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The Stone of Scone is missing from Westminster Abbey.....do you know why, Mr Major ?

Sir John's memory is flawed, and his apportioning of blame somewhat one-sided.

It was he, at the behest of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, who set the wheels in motion, symbolically at least. On 3rd July 1996, the House of Commons was informed that the Coronation Stone was to be returned to Scotland. The announcement caused many to focus their attention on the symbolic significance of the stone to the United Kingdom. The return of the Stone of Scone to Scotland, after resting for 700 years in Westminster Abbey as the throne of the United Kingdom, was a significant gesture towards Scottish nationalism. Legend predicts that it heralds the imminent independence of Scotland. After Edward I removed it in 1296, many Scots saw its position in the Abbey as a sign of Scottish subjugation to Westminster governance, a feeling exacerbated during the Thatcher years. It became a sign of English oppression and superiority. In reality it had come to symbolise the uniting of the Kingdom under one monarch. Lying beneath the Coronation Chair in Westminster, it had been the embodiment of the covenant between the Queen-in-Parliament and her subjects, the anointed foundation by which the sovereignty and government of the United Kingdom was upheld.

One has to understand the emotional-mythological symbolism of this stone to Scots, and the political implications of its return. It was John Major who heralded the constitutional break-up of the Union; Labour merely provided the institutions.

Well said, TomTom, the Stone of Scone was the symbolic beginning of the end.
I just wish that this political inadequate would go away, he's created enough of a mess already.
Why can't he put his feet up in front of the fire and quietly dream of having curry?

Bit of a muddled approach I'm afraid to say. I've said this before but here goes again - if we beleive in localism we should offer real devolution to the whole of the UK ie more powers should go closer to the people which means much more could be done by local councils and by communities and people themselves. This approach would make much of this debate irrelevant,


Ah John Major Saviour of the Tory Party, hope has more success with the union!

"The Stone of Scone is missing from Westminster Abbey.....do you know why, Mr Major ?"


Interesting though that Major says devolution "gave Scotland all it hoped for". As far as I can remember from the referendum, only around 45% of the Scottish electorate actually voted for the devolved assembly in the first place.

John-boy also says "Labour saw no reason to end the Barnett formula that directed to Scotland an unfairly large share of public spending. This Scot-geld is paid by English taxpayers."

Major was Prime Minister for seven years and was Chancellor of the Exchequer before that, and even before that he was in Thatcher's Treasury team. He certainly seemed to have no hesitation about keeping the Barnett Formula then. In any case, Major doesn't understand economics, or he would know that huge increases in public spending are bad for the economy and stifle out competitiveness. Is he seriously suggesting that what England needs is more and more largesse from the state?

Is the same John Major who betrayed his country at Maastricht, conniving at the establishment of a competing Union, with a Committee of the Regions, Scotland to be one such Region within a Europe of Regions, England to be broken up into nine other Regions? And now I'm supposed to believe that he's trying to save the Anglo-Scottish Union? Yeah, right. He'd be much wiser to keep his head down, and hope we don't remember that in the past people like him often lost theirs.

Be fair: John Major is likely to remembered as the greatest british pm since Ted Heath - and that takes some talent, I can tell you :-)

Whatever anyone thinks of John Major (and I always thought of him as a decent man in an impossible situation with an impossible party)I can't see anything I would disagree with in this speech.
What happened with the Stone Of Destiny is a complete irrelevance other than symbolically, much more important was his valiant attempts to preserve the Union during the 1992 General Election campaign.
I like his idea of reducing the number of Westminster seats for Scottish constituencies but believe that if the Union is to be preserved the West Lothian question must in the end be answered.

Major is the kiss of death to anything he gets involved with. I wonder if the creep still wears his vests inside his pants.

Somewhere I still have the little book 101 uses for a John Major which I received in my Christmas stocking during the dark days of his premiership.

Major was absolutely our worst Prime Minister of the 20th century - even worse than Heath and Wilson.

I was pleased to see his support for Rifkind's proposed English Grand Committee. While not entirely dealing with the WLQ it does then provide the basis of a separate English HoC without the uneccessary setting up of another devolved assembly and layer of Government.

It would be totally wrong to reduce the number of MPs elected in Scotland.

At present the number of electors per MP in Scotland is the same as that in England, as close as can be arranged, and there is no reason why Britons
living in Scotland should be deliberately under-represented on the "reserved" matters debated and decided in the British Parliament. On the other hand, Britons living in Wales are still deliberately over-represented at Westminster,
and that should be rectified.

