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The EU is the SNP's safety blanket - if the United Kingdom wasn't part of the EU the SNP would not be enjoying the current success in the polls.

If it happened, the separation of Scotland from the rest of the UK would take some time to complete after it had been agreed in principle.

It could only be done by an Act of the Westminster Parliament - the members of the Scottish Parliament know that it is not legally empowered to pass an Act of secession - and while the details of the Bill were being settled and it was going through its Parliamentary stages there would be parallel negotiations with the other EU member states.

As the sovereign state and the present contracting party to the EU treaties, only the UK would be formally capable of concluding in advance the terms for separate membership of Scotland and of the new UK minus Scotland, whatever it would be called.

But no doubt the Queen could appoint some supposedly representative Scots as her plenipotentiaries to negotiate on behalf of Scotland, especially as she would probably still be the Head of State of both countries in the immediate aftermath of separation - any move to a republic would probably come later, as it did with Ireland.

Given that at the moment the political elite in Scotland favours continued EU membership, just as at the moment the political elite in England favours continued EU membership, I would expect that somehow it would be contrived that at the same time on the same day that the separation of Scotland and the rest of the UK finally came into legal force, the new EU treaties would also come into legal force and so there would be no interruption in EU membership - it would go straight from the UK being a member, to the two new states being members.

It may be that the membership of each of the two new states would be provisional, conditional upon each one finally ratifying the new EU treaties within say one month after they had actually been recognised as separate sovereign states by the UN, and so there was no doubt that they had each acquired the capacity to enter into international treaties. But if the ratifying Bills had already gone through the Parliaments, the final ratifications could be completed almost instantaneously simply by the Queen giving her Royal Assent to both those Bills.

However there is the possibility that during the negotiations other EU member states like Germany might demand a price for their agreement - setting a deadline for joining the euro, or even worse accepting the EU Constitution.

If we break the union do we have to rebuild Hadrian's wall too? Would that come out of Scottish or English taxes?

Hadrian's wall is entirely on the English side of the border - so presumably it would come out of English Taxes.

As far as the EU is concerned as the sovereignty of the nation must ultimately be vested in "the Sovereign" and as the English Monarchy ran out and the Scots had to take over (James I & VI), surely the ultimate sovereignty on the break up of the UK would lie with the Scots and it would be England rather than Scotland that would have to re-apply if they were stupid enough to want to remain part of the EU. - The best escape route I can think of at any rate!

If Scotland were to break away then England, Wales & Ulster would still be the UK, if Scotland then applied to join the EU sperately then presumably the UK would be reassessed and would have it's allocation of seats reduced - don't suppose that the EU would be in a hurry to do this though as it would leave the area covered by the UK with about the same number of seats.

If the UK were to fragment into England, Scotland, Wales and Ulster seperately then it would be deemed that the UK had ceased to exist and all would have to re-apply if they rejoined. Germany didn't seem to have any problem with the EU when West & East Germany were re-united, it was a new state though.

Fragment the UK and none of the new states would have the UK's permanent chair on the UN Security Council - either that would not be continued or it might go to India or Brazil.

The EU is the SNP's safety blanket - if the United Kingdom wasn't part of the EU the SNP would not be enjoying the current success in the polls.
Wouldn't make any difference, the SNP would just say that they would negociate entry either to EFTA or the EU on leaving the UK.

Norway has a smaller population than Scotland, is outside the EU and is the second richest country in the world. True that a country with the population of Scotland would struggle a bit without being part of some trading bloc or other - there are always the old Commonwealth countries, Scotland could seek good trading relations with them.

Scotland has loads more people than Iceland, but Iceland is doing very well indeed outside the EU.

Would we have to reapply to join the United Nations?

Iceland has a population similar to Bournemouth, there are in fact zero similarities with Scotland.

There is a fair chance Salmond will become First Minister as head of a coalition. If he does, he will probably manufacture some dispute with Westminster.

But even a worst case scenario is unlikely to produce independence, which in my view is an unrealistic prospect. My guess is that the best the Scots would get is some kind of confederation.

