Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Some implications of a Scotland vote to leave the UK -- sound policy is seldom sweet politics

I have been busy with the local election and transition to a new government here in Montserrat, but have had an eye on the Scotland referendum.


I can understand yearnings to be independent, and resentments over a history that has some pretty awful chapters.

However, more is at stake.

So much more that, as in material part a Scottish descendant, I express concerns on the implications.

Lignet has a useful short clip:
A breakup of Britain would weaken the international security posture and diplomatic clout of both England and Scotland. Moving the Trident submarines would make NATO more vulnerable. A ‘yes’ vote would also encourage Europe’s other separatist movements and change the political makeup of England by making it a more conservative nation without the leftist Scots.
The referendum would not lead to immediate independence. It would set the stage for 18 months of complicated negotiations between London and Edinburgh over the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, North Sea oil, monetary policy and other issues entwined in a union more than 300 years old . . . 
Britain is a significant, stabilising force on the global geostrategic scene. A materially weaker Britain has sobering implications.  Losing bases on the North Sea and the Greenland-Iceland-UK gap has consequences for the Atlantic Basin and the security of Europe. I also doubt that the local economic consequences for Scotland will be particularly rosy. A wave of separatist movements is not healthy either.

And a diminished Britain will face pressure to withdraw internationally and its power classes may not be able to stand against a tide of popular but unwise politics. 

Sound policy is seldom sweet politics.

In that context, I wish to suggest that well judged development aid and relief today is in the end far cheaper than being forced into a fight in the face of chaos.  Not, that I have any great hopes that that will ever become popular received wisdom.

So, I wait, and hope this will prove to be a storm in a teacup. 

Hope. END