Depriving Britons in Scotland of the full level of representation on "reserved"
matters is not the proper solution to the present problem, which is that their representatives can also vote on "devolved" matters - ie matters for which the decisions for Scotland have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament, but the decisions for England are still made by the Westminster Parliament.

I'm torn between out-right loathing for Major due to his awful leadership: leading to farce and sheer public contempt for the Party. On the other hand, his behaviour in the face of such a public FU in 1997 showed his decency which is lacking in his successor (Bliar). But he's speaking bollards on the 'scottish solution'. The only viable solutions to the current debacle are :- outright independence for Scotland; or with-drawing the 'right to vote' on English Matters on all MP's who do not represent English constituencies. Reading his column in the Telegraph just reminded me what a sheer waste of time his administrations were. What a shame.

I hardly think the return of the Stone of Scone compares with creating a separate parliament and continuing to pour English money into Scotland whilst giving Scottish MPs votes on English matters, not to mention the fact that even post boundary changes Scotland is still over-represented (the Western Islands have just 20,000 constituents, whilst Tory Isle of Wight has 108,000). John Major's record on the Union was entirely solid and good on him for pointing out Labour's repeated vandalism.

I have always thought of John Major as a decent sort and his premiership was essentially conducted correctly . How anyone can even suggest that he is " the worst prime minister of the 20th century" in the light of the slimy, devious,sanctimonious ,arrogance,ignorance ,
corruption and doctrinaire wrongheadedness of the last 10 years under Blair is beyond me. Mentioning , say , the word "Iraq " to such a person probably won't have much of an impact .

Mr Major's article,while it draws attention to the looming constitutional crisis of what is now a deeply unfair Union

(typically missed by many of the braying dunderheads who loll about these columns )

is , however , shot through with that Westminster village mentality which is so slow and out of date and lacking in perception of the scale of the injustice to England -and its unsustainability .
Mr Major delineates the miserable story of Scottish self appointed victimism and its basis upon a fake version of history . He points out the way in which the Labour party has used this in a self defeating manner for short term political gain

( for , make no mistake , it is the Labour Party , which is the very creation of the Union , has always gained most from it and has most to lose by its ending . That , in their rush to pour privileges upon the celts ,they forgot this basic fact , is peculiar but does not alter the picture )

He then goes on to dismiss the common sensical and obvious solution of an English parliament with the same rights and competencies as the Scottish parliament , all within a federal type United Kindom structure with very little reasoning

" We should rule out a purely English Parliament - there are ways of dealing with the problem that do less damage to our constitution." and then trots out the time worn (Scottish) argument for an English Grand Committee - but the days are long gone when such a committee would be acceptable . It would still leave England without self rule and without her own government as also would his predictable groping towards the discredited idea of English Votes On English Matters in the British parliament .

In both cases England would still be an insulted second best and probably still be used as milch cow for Scotland - easily to be continued by a slightly tampered British parliament which would have no problem in out manouvreing EVOEM , bearing in mind that there would be no English government or ministers , no English budget , no English civil service , no English Office - nothing much really - just the same old crowd of whatever party in Westminster determined to see that England must always be sidelined and must never be recognised .

An English Parliament is the only democratic and logical solution . Once in place , it will be accepted immediately by the Scots who , generally , have no problem with the concept . The problem , I regret , lies in retarded English minds befogged by 300 years of Unionism . It would also be THE most effective way of ensuring the continuance of the British Union

- the most successful national alliance in all of history -

which I very much hope will go on for another 300 years .
Without such a national Parliament for England the future of the Union is doubtful indeed .

Well said Malcolm. I find that those commenting on this site like to have a bash at Major (and Portillo) just for fun. I see nothing wrong with what Major is saying, and in fact I agree. Blair's constitutional reform has been half baked. Whether one agrees with Blair's devolution or his House of Lords reforms to date is not the issue. Rather, what are the Tories' policies on these issues going forward. I don't agree with all Major's suggestions (the Grand English Committee seems to be the most sensible) but at least he is raising the issues and suggesting some solutions.

WARNING WARNING WARNING. The following sentence is pro-Major and anti-Thatcher. What Major has got right and Thatcher never did is speaking without undermining the current leader. Lets hope that Cameron achieves something Major did, but none of the recent darlings of the right (Hague, IDS and Howard) did and win an election.

I will now stand back and take cover.

I find this sniping at John Major completely unedifying. He was faced with a Party that was self-destructing and self-important. It was under his stewardship, along with Ken Clarke's management that built the prosperity and solidity which this country now has, and which has been slowly eroded by our current Government.

