland, but surely it’d need redefined for Wales and/or the other dependencies.
So how do you negotiate a position where after a Yes vote, Scotland doesn’t accept the argument that Westminister is the continuing state after the UK is dissolved?
Who can cut through the politics in an exceptional constitutional situation?
We’re told the Queen takes no part in politics. She does meet the UK prime minister and as far as I know, she takes briefing papers from the devolved parliament and assemblies too.
The Queen has her Privy Councillors, they comprise current and ex government ministers. They’re meant to advise her and can be convened in groups by her.
It’s useful to have a look now and again when the better together campaign are speaking at the list of Privy Councillors .
In the indyref debate, it seems only that the labour leader and deputy in the Scottish Parliament aren’t amongst that select group.
Cameron, Milliband, Clegg, Alexander (Danny and Douglas), Brown. Lord Robertson and Darling are examples.
Obviously all of them are firmly stating no at present.
If we are to see a post indyref negotiation and fully respecting the Queen as head of the ‘rUK’ state and as ‘Queen of Scots’ wouldn’t she need a Scottish privy council?
And if so, shouldn’t most of that come from the present Scottish ministers and others such as say Jim Sillars or Dennis Canavan or Patrick Harvie in the Yes camp.
Could the Scottish Government pull that off by arguing that Scotland lost it’s Privy Council in 1707 and on re-establishing it’s sovereignty, that such an institution is established by her Scottish subjects to advise her, and steer negotiations through her position in both countries rather than set an adversarial negotiation from the off as the House of Lords present the matter?
(I know some of you are firmly anti-monarchy, but bear with me)
In providing advice, any provisional Scottish privy council would need to refer to our highest legal brains and that’s the a Court of Session and it’s ‘senators of the college of justice’ as they’re properly known. Of course, there are other QC ‘s or advocates that could play a role and advise.
The point is, that for interpretation of the Act of Union, how it worked and Scotland’s freedoms and latitudes under it, who better than the Scottish legal establishment to advise?
The threat to go to the European Courts may be there, but the technical, political and legal resource us all here in Scotland and it can be done.
Of course, the two successor state argument works for the continuing membership of the EU and other international bodies and in my view is a fight that the Scottish Government must take on.
In my view, it has to take on the former UK by it’s own methods and to use the apparatus of the Westminster state and establishment fully.
The way a future Scotland is run and set up, is in my opinion, for the first post Indy parliament, it should decide on the position of the monarchy, how a constitution can be defined and the shape/size of parliaments in future.
Anyway, enough for now, hopefully some food for thought.