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England to Leave the UK

104407523_333227cBreaking Up Britain was always too big a job for the Scots. It was always a job for the English writes Peter Arnott.

Well, now it’s happened. It starts off as a thought experiment. What if Scotland, with Northern Ireland and Gibraltar, and the Channel Islands, and all the other territorially distinct bits of the UK that voted to Remain in the EU REMAIN in the EU by the simple expedient of remaining in the UK, while England and Wales leave? What if England and Wales leave the UK on the same day they leave the EU, and the rest of us stay exactly where we are: in both?

Now, this is amusing enough, if only to imagine the columns that Simon Heffer and Alan Cochrane (inter alia) would write about it, straining every apoplectic muscle in their thundering “How dare you!”

But actually, no, think about it. Game it out, as they say. From the point of view of the EU, with whom a “successor relationship” with the UK will have to emerge, what would be actually wrong with forming a relationship with a successor state? With, as people have been pointing out, nothing more required than a couple of bottles of Tippex to alter all those treaties?

In the first place, such a new arrangement would respect the results of both referenda, in 2014 and 2016. Scotland voted to Remain in both the UK and the EU. If “we” become the successor state (in some arrangement or other) then both objectives are achieved. And England and Wales face the historical consequence that for Britain, EU membership was the successor to Empire as to how “we” kept our “place in the world.” To abandon the EU when you haven’t got an Empire any more is an act of deluded, senile self harm to which there is no reason why anyone who didn’t vote for it would want to be party.

Second, there were many people on the side of Yes in 2014 who campaigned not on the basis of Scottish Exceptionalism, but because we valued the inclusiveness of the idea of Britain as it existed, however tenuously, from 1945 until (pick an historical moment) the defeat of the miners – the enemy within – in 1985. Devolution in Scotland derives its entire purpose from self defense against the Tories and their vision of Britain as some kind of off-shore hellhole of cheap labour and gated privilege. Self defense flirted with self-determination from 2007 onward, I suppose, culminating in the 2014 vote…

But once again, recent developments go to show that Breaking Up Britain was always too big a job for the Scots. It was always a job for the English.

Well, now it’s happened. The Brexit vote has done it. We are not leaving the UK, we are being left. Why not make it official? And respect the democratic mandate of the people of England and Wales to leave the EU, as well as the vote in Scotland to remain in both.

“Well, now it’s happened. The Brexit vote has done it. We are not leaving the UK, we are being left. Why not make it official? And respect the democratic mandate of the people of England and Wales to leave the EU, as well as the vote in Scotland to remain in both.”

If the UK really is a partnership of equals, I can see no logical objection. If the UK is just “Greater England”…well, that’s something else again. Rather in the same way as Yugoslavia, despite Milosevic, turned out to be something other than Greater Serbia.

As for the objection that Scotland would be swapping a free trade relationship with the rUK for a free trade relationship with the EU, the rUK has been at pains recently to insist that it wants Free Trade as far as possible with the EU, and we’d be in the EU, so that would include us and our smoked salmon, wind power and single malts.

And all those companies in London – like banks and pension funds – for whom the EU relationship is vital, who have got already, a lot of them, branch offices in Edinburgh and Dublin, all they’re got to do is move their head offices (and their tax obligations) a wee bit to the North and West, and they’ll still get to speak English.

So that would take care of the “London” problem, a small shift in the admin and most of the jobs can stay in that great and exciting city, which will remain, as it must, an economic hub. Well, it’s either that or move the whole lot to Frankfurt and Paris.

Wales? That’s a bit sad. But democracy is democracy, and we are all about respecting the vote.

Now all this pipe dreaming really comes about because no less established and establishment) a boffin as Strathclyde Uni’s own, inimitable John Curtice, allowed himself to do some thinking aloud on this topic in the Sunday Herald. And I’ve been posting a bit about it on social media. (In fact, I got a tweet this morning from a chap called Gordon Innes pointing out that the “Scots/Irish successor state to the UK” in the EU could also take Britain’s seat on the UN security council. So we could! We’ve got the Nukes!)

But seriously for a moment, if maintaining Scotland’s place in the EU is the aim of our negotiators in the Brexit process, and minimum disruption is the aim of the EU negotiators…then mightn’t this idea have some legs? Might it even be slightly LESS crazy than London, Scotland, Northern Ireland and all the overseas and island territories being dragged out of Europe against their interests as well as their expressed democratic decision?

