By G.A.Ponsonby
Conservative MP David Mundell has caused outrage after suggesting that Scotland did not exist according to international law, and that the nation had been extinguished by the 1707 Act of Union.
Mr Mundell, who is a junior minister in the Scotland Office, made the astonishing claim in an interview on STV’s Scotland Tonight.

Asked by interviewer John MacKay if he was comfortable with a UK Government report that said Scotland had been “extinguished” by the 1707 Act of Union, the Tory MP replied “yes”.

He said: “Yes, I think that the Act of Union isn’t relevant to this, nor is the break-up of Czechoslovakia”

The remarks have been met with anger by many, with the SNP claiming Mr Mundell’s “cack-handed remarks” had caused major damage to the No campaign.

The interview followed publication yesterday of a report by the UK government which claimed that an independent Scotland would have to start from scratch, inheriting none of the UK’s treaties and obligations.  However the initial claim led to furious backtracking by UK Ministers after it emerged Scotland would therefore incur none of the UK’s massive national debt burden.

The report also contained a controversial paragraph that claimed Scotland had effectively ceased to exist when the 1707 Act of Union was ratified.

According to page 75 of the UK government report:

"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."

Mr Mundell’s public endorsement of the claim has been criticised by the SNP.  The nationalists said it blew apart Unionist claims that Scotland was an equal partner in the Union.

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'."

Speaking last month, Mr Forsyth 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.”

Mr Campbell added: "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.”


# Astonished 2013-02-12 17:55
Is anyone really surprised ?

Mundell should be forced to resign.
# clootie 2013-02-12 20:23
No! No! we don't want him to resign. What are the chances of getting someone so stupid from the NO campaign into that role ........................ on reflection quite high actually.
# Macart 2013-02-12 18:13
I think this is something we should be absolutely crystal clear about. This premise/opinion is endorsed by the UK parliament and the better together campaign. Whether it is right or wrong is contestable, what is not is their belief in this opinion. They believe and are campaigning for the right to 'extinguish' Scotland as a country. I'm sure they are just peachy keeno happy at the prospect of renaming our country North Britain or Scotlandshire (fill name of choice).

This is what awaits a no vote. Forget rolling back devolution, never mind the worry that Johann Lamont may, through some freak accident of nature, become FM. The Scottish identity itself may well be under threat.
# robbo 2013-02-12 18:15
Scotland and England were both extinguished and a new state was created, the United Kingdom.

I don't see what the fuss is about.

If we are still an internationally recognised sovereign state then why are we campaigning for independence?
# hiorta 2013-02-12 18:22
Now why did they overlook mentioning such a small matter when they were conscripting Scottish soldiers to fight in their eternal interfering wars?
# Jimbo 2013-02-12 18:33
Because, hiorta, obviously, in their opinion, there is no such thing as a Scottish soldier - every man was/is a native of the enlarged and renamed England, aka Great Britain.
# Corm 2013-02-12 18:32
Bit of devils advocate here, bear with me and my musings but:

The thing is, I have to pretty much agree with them. Now dont get me wrong it annoys me off but I still find I'm forced to agree.

In the same way England including Wales ceased to be at the same time (Scotland ceased, if you agree with that argument). Except the English refused to accept it (in some recorded cases, actively) and England and Britain shortly after became one and the same. Right up until the end of the "great" war it was common to refer to England and the English when meaning any part of the UK or her peoples and it was, from anecdotal evidence, accepted. Just as an aside and I am aware of how it is properly applied but bear with me in Scots law we have the old Verbal contract thing, I wonder how that would apply/see the whole "treaty of union" and all the changes over the years?

# ds12 2013-02-12 18:47
I can see your point corm.However its how we play this that matters. We scream this from the rooftops.While the unionists are quite relaxed to see Scotland disappear there will be many soft unionists and those in the don't know camp who won't be happy to hear that Scotland ceased to exist.
And by doing this it doesn't mean we are getting into the gutter with them.They have played the ball across an open goal and we can't just leave it.
# robbo 2013-02-12 19:57
You've gotta be careful with that approach though, it could go the other way for some. They may see the cause as cultist, only concerned about flag waving and national pride and not about day to day life and prosperity.
# Rabbie 2013-02-12 22:03
If Scotland ceased tae exist efter the 1707 Treaty o Union, whit pairt o England daes Scots Law apply tae the day?
# kenneth_clark336 2013-02-12 18:38
I am sure many of us suspect that the English power base of London never considered the union as an act between equal partners. We've experienced on so many levels how England=Britain. I've seen T shirts with Union flags with the word England. Had a conversation with a New York cabbie who surmised that Scotland must be the islands off the coast of England, and very crowded too no doubt! We laughed when I explained where the border is, and how the islands he mistook for Scotland are the Hebrides. I couldn't blame him, but it would seem he was right and I was wrong! At least this arrogant, London based conceit is in the open. No more pretence, or patronising words referring to shared history, or "better together". I asked a couple of unionist supporters last year. What exactly does London bring to the table? Their reply included Westminster and it's world renown, royalty, big banks, and the BBC!
# Corm 2013-02-12 18:49

Either-way at no point in time (to the best of my limited knowledge)have the people of Scotland said hey wait a mo you just broke the treaty we are away and we are done, instead we have went along with everything until we come to the stage we are at now.

