Wednesday, 13 July 2011

United Kingdom: Scotland is NOT part of England



Recently I came across a blog post Scotland May Split with the United Kingdom on the blog Enduring Sense. This short post about the results of the Scottish Parliament elections in May contained the following sentence -

'This Party ran on a platform that included calling a referendum to determine if Scotland will remain part of England or become an independent country.'

I submitted a comment and received a reply from the author in which he wrote -

'Thanks for your clarification on the status of England and Scotland.'

The following is the comment which I submitted -

'...to determine if Scotland will remain a part of England...'

That is factually incorrect. Scotland is NOT part of England and NEVER has been. This post shows that there is a clear misunderstanding about what the United Kingdom actually is. The following is a brief history of it from the so-called Union of the Crowns in 1603.

'on 25 March 1603, James VI of Scotland became James I of England. It was a purely personal union. There were still two kingdoms, each with its own parliament, administration, church and legal system.'

SOURCE: 'Scotland: The Shaping of a Nation' by Gordon Donaldson, p.46, ISBN 0 7153 6904 0, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 74-15792.

It was James who first used the term 'Great Britain' to describe his combined kingdoms of Scotland and England. By this time Wales was already part of the kingdom of England, initially through the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284 then more formally by a statute of the parliament of England in 1536. What unites the 'United Kingdom' is the fact that the same person is the monarch of three kingdoms - Scotland, England and Ireland. In relation to Scotland the term 'United Kingdom' first occurred in the Treaty of Union in 1707 which established, as from 1 May 1707, the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain' (Article I). In 1801 it was expanded to include Ireland in the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland'. Following the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922 it became the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland' in 1927. As well as being a descriptive term of the territory of which it is comprised, 'United Kingdom' is also an abbreviation of the formal name. When Scotland regains its independence the 'United Kingdom' will continue, as it did between 1603 and 1707, until the people of Scotland decide otherwise in a referendum in an independent Scotland.

Scottish independence is often referred to as being a case of secession. It is, in fact, incorrect to use the words 'secede' or 'secession' with regard to Scottish independence. For a secession to occur the parent country, which with regard to the current constitutional status of Scotland is Great Britain, would have to continue, albeit in a modified form - that would not be the case. The country of Great Britain was created by the joining of the kingdoms of Scotland and England through the Treaty of Union in 1707. When Scotland regains its independence that treaty will effectively be DISSOLVED and Great Britain will CEASE to exist.

'In contrast, Lane says, Scotland cannot break away like Ireland as it was 'one of the basic building blocks of "the United Kingdom of Great Britain"' (Lane 1991: 146). Without Scotland there is no 'Great Britain' and without Great Britain there is no 'United Kingdom'.'

SOURCE: 'SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: A Practical Guide' by Jo Eric Murkens with Peter Jones and Michael Keating, p.109, ISBN 0-7486-1699-3.

I would appreciate it if you would submit a post which clarifies the actual status of Scotland in relation to other parts of the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland' for the benefit of your readers.

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