A Very British Divorce.
2015 Scottish Parliamentary Elections Results.
Regional List MSPs
Scottish National Party
*Other Includes 2 Green MSPs, 1 Independent and 1 Socialist.
The 2015 Election Campaign.
Andy Kerr, the First Minister lost his Constituency seat in what was one of the worst nights in the history of the Scottish Labour Party, only squeezing back into Parliament as a list MSP. The campaign was fought on the back of a scandal involving Labour Party finances, the UK-Wide housing crash and the UK Conservative Government of William Hague(1) cutting funding for Scotland, Wales, the North of England and Northern Ireland to help the ailing Southern economy. Against this backdrop, the Scottish National Party, led by Andrew Wilson (2) won a near overall majority of the seats in the Scottish Parliament, gaining 45.6% of the vote along the way.
In addition to this for the first time, a majority of the Scottish Parliament was now in favour of a vote on Independence. On the morning after the election, Wilson announced his intention to create a new Scottish Constitutional Convention. He claimed that the days of the Unionist Bear hug which destroyed the tenure of Alex Salmond as First Minister (3) would not arise now because the Unionists were in a minority in the new Scottish Parliament.
“Today a new dawn has broken out over our nation. Scotland has rejected the old-style Labour solutions of the past. Scotland has rejected being treated as a minor, insignificant partner in an unjust, unequal union, governed by people who we do not want, nor vote for.
Today, Scotland has voted for change.”
Andrew Wilson. Scottish First Minister. 8/5/15.
(1) The Conservatives won the 2010 UK General Election with a slim majority. David Cameron attempted to build support in areas such as Scotland and the North of England in his period as Prime Minister. He resigned after the Sterling Crisis in 2014, paving the way for the Premiership of Hague who decided to follow a more English nationalistic route.
(2) Andrew Wilson was an MSP in OTL from 1999-2003. He lost his seat at the 2003 election. ITTL, he wins his seat back in the 2011 Scottish Parliament Election.
(3) The SNP Government fell in 2011, with Labour winning most seats, Andy Kerr (who replaced Wendy Alexander who resigned in late 2008)became First Minister.
“Tae the Lords of Convention t’was Claverhouse spoke, E’er the Kings Crown go down, there are crowns to be broke!”(4)
1.The creation of the Scottish Constitutional Convention.
Linda Fabiani (5), the Deputy First Minister in the new Government had a hectic start to her new job. The First Minister had given her the all-important brief of establishing the new Convention on Independence. She spent the morning on the phone to various bodies, from Trade Unions to the Church of Scotland.
The Trade Unions had been surprisingly helpful, especially given the commitment of the SNP to remain within the EU (6), and to join the Euro. This in itself was seen as a way of escaping the trap that currently encased Sterling. Their position was hampered though by their close links to the Scottish Labour Party. After a week of discussions it was agreed that the STUC would take part in the convention. This in itself was seen as a major coup for Fabiani, although they withheld their support, pending on what was to happen with the issue of North Sea Oil and Scottish industry in general.
The Churches were divided on the issue. The Church of Scotland agreed to join, but only in the role of observer, lest the established Church be viewed as partisan. The Catholics were far more vocal, with the elderly Cardinal O’Brian (7) stating that the Catholic Church would be more than happy to engage in the issue of the day, in an attempt to help build on the influence of the Catholic Church on Scottish Society. The Episcopalians, the Jews, the Muslims and the others followed suite in joining the convention.
Fabiani knew that the convention would be taken seriously when, at the end of May, even the CBI in Scotland accepted their invitation to the convention. After this leading business figures, who had been considered to be Unionist followed. Even the old noble families, sitting pretty on their old historic piles started requesting invites.
Looking at the acceptance letter from the Earl of Erroll, Baron Kilmarnock, Hereditory Lod High Constable for Scotland to join the meeting she smiled. This was not to be some class based event. This was to be the reestablishment of a nation.