The two states - Scotland and the residual UK - would probably maintain a 'defence union' and remain a single economic area.

An interesting discussion, prompted by Roger Helmer's thought experiment - I don't think I can add much more to the debate above.

I'll throw in one question though; if the need to re-apply arose, what would be the requirement for some kind of democratic approval? If Scotland, or the remainder of the UK, were only applying to restore their previous status after a domestic constitutional upheaval, would there exist a legal or political need for a referendum? Would it depend on the arguments advanced and explored during any prior campaign for an independent Scotland on either side?

(Remember before you jump on me, people, it's a thought experiment!)

"Fragment the UK and none of the new states would have the UK's permanent chair on the UN Security Council - either that would not be continued or it might go to India or Brazil."

Are you sure about that? After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the seat transferred to Russia. Presumably, a putative former United Kingdom seat would transfer to England?

'The Scots had to take over' the Monarchy? Good heavens, James VI couldn't wait to get out of Edinburgh and down south, it wasn't exactly a penance for him and his dopey Danish wife.

Well at this rate in a decade or so the UK will have fractured. France and Germany will be the main players in Europe. The former UK seat at the UN will have gone to India. They'll be some weak arrangement between the former United Kingdoms.

I suppose history could view it as a fitting end for the UK. It went from the worlds largest empire to dissolving so completely even the union cracked into its constituent components

Mr. Helmer needs to take a basic course in international law. I mean, I know he's got a lot of fans here, but before everyone here hangs on every word he says, perhaps it might be worth pointing out he hasn't done his homework whatsoever.

"Succession of states" theory is an integral part of customary international law. In a nutshell, it ensures that whenever possible, all international obligations and benefits transfer down to a "successor state"--generally speaking, the portion that didn't vote to leave. Exceptions are when the ancestor-state totally flies apart (the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia) or when the state in question contracts out some sort of alternative arrangement.

For instance, the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty's constraints on the Soviet Union didn't vanish when it collapsed. Nor did it need to be amended. Instead, "Russia" is "read in" to the text today. Likewise, the Charter of the United Nations assigns a permanent Security Council seat to the Soviet Union, but Russia quite happily assumed it automatically.

More recently, Serbia inherited all of Serbia and Montenegro's international goodies when they split up, and Montenegro had to reapply to the UN and so on.

For an example closer to home, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland quite happily transitioned to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with all its international rights and responsibilities left intact back in the twenties.

So, if Scotland voted to leave, the new United Kingdom of England, Scotland and Wales would automatically inherit the old United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland's arragements with the EU, the UN, the WTO and so on. In fact, I think the new UK would get the seat and voting allocations in the European Parliament and Council of the old UK (in effect, increasing UK influence per citizen) and they could only be scaled back with unanimous consent.

Scotland would have to start from scratch in terms of applying for an EU membership, but bear in mind its existing body of law would already meet the EU's "aquis", which is why EU accession takes so long for places like Croatia. The only reason they wouldn't be able to earn rapid admission would be if the existing EU membership (including London) didn't want them in the club for some reason. And it's certainly in the EU's interests to keep Scotland in the fold.

My understanding is that as Scotland would have seceded from the Union the remainder of the United Kingdom would be viewed as the successor state and could not therefore use the secession of one part as an excuse for shedding its other international obligations however desirable that might be.

The only instances in which states were able to start afresh with the new state inheriting none of the previous obligations were the former colonies.

There is also the interesting example of Czechoslovakia where i believe the international obligations were inherited by both though im not sure about that.

My understanding of the legal position (though i understand its contentious) is that in the Uk the secession of one part would not constitute such a dissolution and the remainder of the UK would be viewed as the successor state. This is because the Act of Union has not enjoyed the status of fundamental law.

there appears to be some confusion
re "the UK"

The United Kingdom is the United Kingdoms of England and Scotland . Nothing else .
The Act of Union 1707 was effectively a national marriage Act between two equal and willing parties . For this purpose Wales is considered as a principality of England . The two kingdoms of England and Scotland decided to poole their sovereignties and form one new country - Great Britain .

