Scottish Independence: Hillary Clinton opposes 'Yes' vote

Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state for the US, says she believes an independent Scotland would be a "loss for both sides"

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said she hopes Scotland does not become independent from the rest of the UK.

Ahead of the 18 September referendum, she told the BBC a "Yes" vote would be a "loss for both sides".

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said the nation was "not a property to be lost" but was deciding its future.

UK shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said Ms Clinton had brought a global perspective to the debate.

Ms Clinton's comments came during a promotional tour for her memoirs, amid continuing speculation as to whether she will mount a US presidential campaign.

The current US president, Barack Obama, has already intervened in the referendum debate, saying his country's interest was to ensure it retained a "strong, robust, united and effective partner".

When asked about the referendum, Ms Clinton, who has an honorary degree from St Andrews University, told the BBC's Jeremy Paxman: "I would hate to have you lose Scotland.

"I hope it doesn't happen, but again I don't have a vote in Scotland, but I would hope it doesn't happen."

She added: "We'll see what the people of Scotland decide, but I would think it would be a loss for both sides."

line break
Analysis: Scott Lucas, professor of American studies, Birmingham University

Hillary Clinton doesn't make off-the-cuff remarks, and she certainly doesn't do so on foreign affairs.

The fact that President Obama, and indeed other European politicians, have come out vocally against Scottish independence really points to a coordination among policy-makers on both sides of the Atlantic who basically are saying Scotland should remain part of Britain and, in turn, part of the EU.

I think this is a concerted campaign. I think it's one that's been discussed by the White House, I think it's been discussed by Number 10 and by other European capitals to try to deter Scottish voters from breaking away from Britain.

In a sense, they're comfortable. They know the EU, they know it with Scotland being inside it, and change basically frightens them.

The Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, referred to Scotland leaving as the Balkanisation of Britain, which invokes scary images of the 1990s wars in the former Yugoslavia.

I don't agree with those perceptions, but right now this is as much a battle of propaganda as it is one of reality.

Hillary Clinton is speaking to the Scottish and British public.

She might say, and President Obama might say, 'it's up to Scottish voters to make a decision' - but that's like my mother telling me, 'I can't tell you what to do, but you really shouldn't go to that party on Friday night'.

It will be interesting to see how Scottish voters react, because my perception is that - far from pushing Scottish voters to say 'we have to stay part of Britain' - I think they may assert their own, as it were, independence from these politicians by voting in the referendum precisely to come out of Britain.

Philippa Malmgren, former adviser to President George W. Bush

The United Kingdom is still one of America's most important - if not the most important - defence ally, so it matters whether this nation remains one, or splits into two.

It's only six weeks ago that two British fighter jets were scrambled from Leuchars airbase in Fife, when two Russian jets started to come near British airspace.

The United States right now has quite enough on its plate, with Iraq, issues with both China and the South China Sea and Russia.

To add another defence issue is not what the White House - under any president of any party - would be looking for.

In that sense, I don't think you're going to get the Americans saying, 'go for it'.

There's another issue.

We have quite a few separatist movements of our own in the United States - counties in California that are trying to separate from California, and Texas endlessly wants to become its own nation.

At the end of the day, no president in the United States wants to support separatist movements in general.

line break

Ms Clinton said the referendum in Scotland had gone through a proper legal process, unlike the recent vote in Crimea over its separation from Ukraine.

Mr Salmond said the American politician was entitled to her views, adding the inference that Britain would "lose Scotland" after a "Yes" vote was similar to reported remarks by Prime Minister David Cameron.

The first minister said: "In any case, Scotland is not a property to be lost but a nation about to take a precious and consensual and democratic decision.

"An independent Scotland will be a friend and ally to our neighbours in the rest of the UK as well as to our friends in the United States of America.

"The eyes of the world are on Scotland as we look forward to one of the most exciting days in our history - but that huge international focus, and all the economic and other opportunities it will bring, will only stay in Scotland with a 'Yes' vote."

