Press TV has conducted an interview with Saeb Sha’ath, author and Middle East expert, about the referendum for Scottish independence with the latest polls showing a surge in pro-independence support.
The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Tell us overall the significance of this now that we’re seeing an increase of those going into the camp supporting an independent Scotland. One, tell us the significance of this increase; and two, what it really would mean for inside of the country and out if Scotland really did go independent.
Sha’ath: It’s significant for the Scottish people to gain their independence.
That will, on its own, spark changes within the United Kingdom and will have an impact on the European community as well; since other nations may follow suit like in Spain. The Catalonians will follow suit.
But it looks like it’s neck and neck in Scotland and there are 56 percent of voters in Scotland that are looking for more solid information regarding the economics, to take into account with their decision of a yes or no.
The economy is the key factor to sway the voter in going this way or that way. They want to see if they move into an independent Scotland, would it be better economically for them.
The worrying factor as I see myself in the independence is that the Scottish government itself wants to retain using the sterling pound, if the country votes for independence. That is, establishing a sterling zone with the rest of the UK.
Others who are pro-Independent like the Green Party in Scotland, do want a separate currency – which they are actually taking the more sensible decision here.
An arrangement of that means… the governor of the Bank of England – Mark Kearney said, an effective sterling union; would also force a new independent Scotland to hand over some of its sovereignty. He outlined that in his speech lately, which means there are ways of controlling an independent Scotland by the United Kingdom through the union of sterling – controlling by the economy through the sterling pound. And that is not good news.
I would say if an independent Scotland wants full independence they have to establish their own currency and I think Scotland in that way will succeed. The impact of that in Europe is huge, especially in the EU.
Press TV: We are hearing more and more talk of independence in various places. We talked about Scotland and of course you mentioned Spain; even in the United States there are certain states right now more and more talking about perhaps going independent.
Why are we seeing this at this time more and more talk about independence from various entities now?
Sha’ath: Mainly it’s for two reasons: one is nationalistic background; and the other one is economic factors.
The people in Scotland they believe the United Kingdom sucked their North Sea oil fields dry and Scotland didn’t benefit out of the oil bonanza, which Thatcher at the time exploited very well and Westminster benefitted out of that. That is one of the economic factors.
And the Scottish people believe they can benefit from being independent themselves and they can explore more economic opportunities in the future.
And the EU as a supranational body can guarantee them security and safety from British revenge or imposing a British will and rule against the Scottish people.
Spain is going the same way; the Catalonian people have a nationalistic agenda, which is part of their belief that they should secede out of Spain since they well be better economically as well; and for their nationalistic ideals.
The same thing in the United States of America we see in California believe they are richer than the other states, why should they subsidize others? And that is the economic factor in America. In the United States of America economics plays more obvious than nationalistic since more of the Americans are immigrants from different parts of the world.