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Why Scotland may now vote YES to independence

by Frank Schnittger Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 04:18:10 AM EST

Luis de Sousa's excellent diary has provoked a long comment by me saying a lot of things I've been meaning to say for some time, but which are not all a direct response to his thoughts.  So I think a separate diary is merited analyzing what has changed in the Scottish Independence debate.

What I think has shifted the debate in Scotland is the realization that institutions and assets which they had always been told were British, were in fact English.

Thus the Pound Sterling belongs to England (the central bank name: Bank of England should have been a giveaway).  The military bases and manufacturing facilities in Scotland will be moved south - proving that the Army and associated industries belong to England not all of Britain.  And the general sense that the Scots will have to develop all institutions and skills of Governance from scratch - as if Scots have had no hand act or part of the Departments of State in Whitehall.

In other words the implied blackmail of taking all these things away has only confirmed that Scotland was being ruled not just from, but by, England in the first place.  Parties to a divorce normally split their joint assets and one party cannot claim virtually all the house and contents as their own: and yet this is partly what the No campaign have been claiming.

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Suddenly, with the release of just two polls showing a "too close to call" result, an establishment panic has set in as this approach has been rumbled and has backfired. All the (archetypically English) party leaders are suddenly rushing up north with offers of enhanced devolution which Salmond had requested be on the ballot as a third option in the first place.  They therefore lack all credibility: just as all the promises made before the 1979 devolution referendum were promptly shelved afterwards.

If the much maligned (particularly by the English) Gordon Brown were still the PM, none of this might have been such a big deal today.  But the fact is the Scots now feel as if they have been taken for fools, and don't like the way the English have been putting them down - more or less implying they are incapable of running a government or a monetary system.

Contra Luis de Sousa, I don't see Scotland being allowed to remain within the EU as being much of an issue - as a successor state - just as East Germany joining the EU as part of Germany never became much of an issue.  With England possibly leaving, the EU will be more than anxious to ensure Scotland stays - and thus make it much more difficult for England to leave as leaving would then have much greater effects on their very substantial cross-border trade with Scotland than Scottish independence ever did.  The Scots would also be much less disruptive of EU business than the UK has been, and will, I think be welcomed with open arms - Spanish and Belgian qualms notwithstanding.

Of course publicly, at least, the EU has to be fully supportive of an intact UK as a member state right up to and including the referendum.  But suddenly, if the referendum is passed, all that will change dramatically and previously mooted legal difficulties will become mere technicalities that can be resolved sooner rather than later, with the declaration that Scotland is a unique and once off situation, and not a precedent for any other situation...  As the entry of Romania and Bulgaria showed, EU membership is ultimately a political and not a legal decision.  The membership criteria applied depend on the exigencies of the day.

The price may be, at some point in the future, that Scotland has to join the Euro.  The EU would certainly not be happy to see another new currency joining the Union.  That would be very unpopular if mooted right now, but might become the next best option if England were tempted to play silly buggers in negotiations around the Pound, just as they have played silly buggers with the concept of "Britishness" and all the institutions of state that were supposed to belong to Scotland as well, but which have now been claimed by England.

As for N. Ireland, the Unionists are all in a dither with Orangemen marching against Independence in the streets of Scotland: just what the YES campaign needed to prove that "the Union" is a partisan and sectarian arrangement - Anglicanism being the State religion of England whereas the Church of Scotland is not established and mainly Presbyterian.  Many N. Ireland Unionists would, ideally, like their own independent state, but know that just about no one else will agree to that.  Geographically, emotionally and historically they are much closer to Scotland than to England, and yet following Scottish independence, it us to England that they will continue to be tied.

I think that the worry that England will have a permanent Conservative majority is overdone.  Scotland, with less than 10% of the total population, was always little more than a makeweight in Westminster politics.  Besides, the UKIP may well split the Conservative vote which is fatal in a primitive first-past-the-post system.  The Conservatives, having "lost" Scotland, may well become unelectable for many years to come, especially as they are split on the perennial EU question.

UKIP is the classic Little-Englander, petit-bourgeois, Thatcherite English-nationalist party and could displace the Tories as the lead right-wing party as it has a clear (and relatively popular) position in opposition to the EU.  Labour have a relatively clear pro-EU policy and could benefit from the split on the right, if they had the courage to actually offer a left alternative.  My view is that Scottish independence could actually lead to a Labour-led Government (possibly in coalition with the Lib Dems) making it more likely, not less, that the rump-UK will remain in the EU.  But then political prediction, either way, can be a mugs game.  My point is though, that the typical left objection to Scottish independence may be wrong, and in any case, it is not Scotland's job to save the English from themselves.

So overall I don't see all the negatives establishment and other commentators have associated with Scottish Independence.  It could be a long and difficult road.  Establishing the traditions and institutions of full statehood is not a trivial exercise, even if it can be a liberating and enervating one.  My sense, having travelled through Scotland quite a lot in recent years, was that it is a very staid and somewhat defeatist place, lacking the confidence to take its own place amongst the nations of this earth.  My sense now is that that may be about to change.

Display:
My sense, having traveled through Scotland quite a lot in recent years is that it is a very staid and somewhat defeatist place, lacking the confidence to take it's place amongst the nations of this earth. My sense now is that that may be about to change.
It's SHITE being Scottish! We're the lowest of the low. The scum of the fucking Earth! The most wretched, miserable, servile, pathetic trash that was ever shat into civilization. Some hate the English. I don't. They're just wankers. We, on the other hand, are COLONIZED by wankers. Can't even find a decent culture to be colonized BY. We're ruled by effete assholes. It's a SHITE state of affairs to be in, Tommy, and ALL the fresh air in the world won't make any fucking difference!


