News from the not-very-United Kingdom these days is that the Scottish National Party, now in full control of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, plans to press ahead for a referendum on full independence for the land of Burns. Rejecting the idea that fiscal independence would be enough, SNP head and Scots first minister Alex Salmond told his cheering party conference that independence in foreign policy was a key party goal: “[E]ven with economic powers Trident nuclear missiles would still be on the River Clyde, […]we could still be forced to spill blood in “illegal wars” such as Iraq, and still be excluded from the councils of Europe and the world.” (From the invaluable, if pay wall protected, Financial Times.)In other words, it’s the whole thing the Scots want, and this raises a question: if the UK breaks up, can little England (even if Northern Ireland and Wales stay loyal) hold on to one of only five permanent seats on the UN Security Council? Legally a case can be made that England would be the successor state to the UK, and could therefore hold on to the seat, but one wonders whether countries like India and Japan could accept a system in which the English rump of the UK would continue to hold a veto-wielding seat denied to them?Scottish secession would have other implications. For one thing, the Tory Party would be hard to beat if the Scots leave Westminster. In the 2010 general election, the Conservatives won 297 seats in England, with 191 for Labor and 43 for the Liberal Democrats. In Scotland, Labor won 41 and the Tories got only one seat. (The Lib Dems got 11 and the Scottish Nationalists came in with 6.)England without Scotland might also consider leaving the EU. The Scots are traditionally more pro-European than the English, and the euro crisis has made the EU less popular than ever south of the border. A smaller England would have less influence in the EU, strengthening the anti-EU case among many English voters. Take the English out, and the EU itself is less stable: much as the French dislike the English (and vice versa), the French these days would not welcome anything that reduced their ability to find EU allies to help balance the Germans. Franco-German cooperation probably gets harder in an EU without the UK.The future of Northern Ireland would also be up for grabs. The last British election delivered a shock: for the first time since Ireland was partitioned back in 1922, the pro-union (with Britain) parties failed to get a majority among Northern Ireland’s representatives in the British Parliament. Eight seats went to nationalist (pro-Irish) parties and eight went to unionists. The Catholic population in Northern Ireland continues to rise; it’s likely that the secession of Scotland would reopen the discussion over the future of Northern Ireland sooner rather than later.The Welsh are taking this all pretty calmly; at present there are only three MPs from Plaid Cymru, the Welsh nationalist party and overall the nationalists got only 11 percent of the vote in the last general election. However, Wales like Scotland is heavily Labor; it’s not clear how the Welsh would feel long term about a union with Europhobic, Tory England.The Scots will do as they please, but it’s hard for a friendly foreigner not to hope the Union holds up. The US doesn’t have such a surplus of allies that we welcome the sight of one crumbling.