‘No nation could be held irrevocably in a Union against its will’

John Major PM in 1993

Margaret Thatcher said something similar before that.


17 thoughts on “‘No nation could be held irrevocably in a Union against its will’

  1. It seems incredible that the Westminster Government that was one of the leaders of the international support for Kosovo during its struggle for independence, that even recognised the newly independent country on its first day, can be so implacably opposed to a referendum in one of the four countries in a voluntary union.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. All to do with resources… Kosovo had none so UK gov not worried about it being free from whoever, but Scotland has resources coming out its ears – therefore it has to be held onto at whatever cost (you don’t think the Barnet Formula is relatively generous because the UK governments are feeling generous do you?).

      Liked by 3 people

      1. The generosity of the UK Government knows no bounds when it comes to disposing of the bounty from Scotland’s assets, Thatcher’s switch from manufacturing to service industries, the M25, London’s CrossRail, who knows how much has been siphoned off by The City and now the various HS lines.
        In Westminster’s hands Scotland’s assets vanish like snow of a dyke.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Yes indeed. It’s a fact that when Australia broke away from England, it was a relatively peaceful event. Thing is, at the time, Australia hadn’t discovered they were sitting on masses of gold, otherwise it could have been quite a different matter altogether.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Earlier this year Scots lads and lasses serving in the Army received a letter from the Chief telling them to ‘ prepare for a land war in mainland Europe ‘ , fighting for the democracy and right of self determination of the Eastern European Countries.

    How can it be right that today these lads and lasses, their friends and family here in Scotland have been told that, democracy and self determination is not something for them?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. There are others. Alf Baird in his book “Doun Hauden” covers this (244-6).
    1. Thatcher said in her memoirs “The Downing Street Years”, ““As a nation, they (the Scots) have an undoubted right to national self-determination; thus far they have exercised that right by joining and remaining in the Union. Should they determine on independence, no English party or politician would stand in their way, however much we might regret their departure.””
    2. Norman Tebbitt said that John Major considered a majority of Scottish MPs for the SNP would be a mandate to being independence negotiations without the need for a referendum
    3. Leon Brittan set the bar at two elections with a majority of SNP MPs in Scotland, and that this view was almost universally shared among English Tory backbenchers
    On a slightly different aspect of this issue, Constitutional Law Professors McCorkindale and McHarg have argued that a referendum is not a required part of the process toward independence, and is in fact legally irrelevant.
    Baird argues that with “over 80% of the seats in Scotland, nationalists in any other colony would have taken their country back before now.
    He also points to a problem that looms large in my own thinking – “what does anyone really think that 600 Westminster MPs frm other countries would write into any subsequent “Independence Scotland Act””.
    He also considers that it could “instructive” to seek the opinion of “the Courts” on “the constitutional and legal reality of the Treaty of Union vis a vis Scotland’s ability to unilaterally withdraw from the Union. He argues that “One cannot imagine a court deciding, for example that Scotland was unable to unilaterally withdraw from the UK Union, as this would imply that Scotland was subject to takeover by England in 1707.
    Alf has two problems here. First the Supreme Court has just told us we cannot unilaterally withdraw – or at least hold a vote on doing so, and secondly the possibility of a takeover by England was one of the possibilities considered in the Westminster government’s legal advice on Scotland becoming independent in 2014. Their conclusion was that it was either a new state – hard to maintain when in effect the English Parliament just rolled on as if nothing had happened other than some Scots arrived to join in – or there was a takeover and Scotland became part of a “greater England”.
    However, as Alf says, deciding that Scotland had no such right to withdraw would “destroy the very idea that Scotland was ever a partner in any union …. confirming that Scotland was to all intents a colonial territory, subject to the whims of MPs and elites from other countries (as the Cambridge Dictionary definition suggests).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The legal advice, presumably you refer to the Gallagher/ Boyle opinion commissioned by Cameron was the legal equivalent of GERS, start with the answer and work your way back. Like Dicey, they went to the HOL, Lord Wallace of Tankerness playing the roll of Dicey in the pantomine, for validation. It’s interesting that Cameron felt it necessary to commission this work, perhaps an indication that Dicey’s assertions weren’t quite as watertight as they would have us believe. If that indeed was his intention he would have been sorely disappointed, but it wasn’t. Where Dicey focused on the absolute sovereignty of the Union Parliament and English Constitutional law, Gallagher and Boyle focused on the premise that Scotland had been extinguished and that should Scotland vote for independence it would become a new state, not the ancient Kingdom of Scotland which joined the union. As abhorrent, insidious and false as these claims are, the narrative was to secure Successor state status for the RUK/England and place Scotland very clearly at the mercy of westminster at the negotiating table. Scotland’s territorial integrity would have been seriously impinged with partition a very real possibility, forget getting rid of Trident or indeed any of the military, oil and gas shared if not kept completely kept under the control of westminster.
      Nicola has in my opinion played a blinder, getting rid of the referendum option has cut the cleared the decks, voter suppression is now westminsters only weapon.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The posts keep on changing. The unelected PM. The Tories will begine. Within two years. Scotland could hold the balance of power. That will change the situation. The Tories blocked Devolution for 20 years. Still happened.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for putting this post up, the wailing and gnashing of teeth goes on unabated elsewhere. Nicola seems quite up beat for someone who supposedly has had their hopes crushed.
    I’m really looking forward to the new year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Nicola seems quite up beat for someone who supposedly has had their hopes crushed.”

      It struck me that she looked quite pleased – she certainly smiled a lot! – and looked far less strained than she has of late. In fact, she looked years younger and raring to go. Good!


  6. The House of Commons Library provides briefings for MPs and their staff – it does so, as I understand it, responsively and proactively. It publishes briefings. It has done so today on the Supreme Court judgement, penned by David Torrance – ‘the devolution specialist at the House of Commons Library’.

    One part of this briefing to inform our rulers in Westminster is ‘notable’, not least because it is seeking to brief/inform/advice MPs on what may happen next. In particular, in states this regarding the the prospects for a defect referendum:

    ‘This approach has been criticised by Professor James Mitchell, a political scientist at the University of Edinburgh. In June he said: “An election is simply not a referendum, a de-facto referendum or any other kind of referendum”.’ There is a link in the text to a newspaper article from June, 2022 which quotes Mitchell. Neither in the newspaper article;e or in the HoCL briefing is any other view on the matter given other than from the SNP. Is there unanimity amongst constitutional/election experts? And if not, should the HoCL briefing not also inform MPs of other views?

    I wrote a piece for TuS on 29 June this year recording multiple statements from Tories in the past which made reference to the significance of a majority of seats in the Commons for pro-indy MPs from Scotland. It seems timely to link to this again now:

    – Democracy in this Union and the convenient fluidity of Tory Party ‘principles’


    Suggest it’s well worth a read given the present situation.


  7. I just had a thought. If the English government are our overlords, they make all the important decisions on the lives of the people of Scotland, then the British nationalists in the media can stop blaming the SNP for Westminster’s assault on the poor, old, sick, vulnerable, and on Scotland’s services.
    If the er, media have any concerns or complaints about people not being able to afford to eat or heat their homes, they should be directed at the English (‘Uk’) government, it’s they who call the shots after all.


        1. Yes, the SNP MSPs need to be asking the questions and when the media BritNat jobsworths start trying to interrogate them, just say I can’t answer that, you’d need to speak to so and so. Or they could just say, that’s not my remit, then simply walk away.


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