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 04:25:53 AM EST
Thanks for including the translation...:-)

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 12:49:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Will the EU have to pay for translators if they admit Scotland?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 01:15:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
good  question. Will Scots be the official language?
by IM on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 01:19:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes - and we will all have to wear kilts on Saint Andrew's Day...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 03:43:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And we'll need a new anthem. If I remember correctly, there's a note in God Save the Queen that cannot be played on the bagpipes...
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 03:47:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't aware bagpipes played notes...
Anyway, anything but "The Flower of Scotland" that mournful dirge that would send anyone to sleep...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 04:17:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Very interesting article. You have looked at a number of issues from a different angle - certainly different from the usual arguments that are trotted out in Scotland by both sides.
One thing I think we can both agree on is the headless-chicken-like behaviour of the No campaign when two, yes just two, polls suggest that things might not be going the way they thought. Their behaviour has been astonishingly self-destructive. On the one hand you have the mad dash to 'save' Scotland from herself by Cameron & Co. and on the other you have the Bank of England ramping up the currency debate. Entirely predictable, but if any of the No Politicians had been even remotely competent instead of complacent, they could have been relaxing in the Commons Bar before now. For one thing, the three stooges should be standing side by side rather than running off to different parts of Scotland in an attempt to preserve their own political hides.
It beggars belief that these same politicians are the ones who have represented the UK at international level in the very top government posts for the last twenty years or so. What would things have been like for the UK if they had been any good at their jobs and in their dealings with international issues? We certainly wouldn't be in this situation.
One positive thing that may arise out of this unseemly behaviour is that the electorate in England, Wales and NI might start taking a closer look at who is representing them and consider that Scotland would be well out of the UK. But the Scots would be well warned not to ignore this factor themselves. We are none of us immune from the snake oil salesmen.
by Iain0203 on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 04:39:49 AM EST
Thanks for this. I have previously written on this topic from a specifically Irish perspective on Scottish independence, and generally only put thumbs to keyboard if I feel I have come to a view I have not seen expressed elsewhere already.

Disillusion with Westminster politics is certainly part of the dynamic driving the yes vote but I would be interested in where you disagree with my thesis - as I write here to learn from the knowledge and experience of others  - particularly those closer to or more knowledgeable on a particular topic than I am.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 04:58:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi Frank,
I don't necessarily disagree with you in terms of general content, but perhaps in some specifics. I am a confirmed Yes voter, but would have been happy at the outset with what is termed 'devo max' over here, but I believe the handling of the No campaign has been terrible (as you can guess from my previous entry). This has led me to the conclusion that as a questionner here on a TV debate put it - "If we are supposed to be Better Together, why are we no'(not)better noo (now)". Excuse the colloquialisms, but it sounds better to my ears put like that.
As to the specifics, I think that being in Scotland right now, it is impossible to step back far enough to gain a reasonable perspective - which is why I was interested in Luis' blog and led me to yours.
It may be true of all nations to some extent, but we Scots have a word 'thrawn' - which means obstinate or cussed and it is that part of our nature which is coming to the fore. 'We' don't like being told by others how we should vote - Barrack Obama, Sting, the Pope, or whoever, but particularly the Westminster cabal, are doing more harm than good with their no doubt well-intentioned interventions.
Where I would disagree with you is in respect of your assertion that we have come to realise that England controls everything of importance. I don't see it like that because my upbringing has shown me the extent to which the Scots have over performed as part of the UK. Sadly, a lot of that achievement has been in terms of military commitments but I am very much of the opinion that the days of 'for Queen and country' are over. (I say this as a royalist as well - if it comes down to it, the Queen is descended from the ancient Scots Royal line, not the imported Norman English version.) I don't want future generations to sacrifice themselves on the altar of Neoliberalism. And, we are certainly not dependence junkies as portrayed in the UK press.
This is also an indicator, I believe, of the general distancing of the populace from the ruling classes, which is now materialising in the current situation and other symptoms like UKIP.
A Royalist Nationalist? Maybe I'm pining for Bonnie Prince Charlie!
by Iain0203 on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 07:10:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A Royalist Nationalist? You must be Catholic, then?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 07:13:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I think I'm schizophrenic on this - I'm nominally Protestant, but support Hibernian football club (which has Irish Catholic roots)and am fiercely Scots, despite having an English Granny. I have absolutely no axe to grind with the English as a people - until we go to Wembley. I think I need help...
by Iain0203 on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 07:32:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why would Royalists be more likely to be Catholic than Protestant.  The Queen is the Head of the protestant Anglican Church of England...

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 03:46:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The traditional Stewart Scottish dynasty was Catholic.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 04:54:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Royalism and Catholicism were closely linked in Scottish history. See for example Jacobitism.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 04:15:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea I know - I was thinking more of the present day - and didn't take Iain0203's putative pining for Bonny Prince Charlie seriously!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 04:40:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A fraught subject... The English Civil War was sparked by Charles I's attempt to re-episcopalise (i.e. crypto-catholicise) the reformed Church of Scotland. Since the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the monarchs are, by definition, Anglican. The mainstream English narrative (as one learned in school) is that this was because James II was a Catholic; the subtext is that he promoted religious tolerance, and the end of the social and political ostracism of Catholics and the various "Dissenter" (Protestant) creeds. The monolithic Anglican establishment therefore gave him the boot, and wrote a constitution.

There is no "established" church in Scotland. The Church of Scotland, created in the Reformation, inherited the real estate of the Catholic church but it's Calvinist, or Presbyterian. There is the Episcopal Church (or "English Kirk") which belongs to the Anglican communion. And there are numerous splinter churches. In the town of Portree on the isle of Skye, population about 3000, I counted eight or nine churches listed on the street directory. Church of Scotland, Catholic, Free Church of Scotland, United Presbyterian Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, and God only knows what else. They appear to take their religion seriously, in the Islands at least. (In Edinburgh, most of the numerous churches we saw had been pressed into service as theatre venues. What would Knox say?)

So Scottish Royalists would do well to avoid the subject of religion...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 05:40:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe I'm pining for Bonnie Prince Charlie!

I.e, the Duke of Bavaria. He's 81; when he and his brother die, we can have a new union, this time with Liechtenstein.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 07:15:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To Franz Duke of Bavaria, the King over the water!
by IM on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 09:05:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Iain0203:

It may be true of all nations to some extent, but we Scots have a word 'thrawn' - which means obstinate or cussed and it is that part of our nature which is coming to the fore. 'We' don't like being told by others how we should vote - Barrack Obama, Sting, the Pope, or whoever, but particularly the Westminster cabal, are doing more harm than good with their no doubt well-intentioned interventions.

I think that is a general thing in seperation referendums. If the seperatist side can get the story to be about how the central power lords it over everybody else, that benefits the seperatists (because lording it over the rest is what central power is about). If the unionist side can get it to be about all the little practical things, that benefits the unionists, because then they can play up the uncertainties of change.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 04:06:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Iain0203:
we Scots have a word 'thrawn' - which means obstinate or cussed

Aka: 'bloody-minded'! :)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 02:20:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For one thing, the three stooges should be standing side by side rather than running off to different parts of Scotland in an attempt to preserve their own political hides.

