Doctor Michael Herron
This article draws on a previous article by former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, “Westminster Cannot Block Scottish Independence” on his website https://www.craigmurray.org.uk
and his citation of British official documents.
These official documents relate to arguments made by the British Government to the International Court of Justice in 2009 to support Kosovo’s case for independence from Yugoslavia and its successor state, Serbia. This British written statement to the ICJ dated 17th April 2009 was entitled “Request for An Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Question “Is the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self Government of Kosovo in Accordance with International Law”.
The British argument comprised two main points. Firstly, that most states including the United States have become independent in controversial circumstances. The second is that Kosovo’s situation was sui generis i.e. unique since it was potentially a successor state to the failed state of Yugoslavia, and it was also a victim of Serbia’s ethnic cleansing in the Balkan wars that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia.
The author makes the argument that Scotland’s situation is also unique though obviously it has not been a victim of ethnic cleansing. Scotland as a nation during the EU referendum voted as a majority by 62% to remain in the European Union. Similarly, Northern Ireland voted as a majority to remain part of the EU. In the deal struck before Christmas between British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar Northern Ireland was allowed to remain within the single market and customs union.
This deal essentially honours the wish of the people of Northern Ireland to remain within the key structures of the EU. Conversely, the British Government’s determination to pull the rest of the United Kingdom including Scotland out of the EU flagrantly ignores the will of the Scottish people to remain within the EU.
Since the people of Wales voted as a majority with England to leave the EU, Scotland is the only part of the United Kingdom whose wish to remain within the EU has been ignored. Scotland is therefore a unique case since it is the only nation within the EU that is being forced to leave the EU against its will. Scotland’s situation differs from that of Catalonia since Spain, as a whole, is not determined to leave the EU.
By its own argument in support of Kosovan independence the British Government has condemned itself regarding the Scottish case. If the Kosovan case for independence was unique and legitimate then the similarly unique Scottish claim for independence is also equally legitimate.