THE BREAKUP OF THE UK WOULD DAMAGE SCOTLAND, BRITAIN AND AMERICA
All political parties that remain in power for too long suffer the same inevitable fate. They run out of ideas. They become tired and drained of energy, floundering around in a hotbed of incompetence, sleaze and scandal, trying to cling on to power by passing bad legislation. Convinced after years in office of their sole right to rule, they display arrogance and contempt for the parliamentary process. Is all of this familiar? You need look no further than the SNP government at Holyrood. Their fourteen years in power descended into a chaotic storm of vicious infighting within their own ranks. Scotland’s economy now faces post-pandemic meltdown and yet the SNP government’s focus is on holding another independence referendum, while the First Minister and her immediate predecessor continue to tear lumps out of each other.
It is not only the people of Scotland who should witness this spectacle with fear and trepidation. Joe Biden must be pacing the Oval Office in alarm. If the SNP gets its way and succeeds in breaking up the United Kingdom, it would be a geopolitical catastrophe, not only for Scotland and the UK, but also for the United States. The SNP would destroy, at a stroke, the UK’s diplomatic and military capability in the international arena, depriving the US of one of its most important and long-standing allies.
The SNP have made it clear that following independence they would draw up a written constitution that would ban nuclear weapons from being based in Scotland. Nuclear submarines that carry Trident strategic missiles would be banished from Faslane. The Trident missile storage facility at Coulport would be closed. More than 8,000 jobs would be lost. But where would Britain’s nuclear deterrent go? The MoD has examined alternative sites in England and concluded that they all have very serious drawbacks. Not only would the expense of transfer stretch the fragile post-pandemic defence budget to breaking point and involve additional risks, it would require enormous political will to overcome inevitable strong local opposition. So, if Scotland became an independent country, the UK would find its nuclear deterrent in disarray. The UK’s permanent seat on the UN Security Council would be challenged by hostile incumbent members like Russia or by emerging powers like India. The UK’s role and position in the global institutional order would be queried. Scotland, the UK and the US would be the losers. Global powers hostile to the UK and US such as Russia and China would be the winners.
The crunch impact of partition to the Scottish economy would also raise serious questions. Because of our large land area and sparse population, we currently spend £15 billion more annually than we raise in tax. The shortfall is made up in fiscal transfers from the Treasury in London and that’s before we take account of the additional £11 billion in pandemic aid paid to Scotland by Chancellor Rishi Sunak. There would be no more fiscal transfers or emergency aid after partition. According to Tim Rideout, Convener of the SNP Currency Group: “Scotland will be introducing its own currency within a couple of months of Independence Day.” Abandoning sterling for the Scots pound would result in a sharp drop in currency value of up to 30%, devastating savings. The creation of our own Central Bank would take years to attain credibility in international markets and would cost billions. An independent Scotland would have to cut the public sector to the bone, slashing thousands of jobs. The SNP government would have to impose eye-watering levels of taxation. Public sector spending on schools, hospitals and services would be hammered. Mortgages and council house rents would soar and pensions would plummet.
Post-partition Scotland would be adrift on a sea of debt, desperately looking for help and the great fear is that such help could materialise from Moscow or Beijing, both of whom have shown again and again that they are more than happy to purchase influence and leverage with cash. They are also more than willing to undermine the West at every opportunity. If China offered to invest billions in new port facilities in Faslane and Coulport after the departure of Trident, it would be hard for a bankrupt Scottish government to resist. We’ve seen the Chinese do the same in huge port acquisitions in Sri Lanka and Djibouti. A major Chinese presence in Scotland would blow a perilous hole in America’s North Atlantic defense umbrella.
An independent Scotland would also drive a stake through the heart of the UK-US special relationship, which has been the cornerstone of post- World War II global alliances, providing Britain with enormous influence internationally. The SNP government would quickly align themselves with leftist EU socialist-green factions, abandoning the Anglo-Saxon social and economic model, which has served our country well for more than 300 years. The European left is hostile to America and once again, Scotland, the UK and the US would be the losers, while Russia and China would rub their hands together in glee.
Given the very real dangers to America posed by Scottish independence, Joe Biden must urgently evolve a new chapter in UK-US relations. He has already sounded credible warnings about Northern Ireland and how Brexit could undermine the Good Friday Agreement. He needs to turn his focus to Scexit and begin a policy of strategic love-bombing that demonstrates his personal commitment to the future of Scotland, the UK and the Western alliance. The people of Scotland will be warmly receptive to Joe Biden and will give him a fair hearing. Biden can build on that solid platform by coming to Scotland in person on his first state visit to the UK. He should not hesitate to remind us that the United Kingdom represents the greatest grouping of nations the world has ever known and that in war and peace, in prosperity and in time of economic hardship, America has no better friend and no more dependable ally than the UK and nothing should ever be done to undermine that relationship.