David Cameron and Barack Obama US President Barack Obama has already intervened in the Scottish independence debate

Mr Alexander, a former UK international development secretary, said of Ms Clinton: "This is a woman who, as America's senior diplomat over the last four years, has chosen her words extraordinarily carefully.

"I think it's very significant that she's expressed, certainly the fact that it's for those of us in Scotland to make the choice, but a very clear personal view that she would hate it and thinks that it would be better for us to stay together."

Speaking on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme, the Scottish Labour MP added: "She has that broader view that recognises that the hallmark and the challenge of this time is not so much independence but interdependence - how do we establish networks of cooperation to meet common challenges, from getting getting global economic growth in a sustainable way to tackling climate change.

"That global view gives her a sense as to what would not just be in Scotland's interests or in the rest of the United Kingdom's interests, but more broadly in European and western interests as well."

More on This Story

Scotland Decides

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Scotland politics stories


Scotland Live

    14:49: Ginger scrimper

    A cheeky Scot claims to have saved £200 over the past four years...thanks to his red hair.

    Richard Macrae, from Aberdeen, uses a home-made 'ginger discount card' to save hundreds of pounds in the high street.

    A pal made the fake card for Richard's birthday.

    He said: "People have always given me stick for my hair colour, but now I'm going out three nights a week and saving a fortune. The joke's on them."

    Read the full story in The Scotsman.

    14:40: What is Plan Bee?

    More than 120,000 bees have taken up residence in Glasgow City Chambers. Two hives have been placed on the council HQ's roof.

    bees on council roof

    It is hoped polish and honey will be produced as well as boosting pollination in city parks...

    Something smells fishy Kevin Keane BBC Scotland reporter

    tweets: Lorry which overturned in Peterhead contained a load of fish. Doesn't look so yummy now.

    14:21: Juror fined after trial is deserted

    A juror who was overheard saying the accused "should plead guilty" has been fined £250.

    George Best, 65, was found in contempt of court for making the remark, which was heard by the accused's mother. She reported it to the court clerk.

    As a result of Best's remark, a High Court trial was deserted.

    The High Court in Glasgow heard Best had a "significant alcohol problem" and committed "an act of crass stupidity".

    Text 80295 Referendum - Your Views

    Owen, Swansea: If John Swinney says "no currency, no debt", then the UK will simply veto Scottish membership of the EU. In fact, the UK will hold the whip hand in any independence negotiations.

    13:59: Brown & Darling join forces

    Gordon Brown, the former Prime Minister, has appeared alongside Alistair Darling to urge Scottish voters to reject independence.

    It was rumoured the two men had a stormy relationship when Mr Darling served as chancellor under Mr Brown.

    Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling

    But they united to argue that the welfare state in the UK "offers better protection" for Scots.

    Meanwhile, Scottish Health Secretary Alex Neil said a "Yes" vote was the best way to safeguard Scotland's NHS.

    13:45: Dundee Derby

    The draw for the third round of the League Cup has thrown up a Dundee derby.

    Holders Aberdeen take on Livingston at Pittodrie while Celtic have been drawn at home to face Hearts.

    Full details of the draw here.

    Text 80295 Referendum - Your Views

    Matthew Ross, Prestonpans, East Lothian: I will vote Yes. Like Scotland, Denmark and Finland both have a population of 5 million. Both are prosperous. Scotland can do likewise.

    Anonymous: I'm voting no because I want to have the UK pound not a weakened version under Sterlingisation.

    13:25: New leader of Scotland's doctors

    Scotland's doctors have elected Glasgow-based consultant psychiatrist Dr Peter Bennie as their new chairman.

    He succeeds Dr Brian Keighley as the leader of the British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland.

    Dr Peter Bennie

    Dr Bennie, 51, graduated from Glasgow University Medical School in 1986 and trained in hospitals in the west of Scotland before taking up a consultant post in Glasgow in 1997.

    He moved to work in Paisley in 2007.

    13:00: Man in court following death at supermarket

    A man has appeared in court charged with killing a man who died following an incident at a Glasgow supermarket.

    Miroslaw Bronowicki, 52, died following a disturbance at a Tesco store on Argyle Street on Sunday.