If you want to lay the blame for the party at anyone's feet, blame those MP's who did their utomst to undermine him with their selfish and foolish acts.

I thought that might be you, Jake, before I scrolled down and saw your "name" ...

He makes a lot of sense on the Barnett formula but the Grand Committee is a red herring. Scottish MPs should simply be denied a vote on devolved matters. Simple, cheap and quick. Cue lots of wailing, from those with a vested interest in the current gerrymandered nonsense, about how civilisation would come to an end if this happened and how the Scots would be oppressed by their bigger neighbour.

PS John Major's article is excellent: a stunning critique of the nakedly partisan agenda which underpinned devolution in its current form.

Chris Heathcote @ 12:10 - in fact electors in Scotland are not now significantly over-represented at Westminster, and picking out one particularly awkward Scottish constituency - the Western Isles - doesn't change that general truth.
The population of Scotland is 8.5% of the UK population, and they elect 9.1%
of the MPs. There are constituencies in England which are over-represented,
and others which are under-represented, because the Boundary Commission can't keep up with the movements of population, always have to work with out
of date numbers, and prefer the constituencies to have some kind of coherent identity as far as that can be arranged.

Jake, as I've said previously - I don't believe that a separate English Parliament is necessary, and I don't believe that it would prove to be the panacea some of its proponents seem to think, but on the other hand I have no fundamental objection to having an English Parliament. I do, however, have a fundamental objection to dissolving the Anglo-Scottish Union as part of that change, because in the longer term that would probably bring unnecessary grief to both Scotland and England.

John Major was and is a traitor to his country and his party, and it's a waste of time trying to shift the blame to MPs and others who objected to his treachery.

One option would be to disallow any Scots or Welsh MP's from taking a ministerial post, reserving them solely to English people.

The thing is, it's all very well criticising this government about failing to properly address the constitutional structure of the UK, but why didn't he do it when he was PM - in 1992 the Conservative Party made gains in Scotland largely on a pledge echoing that of McCloud & Heath in the run up to the 1970 General Election to give more devolution to Scotland - the result was a talking shop ie the Scottish Grand Committee and the Regional Assemblies which did have actual power were scrapped, if the Conservatives had extended the powers of the Scottish Regional Assemblies giving them powers of primary legislation and limited tax variation and then done the same with English, Welsh & Ulster Counties and then scrapped the Welsh Office, Scottish Office and Northern Ireland Office then the opposition's fox would have been shot, instead of losing every Scottish and Welsh seat in 1997 then maybe either Labour would have dropped the devolution plans or people aware that the new Scotland and Wales parliaments would take power away from their local areas would have rejected the referendums, there would be no West Lothian question, the long standing problem of Scotland, Wales & Ulster being run like Imperial provinces would have been solved - each new devolved authority could then decide Local Government in it's area and the Conservative Party probably would have doubled their numbers of seats in Scotland and Wales. No government has ever attempted a UK wide solution to constitutional imbalances but rather has merely substituted one set of imbalances for another - it's about time that the constitution was settled once and for all!

Thank you , Denis , for that glint of recognition . I also have a " fundamental objection to dissolving the Anglo-Scottish Union " .
However , the Union is now fundamentally unbalanced and no such imperfect political structure can last indefinitely .

The best way to save it is with an English Parliament which I have no doubt will fit in perfectly well with the parliamentary bodies of Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland .

The usual ritual pbjections of " cost" and " another layer of government " are just the blatherings of those who don't want the English to be represented .

'I do, however, have a fundamental objection to dissolving the Anglo-Scottish Union as part of that change, because in the longer term that would probably bring unnecessary grief to both Scotland and England.'

Dennis, what 'unnecessary grief' would it 'probably' bring to England?

Time and again I've heard Cameron and Blair and others say that this union undoubtedly benifits England, but nobody ever states exactly how it does.

I find this sniping at John Major completely unedifying. He was faced with a Party that was self-destructing

The party was self-destructing because it was "led" (not quite the word, but never mind) by the contemptible intellectual dwarf Major.

I well remember attending a Conference Ball at which a YC screamed abuse at Major, the man was so detested.

This isn't JUST about solving the West Lothian Question.

This is a question of sovereignty. Should sovereignty lie with Westminster or with the nations that comprise the union? It's about executive power and governance - you cannot have an English parliament within a parliament holding the UK government to account. It's blatently ridiculous.

