[The following are excerpts from an article by John Sturrock in today’s edition of The Scotsman about the prospects for Scotland as a centre for international mediation:]
Singapore is a small island which packs a disproportionate punch in South East Asia. I recently took part in the launch of the Singapore International Mediation Centre. (...)
Are there similar opportunities for Scotland? Our location and positioning at the north western edge of Europe is in some respects not dissimilar to that of Singapore in the south east of Asia. However, we are not the international commercial “hub” which has been Singapore’s raison d’être since its establishment as a trading post by Stamford Raffles nearly 200 years ago. Location is one aspect. Another is our close proximity to another major hub, namely London. Realistically, we are unlikely to see a significant shift of commercial focus from there.
That said, what might Scotland offer? Well, a reputation for honesty, fair-dealing, hospitality and good manners should be a good start. (...)
Finally, the international perception of our domestic justice system could matter. It is still not clear, for example, just how profoundly the continuing uncertainty over the Lockerbie verdict affects international confidence in Scotland’s capability to hold itself out as a reputable centre for solving international problems. An interesting issue to wrestle with.