Maybe there’s more to this idea than mischief. We might not even need the Tippex.

Comments (60)

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  1. Domhnall says:

    Channel Islands are neither in the UK nor the EU, same as the Isle of Man.

    1. David says:

      I think they are a special, “respectable”, part of the Panama project for those who prefer to keep their tax avoidance as local as possible.

  2. Henry Hooper says:

    Sounds the perfect solution but for one thing…the national debt stays with the successor state does it not?, if not, then who and by which process?

    1. MBC says:

      Good point. But then so must the assets.

      1. c rober says:

        Central Bank anyone?

  3. Conrad Hughes says:

    With a bit of jumbling, acronyms: UK-EW and UK-ICINGS. Ho ho.

  4. bringiton says:

    Might fly if you weren’t dealing with a bunch of imperialistic
    xenophobic ego maniacs in London.
    The chances of them going for this are zero.
    Rule Britannia.

  5. Richard MacKinnon says:

    Before Peter Arnott invites us to ‘game out’ his fantasy scenario he should be aware of the ‘unspeakable truth’ behind the hidden door. Peter and the last of the tired old rufusenik Yes supporters need to realise; the EU project is dead.

    1. DaveM says:

      Is it? Doesn’t seem that way.

      1. Richard MacKinnon says:

        Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy are near to or are bankrupt. Under 25 unemployment in these countries is 50%.
        A recent tax deal conjured up between a small EU member, Ireland (a country that has received subsidy from EU since joining) and Apple Corp is a contravention of EU tax rules. When EU commission insist Apple pays Ireland 12Billion euros in retrospective tax the Irish Government refuse to accept the windfall. Need I go on?

        1. Richard MacKinnon says:

          I forgot to mention, the UK with 80 million population has just voted Leave.
          Seems that way to me.

          1. Doug Clark says:

            Actually just under 65M!

        2. interpolar says:

          And yet, for all the travails of Europe, the Pound has dropped to a record low against the Euro. The markets for all they’re worth do not seem to side with your bleak perception of Europe’s future.

          1. Richard MacKinnon says:

            I admit my view of the EU and my pessimism for its future are at this time overstated, but I can see signs of stress in the structure (UK leaving), an inability to demand member states comply with EU Corporation Tax rules (Ireland/Apple) and basic yet massive long running issues that have never been addressed and with no obvious solutions such as immigration and chronic high levels of youth unemployment in many EU countries.

  6. Redgauntlet says:

    Peter, here’s hoping – in fact, desperate times, desperate measures – praying that this could actually happen.

    But I fear England / Westminster / Mayhem are going to fight tooth and nail for Scotland to remain in the 1707 Union. They have never needed “Britain to be great again” more than they do now, and to lose Scotland will smack of defeat and require TWO sets of negotiations, in the event, with London Civil Servants already unable to cope with Brexit. And then, there’s the nuclear subs…

    They will try to stall us and put us off and offer some crumbs, but in the post Brexit world, they need Scotland much more now than they did on 18S. Think: the hardcore Brexit gang believe that Britain is like Australia or America or Europe itself: a whole continent! They won’t handle losing any more “pink bits on the map”….

    It’s English nationalism on steroids, wrapped in a Union Jack…Brexit is insane, it’s irrational, it does not stand up to any serious scrutiny…post imperial delusions of grandeur and yes, the politics of senile dementia. But they believe it!

    “One has ideas, but one lives in one’s beliefs” said the Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset, and these guys have been living in their beliefs since at least Thatcher.

    They ain’t going to let Scotland and NI go, because we form part of Greater England in their minds, a kind of “exotic and romantic” bit of England where you go hunting and/or find yourself in the wilderness…

    And they also believe that they are immune to the kind of soft fascism we can see emerging in England. The English Brexiteers – and plenty Remainers – believe in “essentialism”, a set of natural genetically inherited attributes which the English/British have – tolerance, fair play, work ethic etc…

    Fascism 2.0 can’t happen in England they cry! But of course the Germans didn’t think it could happen there either!!! The Weimar Republic, along with Paris and New York, was the most creative and cultural place on earth in the 1920’s…Hitler was unthinkable back then, and so was Brexit twenty years ago!

