Foreign Secretary William Hague has said the United Kingdom is “stronger and safer together” as he outlined the case for Scotland to reject voting for independence. Mr. Hague spoke of shared values between Britain and Scotland and said that remaining united would give the UK greater international “clout” and allow it to be “better able to make a difference in the world”.
He also emphasized the business and trade benefits of remaining united, the reassurance provided to Scottish people overseas by the Foreign Office’s consular services, the UK’s level of aid donation and the benefits of having a greater voice on the world stage.
Hague was in Glasgow with Chief Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander to publicize the latest of the UK government’s “Scotland analysis” papers. It focuses on European Union (EU) and international issues, according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The paper looks at the diplomatic network, which employs more than 14,000 people in 267 embassies and other offices.
The benefits to Scottish business and economic interests, such as defending whisky against counterfeits, is explored in the report. It will also set out possible implications for Scottish membership of international bodies such as Nato.
In a written article, Conservative Hague said: “Seen from overseas, not just Scotland, but all of the UK is a haven for human rights, free trade and fair play; we are known for helping others and being actively engaged with the wider world.
“But we don’t just share these values. By acting together, we have the power to put them into practice.”
Outlining the benefits of remaining united, Mr Hague said that, together, the UK is the world’s number one “soft power”, referring to its creative, tourism and education industries.
He pointed to a combined UK being the world’s sixth largest economy, with “a voice that is heard in every major international forum”, and applauded Scotland’s role in helping the UK become the world’s second largest aid donor. But he also warned of the losses that Scottish independence would bring.
Mr Hague emphasized the loss of Foreign Office consular services to Scottish people abroad, saying it was “three times the size of the network that the Scottish Government suggests an independent Scotland could offer”.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) is proposing a network of embassies and consulates with an estimated running cost of between £90 million and £120 million.
Mr Hague also underlined the impact independence would have on Scottish firms doing business overseas. He said: “UK Trade & Investment, operating out of offices in London and Glasgow, covers 169 locations in over 100 countries.
“It links into markets that the Scottish Government has no plans to cover, but which might make all the difference between success or failure for an individual firm.
“UKTI also helped to land three-quarters of the investment projects that generated 13,500 jobs in Scotland last year.”
And he underlined the security benefits of combined armed forces and intelligence services, adding that the experience gained in keeping the London 2012 Olympic Games safe would be invaluable in this summer’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Mr Hague said: “The United Kingdom is one of the most successful political and economic unions there has ever been. We can act as a powerful force for good in the world, but our strength lies in our unity. We are stronger and safer together.
“That’s why, on 18 September this year, I sincerely hope and trust that the people of Scotland will vote to remain part of the United Kingdom.”