    Asif Moin was charged with culpable homicide when he appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

    The 35-year-old, from Glasgow, made no plea or declaration.

    12:38: Plant alert for animal owners

    Animal owners in Scotland are being warned that the fine summer has caused poisonous plants to flourish.


    Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said ragwort, yew, foxgloves and sycamore seeds could cause problems for animals like horses and dogs.

    12:29: Parcel fore delivery

    The Royal Mail is to issue a special postmark for the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. The postmark will be printed on all stamped and franked mail across the UK from 15 to 29 September.

    ryder cup postmark

    Europe's best golfers face the USA at the Perthshire course from 23-28 September.

    12:21: Beattie Show John Beattie BBC Scotland

    "Business intervention today, postal votes are off for some, so, today, if you could vote today "I'd vote...... and why...."

    12:15: No cheer at Celtic

    It is the morning after the night before for Celtic after their Champions League humbling.

    Fan protests, no excuses, a devastated dressing room.

    Virgil Van Dijk

    Balde looks like he is on his way out, while Rangers need to up their game in the League Cup.

    It is time for a slice of Football Gossip.

    11:59: Italian Chapel plaque thefts

    Following a "great response from the public", police investigating the theft of plaques from Orkney's famous Italian Chapel have said they have narrowed down the time the crime was committed.

    Italian Chapel plaques

    Officers said three plaques - marked with the Roman numerals IV, VI and X - were taken between 18:29 on 6 August and 11:00 on 7 August.

    The chapel was built by Italian prisoners of war during World War Two, and has become a tourist attraction.

    11:58: Never Miss A Beatt

    The John Beattie Show is about to get under way on BBC Radio Scotland, listen live here.

    11:54: Play dough warning

    Parents have been warned that home-made play dough can contain enough salt to poison children and pets, reports the BBC's Eleanor Bradford.

    play dough

    The warning comes from the UK's National Poisons Information Service.

    It said that there had been no child fatalities but there were reports of pets being poisoned.

    11:50: Going Swimmingly

    Scotland's Commonwealth Games champion Ross Murdoch has appealed for help in tracking down a young fan who got in touch with the swimmer.

    Murdoch tweets: "RT& help me find 5yo Brian who sent me this amazing letter! I'd love to meet him and show him around where I train :-)"

    Fan's letter to Ross Murdoch
  19. 11:42: Picture House - Your Views

    Graham Hutton got in touch to share his 50-year-old memories of Campbeltown Picture House.

    "As a teenager of 15 on holiday in Machrahanish in 1965, I went to see Zulu and also Battle of the River Plate. Fond memories," he said.

    Michael Caine in the film Zulu

    Have you seen a film there? Share your memories via email, text 80295 or tweet using #ScotlandLive.

    11:32: Video - Watch Deila's reaction to Champions League loss

    It was a bad night for Celtic as Maribor secured a 1-0 victory to knock the Scottish champions out of the Champions League.

    Celtic manager Ronny Deila

    Watch manager Ronny Deila give his post-match reaction to the European loss.

    11:24: Wheelie bin thrown on train track

    A train suffered minor damage and other services were delayed when a wheelie bin was thrown on to the track from a bridge.

    British Transport Police (BTP) said the 20:40 Partick to Lanark service clipped an object on the tracks near Wishaw at about 21:30 on 13 August.

    Officers later found a plastic bin which they believe was thrown from the Dimsdale Road overbridge.

    BTP has launched an investigation.

    11:15: First-time buyers

    The number of first-time buyers in Scotland has reached a seven-year high, according to The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

    house buying

    The group said there were 7,500 first-time buyer loans in Scotland in the second quarter of this year.

    That was 29% up on the previous three months, and 23% up on the same period last year.

    11:00: How do you solve a problem like... the High Street?

    It is an issue for communities across the country.

    But how do we stop the decline of the high street in towns and villages across Scotland?

    Bill White, a Galashiels councillor, wants action. He is calling for a task force to be set up to tackle the problem in the Borders town.

