Scottish independence: Lord Robertson says Yes vote 'would be cataclysmic'


Lord Robertson says Scottish independence would have a cataclysmic impact on the wider world

The former secretary general of Nato has said that Scottish independence would be cataclysmic for the West in an era of international turmoil.

Speaking in the US, Lord Robertson said a "debilitating divorce" after a "Yes" vote in September would threaten the stability of the wider world.

He said he believed the US administration was worried about the possibility of Scottish independence.

The Scottish government said the comments were "crass and offensive".

Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was "shocked" by the language of the former Labour defence secretary.

Start Quote

For the second military power in the west to shatter this year would be cataclysmic in geo-political terms”

End Quote Lord Robertson Former secretary general of Nato

Lord Roberston was speaking at the Brookings Institution where he said the US should make its views public - as should all British allies.

In a strongly-worded speech, he said: "The loudest cheers for the break-up of Britain would be from our adversaries and from our enemies.

"For the second military power in the west to shatter this year would be cataclysmic in geo-political terms."

He went on to urge "Britain's allies" to speak out and to say that an independent Scotland would "affect them as well".

Lord Robertson added: "This is not a purely domestic matter even though it's a decision that will be taken by the Scottish people.

"The Scottish people need to be conscious that they are taking a decision, not just for themselves and for future generations in a one-off vote, but that it also has an effect elsewhere and people who are affected, or think they will be affected, have every right to speak out."

In response to the comments, Ms Sturgeon said that given Lord Robertson's "long-standing" opposition to independence, she was not surprised.

However, she added: "On another level though I am quite shocked at these comments.

'Deeply insulting'

She went on: "The contribution George Robertson made last night, and particularly the language he has used to make it in, I think does a real disservice to the debate.

"I am not shouting down George Robertson, I am saying very clearly that I find his comments deeply insulting.

"He is of course the man that predicted that devolution would kill the SNP stone dead, so his predictions perhaps don't hold too much water."

Ms Sturgeon said she wanted to have a rational debate.

In a plea to the former politician, she said: "I'm not the person using language like cataclysmic and suggesting that independence would aid the forces of darkness.

"I would invite George Robertson to come back into the realms of decent and rational debate, because that is the kind of debate we should be having."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1956.

    "Oddly enough I'm a Scot who has been married to my English wife for 37 yrs..."

    Really? Who cares. The vitriol you refer to comes from the divisiveness of nationalist politics. Nationalism is a disease that feeds off negativity, poverty and the weak-minded. It truly is a horrible thing and Scotland will choose to eradicate it once and for all this year.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1955.

    Last year, Alex Salmond met with the Premier of the Canadian Province of Quebec, the separatist Pauline Marois. Monday night, the voters of Quebec booted her and her party out of office. It was the worst defeat in 44 years for the separatists. Bottom line, it's all about jobs and the economy Mr. Salmond not about empty platitudes of Scotland being a "great nation."

  • rate this

    Comment number 1954.

    1946. Andy
    Aye talk aboot running in circles and another nail in the coffin?
    A certain ex-dep speaker CON MP is in court tomorrow accused of allegedly raping a man INSIDE the House of Commons.
    The sooner SCOTLAND gets out of this satanic ceespit the bettter
    Vote YES!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1953.

    AlexiF 1950 1931.Civgw, - Alex the problem is that for decades now some Scots have seen the oil as the pot at the end of the rainbow and cannot now believe that others do not also see it in the same light!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1952.


    Oddly, incorrect. Turnout: 50.4%. Percentage of votes: 44/45% (comparing constituency and regional votes) What they got was a majority of seats, without the majority of votes (about 23% of the electorate).

    Tables 2 and 3.


Comments 5 of 1956


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