UK needs Scotland for global influence, says expert

Professor Richard Whitman has statted that if Scotland becomes
independent, the rest of the UK will lose status in the world

Scottish independence: UK needs Scotland for global influence, says expert

by Róisín O'Brien

A political expert has stated that the UK’s influence in the world may decline if Scotland becomes independent.

Richard Whitman, from Kent University, has specifically stated that Scotland leaving the union could have a “profound impact” on the UK’s political standing within the European Union.

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The professor of politics and international relations believes the remainder of the UK would “cease to be one of the EU’s big three”. Professor Whitman continued to theorise that the remnants of the United Kingdom “may face a diminished capacity for influence within EU institutions and its bilateral relationships with EU member states.”

Without Scotland, Professor Whitman says the rest of the UK would drop to fourth place behind Italy in terms of population, with its military prowess being subordinate to France.

The UK’s relationship with the United States might also suffer, resulting in a reduction of influence and claim to significant leadership positions within EU institutions.

Other factors to be considered would be the credibility of the UK’s seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). This would be contingent on what happens to Scottish-based nuclear weapons.

The remaining nations of the UK would have to reconsider defence strategy, specifically with regard to influencing EU defence tactics.

If an independent Scotland were to emerge from the referendum, Professor Whitman also advises the UK to consider shrinking its diplomatic, security and defense infrastructure, which “would present difficult choices over what should be priorities for expenditure.”

Whitman further mentions the possible “diminution of the UK's soft power.” The professor implies that the cultural reach of the UK would be lessened, and the losing of territory within the multinational state would generate uncertainty about whether further secessions might follow.

Independent Scotland in the EU

Professor Whitman emphasises the work Scotland will have to do if it gains independence: “The major impact of independence will fall on Scotland in its requirement to create a foreign and security policy and to seek membership of regional and international organisations including the United Nations.”

The academic states that when joining the EU, Scotland would not be able to enjoy the UK's current opt-outs from the euro nor the Schengen area.

He also stated that some matters, like the latter Schengen area, could not be discussed without taking into account the UK’s own interests.

Many critics have been asking Salmond to consider the complexity of Scotland’s EU status if it becomes independent for some time. The SNP’s official stance still reads that Scotland will be accepted into the EU, as validated by experts.

David Miliband has been a major critic of the SNP’s view that an independent Scotland would gain automatic EU entry, alleging that Salmond’s claims of immediate entry are false and “fantasy island.”

Other European options have been considered, such as suggestions by two former SNP leaders that Scotland should join the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA). This would allow free trade without Scotland needing to be a member state of the EU.

The same former SNP leaders also expressed that Salmond’s “mere assertions” about EU membership could damage nationalist chances of victory in the referendum.

Questions over Scotland’s admission to the EU began when Spain’s foreign minister and European Commission President warned that Scotland may have to endure a long negotiating process over joining the EU.

Escalating from this were the allegations directed at Alex Salmond over his apparent lies with regard to whether he had received advice about EU membership.

The Scottish government have since confirmed that they will not publish the legal advice they receive on whether an independent Scotland will have automatic membership to the EU.

UK may leave EU anyway

Given the promise by Prime Minister David Cameron to hold a referendum on EU membership, Scotland may be forced to leave the EU if it remains inside the Union should English voters vote - as seems increasingly likely - to leave.

It may well be the case that if Scots do want to remain inside the EU that voting for independence is their best course of action.



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Showing 13 reactions

commented 2012-12-06 00:18:38 +0000 · Flag

Thank you for the info, it is very informative.
commented 2012-12-05 21:59:14 +0000 · Flag
News of the EFTA interest in Scottish membership was published in four newspapers, but the most comprehensive and useful report was in the Daily Express:
commented 2012-12-05 21:06:32 +0000 · Flag
We get to control our territorial national waters….is that not one hell of an asset!!
commented 2012-12-05 21:01:03 +0000 · Flag
I am glad to see that clarity seems to be setting in on Scotland’s links with the continent of Europe. Within the past three weeks I have attended four major conferences on the future of political Europe, and every one had to concentrate on only one organisation – the European Union, which represents only half of Europe. The EU is a worsening disaster, and is all the more conspicuous because the rest of institutional Europe – the 47-member Council of Europe, the 56-member OSCE and UNECE, and NATO with its 50 member and partner states – is functioning perfectly. Europe is getting along fine; it is the EU that is collapsing through its own inadequacies.

Scotland should have no difficulty in transferring from the EU to the EFTA side of the European Economic Area (EEA). It is the Common Market continuing, and on the strength of the 1975 referendum result the first independent Scottish Government and Parliament is entitled to apply for membership of EFTA and the EEA with no further referendum – and no blocking tactics by Spain or anyone else. It is the greatest pity that we ever left it. That would immediately safeguard Scotland’s access to the single European market as well as to EFTA’s worldwide trading agreements.

