EDINBURGH, 19 August (RIA Novosti), Mark Hirst – The intervention by the NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in the Scottish independence campaign amounts to “political posturing” by an “unelected military regime,” a Member of the Scottish Parliament has told RIA Novosti Tuesday.
John Finnie MSP was a member of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) until 2012 before resigning over a decision by the SNP leadership to support membership of NATO if Scotland became independent.
But the MSP poured scorn on comments made by Rasmussen who told the Times newspaper an independent Scotland would need to formally apply for membership with no guarantee it would be admitted.
“It is interesting that NATO, which in the past has been a less than stabilizing influence in Georgia and Ukraine, would seek to suggest that Scotland, an integral part of the United Kingdom at the moment, wouldn’t be welcome in their Alliance,” Finnie told RIA Novosti.
Rasmussen had told the Times, “In [the] case that Scotland voted in favor of independence then Scotland would have to apply for membership of NATO as a new independent state. A decision on accession would have to be taken by unanimity, by consensus as always in NATO.”
“This seems to be more about political posturing than any critical analysis of Scotland’s pivotal geographic position in relation to shipping lanes. It is the latest in a long line of comments aimed at undermining the case for independence rather than dealing with the realities and practicalities,” Finnie told RIA Novosti.
Finnie conceded the concern from NATO would be focused on the commitment made by the SNP, notwithstanding their support for membership of the military alliance, to ensure the removal of the Trident nuclear submarine fleet at Faslane on the west coast of Scotland.
“The linkage of Trident in the negotiations will concern some people, but you can’t doubt the strength of feeling that both the First Minister and Deputy First Minister have expressed in saying Trident will go, full stop,” Finnie added.
“The comments from the NATO General Secretary, the comments from the leaders of the US and Australia are just the latest in a line of people wanting to interfere in the constitutional issue, but it is the sovereign will of the Scottish people that will prevail and not some unelected military regime,” Finnie told RIA Novosti.
In a statement the Scottish Government added, “The NATO secretary general has simply outlined the process we are already aware of. We have made clear that, following a vote for independence, the Scottish government will notify NATO of our intention to join the alliance and negotiate a transition from membership as part of the UK to independent membership, taking our place as one of the many non-nuclear members.”
Scots go to the polls on Sep. 18 and will be asked “Should Scotland become an independent country?”