Logically , therefore one party cannot leave the marriage and the other party remain married . If one divorces then both are divorced from each other and no more Union and no more United Kingdom ,
"residual" or anything else .

From my reading of this then if Scotland were to find itself out of the EU then so would England .It might be that England can contrive to inherit the treaty rights and obligations of Great Britain . In logic , Scotland must have an equal right to those same rights and obligations . In practice perhaps not .

This basic aspect of the situation has been obscured by the overwhelming Scottish propaganda of self appointed victimism . They have been very successful at convincing themselves and many others that they are "escaping " English rule . From England it doesn't necessarly look like that - perhaps it is England about to escape Scottish/British rule !

A simple way of reducing the independence vote in scotland would be to have the british parliament sit in Edinburg for one third of a parliament (one third because half would be a bit much considering the population imbalance). It should have been done ages ago.
In the high middle ages in england kings had to constantly move around the kingdom and hold court in different areas to prevent unrest, so it wouldn't be an entirely new concept to these isles.
In any case, we the conservatives hold a large part of the blame for this mess (our weakness, 1 seat out of 52, which is pathetic, leads to people not considering us as credible and leads them to vote for the "tartan tories" (SNP)), means that we owe it to the union to work overtime to sort out this terrible impass.
Central Office should be based in scotland (central office for the whole party, not just for scotland) for the foreseable future, with a secondary pariamentary office left in london . Tory Party Conferences should be held in scotland, and Cameron should spend his holidays there.

Sorry, Jake, but it doesn't work that way. it might seem illogical, but the UK isn't the sum of its parts in terms of international law. It has what lawyers would deem an "international legal personality." Any modifications to that personality would not change its existence.

The House of Commons could vote tomorrow to change the name of the country to Blairistan, but that wouldn't change the right of the delegate from Blairistan to veto UN resolutions, or the obligation of a Blairstani farmer in Lincolnshire to plow his fields in accordance with EU resolutions. The UK's international legal personality would be preserved.

The House of Commons could then vote to evict the Isles of Scilly from Blairistan the next day, but that wouldn't change the plight of the Lincolnshire Blairistani farmer one jot. Again, the UK's international legal personality would be preserved.

Now, I suppose it might be possible for the House of Commons to simply vote the UK out of existence, leaving no designated successor state whatsoever. That would accomplish Mr. Helmer's goal of getting the UK out of the EU. At the same time, the UK would be out of the UN, out of the WTO, out of all travel and immigration agreements and so on and so forth. Seems a bit extreme, no?

Perhaps we should start a pressure group called Better Off In?

The two states - Scotland and the residual UK - would probably maintain a 'defence union' and remain a single economic area.
The SNP and English Democrats policy is for a Council of the Isles including England, Scotland, Wales, Ulster and the Republic of Ireland; the Queen would remain monarch of England, Scotland, Wales and Ulster but Economic and Defence functions would be seperated. There is division within the SNP on this issue with some favouring an outright Republic for Scotland, there isn't much support for continued economic and defence covering the area of the UK. Plaid Cymru on the other hand have always had elements that really just wanted far more devolution rather full seperation.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the seat transferred to Russia. Presumably, a putative former United Kingdom seat would transfer to England?
There are 50 million people in England compared to 145 million in Russia, Russia still has a vast sphere of influence in Central Asia and over countries such as Belarus and the Ukraine, it is also the largest country in the world in terms of landmass - 3 times the area of China and has vast natural resources.

Surely as 'The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland' the question should be about Scotland and England breaking up the Nation of Great Britain?

I have always considered myself British first and British last, being 'Scottish' does not enter into the equation any more than the county i am from. It should not be about breaking up some mythical union-it should be about breaking up one country, our country which has achieved in the last 300 years than any other country in its history.

Its dreadful that we are even having this debate. As a Brit i am disgusted by the lack of celebrations that this Government has planned for our Nations Aniversary-they didn't even celebrate the Union of the Crowns so it does not surprise me.

Every other country is proud of its identity and would celebrate such an occasion. Instead Labour; desperate to keep it a 2 horse race in Holyrood has created this debate for its own electoral purposes. The media has followed like a group of sheep. Its shameful.