I'm not sure about this. My instinct is that, as a Scottish voter, to see three political adversaries singing from the same hymn book would, at the least, arouse my suspicions. Labour people should be talking to Labour voters about Labour reasons to vote no, and so on. (And I'm really confused as to how Cameron thinks he's going to help...)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 05:17:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am baffled by the entire No Campaign.

My conclusion, based on scraps of information, is the UK elites have such a high sense of entitlement that they cannot conceive of a successful challenge to their position.  Thus, all they have to do is make their wishes known and the general public will fall in line.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 12:10:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That pretty much sums up the attitude, yes. Self-referential to a T.

Pure Python material.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 01:44:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent diary, summarises my thinking better than I could.

The point about northern Ireland is striking : indeed, it would be more logically associated with Scotland than with England/Wales, and it's remarkable that the option isn't on the table. Perhaps it'll come later. It might well contribute to defusing the "Irish question" definitively.

Another thing that I find striking is that, when Czechoslovakia broke up, there was no talk of refusing EU membership for one or the other component. The doctrine that, in case of separation, only one of the components inherits its international positions evidently admits of exceptions; therefore the question of the validity of this doctrine must be questioned. Is it a matter of relative size? Is there a mathematical formula that can determine it? Where's the natural justice in that? etc...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 05:24:03 AM EST
Czechoslovakia wasn't in the EU: the two parts joined the EU later.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 05:26:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
oops. Spoilsport.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 05:27:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nevertheless, the democratic doctrine is that EU Members retain the Sovereignty to decide on their own constitutional arrangements,  Had Czechoslovakia been an EU member at the time, I doubt the EU could/would have said that it did not accept their decision to split up and (arbitrarily) award continuing EU membership to one but not both of the successor states.

About the only objection EU member states can have to a member state deciding to split into two is that the two then get to have two commissioners and to PMs on the Council, and not one. The situation could get ridiculous if (say) Germany and Spain decided that every German Land or Spanish Communidad suddently became sovereign states in their own rights. Many of these successor states would indeed be bigger than some existing full member states (Malta, anyone) but size is not a criterion for membership.

So overall EU approval for Scottish membership is not automatic and should be subject to formal approval - but I can't see a problem in the specific case of Scotland.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 05:47:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... But that doesn't answer the question as to why it's automatically Scotland that finds itself outside, and applying for admittance. A nation state becomes two nation states : why, and on what criteria, are successor rights accorded to one only of the successors?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 05:53:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And why does the UK get to keep the offshore banks, Malvinas, Gibraltar and all the rest, rather than saddling Scotland with the need to defend some of them?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 06:00:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see why England and Scotland could not designate Scotland as the successor state to the EU treaties (and to the European Convention on Human Rights, while we're at it) even if rump Britain is successor state for all the rest. That would solve a lot of problems.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 06:59:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You need a treaty change to add Scotland as a treaty member and change the number of seats in the EP, votes in the council, number of commissioners and so on.
by IM on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 09:14:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You need treaty change to change the voting rights, MEPs, etc if the UK loses 10% of its population. State succession in international treaties is a standard procedure which requires no treaty change. Of course, if Scotland succeeds as state party to the EU treaties then the change in voting rights is a lot larger than otherwise, but that's a different story. There is nothing the EU can do to prevent a member state from splitting and shrinking as a result. It would be moronic for the EU to make objections on such a basis (though I have already said elsewhere I fully expect Spain to be moronic about it, maybe you expect Germany to be moronic about the need to change the voting rights?).

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 09:51:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You need treaty change to change the voting rights, MEPs, etc if the UK loses 10% of its population.

Perhaps. I was thinking more about the new scottish representation.

"There is nothing the EU can do to prevent a member state from splitting and shrinking as a result."

No doubt. But the EU still has to change the treaties to accommodate its institutions to the law.

 "It would be moronic for the EU to make objections on such a basis"

Moronic or not, this is a legal question.

"maybe you expect Germany to be moronic about the need to change the voting rights?"

Not at all. I am discussing the legal situation.

by IM on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 10:40:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, apparently hardly anyone is party to the Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of Treaties so we're in uncharted waters except on the basis that the name of the signatory state is not going to be retained by an independent Scotland.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 11:02:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why doesn't this apply to Latvia, which has already lost more than 10% of its population?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 10:46:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because austerity.

Honestly, though, it would all be easier if voting rights (and EP seats) were apportioned on the basis of Eurostat census data automatically by the infamous "Penrose Rule" as proposed by Poland 10 years ago so that you don't need treaty changes for such things.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 11:00:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, if England really is so keen to get out of the EU, as it claims, they could solve everyone's problem by handing the keys to membership to Scotland - and keep the Bank of England etc. to themselves. But that would rumble their dirty little secret, which is that the City wants to run the EU, not leave it.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 08:28:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
why, and on what criteria, are successor rights accorded to one only of the successors?

The criterion is 'who has control of the framing'. The why is 'because it serves the purpose of the one doing the framing'.

And while it might seem that The UK Troika are despised by all we should remember just who it is that sponsored them and provided them with the money to even contest for leadership. Even if most in The City now also find them loathsome they still remain creatures of The
City.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 10:23:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See Succession of states.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 10:28:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The presumption of the English establishment that they are entitled to remain "the United Kingdom" is rather reminiscent of Serbia's insistence on retaining the title of Yugoslavia (until they lost Montenegro).

After all, the name "United Kingdom" refers expressly to the Treaty of Union of 1707.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 10:50:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... in fact, if Scotland becomes a constitutional monarchy, as seems likely, under the Battenberg dynasty, then Great Britain becomes the "Disunited Kingdom" (return to the "personal union" of the Stuarts)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 11:00:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And that treaty was an affair of the elites. The vast majority of Scots got shipped off to the New World in conditions little better than those afforded cattle and in ships that often had previously been used in the slave trade. The Scots were simply in the way of the profitable schemes of the nobility. In fact, it would be quite interesting to know of the opinions of the current Prince Charles and his influence regarding issues of land tenure in Scotland after a split.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 11:03:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The theory in international relations  of the doctrine of of Succession of States is all fine and good and may even trump propaganda spewed forth by interested parties ex ante, but, in practice, the power to impose the frame on the discussion seems often to be decisive.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 10:57:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Basically because the UK is the member of the EU, and the UK remains the "UK" even after Scotland secedes for the purposes of Treaty obligations - both ways. Scotland effectively becomes a new and additional state from an international law perspective.

