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Barroso forgets that UK would cease to exist post-independence

JOSE Manuel Barroso states that a newly independent Scotland would have to reapply (apply would be correct) for membership of the EU, and that the "rump of the UK" would still carry on as normal ("Sturgeon calls for talks on EU after Barroso rebuff", The Herald, December 11).

Mr Barroso believes (as many others do) that the UK has always existed. The Kingdom of Great Britain came into existence in 1707 with the signing of the Treaty of Union by both sovereign parliaments of Scotland and England. A new Parliament was created along with the offices of state, departments, institutions and laws to accommodate the administration of the new Kingdom of Great Britain.

The UK as a sovereign state came into existence in 1801 when the parliaments of Great Britain and Ireland passed Acts of Union to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1927 it was changed to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to accommodate the partition of Ireland.

If any party to these Acts of Union and Treaty wishes to leave the UK, the Treaty and Acts are surely dissolved and the parties to the Treaty and Acts revert to their former status, in the case of Scotland and England (with Northern Ireland), two independent sovereign states with the aforementioned offices of state, laws and so on having to be unravelled. With the Treaty and Acts dissolved, the UK as a state ceases to exist, therefore, as we now have two newly independent states, surely both would have to apply for membership of the EU, according to Mr Barroso.

It may be that the applications for membership from the new states of Scotland and England (with NI) would be rubber-stamped for acceptance. But Mr Barroso may not have considered the body of opinion in England that wants to pull out of the EU, and if powerful enough might use this turn of events not to apply for membership of the EU. What then?

This will be a very complicated business with the constitutional lawyers on all sides having plenty to say about it.

Mr Barroso may be under pressure from other EU states (with their own constitutional problems) to put obstacles in the way of any ambitions towards self-determination from other areas of the EU.

As regards Scotland, it all comes down to the result of the vote in 2014.

Gordon Ingram,

30 Church Road, Giffnock.

The Deputy First Minister seems to think she can fly to Brussels for a chatty negotiation based on "what ifs?" and return waving a piece of paper to tell the waiting press the SNP has achieved "peace in our time".

I would be astonished if, after stating that any new independent state would have to apply for membership of the European Union, the President of the European Commission would even contemplate talking to the SNP. The reason is obvious. If he did so the EU would be seen as colluding with the activism of one political party only months away from a referendum on independence.

The EU already realise the SNP aim is to destroy the political integrity of one of their own member states. How could Mr Barroso be seen to aid and abet such a cause ?

If he made any public reference to the Scottish situation, even the slightest slip or ambiguity from Mr Barroso would be hailed as a triumph and his words would appear on all separatist leaflets.

I am less certain why the principle of state continuity should apply for the rest of the UK in an independent Scotland.

Mr Barroso is clearly conscious that Scotland has only about 10% of the UK population and that Catalonia is about 18% of Spain's population and feels it is a safe generalisation. The rule only makes sense where the separating state is proportionally very much smaller than the remainder – which is hardly a principle.

Bill Brown,

46 Breadie Drive,

Milngavie.

Suppose the former Czechoslovakia had been a member of the European Union, would Jose Manuel Barroso kindly tell us which of the two new states formed as a consequence of its dissolution would have had to apply for membership of the EU?

The answer is patently obvious. Both new states would have been regarded as successor states under the Vienna Convention, and as such their entitlement to EU membership and other treaty obligations would have been unquestioned.

What is crystal clear from Mr Barroso's letter to Lord Tugendhat and his television interview is that he is woefully ignorant of the constitution of the United Kingdom and fails to appreciate the difference between a part of a member state seceding from the member state, for instance Catalonia seceding from Spain, and the dissolution of the member state into its constituent parts as per Czechoslovakia.

The indisputable fact is that, following the granting of independence to Scotland the former member state, the United Kingdom, will no longer exist. There will then be two new states: England and Wales with Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Mr Barroso needs to explain why one of the new states should be treated differently from the other.

It has been a Unionist mantra for decades that Scotland is an equal partner within the UK so to embrace the argument that England should be the member state and Scotland excluded simply betrays an anti-Scottish agenda.

Rev Archie Black,

16 Elm Park,

Inverness.

David C Purdie asks what political clout Scots have in the current settlement, and in doing so offers a very welcome opportunity to remind readers of the prominent position of Scots at Westminster (Letters, December 11).

To quote recent examples, Gordon Brown, John Reid, Alistair Darling and Scottish-born and educated Tony Blair were dominant in the outgoing Labour Government, and now Danny Alexander is at the forefront of the Coalition and its policy making. (And the last two leaders of the Liberal Democrats were Scots.)

We may disagree with some or all of these figures and their policies, but there is no doubt of their visibility and influence in the Government and political discourse of the UK.

Furthermore, as has been established earlier by one of your correspondents, in 15 elections since 1945, the Government of the UK has been as elected by Scots 12 times, which is identical to how England (and Wales) has fared (Letters, November 24). This can only be dismissed as "having no clout" by those who hold the infantile view that democracy means always getting the Government you vote for.

Peter A Russell,

87 Munro Road,

Glasgow.

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