Strictly speaking, I think Tom is right. The remnant UK would be recognised as the successor state of the former EU member-state, and would inherit the treaty obligations, including those with the EU. I believe that the 1933 Montivideo Convention applies in this context. Nevertheless, we have an excellent debating point, an intriguing "What If?". If Scotland became free of the EU, surely the English would demand no less. It would focus the debate and highlight the issue.

It was a good thing John Major had The Stone of Scone returned to Scotland after removing it from Westminster Abbey without informing The Dean thereof

www.conservativesforindependence.org - coming soon

I watched the Newsnight special on the 300th anniversary of The Union last night and it was quite interesting. When asked what currency would an independent Scotland use? Alex Salmond answered, "We would keep Sterling and then when it was possible we would adopt the Euro." So much for independence!

Yes it would be great if Scotland leaving the Union somehow meant that England, Wales and Northern Ireland could leave the EU. I however would not want to leave the EU under those circumstances. I am a Unionist and proud and I for one will be doing all I can to ensure that Scotland and England remain united.

The case for leaving the EU is strong and I long for the day when the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland leaves the EU. It is sad that so few people on this site seem willing to defend the Union.

Devolution must be repealed and equal representation introduced (equal and common power, practice and procedure) for all 646 constituencies.
Equal representation is the only policy that can secure the Union. It is fair and equitable.
All other policies are about separation in some shape or form. That is why the separatists support them including Labour.
Brown and the rest voted to make two classes of MP's - if you believe in the Union you do not vote to reduce the power, practice and procedure of constituencies in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Legislative Devolution is a weapon to tear apart all of the UK - Scottish Parliament, Wales Assembly, Northern Ireland Assembly,
to say nothing about the European Parliament. Repeal must take place.
The Conservative and Unionist Party can start this by adopting equal representation as it's policy. By supporting equal representation it will not only possess the "constructive unionist response" it is looking for (Built To Last) it will win votes across the United Kingdom not least in Scotland, I know I did.

Tom and Roger are right to highlight the successor state issue. If the UK were to lose Scotland then the English-Welsh-NI remnant would be regarded as the successor; Scotland would have to reapply to the various international bodies. Think of it as being like a chap who has an arm amputated - legally, he's still the same person.

The more interesting question is what would happen if England seceded from the UK. It wouldn't be a complete blank slate - England would still carry over some international obligations; but it wouldn't be in the EU.

Not a solution I would favour, but just imagine the look on Salmond's face if he suddenly became Prime Minister of the UK by accident and had to foot the cost of the Barnett formula/Brussells himself.

So Roger Helmer is happy to see the break up of the country if that means the remnants have a slight chance of being forced out the EU. What an appalling idea!! The best way for us to leave the EU is to mobilise the political will to do so, elect BOO candidates to Parliament and do so via the democratic process, not self-destruct as a nation.

Beware the false patriots who will look you in the eye then stab you in the back. I'll be damned if I'm going to let so-called 'Eurosceptics' such as Helmer do the EU's work for it and break up our country.

If you do not believe in a Parliament do not stand for it. It is as simple as that.

To support the SNP for this cause is pathetically illogical. If it is the case that we'd be better off outside the EU, and that case has yet to be proven, why don't we just leave the EU by repealing the Act that made us join? That is clearly more sensible than repealing the Act that made us a country in the first place.

The Conservative and Unionist Party is the only political party that is ideologically (and nominally) dedicated to the Union, yet we have weasels demanding that we jack in our core principles to achieve some dubious political ambition.

If we're looking for a back exit, there are plenty of equally silly ways to go. For example, all EU members must be democracies, so we can arrange to be kicked out by abolishing Parliament. Furthermore, all members must be capitalist, so we can achieve the same end by voting in the Communist Party of Britain. Problem solved!

If the outlined scenario is the result, then fine and dandy, let's give Alex Salmond all the support he needs.
As an Anglo-Scot and Europhobe i know we will get the right result, as Scotland will be a lonely place.