The rump UK (rUK) may be a very different proposition from the UK in practical terms afterwards, but that doesn't matter any more than the fact that the Ukraine remains the Ukraine even after it loses Crimea.

And in fairness, Scotland represents less than 10% of the population of the UK.

The situation would be different if N. Ireland were to secede and seek independence. First of all, the Good Friday Agreement provides for referenda on Irish reunification, not N. Ireland independence.  Secondly, N.I. has been historically disputed between two Sovereign States neither of which have ever seen N. I. as a separate state in its own right (The Republic of Ireland had a clause asserting Sovereignty over N.I. in its Constitution right up until the Good Friday Agreement).  

N. I. isn't even a historic province of Ireland, comprising only 6 of Ulster's 9 counties, even though Unionists like to refer to it as Ulster. And finally, if you counted only those counties which actually have a Unionist majority, you would be counting only Antrim and Down, and perhaps Tyrone - little more than a Gibraltar like outpost of Britain abroad.

Little wonder that N.I. Unionists are nervous about a break-up of the Union.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 04:18:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
UK remains the "UK" even after Scotland secedes for the purposes of Treaty obligations

This is only actually true if the Scots let the English get away with framing it like this. Recall : What is the "United Kingdom"? It is the entity resulting from the Treaty of Union, between the Kingdom of England (which included Wales), with the Kingdom of Scotland. Ireland was, at this time, in "personal union" with the English crown, i.e. the King of England was also King of Scotland, which was the previous status of the England/Scotland association. Ireland was annexed to the UK by a further Treaty of Union in 1800, then most of it exited in 1922.

So, to reiterate, for England, Wales, north-eastern Ireland and the Confetti Islands to claim to be the successor state of the "United Kingdom" is tenuous, rather like the question of who gets the UN seat for Yugoslavia. In historical terms, it will be a question of revoking the Treaty of Union, i.e. of dissolving the UK.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 04:45:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, this is an argument, but it doesn't really matter how EU member states came into being prior to their accession. They now hold the keys.  Scotland, prior to being recognized as an independent state, doesn't even have the standing to make a counter argument. Any more than Crimea has the standing to claim it wants to be past of Russia.

Ultimately, it boils down to power, and where the armies remained once the tide of war receded. Foreign states recognise other states if it is in their interest to do so.  Justice is for the propaganda department...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 05:13:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Salmond welcomes Cox support for possible EU bid

In response to queries relating to Scottish independence, an EU spokesman referred to a letter sent by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso two years ago in which he stated: "If part of the territory of a member state would cease to be part of that state because it were to become a new independent state, the (EU) treaties would no longer apply to that territory."

In response Mr Cox stated that the EU is founded on the principles of democracy and that EU treaties are advanced through "the principle of sincere co-operation" requiring the Union and its member states "in full mutual respect" to "assist each other in carrying out tasks which flow from the treaties".

Mr Cox further stated that no benefits would flow to the EU " from placing impossible impediments in the way of a smooth EU transition for Scotland as an independent state in its own right".

There is no precedent for the situation in Scotland in the history of the EU. Mr Cox said that when Germany was unified and Greenland, which was a part of Denmark, left the EU, the EU showed " pragmatism and inventiveness. It has always respected the expressed democratic will of the peoples involved where this has not been the subject of internal constitutional dissent.

"Neither case is an exact precedent for the Scottish case but both reveal the lengths to which the European institutions and member states were prepared to go to accommodate change that was democratically mandated but not foreseen by the treaties."

He concluded: "Ensuring Scotland's continued membership of the EU is in the common interest of people of Scotland, of the wider UK pre or post the referendum, and of the rest of the European Union."



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 09:43:54 AM EST
"The European Union's enlargement policy has been a soft power transformative force for the good, buttressing democracy in state after state in Greece, Portugal, Spain and the member states of Central and Eastern Europe. The European Union is founded on fundamental values: respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights."

But what about the PIIGS and The Troika? And, Victoria Nuland et al. aside, has the EU really been so helpful and considerate of regional feelings in their dealings with question of Ukrainian accession?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 10:34:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. Pat Cox is speaking of European ideals and the principles which should be applied to Scotland post a democratic vote favouring independence
  2. In relation to the Ukraine and other countries outside the EU, EU relations should be with national Governments rather than with regional separatist movements.  Even within the EU, the EU has blatantly supported the NO side in support of the UK Government rather than the separatist movement in Scotland.
  3. Outside of the relatively tiny EU budget (despite what the Brits might say about a vast Brussels bureaucracy and hugely wasteful spending) there is no Treaty provision for fiscal transfers to PIIGS countries. This is part of the reason why the Euro has a flawed architecture...
  4. Cox doesn't mention fiscal transfers at all


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 12:43:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU relations should be with national Governments rather than with regional separatist movements.

But what is the obligation of the EU when agents of the USA actively intervene on the side of nominally pro western if actually fascist groups based in the western Ukraine? And was it not agents of the EU that insisted that the Ukraine had to choose between Russia and the EU for purposes of trade alignment?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 11:21:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU is not going to "take on" the US.  Whinge maybe.  Passively criticize, maybe. Actively oppose, hardly.

As for the Ukraine, I'm not sure about the EU involvement beyond encouraging the Kiev regime to sign a trade deal, and I'm not sure to what extent, if any, that deal disadvantaged Russia. I suspect it wasn't the EU's finest hour, but also doubt the EU's effectiveness in foreign policy generally -  so I would be surprised if it was the decisive player in anything in the region.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 04:36:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think there is any point in criticising the actions of the EU, qua the EU, in creating the Ukraine crisis. The institution played out its role in good faith : that consisted of negotiating an association agreement, while flatly ignoring the geopolitical implications, because it wasn't in the brief, and because there's no pilot in the plane.