You will send out the message to the Scots and Welsh the Westminster IS the English parliament, a parliament in which their MPs are excluded on the whim of a Speaker elected by a majority of English MPs.

And how will you decided which bills are English, or which parts of bills are English?

And how will Scottish and Welsh MPs make it into cabinet if they are not allowed to become ministers in 'English Departments'? Essentially what you are proposing is an English Cabinet for the UK.

You blather on about saving the Union when the reality is that you really don't have a clue.

Have to say chaps, having read some of the comments on this site, that if for one minute I believed that people like Forsyth, Tom-Tom or Denis Cooper actually had any chance whatsoever of becoming Tory MPs I would at once retire to my Irish Estates. They, and others like them, are just awful.

"One option would be to disallow any Scots or Welsh MP's from taking a ministerial post, reserving them solely to English people.

Posted by: George Hinton | March 09, 2007 at 14:52 "

George , this would finish off the Union good and proper as it would be contrary to the very essence of the idea of a universal British state and parliament in which al memnbers are supposed to be equal .

By comparison , an English parliament , now made logically imperative by the fact of a Scottish Parliament , would preserve the overarching British Parliament and make such a divisive proposal re the nationality of ministers in the Westminster parliament unnecessary .

@Floreat aula

Go now. Don't wait.
I have a soft spot for Floreat aula....
its a bog in the west of Ireland.

Only you could think it more important for a Tory leader not to attack his successor than to govern the country effectively during their premiership. Unbelievable.

John Major
- the man who found Edwina Currie sexy
- the man who gave you the cones hotline in lieu of a transport policy
- the man who took us into the ERM and then out again but not before it had cost hundreds of thousands of Englishmen their homes and/or their jobs in a pointless recession and his party three general elections (and counting).
- the man who got the Star and Garter and turned up at a pub in Richmond rather than Windsor

But Jack, time and time again I've pointed out that the English political elite wanted the 1707 Union because it effectively gave them control of the whole island and its coastline, through their majority in the British Parliament, and
that strategic advantage is still relevant today. For the moment forget about "subsidising" the Scots - which is probably more or less a fiction anyway,
when everything is taken into account - and forget about the Scots ruling the English - which really boils down to a disproportionate number of Scottish
Labour MPs being kept in government by the Labour MPs elected in England - and think about the problems which could arise if the northern third of our home island reverted to being a foreign country, a sovereign state with a potentially unfriendly government, beyond the jurisdiction of the Westminster Parliament.
It only needs a little knowledge of history and a little imagination to see that England would be less secure if Scotland became independent.

In a minefield of mostly unremitting rubbish the very often sensible comments of Denis Cooper are very refreshing.
He suggests that "subsidising the Scots is more or less a fiction, anyway". Make that a certainty. It was never true and even less so now with the high (and permanently high) price of oil. The various figures drawn up to suggest incredible English largesse to the Scots was devised by Labour and Tory governments to persuade half-witted Scots (we have quite a few of them) of the unlikely fact that England was hanging onto Scotland to throw money at it and that Scotland couldn't afford to be independent. The delight is that having taken a life of its own the ramifications of this huge lie are now going to prevent the grim Gordon Brown from ever winning a
UK election.
The latest set of these fiddled figures are absolutely absurd. They include no oil revenues at all to Scotland's account while assigning all the tax revenues from oil to London's account - and then the resultant travesty of an account is used to suggest that Scotland is being subsidised by London.
However I have little complaint with ill -informed English electors foaming at the mouth at these distortions. They know no better.
We have a problem with the members of Scotland's Labour Party who have been lying to Scotland for over thirty year and continue to lie today. They disgust. "Such a parcel of rogues in a nation " as Burns saw it. They'll get theirs - starting on May 3rd this year - and history will record them with infamy.
Here's the bargain. We'll go off with the oil and the surplus power and the limitless potential for green energy and you can keep Gordon Brown, John Reid, Douglas Alexander, Adam Ingram, Ian McCartney, Alister Darling etc and the other Scots muppets which makes one wonder what is wrong with English parliamentarians if you allow this lot to rule over you.
A final thought - and I have mentioned this before. The Barnett Formual is designed to DECREASE the per capita public financing of Scotland as against the funding for England and this it is doing on an annual basis.

" We'll go off with the oil and the surplus power and the limitless potential for green energy and you can keep Gordon Brown, John Reid, Douglas Alexander, Adam Ingram, Ian McCartney, Alister Darling etc "

er David , some of that oil eg Dorset is in English waters - as is most of the natural gas .

