If you spend any time at all on Facebook you will see the same request again and again and again. “Give me one good reason to stay in the union.” One of the regular Better Together posters made up a list of 29 reasons to stay in the union. This list has since been expanded upon. it is a lengthy list so we will split it into three. You never know, by the end of the week we may even have a 30th reason.
Positive Reasons for staying in the United Kingdom
1: Defence – by HM Armed Forces here and overseas. HM Armed Forces have a total of 251,240 personnel. That means that if all British armed forces came to Scotland and set up a camp, it would constitute Scotland’s third largest city. The UK has an army bigger than the population of Aberdeen and bigger than the population of Dundee and Paisley combined. At present it is not certain what our defence force will be. The White paper makes certain claims about how large a share of UK defence budgets we will be entitled to, but Prof. Tomkins of the University of Glasgow explains the legal situation
“On defence assets, the white paper states baldly that “we will inherit a share of existing UK defence assets” (p. 234). While the white paper acknowledges that the matter will have to be negotiated, it suggests that Scotland’s share could be calculated based on population, giving it a share of assets worth £7.8 billion (ibid). As we have seen, however, such a crude calculation overlooks the complexity of the fact that that which is integral to the defence and security of the UK as a whole might not fall to be apportioned with an independent Scotland at all. Working out what an independent Scotland’s share of the UK’s defence infrastructure would be is a more complex matter than simply dividing the UK total by Scotland’s population share and, moreover, is likely to result in Scotland’s share being markedly less than is assumed in the white paper.” http://notesfromnorthbritain.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/the-hidden-costs-of-independence/
2. Defence – by the UK’s intelligence services: Scotland has already suffered one serious terrorist attack, at Glasgow Airport in 2007. The UK intelligence services are in the forefront of the international fight against such terrorism, in overseas intelligence gathering (MI6), domestic surveillance (MI5) and communications intelligence (GCHQ). Scotland also has very vulnerable offshore assets in the shape of its oil wells, currently guarded by the Royal Navy and with perpetual emergency forces on standby (the Special Boat Service). The SNP would have us abandon the protection of the British armed forces and intelligence services. Mr Salmond thinks that a declaration that “we will be the friendly neighbours of the world” will be enough to make our enemies think twice. I know who I’d rather rely on.
3. Guaranteed continued use of Sterling. – A separated Scotland really only has 4 currency options. Plan A is to beg the UK to underwrite the Scottish economy via the Bank of England, letting us keep using the pound more or less as we do now, at the price of becoming a Crown Dependency. Plan B is to use the pound unofficially. This gives Scotland the advantage of trading in hard currency but without a central bank it means that the next economic shock could break us. This kind of unofficial currency arrangement is used by Panama, Zimbabwe and Kosovo. Does Scotland really want to join that club?
Plan C is to use the Euro. Again this could be official or unofficial. Doing it officially will have to wait though, as Scotland first needs to jump through whatever hoops the EU set it to achieve membership. Plan D is Scotland’s own currency, the “millstone” (borrowing a word that Mr Salmond
once used to describe the pound, a currency he is now apparently so desperate to keep). The millstone is likely to be in for a rocky ride, causing unpredictable price hikes and interest rate fluctuations. Nobody is really going to want that. The best currency situation is found in full union with the UK.
4. International representation. – The separatists propose to have 70 or so embassies around the world, as opposed to the 270 that the UK has. What is their reply to those who quite reasonably ask how Scottish citizens abroad will fare with far fewer embassies to access? Quite simply that Scotland will come to some reciprocal arrangements to share embassies with other countries, like…… the UK! So we have the extra cost of maintaining our own embassies plus the costs of sharing with the very embassies they propose to reject!
5. Defence of Citizens abroad. – HM Armed Forces constantly are available to defend the interests of British citizens who may find themselves in trouble in war zones. This happened in Libya and is currently happening in the South Sudan. The SNP have no replacement for this, and can only protest feebly that it would be childish of HM Armed Forces not to also help Scottish citizens in the future. These are the same British Armed Forces that they roundly condemn at every possible opportunity. As always the SNP’s position is cynical and untenable.
6. Access to UK top power structures for Scots. – The separatists’ dreaded Westminster government is apparently dominated by Tory posh boys who simply love to exclude Scots from all power. So how come there are 5 Scots in the Cabinet of 22? Yes, we have Gove, Alexander, Carmichael, Duncan-Smith and Cable (honorary Scot). Being Scottish doesn’t seem to have blocked their way very much. And let’s not forget Dr Fox, who was on the cards to be the 6th Scottish cabinet member. Let’s not also forget the various Scottish PMs of the 20th and 21st centuries: Arthur Balfour, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Andrew Bonar Law, Ramsay MacDonald, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Scots have always punched above our weight in the UK, and we shall continue to do so, as long as we don’t turn our back on it for the wee-bit-hill-and-glen mentality.
7. Access to top UN power structures for Scots. – By virtue of being British, Scots have access to all the influence in the world that Britain holds. A permanent seat on the UN Security Council could be held by a Scot. In fact it was held by Sir Donald Maitland for several years. Pity that the Scottish government wants to deny future Sir Donalds (and Lady Donaldas) access to the same global status. Historically a Scot, Sir Eric Drummond, was the first Secretary General of the League of Nations, the first attempt to regulate relations among nations on a global scale.
8. Guaranteed continued membership of NATO. – The SNP as we all know used to hate NATO but now love it – rather like they used to hate Sterling but now love it, used to hate the Queen but now love her and so on. Apparently Scotland will be welcomed into the NATO defensive alliance at the same time as telling NATO to take its submarine bases out of Scotland. Not quite sure how that one will work, but they have to pretend to the people of Scotland that there will be somebody else coming to defend us once they have told the UK Army (bigger than the population of Dundee and Paisley combined) to get lost. NATO have received this with a level attitude and told them that independent Scotland would have to apply for membership. One wonders what the terms would be? The North Atlantic Treaty makes it clear that Scotland could be drawn into war by NATO membership. So much for no more wars… NATO article 5: Article 5
“The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. “http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_17120.htm
9. Continued membership of EU on our own terms, – not those of Euro federalists. The position of Scotland relative to the EU gets more uncertain every day. The separatists maintain that we will not only be welcomed with open arms but that we will have all the same privileges in the EU currently enjoyed by the UK – a rebate, freedom from Schengen, our own strong currency. Apparently the fact the all new member states have to sign up to the full Euro federalist package of adopting the euro and signing the Schengen, has escaped them. This is all set out in black and white in the Treaty of Amsterdam which all nations acceding to the EU must sign. Better to stay in the UK and keep the EU in the position most beneficial to us.
10. No obligation to adopt Schengen. – This is the most awkward of the EU’s demands on Scotland. Since the UK and Ireland, by virtue of being part of the EU class of 1973, are exempt from Schengen, we can keep a fairly open border with our Irish neighbours. However, if Ireland were to adopt Schengen, things would get a lot more difficult. Since Ireland would have completely frontier-less exchange with the rest of the EU, the UK would have little option but to set up a border to prevent migrants entering Ireland via its Schengen portal, then simply passing through into the UK. Of course, Ireland know better. Like the UK, they’ll stay out of Schengen. But Scotland won’t have the option. The British government has made it clear (January 2014) that a nation cannot be a member of Schengen (which Scotland would have to be) and be a member of the Common Travel Area at the same time.