WE SEE NO REASON WHY SCOTLAND  WOULD NOT SUCCEED ECONOMICALLY

08 - 04 - 2021 / Update

WE SEE NO REASON WHY SCOTLAND WOULD NOT SUCCEED ECONOMICALLY

Considering Scotland has all the necessary machinery in place to become an independent state, we see no obvious reasons why Scotland would not succeed economically if it were to do so, especially if achieved within the bounds of the law.

This excerpt was taken from the London School of Economics British Politics and Policy website, "While Scottish independence would have immediate economic costs, history suggests there are long-term benefits" was co-authored by Geoffrey Chapman who advises the Department for International Trade on economics.

By contrasting Scotland and England to the Slovak Republic and Czech Republic’s ‘Velvet Divorce’, Richard Mackenzie-Gray Scott and Geoffrey Chapman suggest that an independent Scotland will continue growing real GDP per capita despite higher trade costs.

  • The idea of Scottish independence seems unpalatable to many, but the news implies strong support.
  • The Scottish government has recently published draft legislation for the holding of another referendum.
  • Numerous polls suggest that a majority vote for independence would occur should this referendum go ahead.
  • Although polls do not necessarily reflect what people will actually vote for at a particular moment in time, the political momentum for another referendum is growing.

"If the current UK government opposes such a course of action, the ways in which the law may prevent the Scottish Parliament alone from legislating for a (non-binding) referendum will need to be clearly articulated.

"This would be a challenging case to make, because arguing that holding another referendum affects the UK assumes the potential result, which cannot be known in advance. The result of a referendum cannot retroactively determine the legality of holding it. And even if favouring independence, the force of such a result would be more political than legal.

"This is because the UK Parliament would need to become involved in order to give legal effect to that result, similar to how it was necessary in order to give legal effect to the EU referendum result."

  • Scotland could also attempt unilateral secession from the UK, which would arguably flout constitutional law and make the applicable international law more relevant.
  • Scotland satisfies all the international legal criteria for statehood, with one exception: it lacks the formal authority to enter into foreign relations, even though it has the literal ability to do so.
  • If Scotland demonstrated independence from UK authority in the course of conducting international relations, Scotland would be more likely recognised as a state by other states and international organisations.


"In light of long-run economic growth and stability, it might be worthwhile for Scotland to attempt entering into foreign relations with other states and international organisations if there was no cooperation from the UK to take forward another referendum result favouring independence.

"A key factor is that if the UK did not respect any future referendum result favouring independence, unilateral Scottish secession would become more legitimate, meaning international recognition of Scotland as an independent state would arguably be more likely.

"Although the UK currently respects the right of Scots to self-determination, this would no longer be the case if the UK did not take the appropriate steps to implement a referendum result favouring independence.

"The rule of law should be at the heart of any Scottish secession to allow for the best possible economic outcomes for people in Scotland and the UK. Such a process also depends on the politics between the UK and Scottish governments being cooperative, open-minded, and transparent.

"Considering Scotland has all the necessary machinery in place to become an independent state, we see no obvious reasons why Scotland would not succeed economically if it were to do so, especially if achieved within the bounds of the law. Although our findings might be controversial to some, we hope to show that Scottish independence, while not inevitable, is far more nuanced a matter than many have claimed. There exist several options worth pursuing for the parties to this debate."

Shortly after The National published the story on the adviser’s blog post, the newspaper was made aware that the piece had been taken down.

A UK Government spokesperson told The National: “This is not the view of the Department for International Trade or the UK Government, and the matter is being looked into."

You can read the full article here or download the pdf here
About the Authors:

Richard Mackenzie-Gray Scott is a Research Fellow at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, British Institute of International and Comparative Law.

Geoffrey Chapman is an Economic Adviser at the Department for International Trade, UK Government.

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