mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
UK to Scotland: Leave Us, and You’ll Regret It


Scotland will vote on whether it wants to leave the UK in September 2014, but a new report from UK’s Commons Foreign Affairs Committee wants the country to know this would be a very bad idea for both sides. We’ve noted before the tremendous difficulties that an independent Scotland could face, including possibly negotiating its entrance into the EU and renegotiating all the treaties it currently is a party to as a part of the UK. The report goes into more depth on these concerns, as well as a few new ones:

It is difficult to measure the impact on the RUK’s [rest of the UK] international standing and influence in the event of Scotland becoming an independent country but we conclude that some degree of reputational damage is inevitable […]

By the Scottish Government’s own assessment, in the event of independence Scotland would need both internal and external security and intelligence capabilities to deal with the many diverse potential threats it believes it could face. Yet Scotland has no external intelligence infrastructure to build upon. With just over a year to go before the referendum takes place, it is not at all clear that the Scottish Government has a costed and coherent vision of the security and intelligence infrastructure it needs to put in place to protect Scottish citizens, businesses and economic interests.

Read the whole report to get a sense of the huge legal, economic, and political issues an independent Scotland would raise. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Scotland and the UK should stay together. Do it for the kids.

[Scottish flag photo courtesy of Shutterstock]

Features Icon
show comments
  • Andrew Allison

    I think the RUK should wish Scotland Godspeed: if they really want to commit national(istic) suicide, Bon Chance! FWIW, as my name should make clear, I’m at least a nominal Scot.

    • rheddles

      Emotionally I agree, but realistically it’s a non-starter. Scotland, as always before union, would need an external support. Does England really want the EU to have a toehold on Britain? And if the EU turned a cold shoulder because it didn’t want to encourage other irridentist movements or pay the price for Greece without the climate, where would the Scots turn? Nowhere good. And they’ve always been willing to do so. Better to keep them in the tent no matter how bad they smell.

  • rheddles


  • TJL Dia-Media

    As one of the first of England’s imperial subjugations, I fail to see why an independent Scotland would be worse off than an independent Ireland, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, India, etc. Economically worse off, sure, but free of the London posers who think God told them they are better than everyone else. Subjugation is subjugation.
    As Ali G might say, “Do I not deserve freedom ‘coz I’s white?”

    • Kavanna

      Not an imperial subjugation — Ireland yes (although not since Home Rule was offered), Scotland no. This is silly.

      Scotland, like Quebec or Puerto Rico, simply couldn’t survive on its own.

      • TJL Dia-Media

        Silly? Thanks for the adult conversation. I expect more from a Via Meadia comments section.

        The difference between Scotland’s acquisition by England and Ireland’s (or Wales or India or any other part of the empire) is mere politically acceptable nomenclature. The English invaded Scotland repetitively, and eventually threatened the lowland elite, with economic and military sanctions, into turning against their highland countrymen. A country that is coerced into “union” is subjugated, however you want to spin it.
        Check out Paul Henderson Scott’s version of the Union of 1707. Yes, PHS is a SNP official, but the history he tells is compelling. Many Scots and Brits like the English version of the Union for it makes them feel better about the nature of the subjugation. I’m sure you can still find some Indians, Rhodesians and Malays who would also like to have retained English rule.

    • Jim Luebke

      Imperial subjugation? Didn’t Scotland join voluntarily? Considering the fact that the king of Scotland was offered the throne of England, one might say the subjugation went the other way around.

  • David Ferguson

    This the path for the UK to leave the EU. Think About it.

  • Steven Johnson

    Scot sentiment I’ve read is very nationalist and in large part playing the victim card. Whether there’s justification or not it seems many just can’t help themselves. I think it’s a tough sell but I also know there are many in England who would be glad to see them go. A lot of this is emotion and pride leaving a mature sense of reason out the door.

    It’s similar though to a lesser extent with many Brits in relation to America. Self-identity with victimhood and scapegoat blame.

  • teapartydoc

    William Wallace would be proud.

  • Rufus

    How civilized. If Texas wanted to leave the US, the President would have several airborne divisions inside Austin within a day.

    • Steven Johnson

      A state within our union is not the same comparison, although as calloused a man I believe Obama is I have doubts he would send in the military if Texas wanted out. He probably would with a dependable blue state like California but they would already know separation from Fed dollars would be suicide 😉

      • Jim Luebke

        Obama’s actively trying to turn Texas into a blue state. No kidding. I will continue to watch in amazement.

        As far as California goes, it’s one of the states that pays more to the Feds than it receives in benefits.

        What would a Humanitarian Hawk say about shooting Americans?

  • TJL Dia-Media

    I find the arguments that Scotland “simply couldn’t survive without the UK” and Scotland needs “external support” unpersuasive.

    How did ex Warsaw Pact countries survive? How did Slovakia and the Czech Republic survive? Taiwan? Pakistan?

    Scotland has a world-class financial system, extensive, if lessened, mineral wealth, tourism, first world technical capabilities, and excellent universities. It has $43K of GDPpp. How many of the aforementioned countries had that?

    If you mean that a nation of 5 million people will lose some of the UK’s world-wide political clout. Fair enough. Will their economy suffer somewhat? Probably. But to say they cannot survive with or without an external support is unsubstantiated. However, I stand ready to be moved by facts.

    To the point of the EU having a toe hold in Britain, what about Ireland?

  • Kevin

    If Scotland gets enough votes to get away from the UK, there is simply no chance they would want to join the EU.

    And sure, it’d be a tough move, but independence is always worth the effort. Just for starters, think of how many job-killing UK and EU laws they could wipe from their books. They could rather quickly attract an awful lot of business if they did it.

  • Autarkes

    Utilitarian arguments for and against Scottish independence are forever a smokescreen and delaying tactic to avoid the nasty and uncomfortable issue of whether or not nations have the legal right to separation. For the latter criteria necessitates a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, which would, in the case of Scotland, either require Westminster to do what it does not want to do or be seen outright as undemocratic in its intentions. Utility is forever an excuse to do nothing, to keep at business as usual, when the economic and political situation in the UK clearly requires significant action. The electorate wants it —- are the recent UKIP gains not evidence?

  • Jim Luebke

    I have to wonder — while the nation-states of the EU might oppose this to keep from losing their own restive provinces (like Catalonia, but if it got popular even Bavaria might consider it), wouldn’t EUphiles actively try to encourage this trend?

    Isn’t weakening the nation-state what the EU is all about?

    On the other hand, Nationalism itself (the most lethal force in human history — followed by governmental incompetence, then by conquest, with religion as a distant fourth) is something any sane European should be skeptical of, as it was the cause of the wars the EU was formed to prevent.

    I’m not sure whether they’re playing a deep game, or playing with fire. Maybe it amounts to the same thing.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service