Tory says Union 'extinguished' Scotland

The Scottish National Party highlighted the agreement of Scotland Office Minister David Mundell on STV's Scotland Tonight last night with the claim in the UK government's legal paper that Scotland was "extinguished" by the Union in 1707 - possibly into an "enlarged and renamed England".

The document states on page 75:

"For the purpose of this advice, it is not necessary to decide between these two views of the union of 1707. Whether or not England was also extinguished by the union, Scotland certainly was extinguished as a matter of international law, by merger either into an enlarged and renamed England or into an entirely new state."

When asked on the programme last night if he agreed with this, Mr Mundell responded: "Yes".

SNP MSP Roderick Campbell, an Advocate, said:

"In his cack-handed 'Yes' response, David Mundell has done enormous damage to the 'No' campaign.

"For generations, the ideology of unionism in Scotland has rested on the idea that 1707 was about the coming together of two equal nations in a new partnership for the supposed betterment of Scotland - but the UK Government have now repudiated this by agreeing that the Union 'extinguished' Scotland.

"For example, only a few weeks ago in the House of Lords Michael Forsyth made his case for a 'No' vote on the basis that the Union 'guarantees those aspects of Scotland that make it an independent country'. He said:

'In 1707, we did not give up our status as an independent country. Indeed, the Act of Union guarantees those aspects of Scotland that make it an independent country.' (16 January 2013)

"The Tory-led government at Westminster have now left poor Lord Forsyth and the 'No' campaign leaders with no positive case to make - they have torn up any Scottish case for the Union by saying that it 'extinguished' Scotland.

"Never again can anyone in the 'No' campaign argue with any credibility that Scotland being governed from Westminster has anything to do with the interests of Scotland - it is about the interests of Westminster, and those who seek office and positions there.

"A Yes vote in the referendum reflects the case for Scotland, and the positive future for Scotland as a normal nation with the powers of an independent country.

“The anti-independence campaign is now asking people to vote 'No' and endorse the position that Scotland was ‘extinguished’.

“The Tory-led government's inept leadership of the 'No' campaign has shattered the claim that Scotland is an equal partner in the UK – which will only serve to boost support for an independent Scotland and a 'Yes' vote.”

ENDS

Notes:

1. Last night's transcript of Scotland Tonight is here:

John MacKay
"Okay. David Mundell, one final point then. The report did suggest that Scotland, in international law anyway, was extinguished by the 1707 Act of the Union. Are you comfortable with that?"

David Mundell MP
"Yes. I think the Act of Union isn’t relevant to this, nor is the breakup of Czechoslovakia, which is discussed in detail."

2. Michael Foryth's remarks in the House of Lords debate on 16 January on the Section 30 Order are here:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldhansrd/text/130116-0...