What’s Left for UK?

It is getting harder and harder to keep up with developments in the referendum campaign as the No side shows increasing signs of imploding. They clearly have lots of problems, and with all the dissension and infighting it is a wonder they have any time left for serious campaigning. But maybe serious campaigning is just beyond the assorted Unionists and Britnats that make up the No side. Robing McAlpine has a typically robust dismantling of the faults at the heart of Better Together, though he is none too impressed by the Yes campaign. A must read article which appeared on Bella Caledonia and you can find it here.

One by one the key scare stories of the No side keep falling down as the truth sooner or later emerges. Even shipbuilding in an independent Scotland it seems is now safe. The main story over the weekend though was the unnamed senior government minster who openly admitted that, “of course” there would be a currency union if Scotland votes Yes. Many people have examined the implications of this admission. The key one perhaps is that the credibility of the UK government and their acolytes in the No side has been pretty much destroyed. However I want to focus on just one part of the minister’s admission, which was the link between a currency union and rUK getting to keep Trident in Scotland.

Now I do not believe for a moment that any Scottish negotiating team would agree to Trident remaining in Scotland a day beyond what will be needed to secure its safe removal. What is much more interesting is what this link says about why the British establishment is so opposed to Scottish independence. It all comes down to loss of prestige and status in the world. The economic contribution that Scotland makes to the UK treasury and the UK’s trade balance should not be underestimated, but it would not in the fullness of time make that great a difference to total GDP or GDP per capita.  rUK would remain a very wealthy country with a large economy.

What it would not remain is the same size. Without Scotland rUK becomes quite a small sized state in world terms. Most important and of greatest relevance is that it would look rather small. Though Scotland represents less than 10% of UK population, Scotland accounts for around 32% of UK landmass. If you factor in the territorial waters then it seems that Scotland would be more or less the same size as rUK.  This means that rUK would rank below both Belarus and Kazakhstan in terms of landmass. If Wales and Northern Ireland were to leave rUK it would be even worse, as little England would be smaller than Greece. Just exactly what the British establishment most fears for their “Great” Britain.

Becoming significantly smaller in size and losing the name Great Britain would be bad enough. But to lose the Trident nuclear weapon system as well would strike a fatal blow to all that the top brass in London hold most dear. Their seat at the top table in the UN Security Council. Their continued membership of this elite club will be severely tested if Scotland votes for independence. If rUK cannot retain Trident in some form or another, then this membership would be all but impossible to maintain.  President Obama recently tried to dismiss and belittle Russia as merely a regional power.  Without Scotland and without Trident rUK would be hard pressed to be gain even this accolade – a regional power.

The establishment in London, all of them, from politicians, the military, finance, business, to the media will fight tooth and nail to prevent this ignominious end of “Great” Britain and their entry card into the world’s elite clubs. In the eyes of this group a currency union would be a small price to pay to keep Trident.  It won’t work of course, so we can expect even more bitterness from Better Together.

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