    On the other hand, with the EU behind us, and a cross party Scottish convention on indie Scotland in Europe, it may be our best chance….a REMAIN campaign – EU/rUK- which spans the whole spectrum of Scottish politics…

    PS: Don’t wait for the SNP to lead it.

    1. Richard MacKinnon says:

      Stop fantasising. It is a waste of your time. If you have to indulge yourself in political science fiction at least make it believable. Accept the reality of the here and now; Scotland voted to remain in the UK in 2014 and the UK voted to leave the EU two years later.

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        Why don’t you accept the reality that Scotland voted to remain in the EU, the single biggest and richest trading block in the world, and that we’re not going to hand over our wallets to a bunch of fanatical little Englanders with no plan, and who care nothing for the well being of anybody or anything except there own sordid little post imperial fantasies….

        You get it into your head Richard MacKinnon, that we’re not going to accept full English Brexit in Scotland or Scotland being taken out the single market. End of story!!!

        1. Crubag says:

          You might have to define “we.”

          The SNP at least has accepted in principle being outside the EU.

          Their reservations, and hence basis for calling an indy2 at this stage, hinge on “access to the single market” (which could mean almost anything) not on EU membership.

          1. Justin Kenrick says:

            The ‘We’ who are likely to vote Yes to independence in order to Remain in the EU is self evidently getting larger and larger. Change is evident in the key opinion formers shifting their positions, something only later evident in the pols, as we saw during the huge shift to Yes in the first IndyRef.

            Here is an interesting recent comment by Conservative and Unionist Hugo Young in the Spectator:

            “People who argue that Scotland also voted to stay in the UK, and so should lump it, miss that point, probably on purpose. Every aspect of Scotland’s settlement with the wider UK, from devolution to the Barnett formula, accepts that the effect of straightforward majority UK rule needs to be mitigated for the Union to survive.”

  7. Crubag says:

    The appeal of the EU is being overestimated here – but not I think by the SNP. Hence the chance is slipping away to hold indy2 before Brexit concludes.

    Curtice’s suggestion was that IF indy2 happened in that timeframe, then Scotland could keep the UK’s place.

    That isn’t meaningful as it would still require the other 27 member states to amend the treaties and for Scotland to meet the accession requirements, including having a central bank and currency.

    The EU instutions are so unpopular in Scotland that the issue would have to be detatched from indy and the subject of a second referendum for indy to be winnable.

    1. MBC says:

      No, you’re wrong Crubag. Nicola Sturgeon consulted EU leaders after the vote and the reply she got was that if we voted for independence before UK left the EU they would regard us as never having actually left. So there would be no need for entry.

      1. Crubag says:

        No I’ve not seen that anywhere.

        Sturgeon had tea with Schulz and left thinking one thing, followed by Mundell doing the same. The only thing I’d conclude from that is that Schulz is an effective politician.

        I’ve not seen one EU or member state leader saying that if Scotland ran indy2, got a Yes, and then set up a state with all the neccesary apparatus (central bank etc) that it wouldn’t still have to apply for membership.

        I think we’d get it very quickly if we did apply, but would need to be a state first.

  8. William Ross says:

    I thought Peter Arnott`s piece was eccentric until I read Redgauntlet`s follow-up. I find Redgauntlet very amusing actually.

    “Brexit is insane, its irrational, it does not stand up to any serious scrutiny… senile dementia!”

    The UK has just voted to be an independent sovereign country of the type Canada is. It is hard to comment further really.

    He falls back on his reality ” that Scotland voted to remain in the EU..” Actually Scotland voted for the
    UK to remain in the EU. To try to rely on the 62 percent as some kind of nationalist reservoir of support is delusional. Around 40 percent of all Yessers voted Leave.

    1. DaveM says:

      To state that “Scotland voted for the UK to remain in the EU” is to assume that everyone who voted to remain was thinking the same thing in the polling booth, but this is a simplistic and reductionist argument which flies in the face of reason. The truth is that different people will have had different reasons for voting in the way. I voted to remain because I wanted to retain my EU citizenship and for Scotland to remain in the EU. The status of the UK was my third priority, since I oppose the existence of the UK.

