And so it begins!

Brexit and the Commonwealth of Nations

Nigerian artist Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy works on a portrait of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. Reuters

From stewartb:

As The Commonwealth no longer recognises Scotland as a ‘country’, whos pulling the strings?

Over the past week or so there have been significant moves in the constitutional wrangle over Scotland’s future. Notwithstanding the oft repeated Unionist charge that any actions on such matters at this time of pandemic are reprehensible, these moves have all come from one quarter, the Unionist establishment. 

We learn of the royal family becoming active in ‘saving the Union’, thanks to an article in The Sunday Times. This is necessary, we learn, because the politicians are ‘losing’ Scotland and the Windsors think that the Union (both unions?) is their possession. It’s being suggested that the efforts of royal ‘Will-n-Kate’ will now be directed towards Scotland in order to persuade us for the Union.

We’ve been made aware of a meeting between the head of the avowedly political campaigning organisation Our Scottish Future, Gordon Brown and a member of the royal family thanks to C4 News. Notably, this meeting occurred at an official royal residence during an official visit to Scotland when the family member in question was formally representing the monarch at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

And now we’re learning of instructions from the British government to its staff, including UK diplomats, to stop referring to the four nations of the UK and instead to refer to the UK as a single country.

Scotland no more a country – the ‘big idea’ already bearing fruit?

It’s reasonable to speculate that the British establishment has already had an international success in pursuing its objective regarding the regionalisation of Scotland within a unitary UK. Just look at the change in public information provided by The Commonwealth Secretariat.

For context, it’s worth remembering: (i) the British monarch is head of The Commonwealth; (ii) the Commonwealth Secretary-General who is responsible for representing The Commonwealth publicly, is the Right Honourable Patricia Scotland, aka Baroness Scotland of Asthal (look out for irony!) since 1997, and is formerly a minister in the UK Foreign Office, its Home Office and its Lord Chancellor’s Department; and (iii) PM Boris Johnson just happens to be the current Commonwealth ‘Chair-in-Office’, representing the Commonwealth at high-level international meetings.

“The UK is an island country’!

The graphic below is a screen shot of The Commonwealth’s website from today. It tells us that the UK ‘is an island country’. At least it is still acknowledging four constituent parts but without giving them any further status.

However, there is still some work to be done by The Commonwealth Secretariat and its influencers. It missed something! The Commonwealth Games Federation  (CGF) website has a directory of participating ‘teams and countries’. England, NI, Scotland and Wales are all listed here. (Source: https://thecgf.com/countries )

This is from the CGF website’s description of NI: ’As one of the Home Countries in the UK, Northern Ireland is ..…’ Oh dear, failed to spot this ‘error’: how long until an edit is done?

As an aside, in the CGF’s comparable description of Scotland, where there is no mention of country or nation status, it does in compensation have this wonderful phrase: ‘Scotland is located above England ..…’!

But Scotland was a country as recently as last year!

The graphic below is a screen shot of The Commonwealth website taken c. 12 months ago. The change from then until now is very marked. We learn here that the UK consists of three countries plus the ‘province’ of NI or alternatively, of four countries including NI. What’s a country here or there? So a year ago The Commonwealth Secretariat was content to mention twice in this short profile of the UK that Scotland is a ‘country’. But no more!

What led to the change? Which part of the Unionist establishment in the UK influenced or enforced this significant change? Can a country be discarded so easily? And where will the ‘influence’ behind this strike next?

Brexit and the Commonwealth of Nations

24 thoughts on “And so it begins!

  1. And of course UK diplomats will still refer to “England”.

    I remember the “Scotland’s oil” campaign, and the insistance by the BBC (among others) to refute this.
    Then there was a “Money Program” from America in the ’70’s, where the American being interviews repeatedly referred to “England’s” oil fields.
    He wasn’t corrected even once.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. One must assume,given their lack of visibility during the Brexit campaign,that the family Royal were in favour of that particular constitutional change.
    I suppose the EU wasn’t Their union whereas they regard England’s union as being their personal fiefdom.
    This is crass stupidity (business as usual) for the Johnson regime because any Scots who identify as Scots,which is a significant majority,and have lingering association with the British state,are going to have a rethink.
    The sticking plaster of devolution has become unstuck and the lesion between Scotland and England is now a festering sore.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. We have been called English for years. There is the old gag of the American asking a Scot where he comes from, and on being told “Scotland”, he asks “is that Scotland, England?” Up to us to forge a clearer and more distinct identity than perhaps we do now?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s nuts – After hundreds of years of hawking England around the globe, and the diaspora, it cannot simply be disappeared.

    At one point I worked on a USN base, it was drilled into new personnel this is NOT England but Scotland, these people are NOT English but Scottish, they speak English but are Scottish, we are THEIR guests, don’t insult them or you’ll be up before the XO. None did and to this day it is burned into their memory.

