Scotland 'safer' in UK

British High Commissioner Vicki Treadell discusses the coming referendum on Scottish independence...
British High Commissioner Vicki Treadell discusses the coming referendum on Scottish independence. Photo by Peter McIntosh.

Losing direct access to extensive British embassy facilities throughout the world would be ''a huge shame and a huge loss'' for many Scottish people, if Scotland opted for independence.

British High Commissioner Vicki Treadell made that comment during a public lecture and a question-and-answer session at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum in Dunedin yesterday.

Outlining the British Government view on Scottish independence, she acknowledged a planned September 18 referendum on Scotland's links with the UK was drawing closer.

Scottish people then faced a ''fundamental choice'' of pursuing independence or remaining part of a union with England and other parts of the UK which had endured more than 300 years.

She believed Scotland's future was ''safer, more prosperous and more secure'' within the UK.

Michael Russell, the Secretary for Education in the Scottish Government, also discussed Scottish independence when he visited Dunedin on March 25, accompanied by Ms Treadell.

Mr Russell, who is a senior Scottish National Party politician, said at that stage, in an ODT interview, he was ''very optimistic'' Scottish people would vote for independence.

Ms Treadell yesterday said she was offering a factual picture of the potentially adverse implications of Scottish independence, and there was ''no threat'' in the British Government stance.

Opinion poll margins in Scotland had tightened, but combining all poll results suggested a 57% to 43% margin for a ''no'' vote on independence.

The United Kingdom was like a family, and Scotland had long benefited financially from support by taxpayers elsewhere in the UK.

Opting for independence would mean less diplomatic support for Scottish citizens abroad, and Scotland would also have to wait for later admission to international bodies such as the European Union, she said.

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