      You also state that the UK voted to become a sovereign, independent country of the type that Canada is. This is also untrue. Canada was once governed from London. The UK (already a sovereign unitary state, not a country) has never been governed from anywhere else EXCEPT London. True, much of England and Wales was once governed from Rome, but that was a couple of thousand years ago. You could extend your argument further and insist that the UK can only be truly independent if it also removes itself from the United Nations, but I suspect you know that that would be very silly.

      1. Crubag says:

        I’d agree there are many reasons for the yes and no votes on EU membership – and that is why it would need a separate referendum to avoid those spilling ovet into an indy referendum – they could be held concurrently though.

    2. Domhnall says:

      and a lot of No voters voted remain. I have been at a number of business events recently where the general theme from both speakers and audience members has been “we’ve been betrayed, independence now looks the least risky option”. Indeed one No voter I know who was raised an Ulster unionist is now convinced that we need to ditch the English and their policy of splendid isolationism .

  9. Richard MacKinnon says:

    Your difficulty is, the EU is a paper tiger (something that seems impressive but is ineffectual and unable to withstand challenge).
    I understand why you find this unpalatable to accept, being that it was Brexit that hammered home the final nail, but that is the reality of the situation. Since 2014 the world has changed. Move on.

  10. Redgauntlet says:

    The existence of the European Union coincides with and accounts for the most prosperous and peaceful half century in the history of Europe!!!

    The EU was established to end “beggar thy neighbor” economics between European countries and the fratricidal politics which go with it, something which had immersed Europe in bloodshed for centuries!!! 100 Europeans died in the two World Wars which started in Europe!!!

    What did you guys study at school? The Bible I guess, but no European history, that’s obvious….

    You people, William Ross and Richard MacKinnon, are just a pair of mugs who believe the tabloids!!! Don’t worry, you can always move to England!!!

    1. Richard MacKinnon says:

      I like you voted to Remain but the difference between us is, I accept the result. It is a democratic principle that when you participate in the process by casting your vote you accept the result.

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        What “democratic principle” are you talking about Richard MacKinnon, in a country with the most biased, base and perverse press in the world, and a leave campaign fueled by LIES, LIES AND MORE LIES? Hitler came to power by the ballot box!

        The British people were LIED TO by a bunch of xenophobe careerists who wanted to further their own careers, starting with Theresa Mayhem, Boris Johnson and all of their ilk….

        Not only that, but British citizens living outside the UK were denied a vote, and so were EU citizens living in the UK.

        You can base the franchise on nationality or you can base it on residency…YOU CANNOT HAVE A BIT OF BOTH…the franchise was rigged to favour Leave…and the campaign was distorted by outright propaganda…

        The referendum result is irrelevant in comparison to the catastrophic effects Brexit will have for the Scottish economy and the poor and vulnerable in Scottish society, not to mention the demoralizing effects on our European friends who have made Scotland their home.

        You keep your principles. I do not accept Brexit in Scotland, period, I will fight it tooth and nail….and if the Scots end up accepting it, I will hand in my British passport – a document of shame these days – and become a citizen of the European country I am currently resident in…

    2. piecelover says:

      The European Union was founded in 1993 – the phenomena it co-incides with are financial and climate chaos.

  11. Mike Lothian says:

    But would they take their share of the debt? As discussed during IndyRef, we were only moraly obliged to take our share with us – not legally

    1. MBC says:

      Gordon Macintyre Kemp was arguing in Business for Scotland that it was ‘Westminster’s debt’ so would remain with England and Wales in the event of Scotland (with NI) being recognised internationally as ‘rUK’, in the scenario Peter presents above where England and Wales simply leaves the UK, leaving the rest of us as ‘rUK’.

      I have my doubts about that! I think we would need to assume at least a population share. I have argued that if Scotland (or England) were to ‘separate’ there would be TWO successor states, not one.

      However, if Scotland left the UK before England & Wales left the EU, and is recognised as simply Scotland, and not as ‘rUK’ then I don’t see the debt burden issue arises. And if the EU further recognises Scotland as never having actually left the EU, as Martin Schultz and Verhofstadt have indicated they would, then that’s the best of all worlds.

      We are simply in uncharted territory.

  12. William Ross says:

    Redgauntlet, you observe that the existence of the EU ” coincides with and accounts for ” an extraordinarily peaceful and prosperous time in European history. I agree with the word ” coincides” but not ” accounts”. Europe is at peace today because German militarism was destroyed by the Allies, Western Europe was ( and is) protected by NATO, the collapse of Communism and the growth of capitalism. Democracies do not attack one another. The EU is merely the failing fruit of the great victory of 1945.