    Text 80295 10:51: E-Cigarettes - Your Views

    Scott from Bishopbriggs: I was never a heavy smoker but smoked perhaps 5 a day and perhaps 20 at the weekend. I swapped to an e-cig around 6 weeks ago after much nagging by my wife and have to say that this has been a revelation. I still go outside to use it as I've no idea what damage it could do to others but instead if popping out the pub to smoke every half hour to smoke a ciggie, I perhaps nip out once every hour for a couple if puffs. They should be treated as cigarettes so that we can be weaned off.

    Dee: These e-cigs still leave a smell on people and, as a non-smoker, I find it disgusting and disrespectful to me.

    10:47: Independence referendum - Childcare

    The Scottish independence referendum has raised many questions about issues in our country.


    In advance of the vote on 18 September, the BBC's Lucy Adams investigates what childcare could look like in the future.

    10:33: Murray relieved

    Andy Murray admits he "could easily be on the plane home" after avoiding a shock first-round exit at the US Open.

    The Scot suffered cramp in his four set match against Dutchman Robin Haase at Flushing Meadows.

    Andy Murray

    Murray is not sure what caused the problem, but says he will do "all the right things" to avoid a repeat against German qualifier Matthias Bachinger in the second round on Thursday.

    10:28: Celtic's European ills

    Celtic's defeat by Maribor in their Champions League play-off was "possibly one of the worst European performances at Celtic Park," according to Murdo MacLeod.

    BBC Sportsound pundit MacLeod, who played for the club as well as enjoying a stint as assistant boss, said the board should have spent more on the squad.

    Celtic's Kris Commons reacts to a missed chance in the Champions League play-off defeat by Maribor

    "There was no pace, no energy and I thought the shape was wrong," he said. "The tactics were wrong to start off with, the second half was better when Commons came on.

    "The whole team seemed very flat; we're talking about players who romped the Premier League last year."

    On the issue of the Celtic board bolstering Ronny Deila's squad, MacLeod added: "It would make it easier for the manager if you've got better quality players to deal with.

    "When you leave it so long and don't buy in good quality, then the heads go down."

  28. 10:15: Your Pictures - Get Involved
    Mugdock reservoir

    Alan Barnett captured twilight over Mugdock reservoir on Tuesday night while walking with daughter Erin.

    You can email us your favourite pictures and we'll include the best ones.

    10:00: Weather update Gillian Smart BBC Scotland Weather Presenter

    Dry and bright across the country with plenty of sunshine. Warmest in the West. Top temperatures 20 or 21C. East Coast cooler. Breezier as the day goes on.

    09:43: Curtain Call

    The Picture House in Campbeltown, which opened in 1913 and was one of the first purpose-built cinemas in Scotland, closes its doors today.

    Campbeltown Picture House

    The local business behind it hopes to secure enough funding for a major restoration project and it could re-open in 2016.

    Have you seen a film there? Share your memories via email, text 80295 or tweet using #ScotlandLive.

    Text 80295 09:31: Morning Call - Get Involved

    Mags, Dunfermline: I stopped smoking 30 years ago. I did it cold turkey and sheer determination, never looked back. If you really want to stop you will do it.

    09:23: Bank Fined

    Royal Bank of Scotland has been fined £14.5m by the Financial Conduct Authority for "serious failings" in its mortgage sales business.

    The City watchdog said RBS did not ensure that it gave suitable mortgage advice to customers.

    RBS chief executive Ross McEwan said the failings were "unacceptable and should never have happened".

    Text 80295 09:11: E-Cigarettes - Your Views

    H, Edinburgh: I understand smoking is harmful to health but why keep on about smokers? I hate the smell of alcohol and dislike drunk people but alcohol is advertised and allowed almost everywhere and is just as harmful to health. Let's ban that and cover it up in supermarkets.

    Mike, Carlisle: E-cigs are threatening and undoing everyone's progress in kicking the smoking habit. Stop them now.

    09:05: Travel Update BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    Very slow traffic where one lane is closed by an accident on M74 Northbound between J6 (Hamilton) and J5. The Raith accident cleared on M9 Southbound between J5 A9/A905 (Cadgers Brae) and J4 A801/A803 (Lathallan).