As it happens a question was asked by Philip Davies MP in the House of Commons on Tuesday-16th January- whether Scotland would automatically assume membership of the EU should it become an independent state? Mr Hoon MP replied and I quote, "By virtue of the United Kingdom's EU membership, Scotland is part of the EU. If Scotland were to leave the UK, it would not automatically assume membership of the EU. The terms under which an independent Scotland might become a member of the EU would have to be negotiated".

Should the UK be able to remain in, and I rather feel that as it would no longer be the United Kingdom of Great Britain, it too should have to come out of the EU and renegotiate because of changes to Commissioners and voting etc. As under the Treaty of Nice, there are only 27 places for nation states, therefore one country that used to be IN the EU would have to remain out. However, other complications arise from repudiation of the Treaty (and Act) of Union 1707 because Article 11 of the Treaty of Union 1707 also embodies the substance of the Act of Settlement of 1701. If the Union is destroyed it may also affect all the Members of the Commonwealth. (end of the Commonwealth?)

A far greater problem then arises. The United Kingdom as it is now, would no longer exist? Would we, because the British Parliament that ratified the EU Treaties no longer exists ever be able to repeal the European Communities Act 1972?

The only way round that problem would be to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 before any such split by the Treaty of Union 1707. If we have to come out anyway, and renegotiate, it will not matter will it? The "loop hole" that has been given (by MP's) as the excuse "That Parliament is still sovereign because it can always repeal the European Communities Act 1972", will no longer be available, certainly NOT to an ENGLISH Parliament, only the original British Parliament that ratified it. As no Parliament may BIND plus the destruction of our Constitution-brings into play a whole host of other interesting cases. Far too many to place here, but I hope this sets many minds thinking.

The Union with Scotland no longer offers the nostalgic benefits that we used to enjoy in the age of our Empire. The Unions with Scotland and the EU together cost the English taxpayer about £20b net and that does not includes EU money spent in England that we might not want to have spent ourselves.

That is 5p off income tax or 3p off and the abolition of Inheritance tax.
I do not understand what benefits I am buying for this money.

I cannot believe that anyone is getting exercised by the loss of a seat on the Security Council. It is a wet dream to a foreign office mandarin but for the rest of us it is an empty gesture. Let India have it and fund the UN accordingly. Riches and power do not come from the UN but from a successful economy. Scotland and the EU are holding England back.

"The Unions with Scotland and the EU together cost the English taxpayer about £20b net"

1. I have yet to see any proof that the Union with Scotland is costing the English taxpayer anything at all, and it may even be the case that Scotland is subsidising England.

2. Several studies have come up with about £50 billion a year for the net cost to the UK of EU membership. Some say that it may be higher than that, more like £150 billion year.

The EU is limited to 27 members. Any further expansion would be subject to a referendum in France (as a sop to the substantial anti-Turkey contingent there). Perhaps the Auld Alliance would give the Scots a berth in the Brussels boondoggle. But Scotland cannot expect simply to join.

Some years ago I contacted the London office of the SNP with a view to joining. When asked what my connection with Scotland was I said I had none, but believed England would be better off without them so they and I had common cause to achieve an independent Scotland. They put the phone down on me. Is there any sign of any collaboration between separationists north and south of the border yet?

If yo want to leave the EU, campaign to do so. If you want Scotland to be out of the Union and have independence, do so. Just don't do one simply to get the other. Certainly don't have this as anything other than a clever thought experiment. Surely the electorate wants a party that will do what it says in as direct and clear a way as possible.

In the end there is in practical terms no such thing as international law or indeed constitutional law in the face of sufficiently strong political will and the force to back it. An example of the former might be the war in Iraq. The issue about whether Parliament can bind itself is not a real one for anyone other than a First Year undergraduate writing an essay (if at Oxford, based on the lectures of an SNP supporting don, at least when I was there!). Would the UK Parliament following Scots independence consider itself incapable of repealing legislation passed pre-secession? Would the Courts overturn any such attempts? Would there by anarchy in the streets? No, it would be business as usual and the constitutional questions would return to being curios for academic essays.

"There are 50 million people in England compared to 145 million in Russia."

