Scottish Independence would be 'cataclysmic': ex-Nato head

NATO Secretary General Lord George Robertson

Lord Robertson says 'Yes' vote would be welcomed by the 'forces of darkness'

LAST UPDATED AT 13:11 ON Tue 8 Apr 2014

FORMER secretary general of Nato, Lord Robertson, warned that Scottish independence would be "cataclysmic" and could threaten global stability.

In a speech to the Brookings Institute, a US think tank, Lord Robertson said a 'Yes' vote would be welcomed by the "forces of darkness".

The former Labour defence secretary called on the US and its allies to voice their concerns over the vote.

"The loudest cheers for the break-up of Britain would be from our adversaries and from our enemies," Robertson said. "For the second military power in the west to shatter this year would be cataclysmic in geo-political terms."

Lord Robertson added: "This is not a purely domestic matter even though it's a decision that will be taken by the Scottish people.

"The Scottish people need to be conscious that they are taking a decision, not just for themselves and for future generations in a one-off vote, but that it also has an effect elsewhere and people who are affected, or think they will be affected, have every right to speak out," Lord Robertson said.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's Deputy First Minister told BBC Radio Scotland she was not surprised by the position Robertson took given his "long-standing" opposition to Scottish Independence, but said she was "shocked" by the language he had used.

"The contribution George Robertson made last night, and particularly the language he has used to make it in, I think does a real disservice to the debate," she said. "I am not shouting down George Robertson, I am saying very clearly that I find his comments deeply insulting."

A spokesman for Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond described the speech as "crass and offensive". He added: "It is contributions like his which are turning people across Scotland in their droves away from the fear and smear tactics of the 'No' campaign towards the positive, upbeat, optimistic message of the 'Yes' campaign."

PM under pressure to ban Scotland from next election

3 April

THE Prime Minister is under mounting pressure to ban Scotland from taking part in the next general election if the country votes for independence in September’s referendum.

Senior Tories are lobbying David Cameron to rewrite the rules of the 2015 general election to exclude the 59 Scottish constituencies.
Restricting the next general election to England, Wales and Northern Ireland has the potential to determine the next government if the votes are close, says The Times, and is likely to work in the Conservatives Party’s favour. In the 2010 UK election, Labour won 41 Scottish seats, the Lib Dems 11, the SNP six and the Tories just one.

It is currently assumed that if Scotland votes for independence, Scottish MPs would take part in the next general election and then vacate their seats when the country officially splits from the UK in March 2016.

Cameron is apparently confident that the No campaign, led by former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling, will be successful in the referendum that he negotiated. Some Tories believe he should resign if he is proven wrong.

John Stevenson, the Scottish-born MP for Carlisle, told the Times that it would be unacceptable for MPs representing Scottish seats to be sitting at Westminster when London and Edinburgh were negotiating the break-up of the UK.

“Why should the peoples of Northern Ireland, Wales and England have laws passed in this House by MPs who for all intents and purposes are about to be part of a foreign country?” he said.

Attempts to pass a law banning Scots taking part in the general election failed in the Commons last month. A number of Conservative MPs, including Mark Reckless, Nigel Mills and Nick de Bois, voted in favour of the ban, but the move was defeated overwhelmingly by Labour votes.

Downing Street has not commented on the lobbying faced by Cameron. A No 10 source said: “The Prime Minister is focused on making the case for Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom.”

Scottish independence: business leaders blast economic plans

26 march

THE economic plans for Scottish independence "do not add up", according to a report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

The organisation, which represents 240,000 businesses across the UK, has analysed the Scottish government's White Paper and found "no credible plan" for deficit reduction. The CBI, which has previously said it is against independence, also demanded a "credible Plan B" after Westminster ruled out a currency union.

It also said that renegotiating EU membership is "unlikely to be either a smooth or quick process with new terms potentially leaving it worse off".

The body's director general, John Cridland, told the BBC: "The minute you draw a line between Gretna and Berwick, Scotland starts to drift apart from its biggest market and loses a significant amount of economic clout.

"The economic plan outlined in the White Paper does not add up. It ignores the need for deficit reduction, instead promising more unfunded spending."

Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has hit back, calling the report "one-sided". She said the paper "misrepresents the realities of independence in several key respects" and insisted an independent Scotland "will still enjoy barrier-free trade with the rest of the UK". The only serious threat to Scotland's membership of the EU is Westminster's proposed in-out referendum, she added.

Meanwhile, the Scottish National Party's quest to break away from the rest of the UK received a significant boost as a new opinion poll showed a rising support for independence, reports The Times.

Voters in Scotland go to the polls on Thursday 18 September to decide on their country's future. According to today's YouGov poll, 52 per cent of Scots intend to vote 'No', as opposed to 37 per cent who intend to vote 'Yes', while 11 per cent either don't know or say that they will not vote. Support for independence has seen a gradual rise over the last five months.

More on Scottish independence:

Scottish independence pros and cons: key questions answered Standard Life warns it could quit an independent Scotland Cameron and Salmond to hold rival North Sea oil meetings David Bowie spots the danger: Scots' Yes vote gathers strength BoE's Mark Carney wades into Scottish independence debate PM invokes spirit of Team GB to fight Scottish independence Salmond: end of Scottish pound would cost UK £500m Scottish independence: Osborne rules out currency union


Disqus - noscript

To those who wish for a "YES" vote next September, let me make a suggestion from south of the border.

Why not have every Scottish cinema arrange to offer a special season of stirring Scottish movies - like "Braveheart" "Highlander" "Rob Roy" "Brave" etc., etc,... for 6 months or so leading up to the vote...???

You got a problem? Sounds like you're spitting the dummy out ...

I'm sure there'll be plenty of patriotic feeling as it is. Especially with the commonwealth games happening.

I'd rather see every theatre, lecture hall, arena etc in the country rented out and hosting a debate on independence. Each event can have a panel made of of Yes Scotland, Better Together and local politicians split 50/50. Plus a key note speech from a high profile YES and NO advocate. Have an extensive Q&A.

Everyone should have the chance to take part in this debate and it should be based on intellectual thought.

Not a very well researched article and it's fairly one sided towards NO. You don't even get the spending figures right but I suppose when you use the Torygraph as source what can one expect.

Stupid comment.

The last paragraph says it all realy.
Why should Scots feel bad the so called democratic defesit that SOME English feel because of devolution when Scotland had NO voice for 300 years?
Also it's an English problem not a Scottish one.
remember the "feable 50"?

"Torylaugh" - not "Torygraph"!


I wish the question would be this simple in my native Province of Quebec. "Should Quebec become an independent country?" But don't bet on it!

At the risk of chucking some history into the equation....
Scotland did not become part of he United Kingdom; England and Scotland formed the United Kingdom.
It is - to say the least - highly questionable to assert that Scotland gets more out of the Union than she puts in. The Barnett Formula does not give Scotland a higher share of public spending, just a higher share of certain parts (about half) of public sending, however she gets very little from the other half. The south-east, OTH, does very well indeed in the way of public spending that does not have a Barnett dimension - Channel Tunnel, Thames Barrier, renovating the underground, the M25 to name but a few....the oil revenues have been spent on projects that have benefited the whole country from Watford in the north to Guildford in the south. and a disproportionate share of 'national' government departments which helps to fuel escalating property prices.
Scotland has no clout at all in the EU.
Defence...Scotland's defence needs are trivial compared to the share of Scottish revenue spent on UK vanity armament programmes and foreign intervention.

It is the ignorance of those 'south of the border' that makes independence more appealing day by day. It is often like talking to an American when you talk to an English person. So full of propaganda it renders them politically mute. They resort to the nonsense you have just read from the ironically named TruthBeatsLies. What has happened to Portsmouth ? Royal naval vessels will be built in Scotland. If Scotland becomes independent, this will mean that they will be built in a foreign country. Is this good for Scotland ? Is it good for the remnants of the UK ? Independence is not about patriotism. It is political (shameful that this has to be pointed out). The majority of the population of Scotland are lowlanders.

Unfortunately, very few people (anywhere in the world) have the knowledge to make such a decision on the future of a nation. We are misinformed, ill-informed, and disinformed, and we make our decision based on this 'information'. If the politicians are unable to provide us with accurate information on what independence means, then what chance does the plebeian have ? Alas, our ignorant masses will have their say next year. Heads or tails.


For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.