Actually , at present it is all categorised as British oil and gas but though the future maritime boundary between England and Scotland has yet to be established - the 55 degree latitude now used was imposed on England by the British government without any consultation with English representaives whatsoever .

As for the politicians you mention - they are emphatically yours and not ours .

Moronic comments are to be expected from Alex Forsyth on this and every other thread but really do we have to sink to John Major- the man who found Edwina Currie sexy etc. Jesus! Engage your brain before uttering such complete tripe as part of an argument!


While I'm a unionist your points are well made. I am always surprised that people argue for British unionism or Scots nationalism on the basis of economics. It's about patriotism, love of country, tribalism and other deep emotions.

Gordon Brown cannot understand how to define or explain Britishness because IMHO he doesn't actually feel it. Your nationalism is probably rooted in love of country, in its history, its struggle, in its institutions and people. My Britishness comes from my national inheritance which as a child of Empire had heroes, songs, people drawn from the Scots, English, Irish, Welsh as well as the colonies and Dominions. I think Britain united is a greater nation than would be the separate nations.

If you argue in terms of tax revenues or subsidies then you have already lost. They can support the argument but they are not the argument.

You've put it better than I could Ted.

Very well put Ted . I am a child of Empire also . English too .

My comments re oil etc were merely supportive of the claim for recognition of England . I would much prefer England to be an integral Parliament of the United Kingdom .
In practice I suspect that an English parliament and government would be accepted very quickly , if not eagerly , by Scotland . The problem at present is that the Scots have no foil against which to sharpen , as it were , their ardour . The British government is , for them , a pushover and , as such , has become contempible .
The re- emergence of an English state , government and civil service , would be just what is needed for all concerned . England would ,of course , conduct herself with her , ahem , customary restraint and consideration .
The ongoing negotiations between the component countries of the United Kingdom on such topics as power supply , transport agriculture and defence and much else would be highly productive and far more psychologically satisfying than the current sterile mugging of Westminster for Danegeld .

I can see a new future for The Union -
but only if the present impasse , dependent as it is on the rigid stasis of the present class of office holders , is broken .


It was invective not an argument but all except the last point is demonstrably true. You may wish it weren't; you may think it declasse to draw attention to the man's failures but it is all still true.

Cameron's rejection of the cause of an English parliament is a self-denying ordinance that is explainable only by his Scottish antecedents or by a lack of political imagination. English nationalism is an open goal for the Conservative party begging to be scored. Labour must be gazing slack-jawed at this principled repudiation of his own self interest.

The European Union? The Steelworkers Union? His marriage? Do tell..........

Sorry Jake
There may be oil of the coast of Dorset and gas. It's English and you are very welcome to it but if it exists in any significant measure it is a drop in the ocean (no pun intended) against the Oil in the Scotish North Sea and the as yet untapped huge Atlantic fields off our West Coast.
And sorry again. Scottish teritorial waters are already internationally recognised and valid. (To suggest it can be otherwise is like suggesting that the oil of the coast of Texas might be Canadian or Norway's oil is Swedish.)
And of course my nationalism is because I am Scottish, proud of it and expect to run my own country the same way as everybody else does. The analogy I would offer is "Surely Britain and France would be stronger together so we should all be ruled by a parliament in Paris" Would you get a lot of English rushing to support that idea?
So why should anybody expect Scots to swallow the "stronger together" guff - which is code for "England is stronger with access to Scottish resources and Scottish manpower, particularly when we are invading other countries."

David ,you are right . Scotland must have all of the oil in Scottish waters .I have no doubt there are undreamt of quantities of it out there . The matter of Anglo Scottish maritime boundaries will have to be discussed in due course though .

As also , the matter of Scotland's share of British national debt .

England must have her own Parliament it is as simple as that,and why the Tory's go on about the Union,when they have no voters in Scotland and Wales,is crazy,England is their only hope,and still they cry we must save the Union,Madness!

I repeat, Anglo Scottish maritime boundaries are already fixed (one of the consequences of England and Scotland having different legal systems) and this was done to an agreed universal formula requiring no negotiation.
The national debt and share of national assets, of course, will have to be negotiated. This is normal and has just been fairly easily accomplished in a number of places - the Czech Republic and Slovakia for instance.
It is worth noting that Scotland took on a share of England's national debt at the time of the Union in 1707 which proved very damaging to Scotland's already fragile, post-Darien economy.
As Grim Gordon has effected an economic "miracle" on the back of almost limitless personal credit and a trebling of Britain's national debt (including PFI debt it is now at around £1000 billion)the share of the national debt will be little cause for joy.