    The EU is there to end beggar thy neighbour? Redgauntlet, you should examine the state of Portugal, Spain, Greece and Italy. Austerity?

    I did indeed study the Bible ( and continue to do so) but I am fascinated by European history. I am constantly reading it. I am also an addict of the History Channel. Can I suggest that you read Roger Bootle`s ” The Trouble with Europe”.
    The only tabloid which I read is The National, and for balance I also read the Daily Telegraph.

    DaveM: I did not get your point about Canada. It does not matter where Canada`s current sovereign state derives from. The fact is that it is sovereign, controls its borders, issues its own currency and is not part of any other sovereign entity.

    1. Redgauntlet says:

      William Ross is a Daily Telegraph reader…
      …I rest my case….

  13. William Ross says:

    Very amusing Redgauntlet! But I read the National first! We have to be open-minded……

    1. Redgauntlet says:

      William Ross, as a matter of interest, if faced with the choice of voting for indie Scotland in the EU, or a United Kingdom out of the EU, which would you choose?

      Which is more important to you? Getting out of the Union of 1707, or getting out of the EU?

  14. John B Dick says:

    Just one snag,

    One Trident missile on London would wipe out all our enemies, but I don’t think NS would be believed if she said she was willing to press the nuclear button, so it wouldn’t be a credible deterrent.

  15. William Ross says:

    You ask a good question Redgauntlet. Let many Leavers, I agonise over it. I have supported the SNP since 1967. I doubt that you can really have an “Indie” Scotland in the EU, especially where the EU is going if it is to survive.

    My honest answer is that I would decide in the booth. It would really be a choice between two unions.

    I know that is not a satisfying answer.

    1. Redgauntlet says:

      Poor William Ross, caught in something of a bind in that case…

  16. MBC says:

    It’s so exciting to see all the Yoons back on this forum, wetting their pants in such droves.

  17. Alan says:

    Also see Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp’s post on Business for Scotland: Could England decide to leave the UK?

  18. Andy W says:

    This has a slight chance of happening; I blogged about it just after the referendum. For it to happen you obviously need the support of the English and Welsh. My article identifies the numerous benefits of English/Welsh independence for ALL the nations of the UK

    see http://voters.mean.us.com/independence/give-the-english-and-welsh-a-referendum-on-leaving-uk/

    I am setting up a .gov petition “Give the English & Welsh a referendum on leaving UK before decision to invoke Article 50” and will post a link here shortly.

    1. c rober says:

      Ive been saying let the Uk decide on whether it should be the UK since sept 2014 , but I must say that since Brexit , and the vitriol of the typical keyboard gangster on sites like the Daily Heil during and since indy , that I have since realised it is more of a chance of happening than through the SNP.

      Why a Uk union for Scotland , or an EU one at all , why not a commonwealth of Nordic states? Thus keeping economic levers and currencies within their own borders ? And of course opening up larger trade deals to prevent biased tarrifs through it.

      Much is said about Japans trade deals , Koreas , but one really needs to look a little closer to see that their one with America is like that of the Act of union on Scotland – Things like jobs being sent to assemble in America , tarrifs , RICE a very big biased trade deal against Japan. Hell even China was FORCED to buy up American debt – then comes Trump and his like to say that they shouldnt be holding it. Then we have TTIP , which is both on and off again.

      It took 7 years for Canada to get a trade deal – so what for the Uk , can it take 7 years? Can it suffer the old ways of French blockades , on things like food and veg or even cars from Europe that pass through it to the UK , or even from the UK in reverse?

      Theres reasons why their is squeaky bums from the unelected that rule us , they have lost control of the good ship England.

    2. John B Dick says:

      You can get text to recycle from the Daily Mail re Scottish subsidy junkies, Barnett etc. Brexiteers and Kippers will sign up in their thousands.

  19. robert graham says:

    I agree with the idea of the post , A simpler way would be propose indy ref2 with the added incentive of giving the rest of britain a vote , judging by the comments on foreigners in some of the media down south we would be guaranteed to be out of this union by christmas , and i believe they would help with the flitting .