The fact that the Ukranian government misplayed its hand disastrously, by trying to play off the EU against Russia, cannot really be laid at the door of the EU (though it's possible that the Ukranians miscalculated precisely by attributing non-existent agency to the EU)

Of course, we would like the EU to be a lot less clueless in this sort of situation, but that's what we've got.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 05:05:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for this answer, eurogreen. I have genuinely had problems evaluating the role of the EU in this catastrophe, though I never assigned it primary blame. That I reserve for the USA.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 08:06:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But later then that, in early 2014 was not the EU part of the power games around who should be the next president of Ukraine? I remember that I read at the time that the "fuck the EU"-comment was about US-EU rivalry over who exactly should be in the coup/revolutionary government. Can't find anything solid about it now, though.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 03:53:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That could even be read as the EU opposing the US neo-cons reckless attempts to instal of a neo-con clone protofascist dictator. I'm not trying to paint the EU as clean on this issue, but I simply haven't seen an account of its role that I find credible or adequately evidence based.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 04:28:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the EU is culpable. This old thread remains relevant, especially Merkel's speech.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 05:11:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU is not going to "take on" the US.  Whinge maybe.  Passively criticize, maybe. Actively oppose, hardly.

A shame, that.  A truly functional Union of European nations is perhaps the only entity in the world that could effectively oppose the US in any constructive way. That has long been my hope anyway.

Now where are we going and what's with the handbasket?

by budr on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 01:30:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why should the EU "take on" the US? And who is Pat Cox and why should I care?
by IM on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 01:35:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant that in general terms.  At the formation of the EU, I had hoped that it might become something like a United States of Europe, able to act collectively as a sort of political and economic counterbalance to the US and perhaps the UK as well, following similar aspirations of democracy and human rights, but acting independently.  Naive, I know, but that is what I imagined.

And I have no idea who Pat Cox is, or why we should care.

Now where are we going and what's with the handbasket?

by budr on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 01:48:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well yes, I hoped for more relevance of the EU, especially as a model too. But more as alternative to the US, not an opponent
by IM on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 01:54:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we're pretty much on the same page here.  I was responding to Frank's comment, and I did say "oppose constructively".  For far too long we in the US have imagined ourselves first among equals, immune to criticism.  We need strong and independent allies who aren't afraid to tell us no when it's called for.

Now where are we going and what's with the handbasket?
by budr on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 03:05:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Err, "oppose in a constructive way".

Now where are we going and what's with the handbasket?
by budr on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 03:09:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An alternative to the imperial center is an opponent. In the logic of empire there can be no difference, and barely any distinction, between the two.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 03:07:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And how the EU leadership quakes and quails at that reality is painful to watch for some on either side of the Atlantic.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 04:46:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"An alternative to the imperial center is an opponent."

Zero-sum thinking. Not necessarily.

by IM on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 04:52:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the alternative, so-called, is unwilling or unable to actively contest power with the imperial center, simultaneously in multiple areas of social activity, then it is a subordinate rather than an alternative center of power.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 05:57:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nonsense. We don't live and don't have to live in a unipolar world. And another center of power is exactly that, not necessarily an opponent.
by IM on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 06:19:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To qualify as an alternative, the alternative has to actually differ, in some non-trivial capacity, from the imperial center. And be able and willing to defeat even reasonably assiduous attempts by the imperial center to force compliance with the imperial standard.

That makes it an opponent, no matter how many polite mouth-noises may be said to the effect that it does not.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 06:48:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Further, any leader who thinks that by sticking to a different position on a significant issue she won't be seen from the imperial centre as an opponent is naive and delusional.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Sep 13th, 2014 at 07:46:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pat Cox is a former President of the European Parliament, and about the only Eurocrat who has made any vaguely supportive cly, with vomments for the Yes side - and so his remarks have been seized on.

The EU is a soft power only en seriously (compared to the US) virtually no military capability - and will thus never be taken seriously by either neocons nor real-politicians.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 04:20:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU institutions might get a bit more than they wish from the democracy they buttressed in Portugal in the 2015 election.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 11:54:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 11:54:17 AM EST
And what happens those assets when the banks move south?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 04:38:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of those assets are financial assets not actually located anywhere. The interesting question is what fraction of assets are under Scots law, English law and international law.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 03:37:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would die laughing is those same banks scurried north again if rUK were to leave the EU and they were threatened with loss of access to the EU market...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 04:29:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If that were to happen, why not move to Amsterdam?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 05:12:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 05:21:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Scotland's Yes campaign nudges ahead in the polls
The NO campaign are playing to the stereotype of Scots as mean, grasping beggars only interested in what benefits they can get from continued Union, whilst the Yes campaign are promoting a more idealistic (and emotional) claim that Scotland is as well equipped as any other small nation to stand on its own two feet as an independent nation. For an Irish perspective on Scottish Independence, see http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2014/7/30/205150/743


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 01:27:26 PM EST
Hague: giving Scotland more powers if it votes No is not Government policy | Herald Scotland

The offer by the three main party leaders of further devolved powers for Scotland if it votes No in next week's independence referendum is "akin to a statement in a general election campaign", he said.

The Commons Leader added that it was a statement of what David Cameron, Nick Clegg, and Ed Miliband intend to do after the September 18 referendum.

Mr Hague was responding to Tory Christopher Chope (Christchurch) who pointed out that it had been Government policy since 2012 not to offer so called "devo max" in the event of a No vote.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 02:51:21 PM EST
Some 13 GW of renewable projects are currently planned for Scotland (which equates to some 15% of total UK capacity). Executives and pundits (analysts) are beginning to weigh in. I'm assuming there could well be delays, but expect grownups to be in charge.

Scotland Independence Could Put $23 Billion of Renewable Projects at Risk


Concerns Unspoken

The comments mark a rare intervention by renewable energy executives in the debate over Scottish independence, which most companies have avoided. Bigger utilities such as SSE Plc and Scottish Renewables declined to comment. EON SE and Scottish Power Ltd. said they await a decision from Scottish voters.

"A vote for independence would introduce regulatory uncertainty in Scotland," said Kieron Stopforth, a London-based analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. It would likely halt project developers from making final investment decisions until incentives were clarified, he said, and that would only happen after negotiations between Westminster and the Scottish government conclude. That will take "at least" several months.

Scottish Renewables, an industry group that represents the biggest utilities developers and banks working in the industry, also declined to comment.

You recall that Scotland has by far the strongest wind resource in all of Europe, and a North Sea oil and gas industry which could well provide much of the supply chain investment.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 04:26:07 PM EST
... For English MPs, a reasonable platform for the negotiations could rest on the following five principles.

