Friday, 24 January 2014

Sovereignty - Where will it lie on a Yes vote?

The case of McCormack vs the Lord Advocate before Lord Cooper in 1953 is important for two reasons. First it established clearly the primacy of the considered will of the people of Scotland is always extant (even under the present UK set up) and secondly the only two bodies which can negotiate the end of the UK Parliamentary Union are the sovereign parliaments of Scotland and England (with Wales and NI). That is the legal and constitutional position.

The only logical way this process can be undertaken is in the 18 months after a 'yes vote' the powers are 'sent back' from the UK Parliament to both sovereign parliaments by negotiation until all powers are completely repatriated in March 2016. Basically the UK Parliament is, at best, an administrative office for this period - serially hollowed out, unable to act on the 'UK's' behalf without the approval of the two sovereign parliaments which are now once more superior to the UK Parliament under the terms of the Treaty of Union 1706.

We are not talking about an independence process as in one of the British Empire's ex-colonies, we are talking about the return to two sovereign parliaments which still exist and in the case of England is currently in temporary suspension. On a yes vote these two parliaments reassert the sovereignty of the Realms of Scotland and England as separate sovereign nations once more.

If  the UK Parliament remains 'sovereign' for this period it could technically prevent Scotland from renegotiating EU membership prior to March 2016 but by this action they would also prevent the resumed sovereign parliament of England from doing negotiating with the EU because either the two parliaments are sovereign or the UK Parliament is sovereign - you can not have both cases.

The same situation arises in terms of Government borrowing post a Yes vote given the UK Treasury can only guarantee UK's existing debt and UK Government borrowing up to a Yes vote. It must be the case the UK Treasury can only guarantee UK government debt incurred to that point because after this point the UK Parliament is no longer sovereign, only the parliaments of Scotland and England are sovereign after this point and then raise future borrowing on their own account.

Scotland's Future can not go into the fine detail of what will happen after a 'Yes vote' because the future English Government is not able to discuss the 'how' (as it is still temporarily suspended) and the UK Unionists who will become this new sovereign parliament are refusing to countenance a Yes vote, are refusing to embark on discussions around this eventuality and are in denial of the actual impact a Yes vote delivers on what is currently the UK Parliament. Cameron has said as much on the UK Government's behalf because he knows as soon as any pre-negotiations commence the UK Union is as good as dead. It is clear though the Bank of England is not hanging around playing the Westminster game with respect to Sterling nor, according to today's headlines, are are the international corporations like BAE over where their main defence plants in Europe will be based on a 'Yes vote'.

I contend that by May 2015 the UK Parliament will exist in name only, having just an administrative function, carried out in Whitehall and Edinburgh by civil servants. Logically the May 2015 election should only be for the new Parliament of the United States of England and Wales(with NI) as the few UK functions on Scotland's behalf currently under taken by Scottish MP's at Westminster, will be undertaken by the sovereign parliament at Holyrood instead.

What will happen prior to March 2016 is complex but will move rapidly, simply because it will be in both parties best interests - rather than the current obfuscation and denial coming from the self interest of the UK Parliament at Westminster.


  1. I hope you are right Peter,this would tie in with the current actions of the London establishment.
    I am not being facetious but what happens immediately following a Yes vote?
    Do we need to ask Westminster to agree (HoL and all that malarkey) or can Holyrood
    simply pass a bill to say that the Treaty of Union is rescinded and get on with the business of dissolution of shared assets?

  2. Bringiton - as far as I understand it the Union Treaty is rescinded by a Yes vote because the considered will of the people of Scotland is paramount. This means the UK Parliament is reduced to being a cipher on 19th September 2014 until it is formally ended in March 2016.

    The Parliament of England and Wales (with NI) has to be recalled from its temporary suspension (an action itself which ends the Treaty of Union) as the UK Parliament as presently elected will have no legal or constitutional powers to pass any bills, acts or statutes for England and Wales except as the sovereign English Parliament.

    At that point all the bollocks about rUK falls around Westminster's feet.