What is this United Kingdom of which you speak?
Whichever side of the Scottish independence hilltop you’re on, it’s hard not to despair of the way the debate is being conducted. Quite a lot is being missed out, glossed over and not grasped – purposely or otherwise.
There has always been some confusion outside Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland about the difference between British and English. Now there also seems to be confusion – rampant confusion – about what the United Kingdom is.
Recent discussions about Faslane are a case in point. Forget for a moment the absurdity of suggesting that Faslane could be not part of Scotland in an independent Scotland, with a sort of non-Scottish corridor in the Firth of Clyde (a bit like the old corridor road between West Berlin and West Germany perhaps) down which nuclear submarines could happily chug, bound for the defence of Rump Great Britain (we’ll think of a better name in due course).
Forget that. And all the other scaremongering. Marvel instead at the idiocy of writing or talking – as many journalists, politicians and commentators on both sides of the border continue to do – about what will happen if Scotland leaves the United Kingdom.
“If Scots vote for independence, the 1707 Union with England Act must surely be repealed by the Scottish parliament. Then there won’t be a United Kingdom”
For Scotland cannot leave the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain (Northern Ireland is another matter) was created by the Acts of Union, which joined the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland, and their parliaments. If Scots vote for independence on 18 September 2014, the 1707 Union with England Act must surely be repealed by the Scottish parliament. Then there won’t be a United Kingdom, the union to which the united refers having been dissolved.
Perhaps we should stop pestering José Barroso about whether Scotland will have to reapply for EU membership if it becomes independent. He’s clearly fed up answering that question. Instead, someone should ask him if Rump Great Britain (we’ll think of a better name in due course) will have to reapply.