We know the No campaign is dead set against entering any discussions before the independence referendum, but we were so moved by Willie Rennie’s concern today about Scotland not having enough time to “negotiate over 14,000 international treaties“ in the 16 months between a Yes vote and the first elections to an independent Holyrood that we thought we’d help him out a bit with some advance work.
We did enquire of Mr Rennie as to where these “14,000 international treaties” could be found, but he was too busy helping poor people by fining them £80 a month to answer. Luckily, alert reader Angus McLellan was hot on the case, and swiftly directed us to a handy Foreign Office website featuring the magic number.
We’ve now had a brief skim through some of the UK’s historic agreements with other countries, and to save some time after 2014 we’ve knocked a few off the list.
We reckon it’s pretty safe to say this one can stay as it is.
Everyone in Scotland happy with the current boundary arrangements between Canada and Alaska? Grand.
Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Croatia on the participation of the Republic of Albania in the European Union military operation in the Republic of Chad and in the Central African Republic (Operation EUFOR Tchad/RCA) (26 September 2008)
Well, we’ll have been thrown out of the EU, so that’s none of our business, is it?
Does Greece even have a king any more? Seems not. Another one sorted!
Convention of Commerce and Navigation between Great Britain, on the one part, and Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, Wurtemburg, Baden, the Electorate of Hesse, the Grand Duchy of Hesse, the States forming the Customs and Commercial Union of Thuringia, Nassau, and Frankfort, on the other part (2 March 1841)
Okay, it could take a while just to get phone numbers for all of those.
Supplementary Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Egyptian Government for the Establishment of an International Commission to Supervise the Process of Self-Determination in the Sudan and Exchange of Notes Modifying the Anglo-Egyptian Agreement of the 12th of February, 1953 concerning Self-Government and Self-Determination for the Sudan [together with further Exchange of Notes] (3 December 1955)
Sudan seems to have fully self-determined now. We dodged a bullet there.
Exchange of Notes between His Majestys Government in the United Kingdom and the Belgian Government in regard to the Delimitation of the Boundary between Northern Rhodesia and the Belgian Congo (3 May 1927)
We don’t wish to be complacent, but our guess is that this one won’t need a lot of work done, what with neither “Northern Rhodesia” nor the “Belgian Congo” existing any more.
Commercial Agreement between the High Commissioner for South Africa and the Governor-General of Mozambique regulating the Commercial Relations between Swaziland, Basutoland and the Bechuanaland Protectorate and the Portuguese Colony of Mozambique (18 February 1930)
Sorry, the Bechuanaland Protectorate, you’re on your own now.
They’ve all got mobiles these days. They’ll be fine.
Fairly confident we’re still for the first two and against the last two. Next!
Decision [of Ambassadors’ Conference] constituting DANZIG a Free City (27 October 1920)
Probably best to forget about this one. Didn’t go well.
Treaty between Great Britain, Austria, Belgium, France, Hanover, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Oldenburg, Netherlands, Prussia, Russia, Sweden and Norway, and the Hanse Towns, on the one part, and Denmark, on the other part, for the Redemption of the Sound Dues (14 March 1857)
By a weird coincidence, Denmark rang us up the other day and said that they weren’t all that bothered about the redemption of Sound Dues from Mecklenburg-Schwerin, as they hadn’t a clue what either thing was. Phew!
Superseded by subsequent developments in private-sector heroin trading.
The Irish Free State is now Ireland, so we’re off the hook for that. Yay!
Exchange of Notes between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Khmer Republic concerning an Interest-free Loan towards the cost of the Prek Thnot Power and Irrigation Development Project (United Kingdom / Khmer Republic Power and Irrigation Development (Prek Thnot) Loan Agreement 1974) (27 December 1974)
The Khmer Republic isn’t a thing any more.
This one seems like a fait accompli.
Protocol between Great Britain, Germany and Spain, respecting the Sovereignty of Spain over the Sulu Archipelago (Renunciation by Spain of Claims to Sovereignty in Borneo; British North Borneo Company; &c.) (7 March 1885)
Admittedly this is still a pretty hot-button issue for most Scots. But we’re sure we’ll manage to work something out eventually.
Are we labouring this point at all? You get the idea, we presume. Willie Rennie’s claim of an independent Scotland having to “negotiate 14,000 international treaties” is, to be bluntly candid about it, big purple bollocks on toast. The vast majority of the UK’s “14,000” treaties are ancient dead history, and the notion that they constitute some sort of present-day logistical barrier to independence is a farcical absurdity.
If these are the depths to which the No camp’s arguments have sunk this early in the day, we might just order in some bunting now and beat the late-2014 rush.