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Post Scotland's Parliamentary Elections, May 6th: Will Independence Ensue?
Created by John Eipper on 05/02/21 3:48 AM

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Scotland's Parliamentary Elections, May 6th: Will Independence Ensue? (Timothy Ashby, -Spain, 05/02/21 3:48 am)

Although overlooked by most global media, a momentous historical event will take place this Thursday, 6 May. In Scotland voters are expected to elect a majority of pro-independence members to the Scottish Parliament, giving the Scottish National Party (SNP) and its allies as many as 60 percent of the seats.

The SNP is determined to call for an Independence Referendum, which I believe will take place next year and which I predict will result in an "Aye" vote for independence from the United Kingdom, leading to the breakup of the UK. I believe that Northern Ireland will follow this trend and unite (reunite?) with the Irish Republic. Polls show a balance of voters in the north and a clear majority in the Republic favour reunification, which the "Good Friday Agreement" allows even if the hard-line Ulster Unionists threaten armed rebellion. There is also a growing independence movement in Wales, which if it were to succeed would leave England all alone (except for Cornwall, which is also making pro-independence noises).

Although a pro-Independence Scottish referendum was defeated in 2014, things have changed due to Brexit (and, to a lesser extent, Covid). Scotland voted to remain in the European Union by an overwhelming 62 percent to 38 percent, while Northern Irish voters elected to remain by 55.8 percent to 44.2 percent. Scotland wishes to re-join the EU and the SNP has announced that it would accept the Euro as its currency.

At this juncture I won't comment on the economic non-viability of an independent Scotland (which I think is not as serious as the anti-independence lobby proclaims) or what effect this would have on the Catalonia debate (from a legal and historical perspective, the Scottish case is very different). During the course of researching my new book, England's Spy in Scotland: William Ashby (1536-1593), to be published early in 2022, I delved deeply into Anglo-Scottish diplomatic and constitutional relations, and am convinced that the Union of the Two Kingdoms in 1603 and the 1707 Acts of Union cannot legally prevent Scotland's reversion to a sovereign nation (eventually as a Republic, although Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, has stated that she would like to retain the Queen as Head of State due to her Scottish heritage).

Alba gu bràth (Scotland Forever).

JE comments:  The last Scottish independence referendum seems not so long ago, as does the Brexit vote of two years later.  But it's been seven years since 2014, and it would likely take an additional year to organize a new referendum.  WAIS will be closely following this history as it unfolds.

As expected, the term "Scoxit" is already in common use.  Who could ever have imagined that the UK would be no more--just England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland?  Granted, another "U," the USSR, seemed equally as permanent back in the day.

Tim, if an independent Scotland retains the monarchy, would Scotland's status be akin to that of Canada, New Zealand, and Australia?

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  • A Post-UK Britain...and a Question (Edward Jajko, USA 05/03/21 3:21 AM)

    If the United Kingdom were to disunite, would the Prince of Wales still be the prince of Wales?

    JE comments:  Great question.  The heir to the English throne has been known as the Prince of Wales since the...13th century.  Possibly s/he could keep the title in a Commonwealth arrangement?

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    • If the UK Dissolves, Whither the Prince of Wales? (Timothy Ashby, -Spain 05/04/21 3:46 AM)
      It is unlikely that Scotland would become a member of "The Commonwealth of Nations" following independence from the United Kingdom. As far as I know, all of the current Commonwealth countries are former British colonies or territories. Some former colonies such as Ireland became republics (i.e. without HM the Queen as Head of State) and left the Commonwealth, while others such as India chose to remain in the Commonwealth without the Queen as Head of State. I suspect that Australia and New Zealand will eventually become republics but remain in the Commonwealth.

      Scotland has never been a colony, even though some nationalists may claim otherwise.

      To answer Ed Jajko's question, the heir to the British throne would keep the title of Prince (or Princess) of Wales regardless of the breakup of the UK, unless what is left of the United Kingdom becomes a republic.

      JE comments:  To shift gears, what process would Scotland need to follow to be readmitted to the EU?  The biggest obstacle would be what to do with the English border.  A new Hadrian's Wall?

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      • More Questions about a Post-UK Scotland, Wales (Roy Domenico, USA 05/06/21 3:41 AM)
        Some questions regarding the recent posts on the UK that maybe WAISers can help me with.

        It seems that the idea of Scotland's independence is not completely popular there. To what extent can the Scots, themselves, torpedo Nicola Sturgeon's plans? And I've long heard the scenario that Spain would block Scotland's entry into the EU because of Catalonia. Spain would be opening a can of worms.

        Finally, I can't see Wales going its own way. I once attended a rally in London to preserve the Welsh tongue--I don't remember why I went, probably with some friends--but I don't see an independence movement in Wales even half as serious as Scotland's.

        So I think that Charles can still use the title of Prince of Wales. Will the Duke of Cambridge take it when Charles becomes king? And by the way, when I asked a dear friend in Manchester--an English nationalist through and through--about the Scots, he only answered "Good riddance."

        JE comments:  I've seen anecdotal reports that Brexit has hit the Scots hard economically, such as in the fishing industry.  But wouldn't the loss of the domestic UK market cause even more pain?  I hope Tim Ashby, who knows Scotland well, will comment.

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  • Scotland and England's Union of Monarchs, Parliaments (from MIchael Frank) (John Eipper, USA 05/04/21 3:15 AM)
    Michael Frank writes:

    Scotland and England were united in two steps: union of crowns and union of parliaments. The first was the result of the mysterious (to this American) process of choosing kings. James the VI of Scotland was chosen as James I, king of England following the death of Elizabeth I. Thereafter, the crowns were forever joined as one. The second was the result of political processes (if not democratic process) more than a century later, at which time the parliaments were joined.  I'm not sure if a popular vote is sufficient to reverse the union of parliaments, but possibly it is. I don't think a popular vote can reverse the union of crowns, which continue to remain joined and pass through the generations by primogeniture.

    If Scotland became independent, would it be a republic, or would the Stuarts be resurrected as limited monarchs? Or would Elizabeth reign as queen of an independent Scotland? Not completely understanding the role of the crown in modern British governance, I'm not sure if it matters or how it would work.

    JE comments:   In James's day, England and Scotland were sovereign states in every way except for sharing a monarch.  Is this the arrangement the Scottish independentists hope to recreate?  I'm with Michael Frank that we Americans can never really understand this monarchical stuff, or (my view) even the need for one.

    As a side note, has anyone in WAISworld read James's works The True Law of Free Monarchies and Basilikon Doron?  In his writings, James is a strong proponent of the Divine Right of kings.  He would say that, wouldn't he?

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