(4) Bonnie Dundee, by the Corries. Scottish Folk Song.
(5) Current SNP Minister at Holyrood.
(6) Following the dissolution of Belgium and the accession of Falnders and Wallonia, Scottish membership upon Independence to the EU would be secure.
(7) Cardinal Keith O’Brian, Current Roman Catholic Archbishop for Edinburgh and St.Andrews.
“May he sedition hush and like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush,
God save the King.” (8)
2.The Reaction of the UK Government.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Liam Fox sat uncomfortably in the number 10 Downing Street cabinet room. He was very aware that as a Scot, should the Union end he would be classified as a foriegner, despite him representing an English seat. This was not an event he was going to humanly let happen. “William, we have to do something to stop this horrid business frm escalating.” He got a very sharp response to the effect that the Prime Minister did not really want to be the one where the nation broke up on his watch. Hague then smiled. “You really shouldn’t worry Liam. I have a plan.”
His reputation had been revived in recent years when he was shown in the BBC Documentary- A Dying Nation , as a caring ambassador. He was recalled at the request of the Labour Party leader, David Milliband and the Prime Minister. He was to take up his new role as the jointleader of the Save Britain group, alongside David Cameron (10) forthwith.
(8) Lyrics to addtitional verse of God Save the Queen, penned during the Jacobite rising of 1745.
(9) In OTL, After his defeat in the 2007 Scottish Elections there were rumours of Jack McConnell being offered the position of UK Ambassador to Malawi. In TTL he accepted the offer in 2009, being recalled now due to the situation.
(10) His first official role since leaving office.
Love thy Neighbour. (11)
3.The European Perspective.
The odds on the Governments of the European Union being united on this were slim from the outset. Flanders, Wallonia, Eire Croatia and the Eastern European states were enthusiastic about such a move, Spain and France led the opposition. The German Chancellor remained the biggest undecided about the move.
Strictly speaking, after the accesion of Flanders and Wallonia, any barrier to Scotland joining the Union as an Independent state were removed but the British Government was engaging in frantic quiet diplomacy attempting to ensure an example was made of Scotland should the Scots choose this path. In this it was believed that Hague was shooting himself in the foot but it was part of the platform for a no vote in any future campaign. It was amid this athmosphere that Andrew Wilson, newly sworn in First Minister of Scotland made his first trip abroad on the 15th June.
The trip was always going to be difficult, but Wilson managed to win over several of the wavering member states by the force of his argument. He followed the old SNP argument Made originally in 1989 by the French advocate, Maitre Xavier de Roux that;
“Scotland is part of the Common Market by virute of the United Kingdom’s accesion to the Treaty of Rome and by application of the Treaty of Union 1707. If the Treaty of Union was revoked its international sovereignty, it would be accepted to the Common Market without formality.” (12)
The case of the Scottish Government rested on the Vienna Convention on State Succesion in respect of Treaties. The Convention is concerned mainly with the position of the ‘newly independent state’, in which Atricle 2(1)(f) defines as ‘a succesor state was a dependent territory for the international relations of which the predecessor state was responsible’ (12).
Flanders and Wallonia used the convention to remain in the EU when Belgium split up, and as such was very relevant to Scotland.
The Westminster Government made the case for a negative theory under the same convention (13) , wherby the Scots would have to re-apply to join every body it was a member of as part of the UK as a newly independent state.
This was a risky strategy (14) as by questioning the rules of succesion which applied to the former Belgian states, they risked the whole of Great Britain being thrown out of the European Union. Hague was very aware that it was a risky strategy, but followed that it fitted in with the newly formed Save Britain campaign.
The issue turned at the end of June though, when asked directly if the French Government would oppose Scottish entry to the European Union, President Sarkosy stated that ‘following the precedent of Flanders and Wallonia, there was no legal case to stop them although we would rather for international stability support the continuation of the British state.’ Wilson returned to Edinburgh at the end of the month to his greatest triumph to date. Scottish entry was seen as a fait acompli.