Where, on the one hand we argue we are becoming indi of the UK but also confusingly that Scotland and England are in a mutual union and we have the right to leave whenever we like and end the union and finally that we have always been a sovereign state. Yet those are contradictory positions surely, we cant have it all ways so what is it? I personally fear that they have the right of it and I think the evidence tends to suggest the same.

Which also just gives us more fuel for our fires in my opinion and should be being shouted from the rooftops along with help help we are being oppressed.
# ButeHouse 2013-02-12 18:50
The NO Campaign will lose voters over this without question.

Worse still the core of their argument about Scotland benefiting from the union has been gravely damaged.

It also shines a bright light on England's true attitude to Scotland, namely a Vassal State to be used and abused like any other colonial defeated country while all the time maintaining the pretence of having Scotland as a valuable ally, we have been no better than a loyal slave.

But none of this could have been achieved without the connivance of their 'tame' Scots, bought and sold for English gold.

No wonder Labour and Tory Parties in Scotland are joining the Lib Dems in decline.

Every self respecting Scot should

VOTE YES in 2014
# .Scot 2013-02-12 18:52
This explains Loony Labours' rushed & failed attempts to change the name of Scotland to NORTH BRITAIN before Labour's core Scottish voters discovered their Westminster Union had covertly killed Scot's land by integrating it into the English state & renamed Scotland as NORTH ENGLAND away Back in 1707!

It appears that the Campaign to save the Union have gone from "Foot-in-mouth, to shooting both feet. I am not shedding a tear for campaigners who promised to deliver "irrefutable reasons to be united with London" and have done nothing but lie, snipe & carp from behind the refuge of Westminster privilege from prosecution for lying, abusing and insulting Scots.
# farrochie 2013-02-12 18:57
I make no apologies for re-posting Prof David Walker concise but authoritative view of the treat of union, its origins and implentation, and its misinterpretati on over the years, principally by Westminster.

Notable points:-
The treaty is a treaty in international law.
Acts of union were enacted separately by the Parliaments of Scotland and England.
Westminster appears to have no right to alter the treaty (though the Acts may be amended).

Well worth a read.
# Independista 2013-02-12 19:15
[Admin - We are aware of the article you link to and have no wish to promote it.]
# Mac 2013-02-12 19:22
How can Better Together claim that Scotland is a "partner" in the UK when unionists say that Scotland was "extinguished" in 1707?

It also undermines the unionist claim that you can both be British and Scottish. If you believe David Mundell then you can't.
# Jim Johnston 2013-02-12 19:38
So the BBC and MSM will no doubt now be ripping into this idiotic report that hasn't survived 24 hours of scrutiny then ?

Aye, Right
# Teri 2013-02-12 19:48
Whilst we try as best we can to get this out to the people of Scotland because it is difficult via the media because of their unionist bias, we are forgetting about the Scottish Diaspora and ex Pats, most of whom are proud of their Scottish Heritage. It is important that the fact Scotland does not exist is spread further than our own country. Make sure your Scots relatives abroad are aware of it and email any diaspora groups that exist in US, Canada, Australia and beyond. This way it will most certainly get reported in other countries.
# RTP 2013-02-12 19:48
Not long ago the BBC and MSM were hounding AS over his interview with AN over the YES word concerning legal advice,I now wonder if they will do the same to Mundell and will Lamont be going to condemn him,FMQs should be interesting this week I'm sure AS will be asking Ruthie if she is leader of the SCOTTISH Tories
# bringiton 2013-02-12 19:49
When is a United Kingdom not a united kingdom?
Answer...when it is a unitary state called England.
Currently,the Chinese are doing something very similar with Tibet by attempting to obliterate their cultural identity through violence.
In Scotland,this function is carried out by the London centric media who bombard us daily with stories about how we cannot survive without Westminster benevolence and that life would be unthinkable on our own.
The objective is the same in both cases,to subsume a minority culture into the greater state in order to satisfy the demands of a ruling elite.
# Jimbo 2013-02-12 20:16
Mundell: "The Act of Union isn't relevant..."

Since we're holding a referendum in 2014 to decide whether, or not, to dissolve the Act of Union, I'd say it was very relevant.
# willie boy 2013-02-12 21:17
Extinguish sounds like put out, destroy, eradicate and that is what is really meant with the choice of words.

Time to eradicate Westminster from our lives. Well, Yes!
# weegie38 2013-02-12 21:28
What party is David Mundell a member of, if Scotland doesn't exist?

The ..ish Conservative & Unionist Party.

Na, doesn't sound right. Needs a consonant at the start. Let's use P..
# Soloman 2013-02-12 21:39
As someone said to me earlier, we one the world cup in 1966 and then we beat ourselves in 1967........
# EphemeralDeception 2013-02-12 21:54
Regardless of the constitutional opinions the UK publication is a game changer.

Better Together has now become, by their own published position:
Never Together, Better Extinct.