  20. Will Star says:

    Let’s face it the Westminster imperial masters have outsmarted Scotland again. Look back from the Highland Clearances to the Poll Tax, oil rights, maritime borders, Trident, Tories-Ukip and Indy#1 & Brexit lies. This is up to the Scots to say enough is enough and earn your sporran. A bit of confidence in ourselves is what’s needed, the time has come to settle this once and for all no matter what your political leanings. This is not about money this is about, identity, culture, history, having a say in our own lives and communities and standing proud with our global friends as an independent and fair nation. Rejects the games, lies and intimidation from Westminster. Indy#2

    1. Redgauntlet says:

      Well said, I totally agree.

      Enough is enough…if things carry on like this, we should think seriously about declaring UDI…The very same day Mayhem triggers Article 51… why not? There is already a democratic mandate for it: 62% voted to remain in the EU.

    2. John B Dick says:

      Getting our country back and making Scotland great again, is that what you mean?

      1. Will Star says:

        Independence is what I mean, as to making Scotland great, that will be up to people and politicians when independence is secured.

  21. Thrawn says:

    Scotland voted to stay in UK
    UK voted to leave the EU
    If Scotland doesn’t like that it can vote again to leave the UK.

    Its not rocket science…trying to create convoluted scenarios to subvert 2 clear referendum results in order to allow Scotland to have its cake and eat it is perverse

    1. peterarnott says:

      But in this scenario, Scotland stays in the UK..and the EU…both of which Scotland voted for.

      1. Crubag says:

        It still required at least one further referendum, the indy2.

        And for indy2 to be winnable, probanly another on EU membership.

        But the moment is slipping away. True believers in the EU may look back on this as Sturgeon’s Gordon Brown moment, frittering away the opportunity to go to the people as the clock counts down.

        But I think her advisors are reading the polling tea leaves and concluding that the EU just isn’t that appealing.

        (And I expect it will become less appealing over time. An indy Scotland can make moves outside the EU that rUK is just too big to pull off).

      2. Thrawn says:

        Scotland didn’t vote to stay or leave the EU…the UK did

        The majority of Scottish people may not like the fact that their votes in that referendum were outnumbered by the majority of everyone else in the UK (and I can sympathise with that) but that is what happens sometimes in a democracy…we need to deal with it or leave

        1. Willie says:

          Ach Thrawn, Scotland doesn’t vote for anything. Just look at how effective the Feeble Fifty ( six ) are. We’ll be chattering in years to come, and just look how this journal used to promote Rise.

  22. Edward Andrews says:

    For at least 10 years I have been arguing that Scotland will get out of the UK when the people of England decide that they want rid of us. I am beginning to too light at the end of the tunnel. Please England be real again and get back to your borders at the time of Queen Elizabeth 1.

  23. speed the day says:

    I’m Scottish and by definition anti English, history demands it.
    So just where do I contribute to ensure the English achieve being on their own? how much is required to accelerate the process?

  24. Willie says:

    Ach maybe we’ll just have a good going war in which the Faslane and Coulport nuclear arsenals will be hit. That’ll stop us chattering classes chattering.

  25. Will Star says:

    Referendums and plebiscites are non-binding tools in the democracy box that can help MPs decide a simple matter or test the understanding of more complex matters, prodiding that,

    1. Participation is either compulsory or the rate is high
    2. Participants are well informed and are given factual information to work with
    3. People that will be affected by it also get a say (e.g. young people, dual nationals)
    4. The question is clear and fair
    5. The issue is a simple one (not like untangling 47 years of complex legislation, multiple issues being voted on from immigration to science funding and holiday homes to roaming tariffs then of course the fantasy of hard and soft Brexit scenarios all done behind closed doors).

    The referendum was a huge mistake because it was to big and complex to narrow to one question. The English Tory and Labour parties were also imploding over losing votes to UKIP and not getting a grip on non-EU immigration due to decades of cuts to public services.

  26. Jim Scott says:

    Although the 1st reader’s response highlighted that neither the CIs nor the IoM are part of the current UK, nobody till now appears to have clocked that “neither is Gibraltar.” Though it is currently in the EU; cf various French colonies, although I dare say that Valery Giscard d’Estaing would bridle at such a blunt description,

    As for the substantive issues. I for one find it hard to take seriously an author so egregiously ignorant of the component elements of the political entity which he purports to analyse.

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