Independence -Whitehall mandarins, Unionist politicians and their luddite supporters will tell you it will be a long and torturous process over many years – but Czechoslovakia was split up within six months in 1992, why should the process of establishing an independent Scotland be such a hardship?


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Establishing an Independent Scotland

Whitehall mandarins, Unionist politicians and their Luddite supporters will tell you it will be a long and torturous process over many years and it must be this way because the relationship Scotland has with the rest of the UK is too complex to untangle in a shorter period.

But if Czechoslovakia could be split up in six months in 1992, why should the process of establishing an independent Scotland be such a hardship?

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The Velvet Revolution

World War I lasted four years, World War II lasted six. So is it easier to conquer then lose an entire continent than to separate two jurisdictions peacefully?

Czechoslovakia, not only transformed from a socialist republic and a Soviet satellite to liberal democracy, but it also successfully split peacefully into two nations.

The pivotal elections that took place in 1992 saw an even split of voters in both of the constituent parts of Czechoslovakia. Tension arose and the leaders of both constituent regions agreed the federation should be split. An agreement was signed on 26th August 1992.

By 13th November 1992, a law had been enacted as to how the federal assets were going to be divided and twelve days later, an act was passed that set the dissolution date on 31st December 1992.

Complex matters such as the continuity of government, continuity of laws, arrangements for courts and so on were all swiftly determined by December 1992.

A new Czech Constitution was passed on 16th December 1992.

Czechoslovakia was dissolved at midnight on 31 December 1992. 

When the people woke up on 01 January 1993, they had new nationalities.

Within a mere six months, a comprehensive settlement had been agreed and activated.

Immobile assets were distributed to the country where they sat, mobile assets and assets abroad were distributed according to the rough population ratio

Amendments to international treaties signed by Czechoslovakia were negotiated and signed very quickly by both new republics, confirming the continuation of such treaties.

In 1996, the two countries signed a protocol specifying the distribution of duties enshrined by treaties signed as Czechoslovakia.

All of this happened whilst Czechoslovakia and its constituent countries were undergoing a massive economic transformation.

Czechoslovakia was privatizing on an unprecedented scale and at an unprecedented pace.

In a way, it was like Brexit and the UK’s 1980s privatizations combined, only a lot more complicated.

Whereas the 1980s UK privatized two companies a year, the early 1990s Czechoslovakia privatized two companies an hour.

Taken together, these companies’ accounting value was a big share of GDP. The voucher privatization alone (there were other methods of privatization) privatized companies worth one-third of Czechoslovak GDP.

And let us not forget the fact that Czechoslovakia was also a currency union.

The original idea was that the currency would continue after the separation, but the Czechoslovak koruna outlived Czechoslovakia by a mere six weeks.

All of this was taking place at the exact same time the republics were being separated. Where there is a will, there is a way.


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Two things made this possible:

The leaders’ insistence that it must happen fast before organized business interests and/or government could mount a successful defence of the status quo.

Then the fact that the two newly-created governments, for all the tension between them, successfully worked together to apply current or previous arrangements in good faith.

Wherever questions or differences arose, they sought an amicable solution where none of the parties would score a win for their side but rather one where future cooperation would be maintained.

Nobody was proposing divorce bills or ridiculous notions of planes not flying, trucks stuck at the border, licenses not being recognized, or one country continuing to have jurisdiction over the other for the next 100 years.

Time and good faith were of the essence.

If Czechs and Slovaks were able to separate in six months, surely Westminster and Holyrood can find a way to extract one the other in a similar time period?

Credit this article (paraphrased a wee bit here and there)  to Martin Pánek, Director of the Prague-based Liberal Institute.


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6 thoughts on “Independence -Whitehall mandarins, Unionist politicians and their luddite supporters will tell you it will be a long and torturous process over many years – but Czechoslovakia was split up within six months in 1992, why should the process of establishing an independent Scotland be such a hardship?

  1. No it isn’t hard to understand at all. Quite the opposite. If Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium & Austria have for decades all been far wealthier than the uk (see link -GDP per Capita PPP), then why wouldn’t an independent Scotland also become as wealthy as they are?The answer is clear to anyone with an objective mind – it would become as wealthy as it’s northern European neighbours.

    It is clearly being in the uk that is holding Scotland back and making it poorer than it would be if it, like all of the above nations, was independent and not subject to the uk’s determination to continue living in the past. See how the uk compares for R&D expenditure per capita against other nations (also viewable in link) for evidence of that.

    The site uses sources such as the World Bank and the UN.

    It’s pathetic that all the UK has as it desperately tries to hold onto Scotland are tired economic lies (McCrone hidden for 30 years, a gers report that has no bearing for an independent Scotland and where over a third of gers spending is currently controlled by the UK government). The UK has no positive argument for Scotland remaining in the UK. That says it all.

    Maybe the bigger question is, why is it that of the four parts of the UK, that it is only England that doesn’t have any push to become independent?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. well presented arguments in support of independence. The problem for Scots is one of “conditioning”. English politicians consider Scotland to be their property to buy and sell together with its population as they see fit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks. I wasn’t sure about posting my response since the blog was about how quickly independence could be achieved when both party’s are willing to do so. But since a unionist jumped straight in and off topic, only highlights that the UK is still in denial over an economic reality for Scotland and I thought that deserved to be highlighted. All the economic information suggest that it is England in particular that would suffer serious economic consequences if it became independent. Scotland has a healthy positive balance of trade, while England has a very serious negative balance of trade, something that has a very big impact on the strength (or weakness) of any currency.,%20%20-14.0%20%201%20more%20rows%20

        So who’s too poor to become independent?

        As for the blogs subject and the matter of a timeline for Scotland negotiating independence, sadly if Brexit is anything to go by, the ‘UK’ would not act in good faith. So be it. Forewarned is forearmed.


      2. Thank you. I expect you might be proved right and the Unionist Party’s might not be ready partners when the independence is firmly on the agenda. Scotland might need to seek the stewardship of the UN and very possibly the Commonwealth nations


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