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If England (with Wales and Northern Ireland) and Scotland are to re-negotiate their relationship, a Treaty of Disunion will be needed to replace the Treaty of Union which preceded the Acts of Union.

Just as in 1706-07 the negotiations may be a bit difficult, particularly on financial issues, but at the end of the process everybody should still be on reasonably good terms. I am sure England would not cause difficulties about Scotland joining the EU, because if it was not a member sorting out the consequences of disunion would be more difficult for England.

With both parts of the former UK in the EU, there would be minimal economic disruption or problems about the free movement of people. A resumption of the endemic lawlessness of the borders and the periodic wars, which characterised the Anglo Scottish relationship before the union (and indeed for a time after it with the two  Jacobite risings of the eighteenth century) would be in no ones interests.

by Gary J on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 12:20:52 PM EST
Let's look at all the necessary steps and the time frames involved...
  1. Scottish Parliament elections
  2. Scottish Independence Referendum
  3. Negotiation and approval of a Treaty of Disunion
  4. Negotiation and approval of an EU accesion treaty for Scotland
Let's recall that there is a UK parliamentary election no later than May 2009, and that an early election might be precipitated by a successful referendum.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 12:31:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is possible that the new Prime Minister who will take over this year (if Blair keeps his promise to retire this year), will hold an early election to take advantage of any honeymoon he may have with the electorate.

The Scottish Parliament election will take place next May. For an independence referendum to be possible the SNP would need to assemble a coalition prepared to support the necessary legislation. This will not necessarily be easy, even if the SNP has had its best election result ever.

However on the assumption that the Scottish Parliament votes for a referendum (and further assuming the UK government does not challenge the legality as a referendum law may well be outside the powers granted to the Scottish Parliament) the referendum would probably take place in either the spring or autumn of next year.

If the referendum passes then, based on what happened in the eighteenth century, treaty negotiations would probably take about a year. Then the treaty would have to be ratified by both Westminster and Holyrood, before the Acts of Disunion were passed. I suspect it would be 2010 before the formalities were complete, unless there was a political decision to speed up the timetable.

by Gary J on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 02:03:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
May 2009 is a likely election date, based on recent practice, but an election is not required under current law before June 2010 (five years after the current Parliament first met after the 2005 election).

It would also be possible to legislate to extend the term of the current Parliament. It would be crazy to hold a UK general election on the usual schedule, if the Scottish members were going to leave Westminster in three months.

by Gary J on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 02:16:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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