    Text 80295 09:01: E-Cigarettes - Your Views

    Des Swan, Isle of Bute: Stopped smoking about 7 yrs ago thru electrix therapy from a clinic in Manchester called Newways & never tempted to smoke again.

    Carol, Glasgow: While I am all for people having freedom to make lifestyle choices, imposing those choices on others is at best selfish. There is no 'greater good benefit' from smoking anything and, as such, all smoking should be done in private to avoid the inconsiderate imposition on others.

    08:51: Morning Call Louise White Presenter, Morning Call

    We want to know if it's time to take e-cigarettes seriously?

    Plus, would you volunteer to sit on the children's panel?

    The lines are open now. Call 0500 92 95 00 or text 80295.

    You can listen live to the programme here.

    08:50: Scotland Live - Your Views

    Have you decided on how you will vote on the referendum? Is there an issue you feel hasn't been addressed properly?

    Where does Celtic's Champions League failure rate? Why are Scottish clubs struggling in Europe?

    Get in touch via email, text using 80295 or tweet using #ScotlandLive.

    08:42: What The Papers Say

    First Minister Alex Salmond's call for David Cameron to face him in a debate dominates this morning's front pages.

    The Herald's front page

    The Scotsman and The Scottish Sun go on the Prime Minister being urged to defend his support for the United Kingdom in a live broadcast.

    The Herald says Alistair Darling will stick to his "Plan B" argument on currency.

    Read our full papers review here.

    08:31: Par for the course

    Expenses covering the cost of a young aristocrat's golf clubs in 1616 have provided the earliest evidence so far of the sport's popularity in Dornoch.

    Golf was played in Dornoch centuries before an offical course was laid out

    John, the 13th Earl of Sutherland, was sent to the town in Sutherland to be educated.

    His uncle Sir Robert Gordon sponsored his education and provided him with funds for clubs and balls, as well as bows and arrows.

    The reference was uncovered by PhD student Wade Cormack.

    08:20: Firms raise independence concerns

    More than 130 businesses have signed a letter saying the business case for Scottish independence "has not been made".

    The signatories come from a variety of businesses including banking, mining, engineering, food, whisky, and technology.

    But lobby group Business for Scotland said economic "facts and figures" support Scottish independence.

    The letter has been published in The Scotsman newspaper.

    08:16: Morning Call - Get Involved Louise White Presenter, Morning Call

    Coming up on Morning Call from 08:50, the World Health Organisation is calling for a ban of e-cigarettes in public, so is it time to take concerns about e-cigs seriously? Plus, would you volunteer to sit on the children's panel?

    The lines are open now. Call 0500 92 95 00 or text 80295.

    08:09: Celtic suffer Champions League misery

    Celtic failed to secure a place in the Champions League following defeat by Maribor.

    The home side were favourites to progress, having come back from Slovenia with a 1-1 draw last week.

    Celtic's Adam Matthews following the defeat by Maribor

    But they struggled to test goalkeeper Jasmin Handanovic throughout a frustrating evening for the Scottish Premiership champions.

    Ronny Deila, whose side drop into the Europa League, said afterwards: "At the end, there is only one thing to say, we haven't been good enough and we haven't deserved to go to the Champions League.

    "I thought we had a good enough team to go through but we didn't do it."

    08:04: Currency Union

    Finance Secretary John Swinney has confirmed Scotland will not pay its share of the UK debt if it does not get a currency union after independence.

    The Scottish government minister told a BBC referendum debate if the UK seized all the assets of the currency it must also take all the liabilities.

    Scotland's share of UK debt would be in the region of £100bn.

    Former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy said defaulting would hurt an independent Scotland from day one.

    08:01: Weather Update Gillian Smart BBC Scotland Weather Presenter

    Going to be a cracker, folks! Chilly start, but the sunshine will warm things up nicely. 21C at best in West. Cooler E Coast.

    08:00: Here We Go... Thomas McGuigan BBC Sport

    Good morning and a warm welcome from the Scotland Live team and our rolling live text service of news, sport, weather and travel between now and 6pm.



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.