I THOROUGHLY enjoyed the article by Judith Duffy (Sunday National, January 3) but must take issue with the statement by Professor James Ker-Lindsay on the role of London with reference to Scottish independence. If I may be permitted to precis him: the international community will be looking for London to give permission and we have to accept that is how the international system works. A very interesting viewpoint.

There are a few important premises that get in the way of this argument:

1. Scotland is a nation in a “voluntary” union with under international treaty; 2. This treaty relationship has been adulterated by Acts of UK Parliament over the centuries; 3. Due to the overwhelming English bias within the UK Parliament, Scotland’s interests have been overridden.

Given these facts surely the requirement of permission from the UK Government must be negated under the first premise. We, as cosignatories of the Treaty of Union, have the right to negotiate a withdrawal from such treaty. A mandate under the claim of right should be required from the people of Scotland and I believe that mandate has been given time and time again since the SNP became dominant – not withstanding the 2014 result, driven by the lies of the Unionist parties and promises that they have subsequently failed to fulfil.

Brexit may give the immediate precedent for acting on the mandate already held as the UK did not need the permission of Brussels to either seek a mandate using a referendum or to trigger the Article 50 process initiating a negotiation of terms of withdrawal from the relationship. One Brexiteer even said they knew of no treaty in the world that required the permission of the other party to challenge terms or initiate withdrawal talks.

Built into the biased Acts subsequent to the Treaty of Union is the assumption that Scotland is now a province of England as UK. Difference in law, education and religious denomination are tolerated rather than recognised in any meaningful way. If Scotland is seen as a provincial adjunct to England – and this has been linguistically fostered throughout the world where England is often used as a synonym for the UK – then the assumption of permission from London is unsurprising. If the true nature of Scotland as a “voluntary” signatory to the Treaty of Union is acknowledged then London has no say in the matter. “Voluntary” is of course a significant word given the threat to Scottish prosperity under the Aliens Act of 1705 and the generous parcelling out of lands and privileges to the signatories.

I fear Prof Ker-Lindsay may be right in the de facto veracity of his statement but the Nation of Scotland has the explicit right of self-determination under the articles of the UN (Art. 1 & 55) and under these London cannot have a veto unless of course we are not the nation we purport to be but are the Province of North Britain that London rules.

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Our parliament was inaugurated by Winnie Ewing in 1999 with the words: “The Scottish Parliament, which adjourned on March 25, 1707, is hereby reconvened.” I would propose that statement indicates a continuity of status that recognises the nation of Scotland. Although constrained by the terms of devolution this body has, in the years since, sought to serve the Scottish people. The mandate given to the SNP in government and the existence of a body of elected public servants should be the catalyst for acknowledging the current status of Scotland as a sovereign nation in a flawed relationship with its immediate neighbour that requires reform.

This reform will only come when the true status of Scotland is recognised by England and Wales and they too learn that their sovereignty will be enhanced by being recognised as an independent sovereign nation. I hope that we do have the courage to pursue recognition of our true status, we are not getting “independence”, we already have that no matter what London may think, we are seeking recognition by all other nations in the world, including England, that Scotland is their equal.

David Neilson

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