First, the rump UK is the continuing state. ...

Second, this continuing state will provide no financial insurance to an independent Scotland. ...

Third, assets and liabilities will be fairly distributed on a per head basis. ...

Fourth, the rest of the UK will be willing to share institutions so long as there is no net cost to taxpayers and voters south of the border agree. ...

Fifth, Scotland cannot become a backdoor route into the UK. ...

Of course, such an ugly English nationalistic stance after a Yes vote would be highly regrettable. ...



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 10th, 2014 at 05:02:10 PM EST
Craig Murray: When the push polling has to stop (September 8, 2014)
My own view is that there has not been an extraordinary 12 point swing in a fortnight, as illustrated by YouGov's last two polls. What there has been is a continuing stead swing and a realisation in YouGov that, having helped the No campaign for over a year by trying to make a Yes vote seem hopeless, to be over 12% out on this vital vote might damage YouGov's share price fatally. So they have had to start publishing something close to the truth.

...

They really haven't got it yet. Nobody will ever care what Moore and McLeish and their like have to say again, and the kind of democracy we will have will not involve paying substantial sums to hear pearls of wisdom drop from troughers on a pedestal. Nor will members of the old political establishment have a future in that career. It was a good tactic for Alex Salmond to say that Darling and Carmichael will be on the negotiating team: the people will not allow it to happen.

There is at last some understanding that Yes will win: the penny has not yet dropped that this is a revolutionary moment, not a polite constitutional shuffle.

(h/t Chris Cook)

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 10:08:02 AM EST
Yougov is based on a self-recruiting webpanel. At one time they had the feminists at 18% in the EU-election here in Sweden, when everybody else had them at 4-5%. Then they "corrected their numbers by polling the feminists (and the pirates) down to realistic level, and increased everybody else.

In effect, it has the credibility of a webb-poll.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 02:46:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chris needs to stop that.

I don't know UK pollsters much.  I know YouGov, and they seem decent.  People question the motives of pollsters all the time.  More often than not, the pollsters wind up stomping those people in predictions.

Looks like an impressive, if perhaps to-be-expected, shift -- the sort you see towards the end of election campaigns.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 07:03:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But there is quite a history - especially in the US, of pollsters employing very questionable "likely voter" screens and only re-adjusting those screens in the last couple of weeks before an election because their final poll prediction vs. result is the only objective measure of their quality as a polling organization. Gallup's failure to do this last time around has severely damaged its credibility....

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 04:36:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rasmussen (a GOP biased polling firm) is notorious for this.  Gallup had Romney winning due to their prediction whites would comprise 78% of total voters, something that hasn't been accurate since the early oughts.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Sep 13th, 2014 at 01:09:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This a nice post, with good arguments. I would like to note that all member states of the EU, apart from the UK and Denmark that special opt-out treaties, are obliged to adopt the Euro. The other eight member states that are yet to adopt the Euro "must" implement policies to meet the convergence criteria - they are thus member states under derogation.

As Sweden has demonstrated, it is possible to prolong this derogation period sine die. As I pointed out, and was further discussed in my post, this could actually be the best option for an independent Scotland in terms of currency. It simply does not seem to be the most favoured one by Scottish politicians. I see it very unlikely for any another opt-out clause to ever be included in an accession treaty.

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 11:48:39 AM EST
In case any of you were falling for Salmond's claim that Scotland will be become a paradise after independence, The Scotsman sets you right:
Whatever the outcome, Scots lawyers will be needed.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 12:21:50 PM EST
Scotland clearly has far too many lawyers by any rational criterion. (Though I may be influenced by reading Walter Scott, where everyone of consequence is an impoverished nobleman or a rich lawyer).
The number seems to be well north of 10 000 -- more than double that of comparably sized countries Denmark, Finland or Slovakia.

I got intrigued by the notion of number of lawyers per 1000 population, and whipped up a quick table :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
LawyersPop.L/1000
SCOTLAND1100052950002,08
United  Kingdom151043640970002,36
Austria4234847700000,50
Belgium6727111620000,6
Bulgaria1157372610001,59
Cyprus102511170000,92
Czech  Republic10084105190000,96
Denmark490156120000,87
Estonia34112830000,27
Finland176154360000,32
France45686664750000,69
Germany138 679805860001,72
Greece36000107580003,35
Hungary971798940000,98
Ireland115646620000,25
Italy180000598620003,01
Latvia99220110000,49
Lithuania99929560000,34
The  Netherlands14 251167950000,85
Norway539050770001,06
Poland22545385480000,58
Portugal12617106090001,19
Romania16998198580000,86
Slovak  Republic430254130000,79
Slovenia68720620000,33
Sweden441595950000,46
Spain151542466100003,25

The standouts are Greece, Spain and Italy, at the over-lawyered extreme, and Ireland, Estonia and Finland at the other (happy) end. It appears to be a civilizational issue. Scotland is definitely not in the Nordic tendency.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 02:42:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you have a source for the Irish figure?  It seems v. low - perhaps it includes Barristers, but not Solicitors?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 05:11:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My numbers were from this document, dated 2006, and indeed very different from this for 2014, from the same organisation : 1156 members of the Irish Bar in 2006, 2284 in 2014 ? Has there been a reclassification of legal professions or something?

Looking at numbers for other countries, there seems to have been a truly frightening explosion in the numbers of European mouthpieces over the last 8 years, more than doubling in Portugal and Estonia. Only in Greece is there a decline, indeed a collapse, from 36000 (suspiciously round number) to 21624.

Clearly something should be done to circumscribe this epidemic. I think a European numerus clausus should be established, with a target of 0.5 lawyers per 1000 inhabitants by 2030.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 06:04:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about trying to distinguish useful lawyers from useless ones?
Between 1959 and 1971, the total number of lawyers in the United States exclusively employed in serving the poor grew from 292 to 2,534, and the government's total investment in legal services grew from $2,084,125 to $77,272,710.

[...]

Faced with the task of meeting a vast legal need with very limited resources, the Legal Services Program arrived at the same conclusion as had Smith 50 years earlier: it adopted a policy of advancing impact litigation, especially cases that protected entitlements to the new programs created as part of the War On Poverty. Every community legal aid program seeking an OEO grant was required to demonstrate how it would advance legal reform, which could include litigating test cases and lobbying. The Legal Services Program achieved considerable success in its impact litigation.