Which " agreed universal formula requiring no negotiation " is that , David ?

It rather sounds as though you want to make a quiet stitch up between the Scottish dominated British government and the Scottish government in which there were no representatives at all of England AS England

- let alone an English nogotiating team -

stick .

Thank you for alerting the readers of this column to this area of concern .

@Dave McEwen Hill
The maritime boundaries were set by an Order in council in about 1975/6 by another Labour government as yet another bribe to Scotland and contrary to agreed principles of International Maritime Law. As an internal arrangment they suffice. In the event of English indepence, international law will apply and the sea boundary will follow the land boundary which is geographically north/south (because the UK is actually orientated nw/se and Edinburgh is geographically the most westerly of the national capitals being west of Exeter). This puts all the gas and a great chunk of oil in Englands international waters. If England does a deal with the Orkneys and Shetlands, which have been part of the UK longer than they have been part of Scotland and allows them to become a northern Brunei, then Scotland is not going to have much oil left - unless you find some more under the heather.

What nonsense. No doubt England will claim Norway's il reserves as well by extending this fancifulboundary line as it goes north. Perhaps it will cross the Arctic and you can claim the oil in Central Asia as well. Cloud cuckoo stuff, just like the absurd notion that England will try to hang onto the Northern Isles. Has the disaster of hanging onto Northern Ireland taught England nothing about the consequences of follish imperialism

"However due to the existence of two separate legal systems in Great Britain - that of Scots law pertaining to Scotland and English law pertaining to England and Wales, constitutional law in the United Kingdom has provided for the division of the UK sector of the North Sea into specific Scottish and English components[5]. The Continental Shelf Act 1964 and the Continental Shelf (Jurisdiction) Order 1968 defines the UK North Sea maritime area to the north of latitude 55 degrees north as being under the jurisdiction of Scots law[6] meaning that 90% of the UK's oil resources were under Scottish jurisdiction[7][8]. In addition, section 126 of the Scotland Act 1998 defines Scottish waters as the internal waters and territorial sea of the United Kingdom as are adjacent to Scotland[9]. This has been subsequently amended by the Scottish Adjacent Waters Boundary Order 1999 which redefined the extent of Scottish waters and Scottish fishery limits[10][11].

Recent evidence by Kemp and Stephen (1999) has tried to estimate hypothetical Scottish shares of North Sea Oil revenue by dividing the UK sector of the North Sea into separate Scottish and UK sectors using the international principle of equidistance as utilised under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) - such a convention is used in defining the maritime assets of newly formed states and resolving international maritime disputes. The study by Kemp & Stephen showed that hypothesised Scottish shares of North Sea oil revenue over the period 1970 to 1999, varied to as high as 98%[12] dependent upon the price of oil and offset against taxable profits and the costs of exploration and development."

David McEwan Hill

Of course the English/Scots border stops when it reaches Norway's water. This is a really stupid ad hominem.

There is no proposal to "hang on" to the Orkneys and Shetlands but in the event of a split up of the UK to encourage and support their desire for their own independence from the Scottish mainland turning them into a northern Brunei, with England facilitating this by offering to provide diplomatic and military protection and guaranteeing their independence from Scotland. As I say, they have been a part of the UK for siginificantly longer than they were part of the Kingdom of Scotland.

The Continental Shelf Order 1968, for it is he, is an internal UK document which will have no validity in the event of English independence, when International law will apply, in which case the principle is the sea border follows the land border (north from Berwick)

How much of the North Sea oil field this puts into whose waters I leave to geographers.

You may find the map here helpful.
Drawing a line from Keswick to Berwick and going on and out puts the line through the Forties field


I can't be bothered with any more of this silly stuff. I suggest you get this adopted as Tory policy, headline it and give the SNP hundreds and thousands of extra votes from disgusted Scots Tories on 4th May.

Firstly, this does not need to be Tory policy, it will be the bargaining position of any independent English government. Fundamentals like oil wealth are going to cut across Party lines, I guarantee.

Secondly, you are assuming that's not what I want. But I do want an independent England and given the pusilanimity of my own Party leaders, the Scots are going to have to do it for me.

You and I are the nearest political bed fellows on this site.
Its just really kinky (political) sex!

David , you are confusing an Order in Council - an internal British instrument - with the well established principles of international law . The equidistance factor I see that you do acknowledge - it is most important .

Relations between England and Scotland after independence from each will be as those for any two independent states - as will negotiatio about maritime boundaries .

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