Why Scotland’s divorce from the UK would be easier than Brexit


In a predictably canny piece of writing, of the kind academics prefer, there are, however, one or two clear indicators that divorce from the UK might be much less troublesome than Brexit is. As when looking for a dropped toy in a ball swamp, you need to stay calm and sharpen your vision for phrases that go beyond the hesitancy and qualified reservations, to suggest something promising.

On the economy, Hughes writes:

‘[S]cotland would lose a significant net fiscal transfer from the UK on independence. But the costs of Brexit – impacting on the UK even before it leaves the EU – are, according to most studies, many times bigger than this. And the UK would still have to pay some amount to the EU to participate in the various programmes and agencies that Theresa May has indicated it may wish to.’

On trade agreements:

Scotland would not face the challenges the UK faces to replicate or replace all the EU’s international trade agreements and other treaties. Rather it would join those agreements once it acceded to the EU.’

On the, for the UK, thorny issue of Ireland:

‘[T]here is no independence equivalent to the challenge posed by the Northern Ireland backstop to Brexit politics.’

So, overall, leaving the UK, even after 300 years, looks considerably less problematic for Scotland, than leaving the EU does:

‘Compared to Brexit, it is likely there would be less uncertainty along a number of key dimensions if Scotland were aiming to rapidly join the EU. Much of Scotland’s future relationship with the UK would then be determined by the UK-EU relationship (which might hopefully be clearer in the next 2-4 years as the UK transitions out of the EU).’


This is from a leading academic, whose boss, Professor Michael Keating, is one of those federalists who seem prepared to remain tied to the foreign policy of a post-imperial delusional Britain led by people like that Hunt who recently insulted the Slovenes and those many who think the Irish are getting a bit uppity and need reminding who is in charge.


I’m guessing someone like this might allegedly be the one who might have sidled up to Nick to say: “The Irish really should know their place.”

Duchess of Cornwall visit to Oxfordshire


2 thoughts on “Why Scotland’s divorce from the UK would be easier than Brexit

  1. William Henderson February 24, 2019 / 11:07 am

    Interesting, John. I had missed the Nicholas Watt article back in December, but reading it now my eye lit upon the paragraph:

    “The Conservative MP was exasperated that the Republic of Ireland (population: 4.8m) has been able to shape the EU negotiating stance that has put such pressure on the UK (population: 66m).”

    My old mind instantly asked itself the question, “What is the population of the ERG?”

    Just asking…..

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ludo Thierry February 25, 2019 / 5:35 pm

    A good news story carried on beeb international news website (no danger of beeb Scotland recognising the wide Scottish interest and carrying story on their Scotland pages though) regarding today’s UN International Court of Justice judgement against the UK’s conscious violation of the universal principal of self-determination whilst dismembering the Mauritius ‘colony’ to unlawfully retain ‘ownership’ of the Chagos Islands (to trade influence and military involvement with the US etc). Link and snippets below:


    The UK should end its control of the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean “as rapidly as possible”, the UN’s highest court has said.

    The International Court of Justice said the islands were not lawfully separated from the former colony of Mauritius.

    The court’s advisory opinion, delivered in The Hague, is not legally binding.

    The UK’s Foreign Office is yet to respond to the opinion.

    By BBC Hague correspondent Anna Holligan

    A “blockbuster” of an opinion from the UN’s highest court.

    The judges assessment was damning. At the heart of it, the right of all people to self-determination as a basic human right, which the UK violated when dismembering its former colony.

    The detachment of the strategically valuable archipelago cannot have been said to be based on free and genuine expression of the will of the people concerned, when one side is under the authority of the other.

    As the ruling power, the responsibility lay with the UK to respect national unity and territory integrity of Mauritius as required under international law.

    Instead, it divided the territory – effectively using the process of decolonisation to create a new colony.

    As part of the advisory opinion the judges poignantly pointed out that all UN member states were under obligation to cooperate to complete the decolonisation of Mauritius. This includes, of course, the US, which operates a military base on the largest atoll of Diego Garcia.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s