This quote comes from this paper which argues that the attacks on the number of lawyers in the US is really an attempt to roll back successes like this.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 06:49:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... and you think that's what's been happening in the EU? More lawyers for the poor?

And frankly, if poor people need a lawyer to access their entitlements in the US, I wouldn't recommend following that example in the EU. Better to fix the programs.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 07:09:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure that's not happening. But a push to reduce the number of lawyers is more likely to reduce access to the poor than to anybody else.

As for your latter point, since this discussion started with the UK, good luck. Cameron's "reforms" have dramatically increase the need for affordable lawyers, without increasing the supply.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Sep 13th, 2014 at 11:02:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Members of the bar" in Ireland refers to Barristers only. Solicitors are also lawyers and do all the more mundane non-high court stuff and are much more numerous.  Every town has some - doing stuff like wills and conveyancing and minor disputes and offenses which should be capable of being done in person and on-line by the citizenry themselves.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 07:26:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the numbers for 2006 and 2014 are both for members of the bar. So what changed?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 07:36:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't know - the recession and lack of opportunities elsewhere? Liberalization of access to the bar? There are certainly lots of law graduates coming on stream each year, but traditionally the "Bar" has been the preserve of well-to-do who can afford the years of apprenticeship with little or no income - followed by years when income can reach several hundred Euros p.a.

The legal profession virtually control the political system and have successfully resisted even Troika calls for their reform because of their restrictive practices and outrageous fees which render access to civil redress almost unattainable except for the rich and powerful corporates.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 11:41:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Go, Southern Euro periphery!

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 03:34:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know that in France, lawyers (and notaries) are both more numerous, and less well-paid, in the south. There is a civilizational explanation : the southern provinces kept up a Roman law system which was swept away in the north by Germanic barbarians. I imagine this is the basis for the high density in Italy and Spain.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 06:08:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's many facets to this.  

  1. In Spain (and I believe other code law countries) law is an undergraduate field of study, whereas in the common law countries it is typically an advanced field of study.     Being a lawyer in code law countries is in some sense easier, because much less emphasis is placed upon precedent. In common law countries, the majority of a lawyer's time is taken up by researching the case law.

  2. In code law systems, public law is a popular field of study for those planning to enter state service. So you have a large body of undergraduates who in common law systems would earn a public administration or political science degree studying law.  

I'm not going to attempt to suss this out, but suffice it to say that it's a little more complicated than a simple Latin/German divide.  It's really only in England, and countries influenced by England that you get common law systems.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 12:39:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That sounds plausible. But the US is awash with lawyers.
by IM on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 12:59:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the US, lawyers are not officers of the court, and their work product is subject to attorney-client privilege.  

Which means that if you staff your clerical pool with attorneys, suddenly all they produce is shielded by attorney client privilege.  

Most US attorneys will spend little time in the court room.

It's complicated.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 01:09:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
lawyers are not officers of the court,

Oh,  they are.

and their work product is subject to attorney-client privilege.  

As in most other countries.

by IM on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 01:14:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Many with law degrees do not practice before the bar. But if you take and pass the bar exam you become an officer of the court, at least in the state where you took the exam.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 04:53:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking in practical terms from the Spanish system looking at the United States and flubbed the terminology consequently.

What I was trying to express is that in the American case, lawyers have an obligation to defend their clients, not act as an agent of the state in ensuring that justice is done.

The best way to express the sentiment I was getting at is probably in terms of a distinction of an adversarial system  where:

two advocates represent their parties' positions before an impartial person or group of people, usually a jury or judge, who attempt to determine the truth of the case.

As opposed to an inquisitorial system where:

the court or a part of the court is actively involved in investigating the facts of the case
 

The legal profession exists to vary different ends under each system.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Sep 13th, 2014 at 07:50:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Especially as the "lawyer density" is rather high in Germany and rather low in France...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Sep 13th, 2014 at 07:57:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Independent has a made-up citizenship test modelled on the English one. I got 17 out of 20 (I know nothing about Scottish football, haven't got a clue how many islands there are, and forgot that Salmond hasn't been there forever).
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 12:59:42 PM EST
I got 14 which is pretty shameful, considering how easy most of the questions were (Al Gore is not Scottish). Though it's unfair that there are no questions about whisky.

But at least I got the islands and the football right.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Sep 11th, 2014 at 02:54:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Poll: support for Scottish independence cools as referendum draws near | Politics | theguardian.com

Support for Scottish independence has fallen by three points in the latest YouGov poll, which has confirmed that the no vote is back in the lead with less than a week before the referendum.

The latest poll for the Times and the Sun has found that support for remaining in the UK has risen to 52%, leaving support for a yes vote four points behind at 48%, excluding don't knows.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 02:39:15 AM EST
Have weighed in big-time with their threat to move HQ to London - I'm not sure if they have stated how many jobs they will take with them, and to what degree that changes the calculus around assets in the national accounts.  Certainly this is precisely the sort of move "hard headed" Scots no voters would have feared and will likely increase their turnout.  But will it also swell the ranks of the undecided voting Yes because they resent being dictated to by the banks?

It will be a sad day for Scotland - and for democracy everywhere - if it turns out the banks had the final say.  They deserve to be entirely wrongfooted by rUK leaving the EU and losing their access to EU markets as a result.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 04:43:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 05:16:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Statistical ignorance on display here.

For one thing, there are different methodologies here.  I think that someone already pointed out that the Yougov "shock poll" was a self-selected internet sample weighted for demographics. This ICM poll is phone based.  Not even going to touch the issue of which is "better."  Let's just recognize each could introduce biases which are unique to the methodology. (Is those 65+ on the internet substantially different than those off of it?)

Second thing. A rough estimate of the margin of error for each poll is 3%.  Which means that the Yougov poll showing independence up 47 to 45, is a statistical dead heat.  The predicted result could range from independence being up by 8 points, to being down by four.  Now that latest ICM poll has no up 42 to 40.  And the model predicts anything from yes being up by 3 to no winning by 8 points.  So we just don't know.

Finally, something between 5-20% of voters just don't know yet. It's really hard to say which way they will break.  In short, not a damn thing has changed.  It's just the statistically ignorant hyping up the horse race.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 12:57:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scottish referendum too close to call, says ICM poll | Politics | theguardian.com

The union between Scotland and England hangs by a political thread as a fresh Guardian/ICM poll published on Friday puts the yes vote just two percentage points behind those supporting no.

