Diary: 14,000 bogus reasons to stay in Union

Much as it would pain many of us living south of Gretna Green to see Scotland leave the UK, it really does not help the case for the union if the Government tries to undermine the SNP by talking bollocks.

That is what they did when Michael Moore, the Scottish Secretary, put out a statement last month claiming that an independent Scotland would have to renegotiate 14,000 treaties to which the UK is a party.

It is true that the Scots would have to do some serious negotiating. Recently, the Latvian Foreign Minister, Edgars Rinkevics, became the latest European leader to warn that an independent Scotland would have to apply for EU membership as a "new country". His views matter because it will be Latvia's turn to hold the EU presidency during the Scottish referendum.

But 14,000 treaties? That has prompted an avalanche of written questions to the Foreign Office from SNP politicians, inquiring about the status of some of the treaties on that long list. Has the FCO checked that the UK is discharging its obligations under the Declaration between Great Britain and Prussia relative to Commerce and Navigation between the Ionian Islands and the States of the Zollverein, for example? And have there been any recent breaches of the agreement between Great Britain and His Majesty King Leopold II, sovereign of the Independent State of the Congo, relating to their agreed spheres of interest in East and central Africa?

David Lidington, the Foreign Office minister, has been compelled to admit that "some of the 14,000 treaties are no longer in force". But then, on the other hand, thousands still are.

Who tried to love FT's Lucy?

Much interest yesterday in the identity of the journalist who once tried it on with the Financial Times columnist, Lucy Kellaway,.

At a time when we keep reading of "inappropriate" sexual advances, Ms Kellaway has branched out by calling her would-be seducer the "appropriate face of inappropriate conduct" because he asked politely and took no for an answer gracefully.

What we know about him, from the article, is that he was a fairly senior journalist on the Financial Times in 1985 and still has "considerable access" to the mass media, which narrows it down a bit.

Reforming MP should go home

Every time MPs end their day's work and the Commons chamber closes for business, two doorkeepers, one stationed behind the Speaker's chair and the other in the Members' lobby, cry out simultaneously: "Who goes home?"

This custom, inviting them to band together for protection, arises from when there was a real danger of MPs being mugged in the unlit fields between Westminster and the City.

David Winnick, one of Parliament's longest-serving MPs, has written to the Leader of the House, Andrew Lansley, suggesting that it be ended. Lansley fobbed him off by telling him to write to the chairman of the Procedure Committee, Charles Walker.

"I probably will, but I don't have much hope that anything will be done," Winnick tells me. "The chairman of the Procedure Committee is usually a rather conservative figure or if he's a moderniser, like the present chap, he takes the attitude 'why bother about something that is not causing any controversy?'"

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - HR Generalist / Sole in HR

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - HR Generalis...

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Banking - People Change - Lond...

HR Manager - Milton Keynes - £50,000 + package

£48000 - £50000 per annum + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Shared...

Project Manager (HR) - Halifax - Upto £365 p/day

£315 - £365 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment