[The following are extracts from an article by journalist (and former Taliban captive) Yvonne Ridley headlined Britain’s global influence threatened by Scottish independence which was published on Wednesday on the website of the US Foreign Policy Journal:]
Posh lad George Osborne headed north of the Border this week to tell the Scots how lucky they are to be ruled by Westminster. (...)
I can’t believe anyone was taken in by the nonsense which came tumbling out of Osborne’s mouth when he said Scots would be £2,000 better off if they voted ‘no’ in next year’s referendum. (...)
It’s little wonder the Scottish National Party has done so well. The formula is simple; the SNP puts Scots first and that is something none of the London-based politicians can do, or even promise to do.
Now we are being told we are better together. Does anyone seriously believe that? I don’t see any of the dominions, colonies, protectorates or other territories which cut themselves free from British rule queuing up to return to once the largest empire in history.
If Scots do cut themselves free from the yoke of Westminster rule it will mean an end to nuclear weapons and all that it costs the Scottish taxpayer to keep the British PM dining at the table of the G7 and G8 countries.
It would mean an end to legislation designed to extract more money from the pockets of the working classes and those who can least afford pernicious inventions like the divisive bedroom tax. Cutting off the ball and chain that is the UK, Scotland would be able to continue to maintain a free education system, free medical prescriptions and guarantee the survival of the National Health Service here at least.
Having already stood up to America on several issues in recent years, Scotland has shown it is prepared to punch above its weight and will not be bullied by superpowers or cajoled into foolish military adventures demanded through so-called special relationships.
Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill stood firmly by his decision in August 2009 to release the terminally ill Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi to Libya on compassionate grounds. US president Barack Obama reacted angrily at the time as did the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; this was further exacerbated when Scottish ministers later refused a demand to attend the US Senate hearing in July 2010.
Such a refreshing attitude might open doors rather than close them as Scotland extends its trading partners and business contacts around the world.
[I do not wish to start here a debate on the merits or otherwise of Scottish independence: this blog is not the place for that. The first six paragraphs from Yvonne Ridley’s article quoted above are reproduced merely to provide context for the last three.]