European diplomats, analysts say Scotland faces real danger if it breaks from UK
The Commentator has contacted dozens of diplomats and analysts across Europe. They all say the same thing: Scotland can do as its people please; but independence will be painful and far worse than nationalist leaders admit
All national disputes are fraught with emotion. We aim to cut out the emotion and get to the real-existing issues.The Commentator has spoken to diplomats and analysts across the European Union. Our editorial position is neutral and democratic: if the Scottish people want independence, that is their affair.
However, we have contacted dozens of European diplomats and analysts over the last three months. We will formalise the findings in due course.
For now, here are the preliminary findings:
1) The European Union will block Scottish membership because existing member states such as Spain, Belgium, Slovakia, Romania, Italy have internal national disputes of their own. It is vital to them that a major European state does not break up on grounds that could be replicated at home. This is a value neutral finding; regardless of rights and wrongs in the case for independence.
2) The United States is opposed to any move (including British exit from the EU) that would destabilise key allies in Europe. Again, regardless of rights and wrongs, Washington opposes Scottish independence for purely geo-strategic reasons.
3) English and Scottish politicians and analysts accept that independence would result in the loss of the pound sterling as Scotland's currency. Although unionists may be affected by an emotional need to lash out with threats against the loss (from their point of view) of Scotland, it will not be politically possible for mainstream English parties to persuade voters that they should back the Scottish banking system in the event of problems. Scotland will lose the pound; and will not gain the euro.
4) Energy analysts suggest that North Sea oil is a declining asset. In an internationally brokered agreement, England would take at least 50 percent anyway, not to mention the Orkneys and Shetland which could join with rump-Britain and claim significant assets for themselves. Rhetoric aside, North Sea oil is not in fact Scottish.
5) Every analyst and diplomat consulted in our survey said that Scotland's political economic risk would be determined by the politics an independent Scotland chose. For example, as one analyst put it: "If Scotland became a free-market, 'offshore' version of Hong Kong, Scotland would prosper enormously, and could easily put England to shame. That said, there is no doubt that the transition would be difficult and cause a drop in the standard of living for many years, given that Scotland's politics is dominated by old-fashioned statist parties."
We will pull all our findings together at a later date.
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