Not an easy sell.
# breastplate 2013-02-13 12:30
"Never Together" I like that and that is what they should be called from now on. Well done.
# Bob Kingdom of Fife 2013-02-12 21:54
the posture and body language of this guy confirms to me that he cares not a jot about Scotland and like his fellow party member a certain george younger he will be found a very safe ' tory ' seat for ' services rendered ' anybody that is going to vote for this toxic tory even in ' the borders ' your havin a laugh , Alba Gu Brath.
# DJ 2013-02-12 21:55
Even the DR has an article about the boomerang from Professor Crawford. I won't link to it, but at least they reported it.
# fittie 2013-02-13 00:39
When Ruth or Johann at FMQ`s say Scotlandis a valued partner in the union ,Alex will tear them apart
# staypos+ve 2013-02-13 01:41
Robbo and Jimbo - I'm reminded that 98 years after the act of union a certain naval commander issued his famous ''England expects that every man will do his duty ''flag signal at Trafalgar. This also 50 years after the ''mutinous Scots do crush'' era following Culloden.

We were a colony then and still are ! Mundell and Moore ,Sarwar and Davidson Curran and Alexander and the other paid servants of England are draped in a colonial cloak unable and incapable of grasping the concept that Scotland as a colony has been heavily exploited since our independence was bought in 1707. The Scottish population will wake up when focus on events during WW1 will show how extensive England's exploitation of Scottish and other colonial troops
was . Interesting times to come!
# X_Sticks 2013-02-13 10:44
Good article in the English newspaper the Graduan: (well, some of the comments are good!)

"Nicola Sturgeon finds an unexpected ally despite attacking his analysis"

"One of the UK government's legal advisers has kicked the legs out from under its claims that an independent Scotland would face serious problems with EU membership, so why did the deputy first minister use such incendiary language to attack that advice?"
# Barbazenzero 2013-02-13 11:13
Well spotted.

I liked the the comment which suggested the referendum question should be:

"Should Scotland exist?"

Perhaps too late now but not a bad slogan for Yes campaign posters.
# farrochie 2013-02-13 13:31
Of course the Guardian and other MSM failed to quote NS "This is an act of breathtaking arrogance by the UK government", preferring to pitch it as an attack against the academics. However, the interview is there to be heard by all.
# BillCo 2013-02-13 11:52
I remember Andy Cameron interviewing some holiday makers in Ayrshire on his Sunday radio show a while back. He asked one of them where they were from. 'England', came the reply from the lady.

'Welcome to Britain', was Andy's quickfire reply. He was spot on.
# truth 2013-02-13 12:28
So the Unionists believe Scotland was extinguished and is not recognised on the international stage do they?

This is demonstrably false. Scotland has a football team and a rugby team and countless other sporting teams that have played in thousands of international fixtures with other countries.

If they didn't think Scotland existed, how did these fixtures come about?
# ramstam 2013-02-13 14:28
The so called expert opinion sought by the NO lot reveals the common perception in England that in 1707 England acquired Scotland and that only Scotland lost it's independence while the enlarged "England" continued as before to operate as a sovereign nation. Wales and Ireland were added to English control before and after 1707. When Scotland's "MP's" went to London after the "Union" they sat in the English Parliament. It wasn't they who were humiliated but their countrymen and women who had no say in their betrayal.
YES campaigners should drop the term "Union" an "Unionist" as this implies our country is in an agreed arrangement with England. The correct and accurate description is London-rule and London-rulers. The London-rulers wont like it, but it will clarify the position in the referendum.
# UpSpake 2013-02-13 16:39
If the Treaty of Union is not and no longer relevent then let the people rise up and declare it null and void. Declare Scotland independent of a Union that England no longer seems to recognise. The Scots Parliament could do it if it had the sphericals, failing that, the people could do it as they after all, are the sovereign power in Scotland.
# zorbathejock 2013-02-13 17:04
Well they can't try to tell us that the Scottish banks failed. Turns out they were English after all
# Caledonian Lass 2013-02-13 18:31
So that fount of wisdom 'Paddington' Mundell has told us "Scotland was extinguished in 1707": therefore it must be true - as if!

It's up to all of us who wish to see an independent Scotland to try to win over the don't knows by taking all the unionist myths apart and referring the undecided to the internet so that they can get a balanced view. Too many people believe the MSM and the papers but, once they see the extent to which they've been lied, they'll hopefully go from don't know to a resounding YES vote.
# proudscot 2013-02-13 18:34
I see Ian Davidson's Westminster Labour Party cohorts spat the dummy out the pram today and cancelled their own requested debate on the role of the Royal Mail in a "Separate Scotland", because they were told they couldn't use the "S" word in its title. Seems they're now congenitally unable to use the "I" word in its place, such is their blind hatred of the SNP and its pro-Scotland policies.

Grow up, Labour!
# Muz 2013-02-13 20:53
In light of the expert legal opinion published by the Westminster government, I believe the referendum question should be changed. Given the report's detail the question that all voters need to answer is simply:

"Should Scotland exist Yes/No"

A "No" vote will confirm the status quo and a "Yes" vote will result in change.

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