Alex Salmond has endeavoured to launch a “National conversation” on Independence, with a White Paper leading to a referendum if he can get the Scottish parliament to legislate for one. New Labour has predictably responded that all this democracy is “A waste of money”, while presumably the ’50 billion they have squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan is money well spent.
I hope to contribute to the conversation myself by the publication of my next book. It is called Influence Not Power – Foreign Policy For An Independent Scotland, and will be published by Birlinn/Polygon in late Autumn. I will be finishing it over the next fortnight.
I strongly favour Independence for two basic reasons.
Firstly, Thatcherite economic and social policies were anathema to the Scottish people and convinced them they needed more control of domestic legislation, leading to the devolution settlement. Blairite foreign and defence policy – Iraq and Afghanistan, Zionism, Bush poodle, the hideous waste of Trident – is also anathema to the Scottish people and should lead to the realisation that we need our own foreign and defence policy as well.
Secondly, as a diplomat I worked beside excellent and effective Irish, Portuguese, Swedish, Slovenian, Slovakian, Danish, Norwegian and other diplomats. They were protecting their countries’ interests and playing a full and constructive role – often much more so than the UK – in mutually beneficial international cooperation. What is wrong with us Scots that we think we can’t handle the responsibilities and opportunities of Independence, if they can?