Yes, but England is the dominant entity within the UK (80-85% of the population I think) in the same way that Russia was the dominant entity within the USSR.

Ergo, if the UK dissolved, surely its international obligations would transfer to England, in the same manner and if the UK is deemed worthy of its permanent seat, would the same not apply to England?

The economic status of England would remain largely unaffected I imagine, except it might possibly improve once the McChancellor and the rest of the hordes of Tartan freeloaders have been sent packing.

(For the benefit of those of you with acute sense of humour shortage, that was a joke. I do not consider Scots to be Tartan freeloaders.)

After all, England, Britain and the UK are synonymous for far too many people in the world already (including the huge numbers of the downright ignorant in this country)...

I cannot believe that anyone is getting exercised by the loss of a seat on the Security Council
Any of the 5 permament members of the Security Council have powers to veto anything brought before the Security Council, non-permanent members don't, there is also far more power to raise issues and non-permanent members have to be subject to being voted on based on a regional vote of states which in fact would increase the reliance of England, Scotland, Wales and Ulster on EU member states. The power to veto is very important because so many people put great store on decisions of the UN and the Security Council, without the agreement of the Security Council it is not clear that George Bush Senior would in 1991 have gone for direct military involvement over Kuwait - naturally the other permanent members interests frequently differ from those of England\Scotland\Wales\Ulster - losing the UN Permanent Security Council Seat would leave France globally in a far stronger position - it would weaken the ability to carry out the war on terror.

After all, England, Britain and the UK are synonymous for far too many people in the world already
Not people who decide such things, if the UK were to break up then it would not exist - one part leaving the UK is a different matter because technically then the bit left would still be the UK but if there is a general announcement that England, Scotland, Wales and Ulster were splitting into new entities then they would not be the UK.

I think mainly Russia was allowed to keep it's permanent seat because otherwise all hell would have broken loose there, it was teetering on revolution and some kind of Communist or Nationalist coup was a strong possibility including the worry that it's nuclear arsenal could fall into the hands of extremists who might launch them against western countries and internally within the area that was formerly the USSR. Russia remained the 2nd largest military power in the world and even though in terms of conventional forces China has rather overhauled Russia, in terms of nuclear weapons it is still far larger than China.

Red China of course for many years was not recognised in the UN with Taiwan taking it's seat, later Red China took Taiwan's seat and Taiwan lost it's seat unfairly - really both should have seats in the UN.

I don't think any references to "international law" will give definitive answers to what would happen once it was agreed in principle that Scotland would become an independent sovereign state.

Roger refers to the Montevideo Convention, but according to wikipedia:

"The states that signed this convention are: Honduras, United States of America, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay, Paraguay, Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, Brazil, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Cuba[1]."

none of which would be parties to negotiations on the terms of Scotland's EU membership. It goes on:

"However, as a restatement of customary international law, the Montevideo Convention merely codified existing legal norms and its principles therefore do not apply merely to the signatories, but to all subjects of international law as a whole."

The general principles might apply to EU member states, but the Convention itself does not. Similarly the SNP like to quote from the 1978 Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of Treaties, but the UK never ratified that Convention, and nor did 20 of the other 26 EU member states, and so none of them are bound by its provisions.

Ultimately these will be political decisions, translated into a new treaty as closely in accordance with "existing legal norms" as can be achieved.

As the UK has entered into probably thousands of treaties over the last 300 years, and probably hundreds if not thousands are still live and in force, it would obviously be unreasonable if a newly independent Scotland was obliged to accept all the international obligations previously incurred by the UK.

Equally, counter-parties to those numerous treaties might not want to extend to Scotland the same rights that they previously granted to the UK, especially if it was felt that the smaller state might not have the same ability to discharge its reciprocal obligations as the UK.

To a lesser extent, the UK minus Scotland might also be unable to discharge certain existing obligations, most obviously those which involve the use of Scottish territory by foreign military forces.

It would be for the government and legislature of an independent sovereign Scotland to decide whether they would allow eg the Americans to have bases on their territory, notwithstanding any agreement previously made between the US and UK. If they decided to invite the Chinese to have bases, instead, there would be nothing the government in London could do to prevent that.