The Scottish Constitutional Convention was about to begin.
(11) Biblical Proverb.
(12) De Rouxs Argument is also based on article 34(1) of the Vienna Convention which states that ‘When parts of a territory of a state separate to form on or more states, whether or not the predecessor state continues to exist; any treaty in force at the date of succession of states in respect of each sucessor so formed.
(13) Article 2(1)(b)of the same Convention defines succesion as the ‘replacement of one state by another in the responsibility for international relations of the teritory.’ This could be construed as meaning that the successor state remains unaffected whilst the independent territory would have to start afresh.
(14) By questioning the rules, a new Convention could be called or both could be treated as newly independent states meaning both have to reapply to the EU. This was unlikely but an outside possibility.
'Til we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land! (15)
4.The Rise of English Nationalism.
English nationalism was stirred by a sense of anger at what was percieved as the ungrateful Scots. The charge was led by the Daily Mail, who became the first daily to come out in favour of ending the Union, claiming that ‘The troublesome, sponging, Socialist Scots’ deserved all that was coming to them and that England deserved better than the way the northern partner in the Union was treating them.
Over the period, this ideal manifested itself in a call for English Independence. The calls were led by Kelvin Mackenzie (16), who was the papers newest columnist. Opinion polls showed that for the first time, the English Democrats were being noticed in opinion polls (17) . As opposed to the expected position of the Conservatives, William Hague persisted in his pro-union position, as a result the Conservatives suffered in the opinion polls (17).
The first real test of this feeling came on a hot, summers night in Bromley, where the incumbant Conservative MP died, meaning a first by-election since the issue had blown up. In the resulting by-election, a Lib Dem candiedate was returned by a majority of seven after the English Democrats polled over 7,000 votes. Even the BBC noted that there was a feeling of scotophobia in the air.
Given the platform which was being built, the BBC screened a what was to become infamous edition of Panorama, which centred in on the vast racist attacks on Scots during the months of July and August (18). The proggramme attracted over a thousand complaints and led to attacks in the House of Commons by several members who stated it over sensationalised the situation in the country.
The Broadcasting Complaints Commision dismissed the complaints, stating that they were not justified. Amid such controvesy, the Daily Mail printed a famous front page, styled ‘Government Propaganda!’. Kelvin Mackenzie, the new journalist for the paper was visceral in its anger.
“The days of the Scottish Raj are coming to an end. The days of these oversubsidised, overrepresented tartan tosspots governing us English by proxy are coming to an end. I, for one despise how both of the main parties are now infiltrated by these rats who infest our green and pleasant land.
David Cameron, pehaps remembering his family ties to a noble Scottish family was an old-fashioned Unionist. William Hague has no such excuse. England desrves better. England deserves independence!
I challenge these cowardly Unionists to take me to court over this. I challenge them to charge me for stating the truth, unlike the propaganda which spouts Celtic lies. Its time for us to get rid of the Jocks, who can take the sponging Welsh and Northern Irish with them.” (19)
From Bute House in Edinburgh, Andrew Wilson gave a quick and prompt reply that if you replaced the word Scot with Jew, Mackenzie would taken far more seriously. He also pointed out that the type of nationalism being fostered in England at the time was not of the civic nature he, himself favoured. He stated he hoped this would change.
As a result of the article (20), the BCC told the Daily Mail to apologise for the column. The paper refused. A court battle was to ensue.
(16) English Journalist, despite the name. Responsible for several anti-Scottish articles, hated in Liverpool for claiming Liverpool football fans robbed and urinated on the dead during the Hillsborough disaster caused by an inadequate stadium for the number of fans present.
(17) Labour took the lead over the Tories nationallyfor the first time since Brown had been Prime Minister. The EDP polled 5% nationally.
(18) Attacks increased 700% over the couse of a month.
(19) Daily Mail 23rd August 2015.
(20) 6,250 complaints, 4,986 from England.