The EFTA states are putting up staggering trading surpluses with the 27 EU states and others, and are among the richest in the world. Have a look at . The SDA already knows from direct contacts that EFTA would welcome Scotland as a member, because it is a rich country of a moderate size that would not dominate the others. And there would be no question of EFTA annexing our fish, oil, gas and minerals, because our national territorial waters would be ours once again.
commented 2012-12-05 17:56:51 +0000 · Flag
Just to clarify Leslie Wilson’s comment, Scotland should join the European Economic Area (EEA) and the European Free Trade Association as full members but should absolutely not have ANY affiliation with the EU. See
commented 2012-12-05 08:18:16 +0000 · Flag
I absolutely agree with Peter with his analysis of Prof Whitmans article.
Notwithstanding that I really believe that EFTA is better for Scotland rather than full membership.
commented 2012-12-04 13:29:47 +0000 · Flag
As Scotland’s continued membership of the UK is in doubt, I would think that any referendum of the UK to leave the EU prior to the 2014 referendum on Independence, should not apply to Scotland.

Of course the issue of an Independent Scotland’s relationship with the EU should be discussed and voted upon, but it should be done so without interference, threats or any form of over-lordship, from the rUK.

Finally; I think the argument raised in the article by Professor Whitman will prove to be correct. Currently the Pro-Union shower endlessly proclaim that Scotland will suffer all the ills of the world should we vote for Independence. However; it is the pro-Unionists who have delusions of grandeur and world power for the UK, whilst in Scotland only asks for self Government. Where one seeks to dominate others, the other merely seeks to advance and co-operate. I think the rUK is heading for one hell of a shock.
commented 2012-12-04 09:05:00 +0000 · Flag
Only EFTA makes sense for Scotland and the SNP should be seriously considering this move. Why would we leave one greedy landlord just to go with another. It would be madness.
Independence should mean just that, control of all we own, without interference.
On the UK losing status because of Independence, is this a suggestion that is an attempt to make Scots feel guilty?

I would suggest that IF Scots had been fairly treated in reflection of all our assets and tax base, then yes, we would probably have a better living, less poverty, better infrastructure, and more control befitting a genuine partnership.

However, what we have had for centuries is the hammering of Scottish culture, the keeping of our population on the breadline, our assets stolen to restructure the South of England, our fishing industry decimated, our shore line provides money to shadowy groups in England, our air passenger charges are effecting our tourism industry, our soldiers are more than prominent in any war arena, and lots more negatives for the Union.

So, there is only one culprit for the demise of Westminster power and that is greedy Westminster itself.

It is no wonder that the UK Unionist parties have banded together to create a media conspiracy in Scotland that Putin would be proud of, shame on them.
If Scotland succeeds with Independence, we will show the rUK just what we can do, and let them weep at their loss!
commented 2012-11-30 04:01:36 +0000 · Flag
Róisín O’Brien says “It may well be the case that if Scots do want to remain inside the EU that voting for independence is their best course of action.” Why does she not say that if Scots DO NOT want to remain inside the EU then voting for independence is their best course of action also?

Not all Scots who want independence are SNP members. For example, the Scottish Democratic Alliance (SDA) want FULL independence, but the SNP want to exchange their current master for a new master, the European Union.

Independent Scotland should NOT become a member of the European Union. The EU is a profoundly undemocratic, dictatorial, over-bureaucratic, empire building, demonstrably corrupt and frequently incompetent organisation.
The EU’s incompetence is demonstrated by its virtual destruction of the Scottish fisheries industry. The EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) alone is costing Scotland considerably more than £1,500 million in lost wealth creation every year.

The EU has destroyed tens of thousands of jobs through the CFP. And the incompetence of the EU’s management of the CFP continues to this day.

Under existing EU legislation under the Lisbon treaty, all Scottish national waters right up to the beaches will come under exclusive EU “competence” from the end of 2012 ̶ that’s NEXT MONTH, folks ̶and will be regulated under EU law and not Scots law.

Since the Lisbon Treaty also transfers powers over energy to Brussels, fishing is obviously only the thin end of a wedge that will eventually see ALL marine resources coming under Brussels control.

So much for Scotland’s oil if independent Scotland becomes a member of the EU. Do Scots want this? The SNP does.

There are many more reasons for independent Scotland not to become a member of the EU, but listing them wou ld make this comment far too long. Instead, readers should download and read the following documents:
commented 2012-11-30 01:22:44 +0000 · Flag
They also need whisky, oil, and Gas revenues.The UK is dependent on Scotland being a vassal State, that means Scotland cannot have a democratic voice…..discuss that Mr Professor.
followed this page 2012-11-30 01:19:11 +0000
commented 2012-11-29 19:29:32 +0000 · Flag
I thought that the ‘would we get punted out the EU?’ debate was over by now? I don’t think the Spanish foreign minister could be considered an impartial expert given his likely disdain for ‘separatist’ movements and recent meeting with senior Tories on the subject:

Other experts have stated that as a secessionist state, Scotland would be an instant member of the EU on independence with no need for a vote on the matter. Remember England, Wales and N.I would also be a new seccessionist state and would be in the same position. Renegotiating some opt outs would likely be necessary. Thats why Westminster is terrified of a Yes vote. In case you were in doubt, here’s an under-reported House of Commons paper on the subject, worth a read:

Frankly I don’t care that the RUKs EU status would be reduced with Scottish independence. David Cameron’s vetos and bullying tactics in Europe are an embarrassment. As yet I’m undecided on whether I would like to see an independent Scotland in the EU or EFTA. I’d certainly like a democratic say on the matter. That isn’t what we’ll get if we return a no vote in 2014. Westminster’s europhobia will deny us of that. Scotland’s vote will be diluted by 90% once again.
published this page in News 2012-11-29 17:09:02 +0000