ALEX SALMOND, the ex-leader of the Scottish National Party, has floated an interesting idea: could Scotland "inherit" Britain's EU membership, now that there has been a vote to leave? In the referendum Scotland turned out to be very pro-EU, whereas most of the rest of Britain leant towards Brexit. That has sparked calls for another Scottish independence referendum, which to many seem justified: why should Scotland be dragged out of Europe by England? It's probably fair to say that support for independence could now be the majority in Scotland. 

The BBC, which reported Mr Salmond's comments, explores the question he raises in a conventional manner. "If Scotland were to hold a second referendum, and become independent," they say, "it could apply to become a member of the EU in the usual way." In order for an independent Scotland to join, the other EU states would have to agree. 

However, as people who followed the 2014 Scottish independence referendum will remember, the process of Scotland going from independence to EU membership is extremely challenging. Countries like Spain, which are contending with their own separatist...Continue reading