Despite a week of intense political campaigning by pro-union politicians and repeated warnings from business about the dangers of independence, the poll finds support for no on 51% and yes on 49% once don't knows were excluded.

The Guardian/ICM poll is based on telephone interviews conducted between Tuesday and Thursday, the first such survey ICM has conducted during the campaign. Previous polls suggesting that the race for Scotland could go to a photo-finish have been based on internet-based surveys.

In the UK-wide referendum on the Alternative Vote in 2011, a similar Guardian/ICM poll predicted the final outcome with remarkable accuracy.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 07:54:45 AM EST
It's the undecideds figure of 17% this late in the day which is the key. Will they play safe or rebel against attempts to railroad them with threats of banks withdrawing etc.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 11:46:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Going on other examples (such as Quebec), I'd expect a majority of the undecideds, when faced with the final decision, to come down on the side of safety first.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 12:26:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If they go to the polls. I assume that the Yes side has an mobilization advantage.
by IM on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 12:34:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Among the undecided? Why?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 01:52:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A mobilization advantage is most effective when their would otherwise be a very low poll. If the poll is going to be v. high anyway it can at best only make a v. marginal difference.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Sep 13th, 2014 at 04:27:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
'The buggers are out to get us': aristocrats on independence fears | UK news | theguardian.com

They might not be found on the campaign trail and they wouldn't be caught dead with a placard, but Scotland's reclusive aristocrats have expressed grave fears about the prospect of independence.

In a rare series of interviews from their ancestral castles, a string of Scottish grandees confided in the high-society magazine Tatler about their concerns if Scotland votes yes next week - not least the prospect of a dreaded castle tax.

[...]

One nameless aristocrat, whose family was reputedly involved in the 1707 Act of Union, railed about the Scottish National Party supporters seeking to break away from the union: "The buggers are out to get us!" The crossbench peer Lord Adrian Palmer, of the Huntley and Palmers biscuit dynasty, was not enamoured by Alex Salmond's party. "I mean, [the pro-independence movement] simply do not know what they're doing," he scoffed.

Well yes... the Act of Union was forced through by the aristocrats (and lawyers) against the will of the people... Perhaps they are right to be afraid.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 08:15:37 AM EST
We should not underestimate th degree to which Scottish independence could be a revolutionary moment. The British establishment is one of the oldest establishments in the world, having survived many wars and political changes. That has resulted in one of the most entrenched class systems in the world - and it is this class system, on both sides of the boarder, which is now, to some small degree under threat.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 12:02:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I tend to think that this is something that the establishment has only now realized to their horror.

London has interpreted the vote as a political revolution, e.g. one which would create an independent Scotland while leaving the underlying social structure intact.

But, I think that's what's happening isn't a political revolution, it's a social revolution constituted by the victims of Thatcher hoping to tear down the existing social structure and though up a social democracy in its place.

I imagine they will be disappointed, but can't a man just hope for a moment that such a thing could happen?

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 01:14:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rachel Maddow just reported on her show tonight that very nearly 100% of eligible voters in Scotland have registered to vote in the run-up to the election.  She used it as the wrap-up segment of her show, called "Best New Thing In the World Today".

Now where are we going and what's with the handbasket?
by budr on Fri Sep 12th, 2014 at 10:31:58 PM EST
Which is even more impressive when you consider that the voting age has just been reduced to 16.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Sep 13th, 2014 at 04:24:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow! I missed that! Do you think the pollsters are capturing that segment accurately? It's exceedingly hard to do. If you're polling seventeen year olds who are at home when the landline rings, that's a very skewed sample...

Another reason to expect a yes win. Idealistic youth... haven't had pragmatism hammered into them yet...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sat Sep 13th, 2014 at 05:35:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Torygraph ad a poll showing a majority of 16/17 year olds voting against independence.  Make of it what you will...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Sep 13th, 2014 at 06:17:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Scotland decides

Sir, - Lloyds and RBS have weighed into the Scottish independence debate with their threats to move their headquarters to London if the referendum is passed. Certainly this is precisely the sort of move "hard-headed" No voters would have feared and will likely increase their turnout. But will it also swell the ranks of the undecided voters voting Yes because they resent being dictated to by the banks? It will be a sad day for Scotland - and for democracy everywhere - if it turns out the banks had the final say on Scottish independence.

These banks deserve to be entirely wrong-footed by the rest of the UK leaving the EU following Scottish independence and losing their access to EU markets as a result. No doubt that would have them scurrying back to Scotland proclaiming they are Scottish after all.

What price democracy? - Yours, etc,

FRANK SCHNITTGER,



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Sep 13th, 2014 at 04:37:08 AM EST
Scotland decides

Sir, - Being married to a good Scots lass, I have been following that country's referendum debate with some interest for the last two years. The levels of dissimulation, disinformation and outright lying is something which only those of us old enough to remember Pravda can appreciate. However, the one chestnut which really should have been broken off the string by now is that hoary old one that Scotland ending the union would result in permanent Tory governments in Whitehall.

Quite apart from it not being Scotland's problem, it's simply claptrap. In the entire history of the party, only once, in 1964, was a Labour government dependent on Scottish MPs to make up the numbers, and that government lasted only 18 months in any event. Tony Blair won three general elections on the backs of purely English majorities, and no other Labour government has ever needed Scottish votes to take power.

There is, of course, another assumption underlying this supposition of permanent Tory majority - that a Labour government would somehow be different.

The Scots, I think, are increasingly falling out of love with that idea, which is possibly why Scottish membership of that party has fallen to an estimated 5,000 or so, compared to the SNP's 25,000. I say "estimated" because the Labour Party in Scotland has repeatedly refused to reveal its membership numbers.

Perhaps it fears that by doing so, it would destroy that other myth that Scotland is somehow the property of the Labour Party. If so, it is wise. - Yours, etc,

DAVID SMITH,



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Sep 13th, 2014 at 04:43:07 AM EST
Good point about Labour. An independent Scotland will need a new mass party on the left; the nationalists can't pretend to straddle the political spectrum once they're in power, and will inevitably drift rightward anyway.

Any emergent movements? I'll ask Chris...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sat Sep 13th, 2014 at 05:39:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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