LET’S start with a fact: the Treaty of Union is INTERNATIONAL LAW! The Scotland Act is DOMESTIC LAW!

We are about to witness domestic law potentially being used yet again against Scotland. Our right to a referendum and our right to self-determination are both to be severely challenged as matters of domestic law. It will be front-page news as it happens.

What, however, about the court of international opinion and international law? Are they wholly irrelevant, or might they prove to be a pivotal part of regaining Scotland’s independence?

Here (in part only) is how other countries gained their independence from the UK. It happened not by acting alone but by coming together and acting at an international level.

The General Assembly of the United Nations passed a resolution in 1960 which contained these words: “All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

Many of the members of the UN who set out to secure that resolution were countries that had gained, or were seeking, their independence from the UK – not always peacefully.

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The words they used in that resolution were specifically intended to allow others to follow the same path to secure their country’s independence, peacefully and democratically.

John Drummond was probably correct when he speculated in a recent Independence Live show about the reactions of the “major powers”, perhaps no more so than when an independent Scotland decides to remove nuclear weapons from its waters and roads. An independent Scotland will face many situations of that nature – it’s what being independent involves. But is Scotland to live in perpetual fear of “major powers”? Forever worried, as John suggests, by what Westminster might do? Are we to self-deny our independence through fear? Again there is a lesson from 1960.

Those in the UN in 1960 also had to consider “major powers”, and they very deliberately and skilfully avoided the “major powers” in the Security Council and the inherent veto powers they could have used to deny their right of self-determination. How did colonies outwit their colonial masters?

Those in the UN in 1960 knew how to think outside the box. In 1960, with other members of the UN, they formed an informal electoral alliance that was described as having “the intellectual cohesiveness and also the political-tactical competence” to secure the adoption of Resolution 1514 (XV) – without a single expressed dissent in the General Assembly.

So maybe Scotland needs to use similar tactics. We need to decide who to approach for potential support at an international level, and who to avoid. High on that potential list are 1) those who have regained their country’s freedom from the UK, and 2) those who passed that 1960 resolution.

Will they understand and empathise with Scotland’s current attempt to achieve a similar objective – independence through self-determination – to be achieved both peacefully and democratically? We will not know, we will never know unless we ask, and now is the time to do so.

The Declaration of a Sovereign Scot initiative is an open invitation to EVERY sovereign Scot to exercise their claim of right and add their voice to highlight that crucial legal difference and bring it to the attention of the world!

Mike Fenwick
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