Andrew Parrott, Perth
You ask Anas Sarwar MP what is his positive case for the Union (Interview, 28 May). His no doubt confidently made but nevertheless flawed assertions masquerading as reasons cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.
“Scotland benefits massively in its place in the world as being a permanent member of the UN Security Council and (a member) of NATO.” It is not Scotland that is a permanent member of the UN Security Council or a member of NATO but the United Kingdom. Sarwar’s mistake is to assume that Scotland’s interests are the same as the United Kingdom’s and to assume that the United Kingdom properly represents Scotland’s interests.
Scotland would benefit far more by being a member of the United Nations in its own right and, as a smaller country, taking its turn as a rotational member of the Security Council.
Scotland would benefit far more too from being a member of NATO in its own right.
“Scotland benefits from being a member of the G8.” The same mistake; Scotland is not a member of the G8, the United Kingdom is, and I am far from certain that any of Scotland’s interests are represented at the G8 unless they happen by chance to coincide with those of the United Kingdom.
“Scotland’s compassion is better demonstrated as being part of the Department for International Development.” Scotland’s compassion is much better demonstrated by making its own decisions on international aid and giving in its own name. Having the DfID HQ in Scotland is an employment issue and does not turn UK aid into Scottish aid.
“Scotland benefits from the shared defence infrastructure and (of) foreign affairs.” With one exception, there is very little defence infrastructure left in Scotland and British embassies often seem to be blind to Scottish interests.
“Scotland benefits economically from a single market.” Yes it does, but it is an EU-wide market not a British market. Scottish business can compete across the UK and in the wider global market without being part of, and sometimes held back by, the United Kingdom.
“It benefits economically from being part of the most successful monetary union in history.” Surely the United Kingdom is a political union with its own state currency. Those who claim it is the most successful political union in history conveniently forget the reality that many in one of the Union’s nations desperately seek alternative arrangements. Retaining the sterling pound (as Ireland did for a long time) having our own national currency (like Denmark) or joining the euro would be a national choice post independence. More important though than the currency is the strength of the national economy.
“Scotland benefits from sharing the risks and rewards…benefits from the collective strength of the UK economy…and also benefits emotionally and socially.” I’d like to see concrete examples of the first two not just the unsupported statements. I don’t think Scotland benefits emotionally or socially from having to struggle within the UK structure for global recognition of its own particular identity and having to argue for the flying of the Saltire over the national football stadium at the Olympic Games.
With regard to other parts of the UK becoming foreign, it is a matter of perception. I have lived for long periods in other parts of the EU and have visited nearly every other EU country for longer or shorter periods.
Yes, I am of a different nationality (and my nationality currently is not the same as my citizenship) but I have very rarely felt or been made to feel foreign or in some way alien.
The ‘Yes Scotland’ campaign is putting forward its vision for what Scotland could be, like every other sovereign nation state in the world.
Others need to put forward their vision of what Scotland might be remaining within the Union and why it is better. In the absence of a clear vision, simple assertions masquerading as reasons, implying more of the same, the same as we’ve had for decades, does not look attractive.