|Image by James Stringer|
The statement came a month after Scottish National Party leader and First Minister Alex Salmond announced the start of the Yes Scotland campaign to ask Scots to vote for independence from Britain. As for the Better Together campaign, it was most likely initiated by official London which is irked about Edinburgh’s push for holding a national referendum on Scottish independence in the fall of 2014.
London’s concerns are easy to explain, our political commentator says, pointing to a range of tricky tasks the British government will face if Scotland leaves the United Kingdom. On stake will be Britain’s role in the UN Security Council, its EU membership and its NATO clout given that Scottish naval bases are currently an essential part of Britain’s nuclear shield.
In case of independence, Scotland will be able to use some leverages, such as corporation tax or excise duties on alcohol, to contribute to the economic overhaul and the improvement in people’s living standards. Additionally, Scotland could benefit from developing oil fields in the North Sea where an estimated 23 billion barrels of oil are in place.
At the same time, it is worth noting that the London-Edinburg relations continue to thrive. Tens of thousands of Britons go to work to and study at Scotland-based universities which is also the case with Scots. With unemployment rate currently on the increase in Scotland, more Scots head to London and other British cities in an attempt to make both ends meet.
According to the latest poll by YouGov, 57 percent of Scots are up in arms against their country’s leaving the UK, while 33 percent of the respondents nod Scotland’s independence drive. Others are sitting on the fence, in a sign that the problem is unlikely to be resolved till 2014, when the referendum is to be held.
Dwelling on the situation surrounding Scotland’s independence, one cannot but mention the Russians’ attitude to the matter. During his visit to Scotland in 2003, Russian President Vladimir Putin particularly praised what he described as historic ties between the peoples of Russia and Scotland. He said that the “entire Scottish dynasties were true to Russia’s salt, and Russia remembers and knows many of your ancestors who played a huge role in our country’s history. “ As an example, he referred to Tsar Peter I’s mentor Patrick Gordon, Hero of the 1812 War with Napoleon Prince Barclay de Tolly, Russian Army Field Marshal Jacob Bruce, architect Charles Cameron, as well as Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov’ ancestors living in Scotland’s Fife county. Experts, for their part, single out approximately 250,000 Russians of Scottish origin who currently reside in Russia.
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