    The Tories can try plastering Union Flags on everything, they can fiddle with documents and websites, they are only going to be seen as incredibly naive.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. One other thing – not only Scotland, England, Wales and NI are members of the CGF, but so are Isle of Mann, and the Channel Islands (individually!). England is cutting off a lot to chew – not just Scotland, Wales and NI, but also the “smaller” islands who guard their independence and identity very jealously indeed.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m tempted to write a long post explaining why as far as old maj and westminster are concerned this would be seen as essential forward planning for a post Independent Scotland era. Bare in mind just how diminished internationally ruk will be without Scotland. Maj is up the creek as well dependent on how Scotland leaves the union and dumps the saxcoburggothawindsor family, currently maj is Queen of fourteen other country’s. I’m not going to ( big sigh of relief ) suffice to say that Scotland is and will remain a country so long as our borders are defined by legal jurisdiction because that in international law is what defines a country’s borders, legal jurisdiction.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. England to gain parliamentary seats, while Scotland and Wales lose some. A bit off topic but this news seems to be pretty well-hidden on the BBC website and I haven’t heard it reported on TV or radio. On the website you can find it under ‘Politics’ and ‘England’ but not under ‘Scotland’ or ‘Wales’. Funny that. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-57384795

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This sort of thing is a useful example of the contradictory construct that is the UK. On the one hand, they can try to sell us the idea that the UK is a partnership of nations. Fine. But in that case would we not expect each part to have its own specific rights. Check out the US. There the number of members for each state in the House of Representatives is determined by population, so California has a lot more members than, for instance Arizona. BUT, the Senate is two members each state – to two Senators for California and two for Arizona, no matter the difference in population. When we talk about a “grand compromise” that is a good example.

      The UK just doesnt have this sort of arrangement. Instead it has the slippery “unwritten constitution” which can be whatever the ruling elite want it to be at any point in time.

      Thus, we can be a “partnership of nations”, but at the same time a “United Kingdom” where the other three partners find their representation shrinking, while the other much larger part of the Union increases its representation.

      Let’s suppose it was agreed to do away with the House of Lords and replace it with a Parliament of the Nations where each part had the same number of members. Can you imagine? Undemocratic would be the most benign of the comments made about this. Yet, this is what America has. For House of Representatives read House of Commons, while for Senate read Parliament of the Nations. I am almost inclined to write to the Herald to suggest this just for a laugh.

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  7. The artist is clearly very talented, but the image does not portray the soul of the sitter, if it did, it would not be very nice.
    I wonder how Rembrandt (genius) would have portrayed her.

    The cancelling of Scotland as a country, by the British, (English) is getting rather sinister, it’s almost like the last few hundred years did not happen, and almost like devolution is very temporary and the SCOTTISH parliament is just a town council talking shop, hmmm. That OK people of Scotland?

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  8. But, but but…

    What am I going to do? I was English!

    I mean, I’ve only just got used to being a New Scot.

    Now I’m neither. And, apparently, never have been!

    And what about my username? Eh? I’ll have to change it to “IusedtobefromwhatIthoughtwasaCountrythatIthoughtwascalledEngland” Because the British archipelago include the Republic of Ireland and that’s definitely a country, so I can’t just say British.

    Maybe I should get my MP to raise a question in the HoC. But that’s no good. They’re SNP, so the tories’ll walk out and I’ll never get an answer…

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  9. Serious question.

    Golfnut: “Scotland is and will remain a country so long as our borders are defined by legal jurisdiction because that in international law is what defines a country’s borders, legal jurisdiction.”

    As this was written into the Treaty/Treaties, does that mean that any attempt to shut down/undermine the legal Scottish system could be viewed as breaking it/them?

    If so, could it be argued that the Union has been broken by Westminster – or at least no longer holds?

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      1. The Inner House of the Court of Session would have legal jurisdiction, it’s not just idle rhetoric that Scotland is an equal partner in this union, westminster is bound equally by Scots and English Constitutional law.

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    1. One Treaty, 2 Acts. Treaty law trumps domestic law, and Yes such a fundamental breach of the Treaty would be justification for withdrawing from the Treaty.

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      1. Thanks for getting back, Golfnut.

        Of course 2 Acts. My brain’s away with the fairies…

        And we’d be recognised internationally as legally independent. Presumably they’d think they could ‘keep the children’? Could get fairly unpleasant.

        Still, as me old mum used to say “We live in hope, if we die in despair…” (More cheerful than it sounds! 😀 )

        Like

  10. How much did Lizzie 2 pay the artist to knock 25 years and a mountain of wrinkles off her face ?
    I’ve heard of Artistic License but this is taking the piss !

    Like

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