• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Legal arguments for Scotland remaining in EU after Yes vote

With regard to the debate over whether Scotland would remain in the European Union in the event of a Yes vote in the independence referendum (Letters, December 12, 13, 14 & 15), I note in the November 2011 report of the Scottish Affairs Committee of the House of Commons, The Referendum on Separation for Scotland, the submission by Aidan O'Neill QC.

He states: "Should Scotland become independent, there are good legal arguments based on EU law (rather than EU politics) to the effect that Scotland and the rest of the UK will be regarded as continuing member states of the European Union on the basis that the Court of Justice of the European Union would wish to give primacy to the idea of individuals' existing European Union citizenship continuing no matter the constitutional changes within member states."

He then goes on to set these legal arguments out.

Of course, others take a different view, but whatever the position actually is, I think it would be a travesty if calls for clarification went unanswered before the referendum due to the lack of interest of either the UK Government or the EU.

While I appreciate that inactivity may serve their own interests (in the case of the UK Government the uncertainty makes a No vote more likely; in the case of the EU, it probably discourages other independence movements) it hinders the public from making as informed a decision as possible, and making informed decisions is surely something all sides of the debate can agree is desirable.

Not all the questions can be answered, but a decision which has been made in as full possession of the facts as possible, in the event of a Yes vote, ought to be less divisive, and in the event of a No vote, less likely to be re-opened in the long term.

Angus Easton,

2 Chapelbank,

Burnett Street, Auchenblae, Kincardineshire.

The next General Election is scheduled to take place a few months after the Scottish independence referendum, as noted in your leader, "SNP wobbles on EU membership" (December 14).

In the event of a Yes result would, or should, the Scottish electorate be entitled to vote in an election to a parliament from which the majority have voted to break away?

If Scotland is excluded, the Conservative-led Government may well be re-elected to Westminster, perhaps in coalition with UKIP, leading to a swift referendum in the RUK on EU membership and its likely exit from the latter.

In such circumstances, might the mantle of EU member state fall to Scotland by default as the remaining representative of the former United Kingdom, making a new application to join unnecessary? That could be quite a conundrum for independence supporters who do not support EU membership.

On the other hand, if Scotland votes No to independence a change of government at Westminster would be more likely – and an EU "in-out" referendum less so.

Diana Daly,

Milltimber, Aberdeen.

Since the Union of the Crowns in 1603 and the Act of Union in 1707 we have "all been in it together", as the present Westminster Government would have us believe.

Sir Alex Ferguson rightly complains that he is being disenfranchised from this major decision as he left Scotland to manage Manchester United. He and hundreds of thousands of expat Scots and their offspring are being denied any input into this monumental decision, never mind the millions of other UK citizens upon whom the eventual decision will have a major impact.

We should be concentrating on the economic train crash that is hurtling towards the UK. If England goes down the pan it will take Scotland with it, whether we are joined together or not.

When we see just how intertwined the economies of the international community have become you would have thought that people would have concluded that national borders are a thing of the past. Sir Alex is right.

David J Crawford,

131 Shuna Street, Glasgow.

Frederick Jenkins is right to criticise the Scottish Government for failing to take the lead in the matter of Scotland's national anthem (Letters, December 14).

I would disagree with him about Scots Wha Hae – magnificent with quicker tempo, words by Burns – but it is shaming that the ancient nation of Scotland faffs about with a range of unsuitable ditties and dirges, any of which can be chosen by any committee for any event.

Scotland is well placed to have a stirring anthem which evokes her history, landscape and aspirations without descending to the kitsch of "a wee bit hill and glen".

It is imperative that, before the Commonwealth Games, the Scottish Government sets up a committee of distinguished Scottish musicians and composers to choose, or write, a noble anthem.

David Roche,

1 Alder Grove, Scone.

I would suggest a national anthem cannot be forced on a population. One person's idea of an anthem of "high quality" will only be accepted if a significant majority of the population feel an emotional attachment to both the words and music.

Flower of Scotland graduated from a folk song to the de facto national anthem because it struck a chord (pardon the pun) with the national psyche. A friend who attends sports events all over the world is of the firm opinion that Flower of Scotland when sung at Murrayfield is by far the most emotional anthem of all and he is English.

David Stubley,

22 Templeton Crescent, Prestwick.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

131055