Thursday, 29 September 2011

A Drop In The Ocean?

boundary pre 1999

post 1999

Captain Ranty has posted about a subject which constantly reminds me of how deceitful politicians can be. 

There is much talk about the current Scotland Bill, but I have yet to hear any reference, from the Scottish government, of the return of 6,000 miles of Scottish territorial waters which were secretly stolen by the Blair government. 

Labour's Henry McLeish was the man who quietly moved England North Sea fisheries boundary 60 miles north, giving away Scotland's legal rights to 6000 miles of prime fishing waters to England.  The carve-up was done under the guise of devolution and the appalling thing about this secret order is that it was not openly discussion in the Commons, although it was passed by the house of Lords then passed by a very select Labour and Liberal committee in the Scottish Office.

As well as some excellent links in Ranty's post, this one gives a good summary of the situation.

Why isn't the Scottish government publicly insisting these waters are returned to their rightful geographical position defined in 1237?  This is one fight with Westminster which probably could be easily won if the Scottish government demanded it. The amount of sea involved may not be large in the global sense, but as it involves prime fishing waters having 6000 miles of our waters stolen isn't a drop in any country's ocean - or in Scotland's case the North Sea.  

21 comments:

WitteringsfromWitney said...

Oh c'mon SR, you honestly expect politicians to be open about what they do? Is that not how carve-ups are done: secretly?

And not wishing to be seen as pouring oil on troubled fishing waters (geddit?) there was I thinking you were one canny Scots lass....... :(

subrosa said...

I geddit WfW.:) What I can't understand is why the Scots haven't been shouting loudly about it considering so many depend upon fishing for their livelihoods. Maybe they're aren't as many fish eaters up here as I thought :)

M said...

Its probably tactically better to have it as a running sore.

Woodsy42 said...

"aren't as many fish eaters up here as I thought"

I thought they had replaced fish with Mars bars :-)

Apogee said...

Hi SR, Can I suggest this was done because it suited their purposes,no one of any consequence would say anything, the ones of no consequence could be safely ignored, with a tame broadcasting and print media, no one would know about it, and the final point, they were the government and they could do it !!
Not a hell of a lot different to our (UK) relationship with the EUSSR.
If history tells us anything, you want something, like freedom for instance, you have to fight for it and take it. You will only be "given " it when you make it too damn uncomfortable and costly for those restraining you to continue to do so.The British Empire is a prime example.
So what in Scotland is worth so much to London that the story is about that we cost Mother England so much (their story) but they won't let us go,I certainly don't think its sentimentality? Any guesses out there?

cynicalHighlander said...

This is why SB we live in an Elective dictatorship yet due to the complacency of the general public we are stuck until Independence.

tris said...

It probably wouldn't stick in international law if our government contested it.

You can't just give away territory the way that they did. I doubt that they even had the legal right to do it.

JRB said...

I learn a little something every day – and not always pleasant.

Of this I knew nothing, their secretive, devious and underhand tactics certainly worked on this occasion.

I would be interest to hear/read what our present SNP government has to say on the mater. Sadly, I fear that they will have little to say.

tris said...

I think that our government will have a handle on this, JRB. But at present, I'm not sure that it makes any difference. Our oil money goes to England; our fisheries are overseen by Brussels, with a Scottish point of view being put, ineptly, by an English minister. What, at present, does it matter where the line is drawn in the sand... literally?

Would changing the maritime border make any difference to us? Would it create one more Scottish job? Would it open one business in Scotland?

That is the government's first priority at the moment.

I suspect that they know that maritime borders are actually set by international law, not by domestic parliaments.

In short Blair had no business asking for, or demanding, the change, and McLeish has no business granting it.

subrosa said...

Now now Woodsy, their a treat, just like your triple burgers down there. :)

subrosa said...

It probably is M, but it has to be kept to the forefront of Scottish consciousness,

subrosa said...

You can suggest Apogee and I agree.

subrosa said...

I'd forgotten this bit of it CH:

In the United Kingdom, ultimate legislative sovereignty resides in Parliament (Parliamentary sovereignty). Parliament may pass any legislation on any subject it wishes. Parliament operates without restraints such as, for instance, an obligation to legislate in accordance with fundamental constitutional rights.

subrosa said...

See my quote to CH Tris.

subrosa said...

Didn't you know about this JRB? It was a fishing family from the NE who mentioned it to me a few years ago as they'd had to reduce their fleet owing to the fishing grounds being so reduced.

subrosa said...

It does make a great deal of difference to the east coast's fishing fleet Tris and yes, it would create more jobs. No, that's incorrect. It would replace the jobs that were lost when this occurred.

As far as I can see McLeish proposed it but I could be wrong.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

They aren't "our" fishing waters any more, whoever "we" are; they're a European resource to be exploited by all - especially the French and Spanish, of course.

Since Fisheries policy is an EU competence there's probably nothing any British politician can do about it anyway.

And Salmond has no plans to change this.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

...and actually, in the United Kingdom, ultimate legislative sovereignty resides in Brussels.

Our local parliament(s) cannot do anything they want. They may not be constrained by our (unwritten) constitution - if they were, they could never have passed the Maastricht or Lisbon treaties - but they sure as hell are constrained by those treaties, by any and all EU regulations, and by the fact that large and increasing areas of governance and policy are now exclusive EU competencies.

And Salmond has no plans to change this.

tris said...

Why would it create jobs SR? The fishing quota given to the UK is given as a whole, not between Scotland and England surely, as the EU recognises only the UK, not England or Scotland. So it shouldn't make any difference whether the water is Scottish or English, either fleet could fish in it under the rules.

I'd be interested to see what one of the legal bloggers would say about the law. Of course parliament is sovereign in matters on internal land borders, counties and even countries, but the sea has different laws and countries can't go around expanding their boundaries willy nilly.

I don't KNOW any of this of course, and I could be entirely wrong, but what's to stop the Uk extending it's boundaries to 300 or 400 miles, if governments have the right to mess with waters unilaterally.

I hope I'm right because I'd like that smarmy bastard's sneaky trick to be blown out of the water. He never thought it would come to light because like the blinkered *****r he is, he never imagined anyone else in government in Scotland...

subrosa said...

Yes WY, that too had an impact on the Scottish fishing fleets. They no longer felt they could be held responsible for the care of the seas when so many other countries disregarded quota rules.

Are you saying the boundary move was an EU directive?

subrosa said...

Many jobs were lost in recent fishery policies Tris. Not so long ago we had strong Scottish fishing fleets but in recent years they have been decimated.

My information came from one such (small) fleet owner from the NE and it was he who mentioned the boundary change which was "bad for us here in Scotland".

I too would like to know what one of the legal bloggers say about it. If I recall, my fisherman acquaintance said they had protested loudly at the boundary change but were ignored. Of course the MSM aren't interested in small communities such as the fishing folk so it didn't make headlines.

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