"Residual UK " - "remnant UK "

sounds a bit tacky

er , how about " England " !

Roger refers to the Montevideo Convention, but according to wikipedia
Wikipedia is only as reliable as the last person who edited the information whoever that was, a very fine institution but rather useful for further research than as an end in itself.

Convention on Rights and Duties of States (inter-American); December 26, 1933
An article in Yale I think is probably rather more reliable - re the Monteverdi Convention. Haven't read it yet, but Yale is a well respected Academic institution and Wikipedia is an open encyclopedia.

However I can't see that a convention between American States has any bearing on International Treaties between European States.

In the case of Bosnia-Hercegovina it was decided that it was a state in the UN by a vote in the Security Council and in the General Assembly - thus it came down to politics not law, presumably if the UN decided that what was left if Scotland had left was the UK then it would be and if not then it wouldn't, although what the EU would decide is anyones guess.
Relates to Genocide but whether Bosnia is an independent state is at issue

Jake, I think the term was taken to mean England + Wales and Northern Ireland.
Of course if England declared independence then the residual UK would be Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but I find it difficult to image such a state would continue in that form.

Yep, I don't like "residual UK", especially as it would still have 55 million out of the 60 million population of the UK. (You might not guess that if you listened to some of the wilder Scottish Nationalists, who seem to have talked themselves into an inflated view of the importance of Scotland. They even reckon that once the English could no longer rob the Scots, England would soon go bankrupt.) However "England" wouldn't be correct, and I can't think of a better description.

No Denis . England is entirely correct .

After 300 years of denial , you - and other English people too - are having problems getting to grips with the word .
It would been no problem whatsoever for any English before 1707 and well into the 18nth century .
It is also e generational thing . I doubt that young people will see a problem here .

I have no problem with the word "England", Jake, but I do have a problem seeing how it subsumes Wales, let alone Northern Ireland.

I have read this selection of posts with considerable interest. Much of it is very dated and seriously ill-informed. We have had this debate in Scotland ten years ago and have moved on. It is to be welcomed that the English are now joining it. The first point I would make is that the terms "United Kingdom" and "Great Britain" do not mean the same thing. Under present SNP plans, for instance, Scotland would secede from Great Britain but remain as a part of the United Kingdom (until the Scottish people decided to change that). A United Kingdom was in place from 1603 but Scotland and England had entirely independent parliaments until 1707.
The second point I would make is that should the Treaty of Union between England and Scotland be revoked both succeeding states would inherit the Treaty obligations of the original state(Great Britain).The legal determination from the EU, which has been repeated on numerous occasions, is that Scotland is automatically a member of the EU on accessing Independence and any other interpretaion (like Geoff Hoon's, for instance) is politically motivated nonsense. There is no mechanism to eject any member or part of member from the EU and Greenland, for instance, had to negotiate withdrawal when it split from Denmark.
Size has no locus in this determination.
Scotland will have the same number of MEPs as similar sized member countries - ie about 15, which is double what it has as a part of GB.
The notion that the EU would attempt to expel the country controlling about 55% of Europe's Oil reserves, 60% of Europes fishing and strategically commanding the North Atlantic, while hurrying into membership impoverished eastern European nations, is absurd. There will of course be a series of negotiations about a variety of issues concerning an Independent Scotland's obligations and representations in the EU but these will be ongoing from inside the organisation.
Finally it is apparent from some of the more ignorant postings that some respondents believe that England absorbed Scotland in 1707. This was not the case. The treaty was supposed to be a union of equals and both England and Scotland were supposed to cease to exist. This ,of course was utter nonsense, and the English certainly had no intention of allowing any such thing.("We have catched the Scotch and will hold them fast") That this "equal" Union was achieved by large scale bribery of the "noble" members of the Scottish parliament (by Daniel Defoe among others) is in no doubt.They made a pretence of believing it to be a dignified equal union because they wanted to get their fat little hands on English trade and their fat little arses onto nice seats in London.The people of Scotland rioted for months after the treaty was signed.
What goes around comes around, however, and the people of Scotland will get their say this time round.

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