STFU about UDI!

The concept of a unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) is inappropriate and inapplicable. Scotland is neither a colony nor a possession. Ask the analytical questions. From what would we be unilaterally declaring independence? England? Scotland hasn’t been annexed by England. Suppose England wanted to declare it’s independence. What would it be declaring independence from? Itself? The UK? The UK isn’t a nation. It is a political union. Leaving a political union isn’t at all equivalent to declaring independence.

Forget UDI! It shouldn’t even be mentioned in relation to Scotland’s independence cause.

What people actually mean when they refer to UDI; what they mistakenly identify as UDI, is a process in which a declaration of intent to change Scotland’s constitutional status precedes a plebiscite to ratify that proposed change.

The closest analogy may be the dissolution of the political union between Norway and Sweden. A union which was, in some significant respects, similar to that between Scotland and England. Certainly, it was the cause of the same kind of tensions between the two nations.

With all the usual caveats about the dangers of simplification, the story starts, as all such stories must, with the nation that wishes to dissolve the union breaking the rules which bind it together. Norway declared its intention to set up its own consular service thus breaching the terms of the political union which reserved foreign policy to Sweden. Sweden refused to recognise the legislation passed by the Norwegian parliament and the Norwegian government resigned; provoking a constitutional crisis when it proved impossible to form a new government.

To resolve the issue of Norway’s constitutional status, the Storting (Norwegian parliament) voted unanimously to dissolve the political union with Sweden. This was on 7 June 1905. Crucially, in order to seize total control of the process, Norway avoided the offer of a negotiated settlement which would have allowed Sweden a measure of influence. Instead, the Storting immediately scheduled a referendum for 13 August – around nine weeks after the vote to dissolve the union.

That referendum resulted in a ‘Yes’ vote of 99.5%.

It shouldn’t be difficult to work out from this how Scotland should proceed. And it has absolutely nothing to do with UDI.


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16 thoughts on “STFU about UDI!

  1. Morning Peter, thank you for stating this. It’s tiring seeing UDI being called for all the time when there is no basis for it. I feel when we become independent it should be with a majority of people voting for it.

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  2. I agree. If Scotland is forced out of the EU. Then the terms of union are being broken.

    Scotland will declare the decision a breech and vote for a break up.

    I heard Mcwhirter musing that section 30 was required. He hasn’t studied the constitution to reach that conclusion.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Peter

    ….”(UDI) is inappropriate and inapplicable. Scotland is neither a colony nor a possession. “…

    This is part of the clear rationale I mentioned. Even back 9 months ago UDI was part of the common parlance within YES discussions…until “Dissolve the Union” was pushed (thank you).

    For me, the power of the YES case is enhanced by DtU… it’s a clear, powerful statement that is also technically correct…But its greatest strength is that it returns the power to Scotland in peoples’ minds

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Dissolving the Union, however that was to be achieved, was never going to be UDI, but many British and English Nationalists, and even a fair few independists, too, think it is. Well said, Mr Bell. I have always backed a ratifying referendum AFTER a declaration of intent or a declaration of independence itself, not a pre-independence referendum, which has proved to be a non-starter from day one because of the way that the UK is set up, and, more importantly, because of the way it behaves towards the three devolved partsL i.e. as a neo-colonialist government. All recent pre-independence referendums have proved to be utterly incapable of delivering independence because, primarily, the forces against independence in all recent referendums on independence have been skewed by neo-colonialist sentiment, and that is the fundamental truth that the whole independence movement must face, sooner rather than later. Thank you for that blog. Bulls-eye!

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  5. You are largely correct. However, you forget or ignore that the reason Norway decided to establish it’s own consular service was that Sweden did not represent Norway in an adequate fashion. The Norwegian argument was that Sweden had therefore failed in it’s obligations and that it was therefore Sweden that had breached the terms of the union. Incidentally it was England that forced Norway into the union with Sweden.

    Scotland could follow a similar path, at least to a certain extent. The union with England has resulted in Scotland being forced out of the EU against the wishes of the majority of people living there. Scotland could make the same or similar argument as Norway – England has violated the agreement between the two countries. Holyrood could dissolve the union an action that could later be ratified in a plebiscite.

    I should point out that Norway had a significant advantage when compared to Scotland.
    Norway had it’s own army, an army that was in possession of Europe’s most advanced artillery. The army was mobilised and went into position along the Norwegian/Swedish border. In addition Det Frivillig skyttervesen (a militia) mobilised.

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  6. I’ve been suggesting that the Scottish Parliament revoke the Treaty and Act of Union and call on Scottish members of the military of the English government of the UK to immediately resign and form a Scottish defence force to protect Scots from the English Government’s army which Theresa May will send in to oppress them. It was pointed out to me that British (English) forces members take an oath of allegiance to the crown and could not do as I suggested.

    Since the People are sovereign in Scotland, could the Parliament, under their authority release Scottish members of the forces from their oath? I would be interested to read your reflections about this.

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  7. Without knowing exactly what the oath is, it is hard to answer.

    But I would sort of think that the oath is to the Crown and is capable of being redirected as long as the oath to the Crown remains intact. Do we want to go there? It seems to tie Scotland to the Union of Crowns. Worse still, it only seems a useful way to go if you are planning to dissolve the union with a Civil War. It seems better to me to dissolve the union and then negotiate the position of Scottish members of the military.

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